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THE EMPEROR'S BIRD'S-NEST.
ONCE the Emperor Charles of Spain,
With his swarthy, grave commanders,
I forget in what campaign,
Long besieged, in mud and rain,
Some old frontier town of Flanders.
Up and down the dreary camp,
In great boots of Spanish leather, Striding with a measured tramp, These Hidalgos, dull and damp,
Cursed the Frenchmen, cursed the weather.
Thus as to and fro they went,
Yes, it was a swallow's nest,
Built of clay and hair of horses, Mane, or tail, or dragoon's crest, Found on hedge-rows east and west, After skirmish of the forces.
Then an old Hidalgo said,
As he twirled his gray mustachio,
Hearing his imperial name
Half in anger, half in shame,
"Let no hand the bird molest,"
Said he solemnly, "nor hurt her!" Adding then, by way of jest, "Golondrina is my guest,
'T is the wife of some deserter!
Swift as bowstring speeds a shaft,
Through the camp was spread the rumor,
And the soldiers, as they quaffed
So unharmed and unafraid
Sat the swallow still and brooded,
And the siege was thus concluded.
Then the army, elsewhere bent,
Struck its tents as if disbanding,
Only not the Emperor's tent,
Very curtly, "Leave it standing!
So it stood there all alone,
Which the cannon-shot had shattered.
THE TWO ANGELS.
Two angels, one of Life and one of Death, Passed o'er our village as the morning broke; The dawn was on their faces, and beneath, The sombre houses hearsed with plumes of smoke.
Their attitude and aspect were the same,
Alike their features and their robes of white; But one was crowned with amaranth, as with flame,
And one with asphodels, like flakes of light.