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A CHILD'S DREAM OF A STAK.
H. W. LONGFELLOW.
ALEASANT was the journey home- / Pleasant was the journey homeward I
All the birds sang loud and sweetly
Having such a noble husband !"
From the sky the sun benignant
Looked upon them through the branches, In his arms he bore the maiden ;
Saying to them, “O my children, Light he thought her as a feather,
Love is sunshine, hate is shadow,
Life is checkered shade and sunshine,
From the sky the moon looked at them, And a bed with boughs of hemlock,
Filled the lodge with mystic splendors, And a fire before the doorway
Whispered to them, “O my children, With the dry cones of the pine-tree.
Day is restless, night is quiet,
Man imperious, woman feeble; All the traveling winds went with them Half is mine, although I follow; O'er the meadow, through the forest;
Ruled by patience, Laughing Water !" All the stars of night looked at them, Watched with sleepless eyes their slumber; Thus it was they journeyed homeward. From his ambush in the oak-tree
Thus it was that Hiawatha Peered the squirrel, Adjidaumo,
To the lodge of old Nokomis Watched with eager eyes the lovers;
Brought the moonlight, starlight, firelight, And the rabbit, the Wabasso,
Brought the sunshine of his people, Scampered from the path before them, Minnehaha, Laughing Water, Peeping, peeping from his burrow,
Handsomest of all women Sat erect upon his haunches,
In the land of the Dacotahs, Watched with curious eyes the lovers. In the land of handsome women.
A CHILD'S DREAM OF A STAR.
THERE was once a child, and he strolled about a good deal, and thought
of a number of things. He had a sister who was a child too, and his constant companion. They wondered at the beauty of flowers; 346
A CHILD'S DREAM OF A STAR.
they wondered at the height and blueness of the sky; they wondered at the depth of the water; they wondered at the goodness and power of God, who made them so lovely.
They used to say to one another sometimes : Supposing all the children upon earth were to die, would the flowers, and the water, and the sky be sorry ? They believed they would be sorry. For, said they, the buds are the children of the flowers, and the little playful streams that gambol down the hillsides are the children of the water, and the smallest bright specks playing at hide and seek in the sky all night must surely be the children of the stars; and they would all be grieved to see their play-mates, the children of men, no more.
There was one clear shining star that used to come out in the sky before the rest, near the church spire, above the graves. It was larger and more beautiful, they thought, than all the others, and every night they watched for it, standing hand-in-hand at a window. Whoever saw it first, cried out," I see the star.” And after that, they cried out both together, knowing so well when it would rise, and where. So they grew to be such friends with it, that before laying down in their bed, they always looked out once again to bid it good night; and when they were turning around to sleep, they used to say, “God bless the star!"
But while she was still very young, oh, very young, the sister drooped, and came to be so weak that she could no longer stand at the window at night, and then the child looked sadly out by himself, and when
he saw the star, turned round and said to the patient pale face on the bed, •“I see the star!” and then a smile would come upon the face, and a little weak voice used to say, “God bless my brother and the star!”
And so the time came, all too soon, when the child looked out all alone, and when there was no face on the bed, and when there was a grave among the graves, not there before, and when the star made long rays down toward him as he saw it through his tears. Now these rays were so bright, and they seemed to make such a shining way from earth to heaven, that when the child went to his solitary bed, he dreamed about the star; and dreamed that, lying where he was, he saw a train of people taken up that sparkling road by angels; and the star, opening, showing him a great world of light, where many more such angels waited to receive them.
All these angels, who were waiting, turned their beaming eyes upon the people who were carried up into the star; and some came out from the long rows in which they stood, and fell upon the people's necks, and kissed them tenderly, and went away with them down avenues of light, and were so happy in their company, that lying in his bed he wept for joy.
A CHILD'S DREAM OF A STAR. 347
But there were many angels who did not go with them, and among them one he knew. The patient face that once had lain upon the bed was glorified and radiant, but his heart found out his sister among all the host. - His sister's angel lingered near the entrance of the star, and said to the leader among those who had brought the people thither: “Is my brother come?" And he said, “No!” She was turning hopefully away, when the child stretched out his arms, and cried, “Oh, sister, I am here ! Take me!” And then she turned her beaming eyes upon him, and it was night; and the star was shining into the room, making long rays down towards him as he saw it through his tears. From that hour forth the child looked out upon the star as the home he was to go to when his time should come; and he thought that he did not belong to the earth alone, but to the star too, because of his sister's angel gone before. There was a baby born to be a brother to the child, and, while he was so little that he never yet had spoken a word, he stretched out his tiny form on his bed, and died. Again the child dreamed of the opened star, and of the company of angels, and the train of people, and the rows of angels with their beaming eyes all turned upon those people's faces. Said his sister's angel to the leader: “Is my brother come?" And he said, “Not that one, but another s” As the child beheld his brother's angel in her arms, he cried, “Oh, my sister, I am here! Take me!” And she turned and smiled upon him, and the star was shining. He grew to be a young man, and was busy at his books, when an old servant came to him and said: “Thy mother is no more. I bring her blessing on her darling son.” Again at night he saw the star, and all that former company. Said his sister's angel to the leader, “Is my brother come?” And he said, “Thy mother " A mighty cry of joy went forth through all the star, because the mother was re-united to her two children. And he stretched out his arms and cried, “Oh, mother, sister, and brother, I am here! Take me!” And they answered him, “Not yet!"—and the star was shining. He grew to be a man, whose hair was turning gray, and he was
348 BREAK, BREAK, BREAK.
sitting in his chair by the fireside, heavy with grief, and with his face bedeved with tears, when the star opened once again. Said his sister's angel to the leader, “Is my brother come?” And he said, “Nay, but his maiden daughters" And the man who had been a child, saw his daughter, newly lost to him, a celestial creature among those three, and he said: “My daughter's head is on my sister's bosom, and her arm is around my mother's neck, and at her feet is the baby of old time, and I can bear the parting from her, God be praised "–And the star was shining. Thus the child came to be an old man, and his once smooth face was wrinkled, and his steps were slow and feeble, and his back was bent. And one night as he lay upon his bed, his children standing round, he cried, as he cried so long ago: “I see the star!” They whispered one another, “He is dying.” And he said, “I am. My age is falling from me like a garment, and I move towards the star as a child. And O, my Father, now I thank Thee that it has so often opened to receive those dear ones who await me !"— And the star was shining; and it shines upon his grave.
BREAK, BREAK, BREAK.
y S.REAK, break, break, O well for the fisherman's boy,
o, And I would that my tongue could play,
<>t utter O well for the sailor lad,
The thoughts that arise in me. That he sings in his boat on the bay.
The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrubs the jay,
And from the wood-top calls the crow through all the gloomy day.
Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, that lately sprang and stood
In brighter light and softer airs, a beauteous sisterhood?
Alas! they all are in their graves; the gentle race of flowers
Are lying in their lowly beds with the fair and good of ours.
The rain is falling where they lie; but the cold November rain
Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again.
WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT.
The wind-flower and the violet, they perished long ago, And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer glow ; But on the hill the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood, And the yellow sunflower by the brook in autumn beauty stood, Till fell the frost from the clear cold heaven, as falls the plague on men, And the brightness of their smile was gone from upland, glade, and glen,
of the rill, The south-wind searches for the whose fragrance late he bore, And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no more.
And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died,
The fair meek blossom that grew up and faded by my side.
In the cold moist earth we laid her, when the forests cast the leaf,
And we wept that one so lovely should have
a life so brief; Yet not unmeet it was that one, like that young friend of ours, So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers.