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PART VI.

THE AGED.

The Good Grandmother.

Fold reverently the weary hands

That toiled so long and well; And while your tears of sorrow fall

Let sweet thanksgivings swell.

That life-work stretching o'er long years

A varied web has been ;
With silver strands by sorrow wrought,

And sunny gleams between.

How bright she always made the home!

It seemed as if the floor
Was always flecked with spots of sun,

And barred with brightness o'er.

The very falling of her step

Made music as she went;
A loving song was on her lip,

The song of full content.

O gently fold the weary hands

That toiled so long and well! The spirit rose to angel bands,

When off earth's mantle fell.

She's safe within her Father's house

Where many mansions be; 0 pray

that thus such rest may come Dear hearts, to thee and me!

Anonymous.

Beautíful Dands.

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!

They're neither white nor small,
And you, I know, would scarcely think

That they were fair at all.
I've looked on hands whose form and hue

A sculptor's dream might be,
Yet are those aged wrinkled hands

Most beautiful to me.

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!

Though the heart was weary and sad, These patient hands kept toiling on,

That the children might be glad.
I almost weep, as looking back

To childhood's distant day,
I think how these hands rested not

When mine were at their play.

Such beautiful, beautiful hands!

They're growing feeble now;
For time and pain have left their mark

On hand and heart and brow.
Alas! Alas! the nearing time,

And the sad, sad day to me,
When 'neath the daisies, vut of sight,

These hands will folded be.

But oh, beyond this shadow-lamp,

Where all is bright and fair,
I know full well these dear old hands

Will palms of victory bear.
Where crystal streams, through endless years,

Flow over golden sands,
And where the old grow young again,
I'll clasp my mother's hands.

Ellen H. M. Gates.

Momeward.

They sat in peace in the sunshine,

Till the day was almost done, And then, at its close, an angel

Stole over the threshold-stone.

He folded their hands together;

He touched their eyelids with balm, And their last breath floated outward,

Like the close of a solemn psalm.

Perhaps in that miracle-country

They will give her lost youth back,
And the flowers of the vanished springtime

Will bloom in the spirit's track.

One draught from the living waters

Shall call back his manhood's prime, And eternal years shall measure

The love that outlasted time.

But the shapes that they left behind them

The wrinkles and silver hair — Made holy to us by the kisses

The angels hold printed there

We will hide away ’neath the willows,

When the day is low in the West, Where the sunbeams cannot find them,

Nor the winds disturb their rest.

And we'll suffer no telltale tombstone,

With its age and date, to rise
O'er the two who are old no longer,
In the Father's house in the skies.

Louise Chandler Moulton.

TWaiting.
She waited for the summons; lengthening days
Had ripened the rich harvest of her years;
The sun hung low; - across the level plain,
In the slant rays, ripe bent the bearded grain.
Her feet were weary, and, with faltering hands,
She bound the golden tribute of the lands.
We watched the coming night with tender fear;
She murmured to herself good words of cheer;
We followed, gleaning; toil, and heat, and dust
Forgotten, in her perfect saith and trust.
We followed, gleaning: all the night
We heard her voice thank God, in cheerful praise,
For this dear life, and all its happy days;
Then there was silence, and we found at dawn
Only the faded garments she had worn.

The Old Man's Funeral, I saw an aged man upon his bier ;

His hair was thin and white, and on his brow A record of the cares of many a year,

Cares that were ended and forgotten now. And there was sadness round, and faces bowed, And woman's tears fell fast, and children wailed aloud.

Then rose another hoary man, and said,

In faltering accents to that weeping train :
Why mourn ye that our aged friend is dead ?

Ye are not sad to see the gathered grain :
Nor when their mellow fruits the archards cast,
Nor when the yellow woods let fall the ripened mast.

“Ye sigh not when the sun, his course fulfilled,

His glorious course, rejoicing earth and sky, In the soft evening, when the winds are stilled,

Sinks where his islands of refreshment lie, And leaves the smile of his departure spread O'er the warm-colored heaven and ruddy mountain-head.

“Why weep ye then for him, who, having won

The bound of man's appointed years, at last,
Life's blessings all enjoyed, life's labors done,

Serenely to his final rest has passed;
While the soft memory of his virtues yet
Lingers, like twilight hues when the bright sun is set.
“ His youth was innocent; his riper age

Marked with some act of goodness every day ;
And watched by eyes that loved him, calm and sage,

Faded his late declining years away :
Meekly he gave his being up and went
To share the holy rest that waits a life well spent.
“That life was happy; every day he gave

Thanks for the fair existence that was his;
For a sick fancy made him not her slave,

To mock him with her phantom miseries.
No chronic tortures racked his aged limbs,
For luxury and sloth had nourished none for him.
And I am glad that he has lived thus long,

And glad that he has gone to his reward ;
Nor can I deem that Nature did him wrong,

Softly to disengage the vital cord;
For when his hand grew palsied, and his eye
Dark with the mists of age, it was his time to die."

W. C. Bryant.

The Wome-Seeker.

I.

Twilight falls : a tiny maiden

Cometh up the village street:
Vagrant locks, all dewy laden,

Eager eyes and tired feet
Hath the shadowy little maiden.
Tired of wandering and of playing,

Up the dim street see her come!
Hurrying now, and now delaying,

Toward the rest and love of home,
Comes ihe maiden from her play:ng.

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