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And when the arrows of sunset
Therefore, of all the pictures
That hang on memory's wall,
THE FIRST SNOW-FALL.
THE snow had begun in the gloaming,
Had been heaping field and highway
Every pine and fir and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an earl, And the poorest twig on the elm tree Was ridged inch-deep with pearl.
From sheds new-roofed with Carrara*
* A variety of marble very pure and white.
I stood and watched by the window
I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn,*
Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying, "Father, who makes it snow?" And I told of the good All Father Who cares for us here below.
Again I looked at the snow-fall,
And thought of the leaden sky That arched o'er our first great sorrow, When that mound was heaped so high.
I remembered the gradual patience
The scar of our deep-plunged woe.
* A cemetery near Boston.
Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her; And she, kissing back, could not know That my kiss was given to her sister, Folded close under deepening snow.
James Russell Lowell.
THE CHICKEN'S MISTAKE.
A LITTLE downy chick one day
Asked leave to go on the water, Where she saw a duck with her brood at play Swimming and splashing about her.
Indeed she began to peep and cry
Then the old hen answered, "Listen to me,
Just look at your feet, and you will see
But chicky wistfully eyed the brook,
For she seemed to say, by a knowing look,
And as her mother was scratching the ground, She muttered lower and lower,
"I know I can go there and not be drowned, And so I think I'll show her."
Then she made a plunge where the stream was deep
And saw too late her blunder;
And now I hope her fate will show
That those who are older sometimes know
So each content in his place should dwell,
For any part that is acted well
For we all have our proper spheres below,
LETTING THE OLD CAT DIE.
Not long ago I wandered near
A playground in the wood; And there heard words from a youngster's lips, That I never quite understood.
"Now let the old cat die !" he laughed;
Then gaily scamper away as he spied
But what he pushed, or where he went,
On account of the thicket of bending boughs
"The little villain has stoned a cat, Or hung it upon a limb,
And left it to die all alone," I said,
"But I'll play the mischief with him."
I forced my way through the bending boughs, The poor old cat to seek,
And what did I find but a swinging child,
Her bright hair floated to and fro,
But the loveliest thing of all, I thought,