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Up the street came the rebel tread,
Under his slouch'd hat left and right
“ Halt !”—the dust-brown ranks stood fast. “ Fire !” out blazed the rifle-blast.
It shiver'd the window, pane, and sash;
Quick, as it fell from the broken staff
She lean'd far out on the window-sill,
“Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, But spare your country's flag,” she said.
A shade of sadness, a blush of shame,
The nobler nature within him stirr'd
“Who touches a hair of yon gray head Dies like a dog! March on !” he said.
All day long through Frederick street
All day long that free flag toss'd
Ever its torn folds rose and fell
And through the hill-gaps sunset light
Barbara Frietchie's work is o'er,
Honour to her! and let a tear
Over Barbara Frietchie's grave
Peace and order and beauty draw
And ever the stars above look down
J. G. Whittier.
THE LUTIST AND THE NIGHTINGALE. PASSING from Italy to Greece, the tales
, Which poets of an elder time have feign'd To glorify their Tempe, bred in me Desire of visiting Paradise. To Thessaly I came, aud living private, Without acquaintance of more sweet companions Than the old inmates to my love, my thoughts, I day by day frequented silent groves And solitary walks. One morning early This accident encounter'd me: I heard The sweetest and most ravishing contention That art and nature ever were at strife in. A sound of music touch'd mine ears, or rather Indeed entranced my soul; as I stole nearer, Invited by the melody, I saw This youth, this fair-faced youth, upon his lute With strains of strange variety and harmony Proclaiming, as it seem'd, so bold a challenge To the clear cloristers of the woods, the birds, That as they flock'd about him, all stood silent, Wondering at what they heard. I wonder'd too. A nightingale, Nature's best skill'd musician, undertakes The challenge ; and for every several strain The well-shaped youth could touch, she sang him down. He could not run divisions with more art Upon his quaking instrument than she, The nightingale, did with her various notes Reply to. Some time thus spent, the young man grew at last Into a pretty anger, that a bird, Whom art had never taught cliffs, moods, nor notes, Should vie with him for mastery, whose study
Had busied many hours to perfect practice.