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O RIGHTEOUS doom, that they who make pleasure their only end, ordering the whole life for its sake, miss that whereto they tend; while they who bid stern duty lead, content to follow, they, of duty only taking heed, find pleasure by the way. DR. TRENCH.
ALEXANDER THE GREAT.
Br Grecian annals it remained untold, but may be read in Eastern legend old, how, when Great Alexander died, he bade that his two hands uncovered might be laid outside the bier, for men therewith to see, men who had seen him in his majesty,—that he had gone the common way of all, and nothing now his own in death might call; nor, of the treasures of two empires, aught within those empty hands, unto the grave had brought.
THERE all the happy souls that ever were, shall meet with gladness in one theatre; and each shall know there one another's face, by beatific virtue of the place. There shall the brother with the sister walk, and sons and daughters with their parents talk; but all of God: they still shall have to say, but make him, all in all, their theme that day; that happy day that never shall see night! Where He will be all beauty to the sight; wine or delicious fruits unto the taste; a music in the ears will ever last; unto the scent, a spicery or balm; and to the touch, a flower, like soft as palm. BEN JONSON.
LEAVES have their time to fall, and flowers to wither, at the north wind's breath, and stars to set-but all, thou hast all seasons for thine own, O Death!
Day is for mortal care, eve for glad meetings round the joyous hearth, night for the dreams of sleep, the voice of prayer, but all for thee, thou mightiest of the earth!
We know when moons shall wane, when summer-birds from far shall cross the sea, when autumn's hue shall tinge the golden grain; but who shall teach us when to look for thee?
Is it when spring's first gale comes forth to whisper where the
HOME AT LAST.
violets lie? is it when roses in our paths grow pale? They have one season-all are ours to die!
Thou art where billows foam; thou art where music melts upon the air; thou art around us in our peaceful home; and the world calls us forth-and thou art there!
Thou art where friend meets friend, beneath the shadow of the elm to rest; thou art where foe meets foe, and trumpets rend the skies, and swords beat down the princely crest!
HOME AT LAST.*
SISTER MARY, come and sit here beside me in the bay of the window,-ruby-lit with the last gleams of the day. Steeped in crimson through and through glow the battlements of vapour; while above them, in the blue, Hesper lights his tiny taper. Look! the rook flies westward, darling, flapping slowly overhead; see, in dusty clouds, the starling whirling to the willow-bed. Through the lakes of mist, that lie breast-deep in the fields below, underneath the darkening sky, home the weary reapers go. Peace and rest at length have come, all the day's long toil is past; and each heart is whispering "Home,-home at last!"
Mary in your great grey eyes I can see the long-represt grief, whose earnest look denies that to-night each heart's at rest. Twelve long years ago you parted, he to India went alone; young and strong and hopeful-hearted,-"Oh, he would not long be gone." Twelve long years have lingered by; youth and strength and hope have fled; life beneath an Indian sky withers limb and whitens head. But his faith has never faltered; time his noble heart has spared; yet, dear, he is sadly altered, so he writes me. Be prepared! I have news,-good news! He says,-In this hurried note and short,-that his ship, ere many days, will be anchored safe in port. Courage!—Soon, dear, will he come,-those few days will fly so fast; yes! he's coming, Mary,-Home,-home at last."
Idle words!-yet strangely fit. In a vessel, leagues away, in the cabin, ruby-lit by the last gleams of the day, calm and still the loved-one lies; never tear of joy or sorrow shall unseal those heavy eyes, they will ope to no to-morrow. Folded hands upon a breast where no feverish pulses flutter, speak of an unbroken rest that no earthly tongue may utter. And a sweet smile seems to grow, seems to hover on the lip, as the shadows come and go with the motion of the ship. Rest and Peace at length have come.Rest and Peace how deep and vast; weary wanderer, truly Home,-Home at last. T. HOOD.
This and the two following are spaced.
THE ROAD TO THE TRENCHES.
"LEAVE me, comrades, here I drop. No, sir, take them on; all are wanted, none shall stop, duty must be done. Those whose guard you take will find me as they pass below." So the soldier spoke, and staggering, fell amid the snow; and ever on the dreary heights down came the snow.
Men, it must be as he asks; duty must be done; far too few
for half our tasks, we can spare not one. I need it less: fear not they shall know; stunted larch. Forward!"-On they go, and march, down sank the snow.
Wrap him in this; mark the place, yon silent, on their silent
O'er his features as he lies, calms the wrench of pain: close faint eyes, pass cruel skies, freezing mountain plain: with far, soft sounds the stillness teems; church bells-voices low, passing into English dreams there amid the snow; and darkening, thickening o'er the heights, down fell the snow.
Looking, looking for the mark, down the others came, struggling through the snowdrifts stark, calling out his name; "Here-or there? the drifts are deep; have we passed him?" No; look! a little growing heap, snow above the snow, where heavy on his heavy sleep down fell the snow.
Strong hands raised him, voices strong spake within his ears; Ah! his dreams had softer tongue, neither now he hears. One more gone for England's sake, where so many go, lying down without complaint, dying in the snow; starving, striving for her sake, dying in the snow.
Simply done his soldier's part, through long months of woe; all endured with soldier heart, battle, famine, snow; noble, nameless English heart, snow cold,
in the snow.
