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IN THE CHURCHYARD AT CAMBRIDGE.
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,
And foolish pomp of this world of ours ?
The richest and rarest of all dowers ?
Who shall tell us ? No one speaks ;
Either of anger or of pride,
By those who are sleeping at her side.
Hereafter ?—And do you think to look
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 !
THE EMPEROR'S BIRD'S-NEST.
ONCE the Emperor Charles of Spain,
With his swarthy, grave commanders,
Some old frontier town of Flanders.
Up and down the dreary camp,
In great boots of Spanish leather,
Cursed the Frenchmen, cursed the weather.
Thus as to and fro they went,
Over upland and through hollow,
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,
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,
Very curtly, “Leave it standing !"
So it stood there all alone,
Loosely flapping, torn and tattered,
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.
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.