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Till at length the bell at midnight
Sounded from its dark abode, And, from out a neighbouring farm-yard,
Loud the cock Alectryon crowed.
Then, with nostrils wide distended,
Breaking from his iron chain, And unfolding far his pinions,
To those stars he soared again.
On the morrow, when the village
Woke to all its toil and care,
Lo! the strange steed had departed,
And they knew not when nor where.
But they found, upon the greensward
Where his struggling hoofs had trod, Pure and bright, a fountain flowing
From the hoof-marks in the sod.
From that hour, the fount unfailing
Gladdens the whole region round, Strengthening all who drink its waters,
While it soothes them with its sound.
A ring upon his finger,
And whispered in his ear.
They launched the burning ship!
It floated far away
Over the misty sea,
Till like the sun it seemed,
Sinking beneath the waves.
Balder returned no more !
So perish the old Gods !
But out of the sea of Time
Rises a new land of song,
Fairer than the old.
Over its meadows green
Walk the young bards and sing.
Build it again,
O ye bards,
Fairer than before !
Ye fathers of the new race,
Feed upon morning dew,
Sing the new Song of Love !
The law of force is dead !
The law of love prevails !
Thor, the thunderer,
Shall rule the earth no more,
No more, with threats,
Challenge the meek Christ.
Sing no more,
O ye bards of the North,
Of Vikings and of Jarls!
Of the days of Eld
Preserve the freedom only,
Not the deeds of blood !
ON MRS. KEMBLE'S READINGS FROM SIIAKSPEARE.
O PRECIOUS evenings ! all too swiftly sped !
Leaving us heirs to amplest heritages
Of all the best thoughts of the greatest sages,
And giving tongues unto the silent dead!
How our hearts glowed and trembled as she read,
Interpreting by tones the wondrous pages
Of the great poet who foreruns the ages,
Anticipating all that shall be said !
O happy Reader ! having for thy text
The magic book, whose Sibylline leaves have caught
The rarest essence of all human thought !
O happy Poet! by no critic vext!
How must thy listening spirit now rejoice
To be interpreted by such a voice !
God sent his Singers upon earth
With songs of sadness and of mirth,
That they might touch the hearts of men,
And bring them back to heaven again.