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“Nay, do not smile at me, And mock me with false hope of many days ; My time has come: this is death's filmy haze
That will not let me see Your faces round me, though the lamps are bright And the wine glitters in the sparkling light.
"To die in such a place!
I who once knelt beside my mother's knee
To say my evening prayer. And must it be
That I may ne'er retrace
The pathway of my life, lest haply I
Might do one deed of good before I die?
"And must I die to-night,
With the still echoing songs to mar my peace;
To bid all thoughts of heavenly subjects cease?
Ere the sun's golden light
Streams through the windows of this awful place,
Death will have stamped his impress on my face.
“Oh, listen to my voice,
Ye, who have often shouted with delight
At my rude jesting, listen now to-night.
Ye, who in youth rejoice,
Be warned by me, and stay while yet 'tis time,
Ere your young souls get hardened unto crime.
“Oh, shun the wine-cup now!
Now, while the light of youth is in your eye;
While hope weaves golden colors in your sky;
Ere yet upon yonr brow The frosts of winter fall, and Time's rough share Plow, deep and lasting, bitter furrows there.
“I have been wont sneer
At holy themes, and laugh at those who trod
The path of virtue and looked up to God
With holy, reverent fear.
But now I would give worlds if I could pray
The prayer I would repeat at close of day.
"Raise my head higher now-
Open the windows, let me have more air,
I cannot breathe !--why do you wildly stare?
This cold sweat on my brow Is death, I know, I faint-I reel-I fall! Mind my last words. Ha! may God save you all !”
His head fell back; and they who watched him die
Stood gazing at each other for awhile,
And then with soft, slow steps they one by one
Crept silently away. The banquet-hall
Is silent and deserted, and the walls
Said the glass of wine to his paler brother :
• Let us tell the tales of the past to each other;
I can tell of banquet and revel and mirth,
And the proudest and grandst souls on earth
Fell under my touch as though struck by blight,
Where I was king, for I ruled in might :
From the heads of kings I have torn the crown,
From the heights of fame I have hurled men down';
I have blasted many an honored name;
I have taken virtue and given shame;
I have tempted the youth with a sip, a taste
That has made his future a barren waste.
Greater, far greater than king am I,
Or than any army beneath the sky.
I have made the arm of the driver fail,
And sent the train from the iron rail ;
I have made good ships go down at sea,
And the shrieks of the lost were sweet to me,
For they said, 'Behold how great you be !
Fame, strength, wealth, genius before you fall,
For your might and power are over all.'
Ho! ho ! pale brother,” laughed the wine, “ Can you boast of deeds as great as mine?”
Said the water glass : “I cannot boast
Of a king dethroned or a murdered host;
But I can tell of a heart once sad,
By my crystal drops, made light and glad ;
Of thirsts I've quenched, or brows I've laved,
Of hands I have cooled, and souls I have saved ;
I have leaped throught the valley, dashed down the mountain.
Flowed in the river and played in the fountain,
Slept in the sunshine and dropped from the sky,
And everywhere gladdened the landscape and eye.
I have eased the hot forehead of fever and pain ;
I have made the parched meadows grow fertile with grain ;
I can tell of the powerful wheel of the mill,
That ground out the flour and turned at my will.
I can tell of manhood debased by you,
That I have lifted and crowned anew.
I cheer, I help, I strengthen and aid ;
I gladden the heart of man and maid ;
I set the chained wine-captive free ;
And all are better for knowing me.
These are the tales they told each other,
The glass of wine and the paler brother,
As they set together filled to the brim,
On the rich man's table, rim to rim.
LXXV.-A DRUNKARD'S DREAM.
I PASSED through a cavern gaping wide,
Festooned with snakes on every side, Whose glist’ning eyes with venom gleamed, And from whose mouth blue vapor streamed, And further down, as on I passed, The cave grew smaller, till at last I had to stoop and slowly creep. But still, impelled by hidden power, I crawled along in that dread hour, Which seemed to me like months and years And filled me with tormenting fears. In mould'ring heaps on every side Lay skulls, with orbits glaring wide And grinning jaws that seemed to mock As I crept from silmy rock to rock; And, ever screaming in my ears, The vampires flew, their madd’ning jeers Thick’ning the air like Stygian night, And o'er the senses casting blight, And leaping madly in their flight, Against my face ghast toads did light, And, crawling o'er my palsied hands, Great lizards left their slimy bands. Anon the shriekiug demons rent The stifling air, and through me sent Such thrills of horor and sick’ning dread As never crazed a mortal's head. Then suddenly, by hands unseen, Before my eyes was passed a screen On which in letters bold there stood The drunkard's doom, in words of blood, “ Ne'er to the drunkard shall be given A crown of glory bright in heaven, But in the darkest pit of hell His blackened soul shall ever dwell."
