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The rings had dropped from his withered

hands, His teeth were like bones in the desert sands; Still clutching his treasure he had died ; And as he lay there, he appeared A statue of gold with a silver beard, His arms outstretched as if crucified."

This is the story, strange and true,
That the great captain Aläu
Told to his brother the Tartar Khan,
When he rode that day into Kambalu
By the road that leadeth to Ispahan.

THE WIND OVER THE CHIMNEY.

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EE, the fire is sinking low,

Dusky red the embers glow, While above them still I cower, While a moment more I linger, Though the clock, with lifted finger,

Points beyond the midnight hour.

Sings the blackened log a tune
Learned in some forgotten June

From a schoolboy at his play, When they both were young together, Heart of youth and summer weather

Making all their holiday.

The Wind over the Chimney.

31

And the night-wind rising, hark !
How above there in the dark,

In the midnight and the snow,
Ever wilder, fiercer, grander,
Like the trumpets of Iskander,

All the noisy chimneys blow !

Every quivering tongue of flame
Seems to murmur some great name,

Seems to say to me, “ Aspire !”
But the night-wind answers, “ Hollow
Are the visions that you follow,

Into darkness sinks your fire !”

Then the flicker of the blaze

Gleams on volumes of old days,

Written by masters of the art, Loud through whose majestic pages Rolls the melody of ages,

, Throb the harp-strings of the heart.

32

The Wind over the Chimney.

And again the tongues of flame
Start exulting and exclaim:

“These are prophets, bards, and seers ;
In the horoscope of nations,
Like ascendant constellations,

They control the coming years."

But the night-wind cries : “Despair !
Those who walk with feet of air

Leave no long-enduring marks ;
At God's forges incandescent
Mighty hammers beat incessant,

These are but the flying sparks.

“ Dust are all the hands that wrought;
Books are sepulchres of thought;

The dead laurels of the dead
Rustle for a moment only,
Like the withered leaves in lonely

Churchyards at some passing tread.”

The Wind over the Chimney.

33

Suddenly the flame sinks down;
Sink the rumours of renown;

And alone the night-wind drear
Clamours louder, wilder, vaguer,
'Tis the brand of Meleager

Dying on the hearth-stone here !

And I answer,—"Though it be,
Why should that discomfort me?

No endeavour is in vain ;
Its reward is in the doing,
And the rapture of pursuing

Is the prize the vanquished gain.

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