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With fear impressed, does now retreat
Towards the door with trembling feet;
Then says, "Thy name I do implore?"
The ready bird replies "Tom More."
"Oh, dear!" the frightened clown replies,
With hair erect and staring eyes!
Half opening then the hovel door,
He asks the bird one question more:
"What brought you here?" With quick reply,
Sly Mag rejoins, "Bad company!"
Out jumps the gardener in a fright,
And runs away with all his might;
And, as he runs, impressed with dread
Exclaims, "Sure Satan's in the shed!"
'Twas many years since I had left my home
To travel distant lands, but time sped on;
Again with eagerness and wonderment
I sought the cherished haunts and friends of yore.
One man whom I remembered as a boy,
Whose piercing eyes, pale face, and silken locks
Had oft comment attracted, now I found
In mad-house pent. He recognized my face,
Although anon he would bewildered gaze.
In changing tones which shed a ling'ring light
Awhile upon his soul, but swiftly turned
To fierce embittered grief, he told me there
His all-absorbing tale. "Twas thus he spoke:
"They call me mad; and hour by hour I'm watched
By lurking keepers, who, with looks askance,
Would search my thoughts, and deem themselves unseen;
For when I would return their gaze, they droop
Their eyes, and with a heedless air pass by.
They call me mad, and so deny my right
To liberty enjoyed by other men.
They call me mad! but know they what they mean?
"Yea, if vividly to recall the past,
And linger with emotions deep and fond
On all that yielded life a moment's joy,
And now lies garnered in sweet mem'ry's store,
If this betokens madness, I am mad.
Or if to know with what dear promise youth
Was robed-how cherished were the constant thoughts
Of happiness to come in future years
And feel how treacherous was the fate that crushed
Those thoughts, and bade me dare to seek revenge,-
If this may madness prove, then I am mad.
And this is why, forsooth, they deem me so!
66 Even now the recollections of the past,
In varied visions, float before mine eyes
And thoughts of old affections make me feel
How blest I might have been-how sad I am.
"A group of children trotting off to school,
While two amongst the rest, a boy and girl,
Go hand in hand, and prattle as they go,
Then fondly kiss and part, till, schooltime o'er,
They meet and kiss again, and hand in hand
Return to home recounting all they've learnt.
Anon they paddle in the rippling brook,
Their merry voices striving to out-do
The babble of the water 'neath their feet;
Or, roaming in the fields, they mimic birds
That seem to sing a sweet accomp'niment
To happy childhood passing thus away.
"The glad years speed along. Those children twain
Have ripened 'neath the influence of time,
For life has but revealed its summer days
To him of impulse strong and keen-sensed soul,
To her of beauteous face and loving heart,
And each is happy in the other's love.
"And this glad pair in childhood and in youtb
Was cousin Ruth and I. Oh! it was joy
To loiter arm in arm on summer eves
By hedge-rows, or through fields of long-grown grass,
Where breathed sweet-scented breezes all around
And birds sang anthems to the dying day;
Or wander where the murm'ring river ran,
While tales of love gave birth to cheerful smiles.
And just as pleasant in the winter tide
To tread the hard, crisp roads; and watch the stars,
That looked like angel-lovers gladd’ning earth,
While we hummed homely airs, and never dreamt
That aught but death could e'er divide our hearts.
"Ah! death assumed most unsuspected guise,-
The guise of one whom I deemed friend, alas!
And whom I'd made my confidant of hopes
To be fulfilled in future happy days.
You know the rest. My friend became my foe
And won the heart of her I loved, though that
I might have brooked in silence and in pain,
But he a villain proved, and mocked her tears.
I learnt the truth; then sought, and found him, too,
Though not alone, as my heart wished. Arose
Within my breast the promptings of wild hate,
And, like a furied fiend, with fierce intent
I grasped his throat and dashed him to the ground,
And would have slain him there had those around
Not dragged my tightening fingers from his flesh.
"Thus foiled, a sudden impulse seized my soul, And hate intense begat intenser love.
From those who held me I sprang forth, then rushed
To find my Ruth and clasp her to my breast;
I yearned, at least, to heal her sorrowed heart,
Forget her wrong, and love her as of old.
But when I found her, my poor girl was dead.
