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Trusting remoter days would be more blessed,
He set his will to wear the verdict out, And knew most men are prisoners at best
Who some strong habit ever drag about, Like the chain and ball, then meekly prayed that he Rather the prisoner he was, should be. But best resolves are of such feeble thread,
They may be broken in temptation's hands; After long toil the guiltless prisoner said,
“Why should I thus and feel life's precious sands, The narrow of my glasses, the present run, For a poor crime that I have never done.” Such questions are like cups, and hold reply,
For when the chance swung wide the prisoner fled, And gained the country road, and hastened by
Brown furrowed and skipping brooklets, fed
By shepherd clouds, and felt through sapful trees
The soft hand of the mesmerizing breeze.
Then all that long day, having eaten nought,
He at a cottage stopped, and of the wife
A brimming bowl of fragrant milk besought;
She gave it him, but as he quaffed the life,
Down her kind face he saw a single tear
Pursue its wet and sorrowful career.
Within the cot he now beheld a man
And maiden also weeping. “ Speak," said he, “And tell me of your grief, for if I can,
I will disroot the sad tear-fruited tree.” The cotter answered, “In default of rent, We shall to-morrow from this roof be sent.”
Then said the galley slave, “Whoso returns
A prisoner escaped, may feel the spur
To a right action, and deserves and earns
Proffered reward. I am a prisoner !
Bind these my arms, and drive me back my way,
That your reward the price of home may pay.”
Against his wish the cotter gave consent,
And at the prison gate received his fee,
Though some made it a thing for wonderment,
That one so sickly and infirm as he,
When stronger would have dared not to attack,
Could capture this bold youth and bring him back.
Straight the cotter to the mayor hied,
And told him all the story, and that lord
Was much affected, dropping gold beside
The pursed ; sufficient silver of reward ;
Then wrote his letter in authority,
Asking to set the noble prisoner free.
There is no nobler, better life on earth,
Than that of conscious, meek self-sacrifice;
Such life our Saviour, in His lowly birth,
And holy work, made His sublime disguise, Teaching this truth still rarely understood : 'Tis sweet to suffer for another's good.
POWER OF MUSIC. An Orpheus ! an Orpheus ! yes, faith may grow bold, And take to herself all the wonders of old ; Near the stately Pantheon you'll meet with the same, In the street that from Oxford hath borrowed its name.
His station is there, and he works on the crowd ;
He sways them with harmony merry and loud ;
He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim,
Was aught ever heard like his fiddle and him ?
What an eager assembly, what an empire is this ;
The weary have life, and the hungry have bliss; .
The mourner is cheered, and the anxious have rest,
And the guilt burthened soul is no longer oppressed.
As the moon brightens round her the clouds of the night,
So he, where he stands, is a centre of light;
It gleams on the face there of dusky-browed Jack,
And the pale visaged baker with basket on back.
That errand bound 'prentice was passing in haste,
What matter! he's caught, and his time runs to waste;
The newsman is stopped, though he stops on the fret,
And the half breathless lamp-lighter, he's in the net.
The porter sits down on the weight which he bore,
The lass with her barrow wheels hither her store ;
If a thief could be here he might pilfer at ease-
She sees the musician, 'tis all that she sees.
He stands back by the wall; he abates not his din;
His hat gives him vigor, with boons dropping in;
From the old and the young, from the poorest—and there
The one-pennied boy has his penny to spare.
Oh! blest are the hearers, and proud be the hand
Of the pleasure it spreads through so thankful a band;
I am glad for him, blind as he is, all the while,
If they speak’tis to praise, and they praise with a smile.
That tall man, a giant in bulk and in height,
Not an inch of his body is free from delight;
Can he keep himself still, if he would ? oh! not he,
The music stirs in him like wind through a tree.
There's a cripple who leans on his crutch, like a tower
That long has leaned forward, leans hour after hour;
A mother, whose spirit in fetters is bound,
While she dandles the babe in her arms to the sound.
Now, coaches and chariots roar on like a stream,
Here are twenty souls happy as souls in a dream ;
They are deaf to your murmurs—they care not for you,
Nor what ye are flying, nor what ye pursue.
God bless little children,
Day by day.
With pure and simple wiles,
And winning words and smiles,
They creep into the heart;
And who would wish to say them nay.
They look up into our faces,
And their eyes
Are tender and are fair,
As if still lingered there
The Saviour's kindly smile ;
So very meek they look, and wise.
We live again our play time
In their play.
Their soft hands lead us back
Along a weary track,
The path way of our years,
Unto the time when life was May.
Oh! when my days are ended,
I would rest
Where little children keep
Their slumber long and deep ;
My grave be near the little mounds
I know that God has blest.
The time draws near the birth of Christ;
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist,
Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fall as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound.
Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease;
Peace and good will; good will and peace,
Peace and good will to all mankind.
This year I slept and woke with pain,
I almost wished no more to wake;
And that my hold on life would break, Before I heard those bells again.