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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 school-boy, 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 MILE-STONE.

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.

By the fireside there are old men seated,
Seeing ruined cities in the ashes,
Asking sadly

Of the Past what it can ne'er restore them.

By the fireside there are youthful dreamers,

Building castles fair, with stately stairways,
Asking blindly

Of the Future what it cannot give them.

By the fireside tragedies are acted

In whose scenes appear two actors only,
Wife and husband,

And above them God the sole spectator.

By the fireside there are peace and comfort, Wives and children, with fair, thoughtful faces, Waiting, watching

For a well-known footstep in the passage.

Each man's chimney is his Golden Mile-stone; Is the central point, from which he measures Every distance

Through the gateways of the world around him.

In his farthest wanderings still he sees it;
Hears the talking flame, the answering night-
wind, -
As he heard them

When he sat with those who were, but are not.

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