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Night is the hour, and earth and sky
In undisturbed stillness lie..
Hark! what comes sounding down the vale
With startling shriek and sudden wail?
As if some homeward wanderer,
With heedless step had strayed,
Deep through the tangling thickets where
The boa's lair was made,
And saw the monster's lamplike eye,
Fixed on him full and steadily.
Its boding sound hath startled sleep,
And dreamers from their couches leap,
And many a mother's maddening eye
Turns from her children to the sky;
And many a dark red turban shines;
And far in long embattled lines,
Beneath the torchlight-widely glance
The bright maschette-the pennoned lance---
The Persian's courser plunges on
In wild and rude caparison,
His dark red scarf behind him streaming, His buckler's sheen around him gleaming— And there the dark Hindoos are grouped With white sleeves to the shoulder looped;
And many a brown and brawny limb
With gems and silver bound,
Moves in the distance dark and grim,
As if it spurned the ground.
And many a wild dilated eye
Like snowflakes on a winter sky,
Glares o'er the dusky cheek;
And round the forehead high and bold,
The costly shawl entwines its fold
O'er ringlets dark and thick.
And yell and whoop throughout the crowd,
At intervals ring long and loud-
And jungle knives are brandishing,
And battle songs the negroes sing.
ON THE DEATH OF THE AUTHOR'S SON.
We'll find relief in sense of deep enduring,
We'll seek delight in thinking ill past curing;
And we will show allegiance to our child,
Fixed as his love for us- -changeless and mild :
Hours, days, and months, and years, shall pass away,
His sightly form, now stiffened, shall decay.
His eyes our pride, his limbs our decent care,
His gentle mouth, his clean and silky hair,
His round and restless hands, that warmed and slid
In ours-his feet still running where we bid-
His arms that drew him to his mother's breast,
His lips that kissed her when he went to rest-
The graceful, tender, carriage of his joy,
When she came forth, led by her darling boy,
Who, as the morning grew, and she lay sleeping,
Was looking, listening, and on tip-toe creeping,
Restless, yet checking his solicitude,
Lest aught should reach her of disturbance rude
Then springing like a bird, when gleamed her eye,
That her first sight on his blest smile might lie.
At last it came and something told its coming!
As midnight drew, we heard, or felt a humming,
As if on muffled wheels approached a Power
That could dismay our souls, and blot the hour!
We knew a fatal presence in the room,
And knew that it was come to take our boy;
From shadowy wings there seemed to spread a gloom,
To make existence pant, and smother joy:
A freezing instinct told us death was near;
Our hearts shrieked inwardly in mortal fear;
Yet we were mute-and on the sufferer's bed
We threw ourselves, and held his breathing head ;-
Held him, as one who drowns, bolds to the sand,
That crumbles as he clings-and falls about his hand.
We marked the time, and shuddering said 'twas well,
That sulky midnight struck the fatal knell,
And that, while others took their joy, or sleep,
We o'er his corse a chilly watch should keep ;
We faced the blast the more we felt it pierce,
And dared the lightning as we saw it fierce.
We hugged ourselves that we had not one face
To look to now, in this great foreign place:
And when we thought of home, 'twas with a start,
As if it were the world's detested part;
Yet this was new-for formerly 'twas sweet
To sit and think when he and they should meet.
Then fare thee well! though still to thee, sweet child!
Thy father looked, to feel thy spirit mild
Come on his heart, perturbed thoughts to soothe,
As oil upon the water steals to smooth;
Though the soft breathings of thy happy sleep,
Heard in the morning as he wakeful lay,
Seemed, like commissioned whisperings, to creep,
Finding to purity and peace the day;
Although thou taught'st him more than he could teach
In turn to thee-and to his wants gave more
Than thy youth's weakness ever did beseech;
And though no power thy presence can restore-
Yet, since the loss is ours-the gain is thine-
Since thou, perhaps, may'st elsewhere brighter shine—
We will despair-but we will not repine.
Farewell, on earth! I firmly say farewell!
Though back upon me falls the echoing knell;
groan of emptiness from what was full—
A wail of gloominess from what was fair;
Although the utterance seems my soul to pull,
To dissipate it with the word in air!
Farewell to thee is an adieu to all-
My portion here hath still been scant and small,
Till thou wast given, a treasure to my need,
In whose enjoyment I was rich indeed:
And now I'm left again-poor-very poor!
Condemned without an object to endure,
Seeking to rest, yet forced to stumble through:
Life's picture sinks into one jaundiced hue—
The foreground stormy, and the distance dark-
A covering deluge, but without an ark.