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For a Friend in Sorrow.
I know he lives with angels now, my boy,
And yet my arms are empty - oh! to hold
Lord, help me if I sometimes wonder why
His little life was woven close with mine
Yet dearest Lord, I will not long repine,
The Reaper and the Flowers.
There is a Reaper whose name is Death,
And, with his sickle keen,
And the flowers that grow between.
“ Shall I have naught that is fair ? ” saith he;
“ Have naught but the bearded grain ?
I will give them all back again.”
He gazed at the flowers with tearful eyes,
He kissed their drooping leaves; It was for the Lord of Paradise
He bound them in his sheaves.
My Lord has need of these flowerets gay,”
The Reaper said, and smiled; “Dear tokens of the earth are they,
Where he was once a child."
“ They shall all bloom in fields of light,
Transplanted by my care,
These sacred blossoms wear."
And the mother gave, in tears and pain,
The flowers she most did love ;
In the fields of light above.
Oh, not in cruelty, not in wrath,
The Reaper came that day ; 'Twas an angel visited the green earth, And took the flowers away.
H. W. Longfellow.
The Alpine Sheep.
Up to the Father took its way,
Like a long twilight haunting lay;
And friends came round, with us to weep
Her little spirit's swift remove,-
Was told to us by one we love.
They, in the valley's sheltering care,
Soon crop the meadow's tender prime, And when the sod grows brown and bare
The shepherd strives to make them climb
To airy shelves of pastures green,
That hang along the mountain's side, Where grass and flowers together lean,
And down through mists the sunbeams slide.
But nought can tempt the timid things
The steep and rugged path to try, Though sweet the shepherd calls and sings,
And seared below the pastures lie,
Till in his arms their lambs he takes,
Along the dizzy verge to go,
They follow on, o'er rock and snow.
And in those pastures, lifted fair,
More dewy soft than lowland mead, The shepherd drops his tender care,
And sheep and lambs together feed.
This parable, by nature breathed,
Blew on me as the south wind free O'er frozen brooks, that flow unsheathed
From icy thraldom to the sea.
A blissful vision, through the night,
Would all my happy senses sway, Of the good shepherd on the height,
Or climbing up the stony way,
Holding our little lamb asleep,
While, like the murmur of the sea, Sounded that voice along the deep, Saying “ Arise, and follow me!”
Little children, not alone
Buried To-may. Buried to-day;
When the soft green buds are bursting out,
And up on the south-wind comes a shout
Sturdy of heart and stout of limb,
From eyes that drew half their light from him,
All the pride of boy-life begun,
All the hope of life yet to run ;
Another body in church-yard sod,
Another soul on the life in God.
D. M. Mulock-Craik.
The Changeling. I had a little daughter,
And she was given to me To lead me gently backward
To the heavenly Father's knee, That I by the force of nature,
Might, in some dim wise, divine The depth of his infinite patience
To this wayward soul of mine.
But to me she was wholly fair,
Still lingered and gleamed in her hair ;
And as many changes took,
On the yellow bed of a brook.
And it hardly seemed a day,
Stole my little daughter away;
But loosed the hampering strings,
My little bird used her wings.