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Everyone is expected to be highly productive... but they do not all need to be turning out the same product.

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But They Can Never Be Mine

the face
the breasts and nipples
the abdomen
the smoothness of the skin
down to the last details
of the body
the middle and the bottom
the legs
and veins and toes and nails
all these dance before me
to my pleasure

i shut my mouth
i hold my hands and tell myself

oh how beautiful! (but)
they are not mine.

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The Romance Of A Book

Reading a book, you're hit by romance,
No matter the subject matter,
You can read and read,
And every book is different,
Some stories are more pleasant than others,
While some are funny, but most are serious,
For the romance of a book,
Is in everyone's heart,
No matter their age or height,
Whether male or female:
It is all relative and I devour,
Each and every book,
I can read the classics,
Or even a heart-warming romance,
I just get through so many books,
I love every storyline,
Not so much the gory parts,
But the cleverness of the fictional detectives,
And those rock stars that roam the stage,
For a book is something that will never age,
No matter how many years on the shelf,
And stories can be shared with everyone else,
Yet everyone has their own views,
And books can be lifting when they're feeling blue,
For people have been reading fiction for centuries,
But, of course, not all books are fictional:
There're the historical books, interesting,
Even if a reader is just passing through,
And we can all learn something from the history books,
And let's not forget the autobiographies:
Many a man and woman fascinating,
Having lead unique lives and having had special loves,
And there is a romance to these people,
For they walked the same earth as everyone else,
Yet brought something strange and special to the world,
Like a scientist making a new discovery,
Or a rock star penning a hit song,
And all these things are which make books belong,
I haven't met anyone yet who finds books boring,
Because books are not boring: they are fascinating,
Unique, special, strange, romantic and enjoyable,
And every reader's dream: like hitting 'play' on a record,
For this is the romance of a book.

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Life is quite weird

It is raining and snowing at the same time
the sun is not out so no time to rhyme
the rainbow won't be here until spring
But we could all have a shiny ring

I know how to rhyme but that's not all
i also go shopping at the mall
Me and my brother fight all night
but my mom says it not right

My family and friends are in my heart
Grandsparents and best friends are special
life is not only what i call weird
but i love to be heard

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Heartsong

Come in
Make yourself at home
Im a bit late
Hate to make you wait
But heart songs
Are still on my mind
Theres never the time
To write down these lines
How can you say
That I dont need you
Just be sure
No more, no less
Let love confess to you
What you must do
Come on
Lets hit the road
Im up to my tricks
I know they seem cold
But heart songs
Are all that I am
I use the same words
To say the same things
How can you say
That I dont need you
Just be sure
No more, no less
Let love confess to you
What you must do
How can you say
That I dont need you
Just be sure
No more, no less
Let love confess to you
No less

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Devil Heads

I saw the Devil last night,
he has multiple heads,
was well tanned.
All his heads were exposed,
except one.
On this head he wears a white hood
with holes at the eyes.
I said you look familiar,
he retorts, of course, I am the Klu Klux Klan,
you should know who I am.
You are black;
I hate Blacks, Jews and Puerto-ricans.
Then all six heads spoke in unison:
'we are many heads but we are one! '

Of the six heads one is black:
he says I am Idi Amin,
I murdered many people
but they did not all go to waste,
I ate some;
most of whom were black as I am.
Don't take it personal,
I am just a Black Devil.
ha! ha! ha!

A third head turns,
its flaming eyes almost scorch me.
He says hail Hitler! hail Hitler!
power to the Arian race!
I murdered more than fifty millions;
I am an Arian Devil that's all.

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Take It To The Limit

All alone at the end of the of the evening
And the bright lights have faded to blue
I was thinking 'bout a woman who might have
Loved me and I never knew
You know I've always been a dreamer
(spent my life running 'round)
And it's so hard to change
(Can't seem to settle down)
But the dreams I've seen lately
Keep on turning out and burning out
And turning out the same

So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time

You can spend all your time making money
You can spend all your love making time
If it all fell to pieces tomorrow
Would you still be mine?

And when you're looking for your freedom
(Nobody seems to care)
And you can't find the door
(Can't find it anywhere)
When there's nothing to believe in
Still you're coming back

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Birthday Party 2

Birthday Party

Wolves and foxes had promised me not to fight on my birthday and
I made meaty cakes just for them; But black ravens I had not invited,
came too, egged them on, while also cruelly harassing sparrows in
the plum tree. I had put lights up on the trees in the garden but they
could not on my, day behave. I took the cakes inside, switched off
the lights went to bed and cried. A rumble in the forest, a bear came
told them to behave and be kind to me, mainly because I had baked
it a straw berry tart. The party continued, and squirrels sat on trees
squeaking happy birthday to you as I threw them nuts. In the animal
world it is all about food and as long as you can provide you’re a friend.
Except the raven they do not care, are contemptuous of my feeble,
attempt to be loved by unruly members of the Corvidae family.

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Take It To The Limit

All alone at the end of the evening
And the bright lights have faded to blue
I was thinking bout a woman who might have
Loved me and I never knew
You know Ive always been a dreamer
(spent my life running round)
And its so hard to change
(cant seem to settle down)
But the dreams Ive seen lately
Keep on turning out and burning out
And turning out the same
So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time
You can spend all your time making money
You can spend all your love making time
If it all fell to pieces tomorrow
Would you still be mine?
And when youre looking for freedom
(nobody seems to care)
And you can find the door
(cant find it anywhere)
When theres nothing to believe in
Still youre coming back, youre running back for more
So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time
Take it to the limit
Take it to the limit
Take it to the limit one more time

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Toys

Sindys spending too much money on clothes
Ken is going back to gay bob
The teddy bears swear the neighbourhoods gone
Since the moving in of golliwog
Rag doll gets beaten up by the action man
The one with the real life hair
He walks and he talks in a commanding voice
But sexually hes not all there
Oh dear what can the matter be, my children sweet children
What gives down in the nursery, my children sweet children
Oh dear what if the cradle falls, my children sweet children
Toys are only human after all, who killed em we killed em
If toys are quarreling amongst themselves
What hope is there now for the world?
The smell of smoke hanging thick over funland
As the older toys are pushed down a ramp
The microchip master race are melting them down
In a dolly concentration camp
The worlds gone mad but in miniature
The kids can only do what they feel
See them copy what their parents have done
til theyre old enough to do it for real
Burn!

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The Distance

Do you remember?
Do you remember?
Do you remember
How you were gonna stay free?
But they had plans for you
And things to do
The same thing goes for me
Well well I never
Saw it coming to me
But when I turned around
To look at you
It was all that I could do
To see the distance
Everybody wants to run
And I'm no different
Feeling like the only one
In the beginning
Everything was so close
And it seemed that everywhere you go
Everybody knows
You don't remember
What you wanted to be
Well they went round the class
And you were last
The clock was fast
So no one asked
To see the distance
Everybody wants to run
And I'm no different
Feeling like the only one
Well how long can you run?
How far and what for?
How far will you run
To get whatever you're after
Year after year after year
Well I've been looking
But I still can't see
How we get from a to b to c
And feel like we should be
Well I've been running
But I've been running around
Now there's nothing left for me to do
But sit around and see the view
And see the distance
Everybody wants to run
And I'm no different
Feeling like the only one
Do you remember?
Do you remember?
Do you remember?

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The Briny Grave

You wonder why so many would be buried in the sea,
In this world of froth and bubble,
But I don’t wonder, for it seems to me
That it saves such a lot of trouble.
And there ain’t no undertaker—
Oh! there ain’t no order that your friends can give
On the quiet to the coffin-maker—
To a gimcrack coffin-maker,
They make no differ twixt the absentee swell
And the clerk that cut from a “shortage”—
Oh! there ain’t no pauper funer-el,
And there ain’t no “impressive cortege.”
It may be a chap from the for’ard crowd,
Or a member of the British Peerage,
But they sew his nibs in a canvas shroud
Just the same as the bloke from the steerage—
As that poor bloke from the steerage.
There ain’t no need for a gravedigger there,
For you dig your own grave! Lord love yer!
And there ain’t no use for a headstone fair
When the waters close above yer!
The little headstone where they come to weep,
May be right for the land’s dry-rotters,
But you rest just as sound when you’re anchored deep
With the pigiron at your trotters—
(Our fathers had iron at their trotters).
The sea is democratic the wide world round,
And it don’t give a hang for no man,
There ain’t no Church of England burial ground,
Nor yet there ain’t no Roman.
Orthodox and het’rodox by wreck-strewn cliffs,
At peace in the stormiest weather,
Might bob up and down like two brother “stiffs,”
And rest in one shark together—
And mix up their bones together.

