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A THOUGHT OF THE NILE.

It flows through old hushed Egypt and its sands,
Like some grave mighty thought threading a dream,
And times and things, as in that vision, seem
Keeping along it their eternal stands, –
Caves, pillars, pyramids, the shepherd bands
That roamed through the young earth, the glory

extreme Of high Sesostris, and that southern beam, The laughing queen that caught the world's great hands.

Then comes a mightier silence, stern and strong,
As of a world left empty of its throng,
And the void weighs on us; and then we wake,
And hear the fruitful stream lapsing along
'Twixt villages, and think how we shall take
Our own calm journey on for human sake,

ARIADNE WA KING.

A FRAGMENT.

The moist and quiet morn was scarcely breaking,
When Ariadne in her bower was waking ;
Her eyelids still were closing, and she heard
But indistinctly yet a little bird,
That in the leaves o'erhead, waiting the sun,
Seemed answering another distant one.
She waked, but stirred not, only just to please
Her pillow-nestling cheek; while the full seas,
The birds, the leaves, the lulling love o'ernight,
The happy thought of the returning light,
The sweet, self-willed content, conspired to keep
Her senses lingering in the feel of sleep;
And with a little smile she seemed to say,
“I know my love is near me, and 'tis day."

ON HEARING A LITTLE MUSICAL BOX.

Dilettevol suoni
Faceano intorno l'aria tintinnire
D'armonia dolce, e di concenti buoni.

Ariosto.

Hallo!- what ? -- where? — what can it be
That strikes up so deliciously?
I never in my life — what no !
That little tin-box playing so ?
It really seemed as if a sprite
Had struck among us, swift and light,
And come from some minuter star
To treat us with his pearl guitar.
Hark! it scarcely ends the strain,
But it gives it o’er again,
Lovely thing ! — and runs along,
Just as if it knew the song,
Touching out, smooth, clear and small,
Harmony, and shake, and all,
Now upon the treble lingering,
Dancing now as if 'twere fingering,

118

ON HEARING A LITTLE MUSICAL BOX.

And at last, upon the close,
Coming with genteel repose.

O full of sweetness, crispness, ease,
Compound of lovely smallnesses,
Accomplished trifle, — tell us what
To call thee, and disgrace thee not.
Worlds of fancies come about us,
Thrill within, and glance without us.
Now we think that there must be
In thee some humanity,*
Such a taste composed and fine
Smiles along that touch of thine.
Now we call thee heavenly rain,
For thy fresh, continued strain ;
Now a hail, that on the ground
Splits into light leaps of sound;
Now the concert, neat and nice,
Of a pigmy paradise;
Sprinkles then from singing fountains;
Fairies heard on tops of mountains ;
Nightingales endued with art,
Caught in listening to Mozart :
Stars that make a distant tinkling,
While their happy eyes are twinkling;

* For this and the other beautiful thought in the closing line of the paragraph, the author is indebted to two friends, who enjoyed the music with him, – the former to the gentleman who treated him with it, and the latter to a lady.

ON HEARING A LITTLE MUSICAL BOX.

119

Sounds for scattered rills to flow to;
Music, for the flowers to grow to.

O thou sweet and sudden pleasure,
Dropping in the lap of leisure,
Essence of harmonious joy,
Epithet-exhausting toy,
Well may lovely hands and eyes
Start at thee in sweet surprise;
Nor will we consent to see
In thee mere machinery;
But recur to the great springs
Of divine and human things,
And acknowledge thee a lesson
For despondence to lay stress on,
Waiting with a placid sorrow
What may come from Heaven to-morrow,
And the music hoped at last,
When this jarring life is past.

Come, then, for another strain :
We must have thee o'er again.

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