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In the village churchyard she lies,

Dust is in her beautiful eyes,

No more she breathes, nor feels, nor stirs;

At her feet and at her head

Lies a slave to attend the dead,

But their dust is white as hers.

Was she a lady of high degree,
So much in love with the vanity

And foolish pomp of this world of ours ?
Or was it Christian charity,
And lowliness and humility,

The richest and rarest of all dowers ?

Who shall tell us ? No one speaks ;
No colour shoots into those cheeks,

Either of anger or of pride,
At the rude question we have asked ;
Nor will the mystery be unmasked

By those who are sleeping at her side.

Hereafter ?—And do you think to look
On the terrible pages of that Book


To find her failings, faults, and errors ? Ah, you will then have other cares, In your own shortcomings and despairs,

In your own secret sins and terrors !


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,

Over upland and through hollow,
Giving their impatience vent,
Perched upon the Emperor's tent,

In her nest, they spied a swallow.

Yes, it was a swallow's nest,

Built of clay and hair of horses, Mane, or tail, or dragoon's crest, Found on hedgerows east and west,

After skirmish of the forces.

Then an old Hidalgo said,

As he twirled his

grey mustachio, “Sure this swallow overhead

Thinks the Emperor's tent a shed,

And the Emperor but a Macho!"

Hearing his imperial name

Coupled with those words of malice,
Half in anger, half in shame,
Forth the great campaigner came,

Slowly from his canvas palace.

“Let no hand the bird molest,”

Said he solemnly, “nor hurt her!" Adding then, by way of jest, “Golondrina is my guest,

'Tis the wile of some deserter !"

Swift as bowstring speeds a shaft,

Through the camp was spread the rumour, And the soldiers, as they quaffed Flemish beer at dinner, laughed

At the Emperor's pleasant humour.

So unharmed and unafraid

Sat the swallow still and brooded,

Till the constant cannonade

Through the walls a breach had made,

And the siege was thus concluded.

Then the army, elsewhere bent,

Struck its tents as if disbanding,
Only not the Emperor's tent,
For he ordered, ere he went,

Very curtly, “Leave it standing !"

So it stood there all alone,

Loosely flapping, torn and tattered,
Till the brood was fledged and flown,
Singing o'er those walls of stone

Which the cannon-shot had shattered.


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.


I saw them pause on their celestial way;

Then said I, with deep fear and doubt oppressed, “Beat not so loud, my heart, lest thou betray

The place where thy beloved are at rest !"

And he who wore the crown of asphodels,

Descending, at my door began to knock, And my

soul sank within me, as in wells The waters sink before an earthquake's shock.

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