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From that fiery blood of dragons

Never would his own replenish. Even Redi, though he chaunted

Bacchus in the Tuscan valleys, Never drank the wine he vaunted

In his dithyrambic sallies.

Then with water fill the pitcher

Wreathed about with classic fables ; Ne'er Falernian threw a richer

Light upon Lucullus' tables.

Come, old friend, sit down and listen!

As it passes thus between us, How its wavelets laugh and glisten

In the head of old Silenus !

THE OLD CLOCK ON THE STAIRS.
SOMEWHAT back from the village-street
Stands the old-fashioned country-seat
Across its antique portico
Tall poplar-trees their shadows throw
And from its station in the hall
An ancient timepiece says to all,

“For ever-never!
Never-for ever!”

Halfway up the stairs it stands,
And points and beckons with its hands
From its case of massive oak,
Like a monk, who, under his cloak,
Crosses himself, and sighs, alas!
With sorrowful voice to all who pass,

“For ever-never!

Never-for ever!"

By day its voice is low and light;
But in the silent dead of night,
Distinct as a passing footstep's fall,
It echoes along the vacant hall,
Along the ceiling, along the floor,
And seems to say, at each chamber-door,

“For ever-never!

Never-for ever!"

Through days of sorrow and of mirth,
Through days of death and days of birth,
Through every swift vicissitude
Of changeful time, unchanged it has stood,
And as if, like God, it all things saw,
It calmly repeats those words of awe,

“For ever-never!

Never-for ever!"

In that mansion used to be
Free-hearted Hospitality;
His great fires up the chimney roared ;
The stranger feasted at his board ;
But, like the skeleton at the feast,
That warning timepiece never ceased, -

“For ever-never!

Never-for ever!”

There groups of merry children played,
There youths and maidens dreaming strayed;
O precious hours! O golden prime,
And affluence of love and time!
Even as a miser counts his gold,
Those hours the ancient timepiece told, -

“For ever- never!

Never-for ever!"

From that chamber, clothed in white,
The bride came forth on her wedding night;
There, in that silent room below,
The dead lay in his shroud of snow;
And in the hush that followed the prayer,
Was heard the old clock on the stair,-

“For ever-never!

Never-for ever!
All are scattered now and fled,
Some are married, some are dead;
And when I ask, with throbs of pain,
“Ah! when shall they all meet again?"
As in the days long since gone by,
The ancient timepiece makes reply,
“For ever-never!

Never—for ever!”

Never here, for ever there,
Where all parting, pain, and care,
And death and time shall disappear,
For ever there, but never here!
The horologe of Eternity
Sayeth this incessantly,
“For ever-never!

Never-for ever!”

THE ARROW AND THE SONG.

I SHOT an arrow into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For, so swiftly it flew, the sight
Could not follow it in its flight.

I breathed a song into the air,
It fell to earth, I knew not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
That it can follow the flight of song!"

Long, long afterward, in an oak
I found the arrow, still unbroke;
And the song, from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.

SONNETS.

THE EVENING STAR.... Lo! in the painted oriel of the West, Whose panes the sunken sun incarnadines, Like a fair lady at her casement, shines The evening star, the star of love and rest! And then anon she doth herself divest Of all her radiant garments, and reclines Behind the sombre screen of yonder pines, With slumber and soft dreams of love oppressed. O my beloved, my sweet Hesperus! My morning and my evening star of love! My best and gentlest lady! even thus, As that fair planet in the sky above, Dost thou retire unto thy rest at night, And from thy darkened window fades the light.

AUTUMN. Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain, With banners, by great gales incessant fanned, Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand, And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!

Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne, 4
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o'er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain !
Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven's o’erhanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer's prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!

DANTE.

Toscan, that wanderest through the realms of gloom,
With thoughtful pace, and sad, majestic eyes,
Stern thoughts and awful from thy soul arise,
Like Farinata from his fiery tomb.
Thy sacred song is like the trump of doom ;
Yet in thy heart what human sympathies,
What soft compassion glows, as in the skies
The tender stars their clouded lamps relume !
Methinks I see thee stand, with pallid cheeks,
By Fra Hilario in his diocese,
As up the convent-walls, in golden streaks,
The ascending sunbeams mark the day's decrease;
And, as he asks what there the stranger seeks,
Thy voice along the cloister whispers, “ Peace!"

ON MRS. KEMBLE'S READINGS FROM

SHAKSPEARE. O PRECIOUS evenings! all too swiftly sped! Leaving us heirs to amplest heritages . Of all the best thoughts of the greatest sages, And giving tongues unto the silent dead ! How our hearts glowed and trembled as she read, Interpreting by tones the wondrous pages Of the great Poet who foreruns the ages, Anticipating all that shall be said ! O happy Reader! having for thy text The magic book, whose sybilline leaves have caught The rarest essence of all human thought ! O happy Poet, by no critic vext! How must thy listening spirit now rejoice To be interpreted by such a voice!

BALLADS.

THE SKELETON IN ARMOUR.

[The following ballad was suggested to me while riding on the seashore at Newport. A year or two previous, a skeleton had been dug up at Fall River, clad in broken and corroded armour; and the idea occurred to me of connecting it with the Round Tower at Newport, generally known hitherto as the old Windmill, though now claimed by the Danes as a work of their early ancestors. Professor Rafn, in the Mémoires de la Sociéte Royale des Antiquaires du Nord, 1838-1839, says:

“There is no mistaking in this instance the style in which the more ancient stone edifices of the North were constructed, the style which belongs to the Roman or ante-Gothic architecture, and which, especially after the time of Charlemagne, diffused itself from Italy over the whole of the west and north of Europe, where it continued to predominate until the close of the twelfth century; that style which some authors have, from one of its most striking characteristics, called the round-arch style, the same which in England is denominated Saxon, and sometimes Norman architecture.

“On the ancient structure in Newport there are no ornaments remaining, which might possibly have served to guide us in assigning the probable date of its erection. That no vestige whatever is found of the pointed arch, nor any approximation to it, is indicative of an earlier rather than of a later period. From such characteristics as remain, however, we can scarcely form any other inference than one, in which I am persuaded that all who are familiar with old-northern architecture will concur, THAT THIS BUILDING WAS ERECTED AT A PERIOD DECIDEDLY NOT LATER THAN THE TWELFTH CENTURY. This remark applies, of course, to the original building only, and not to the alterations that it subsequently received; for there are several such alterations in the upper part of the building which cannot be mistaken, and which were most likely occasioned by its being adapted in modern times to various uses-for example. as the substructure of a windmill, and latterly as a hay-magazine. To the same times may be referred the windows, the fire-place, and the apertures made above the columns. That this building could not have been erected for a windmill, is what an architect will easily discern."

I will not enter into a discussion of the point. It is sufficiently well established for the purpose of a ballad; though, doubtless, many an honest citizen of Newport, who has passed his days within sight of the Round Tower, will be ready to exclaim with Sancho: “God bless me! did I not warn you to have a care of what you were doing, for that it was nothing but a windmill, and nobody could mistake it, but one who had the like in his head."]

“SPEAK! speak! thou fearful guest !

Who, with thy hollow breast
Still in rude armour drest,

Comest to daunt me!
Wrapt not in eastern balms,
But with thy fleshless palms
Stretched, as if asking alms,
Why dost thou haunt me?

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