THE HONEST MAN.
WHO is the honest man? He that doth still and strongly good pursue, to God, his neighbour, and himself most true; whom neither force nor fawning can unpin, or wrench from giving all their due.
Whose honesty is not so loose or easy, that a ruffling wind can blow away, or glittering look it blind; who rides his sure and even trot, while the world now rides by, now lags behind.
Who, when great trials come, nor seeks nor shuns them; but doth calmly stay till he the thing and the example weigh,-all being brought into a sum,-what place or person calls for, he doth
Whom none can work or woo, to use in anything a trick or
sleight; for above all things he abhors deceit: his words and works and fashion too all of a piece, and all are clear and straight.
melts or thaws at close temptations: when the day is done, his goodness sets not, but in dark can run the sun to others writeth laws, and is their virtue; virtue is his sun.
This is the marksman, safe and sure, who still is right, and prays to be so still. GEORGE HERBERT.
THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN.
THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN.
The old belief was that music had the power to drive away serpents, vermin, and other pests. Hence, in some parts of Germany to this day an organ-grinder is called a rat-catcher. Pied means with a parti-coloured dress; and we have the same word in piebald.
HAMELIN TOWN's in Brunswick, by famous Hanover city; the river Weser deep and wide washes its walls on the southern side; a pleasanter spot you never spied; but, when begins my ditty, almost five hundred years ago, to see the townsfolk suffer so from vermin, was a pity.
Rats! they fought the dogs and killed the cats, and bit the babies in their cradles, and ate the cheeses out of the vats, and licked the soup from the cook's own ladles, split open the kegs of salted sprats, made nests inside men's Sunday hats, and even spoiled the women's chats, by drowning their speaking with shrieking and squeaking in fifty different sharps and flats.
At last the people in a body to the town-hall came flocking: ""Tis clear," cried they, "our mayor's a noddy: and as for our corporation-shocking to think we buy gowns lined with ermine for dolts that can't or won't determine what's best to rid us of our vermin! You hope, because you're old and obese, to find in the furry civic robe ease! Rouse up, sirs! give your brains a racking to find the remedy we're lacking, or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!" At this the mayor and corporation quaked with a mighty consternation.
An hour they sat in council.-At length the mayor broke silence: "For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell; I wish I were a mile hence! It's easy to bid one rack one's brain-I'm sure my poor head aches again, I've scratched it so, and all in vain. Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap!" Just as he said this, what should hap at the chamber door, but a gentle tap? "Bless us," cried the mayor, "what's that? Anything like the sound of a rat makes my heart go pit-apat!
"Come in!" the mayor cried, looking bigger: and in did come the strangest figure! His queer long coat from heel to head was
half of yellow, and half of red; and he himself was tall and thin, with sharp blue eyes each like a pin, and light loose hair, yet swarthy skin, no tuft on cheek, nor beard on chin, but lips where smiles went out and in-there was no guessing his kith and kin! And nobody could enough admire the tall man and his quaint attire: quoth one, "It's as if my great-grandsire, starting up at the trump of docm's tone, had walked this way from his painted tombstone !' He advanced to the council table: and, "Please your honours," said he, "I'm able, by means of a secret charm to draw all creatures living beneath the sun, that creep, or swim, or fly, or run, after me so as you never saw! And I chiefly use my charm on creatures that do people harm, the mole, the toad, the newt, the viper: and people call me the Pied Piper. Yet," said he, "poor piper as I am, in Tartary I freed the Cham, last June, from his huge swarm of gnats; I eased in Asia the Nizam of a monstrous brood of vampyre bats: and as for what your brain bewilders, if I can rid your town of rats, will you give me a thousand guilders ?" "One? fifty thousand!" was the exclamation of the astonished mayor and corporation.
Into the street the piper stept, smiling first a little smile, as if he knew what magic slept in his quiet pipe the while; then like a musical adept, to blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled, and green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled, like a candle flame where salt is sprinkled; and, ere three shrill notes the pipe had uttered, you heard as if an army muttered; and the muttering grew to a grumbling; and the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling; and out of the houses the rats came tumbling-great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats, brown rats, black rats, grey rats, tawny rats, grave old plodders, gay young friskers, fathers, mother, uncles, cousins, cocking tails and pricking, whiskers, families by tens and dozens, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives-followed the piper for their lives. From street to street he piped, advancing, and step for step they followed dancing, until they came to the river Weser, wherein all plunged and perished, save one, who, stout as Julius Cæsar, swam across, and lived to carry (as he the manuscript he cherished) to Ratland home his commentary,-which was, " At the first shrill notes of the pipe, I heard a sound as of scraping tripe, and putting apples wondrous ripe into a cider press's gripe; and a moving away of pickle-tub boards, and a leaving ajar of conserve cupboards, and a drawing the corks of train-oil-flasks, and a breaking the hoops of butter casks; and it seemed as if a voice (sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery is breathed) called out, Oh, rats, rejoice! the world is grown to one vast drysaltery! so munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon, breakfast, dinner, supper, luncheon! And just as a bulky sugar puncheon, all ready staved, like a great sun shone glorious scarce an inch before me, just as methought it said, 'Come, bore me!'-I found the Weser rolling o'er me."
You should have heard the Hamelin people ringing the bells till