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But, like the skeleton at the feast,
That warning timepiece never ceased, -

“Forever-never !
Never—forever!”

There groups of merry children played, There youths and maidens dreaming strayed;

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O precious hours ! O golden prime,
And affluence of love and time!
Even as a miser counts his gold,
Those hours the ancient timepiece told, -

"Forever-never!
Never-forever!"

From that chamber, clothed in white,
The bride came forth on her wedding night;
There, in that silent room below,
The dead lay in his shroud of snow;
And in the hush that followed the prayer,
Was heard the old clock on the stair,-

“Forever-never!
Never-forever!"

All are scattered now and fled,
Some are married, some are dead;
And when I ask, with throbs of pain,
“Ah! when shall they all meet again?”
As in the days long since gone by,
The ancient timepiece makes reply,–

"Forever-never!
Never-forever!"

Never here, forever there,
Where all parting, pain, and care,
And death, and time shall disappear,--
Forever there, but never here!
The horologe of Eternity
Sayeth this incessantly,–

"Forever-never!
Never-forever!”

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.

I recognized the nameless agony,

The terror and the tremor and the pain, That oft before had filled or haunted me, And now returned with threefold strength

again.

The door I opened to my heavenly guest,

And listened, for I thought I heard God's voice; And, knowing whatsoe'er he sent was best,

Dared neither to lament nor to rejoice.

Then with a smile, that filled the house with light,

“My errand is not Death, but Life,” he said; And ere I answered, passing out of sight,

On his celestial embassy he sped.

’T was at thy door, O friend! and not at mine,

The angel with the amaranthine wreath, Pausing, descended, and with voice divine,

Whispered a word that had a sound like Death.

Then fell upon the house a sudden gloom,

A shadow on those features fair and thin; And softly, from that hushed and darkened room,

Two angels issued, where but one went in.

All is of God! If he but wave his hand,

The mists collect, the rain falls thick and loud, Till, with a smile of light on sea and land,

Lo! he looks back from the departing cloud.

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