There on the cruel river's bank she lay,
The water dripping from her golden hair,
Those golden ringlets I had fondled oft!
I clasped her hand and gazed into her eyes,
Whose steadfast stare seems now to pierce me through,
And placed my lips against her clay-cold cheek
Till presently they bore her from my sight.
"Night came; the wandering wind was wailing wild,
And dreary rains were lashing all the land;
I felt them not, I only felt the fire
That raged within my soul, and wandered on
With pale and haggard features, glaring, blood-shot eyes,
Dishevelled hair, clenched fists, and boiling blood!
Amid the chaos of my brain one thought
Usurped despotic sway and led me on
And on, with purpose fixed and fierce-to kill,
To murder him who slew my only love!
"Ere long I found the thing I sought-alone! I heard the sound of voices, heard them say
'Good night,' 'Good night.' One voice I knew; 'twas his! I cowered low, till, with quick step, he passed,
Then, silent as a tiger, followed swift.
When he had gained the meadow he must cross,
I quickened pace, and saw him speed before.
'Hillo, hillo!' I cried; he stood to hear,
And ere a moment passed I reached his side.
There was a look of terror in his face,
And, seeing me, he screamed, and would have fled,
But, with a grasp of steel, I clutched his throat,
And, though he craved for mercy, strangled him,
And crushed the reptile's form beneath my foot,
Then left him lying on the meadow path,
And onwards swiftly sped-I know not where-
Until, o'ercome by agony of heart,
Upon the grass in dark despair I fell!
My throat was parched, a mist came o'er my eyes,
My head was racked, the blood forsook my veins,
And coldness, by degrees, my senses numbed.
"When I awoke, as 'twere from a long dream
Of agonizing thought, I was confined
Within these walls, and knew they called me mad."
THE PAUPER'S CHILD.*-AUGUSTA MOORE
A LEGEND OF JEWANKEE MOUNTAIN.
Bleak were the hills and the cold wind was sweeping
Their cloud-shadowed sides with a desolate moan
When a poor little wanderer, bare-foot and weeping,
Was treading their frost-bitten footpaths alone.
His father and mother were sleeping together
Where over their bosoms the dark clods were piled: Untroubled they slept, though the sere mountain heather Was wet by the tears of their shelterless child.
The birches and beeches their bare limbs were swinging
Aloft to the winter sky somber and gray;
The drear winds of winter sad anthems were singing;
But still the young wanderer held on his way.
The sweet-scented cedars and dark pines before him
Were soughing and sobbing as swept by the blast; The tall hemlock sighed as its branches waved o'er him
As over crisp mosses his bleeding feet passed. *By permission of the Author.
His blood stained the mosses, his tears gemmed the heather;
His brown hair streamed out on the winter wind wild,
But low in their pauper's grave, sleeping together,
His father and mother dreamed not of their child.
The darkness of night settled down on the mountain;
The feathery snow began softly to fall;
The frost was enchaining both river and fountain,
Preparing the earth for its beautiful pall.
The little one stumbled; his sore feet were weary,
Their desolate march through the desert was o'er; His couch was a hard one, his chamber was dreary;
But over the mountains he wandered no more. The spirit-like snowflakes came softly around him, And gently they covered the sleeper forlorn; Thus pitying nature a winding-sheet found him, And buried him deep ere the light of the morn.
THE OLD FISHERMAN.
He was old and weather-beaten, and his clothes were the same, but there was an expression of supreme content upon his tanned face as he sat on the edge of the wharf yesterday afternoon and let his legs dangle down. In his mouth was a pipe that had been new and sweet in the dear, dead long ago, and in his right hand he held one end of a fishline. The other end was held down upon the bottom of the river, a long distance from the shore.
"Any luck, captain?" asked a young man who was strolling by. It is considered the proper thing to call every man along the river who is old and weather-beaten "captain."
"Nope-they an't a-bitin' much to-day."
"They don't bite much anyway these days, do they ?" Nope-not like they useter. 'Tuseter be so't I could come down here an' catch a basketful in mebbe an hour or so."
"That was quite long ago, wasn't it?"
"Yep, quite a spell ago. I'member one time-hello!" The old man had given his line a vicious jerk and was now all excitement.