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"'Twas Angels all, a dazzling throng, With wings of rose and golden down, With hair of sunbeams pale and long, To each bright face a streaming crown. 20.
"They floated o'er the trees and rocks,
They sat o'er all the grassy dell, They hid the hills in glancing flocks, And seemed amid the stars to dwell. 21. "And One to me, the nearest there, Upon a brown and craggy steep, Raised up toward heaven a face so
With inmost joy I longed to weep.
22. "He held a branch of darkest yew That dropped with glittering tears of rain,
And loud he sang a song that drew All things around beneath the strain. 23.
"He sang of love, and death, and life, And worlds and hearts, the homes of these ;
Of peace that conquers every strife, Of grief whose pang the spirit frees;
More softly gleamed with shifting dyes,
And flushing drank the blissful sound. 26.
"Of all that is, and journeys on From worst of ill to best of good; For not a moment e'er is gone But in the next survives renewed. 25. "And while he sang, the earth and skies,
And all those countless forms around,
VOL. XLIV. NO, CCLXXIII.
"And when that frozen face I saw,
"The dread lips moved; a voice there
Like midnight wind in trees:
His life must ransom this, my dead,
A dark and misty tomb.
"Then loud I spake, with swelling voice,―
To him thy respite give,
And hear my swift and willing choice Nor taught me more to fear.
"There dawned again my Henry's look,
Upon the spring-clad fields and woods, The churchyard graves and tall church-tower,
The warm, pure daylight softly broods,
"Above him poured a blaze of light,
The darkness round him glowed.
The vast sepulchral Yew-tree waves,
The only sad and helpless thing,
43. "Like God he sat, serene and mild, In snowy whiteness clad; His face with sunlike glory smiled, And made all being glad.
These live not now, for all is dead
"No roof was there; the stars of heaven
"In circling lines the Angel race,
"But Angels' looks were nought to
Who saw beside me clear
My Henry's eyes, that now could see,
"No voice of God or Angel spoke,
"But still I saw his fondest gaze,
The smooth sweet air is blowing round,
It mounts and sings away to heaven,
7. It skims above the flat green meadow, And darkening sweeps the gray mill
Along the hill it drives the shadow,
But round that hoar and haggard man
Upon a bench before his door He sits, with weak and staring eyes, He sits and looks, for straight before The grave that holds his daughter lies. 10. If any come with him to speak, In dull harsh words he bids them go; For this strong earth he seems too weak,
For breathing life too cramped and slow.
11. A gnawing rage, an aimless heat, Have scored and set his grating face; His eyes like ghosts the gazer greet, The guards of misery's dwelling-place.
A sun-dial pillar left alone,
That hears no water trickle by;
That only shows the name of Jane. 14. 'Tis thus he sits from hour to hour, Amid the breeze beneath the sky; And still, when beats the noisy shower, The cottage doorway keeps him dry.
With open door he shelters there,
Upon his daughter's grave he stares,
But while, like some gray stump, he sits,
Dried up at root, and shorn of all, Still nature round him works and flits,
And fills and lights her festival. 19.
And e'en around his daughter's grave, Where Life for him in Death is cold, Fair growth goes on, and grasses wave, And coloured flies their revels hold.
He tended still the primrose flowers, He decked with them his Mary's mound,
From morning's burst to soothing eve He loitered near the hallowed spot; And though he never ceased to grieve, The pangs of grief he now forgot.
In what to him were Sabbath hours On Henry's grave he set them round.
44. And sometimes when a funeral came, With pensive eyes the train he saw; Bareheaded stood, and so would claim His share in others' grief and awe. 45. But once 'twas more than this. There died
A worn-out widow's only good, A daughter, all her help and pride, Who toiled to gain their daily food. 46. Who saw their state might well confess
Such boundless want was strange to
For little can the rich man guess
And when the burial all was o'er, And there the mother stayed alone, With fingers clasped, and weeping
THOUGHTS ON ORPHEUS.
OH, the blessing upon and throughout the whole man, of the first real, warm, green light, and genial glow of Spring! Not as it is seen in towns, giving but a more brazen face to brick presumption, but as it steals gently upon the country, amid rocks and trees, into the deep shade, like a longmourned spirit returning re-embodied from the dead, bearing at once the twofold charm of earthly and Elysian loveliness. Such was Alcestis-Alcestis! the restored Alcestis! We have been reading the beautiful tale the volume of Euripides is open upon the now growing grass-our scholars, whose youthful, hopeful hearts, drew in from the gentle Greek generosity, and the sweet passion, even hence incipient, and soon ready to burst the bud, and open with the promise of perfect love our scholars have bounded away like young fawns stricken, not unconscious of the pleasing wound; and we, lying upon the sunny green, saw them upon the verge of the shade, the dark eye, as it were, of the deep dell before us-and a change came o'er them and us. Is it dream or vision? They have robed behind the trees, and bearded too-they present us with their tasks-we take them graciously.-So-they are signed, Euripides-Shakspeare - Alcestisthe Winter's Tale. Then two come up behind them, and look over their shoulders. We know them instinctively-Virgil and Ovid; and there leans the melancholy Orpheus beneath the caverned rock; and deep in its hollow are dimly seen Eurydice and Alcestis in parting embrace, and one with head averted, and in deeper shadow-Alcestis bending forwards, and half in a reflected mysterious light. Then came another, and took up the lyre which Orpheus had left unheeded beside him. He struck; it was Gluck's "Euridice:" "Che farò senza Euridice? dóve andrò senza il mio ben?" Oh, the heart-piercing sounds! Orpheus started up and rushed into the deepest wood, and the voice of his moaning was lost in the indistinct howling of the dimly moving tigers that followed the incantation of his wo. Then did the measure change
to a dying sound; and Alcestis fell back in the shade, fainting upon the supporting arm of a scarce distinguishable figure; and the music was also Gluck's, "Le pur cara è a me la vita." We awoke-the vision passed
Oh, that it would return!
But here is the most substantive presence of it still before us. Here lie the sun-lit pages worthy of such illumination-Euripides, Virgil, Ovid, Orpheus, Shakspeare; and, apart, what is this modest volume? Elton! His tale, too, is of Orpheus-it is a dream. We must, however, keep up our character of Master, and hear our class. The tale of Orpheus is, doubtless, the original of the plays. And how simple the story is! Örpheus, a man-more, a poet-a husband-more, an adoring husbandloses his wife. Lyre in hand, he descends to the infernal regions, and by his art of song obtains the boon h seeks her restoration, but upon the condition that he must not look back in the passage to the upper world. He is overcome by his love, and regards not the condition. He looks back, and she is lost to him-for ever! Here all is tragic, for Orpheus himself is torn to pieces by the Bacchants whose love he scorns. How could this tale have arisen but from a dream? how often does the blessedness of sleep restore!—Then the waking-the looking back—and what utter desolation is there of the heart! As Wordsworth says of his Lucy, "Oh! the difference to me," a fully exact translation of the passage in Euripides of the exclamation of the husband of Alcestis-Toλù yàg Tò μścov.
Admetus. Ω σχῆμα δόμων, πως εἰσέλθω;