The bare-headed skipper is as good any day
As an authorised shifter of sin is,
And the tear of shipmate is better anyway
Than the tear of the next-of-kin is.
It saves your friends, and it fills your needs,
It is best when all is reckoned,
And she can’t come there in her widder weeds,
With her eyes on a likely second—
And a spot for the likely second.

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Ambrose Bierce

In Upper San Francisco

I heard that Heaven was bright and fair,
And politicians dwelt not there.

'Twas said by knowing ones that they
Were in the Elsewhere-so to say.

So, waking from my last long sleep,
I took my place among the sheep.

I passed the gate-Saint Peter eyed
Me sharply as I stepped inside.

He thought, as afterward I learned,
That I was Chris, the Unreturned.

The new Jerusalem-ah me,
It was a sorry sight to see!

The mansions of the blest were there,
And mostly they were fine and fair;

But O, such streets!-so deep and wide,
And all unpaved, from side to side!

And in a public square there grew
A blighted tree, most sad to view.

From off its trunk the bark was ripped
Its very branches all were stripped!

An angel perched upon the fence
With all the grace of indolence.

'Celestial bird,' I cried, in pain,
'What vandal wrought this wreck? Explain.'

He raised his eyelids as if tired:
'What is a Vandal?' he inquired.

'This is the Tree of Life. 'Twas stripped
By Durst and Siebe, who have shipped

'The bark across the Jordan-see?
And sold it to a tannery.'

'Alas,' I sighed, 'their old-time tricks!
That pavement, too, of golden bricks

'They've gobbled that?' But with a scowl,
'You greatly wrong them,' said the fowl:

''Twas Gilleran did that, I fear-
Head of the Street Department here.'

'What! what!' cried I-'you let such chaps
Come here? You've Satan, too, perhaps.'

'We had him, yes, but off he went,
Yet showed some purpose to repent;

'But since your priests and parsons filled
The place with those their preaching killed'

(Here Siebe passed along with Durst,
Psalming as if their lungs would burst)

'He swears his foot no more shall press
('Tis cloven, anyhow, I guess)

'Our soil. In short, he's out on strike
But devils are not all alike.'

Lo! Gilleran came down the street,
Pressing the soil with broad, flat feet!

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To The Chapel Bell

"Lo I, the man who erst the Muse did ask
Her deepest notes to swell the Patriot's meeds,
Am now enforst a far unfitter task
For cap and gown to leave my minstrel weeds,"
For yon dull noise that tinkles on the air
Bids me lay by the lyre and go to morning prayer.

Oh how I hate the sound! it is the Knell,
That still a requiem tolls to Comfort's hour;
And loth am I, at Superstition's bell,
To quit or Morpheus or the Muses bower.
Better to lie and dose, than gape amain,
Hearing still mumbled o'er, the same eternal strain.

Thou tedious herald of more tedious prayers
Say hast thou ever summoned from his rest,
One being awakening to religious awe?
Or rous'd one pious transport in the breast?
Or rather, do not all reluctant creep
To linger out the hour, in listlessness or sleep?

I love the bell, that calls the poor to pray
Chiming from village church its chearful sound,
When the sun smiles on Labour's holy day,
And all the rustic train are gathered round,
Each deftly dizen'd in his Sunday's best
And pleas'd to hail the day of piety and rest.

Or when, dim-shadowing o'er the face of day,
The mantling mists of even-tide rise slow,
As thro' the forest gloom I wend my way,
The minster curfew's sullen roar I know;
I pause and love its solemn toll to hear,
As made by distance soft, it dies upon the ear.

Nor not to me the unfrequent midnight knell
Tolls sternly harmonizing; on mine ear
As the deep death-fraught sounds long lingering dwell
Sick to the heart of Love and Hope and Fear
Soul-jaundiced, I do loathe Life's upland steep
And with strange envy muse the dead man's dreamless sleep.

But thou, memorial of monastic gall!
What Fancy sad or lightsome hast thou given?
Thy vision-scaring sounds alone recall
The prayer that trembles on a yawn to heaven;
And this Dean's gape, and that Dean's nosal tone,
And Roman rites retain'd, tho' Roman faith be flown.

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Lines On The Australian Dock Dispute (98)

My sympathy is not with the sacked Australian wharfies
Compared to most others they are overpaid
The old tired fight the bosses versus the workers
On the Australian docks is once again replayed.

And my sympathy is not with Chris Corrigan of Patrick Stevedores
He sacked one thousand four hundred of his men
Because they all were members of a Trade Union
Is union membership nowadays a sin? .

But least of all my sympathies are not with the Australian Government
They only seek to conquer and divide
They are the greatest culprits in this conflict
But soon their fate the people will decide.

I can feel sympathy for farmers and exporters and importers
They are between a rock and a hard place
This power struggle is going to cost them millions
This dock dispute an Australian disgrace.

But for the farm leaders I don't have any sympathy
For siding with the Government against the M.U.A.
They should have known that those who take sides in disputes
Win or lose will have some price to pay.

Perhaps the wharfies should have accepted their substantial redundancies
Although 'twould seem that they've not been treated fair
But my sympahies are with the lower paid workers
And the forgotten people on welfare.

And as for the Government elected by the people
For taking sides in disputes they were not empowered
And history will not look on them too kindly
Especially those two Reith and Johnny Howard.

On the WIK issue the Government had shown their true colours
They only seek to conquer and divide
But they were not elected for to be divisive
And the Australian people on their fate will soon decide.

And since the wharfies by the Federal Court are re-instated
Their jubilation with them I can't share
I see them as the privileged class of workers
And my sympathies will always be elsewhere.

Millions of dollars have been squandered on court battles
Between Patrick Stevedores and the M.U.A.
And poor Australia is the biggest loser
And barristers and judges getting wealthier by the day.

The likes of St Vincent De Paul and the Salvation Army
With the squandered millions could do quite a lot
They could help out the less privileged and needy
The people by this government forgot.

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His Gift

The gift it lies within you
It’s sits there wrapped up tight
It’s a gift one day you’ll open up
When God says the time is right

It’s a gift to do His bidding
It’s a gift that’ll change your life
And it will change the lives of others
And take away all your strife

But the puzzle has many pieces
And right now they just don’t fit
To see the bigger picture
You must not ever quit

The devil will try to deceive you
He’ll make your gift feel wrong
He’ll say it is a weakness
But in fact it will make you strong

He knows this gift can defeat him
So he will do his best
To wear you down and wear you out
Just know he will not rest

He will use the ones that love you
To make you feel ashamed
But just know our savior Jesus
Was ridiculed and defamed

This curse it is a blessing
One day you’ll truly know
That this thing you feel it holds you back
Will make your spirit grow

For our ways are not the Lord’s ways
And we are not as smart
As the maker of the heavens and earth
And the maker of your heart

When they were told about a savior
A warrior I bet they thought
A man with the arms like a gladiator
But the man they saw did not

He rode upon a donkey
And stories He did tell
They turned their backs on the man they saw
They bid the man farewell

They laughed as tortured and beat Him
Then they hung Him on a cross
The one’s who believed He was the one
Now believed that all was lost

“How could God do this to us? ”
“This Jesus I depise”
Then they threw the body inside a tomb
They did not know He’d rise

I bet they thought they knew it all
And had everything figured out
The man to save them from an oppressive life
But that’s not what it was about

This man He came to save them
He came to open up a door
A line to their creator
It wasn’t there before

Your Father truly loves you
For He sent His only son
And He hung His boy upon a Cross
And said that “It is done”

It wasn’t to make Himself look good
But to show His love is true
It will never leave and will never quit
He did this for me and you

This gift you have, it’s yours to share
One day I know you’ll see
The change you want in this crazy world
Is the change you have to be

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Faith and Despondency

The winter wind is loud and wild,
Come close to me, my darling child;
Forsake thy books, and mateless play;
And, while the night is gathering grey,
We'll talk its pensive hours away;--

'Ierne, round our sheltered hall
November's gusts unheeded call;
Not one faint breath can enter here
Enough to wave my daughter's hair,
And I am glad to watch the blaze
Glance from her eyes, with mimic rays;
To feel her cheek so softly pressed,
In happy quiet on my breast.

