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THE ROPEWALK.

In that building, long and low,
With its windows all a-row,

Like the port-holes of a hulk,
Human spiders spin and spin,
Backward down their thread so thin

Dropping, each a hempen bulk.

At the end, an open

door ;

Squares of sunshine on the floor

Light the long and dusky lane;
And the whirring of a wheel,
Dull and drowsy, makes me feel

All its spokes are in my brain.

As the spinners to the end
Downward

go

and re-ascend, Gleam the long threads in the sun; While within this brain of mine

Cobwebs brighter and more fine

By the busy wheel are spun.

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Then a booth of mountebanks,
With its smell of tan and planks,

And a girl poised high in air
On a cord, in spangled dress,
With a faded loveliness,

And a weary look of care.

Then a homestead among farms,
And a woman with bare arms

Drawing water from a well ;
As the bucket mounts apace,
With it mounts her own fair face,

As at some magician's spell.

Then an old man in a tower,
Ringing loud the noontide hour,

While the rope coils round and round
Like a serpent at his feet,
And again, in swift retreat,

Nearly lifts him from the ground.

Then within a prison-yard,
Faces fixed, and stern, and hard,

Laughter and indecent mirth;
Ah! it is the gallows-tree!
Breath of Christian charity,

Blow, and sweep it from the earth!

Then a schoolboy, with his kite
Gleaming in a sky of light,

And an eager, upward look ;
Steeds pursued through lane and field ;
Fowlers with their snares concealed ;

And an angler by a brook.

Ships rejoicing in the breeze,

Wrecks that float o'er unknown seas,

Anchors dragged through faithless sand, Sea-fog drifting overhead, And, with lessening line and lead,

Sailors feeling for the land.

All these scenes do I behold,
These, and many left untold,

In that building long and low;
While the wheel goes round and round,
With a drowsy dreamy sound,

And the spinners backward go.

THE GOLDEN MILESTONE.

LEAFLESS are the trees; their purple branches Spread themselves abroad, like reefs of coral,

Rising silent

In the Red Sea of the Winter sunset.

From the hundred chimneys of the village,
Like the Afreet in the Arabian story,

Smoky columns
Tower aloft into the air of amber.

At the window winks the flickering fire-light; Here and there the lamps of evening glimmer,

Social watch-fires

Answering one another through the darkness.

On the hearth the lighted logs are glowing,
And like Ariel in the cloven pine-tree

For its freedom

Groans and sighs the air imprisoned in them.

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