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8

THE CYCLE OF LIFE.

“ So he crept to his poor garret,

Poor no more, but rich and bright,
For the holy dreams of childhood-

Love, and Rest, and Hope, and Light-
Floated round the Orphan's pillow

Through the starry summer night.

"Day dawned, yet the visions lasted ;

All too weak to rise he lay;
Did he dream that none spake harshly ?-

All were strangely kind that day;
And he thought his treasured roses

Must have charmed all ills away.

And he smiled, though they were fading ;

One by one their leaves were shed;
• Such bright things could never perish,

They would bloom again,' he said ;
When the next day's sun had risen

Child and flowers both were dead.

Know, dear little one! our Father

Does no gentle deed disdain ;
And in hearts that beat in Heaven,

Still all tender thoughts remain ;
Love, on the cold earth beginning,

Lives divine and pure again!”

THE ANGEL'S STORY.

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Thus the angel ceased, and gently

O'er his little burthen leant ;
While the child gazed from the shining,

Loving eyes that o'er him bent,
To the blooming roses by him,

Wondering what that mystery meant.

Then the radiant angel answered,

And with tender meaning smiled : “ Ere your childlike, loving spirit,

Sin and the hard world defiled,
God has given me leave to seek you ;-

I was once that little child !”

*

In the churchyard of that city

Rose a tomb of marble rare, Decked, as soon as spring awakened,

With her buds and blossoms fair;And a humble grave beside it,

No one knew who rested there.

PROCTER.

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A LITTLE fair soul, that knew not sin,

Looked over the edge of Paradise ; And saw one striving to come in,

With fear and tumult in his eyes.

“Oh, brother, is it you ?” he cried ;

“ Your face is like a breath from home; Why do you stay so long outside ?

I am athirst for you to come!

“ Tell me, first, how our mother fares,

And has she wept too much for me?” “ White are her checks, and white are her hairs,

But not from gentle tears for thee."

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THE LITTLE FAIR SOUL.

II

Cannot you break the gathering days,

And, let the light of death come through, Ere his feet stumble in the maze,

Crossed safely by so few, so few ?

For like a cloud upon the sea,

That darkens till you find no shore, So was the face of life to me,

Until I sank for evermore.

“ And like an army in the snow

My days went by, a treacherous train, Each smiling as he struck his blow,

Until I lay among them slain.”

“ O brother! there was a path so clear ! ”

“ There might be, but I never sought.' “ O brother! there was a sword so near!”

" There might be, but I never fought.”

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" Yet sweep this needless gloom aside,

For you are come to the gate at last!” Then in despair that soul replied,

“ The gate is fast-the gate is fast!”

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I cannot move this mighty weight,

I cannot find this golden key;
But hosts of Heaven around us wait,

And none has ever said 'No' to me.

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THE CYCLE OF LIFE.

“ Sweet Saint, put by thy palm and scroll,

And come undo the door for me!” “ Rest thee still, thou little fair soul,

It is not mine to keep the key.”

“ Kind Angel, strike these doors apart !

The air without is dark and cold."
“ Rest thee still, thou little pure heart,

Not for my word will they unfold.”

Up all the shining heights he prayed

For that poor Shadow in the cold;
Still came the word, “ Not ours to aid ;

We cannot make the doors unfold.”

But that poor Shadow still, outside,

Wrung all the sacred air with pain;
And all the souls went up and cried

Where never cry was heard in vain.

No eye beheld the pitying Face,

The answer none might understand ;
But dimly through the silent space

Was scen the stretching of a hand.

SMEDLEY.

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