'But, yet, even this tranquillity
Brings bitter, restless thoughts to me;
And, in the red fire's cheerful glow,
I think of deep glens, blocked with snow;
I dream of moor, and misty hill,
Where evening closes dark and chill;
For, lone, among the mountains cold,
Lie those that I have loved of old.
And my heart aches, in hopeless pain
Exhausted with repinings vain,
That I shall greet them ne'er again!'

'Father, in early infancy,
When you were far beyond the sea,
Such thoughts were tyrants over me!
I often sat, for hours together,
Through the long nights of angry weather,
Raised on my pillow, to descry
The dim moon struggling in the sky;

Or, with strained ear, to catch the shock,
Of rock with wave, and wave with rock;
So would I fearful vigil keep,
And, all for listening, never sleep.
But this world's life has much to dread,
Not so, my Father, with the dead.

'Oh! not for them, should we despair,
The grave is drear, but they are not there;
Their dust is mingled with the sod,
Their happy souls are gone to God!
You told me this, and yet you sigh,
And murmur that your friends must die.
Ah! my dear father, tell me why?

For, if your former words were true,
How useless would such sorrow be;
As wise, to mourn the seed which grew
Unnoticed on its parent tree,
Because it fell in fertile earth,
And sprang up to a glorious birth--
Struck deep its root, and lifted high
Its green boughs, in the breezy sky.

'But, I'll not fear, I will not weep
For those whose bodies rest in sleep,--
I know there is a blessed shore,
Opening its ports for me, and mine;
And, gazing Time's wide waters o'er,
I weary for that land divine,
Where we were born, where you and I
Shall meet our Dearest, when we die;
From suffering and corruption free,
Restored into the Deity.'

'Well hast thou spoken, sweet, trustful child!
And wiser than thy sire;
And worldly tempests, raging wild,
Shall strengthen thy desire--
Thy fervent hope, through storm and foam,
Through wind and ocean's roar,
To reach, at last, the eternal home,
The steadfast, changeless, shore!'

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Emily Brontë

Faith and Despondency

'The winter wind is loud and wild,
Come close to me, my darling child;
Forsake thy books, and mateless play;
And, while the night is gathering grey,
We'll talk its pensive hours away;—

'Iernë, round our sheltered hall
November's gusts unheeded call;
Not one faint breath can enter here
Enough to wave my daughter's hair,
And I am glad to watch the blaze
Glance from her eyes, with mimic rays,
To feel her cheek, so softly pressed,
In happy quiet on my breast.

'But, yet, even this tranquillity
Brings bitter, restless thoughts to me;
And, in the red fire's cheerful glow,
I think of deep glens, blocked with snow;

I dream of moor, and misty hill,
Where evening closes dark and chill;
For, lone, among the mountains cold,
Lie those that I have loved of old.
And my heart aches, in hopeless pain,
Exhausted with repinings vain,
That I shall greet them ne'er again!'

'Father, in early infancy,
When you were far beyond the sea,
Such thoughts were tyrants over me!
I often sat, for hours together,
Through the long nights of angry weather,
Raised on my pillow, to descry
The dim moon struggling in the sky;
Or, with strained ear, to catch the shock,
Of rock with wave, and wave with rock;
So would I fearful vigil keep,
And, all for listening, never sleep.
But this world's life has much to dread,
Not so, my Father, with the dead.

'Oh! not for them, should we despair,
The grave is drear, but they are not there:
Their dust is mingled with the sod,
Their happy souls are gone to God!
You told me this, and yet you sigh,
And murmur that your friends must die.
Ah! my dear father, tell me why?
For, if your former words were true,
How useless would such sorrow be;

As wise, to mourn the seed which grew
Unnoticed on its parent tree,
Because it fell in fertile earth,
And sprang up to a glorious birth—
Struck deep its root, and lifted high
Its green boughs in the breezy sky.

'But, I'll not fear, I will not weep
For those whose bodies rest in sleep,—
I know there is a blessed shore,
Opening its ports for me and mine;
And, gazing Time's wide waters o'er,
I weary for that land divine,
Where we were born, where you and I
Shall meet our dearest, when we die;
From suffering and corruption free,
Restored into the Deity.'

'Well hast thou spoken, sweet, trustful child!
And wiser than thy sire;
And worldly tempests, raging wild,
Shall strengthen thy desire—
Thy fervent hope, through storm and foam,
Through wind and ocean's roar,
To reach, at last, the eternal home,
The steadfast, changeless shore!'

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The Ballad Of The Black Fox Skin

I

There was Claw-fingered Kitty and Windy Ike living the life of shame,
When unto them in the Long, Long Night came the man-who-had-no-name;
Bearing his prize of a black fox pelt, out of the Wild he came.

His cheeks were blanched as the flume-head foam when the brown spring freshets flow;
Deep in their dark, sin-calcined pits were his sombre eyes aglow;
They knew him far for the fitful man who spat forth blood on the snow.

"Did ever you see such a skin?" quoth he; "there's nought in the world so fine--
Such fullness of fur as black as the night, such lustre, such size, such shine;
It's life to a one-lunged man like me; it's London, it's women, it's wine.

"The Moose-hides called it the devil-fox, and swore that no man could kill;
That he who hunted it, soon or late, must surely suffer some ill;
But I laughed at them and their old squaw-tales. Ha! Ha! I'm laughing still.

"For look ye, the skin--it's as smooth as sin, and black as the core of the Pit.
By gun or by trap, whatever the hap, I swore I would capture it;
By star and by star afield and afar, I hunted and would not quit.

"For the devil-fox, it was swift and sly, and it seemed to fleer at me;
I would wake in fright by the camp-fire light, hearing its evil glee;
Into my dream its eyes would gleam, and its shadow would I see.

"It sniffed and ran from the ptarmigan I had poisoned to excess;
Unharmed it sped from my wrathful lead ('twas as if I shot by guess);
Yet it came by night in the stark moonlight to mock at my weariness.

"I tracked it up where the mountains hunch like the vertebrae of the world;
I tracked it down to the death-still pits where the avalanche is hurled;
From the glooms to the sacerdotal snows, where the carded clouds are curled.

"From the vastitudes where the world protrudes through clouds like seas up-shoaled,
I held its track till it led me back to the land I had left of old--
The land I had looted many moons. I was weary and sick and cold.

"I was sick, soul-sick, of the futile chase, and there and then I swore
The foul fiend fox might scathless go, for I would hunt no more;
Then I rubbed mine eyes in a vast surprise--it stood by my cabin door.

"A rifle raised in the wraith-like gloom, and a vengeful shot that sped;
A howl that would thrill a cream-faced corpse-- and the demon fox lay dead. . . .
Yet there was never a sign of wound, and never a drop he bled.

"So that was the end of the great black fox, and here is the prize I've won;
And now for a drink to cheer me up--I've mushed since the early sun;
We'll drink a toast to the sorry ghost of the fox whose race is run."

II

Now Claw-fingered Kitty and Windy Ike, bad as the worst were they;
In their road-house down by the river-trail they waited and watched for prey;
With wine and song they joyed night long, and they slept like swine by day.

For things were done in the Midnight Sun that no tongue will ever tell;
And men there be who walk earth-free, but whose names are writ in hell--
Are writ in flames with the guilty names of Fournier and Labelle.

Put not your trust in a poke of dust would ye sleep the sleep of sin;
For there be those who would rob your clothes ere yet the dawn comes in;
And a prize likewise in a woman's eyes is a peerless black fox skin.

Put your faith in the mountain cat if you lie within his lair;
Trust the fangs of the mother-wolf, and the claws of the lead-ripped bear;
But oh, of the wiles and the gold-tooth smiles of a dance-hall wench beware!

Wherefore it was beyond all laws that lusts of man restrain,
A man drank deep and sank to sleep never to wake again;
And the Yukon swallowed through a hole the cold corpse of the slain.

III

The black fox skin a shadow cast from the roof nigh to the floor;
And sleek it seemed and soft it gleamed, and the woman stroked it o'er;
And the man stood by with a brooding eye, and gnashed his teeth and swore.

When thieves and thugs fall out and fight there's fell arrears to pay;
And soon or late sin meets its fate, and so it fell one day
That Claw-fingered Kitty and Windy Ike fanged up like dogs at bay.

"The skin is mine, all mine," she cried; "I did the deed alone."
"It's share and share with a guilt-yoked pair", he hissed in a pregnant tone;
And so they snarled like malamutes over a mildewed bone.

And so they fought, by fear untaught, till haply it befell
One dawn of day she slipped away to Dawson town to sell
The fruit of sin, this black fox skin that had made their lives a hell.

