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As if, like God, it all things saw,
In that mansion used to be
There groups of merry children played ;
“ Forever-never !
Never - forever !"
From that chamber, clothed in white,
All are scattered now and fled,
Never, here, forever there,
The wind blows wild and free,
Flash the wild caps of the sea.
But in the fisherman's cottage
There shines a ruddier light, And a little face at the window
Peers out into the night.
Close, close it is pressed to the window,
As if those childish eyes Were looking into the darkness,
To see some form arise.
And a woman's waving shadow
Is passing to and fro, Now rising to the ceiling,
Now bowing and bending low.
What tale do the roaring ocean,
And the night-wind bleak and wild, As they beat at the crazy casement,
Tell to that little child ?
And why do the roaring ocean,
And the night-wind wild and bleak, As they beat at the heart of the mother,
Drive the colour from her cheek ?
But one dead lamb is there!
But has one vacant chair!
And mournings for the dead;
Will not be comforted !
Not from the ground arise,
Assume this dark disguise.
Amid these earthly damps,
May be heaven's distant lamps.
This life of mortal breath
Whose portal we call Death.
But gode unto that school
And Christ himself doth rule.
By guardian angels led,
She lives, whom we call dead.
In those bright realms of air ;
Behold her grown more fair.
The bond which Nature gives,
Not as a child shall we again behold her,
For when, with raptures wild,
She will not be a child;
Clothed with celestial grace;
Shall we behold her face.
And though at times impetuous with emotion
And anguish long suppressed,
That cannot be at rest, -
We may not wholly stay ;
The grief that must have way.
I add one simile from the “Address to a Child :"
By what astrology of fear or hope
The concluding extract has a stronger recommendation than any other that I can give; it is Mrs. Browning's favourite among the poems of Longfellow :
THE ARROW AND THE SONG.
I found again in the heart of a friend. I venture to add an anecdote new to the English public.
Professor Longfellow's residence at Cambridge, a picturesque old wooden house, has belonging to it the proudest historical associations of which America can boast: it was the head-quarters of Washington. One night the poet chanced to look out of his window, and saw by the vague starlight a figure riding slowly past the mansion. The face could not be distinguished; but the tall erect person, the cocked hat, the traditional costume, the often-described white horse, all were present. Slowly he paced before the house and then returned, and then again passed by, after which neither horse nor rider were seen or heard of.
Could it really be Washington ? or was it some frolic-masquerader assuming his honoured form ? For my part I hold firmly to the ghostly side of the story ; so did my informant, also a poet and an American, and as worthy to behold the spectre of the illustrious warrior as Professor Longfellow himself. I can hardly say more.