صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

VERY person's feelings have a front-door and side-door by which

they may be entered. The front-door is on the street. Some keep it always open; some keep it latched; some, locked; some, bolted, —with a chain that will let you peep in, but not get in; and some nail it up, so that nothing can pass its threshold. This front-door

leads into a passage which opens into an ante-room, and this into the interior apartments. The side-door opens at once into the sacred chambers.

There is almost always at least one key to this side-door, This is carried for years hidden in a mother's bosom. Fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends, often, but by no means so universally, have duplicates of it. The wedding-ring conveys a right to one; alas, if none is given with it!

Be very careful to whom you trust one of these keys of the side-door. The fact of possessing one renders those even who are dear to you very terrible at times. You can keep the world out from your front-door, or receive visitors only when you are ready for them; but those of your own flesh and blood, or of certain grades of intimacy, can come in at the sidedoor, if they will, at any hour and in any mood. Some of them have a scale of your whole nervous system, and can play all the gamut of your sensibilities in semitones,-touching the naked nerve-pulps as a pianist strikes the keys of his instrument. I am satisfied that there are as great masters of this nerve-playing as Vieuxtemps or Thalberg in their lines of performance. Married life is the school in which the most accomplished artists in this department are found. A delicate woman is the best instrument; she has such a magnificent compass of sensibilities! From the deep inward moan which follows pressure on the great nerves of right, to the sharp cry as the filaments of the taste are struck with a crushing sweep, is a range which no other instrument possesses. A few exercises on it daily at home fit a man wonderfully for his habitual labors, and refresh him immensely as he returns from them No stranger can get a great many notes



of torture out of a human soul; it takes one that knows it well,-parent, child, brother, sister, intimate. Be very careful to whom you give a sidedoor key; too many have them already.

[graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic]

Down on the sharp-horned ledges,

Plunging in steep cascade, Tossing its white-maned waters

Against the hemlock's shade. Woodsy and wild and lonesome,

East and west and north and south; Only the village of fishers

Down at the river's mouth ; Only here and there a clearing,

With its farm-house rude and new, And tree-stumps, swart as Indians,

Where the scanty harvest grew.
No shout of home-bound reapers,

No vintage-song he heard,
And on the green no dancing feet

The merry violin stirred.

Small heed had the careless cobbler

What sorrow of heart was theirs Who travailed in pain with the births of God,

And planted a state with prayers, Hunting of witches and warlocks,

Smiting the heathen horde, One hand on the mason's trowel,

And one on the soldier's sword ! But give him his ale and cider,

Give him his pipe and song, Little he cared for Church or State,

Or the balance of right and wrong. “ Tis work, work, work," he muttered,

And for rest a snufile of psalms !" He smote on his leathern apron

With his brown and waxen palms.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small]


O for the breath of vineyards,

Of apples and nuts and wine! For an oar to row and a breeze to blow

Down the grand old river Rhine !" A tear in his blue eye glistened,

And dropped on his beard so gray. " Old, old am I," said Keezar,

" And the Rhine flows far away !" But a cunning man was the cobbler ;

He could call the birds from the trees, Charm the black snake out of the ledges,

And bring back the swarming bees. All the virtues of herbs and metals,

All the lore of the woods, he knew, And the arts of the Old World mingled

With the marvels of the New.
Well he knew the tricks of magic,

And the lapstone on his knee
Had the gift of the Mormon's goggles,

Or the stone of Doctor Dee.
For the mighty master, Agrippa,

Wrought it with spell and rhyme From a fragment of mystic moonstone

In the tower of Nettesheim. To a cobbler, Minnesinger,

The marvelous stone gave he, And he gave it, in turn, to Keezar,

Who brought it over the sea.

But the mighty forest was broken,

By many a steepled town,
By many a white-walled farm-house,

And many a garner brown.
Turning a score of mill-wheels,

The stream no more ran free; White sails on the winding river,

White sails on the far-off sea. Below in the noisy village

The flags were floating gay, And shone on a thousand faces

The light of a holiday. Swiftly the rival ploughmen

Turned the brown earth from their shares: Here were the farmer's treasures,

There were the craftsman's wares. Golden the goodwife's butter,

Ruby the currant-wine;

[graphic][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][graphic][subsumed][subsumed]

“But where are the clowns and puppets,

And imps with horns and tail ? And where are the Rhenish flagons ?

And where is the foaming ale?
"Strange things I know will happen, -

Strange things the Lord permits ;
But that droughty folks should be jolly

Puzzles my poor old wits.
• Here are smiling manly faces,

And the maiden's step is gay, Nor sad by thinking, nor mad by drinking,

Nor mopes, nor fools, are they. - Here's pleasure without regretting,

And good without abuse, The holiday and bridal

Of beauty and of use.

It rolled down the rugged hillside,

It spun like a wheel bewitched, It plunged through the leaning willows,

And into the river pitched. There in the deep, dark water,

The magic stone lies still, Under the leaning willows

In the shadow of the hill. But oft the idle fisher

Sits on the shadowy bank, And his dreams make marvelous pictures

Where the wizard's lapstone sank. And still, in the summer twilights,

When the river seems to run Out from the inner glory,

Warm with the melted sun,

« السابقةمتابعة »