She slipped away as still he lay, she clutched the wondrous fur;
Her pulses beat, her foot was fleet, her fear was as a spur;
She laughed with glee, she did not see him rise and follow her.

The bluffs uprear and grimly peer far over Dawson town;
They see its lights a blaze o' nights and harshly they look down;
They mock the plan and plot of man with grim, ironic frown.

The trail was steep; 'twas at the time when swiftly sinks the snow;
All honey-combed, the river ice was rotting down below;
The river chafed beneath its rind with many a mighty throe.

And up the swift and oozy drift a woman climbed in fear,
Clutching to her a black fox fur as if she held it dear;
And hard she pressed it to her breast--then Windy Ike drew near.

She made no moan--her heart was stone--she read his smiling face,
And like a dream flashed all her life's dark horror and disgrace;
A moment only--with a snarl he hurled her into space.

She rolled for nigh an hundred feet; she bounded like a ball;
From crag to crag she carromed down through snow and timber fall; . . .
A hole gaped in the river ice; the spray flashed--that was all.

A bird sang for the joy of spring, so piercing sweet and frail;
And blinding bright the land was dight in gay and glittering mail;
And with a wondrous black fox skin a man slid down the trail.

IV

A wedge-faced man there was who ran along the river bank,
Who stumbled through each drift and slough, and ever slipped and sank,
And ever cursed his Maker's name, and ever "hooch" he drank.

He travelled like a hunted thing, hard harried, sore distrest;
The old grandmother moon crept out from her cloud-quilted nest;
The aged mountains mocked at him in their primeval rest.

Grim shadows diapered the snow; the air was strangely mild;
The valley's girth was dumb with mirth, the laughter of the wild;
The still, sardonic laughter of an ogre o'er a child.

The river writhed beneath the ice; it groaned like one in pain,
And yawning chasms opened wide, and closed and yawned again;
And sheets of silver heaved on high until they split in twain.

From out the road-house by the trail they saw a man afar
Make for the narrow river-reach where the swift cross-currents are;
Where, frail and worn, the ice is torn and the angry waters jar.

But they did not see him crash and sink into the icy flow;
They did not see him clinging there, gripped by the undertow,
Clawing with bleeding finger-nails at the jagged ice and snow.

They found a note beside the hole where he had stumbled in:
"Here met his fate by evil luck a man who lived in sin,
And to the one who loves me least I leave this black fox skin."

And strange it is; for, though they searched the river all around,
No trace or sign of black fox skin was ever after found;
Though one man said he saw the tread of HOOFS deep in the ground.

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The Quaker Alumni

From the well-springs of Hudson, the sea-cliffs of Maine,
Grave men, sober matrons, you gather again;
And, with hearts warmer grown as your heads grow more cool,
Play over the old game of going to school.

All your strifes and vexations, your whims and complaints,
(You were not saints yourselves, if the children of saints!)
All your petty self-seekings and rivalries done,
Round the dear Alma Mater your hearts beat as one!

How widely soe'er you have strayed from the fold,
Though your 'thee' has grown 'you,' and your drab blue and gold,
To the old friendly speech and the garb's sober form,
Like the heart of Argyle to the tartan, you warm.

But, the first greetings over, you glance round the hall;
Your hearts call the roll, but they answer not all
Through the turf green above them the dead cannot hear;
Name by name, in the silence, falls sad as a tear!

In love, let us trust, they were summoned so soon
rom the morning of life, while we toil through its noon;
They were frail like ourselves, they had needs like our own,
And they rest as we rest in God's mercy alone.

Unchanged by our changes of spirit and frame,
Past, now, and henceforward the Lord is the same;
Though we sink in the darkness, His arms break our fall,
And in death as in life, He is Father of all!

We are older: our footsteps, so light in the play
Of the far-away school-time, move slower to-day;--
Here a beard touched with frost, there a bald, shining crown,
And beneath the cap's border gray mingles with brown.

But faith should be cheerful, and trust should be glad,
And our follies and sins, not our years, make us sad.
Should the heart closer shut as the bonnet grows prim,
And the face grow in length as the hat grows in brim?

Life is brief, duty grave; but, with rain-folded wings,
Of yesterday's sunshine the grateful heart sings;
And we, of all others, have reason to pay
The tribute of thanks, and rejoice on our way;

For the counsels that turned from the follies of youth;
For the beauty of patience, the whiteness of truth;
For the wounds of rebuke, when love tempered its edge;
For the household's restraint, and the discipline's hedge;

For the lessons of kindness vouchsafed to the least
Of the creatures of God, whether human or beast,
Bringing hope to the poor, lending strength to the frail,
In the lanes of the city, the slave-hut, and jail;

For a womanhood higher and holier, by all
Her knowledge of good, than was Eve ere her fall,--
Whose task-work of duty moves lightly as play,
Serene as the moonlight and warm as the day;

And, yet more, for the faith which embraces the whole,
Of the creeds of the ages the life and the soul,
Wherein letter and spirit the same channel run,
And man has not severed what God has made one!

For a sense of the Goodness revealed everywhere,
As sunshine impartial, and free as the air;
For a trust in humanity, Heathen or Jew,
And a hope for all darkness the Light shineth through.

Who scoffs at our birthright?--the words of the seers,
And the songs of the bards in the twilight of years,
All the foregleams of wisdom in santon and sage,
In prophet and priest, are our true heritage.

The Word which the reason of Plato discerned;
The truth, as whose symbol the Mithra-fire burned;
The soul of the world which the Stoic but guessed,
In the Light Universal the Quaker confessed!

No honors of war to our worthies belong;
Their plain stem of life never flowered into song;
But the fountains they opened still gush by the way,
And the world for their healing is better to-day.

He who lies where the minster's groined arches curve down
To the tomb-crowded transept of England's renown,
The glorious essayist, by genius enthroned,
Whose pen as a sceptre the Muses all owned,--

Who through the world's pantheon walked in his pride,
Setting new statues up, thrusting old ones aside,
And in fiction the pencils of history dipped,
To gild o'er or blacken each saint in his crypt,--

How vainly he labored to sully with blame
The white bust of Penn, in the niche of his fame!
Self-will is self-wounding, perversity blind
On himself fell the stain for the Quaker designed!

For the sake of his true-hearted father before him;
For the sake of the dear Quaker mother that bore him;
For the sake of his gifts, and the works that outlive him,
And his brave words for freedom, we freely forgive him!

There are those who take note that our numbers are small,--
New Gibbons who write our decline and our fall;
But the Lord of the seed-field takes care of His own,
And the world shall yet reap what our sowers have sown.

The last of the sect to his fathers may go,
Leaving only his coat for some Barnum to show;
But the truth will outlive him, and broaden with years,
Till the false dies away, and the wrong disappears.

Nothing fails of its end. Out of sight sinks the stone,
In the deep sea of time, but the circles sweep on,
Till the low-rippled murmurs along the shores run,
And the dark and dead waters leap glad in the sun.

Meanwhile shall we learn, in our ease, to forget
To the martyrs of Truth and of Freedom our debt?--
Hide their words out of sight, like the garb that they wore,
And for Barclay's Apology offer one more?

Shall we fawn round the priestcraft that glutted the shears,
And festooned the stocks with our grandfathers' ears?
Talk of Woolman's unsoundness? count Penn heterodox?
And take Cotton Mather in place of George Fox?

Make our preachers war-chaplains? quote Scripture to take
The hunted slave back, for Onesimus' sake?
Go to burning church-candles, and chanting in choir,
And on the old meeting-house stick up a spire?

No! the old paths we'll keep until better are shown,
Credit good where we find it, abroad or our own;
And while 'Lo here' and 'Lo there' the multitude call,
Be true to ourselves, and do justice to all.

The good round about us we need not refuse,
Nor talk of our Zion as if we were Jews;
But why shirk the badge which our fathers have worn,
Or beg the world's pardon for having been born?

We need not pray over the Pharisee's prayer,
Nor claim that our wisdom is Benjamin's share;
Truth to us and to others is equal and one
Shall we bottle the free air, or hoard up the sun?

Well know we our birthright may serve but to show
How the meanest of weeds in the richest soil grow;
But we need not disparage the good which we hold;
Though the vessels be earthen, the treasure is gold!

Enough and too much of the sect and the name.
What matters our label, so truth be our aim?
The creed may be wrong, but the life may be true,
And hearts beat the same under drab coats or blue.

