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THE DESERTED VILLAGE.

29

Sweet was the sound when oft, at evening's close,
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose;
There as I pass’d with careless steps and slow,
The mingling notes came soften’d from below;
The swain responsive as the milkmaid sung,
The sober herd that low'd to meet their young ;
The noisy geese that gabbled o’er the pool,
The playful children just let loose from school,
The watch-dog's voice that bay'd the whisp’ring

wind,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind :
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And fill'd each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown footway tread,
But all the blooming flush of life is fled :
All but yon widow'd solitary thing,
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring ;
The wretched matron forced in age for bread
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn:
She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain.

GOLDSMITH.

THE FORCE OF PRAYER;

OR, THE FOUNDING OF BOLTON PRIORY.

A Tradition.

“What is good for a bootless bene?

With these dark words begins my tale ; And their meaning is, Whence can comfort spring When prayer

is of no avail ?
“What is good for a bootless bene ?”

The falconer to the lady said ;
And she made answer, “ Endless sorrow!"

For she knew that her son was dead.

She knew it by the falconer's words,

And from the look of the falconer's eye ;
And from the love which was in her soul

For her youthful Romilly.
Young Romilly through Barden woods

Is ranging high and low;
And holds a greyhound in a leash

To let slip on buck or doe.
The pair have reached that fearful chasm,

How tempting to bestride!
For lordly Wharf is there pent in

With rocks on either side.
This striding place is called the Strid,

A name which it took of yore :

THE FORCE OF PRAYER.

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A thousand years it hath borne that name,

And shall a thousand more.

And hither is young Romilly come,

And what may now forbid
That he, perhaps for the hundredth time,

Shall bound across THE STRID ?

He sprang in glee,--for what cared he
That the river was strong and the rocks were

steep?
But the greyhound in the leash hung back,

And check'd him in his leap. The boy is in the arms of Wharf,

And strangled by a merciless force, For never more was young Romilly seen,

Till he rose a lifeless corse.

Now there is stillness in the vale,

And deep, unspeaking sorrow : Wharf shall be to pitying hearts

A name more sad than Yarrow. If for a lover the lady wept,

A solace she might borrow From Death and from the passion of Death, —

Old Wharf might heal her sorrow.
She weeps not for the wedding-day,

Which was to be to-morrow;
Her hope was a further-looking hope,

And hers is a mother's sorrow.

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He was a tree that stood alone,

And proudly did its branches wave ;
And the root of this delightful tree

Was in her husband's grave!
Long, long in darkness did she sit,

And her first words were, « Let there be
In Bolton, on the field of Wharf,

A stately priory."
The stately priory was reared ;

And Wharf, as he moved along,
To matins joined a mournful voice,

Nor failed at even-song.
And the lady prayed in heaviness

That looked not for relief;
But slowly did her succour come,

And a patience to her grief.
Oh, there is never sorrow of heart

That shall lack a timely end,
If but to God we turn, and ask

Of Him to be our Friend!

WORDSWORTH.

THE RAINBOW.

STILL young

and fine! but what is still in view We slight as old and soiled though fresh and new ; How bright wert thou when Shem's admiring eye Thy burning flaming arch did first descry;

SWEET SOUNDS.

33

When Zerah, Nahor, Haran, Abram, Lot,
The youthful world's grey fathers, in one knot
Did with intentive looks watch every hour
For thy new light, and trembled at each shower.
When thou dost shine, darkness looks white and

fair,
Forms turn to music, clouds to smiles and air ;
Rain gently spends his honey-drops, and pours
Balm on the cleft earth, milk on grass and flowers.

Bright pledge of peace and sunshine! the sure tie Of thy Lord's hand, the object of His eye! When I behold thee, though my light be dim, Distant and low, I can in thine see Him Who looks upon thee from His glorious throne, And minds the covenant betwixt all and one.

HENRY VAUGHAN.

SWEET SOUNDS.

AROUND, around flew each sweet sound,

Then darted to the sun ;
Slowly the sounds came back again,

Now mixed, now one by one.
Sometimes a-dropping from the sky

I heard the skylark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seem'd to fill the sea and air

With their sweet jargoning !

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