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AN HOUR OF ROMANCE.

THERE were thick leaves above me and around,
And low sweet sighs, like those of childhood's sleep,
Amidst their aimness, and a fitful sound
As of soft showers on water-dark and deep
Lay the oak shadows o'er the turf, so still,
They seem'd but pictur’d glooms—a hidden rill,
Made music, such as haunts us in a dream,
Under the fern-tufts; and a tender gleam
Of soft green light, as by the glow-worm shed,
Came pouring through the woven beech-boughs down,
And steep'd the magic page wherein I read
Of royal chivalry and old renown,
A tale of Palestine.* _Meanwhile the bee
Swept past me with a tone of summer hours,

* The Talisman-Tales of the Crusaders.

A drowsy bugle, wafting thoughts of flowers,
Blue skies, and amber sunshine-brightly free,
On filmy wings the purple dragon-fly
Shot glancing like a fairy javelin by;
And a sweet voice of sorrow told the dell
Where sat the lone wood-pigeon.

But ere long, All sense of these things faded, as the spell, Breathing from that high gorgeous tale, grew strong On my chain’d soul—'twas not the leaves I heard ; -A Syrian wind the lion-banner stirr’d, Through its proud foating folds—’twas not the brook, Singing in secret through its grassy glenA wild shrill trumpet of the Saracen Peal'd from the desert's lonely heart, and shook The burning air.—Like clouds when winds are high, O’er glittering sands flew steeds of Araby, And tents rose up, and sudden lance and spear Flash'd where a fountain's diamond wave lay clear, Shadow'd by graceful palm-trees.—Then the shout Of merry England's joy swellid freely out, Sent through an Eastern heaven, whose glorious hue Made shields dark mirrors to its depths of blue ;

And harps were there—I heard their sounding strings, As the waste echoed to the mirth of kings.

The bright masque faded—unto life's worn track
What call'd me, from its flood of glory, back?

-A voice of happy childhood !—and they pass'd,
Banner, and harp, and Paynim trumpet's blast-
Yet might I scarce bewail the vision gone,
My heart so leapt to that sweet laughter's tone.

19

EVENING PRAYER AT A GIRLS' SCHOOL.

“ Now in thy youth, beseech of Him,

Who giveth, upbraiding not,
That his light in thy heart become not dim,

And his love be unforgot ;
And thy God, in the darkest of days, will be
Greenness, and beauty, and strength to thee."

Bernard Barton.

Hush ! 'tis a holy hour—the quiet room

Seems like a temple, while yon soft lamp sheds A faint and starry radiance, through the gloom

And the sweet stillness, down on bright young heads, With all their clust'ring locks, untouch'd by care, And bow'd, as flowers are bow'd with night—in prayer.

Gaze on,—'tis lovely childhood's lip and cheek,

Mantling beneath its earnest brow of thoughtGaze-yet what seest thou in those fair, and meek,

And fragile things, as but for sunshine wrought ?

EVENING PRAYER AT A GIRLS' SCHOOL. 147

- Thou seest what grief must nurture for the sky, What death must fashion for eternity!

Oh! joyous creatures, that will sink to rest,

Lightly, when those pure orisons are done, As birds with slumber's honey-dew oppress'd,

'Midst the dim folded leaves, at set of sunLift up your hearts !-though yet no sorrow lies Dark in the summer-heaven of those clear eyes ;

Though fresh within your breasts th' untroubled springs

Of hope make melody where'er ye tread;
And o'er your sleep bright shadows, from the wings

Of spirits visiting but youth, be spread;
Yet in those flute-like voices, mingling low,
Is woman's tenderness—how soon her woe !

Her lot is on you—silent tears to weep,

And patient smiles to wear through suffering's hour, And sumless riches, from Affection's deep,

To pour on broken reeds—a wasted shower!
And to make idols, and to find then clay,
And to bewail that worship—thereiore pray!

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