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On his sad ear fell the convent bell:

'Twas the hour the poor did wait; It was his to dole the daily bread

That day at the convent gate.
A passion of love within him rose,

And with duty wrestled strong;
But the bell kept calling all the time

With iron merciless tongue.

He gazed like a dog in the Master's eyes

He sprang to his feet in strength: “If I find him not when I come back,

I shall find him the more at length!"

He chid his heart and he fed the poor,

All at the convent gate; Then wearily, oh wearily!

Went back to be desolate.

His hand on the latch, his head bent low,

He stood on the door-sill;
Sad and slow he lifted the latch

The Master stood there still!

He said “I have waited because my poor

Had not to wait for thee;
But the man who doeth my Father's work

Is never far from me."
Yet, Lord, for thou wouldst have us judge,

And I will humbly dare
If the monk had stayed, I do not think

Thou wouldst have left him there.

I hear from the far-off blessed time

A sweet defending phrase: “For the poor always ye have with you, But me ye have not always.”

G. MACDONALD. 37. TO BLOSSOMS.

Fair pledges of a fruitful tree,

Why do ye fall so fast?

Your date is not so past,
But you may stay yet here awhile
To blush and gently smile,

And go at last.

What, were ye born to be

An hour or half's delight,

And so to bid good-night? 'Twas pity Nature brought ye forth Merely to show your worth,

And lose you quite.

But you are lovely leaves, where we

May read how soon things have

Their end, though ne'er so brave:
And after they have shown their pride
Like you, awhile, they glide
Into the grave.

R. HERRICK.

38. ROMAN GIRL'S SONG.

Rome, Rome! thou art no more

As thou hast been!

On thy seven hills of yore Thou sat'st a queen.

Thou hadst thy triumphs then

Purpling the street; Leaders and sceptred men

Bowed at thy feet.

They that thy mantle wore,

As gods were seen
Rome, Rome! thou art no more

As thou hast been !

Rome! thine imperial brow

Never shall rise :
What hast thou left thee now?

Thou hast thy skies !

Blue, deeply blue, they are,

Gloriously bright! Veiling thy wastes afar

With coloured light.

Thou hast the sunset's glow,

Rome, for thy dower, Flushing tall cypress-bough,

Temple and tower!

And all sweet sounds are thine,

Lovely to hear; While night, o'er tomb and shrine,

Rests darkly clear.

Many a solemn hymn,

By starlight sung,
Sweeps through the arches dim,

Thy wrecks among.

Many a flute's low swell

On thy soft air
Lingers, and loves to dwell

With summer there.

Thou hast the south's rich gift

Of sudden song,
A charmed fountain, swift,

Joyous, and strong.

Thou hast fair forms that move

With queenly tread;
Thou hast proud fanes above

Thy mighty dead.

Yet wears thy Tiber's shore

A mournful mien;
Rome, Rome! thou art no more
As thou hast been!

MRS. HEMANS.

39. TWENTY YEARS HENCE.

Twenty years hence my eyes may grow
If not quite dim, yet rather so;
Yet yours from others they shall know

Twenty years hence.

Twenty years hence, though it may hap
That I be called to take a nap
In a cool cell where thunder-clap

Is never heard,

There breathe but o'er my arch of grass
A not too sadly sighed 'Alas!'
And I shall catch, ere you can pass,
That wingéd word.

WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR.

40. THE SANDS OF DEE.

"Oh, Mary, go and call the cattle home,

And call the cattle home,

And call the cattle home,

Across the sands o’ Dee;"
The western wind was wild and dank wi' foam,

And all alone went she.

The creeping tide came up along the sand,

And o'er and o'er the sand,

And round and round the sand,

As far as eye could see;
The blinding mist came down and hid the land

And never home came she.

"Oh, is it weed, or fish, or floating hair

A tress o golden hair,

O’ drowned maiden's hair,

Above the nets at sea ?
Was never salmon yet that shone so fair,

Among the stakes on Dee."

They rowed her in across the rolling foam,

The cruel, crawling foam,

The cruel, hungry foam,

To her grave beside the sea : But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home, Across the sands o' Dee.

CHAS. KINGSLEY.

41. ABOU BEN ADHEM.

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase !)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said,
"What writest thou?" The Vision rais'd its head,
And with a look made all of sweet accord,
Answer'd, "the names of those who love the Lord.”
"And is mine one ?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,"
Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, "I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men."

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