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I had been sitting up some nights,
And my tired mind felt weak and blank;
Like a sharp strengthening wine, it drank The stillness and the broken lights.
Silence was speaking at my side
With an exceedingly clear voice :
I knew the calm as of a choice Made in God for me to abide.
I said, “ Full knowledge does not grieve :
This which upon my spirit dwells
Perhaps would have been sorrow else : But I am glad 'tis Christmas Eve." Twelve struck. That sound, which all the years Hear in each hour, crept off; and then
The ruffled silence spread again, Like water that a pebble stirs.
Our mother rose from where she sat.
Her needles, as she laid them down, Met lightly, and her silken gown Settled: no other noise than that.
“ Glory unto the Newly-Born !”.
So, as said angels, she did say;
Because we were in Christmas-day, Though it would still be long till dawn.
She stood a moment with her hands
Kept in each other, praying much ;
A moment that the soul may touch But the heart only understands.
Almost unwittingly, my mind
Repeated her words after her;
Perhaps though my lips did not stir;
There was a pushing back of chairs
As some who had sat unawares
Anxious, with softly stepping haste,
Our mother went where Margaret lay,
Fearing the sounds o'erhead-should they Have broken her long-watch'd for rest!
She stoop'd an instant, calm, and turn’d;
But suddenly turn'd back again;
And all her features seem'd in pain With woe, and her eyes gazed and yearn'd.
For my part, I but hid my face,
And held my breath, and spake no word:
There was none spoken ; but I heard The silence for a little space.
Our mother bow'd herself and wept.
And both my arms fell, and I said :
“God knows I knew that she was dead." And there, all white, my sister slept.
Then kneeling, upon Christmas morn
A little after twelve o'clock,
We said, ere the first quarter struck, “ Christ's blessing on the newly born!”
TO A CANARY BIRD.
By Mary Ann BROWNE. Sing, little bird with the silken wing, And tell us where thou hast learn'd to sing.
Thou wast not nursed in the greenwood free,
Nor hast thou caught the spring's first breath,
The rising morn, like the happy lark,
Sing, little bird, fold thy silken wing,
'Tis not the memory of hills or woods,
There's a spirit within that heart of thine
God is thy teacher, the God of love
Sing, little bird, rejoice and sing,
A passage in LONGFELLOW's Evangeline. " Far in the West there lies a desert land where the
mountains Lift, through perpetual snows, their lofty and luminous
summits, Down from their desolate, deep ravines, where the gorge,
like a gateway, Opens a passage rude to the wheels of the emigrant's
waggon, Westward the Oregon flows the Walleway and the Owhyhee. Eastward, with devious course, among the Wind-river
Mountains, Through the Sweet-water Valley precipitate leaps the
Nebraska ; And to the south, from Fontaine-qui-bout and the Spanish
sierras, Fretted with sands and rocks, and swept by the wind of the
desert, Numberless torrents, with ceaseless sound descend to the
ocean, Like the great chords of a harp, in loud and solemn vibra
tions. Spreading between these streams are the wondrous beautiful
prairies. Billowy bays of grass ever rolling in shadow and sunshine, Bright with luxuriant clusters of roses and purple amorphas. Over them wander the buffalo herds, and the elk, and the
roebuck; Over them wander the wolves, and herds of riderless horses; Fires that blast and blight, and winds that are weary with
travel ; Over them wander the scatter'd tribes of Ishmael's children, Staining the desert with blood; and above their terrible
war-trails Circles and sails aloft, on pinions majestic, the vulture, Like the implacable soul of a chieftain slaughter'd in battle, By invisible stairs ascending and scaling the heavens. Here and there rise smoke from the camps of these savage
marauders ; Here and there rise groves from the margins of swift run
And the grim, taciturn bear, the anchorite monk of the Climbs down their dark ravines to dig for roots by the
brook-side, And over all this is the sky, the clear and crystalline
heaven, Like the protecting hand of God inverted above it.
TO A FRIEND WHO HAD SENT ME SOME ROSES.
A Soanet, by Keats.
What time the skylark shakes the tremulous dew
From his lush clover covert ;-when anew
A fresh-blown musk-rose; 'twas the first that threw
Its sweets upon the summer: graceful it grew
I thought the garden-rose it far excel'd ;
My sense with their deliciousness was spellid:
THE FIVE CHILDREN. A Ballad by S. M., author of Lays from English History, &c. The incident is founded on a narrative in the newspapers. It is taken froin the Forget me Not, an annual of the year 1847. It well deserves a place here.
Ou, gently sways the rocking boat
Upon the sleepy seas ;
And the murmuring breeze