Page images

ings Ever and anon he pressed it to his lips; then hugged it to his breast again, murmuring that it was warmer now; and as he said it, he looked, in agony, to those who stood around, as if imploring them to help her.

She was dead, and past all help, or need of it. The ancient rooms she had seemed to fill with life, even while her own was ebbing fast the garden she had tended the she had gladdened eyes a thoughtful hour

the noiseless haunts of many

the paths she had trodden as it were

10 but yesterday — could know her no more.


'It is not," said the schoolmaster, as he bent down to kiss her on the cheek, and gave his tears free vent,

"it is not in this world that heaven's justice ends. Think what earth is compared with the world to which her young spirit 15 has winged its early flight, and say, if one deliberate wish expressed in solemn terms above this bed could call her back to life, which of us would utter it!"


[ocr errors]

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

When morning came, and they could speak more calmly on the subject of their grief, they heard how her life had 20 closed.

She had been dead two days. They were all about her at the time, knowing that the end was drawing on. She died soon after daybreak. They had read and talked to her in the earlier portion of the night; but as the hours 25 crept on, she sank to sleep. They could tell, by what she faintly uttered in her dreams, that they were of her journeyings with the old man; they were of no painful scenes, but of those who had helped and used them kindly, for she often said "God bless you! with great fervor. Waking, 30 she never wandered in her mind but once, and that was of beautiful music which she said was in the air. It may

[ocr errors]

have been.

Opening her eyes at last, from a very quiet sleep, she begged that they would kiss her once again. That done, she 35 turned to the old man with a lovely smile upon her face,

such, they said, as they had never seen, and never could


- and clung with both her arms about his neck. They did not know that she was dead, at first.


For the rest, she had never murmured or complained; but with a quiet mind, and manner quite unaltered, 5 that she every day became more earnest and more grateful to them, faded like the light upon the summer's evening.

And now the bell - the bell she had so often heard by night and day, and listened to with solemn pleasure almost as a living voice-rung its remorseless toll for her, so 10 young, so beautiful, so good. Decrepit age, and vigorous life, and blooming youth, and helpless infancy poured forth on crutches, in the pride of strength and health, in the full blush of promise, in the mere dawn of life- - to gather round her tomb. Old men were there, whose eyes were 15 dim and senses failing-grandmothers, who might have died ten years ago, and still been old the deaf, the blind, the lame, the palsied, the living dead in many shapes and forms, to see the closing of that early grave. What was the death it would shut in, to that which still could crawl 20 and creep above it!

Along the crowded path they bore her now, pure as the newly-fallen snow that covered it, whose day on earth had been as fleeting. Under the porch, where she had sat when Heaven in its mercy brought her to that peaceful spot, she 25 passed again, and the old church received her in its quiet



They carried her to one old nook, where she had many and many a time sat musing, and laid their burden softly on the pavement. The light streamed on it through the 30 colored window. - a window where the boughs of trees were ever rustling in the summer, and where the birds sang sweetly all day long. With every breath of air that stirred. among those branches in the sunshine, some trembling, changing light would fall upon her grave.

Many a

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. young hand dropped in its little wreath, many a stifled sob

was heard.
Some-and they were not few — knelt down.
All were sincere and truthful in their sorrow.

The service done, the mourners stood apart, and the villagers closed round to lock into the grave before the pave5 ment-stone should be replaced. One called to mind how

he had seen her sitting on that very spot, and how her book had fallen on her lap, and she was gazing with a pensive face upon the sky. Another told how he had wondered much that one so delicate as she should be so bold, how 10 she had never feared to enter the church alone at night, but had loved to linger there when all was quiet, and even to climb the tower stair, with no more light than that of the moon's rays stealing through the loopholes in the thick, old wall.