So the man be a man, let him worship, at will,
In Jerusalem's courts, or on Gerizim's hill.
When she makes up her jewels, what cares yon good town
For the Baptist of Wayland, the Quaker of Brown?

And this green, favored island, so fresh and seablown,
When she counts up the worthies her annals have known,
Never waits for the pitiful gaugers of sect
To measure her love, and mete out her respect.

Three shades at this moment seem walking her strand,
Each with head halo-crowned, and with palms in his hand,--
Wise Berkeley, grave Hopkins, and, smiling serene
On prelate and puritan, Channing is seen.

One holy name bearing, no longer they need
Credentials of party, and pass-words of creed
The new song they sing hath a threefold accord,
And they own one baptism, one faith, and one Lord!

But the golden sands run out: occasions like these
Glide swift into shadow, like sails on the seas
While we sport with the mosses and pebbles ashore,
They lessen and fade, and we see them no more.

Forgive me, dear friends, if my vagrant thoughts seem
Like a school-boy's who idles and plays with his theme.
Forgive the light measure whose changes display
The sunshine and rain of our brief April day.

There are moments in life when the lip and the eye
Try the question of whether to smile or to cry;
And scenes and reunions that prompt like our own
The tender in feeling, the playful in tone.

I, who never sat down with the boys and the girls
At the feet of your Slocums, and Cartlands, and Earles,--
By courtesy only permitted to lay
On your festival's altar my poor gift, to-day,--

I would joy in your joy: let me have a friend's part
In the warmth of your welcome of hand and of heart,--
On your play-ground of boyhood unbend the brow's care,
And shift the old burdens our shoulders must bear.

Long live the good School! giving out year by year
Recruits to true manhood and womanhood dear
Brave boys, modest maidens, in beauty sent forth,
The living epistles and proof of its worth!

In and out let the young life as steadily flow
As in broad Narragansett the tides come and go;
And its sons and its daughters in prairie and town
Remember its honor, and guard its renown.

Not vainly the gift of its founder was made;
Not prayerless the stones of its corner were laid
The blessing of Him whom in secret they sought
Has owned the good work which the fathers have wrought.

To Him be the glory forever! We bear
To the Lord of the Harvest our wheat with the tare.
What we lack in our work may He find in our will,
And winnow in mercy our good from the ill!

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Golden Legend: II. A Farm In The Odenwald

A garden; morning;_ PRINCE HENRY _seated, with a
book_. ELSIE, _at a distance, gathering flowers._

_Prince Henry (reading)._ One morning, all alone,
Out of his convent of gray stone,
Into the forest older, darker, grayer,
His lips moving as if in prayer,
His head sunken upon his breast
As in a dream of rest,
Walked the Monk Felix. All about
The broad, sweet sunshine lay without,
Filling the summer air;
And within the woodlands as he trod,
The twilight was like the Truce of God
With worldly woe and care;
Under him lay the golden moss;
And above him the boughs of hemlock-tree
Waved, and made the sign of the cross,
And whispered their Benedicites;
And from the ground
Rose an odor sweet and fragrant
Of the wild flowers and the vagrant
Vines that wandered,
Seeking the sunshine, round and round.
These he heeded not, but pondered
On the volume in his hand,
A volume of Saint Augustine;
Wherein he read of the unseen
Splendors of God's great town
In the unknown land,
And, with his eyes cast down
In humility, he said:
'I believe, O God,
What herein I have read,
But alas! I do not understand!'

And lo! he heard
The sudden singing of a bird,
A snow-white bird, that from a cloud
Dropped down,
And among the branches brown
Sat singing
So sweet, and clear, and loud,
It seemed a thousand harp strings ringing.
And the Monk Felix closed his book,
And long, long,
With rapturous look,
He listened to the song,
And hardly breathed or stirred,
Until he saw, as in a vision,
The land Elysian,
And in the heavenly city heard
Angelic feet
Fall on the golden flagging of the street.
And he would fain
Have caught the wondrous bird,
But strove in vain;
For it flew away, away,
Far over hill and dell,
And instead of its sweet singing
He heard the convent bell
Suddenly in the silence ringing
For the service of noonday.
And he retraced
His pathway homeward sadly and in haste.

In the convent there was a change!
He looked for each well known face,
But the faces were new and strange;
New figures sat in the oaken stalls,
New voices chaunted in the choir,
Yet the place was the same place,
The same dusky walls
Of cold, gray stone,
The same cloisters and belfry and spire.

A stranger and alone
Among that brotherhood
The Monk Felix stood
'Forty years,' said a Friar.
'Have I been Prior
Of this convent in the wood,
But for that space
Never have I beheld thy face!'

The heart of the Monk Felix fell:
And he answered with submissive tone,
'This morning, after the hour of Prime,
I left my cell,
And wandered forth alone,
Listening all the time
To the melodious singing
Of a beautiful white bird,
Until I heard
The bells of the convent ringing
Noon from their noisy towers,
It was as if I dreamed;
For what to me had seemed
Moments only, had been hours!'

'Years!' said a voice close by.
It was an aged monk who spoke,
From a bench of oak
Fastened against the wall;--
He was the oldest monk of all.
For a whole century
Had he been there,
Serving God in prayer,
The meekest and humblest of his creatures.
He remembered well the features
Of Felix, and he said,
Speaking distinct and slow:
'One hundred years ago,
When I was a novice in this place,
There was here a monk, full of God's grace,
Who bore the name
Of Felix, and this man must be the same.'

And straightway
They brought forth to the light of day
A volume old and brown,
A huge tome, bound
With brass and wild-boar's hide,
Therein were written down
The names of all who had died
In the convent, since it was edified.
And there they found,
Just as the old monk said,
That on a certain day and date,
One hundred years before,
Had gone forth from the convent gate
The Monk Felix, and never more
Had entered that sacred door.
He had been counted among the dead!
And they knew, at last,
That, such had been the power
Of that celestial and immortal song,
A hundred years had passed,
And had not seemed so long
As a single hour!

(ELSIE _comes in with flowers._)

_Elsie._ Here are flowers for you,
But they are not all for you.
Some of them are for the Virgin
And for Saint Cecilia.

_Prince Henry._ As thou standest there,
Thou seemest to me like the angel
That brought the immortal roses
To Saint Cecilia's bridal chamber.

_Elsie._ But these will fade.

_Prince Henry._ Themselves will fade,
But not their memory,
And memory has the power
To re-create them from the dust.
They remind me, too,
Of martyred Dorothea,
Who from celestial gardens sent
Flowers as her witnesses
To him who scoffed and doubted.

_Elsie._ Do you know the story
Of Christ and the Sultan's daughter?
That is the prettiest legend of them all.

_Prince Henry._ Then tell it to me.
But first come hither.
Lay the flowers down beside me.
And put both thy hands in mine.
Now tell me the story.

_Elsie._ Early in the morning
The Sultan's daughter
Walked in her father's garden,
Gathering the bright flowers,
All full of dew.

_Prince Henry._ Just as thou hast been doing
This morning, dearest Elsie.

_Elsie._ And as she gathered them,
She wondered more and more
Who was the Master of the Flowers,
And made them grow
Out of the cold, dark earth.
'In my heart,' she said,
'I love him; and for him
Would leave my father's palace,
To labor in his garden.'

_Prince Henry._ Dear, innocent child!
How sweetly thou recallest
The long-forgotten legend,
That in my early childhood
My mother told me!
Upon my brain
It reappears once more,
As a birth-mark on the forehead
When a hand suddenly
Is laid upon it, and removed!

_Elsie._ And at midnight,
As she lay upon her bed,
She heard a voice
Call to her from the garden,
And, looking forth from her window,
She saw a beautiful youth
Standing among the flowers.
It was the Lord Jesus;
And she went down to him,
And opened the door for him;
And he said to her, 'O maiden!
Thou hast thought of me with love,
And for thy sake
Out of my Father's kingdom
Have I come hither:
I am the Master of the Flowers.
My garden is in Paradise,
And if thou wilt go with me,
Thy bridal garland
Shall be of bright red flowers.'
And then he took from his finger
A golden ring,
And asked the Sultan's daughter
If she would be his bride.
And when she answered him with love,
His wounds began to bleed,
And she said to him,
'O Love! how red thy heart is,
And thy hands are full of roses,'
'For thy sake,' answered he,
'For thy sake is my heart so red,
For thee I bring these roses.
I gathered them at the cross
Whereon I died for thee!
Come, for my Father calls.
Thou art my elected bride!'
And the Sultan's daughter
Followed him to his Father's garden.

