Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Of one of bounteous Nature's season gifts
To grateful husbandry-no matter what
The cause of their uniting. Joy beamed forth
On ev'ry face, and the sweet echoes rang
With sounds of honest mirth, too rarely heard
In the vast workshop man has made his world,
Where months of toil must pay one day of song.
Somewhat apart from the assembled throng
There sat a swarthy giant, with a face
So nobly grand, that though (unlike the rest)
He wore nor festal garb nor laughing mien,
Yet was he study for the painter's art.
He joined not in their sports, but rather seemod
To please his eye with sight of others' joy.
There was a cast of sorrow on his brow,
As though it had been early there. He sat
In listless attitude, yet not devoid
Of gentlest grace, as down his stalwart forin
He bent, to catch the playful whisperings
And note the movements of a bright-haired child
Who danced before him in the evening sun,
Holding a tiny brother by the hand.
He was the village smith (the rolled-up sleeves
And the well-charred leathern apron showed his craft),
Karl was his name, a man beloved by all.
He was not of the district. He had come
Amongst them ere his forehead bore one trace
Of age or sufferirg. A wife and child
He had brought with him; but the wife was dead.
Not so the child, who danced before him now
And held a tiny brother by the hand-
Their mother's last and priceless legacy!
So Karl was happy still that these two lived,
And laughed and danced before him in the sun.

The frolics pause: now Casper's laughing head
Rests wearily against his father's knee
In trusting lovingness: while Trudchen runs
To snatch a hasty kiss (the little man,
It may be, wonders if the tiny hand
With which he strives to reach his father's neck
Will ever grow so big and brown as that
He sees imbedded in his sister's curls);
When quick as lightning's flash up starts the smith,
Huddles the frightened children in his arms,
Thrusts them far back, extends his giant frame,
And covers them as with Goliath's shield.
Now hark ! a rushing, yelping, panting sound,
So terrible that all stood chilled with fear;

And in the midst of that late joyous throng
Leapt an infuriate hound, with flaming eyes,
Half-open mouth, and fiercely bristling hair,
Proving that madness drove the brute to death.
One spring from Karl, and the wild thing was seized
Fast prisoned in the stalwart Vulcan's gripe.
A sharp, shrill cry of agony from Karl
Was mingled with the hound's low fevered growl;
And all, with horror, saw the creature's teeth
Fixed in the blacksmith's shoulder. None had power
To rescue him; for scarcely could you count
A moment's space ere both had disappeared-
The man and dog. The smith had leapt a fence,
And gained the forest with a frantic rush,
Bearing the hideous mischief in his arms.
A long receding cry came on the ear,
Showing how swift their flight, and fainter grew
The sound. Ere well a man had time to think
What might be done for help, the sound was hushed-
Lost in the very distance; women crouched
And huddled up their children in their arms,
Men flew to seek their weapons—twas a change
So swift and fearful none could realize
Its actual horrors for a time: but now,
The panic past, to rescue and pursuit !
Crash through the brake into the forest track;
But pitchy darkness, caused by closing night
And foliage dense, impedes the avengers' way,
When lo! they trip o'er something in their path
It was the bleeding body of the hound,
Warm, but quite dead. No other trace of Karl
Was near at hand; they called his name in vain,
They sought him in the forest all night through
Living or dead he was not to be found.
At break of day they left the fruitless search.
Next morning as an anxious village group
Stood meditating plans what best to do,
Came little Trudchen, who, in simple tones,
Said, “ Father's at the forge, I heard him there
Working long hours ago, but he is angry;
I raised the latch, he bade me to begone.
What have I done to make him chide me so ?”
And then her bright blue eyes ran o'er with tears.
"The child's been dreaming through this troubled night,”
Said a kind dame, and drew the child towards her;
But the sad answers of the girl were such
As led them all to seek her father's forge.
It lay beyond the village some short span;
They forced the door, and there beheld the smith.