This vanished; but the pageant dread
Went ever on.
Now o'e my head,
A ghastly gleam of sulph'rous light
Burst on my view and made the night
In that dread cave e'en darker seem :
Yet by its fitful, flickering gleam,
Just there before my eyes I saw
A form that filled my soul with awe.
Shrivelled, ghastly, gaunt, it lay
Upon the ground ; its hair was gray
And furrowed deep its pallid cheek ;
Then rising up, it tried to speak,
But with the effort backward fell,
And rent the air with such a yell
As froze the marrow in my bones,
And then, with agonizing tones,
It moaned and groaned, “Despair ! despair !"
Oh! drunkard, backward turn, beware !
Dash down that cursed, poisoned cup
Before it burns thy spirit up!"
Then came a calm and all was still,
Save that a shining, silvery rill,
That tinkled by ’neath shady trees,
Refreshed my eyes and cooled the breeze,
Then kneeling by that brook I prayed :
“Oh! Heavenly Father, who hast made
This sparkling water, hear my prayer
And save my soul from dark despair.
Oh, give me strength to withstand
In this dread hour the tempter's hand.
Oh, grant that I may once more be
A man from Liquor's slavery free.”
Then, bending o'er the brook, I quaffed
From that refreshing stream a draught,
And once more saw the gleam of day-
Without was peace-within, Hope's ray.
LXXVI-THE DRUNKARD'S DREAM.
CHARLES W. DENISON,
THE drunkard dreamed of his old retreat, ,
Of his cozy place in the tap room seat; And the liquor gleamed on his gloating eye, Till his lips to the sparkling glass drew nigh. He lifted it up with an eager glance, And sang as he saw the bubbles dance. "« Aha! I am myself again ! Here's a truce to care, and adieu to pain. Welcome the cup with its creamy foamFarewell to work and a mopy homeWith a jolly crew and a flowing bowl, In bar-room pleasures I love to roll !!! Like a fllash there came to the drunkard's side His angel child, who that night had died ; With a look so gentle and sweet and fond,
She touched his glass with her little wand;
And oft as he raised it up to drink,
She silently tapped on its trembling brink,
Till the drunkard shook from foot to crown,
And set the untasted goblet down.
“Hey, man !'' cried the host, “what meaneth this,
Is the covey sick ? or the dram amiss?
Cheer up, my lad—quick the bumper quaff !”
And he glared around with a fiendish laugh.
The drunkard raised his glass once more,
And looked at its depths as so oft before ;
But started to see on its pictured foam,
The face of his dead little child at home;
Then again the landlord at him sneered,
And the swaggering crowd of drunkards jeered
But still, as he tried that glass to drink,
The wand of his dead one tapped the brink !
The landlord gasped, “I swear, my man,
Thou shalt take every drop of this flowing can!”
The drunkard bowed to the quivering brim,
Though his heart beat fast and his eyes grew dim
But the wand struck harder than before;
The glass was flung on the bar-room floor.
All around the ring the fragments lay,
And the poisonous current rolled away,
The drunkard woke. His dream was gone ;
His bed was bathed in the light of morn;
But he saw, as he shook with pale, cold fear,
A beautiful angel hovering near.
He rose, and that seraph was nigh him still ;
It checked his passions and swayed his will ;
It dashed from his lips the maddening bowl,
And victory gave to his ransomed soul.
Since ever that midnight hour he dreamed,
Our hero has been a man redeemed.
And this is the prayer that he prays alway,
And this is the prayer let us help him pray:
That the angels may come in every land,
To dash the cup from the drunkard's hand.
LXXVII.--THE DREAM OF THE REVELLER.
ROUND the board the Guests were met, the lights above them beaming,
And in their cups, replenished oft, the ruddy wine was streaming ; Their cheeks were flushed, their eyes were bright, their hearts with pleasure bounded, The song was sung, the toast was given, and loud the revel sounded : I drained a gobled with the rest, and cried, “Away with sorrow! Let us be happy for to-day; what care we for to-morrow?”... But as I spoke, my sight grew dim, and slumber deep came o'er me, And, 'mid the whirl of mingling tongues, this vision pass'd before me :-