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herself, after making that ferocious joke about his teeth. She was my first love. I felt that if I could have married Little Red Riding-Hood I should have known perfect bliss. But it was not to be, and there was nothing for it but to look out the wolf in the Noah's Ark there, and put him late in the procession on the table, as a monster who was to be degraded.

Oh, the wonderful Noah's Ark! It was not found seaworthy when put in a washing-tub, and the animals were crammed in at the roof, and needed to have their legs well shaken down before they could be got in even there; and then ten to one but they began to tumble out at the door, which was but imperfectly fastened with a wire latch; but what was that against it ? Consider the noble fly, a size or two smaller than the elephant; the lady-bird, the butterfly,—all triumphs of art! consider the goose, whose feet were so small and whose bal. ance was so indifferent that he usually tumbled forward and knocked down all the animal creation ! consider Noah and his family, like idiotic tobacco-stoppers; and how the leopard stuck to warm little fingers; and how the tails of the larger animals used gradually to resolve themselves into frayed bits of string.

Hush! Again a forest, and somebody up in a tree, -not Robin Hood, not Valentine, not the Yellow Dwarf,--I have passed him and all Mother Bunch's wonders without mention,

-but an Eastern King with a glittering scymetar and turban. It is the setting-in of the bright Arabian Nights. Oh, now all common things become uncommon and enchanted to me! All lamps are wonderful ! all rings are talismans ! Common flower-pots are full of treasure, with a little earth scattered on the top; trees are for Ali Baba to hide in; beefsteaks are to throw down into the Valley of Diamonds, that the precious stones may stick to them, and be carried by the eagles to their nests, whence the traders, with loud cries, will scare them. All the dates imported come from the same tree as that unlucky one with whose shell the merchant knocked out the eye of the genii's invisible son. All olives are of the same stock of that fresh fruit concerning which the Commander of the Faithful overheard the boy conduct the fictitious trial of the fraudulent olive-merchant. Yes, on every object that I recognize among those upper branches of my Christmas tree I see this fairy light!

But hark! the Waits are playing, and they break my childish sleep! What images do I associate with the Christmas music as I see them set forth on the Christmas tree! Known before all the others, keeping far apart from all the others,

they gather round my little bed. An angel, speaking to a group of shepherds in a field; some travelers, with eyes uplifted, following a star; a baby in a manger ; a child in a spacious temple, talking with grave men: a solemn figure with a mild and beautiful face, raising a dead girl by the hand; again, near a city gate, calling back the son of a widow, on his bier, to life; a crowd of people looking through the opened roof of a chamber where he sits, and letting down a sick person on a bed, with ropes; the same, in a tempest, walking on the waters; in a ship, again, on a sea-shore, teaching a great multitude ; again, with a child upon his knee, and other children around ; again, restoring sight to the blind, speech to the dumb, hearing to the deaf, health to the sick, strength to the lame, knowledge to the ignorant; again, dying upon a cross, watched by armed soldiers, a darkness coming on, the earth beginning to shake, and only one voice heard, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do!"

Encircled by the social thoughts of Christmas-time, still let the benignant Figure of my childhood stand unchanged! In every cheerful image and suggestion that the season brings, may the bright star that rested above the poor roof be the Star of all the Christian world ! A moment's pause, O vanishing tree, of which the lower boughs are dark to me yet, and let me look once more. I know there are blank spaces on thy branches, where eyes that I have loved have shone and smiled, from which they are departed. But, far above, I see the Raiser of the dead girl and the widow's son,-and God is good!

Household Words."

217 —TO A SKYLARK.

P. B. SHELLEY.
Hail to thee, blithe spirit !—bird thou never wert,-
That from heaven, or near it, pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still, and higher, from the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire; the blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever, singest.
In the golden lightening of the sunken sun,
O’er which clouds are brightening, thou dost float and run,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
The pale purple even melts around thy flight:
Like a star of heaven, in the broad daylight
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.