_Prince Henry._ Wouldst thou have done so, Elsie?

_Elsie._ Yes, very gladly.

_Prince Henry._ Then the Celestial Bridegroom
Will come for thee also.
Upon thy forehead he will place,
Not his crown of thorns,
But a crown of roses.
In thy bridal chamber,
Like Saint Cecilia,
Thou shall hear sweet music,
And breathe the fragrance
Of flowers immortal!
Go now and place these flowers
Before her picture.

* * * * *

A ROOM IN THE FARM-HOUSE.

* * * * *

_Twilight._ URSULA _spinning._ GOTTLIEB _asleep in his
chair._

_Ursula._ Darker and darker! Hardly a glimmer
Of light comes in at the window-pane;
Or is it my eyes are growing dimmer?
I cannot disentangle this skein,
Nor wind it rightly upon the reel.
Elsie!

_Gottlieb (starting)_. The stopping of thy wheel
Has wakened me out of a pleasant dream.
I thought I was sitting beside a stream,
And heard the grinding of a mill,
When suddenly the wheels stood still,
And a voice cried 'Elsie' in my ear!
It startled me, it seemed so near.

_Ursula._ I was calling her: I want a light.
I cannot see to spin my flax.
Bring the lamp, Elsie. Dost thou hear?

_Elsie (within)._ In a moment!

_Gottlieb._ Where are Bertha and Max?

_Ursula._ They are sitting with Elsie at the door.
She is telling them stories of the wood,
And the Wolf, and Little Red Ridinghood.

_Gottlieb_. And where is the Prince?

_Ursula_. In his room overhead;
I heard him walking across the floor,
As he always does, with a heavy tread.

(ELSIE _comes in with a lamp_. MAX _and_ BERTHA _follow her;
and they all sing the Evening Song on the lighting of the lamps_.)


EVENING SONG.

O gladsome light
Of the Father Immortal,
And of the celestial
Sacred and blessed
Jesus, our Saviour!

Now to the sunset
Again hast thou brought us;
And, seeing the evening
Twilight, we bless thee,
Praise thee, adore thee!

Father omnipotent!
Son, the Life-giver!
Spirit, the Comforter!
Worthy at all times
Of worship and wonder!


_Prince Henry (at the door)_. Amen!

_Ursula_. Who was it said Amen?

_Elsie_. It was the Prince: he stood at the door,
And listened a moment, as we chaunted
The evening song. He is gone again.
I have often seen him there before.

_Ursula_. Poor Prince!

_Gottlieb_. I thought the house was haunted!
Poor Prince, alas! and yet as mild
And patient as the gentlest child!

_Max._ I love him because he is so good,
And makes me such fine bows and arrows,
To shoot at the robins and the sparrows,
And the red squirrels in the wood!

_Bertha._ I love him, too!

_Gottlieb._ Ah, yes! we all
Love him, from the bottom of our hearts;
He gave us the farm, the house, and the grange,
He gave us the horses and the carts,
And the great oxen in the stall,
The vineyard, and the forest range!
We have nothing to give him but our love!

_Bertha._ Did he give us the beautiful stork above
On the chimney-top, with its large, round nest?

_Gottlieb._ No, not the stork; by God in heaven,
As a blessing, the dear, white stork was given;
But the Prince has given us all the rest.
God bless him, and make him well again.

_Elsie._ Would I could do something for his sake,
Something to cure his sorrow and pain!

_Gottlieb._ That no one can; neither thou nor I,
Nor any one else.

_Elsie._ And must he die?

_Ursula._ Yes; if the dear God does not take
Pity upon him, in his distress,
And work a miracle!

_Gottlieb._ Or unless
Some maiden, of her own accord,
Offers her life for that of her lord,
And is willing to die in his stead.

_Elsie._ I will!

_Ursula._ Prithee, thou foolish child, be still!
Thou shouldst not say what thou dost not mean!

_Elsie._ I mean it truly!

_Max._ O father! this morning,
Down by the mill, in the ravine,
Hans killed a wolf, the very same
That in the night to the sheepfold came,
And ate up my lamb, that was left outside.

_Gottlieb._ I am glad he is dead. It will be a warning
To the wolves in the forest, far and wide.

_Max._ And I am going to have his hide!

_Bertha._ I wonder if this is the wolf that ate
Little Red Ridinghood!

_Ursula._ O, no!
That wolf was killed a long while ago.
Come, children, it is growing late.

_Max._ Ah, how I wish I were a man,
As stout as Hans is, and as strong!
I would do nothing else, the whole day long,
But just kill wolves.

_Gottlieb._ Then go to bed,
And grow as fast as a little boy can.
Bertha is half asleep already.
See how she nods her heavy head,
And her sleepy feet are so unsteady
She will hardly be able to creep upstairs.

_Ursula._ Good-night, my children. Here's the light.
And do not forget to say your prayers
Before you sleep.

_Gottlieb._ Good-night!

_Max and Bertha._ Good-night!

(_They go out with_ ELSIE.)

_Ursula, (spinning)._ She is a strange and wayward child,
That Elsie of ours. She looks so old,
And thoughts and fancies weird and wild
Seem of late to have taken hold
Of her heart, that was once so docile and mild!

_Gottlieb._ She is like all girls.

_Ursula._ Ah no, forsooth!
Unlike all I have ever seen.
For she has visions and strange dreams,
And in all her words and ways, she seems
Much older than she is in truth.
Who would think her but fourteen?
And there has been of late such a change!
My heart is heavy with fear and doubt
That she may not live till the year is out.
She is so strange,--so strange,--so strange!

_Gottlieb._ I am not troubled with any such fear!
She will live and thrive for many a year.

* * * * *

ELSIE'S CHAMBER.

* * * * *

_Night._ ELSIE _praying._

_Elsie._ My Redeemer and my Lord,
I beseech thee, I entreat thee,
Guide me in each act and word,
That hereafter I may meet thee,
Watching, waiting, hoping, yearning,
With my lamp well trimmed and burning!

Interceding
With these bleeding
Wounds upon thy hands and side,
For all who have lived and erred
Thou hast suffered, thou hast died,
Scourged, and mocked, and crucified,
And in the grave hast thou been buried!

If my feeble prayer can reach thee,
O my Saviour, I beseech thee,
Even as thou hast died for me,
More sincerely
Let me follow where thou leadest,
Let me, bleeding as thou bleedest,
Die, if dying I may give
Life to one who asks to live,
And more nearly,
Dying thus, resemble thee!

* * * * *

THE CHAMBER OF GOTTLIEB AND URSULA.

* * * * *

_Midnight._ ELSIE _standing by their bedside, weeping._

_Gottlieb._ The wind is roaring; the rushing rain
Is loud upon roof and window-pane,
As if the Wild Huntsman of Rodenstein,
Boding evil to me and mine,
Were abroad to-night with his ghostly train!
In the brief lulls of the tempest wild,
The dogs howl in the yard; and hark!
Some one is sobbing in the dark,
Here in the chamber!

_Elsie._ It is I.

_Ursula._ Elsie! what ails thee, my poor child?

_Elsie._ I am disturbed and much distressed,
In thinking our dear Prince must die,
I cannot close mine eyes, nor rest.

_Gottlieb._ What wouldst thou? In the Power Divine
His healing lies, not in our own;
It is in the hand of God alone.

_Elsie._ Nay, he has put it into mine,
And into my heart!

_Gottlieb._ Thy words are wild!

_Ursula._ What dost thou mean? my child! my child!

_Elsie._ That for our dear Prince Henry's sake
I will myself the offering make,
And give my life to purchase his.

_Ursula_ Am I still dreaming, or awake?
Thou speakest carelessly of death,
And yet thou knowest not what it is.

_Elsie._ 'T is the cessation of our breath.
Silent and motionless we lie;
And no one knoweth more than this.
I saw our little Gertrude die,
She left off breathing, and no more
I smoothed the pillow beneath her head.
She was more beautiful than before.
Like violets faded were her eyes;
By this we knew that she was dead.
Through the open window looked the skies
Into the chamber where she lay,
And the wind was like the sound of wings,
As if angels came to bear her away.
Ah! when I saw and felt these things,
I found it difficult to stay;
I longed to die, as she had died,
And go forth with her, side by side.
The Saints are dead, the Martyrs dead,
And Mary, and our Lord, and I
Would follow in humility
The way by them illumined!

_Ursula._ My child! my child! thou must not die!

