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The Heart's Spring-Time.

The earth lay shrouded white in snow;

With low, sad voice, the winds wailed by; While, as in hopeless prayer, the trees

Their gaunt arms lifted to the sky. All nature was in chains: the brooks

Crept ice-bound on their sluggish way; The sun shone feebly, and the night

Soon blotted out the cheerless day.

Then from the south the glad spring came,

And breathed through all the chilly air, And wheresoe'er her warm feet trod

Sprang life and beauty everywhere.

The fields and meadows all put on

Their spangled dress of grass and flowers, Brooks babbled, and ecstatic birds

Made shake with joy their leafy towers.

Such is the spring-time of the year!

But tell me, then, Has man no part In life's long triumph over death?

Is there no spring-time of the heart? Our loved ones, shrouded white, have lain

Beneath the snow these many years: The sad-voiced winds above them go,

And on their graves drip rainy tears. Their shadowy memories visit us,

For dreams at least can leave that shore,– Mother's gray hairs and gentle eyes,

As light she steps across the floor;

Or comes the brother of our youth,

Making the far-off years draw nigh; The wife, long lost, our fadeless dream,

The same old love-look in her eye;

The laughing child, whose sunny hair

Was so entangled in our heart It bleeds afresh when we recall

The hour that tore our lives apart.

'Tis winter in our lives! Snows fall,

Chill, dreary skies are overhead,
The fresh leaves of our youth are gone,

The flowers of our hope are dead.

Is there no spring-time of the heart?

Will our lives bud again no more? Will they no more return,- the birds

Whose music made us glad before?

Nay, listen! In my heart, I hear

The whisper of another spring:
The winds blow warm from sunny lands,

Leaves burst and buds are blossoming.
I catch the fragrance of that clime

Where summer blooms the whole round year, Where every sound melts into song

And comes as music to my ear.

The lost ones hidden by the snow,

With faces white and still and cold, Beneath those soft skies wake again

To live and love us as of old.

Mother and brother, wife and child,

They keep the same remembered faces : Only tear-stains and lines of care

With deathless youth can find no places.

And, best of all, it looks like home,

No strange land trod by alien feet; Familiar as our childhood haunts,

Clothed all in mellow sunlight sweet. The heart's long prayer is answered thus :

The dead through no far countries roam; As babes born into waiting arms,

They die into some hig!er home.

And 'neath the sunshine of this hope

My life, where joy had ceased to sing,
Where dead flowers mocked the withered leaves,
Now buds and blossoms like the spring.

M. J. S.

The Dead One's Message.

COULD now the silence of these lips

Wake into speech once more to-day With their sweet tones of old-time love,

What last words, think you, would they say?

Weep for me tenderly; for I,

Were you here lying in my place, Would press my warm lips on your brow,

And rain the hot tears on your face.

“For is it not death's sting to know

That, howe'er happy, still apart Our pathways lead us, while the old,

Strong love still yearns within the heart?

“And, when this body's laid away,

I'd have you my low earth-bed make
All fresh with grass, and sweet with flowers,

And sacred for the old-time's sake.

“But then, sweet friends, look up and on!

Let sunshine all the clouds break through ; And do not, for my sake, forget

What for the living you should do i

“Let not the shadow of my loss

Darken the path the living tread; But let the memories of my past

Still cheer and help, though I am dead.

“ These ears can hear your words no more,

However fondly you may speak : For my sake then, with words of love,

The living cheer, and help the weak.

My heart, now still, no longer aches :

But weary thousands watch and wake Through dreary nights and hopeless days;

Help them before their sad hearts break ! “ Your willing hands for me have wrought;

But now I need your help no more. The service you would render me

Give those who suffer at your door. “ Cherish my memory in your heart !

But, lest it grow a selfish thing, Make channels for a thousand streams,

Of which my love shall be the spring. “ So from the grave I still may speak;

Still help the sorrowing world to bless; Still live, though dead, and swell the tide

Of human love and happiness.”

M. J. S.

Which is Better ?
FROM out of the mystery cometh to earth
A new child of God through the gateway of birth.

Out into the mystery there beyond breath
Goes a new child of God through the gateway of death.

We smile at the birth, at the death toll the bell;
Yet which is the better, who is there can tell ?

How oft is the birth to a life full of tears,
To a path that is rough and o'erclouded by fears !
How often, heart-hungry for love unreturned,
We see the bliss vanish for which we have yearned!

How often the structures we reared with delight,
Our houses of joy, crumble down in a night!

A live sorrow often is harder, we say,
Than the parting from those who are taken away;
And we sigh for the peace of an undisturbed sleep
Where hearts are not broken, and eyes do not weep.

Our birth is a coming - so wise men have said —
From some other land, where they count us as dead.

For, if it be true we existed before,
To the old home we died, as we came to this shore.

Did they mourn our departure there, as we to-day
Lament for our dear ones when they go away?
Who knows, then, that what we call death may not be
But another new birth, through whose gateway we

Take one more step onward, as ever we climb
The ladder of life, reaching up through all time?

Birth and death may be one, then : the different view, Or coming or going, makes us think them two.

And, since life reaches upward and on through all time,
Each death may be birth into some fairer clime.
Since in birth and death both there are mysteries deep,
And whether they're waking or going to sleep
We know not; and whether 'tis better to stay,
Or whether 'tis best to be going away,—
Let us trust and be patient; for sure He must know,
From whose Life we come, to whose Life we go.

Birth! death! — which is better we now cannot tell.
Believe, then, that both in His hands are well.

M. J. S.

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