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Still it is true, and over true,
With rights, though not too closely scanned,
Enjoyed as far as known, —
With will by no reverse unmanned, — With pulse of even tone, — They from to-day and from to-night Expected nothing more Than yesterday and yesternight Had proffered them before.
To them was life a simple art
Of duties to be done,
A game where each man took his part,
A race where all must run;
A battle whose great scheme and scope
They little cared to know,
Content, as men-at-arms, to cope
Each with his fronting foe.
Man now his virtue's diadem Puts on and proudly wears;Great thoughts, great feelings, came to them, Like instincts, unawares:
Blending their souls' sublimest needs With tasks of every day,
They went about their gravest deeds
As noble boys at play.
226 THE WORTH OF HOURS.
And what if Nature's fearful wound They did not probe and bare, — For that their spirits never swooned To watch the misery there, — For that their love but flowed more fast, Their charities more free, Not conscious what mere drops they cast Into the evil sea.
A man's best things are nearest him,
Lie close about his feet;
It is the distant and the dim
That we are sick to greet:
For flowers that grow our hands beneath,
We struggle and aspire, —
Our hearts must die, except they breathe
The air of fresh Desire.
Yet, Brothers, who up Reason's hill
Advance with hopeful cheer, —
O, loiter not! those heights are chill, —
As chill as they are clear;
And still restrain your haughty gaze,
The loftier that ye go,
Remembering distance leaves a haze
On all that lies below.
THE WORTH OF HOURS. - Milnes.
Believe not that your inner eye
Can ever in just measure try
The worth of Hours as they go by:
For every man's weak self, alas!
But if in earnest care you would
Those surely are not fairly spent,
And more, — though free from seeming harm.
You rest from toil of mind or arm,
Or slow retire from Pleasure's charm, —
If then a painful sense comes on
Of something from your being's chain
So should we live, that every Hour
That every Thought and every Deed
Esteeming Sorrow, whose employ
228 THE VIOLET-GIRL.
ABOU BEN ADHEM AND THE ANGEL. — Leigh Hunt
Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase !) Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace, And saw, within the moonlight in his room, Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel, writing in a book of gold;Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold;And to the presence in the room he said,"What writest thou?" The vision raised his head, And, with a look made all of sweet accord, Answered, "The names of those who love the Lord.""And is mine one ?" said Abou. "Nay, not so," Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low, But cheerly still; and said, " I pray thee, then, Write me as one that loves his fellow-men." The angel wrote and vanished. The next night It came again with great awakening light, And showed the names whom love of God had blessed, And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.
THE VIOLET-GIRL.— MUnes.
When Fancy will continually rehearse
Home yestern eve I wearily returned, Though bright my morning mood and short my way*
But sad experience, in one moment earned, Can crush the heaped enjoyments of the day.
Passing the corner of a populous street,
There her small commerce, in the chill March weather
She plied with accents miserably mild;
It was a frightful thought to set together
Those blooming blossoms and that fading child: — Those luxuries and largess of the earth,
To me that odorous purple ministers
Think, after all this lapse of hungry hours
Rest on your woodland banks and wither there,
FROM ELEONORA.— Dry den.
As precious gums are not for lasting fire,