_Elsie_ Why should I live? Do I not know
The life of woman is full of woe?
Toiling on and on and on,
With breaking heart, and tearful eyes,
And silent lips, and in the soul
The secret longings that arise,
Which this world never satisfies!
Some more, some less, but of the whole
Not one quite happy, no, not one!

_Ursula._ It is the malediction of Eve!

_Elsie._ In place of it, let me receive
The benediction of Mary, then.

_Gottlieb._ Ah, woe is me! Ah, woe is me!
Most wretched am I among men!

_Ursula._ Alas! that I should live to see
Thy death, beloved, and to stand
Above thy grave! Ah, woe the day!

_Elsie._ Thou wilt not see it. I shall lie
Beneath the flowers of another land,
For at Salerno, far away
Over the mountains, over the sea,
It is appointed me to die!
And it will seem no more to thee
Than if at the village on market-day
I should a little longer stay
Than I am used.

_Ursula._ Even as thou sayest!
And how my heart beats, when thou stayest!
I cannot rest until my sight
Is satisfied with seeing thee.
What, then, if thou wert dead?

_Gottlieb_ Ah me!
Of our old eyes thou art the light!
The joy of our old hearts art thou!
And wilt thou die?

_Ursula._ Not now! not now!

_Elsie_ Christ died for me, and shall not I
Be willing for my Prince to die?
You both are silent; you cannot speak.
This said I, at our Saviour's feast,
After confession, to the priest,
And even he made no reply.
Does he not warn us all to seek
The happier, better land on high,
Where flowers immortal never wither,
And could he forbid me to go thither?

_Gottlieb._ In God's own time, my heart's delight!
When he shall call thee, not before!

_Elsie._ I heard him call. When Christ ascended
Triumphantly, from star to star,
He left the gates of heaven ajar.
I had a vision in the night,
And saw him standing at the door
Of his Father's mansion, vast and splendid,
And beckoning to me from afar.
I cannot stay!

_Gottlieb._ She speaks almost
As if it were the Holy Ghost
Spake through her lips, and in her stead!
What if this were of God?

_Ursula._ Ah, then
Gainsay it dare we not.

_Gottlieb._ Amen!
Elsie! the words that thou hast said
Are strange and new for us to hear,
And fill our hearts with doubt and fear.
Whether it be a dark temptation
Of the Evil One, or God's inspiration,
We in our blindness cannot say.
We must think upon it, and pray;
For evil and good in both resembles.
If it be of God, his will be done!
May he guard us from the Evil One!
How hot thy hand is! how it trembles!
Go to thy bed, and try to sleep.

_Ursula._ Kiss me. Good-night; and do not weep!

(ELSIE _goes out._)

Ah, what an awful thing is this!
I almost shuddered at her kiss.
As if a ghost had touched my cheek,
I am so childish and so weak!
As soon as I see the earliest gray
Of morning glimmer in the east,
I will go over to the priest,
And hear what the good man has to say!

* * * * *

A VILLAGE CHURCH.

* * * * *

_A woman kneeling at the confessional.

The Parish Priest (from within)_. Go, sin no
more! Thy penance o'er,
A new and better life begin!
God maketh thee forever free
From the dominion of thy sin!
Go, sin no more! He will restore
The peace that filled thy heart before,
And pardon thine iniquity!

(_The woman goes out. The Priest comes forth, and
walks slowly up and down the church_.)

O blessed Lord! how much I need
Thy light to guide me on my way!
So many hands, that, without heed,
Still touch thy wounds, and make them bleed!
So many feet, that, day by day,
Still wander from thy fold astray!
Unless thou fill me with thy light,
I cannot lead thy flock aright;
Nor, without thy support, can bear
The burden of so great a care,
But am myself a castaway!

(_A pause_.)

The day is drawing to its close;
And what good deeds, since first it rose,
Have I presented, Lord, to thee,
As offerings of my ministry?
What wrong repressed, what right maintained
What struggle passed, what victory gained,
What good attempted and attained?
Feeble, at best, is my endeavor!
I see, but cannot reach, the height
That lies forever in the light,
And yet forever and forever,
When seeming just within my grasp,
I feel my feeble hands unclasp,
And sink discouraged into night!
For thine own purpose, thou hast sent
The strife and the discouragement!

(_A pause_.)

Why stayest thou, Prince of Hoheneck?
Why keep me pacing to and fro
Amid these aisles of sacred gloom,
Counting my footsteps as I go,
And marking with each step a tomb?
Why should the world for thee make room,
And wait thy leisure and thy beck?
Thou comest in the hope to hear
Some word of comfort and of cheer.
What can I say? I cannot give
The counsel to do this and live;
But rather, firmly to deny
The tempter, though his power is strong,
And, inaccessible to wrong,
Still like a martyr live and die!

(_A pause_.)

The evening air grows dusk and brown;
I must go forth into the town,
To visit beds of pain and death,
Of restless limbs, and quivering breath,
And sorrowing hearts, and patient eyes
That see, through tears, the sun go down,
But never more shall see it rise.
The poor in body and estate,
The sick and the disconsolate.
Must not on man's convenience wait.

(_Goes out. Enter_ LUCIFER, _as a Priest_. LUCIFER,
_with a genuflexion, mocking_.)

This is the Black Pater-noster.
God was my foster,
He fostered me
Under the book of the Palm-tree!
St. Michael was my dame.
He was born at Bethlehem,
He was made of flesh and blood.
God send me my right food,
My right food, and shelter too,
That I may to yon kirk go,
To read upon yon sweet book
Which the mighty God of heaven shook.
Open, open, hell's gates!
Shut, shut, heaven's gates!
All the devils in the air
The stronger be, that hear the Black Prayer!

(_Looking round the church_.)

What a darksome and dismal place!
I wonder that any man has the face
To call such a hole the House of the Lord,
And the Gate of Heaven,--yet such is the word.
Ceiling, and walls, and windows old,
Covered with cobwebs, blackened with mould;
Dust on the pulpit, dust on the stairs,
Dust on the benches, and stalls, and chairs!
The pulpit, from which such ponderous sermons
Have fallen down on the brains of the Germans,
With about as much real edification
As if a great Bible, bound in lead,
Had fallen, and struck them on the head;
And I ought to remember that sensation!
Here stands the holy water stoup!
Holy-water it may be to many,
But to me, the veriest Liquor Gehennae!
It smells like a filthy fast day soup!
Near it stands the box for the poor;
With its iron padlock, safe and sure,
I and the priest of the parish know
Whither all these charities go;
Therefore, to keep up the institution,
I will add my little contribution!

(_He puts in money._)

Underneath this mouldering tomb,
With statue of stone, and scutcheon of brass,
Slumbers a great lord of the village.
All his life was riot and pillage,
But at length, to escape the threatened doom
Of the everlasting, penal fire,
He died in the dress of a mendicant friar,
And bartered his wealth for a daily mass.
But all that afterward came to pass,
And whether he finds it dull or pleasant,
Is kept a secret for the present,
At his own particular desire.

And here, in a corner of the wall,
Shadowy, silent, apart from all,
With its awful portal open wide,
And its latticed windows on either side,
And its step well worn by the bended knees
Of one or two pious centuries,
Stands the village confessional!
Within it, as an honored guest,
I will sit me down awhile and rest!

(_Seats himself in the confessional_.)

Here sits the priest, and faint and low,
Like the sighing of an evening breeze,
Comes through these painted lattices
The ceaseless sound of human woe,
Here, while her bosom aches and throbs
With deep and agonizing sobs,
That half are passion, half contrition,
The luckless daughter of perdition
Slowly confesses her secret shame!
The time, the place, the lover's name!
Here the grim murderer, with a groan,
From his bruised conscience rolls the stone,
Thinking that thus he can atone
For ravages of sword and flame!
Indeed, I marvel, and marvel greatly,
How a priest can sit here so sedately,
Reading, the whole year out and in,
Naught but the catalogue of sin,
And still keep any faith whatever
In human virtue! Never! never!

I cannot repeat a thousandth part
Of the horrors and crimes and sins and woes
That arise, when with palpitating throes
The graveyard in the human heart
Gives up its dead, at the voice of the priest,
As if he were an archangel, at least.
It makes a peculiar atmosphere,
This odor of earthly passions and crimes,
Such as I like to breathe, at times,
And such as often brings me here
In the hottest and most pestilential season.
To-day, I come for another reason;
To foster and ripen an evil thought
In a heart that is almost to madness wrought,
And to make a murderer out of a prince,
A sleight of hand I learned long since!
He comes In the twilight he will not see
the difference between his priest and me!
In the same net was the mother caught!

