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Oh! not in cruelty, not in wrath,

The Reaper came that day: 'Twas an angel visited the green earth,

And took the flowers away.

FOOTSTEPS OF ANGELS. WHEN the hours of day are numbered,

And the voices of the night
Wake the better soul, that slumbered,

To a holy, calm delight;
Ere the evening lamps are lighted,

And, like phantoms grim and tall,
Shadows from the fitful fire-light

Dance upon the parlor-wall, —
Then the forms of the departed

Enter at the open door :
The beloved, the true-hearted,
Come to visit me once more.

He, the young and strong, who cherished

Noble longings for the strite, By the roadside fell and perislied,

Weary with the march of life.

They, the holy ones and weakly,

Who the cross of suffering bore, Folded their pale hands so meekly!

Spake with us on earth no more!

And with them the being beauteous,

Who unto my youth was given More than all things else to love me,

And is now a saint in heaven.

With a slow and noiseless footstep

Comes that messenger divine, Takes the vacant chair beside me,

Lays her gentle hand in mine. And she sits and gazes at me

With those deep and tender eyes, Like the stars, so still and saint-like,

Looking downward from the skies.

Uttered not, yet comprehended,

Is the spirit's voiceless prayer; Soft rebukes, in blessings ended,

Breathing from her lips of air.

Oh! though oft depressed and lonely,

All my tears are laid aside
If I but remember only,

Such as these have lived and died.


I HAVE read, in some old, marvelous tale,

Some legend strange and vague, That a midnight host of specters pale

Beleaguered the walls of Prague.

Beside the Moldau's rushing stream,

With the wan moon overhead, There stood, as in an awful dream,

The army of the dead.

White as a sea-fog landward bound,

The spectral camp was seen; And with a sorrowful, deep sound,

The river flowed between.

No other voice nor sound was there,

No drum, nor sentry's pace :
The mist-like banners clasped the air

As clouds with clouds embrace.

But, when the old cathedral-bell

Proclaimed the morning praver, The white pavilions rose and tell

On the alarmèd air.

Down the broad valley fast and far

The troubled army fled :
Up rose the glorious morning-star;

The ghastly host was dead.

I have read, in the marvelous heart of man,

That strange and mystic scroll, –
That an army of phantoms vast and wan

Beleaguer the human soul.

Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,

In Fancy's misty light,
Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam

Portentous through the night.

Upon its midnight battle-ground

The spectral camp is seen ;
And with a sorrowful, deep sound,

Flows the River of Lite between.

No other voice nor sound is there

In the army of the grave;
No other challenge breaks the air

But the rushing of Life's wave.

And, when the solemn and deep church-bell

Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,

The shadows sweep away.

Down the broad Vale of Tears afar

The spectral camp is fled : Faith shineth as a morning-star;

Our ghastly fears are dead.


MAIDEN with the meek, brown eyes,
In whose orbs a shadow lies
Like the dusk in evening skies !

Thou whose locks outshine the sun,
Golden tresses, wreathed in one,
As the braided streamlets run!

Standing with reluctant feet
Where the brook and river meet,
Womanhood and childhood fleet!

Gazing with a timid glance
On the brooklet's swift advance,
On the river's broad expanse!

Deep and still, that gliding stream
Beautiful to thee must seem
As the river of a dream.

Then why pause with indecision,
When bright angels in thy vision
Beckon thee to fields Elysian?

Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove, with startled eye,
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?

Hear'st thou voices on the shore,
That our ears perceive no more,
Deatened by the cataract's roar ?

O thou child of many prayers !
Lite hath quicksands, lite hath snares:
Care and age come unawares.

Like the swell of some sweet tune,
Morning rises into noon,
May glides on ward into June.

Childhood is the bough where slumbered
Birds and blossoms many-numbered;
Age, that bough with snows encumbered.
Gather, then, each flower that grows
When the young heart overflows,
To embalm that tent of snows.

Bear a lily in thy hand :
Gates of brass can not withstand
One touch of that magic wand.

Bear, through sorrow, wrong, and ruth,
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth.

Oh! that dew, like balm, shall steal
Into wounds that can not heal,
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal;

And that smile, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart:
For a smile of God thou art.


The shades of night were falling fast
As through an Alpine village passed
A youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice,
A banner with the strange device, —

“ Excelsior!”

His brow was sad ; his eye beneath
Flashed like a falchion from its sheath;
And like a silver clarion rung
The accents of that unknown tongue, -

“ Excelsior!”

In happy homes he saw the light
Of household-fires gleam warm and bright;
Above, the spectral glaciers shone ;
And from his lips escaped a groan, —


“ Try not the pass !” the old man said; “ Dark lowers the tempest overhead; The roaring torrent is deep and wide!” And loud that clarion voice replied,

“ Excelsior ! ”

“ Oh, stay," the maiden said, “and rest
Thy weary head upon this breast ! ”
A tear stood in his bright blue eye;
But still he answered with a sigh,

“ Excelsior!”

“ Beware the pine-tree's withered branch!
Beware the awful avalanche!”
This was the peasant's last good-night :
A voice replied, far up the hight,


At break of day, as heavenward
The pious monks of Saint Bernard
Uttered the oft-repeated prayer,
A voice cried through the startled air,

“Excelsior !”

A traveler by the faithful hound
Half buried in the snow was found,
Still grasping in his hand of ice
That banner with the strange device, —

“ Excelsior !”

There in the twilight cold and gray,
Lifeless, but beautiful, he lay;
And from the sky, serene and far,
A voice fell, like a falling star,


All is finished; and at length
Has come the bridal day
Of beauty and of strength.
To-day the vessel shall be launched !
With fleecy clouds the sky is blanched;
And o'er the bay,

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