A whisper went about among the oldest there, that she had seen and talked with angels; and when they called to mind how she had looked, and spoken, and her early death, some thought it might be so indeed. Thus coming to the grave in little knots, and glancing down, and giving 20 place to others, and falling off in whispering groups of three or four, the church was cleared, in time, of all but the sexton and the mourning friends.

They saw the vault covered and the stone fixed down. Then, when the dusk of evening had come on, and not a 25 sound disturbed the sacred stillness of the place, - when the bright moon poured in her light on tomb and monument, on pillar, wall, and arch, and most of all, (it seemed to them,) upon her quiet grave, in that calm time, when all outward things and inward thoughts teem with assur30 ances of immortality, and worldly hopes and fears are humbled in the dust before them, then, with tranquil and submissive hearts, they turned away, and left the child with God.

[ocr errors]



[HORACE SMITH, a native of London, died in July, 1849, in the seventieth year of his age. In 1812, in conjunction with his elder brother, James Smith, he published a volume called "Rejected Addresses," consisting of imitations of the popular poets of the day. It had great and deserved success, and has since been frequently reprinted. Horace Smith was a stock broker by profession; but in the leisure hours stolen from his employment, he wrote a number of works of fiction, which were received with favor, and many contributions, both in verse and prose, to the magazines of the time. His poems have been collected and published in two volumes. He was a very amiable and estimable man.]

1 AND thou hast walked about (how strange a story!)
In Thebes's streets three thousand years ago,
When the Memnonium † was in all its glory,

And time had not begun to overthrow
Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous,
Of which the very ruins are tremendous.



Speak! for thou long enough hast acted dummy;

Thou hast a tongue- come, let us hear its tune; Thou 'rt standing on thy legs, above ground, Mummy, Revisiting the glimpses of the moon;

Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures,

But with thy bones, and flesh, and limbs, and features.

Tell us

for doubtless thou canst recollect—

To whom should we assign the sphinx'st fame ?
Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect

Of either pyramid that bears his name? §

*Thebes was a celebrated city of Upper Egypt, of which extensive ruins still remain.

†The Memnonium was a building combining the properties of a palace and a temple, the ruins of which are remarkable for symmetry of architecture and elegance of sculpture.

The great sphinx, at the pyramids, is hewn out of a rock, in the form of a lion with a human head, and is one hundred and forty-three feet in length, and sixty-two feet in height in front.

§ The pyramids are well-known structures near Cairo. According to Herodotus, the great pyramid, so called, was built by Cheops, (pronounced Kē'ops). He was succeeded by his brother Cephren, (pronounced Se/fren,) or Cephrenes, (pronounced Se-fre'nēz,) who, according to the same historian, built an other of the pyramids.

Is Pompey's Pillar really a misnomer ?*
Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer?

4 Perhaps thou wert a Mason, and forbidden
By oath to tell the mysteries of thy trade;
Then say what secret melody was hidden

In Memnon's statue, which at sunrise played.†
Perhaps thou wert a priest; if so, my struggles
Are vain; Egyptian priest ne'er owned his juggles.

5 Perchance that very hand, now pinioned flat,

Has hob-a-nobbed with Pharaoh, glass to glass:
Or dropped a halfpenny in Homer's hat;

Or doffed thine own to let Queen Dido pass;
Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,

A torch at the great temple's dedication.

6 I need not ask thee if that hand, when armed,
Has any Roman soldier mauled and knuckled;
For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalmed,

Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled:-
Antiquity appears to have begun

Long after thy primeval race was run.

7 Since first thy form was in this box extended,

We have, above ground, seen some strange mutations;
The Roman empire has begun and ended;

New worlds have risen -we have lost old nations,
And countless kings have into dust been humbled,
While not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.

8 Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses,

* Pompey's Pillar is a column almost a hundred feet high, near Alexandria. It is now generally admitted by the learned to have had no connection with the Roman general whose name it bears.

+ This was a statue at Thebes, said to utter at sunrise a sound like the twanging of a harpstring or of a metallic wire,

« PreviousContinue »