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Keen as are the arrows of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows in the white dawn clear
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.
All the earth and air with thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare, from one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.
What thou art we know not: what is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not drops so bright to see,
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.
Like a poet hidden in the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden, till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not.
Like a high-born maiden in a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower.
Like a glow-worm golden in a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden its aerial hue
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view.
Like a rose embowered in its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflowered, till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-wingéd thieves.
Sound of vernal showers on the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers, all that ever was
Joyous and clear and fresh thy music doth surpass.
Teach us, sprite or bird, what sweet thoughts are thine :
I have never heard praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
Chorus hymene'al, or triumphal chant,
Matched with thine would be all but an empty vaunt-
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want,
What objects are the fountains of thy happy strain ?
What fields or waves or mountains? what shapes of sky or plain ?
What love of thine own kind ? what ignorance of pain ?
With thy clear, keen joyance languor cannot be:
Shadow of annoyance never came near thee:
Thou lovest, but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.
Waking or asleep, thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream ?
We look before and after, and pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught:
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

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Yet if we could scorn hate, and pride, and fear;
if we were things born not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever could come near.
Better than all measures of delight and sound,
Better than all treasures that in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!
Teach me half the gladness that thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness from my lips would flow,
The world should listen then as I am listening now.

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218.-TWENTY YEARS AGO.

ANONYMOUS. I've wandered to the village, Tom, I've sat beneath the tree, Upon the school-house play-ground that sheltered you and me; But none were there to greet me, Tom, and few were left to know That played with us upon the green, some twenty years ago. The grass is just as green, Tom, bare-footed boys at play Were sporting, just as we did then, with spirits just as gay. But the “master” sleeps upon the hill, which, coated o'er with snow Afforded us a sliding-place, just twenty years ago. The old school-house is altered now; the benches are replaced By new ones, very like the same our penknives once defaced ; But the same old bricks are in the wall, the bell swings to and fro Its music just the same, dear Tom, as twenty years ago. The boys were playing some old game, beneath the same old tree I have forgot the name just now,—you've played the same with me On that same spot; 'twas played with knives, by throwing so and so The loser had a task to do there, twenty years ago. The river's running just as still; the willows on its side Are larger than they were, Tom; the stream appears less wide ; But the grape-vine swing is ruined now, where once we played the

beau, And swung our sweethearts—pretty girls—just twenty years ago. The spring that bubbled 'neath the hill, close by the spreading beech, Is very low-'twas once so high that we could scarcely reach; And kneeling down to get a drink, dear Tom, I started so, To see how sadly I am changed since twenty years ago. Near by the spring, upon an elm, you know I cut your name, Your sweetheart's just beneath it, Tom, and you did mine the same; Some heartless wretch has peeled the bark, 'tis dying sure but slow, Just as the one whose name you cut died twenty years ago.

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My lids have long been dry, Tom, but tears came in my eyes;
I thought of her I loved so well, those early-broken ties;
I visited the old churchyard, and took some flowers to strew
Upon the graves of those we loved, some twenty years ago
Some are in the churchyard laid, some sleep beneath the sea;
But few are left of our old class, excepting you and me:
And when our time shall come, Tom, and we are called to go,
I hope they'll lay us where we played, just twenty years ago.

6. The

219.—THE ELEMENT OF JUSTICE.

GEORGE W. CURTIS. The leaders of our Revolution were men of whom the simple truth is the highest praise. Of every condition in life, they were singularly sagacious, sober, and thoughtful. Lord Chatham spoke only the truth when he said to Franklin, of the men who composed the first Colonial Congress : Congress is the most honorable assembly of statesmen since those of the ancient Greeks and Romans in the most virtuous times.Given to grave reflection, they were neither dreamers nor visionaries, and they were much too earnest to be rhetoricians. It is a curious fact, that they were generally men of so calm a temper that they lived to extreme age. With the exception of Patrick Henry and Samuel Adams, they were most of them profound scholars, and studied the history of mankind that they might know men. They were so familiar with the lives and thoughts of the wisest and best minds of the past that a classic aroma hangs about their writings and their speech ; and they were profoundly convinced of what statesmen always know, and the adroitest of mere politicians never perceive,—that ideas are the life of a people, that the conscience, not the pocket, is the real citadel of a nation, and that when you have debauched and demoralized that conscience by teaching that there are no natural rights, and that therefore there is no moral right or wrong in political action, you have poisoned the wells and rotted the crops in the ground.

The three greatest living statesmen of England knew this also. Edmund Burke knew it, and Charles James Fox, and William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. But they did not speak for the King, or Parliament, or the English nation. Lord Gower spoke for them when he said in Parliament: “ Let the Americans talk about their natural and divine rights; their rights

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