His sinewy frame was drawn to its full height,
And round his loins a double chain of iron,
Wrought with true workman skill, was riveted
Fast to an anvil of enormous weight.
He stood as pale and statue-like as death.
Now let his own words close the hapless tale.
“I killed the hound, you know, but not until
His maddening venom through my veins had passed;
I know full well the death in store for me,
And would not answer when you called my name,
But crouched among the brushwood while I thought
Over some plan. I know my giant strength,
And dare not trust it after reason's loss;
Why, I might turn and rend whom most I love.
I've made all fast now. 'Tis a hideous death.
I thought to plunge me into the deep, still pool
That skirts the forest, to avoid it; but
I thought that for the suicide's poor shift
I would not throw away my chance of heaven,
And meeting one who made earth heaven to me.
So I came home and forged these chains about me-
Full well I know no human hand can rend them
And now am safe from harming those I love.
Keep off, good friends! Should God prolong my life,
Throw me such food as nature may require;
Look to my babes: this you are bound to do;
For by my deadly grasp on that poor hound
How many of you have I saved from death
Such as I now await? But hence, away!
The poison works! These chains must try their strength;
My brain 's on fire! With me 'twill soon be night.”
Too true his words: the brave, great-hearted Karl--
A raving maniac-battled with his chains
For three fierce days. The fourth day saw him free-
For Death's strong hand had loosed the martyr's bonds.

PRAYER.-ALFRED TENNYSON.

More things are wrought by prayer
Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats,
That nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer,
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
For so, the whole round earth is every way.
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.

HIS TIME FOR FIDDLING.-M. QUAD.

[ocr errors]

A Bible canvasser, meandering along the street, halted before a tumble-down tenement. A small, lame girl opened the door in answer to his knock, and just as he entered, a man sitting on the edge of a forlorn-looking bed raised a fiddle to his shoulder, and commenced scraping out a tune.

“Have you a Bible in the house ?” asked the canyasser, as he crossed the room. * Nary Bibe," answered the man ; "and

Old Dan Tucker

Dreamt a dream-"" “Or a hymn book ?”' continued the canvasser. “No, nary; and

“'If you love me, Molly darling,

Let your answer be a kiss.'' "I am agent for the sale of this Bible," said the canvasser, taking the volume out of his satchel. “ Couldn't buy one cover, and

“« Oh, darkies ! how my heart grows weary,

Sighing for the old folks at home.' "I can sell you the book for a small amount down, and the balance in weekly payments. A great many--" “Bibuls are all right, but I've got a sore foot, and

“'Twas a calm still night,

And the moon's pale light-'” “If you do not care to read the book yourself, you should not refuse your child permission,” remarked the canvasser. "And the old woman up stairs sick with fever, and

“They have taken her to Georgia,

For to wear her life away—" “But it seems hard to think that you are permitting yourself and family to live in ignorance of religious—"

“ Bibuls is all right, and I'd encourage 'em if times wasn't 60 awful

“ Ha, ha, ha! you and me!

Little brown jug, don't I love thee!'” I have a smaller edition like this. You can have that by paying fifty cents down and twenty-five cents per week until paid up."

[ocr errors]

“No use, stranger," replied the man; "there ha'n't no. thing to do, money is tight, and

I've wandered this wide world all over" "I wish you would cease that fiddling and singing for a moment, and let me talk to you," said the agent. “Bibuls is all right, you is all right, and-

"Oh! this world is sad and dreary,

Everywhere I roam.'' “Won't you stop for just one moment ?".

I'd like to oblige you, but now's my reg'lar time for fiddl. ing and singing, and

“ Up in a balloon, boys,

Up in a balloon.' “Then I can't sell you a Bible ?” “Don't look as if you could, for

" • I've wandered through the village, Tom,

I've sat beneath the tree.'
And the canvasser left the house in despair.

CATALOGUE OF DICKENS' WORKS.

Oliver Twist who had some very Hard Times in the Battle of Life, and having been saved from The Wreck of the Golden Mary by Our Mutual Friend, Nicholas Nickleby, had just finished reading A Tale of Two Cities to Martin Chuzzleurit, during which time The Cricket on the Hearth had been chirping merrily while The Chimes from an adjacent church were heard when Seven Poor Travelers from Mugby Junction commenced singing A Christmas Carol ; Barnaby Rudge then arrived from The Old Curiosity Shop with some Pictures from Italy, and Sketches by Boz, to show to Little Dorrit, who was busy with the Pickwick Papers, when David Copperfield, who had been taking American Notes, entered and informed the company that the Great Expectations of Dombey and Son regarding Mrs. Lirripur's Legacy had not been realized; and that he had seen Boots at the Inn taking Somebody's Luggage to Mrs. Lirripur's Lodgings in a street that has No T'horoughfare, opposite Bleak House ; where the Haunted Man, who had just given one of Doctor Marigold's Prescriptions to an Uncommercial Traveler, was brooding over the Mystery of Edwin Drood.

« ПретходнаНастави »