(_Prince Henry entering and kneeling at the confessional._)

Remorseful, penitent, and lowly,
I come to crave, O Father holy,
Thy benediction on my head.

_Lucifer_. The benediction shall be said
After confession, not before!
'T is a God speed to the parting guest,
Who stands already at the door,
Sandalled with holiness, and dressed
In garments pure from earthly stain.
Meanwhile, hast thou searched well thy breast?
Does the same madness fill thy brain?
Or have thy passion and unrest
Vanished forever from thy mind?

_Prince Henry_. By the same madness still made blind,
By the same passion still possessed,
I come again to the house of prayer,
A man afflicted and distressed!
As in a cloudy atmosphere,
Through unseen sluices of the air,
A sudden and impetuous wind
Strikes the great forest white with fear,
And every branch, and bough, and spray
Points all its quivering leaves one way,
And meadows of grass, and fields of grain,
And the clouds above, and the slanting rain,
And smoke from chimneys of the town,
Yield themselves to it, and bow down,
So does this dreadful purpose press
Onward, with irresistible stress,
And all my thoughts and faculties,
Struck level by the strength of this,
From their true inclination turn,
And all stream forward to Salem!

_Lucifer_. Alas! we are but eddies of dust,
Uplifted by the blast, and whirled
Along the highway of the world
A moment only, then to fall
Back to a common level all,
At the subsiding of the gust!

_Prince Henry_. O holy Father! pardon in me
The oscillation of a mind
Unsteadfast, and that cannot find
Its centre of rest and harmony!
For evermore before mine eyes
This ghastly phantom flits and flies,
And as a madman through a crowd,
With frantic gestures and wild cries,
It hurries onward, and aloud
Repeats its awful prophecies!
Weakness is wretchedness! To be strong
Is to be happy! I am weak,
And cannot find the good I seek,
Because I feel and fear the wrong!

_Lucifer_. Be not alarmed! The Church is kind--
And in her mercy and her meekness
She meets half-way her children's weakness,
Writes their transgressions in the dust!
Though in the Decalogue we find
The mandate written, 'Thou shalt not kill!'
Yet there are cases when we must.
In war, for instance, or from scathe
To guard and keep the one true Faith!
We must look at the Decalogue in the light
Of an ancient statute, that was meant
For a mild and general application,
To be understood with the reservation,
That, in certain instances, the Right
Must yield to the Expedient!
Thou art a Prince. If thou shouldst die,
What hearts and hopes would prostrate he!
What noble deeds, what fair renown,
Into the grave with thee go down!
What acts of valor and courtesy
Remain undone, and die with thee!
Thou art the last of all thy race!
With thee a noble name expires,
And vanishes from the earth's face
The glorious memory of thy sires!
She is a peasant. In her veins
Flows common and plebeian blood;
It is such as daily and hourly stains
The dust and the turf of battle plains,
By vassals shed, in a crimson flood,
Without reserve, and without reward,
At the slightest summons of their lord!
But thine is precious, the fore-appointed
Blood of kings, of God's anointed!
Moreover, what has the world in store
For one like her, but tears and toil?
Daughter of sorrow, serf of the soil,
A peasant's child and a peasant's wife,
And her soul within her sick and sore
With the roughness and barrenness of life!
I marvel not at the heart's recoil
From a fate like this, in one so tender,
Nor at its eagerness to surrender
All the wretchedness, want, and woe
That await it in this world below,
For the unutterable splendor
Of the world of rest beyond the skies.
So the Church sanctions the sacrifice:
Therefore inhale this healing balm,
And breathe this fresh life into thine;
Accept the comfort and the calm
She offers, as a gift divine,
Let her fall down and anoint thy feet
With the ointment costly and most sweet
Of her young blood, and thou shall live.

_Prince Henry._ And will the righteous Heaven forgive?
No action, whether foul or fair,
Is ever done, but it leaves somewhere
A record, written by fingers ghostly,
As a blessing or a curse, and mostly
In the greater weakness or greater strength
Of the acts which follow it, till at length
The wrongs of ages are redressed,
And the justice of God made manifest!

_Lucifer_ In ancient records it is stated
That, whenever an evil deed is done,
Another devil is created
To scourge and torment the offending one!
But evil is only good perverted,
And Lucifer, the Bearer of Light,
But an angel fallen and deserted,
Thrust from his Father's house with a curse
Into the black and endless night.

_Prince Henry._ If justice rules the universe,
From the good actions of good men
Angels of light should be begotten,
And thus the balance restored again.

_Lucifer._ Yes; if the world were not so rotten,
And so given over to the Devil!

_Prince Henry._ But this deed, is it good or evil?
Have I thine absolution free
To do it, and without restriction?

_Lucifer._ Ay; and from whatsoever sin
Lieth around it and within,
From all crimes in which it may involve thee,
I now release thee and absolve thee!

_Prince Henry._ Give me thy holy benediction.

_Lucifer._ (_stretching forth his hand and muttering_),
Maledictione perpetua
Maledicat vos
Pater eternus!

_The Angel_ (_with the aeolian harp_). Take heed! take heed!
Noble art thou in thy birth,
By the good and the great of earth
Hast thou been taught!
Be noble in every thought
And in every deed!
Let not the illusion of thy senses
Betray thee to deadly offences.
Be strong! be good! be pure!
The right only shall endure,
All things else are but false pretences!
I entreat thee, I implore,
Listen no more
To the suggestions of an evil spirit,
That even now is there,
Making the foul seem fair,
And selfishness itself a virtue and a merit!

* * * * *

A ROOM IN THE FARM-HOUSE.

* * * * *

_Gottlieb_. It is decided! For many days,
And nights as many, we have had
A nameless terror in our breast,
Making us timid, and afraid
Of God, and his mysterious ways!
We have been sorrowful and sad;
Much have we suffered, much have prayed
That he would lead us as is best,
And show us what his will required.
It is decided; and we give
Our child, O Prince, that you may live!

_Ursula_. It is of God. He has inspired
This purpose in her; and through pain,
Out of a world of sin and woe,
He takes her to himself again.
The mother's heart resists no longer;
With the Angel of the Lord in vain
It wrestled, for he was the stronger.

_Gottlieb_. As Abraham offered long ago
His son unto the Lord, and even
The Everlasting Father in heaven
Gave his, as a lamb unto the slaughter,
So do I offer up my daughter!

(URSULA _hides her face_.)

_Elsie_. My life is little,
Only a cup of water,
But pure and limpid.
Take it, O my Prince!
Let it refresh you,
Let it restore you.
It is given willingly,
It is given freely;
May God bless the gift!

_Prince Henry._ And the giver!

_Gottlieb._ Amen!

_Prince Henry._ I accept it!

_Gottlieb._ Where are the children?

_Ursula._ They are already asleep.

_Gottlieb._ What if they were dead?

* * * * *

IN THE GARDEN.

* * * * *

_Elsie._ I have one thing to ask of you.

_Prince Henry._ What is it?
It is already granted.

_Elsie._ Promise me,
When we are gone from here, and on our way
Are journeying to Salerno, you will not,
By word or deed, endeavor to dissuade me
And turn me from my purpose, but remember
That as a pilgrim to the Holy City
Walks unmolested, and with thoughts of pardon
Occupied wholly, so would I approach
The gates of Heaven, in this great jubilee,
With my petition, putting off from me
All thoughts of earth, as shoes from off my feet.
Promise me this.

_Prince Henry._ Thy words fall from thy lips
Like roses from the lips of Angelo: and angels
Might stoop to pick them up!

_Elsie._ Will you not promise?

_Prince Henry._ If ever we depart upon this journey,
So long to one or both of us, I promise.

_Elsie._ Shall we not go, then? Have you lifted me
Into the air, only to hurl me back
Wounded upon the ground? and offered me
The waters of eternal life, to bid me
Drink the polluted puddles of this world?

_Prince Henry._ O Elsie! what a lesson thou dost teach me!
The life which is, and that which is to come,
Suspended hang in such nice equipoise
A breath disturbs the balance; and that scale
In which we throw our hearts preponderates,
And the other, like an empty one, flies up,
And is accounted vanity and air!
To me the thought of death is terrible,
Having such hold on life. To thee it is not
So much even as the lifting of a latch;
Only a step into the open air
Out of a tent already luminous
With light that shines through its transparent walls!
O pure in heart! from thy sweet dust shall grow
Lilies, upon whose petals will be written
'Ave Maria' in characters of gold!

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