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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.
(A National Song of Denmark.]
KING CHRISTIAN stood by the lofty mast
In mist and smoke;
In mist and smoke.
Nils Juel * gave heed to the tempest's roar,
Now is the hour!
Now is the hour!'
The murky sky!
The murky sky!
Dark-rolling wave !
* Nils Juel was a celebrated Danish admiral.
of Peder Wessel was a Danish vice-admiral, who, from his great prowess, received the popular title of Tordenskiold, or Thunder-shield. In childhood he was a tailor's apprentice, and rose to his high rank before the age of twenty-eight, when he was killed in a duel.
ABSALOM. The waters slept. Night's silvery veil hung low On Jordan's bosom, and the eddies curled Their glassy rings beneath it, like the still Unbroken beating of the sleeper's pulse, The reeds bent down the stream: the willow leaves, With a soft cheek upon the lulling tide, Forgot the lifting winds; and the long stems, Whose flowers the water, like a gentle nurse, Bears on its bosom, quietly gave way, And leaned, in graceful attitudes, to rest. How strikingly the course of nature tells, By its light heed of human suffering, That it was fashioned for a happier world !
King David's limbs were weary. He had fled From far Jerusalem ; and now he stood, With his faint people, for a little rest Upon the shore of Jordan. The light wind Of morn was stirring, and he hared his brow To its refreshing breath; for he had worn The mourner's covering, and he had not felt That he could see his people until now. They gathered round him on the fresh green bank, And spoke their kindly words; and, as the sun Rose up in heaven, he knelt among them there, And bowed his head upon his hands to pray. Oh! when the heart is full-when bitter though Come crowding thickly up for utterance, And the poor common words of courtesy Are such a very mockery—how much The bursting heart may pour itself in prayer ! He prayed for Israel; and his voice went up Strongly and fervently. He prayed for those Whose love had been his shield ; and his deep tones Grew tremulous. But, oh! for AbsalomFor his estranged, misguided AbsalomThe proud, bright being, who had burst away In all his princely beauty, to defy
The heart that cherished him—for him he poured agony
that would not be controlled, Strong supplication, and forgave him there, Before his God, for his deep sinfulness.
The pall was settled. He who slept beneath Was straightened for the grave; and, as the folds Sunk to the still proportions, they betrayed The matchless symmetry of Absalom. His hair was yet unshorn, and silken curls Were floating round the tassels as they swayed To the admitted air. His helm was at his feet: his banner, soiled With trailing through Jerusalem, was laid, Reversed, beside him: and the jewelled hilt, Whose diamonds lit the passage of his blade, Rested, like mockery, on his covered brow. The soldiers of the king trod to and fro, Clad in the garb of battle; and their chief, The mighty Joab, stood beside the bier, And gazed upon the dark pall steadfastly, As if he feared the slumberer might stir. A slow step startled him. He grasped his blade As if a trumpet rang; but the bent form Of David entered, and he gave command, In a low tone, to his few followers, And left him with his dead. The king stood still Till the last echo died : then, throwing off The sackcloth from his brow, and laying back The pall from the still features of his child, He bowed his head upon him, and broke forth In the resistless eloquence of woe :· Alas! my noble boy! that thou shouldst die;
Thou, who wert made so beautifully fair ! That death should settle in thy glorious eye,
And leave his stillness in this clustering hair. How could he mark thee for the silent tomb,
My proud boy Absalom !
'Cold is thy brow, my son ! and I am chill.
As to my bosom I have tried to press thee, How was I wont to feel my pulses thrill,
Like a rich harp-string, yearning to caress thee, And hear thy sweet “my father" from these dumb
And cold lips, Absalom! • The
grave hath won thee. I shall hear the gush Of music, and the voices of the young; And life will pass me in the mantling blush,
And the dark tresses to the soft winds flung ;But thou no more, with thy sweet voice, shall come
To meet me, Absalom ! * And, oh! when I am stricken, and my heart,
Like a bruised reed, is waiting to be broken, How will its love for thee, as I depart,
Yearn for thine ear to drink its last deep token ! It were so sweet, amid death's gathering gloom,
To see thee, Absalom ! * And now, farewell! 'Tis hard to give thee up,
With death so like a gentle slumber on thee :And thy dark sin !-Oh ! I could drink the cup,
If from this woe its bitterness had won thee.
My erring Absalom!'
N. P. Willis.