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Yet still on every side we trace the hand
Or where, like those strange semblances we find That age
to childhood bind, Thé elm puts on, as if in Nature's scorn, The brown of Autumn corn.
As yet the turf is dark, although you know
Already, here and there, on frailest stems
In gardens you may note amid the dearth
But many gleams and shadows needs must pass
Still there's a sense of blossoms yet unborn
At times a fragrant breeze comes floating by,
Some wondrous pageant; and you scarce would start,
Behold me! I am May!”
Ah! who would couple thoughts of war and crime
Yet not more surely shall the Spring awake
There shall be deeper hues upon her plains
Oh! standing on this desecrated mold,
And calling, with the voice of all her rills,
A MOTHER'S WAIL.
My babe! my tiny babe! my only babe!
My babe! my tiny babe! my only babe!
My lamp hath fallen from its niche — ah, me!
My babe! my babe! my own and only babe!
Forgive me, Lord! forgive my reckless grief!
O yet once more, my babe, to hear thy cry!
But it must never, never more be mine
Three different shadows of thyself, my babe,
purs and murmurs softly at my feet !
Another is a little mound of earth ;
The third, my precious babe! the third, O Lord !
This is the vision, Lord, that I would keep
A COMMON THOUGHT.*
SOMEWHERE on this earthly planet
In the dust of flowers to be,
Sleeps a solemn day for me.
At this wakeful hour of midnight
I behold it dawn in mist, And I hear a sound of sobbing
Through the darkness, --- hist! O, hist!
In a dim and musky chamber,
I am breathing life away ; Some one draws a curtain softly
And I watch the broadening day.
As it purples in the zenith,
As it brightens on the lawn,
And a whisper, "He is gone!”
* This little poem, written several years before the poet's death, was prophetit. He died at the very hour here predicted. The whisper, “ He is gone,” went forth as the day was purpling in the zenith, on that October morning of 1867.
FRANCIS BRET HARTE was born in the State of New York in 1838. When quite young he went to California, where he remained until within a few years. His early occupations were various, including teaching and journalism. His success in the latter field of effort led him suddenly into literature and fame. His earliest essays in prose and verse were contributed to California periodicals, but speedily found their way to the Atlantic coast and even to Europe, being admired for their positive originality and as representative of a new phase of social life. In 1868 the Overland Monthly was started in San Francisco, and Mr. Harte was called to the editorial chair, which he filled very creditably for a year or two. But he had outgrown the sphere of a Pacific coast constituency, and there was a general demand for his remoral to the larger field of the East. He yielded to this, and during the last few years has been a resident of New York. Mr. lIarte is, perhaps, equally distinguished as a writer of prose and poetry : The Luck of Roaring Camp and The Heathen Chinee, representing these two forms of composition, are unique in literature, and their merit has never been approximated by the author's many imitators. Their marvelous popularity is due, primarily, to the strangeness of the life whose products they are, — the wild society of newly-settled regions, in which violence is the ruling, and humanity the exceptional, social force ; and, secondarily, to a peculiar quality of the author's genius, exclusively peculiar to him, it may be said, by which he is enabled to besiege the reader's mind with almost simultaneous humor and pathos. The power of employing these two agencies in apparently antagonistic, yet practically harmonious combination, is, perhaps, the secret of Mr. Harte's literary success. Surely it is possessed in equal development by no other living writer. His range in composition seems to be limited, and he seems to draw inspiration only from the scenes which first engaged his pen; when he ventures across the Rocky Mountains into regions of conventional life, his wings fail him and he falls to the level of comnionplace. In proof of this it is only necessary to cite the fact that since his removal to the Atlantic coast he has written but little, and that little far inferior in quality to his Pacific productions. The volume entitled The Luck of Roaring Camp contains his best work in prose; his verses hare been published in a volume called Poems.
The expression of the Chinese face in the aggregate is neither cheerful nor happy. In an acquaintance of half a dozen years, I can only recall one or two exceptions to this rule. There is an abiding consciousness of degradation, a secret pain or self-humiliation visible in the lines of the mouth and eye. Whether it is only a modification of Turkish gravity, or whether it is the dread Valley of the Shadow of the Drug through which they are continually straying, I cannot say. They seldom smile, and their laughter is of such an extraordinary and sardonic nature so purely a mechanical spasm, quite independent of any mirthful attribute — that to this day I am doubtful whether I ever saw a Chinaman laugh.
I have often been struck with the delicate pliability of the Chinese expression and taste, that might suggest a broader and deeper criti