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النشر الإلكتروني

72

THE CORAL GROVE.

Comes up the laugh of children, the soft voice
Of maidens, and the sweet and solemn hymn
Of Sabbath worshippers. The low of herds
Blends with the rustling of the heavy grain
Over the dark-brown furrows. All at once
A fresher wind sweeps by, and breaks my dream,
And I am in the wilderness alone.

THE CORAL GROVE.

BY J. G. PERCIVAL.

DEEP in the wave is a coral grove,
Where the purple mullet and goldfish rove,
Where the sea-flower spreads its leaves of blue,
That never are wet with falling dew,

But in bright and changeful beauty shine,
Far down in the green and glassy brine;
The floor is of sand, like the mountain drift,
And the pearl shells spangle the flinty snow;
From coral rocks the sea-plants lift
Their boughs, where the tides and billows flow;
The water is calm and still below,

For the winds and waves are absent there,
And the sands are bright as the stars that glow
In the motionless fields of upper air:
There with its waving blade of green,
The sea-flag streams through the silent water,
And the crimson leaf of the dulse is seen
To blush, like a banner bathed in slaughter:
There, with a light and easy motion,

The fan-coral sweeps through the clear deep sea;
And the yellow and scarlet tufts of ocean
Are bending like corn on the upland lea:

THE LOST HUNTER.

And life, in rare and beautiful forms,

Is sporting amid those bowers of stone,

And is safe, when the wrathful spirit of storms
Has made the top of the wave his own:
And when the ship from his fury flies,
Where the myriad voices of ocean roar,

When the wind-god frowns in the murky skies,
And demons are waiting the wreck on shore;
Then far below in the peaceful sea,

The purple mullet and goldfish rove,
Where the waters murmur tranquilly,

Through the bending twigs of the coral grove.

THE LOST HUNTER.

BY ALFRED B. STREET.

NUMB'D by the piercing, freezing air,
And burden'd by his game,
The hunter, struggling with despair,
Dragg'd on his shivering frame;

The rifle he had shoulder'd late
Was trail'd along, a weary weight;

His pouch was void of food;

The hours were speeding in their flight,
And soon the long, keen, winter night
Would wrap the solitude.

Oft did he stoop a listening ear,

Sweep round an anxious eye,—

No bark or axe-blow could he hear,
No human trace descry.

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74

THE LOST HUNTER.

His sinuous path, by blazes, wound
Among trunks group'd in myriads round;
Through naked boughs, between
Whose tangled architecture, fraught
With many a shape grotesquely wrought,
The hemlock's spire was seen.

An antler'd dweller of the wild

Had met his eager gaze,

And far his wandering steps beguiled

Within an unknown maze;

Stream, rock, and run-way he had cross'd,
Unheeding, till the marks were lost
By which he used to roam;

And now, deep swamp and wild ravine
And rugged mountains were between
The hunter and his home.

A dusky haze which slow had crept
On high, now darken'd there,
And a few snow-flakes fluttering swept
Athwart the thick, gray air,

Faster and faster, till between

The trunks and boughs, a mottled screen
Of glimmering motes was spread,
That tick'd against each object round
With gentle and continuous sound,
Like brook o'er pebbled bed.

The laurel tufts that drooping hung
Close roll'd around their stems,
And the sear beech-leaves still that clung,
Were white with powdering gems.

But, hark! afar a sullen moan
Swell'd out to louder, deeper tone,

As surging near it pass'd,

THE LOST HUNTER,

And, bursting with a roar, and shock
That made the groaning forest rock,

On rush'd the winter blast.

As o'er it whistled, shriek'd, and hiss'd,
Caught by its swooping wings,
The snow was whirl'd to eddying mist,
Barb'd, as it seem'd, with stings;
And now 'twas swept with lightning flight
Above the loftiest hemlock's height,
Like drifting smoke, and now

It hid the air with shooting clouds,
And robed the trees with circling shrouds,
Then dash'd in heaps below.

Here, plunging in a billowy wreath,
There, clinging to a limb,

The suffering hunter gasp'd for breath,
Brain reel'd, and eye grew dim;
As though to whelm him in despair,
Rapidly changed the blackening air
To murkiest gloom of night,

Till nought was seen around, below,
But falling flakes and mantled snow,
That gleam'd in ghastly white.
At every blast an icy dart

Seem'd through his nerves to fly,
The blood was freezing to his heart—
Thought whisper'd he must die.

The thundering tempest echo'd death,
He felt it in his tighten❜d breath;
Spoil, rifle, dropp'd, and slow,
As the dread torpor crawling came
Along his staggering stiffening frame,
He sunk upon the snow,

75

76

THE LOST HUNTER.

Reason forsook her shatter'd throne,

He deem'd that summer-hours
Again around him brightly shone

In sunshine, leaves, and flowers;
Again the fresh, green forest-sod,
Rifle in hand, he lightly trod,-

He heard the deer's low bleat;
Or, couch'd within the shadowy nook,
He drank the crystal of the brook
That murmur'd at his feet.

It changed;—his cabin roof o'erspread,
Rafter, and wall, and chair,

Gleam'd in the crackling fire, that shed
Its warmth, and he was there;
His wife had clasp'd his hand, and now
Her gentle kiss was on his brow,

His child was prattling by,

The hound crouch'd, dozing, near the blaze,
And through the pane's frost-pictured haze
He saw the white drifts fly.

That pass'd;-before his swimming sight

Does not a figure bound,

And a soft voice, with wild delight,

Proclaim the lost is found?

No, hunter, no! 'tis but the streak
Of whirling snow-the tempest's shriek-
No human aid is near!

Never again that form will meet

Thy clasp'd embrace-those accents sweet

Speak music to thine ear.

Morn broke ;-away the clouds were chased,
The sky was pure and bright,

And on its blue the branches traced

Their webs of glittering white.

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