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260 THE GREENWOOD SHRIFT.

"c I will go with you, child,' he said,
6 God sends me to this dying bed.'

Mother, he's here, hard by."
While thus the little maiden spoke,
The man, his back against an oak,

Looked on with glistening eye.

The bridle on his neck flung free, With quivering flank and trembling knee,

Pressed close his bonny bay;
A statelier man, a statelier steed,
Never on greensward paced, I rede,

Than those stood there that day.

So while the little maiden spoke
The man, his back against an oak,

Looked on with glistening eye
And folded arms; and in his look,
Something that, like a sermon book,

Preached, — " All is vanity."

But when the dying woman's face
Turned toward him with a wishful gaze,

He stepped to where she lay;
And kneeling down, bent over her,
Saying, — "I am a minister, — My sister! let us pray,"

And well, withouten book or stole
(God's words were printed on his soul),

Into the dying ear
He breathed, as't were an angel's strain,
The things that unto life pertain,

And death's dark shadows clear,

He spoke of sinners' lost estate,
In Christ renewed, regenerate,—

Of God's most blest decree,
That not a single soul should die
Who turns repentant with the cry,

"Be merciful to me!"

He spoke of trouble, pain, and toil,
Endured but for a little while

In patience, faith, and love, —
Sure, in God's own good time, to be
Exchanged for an eternity

Of happiness above.

Then, as the spirit ebbed away,

He raised his hands and eyes, to pray

That peaceful it might pass;
And then— the orphans' sobs alone
Were heard, as they knelt every one

Close round on the green grass.

Such was the sight their wondering eyes Beheld, in heart-struck, mute surprise,

Who reined their coursers back, Just as they found the long astray, Who, in the heat of chase that day,

Had wandered from their track.

Back each man reined his pawing steed, And lighted down, as if agreed,

In silence at his side; And there, uncovered all, they stood; — It was a wholesome sight, and good,

That day for mortal pride.

262 MUTABILITY. For of the noblest of the land

Was that deep-hushed, bareheaded band;

And central in the ring,
By that dead pauper on the ground,
Her ragged orphans clinging round,

Knelt their anointed king.*

MUTABILITY. — Shelley.

We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;

How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver, Streaking the darkness radiantly! — yet soon

Night closes round, and they are lost for ever;

Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.

We rest, — a dream has power to poison sleep;

We rise,—-one wandering thought pollutes the day; We feel, conceive, or reason, laugh or weep,

Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away;

It is the same! — for, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free;

Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Naught may endure but Mutability.

* George the Third of England.

TO THE MOON.— Shelley.

Art thou pale for weariness Of climbing heaven, and gazing on the earth,

Wandering companionless Among the stars that have a different birth,— And ever-changing, like a joyless eye That finds no object worth its constancy?

OF A CONTENTED MIND.

When all is done and said,

In th' end thus shall you find:
He most of all doth bathe in bliss,

That hath a quiet mind;
And clear from worldly cares,

To deem can be content
The sweetest time in all his life

In thinking to be spent.

The body subject is

To fickle Fortune's power,
And to a million of mishaps

Is casual every hour;
And death in time doth change

It to a clod of clay;
Whereas the mind, which is divine,

Runs never to decay.

Companion none is like

Unto the mind alone;
For many have been harmed by sprech,-

Through thinking, few or none,

264 THE FRIAR OF ORDERS GRAY.

Fear oftentimes restraineth words,
But makes not thoughts to cease;

And he speaks best, that hath the skill
When for to hold his peace.

Our wealth leaves us at death;

Our kinsmen at the grave;
But virtues of the mind unto

The heavens with us we have.
Wherefore, for virtue's sake

I can be well content
The sweetest time of all my life

To deem in thinking spent.

THE FRIAR OF ORDERS GRAY.— Percy.

It was a friar of orders gray Walked forth to tell his beads,
And he met with a lady fair, Clad in a pilgrim's weeds.

"Now Christ thee save, thou reverend friar!

I pray thee tell to me,
If ever at yon holy shrine

My truelove you did see."

"And how should I your truelove know

From many another one?"
"O, by his cockle hat and staff,

And by his sandal shoon.

"But chiefly by his face and mien,

That were so fair to view;
His flaxen locks that sweetly curled,

And eyes of lovely blue."

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