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With now and then a ruder shock,
The board-nails snapping in the frost ; 620 And on us, through the unplastered wall,
Felt the light sifted snow-flakes fall.
Faint and more faint the murmurs grew, 625 Till in the summer-land of dreams
They softened to the sound of streams,
Next morn we wakened with the shout 630 Of merry voices high and clear;
And saw the teamsters drawing near
We saw the half-buried oxen go,
Their straining nostrils white with frost.
The elders threshed their hands a-cold, 640 Passed, with the cider-mug, their jokes
From lip to lip; the younger folks
O'er windy hill, through clogged ravine, 645 And woodland paths that wound between
Low drooping pine-boughs winter-weighed.
650 Haply the watchful young men saw
Sweet doorway pictures of the curls
Against the snow-ball's compliments, 655 And reading in each missive tost
The charm with Eden never lost.
We heard once more the sleigh-bells' sound;
And, following where the teamsters led,
The wise old Doctor went his round, 660 Just pausing at our door to say,
In the brief autocratic way
That some poor neighbor sick abed 665 At night our mother's aid would need.
For, one in generous thought and deed,
What mattered in the sufferer's sight
The Quaker matron's inward light,
The Doctor's mail of Calvin's creed? 670 All hearts confess the saints elect
Who, twain in faith, in love agree,
The Christian pearl of charity!
So days went on: a week had passed
The Almanac we studied o'er,
One harmless novel, mostly hid 680 From younger eyes, a book forbid, 659. The wise old Doctor was Dr. Weld of Haverhill, an able man, who died at the age of ninety-six.
And poetry, (or good or bad,
A stranger to the heathen Nine,
The wars of David and the Jews.
Lo! broadening outward as we read, 690 To warmer zones the horizon spread;
In panoramic length unrolled
And daft McGregor on his raids 695 In Costa Rica's everglades.
And up Taygetus winding slow
Welcome to us its week-old news, 700 Its corner for the rustic Muse,
683. Thomas Ellwood, one of the Society of Friends, a conlemporary and friend of Milton, and the suggestor of Paradise Regained, wrote an epic poem in five books, called Davideis, the life of King David of Israel. He wrote the book, we are told, for his own diversion, so it was not necessary that others should be diverted by it. Ellwood's autobiography, a quaint and delightful book, has recently been issued in Howells's series of Chşice Autobiography.
693. Referring to the removal of the Creek Indians from Geor. gia to beyond the Mississippi.
694. In 1822 Sir Gregor McGregor, a Scotchman, began an ineffectual attempt to establish a colony in Costa Rica.
697. Taygetus is a mountain on the Gulf of Messenia in Greece, and near by is the district of Maina, noted for its robbers and pirates. It was from these mountaineers that Ypsiianti, a Greek patriot, drew his cavalry in the struggle with Turkey, which resulted in the independence of Greece.
Its monthly gauge of snow and rain,
Jest, anecdote, and love-lorn tale, 705 The latest culprit sent to jail;
Its hue and cry of stolen and lost,
And traffic calling loud for gain.
We felt the stir of hall and street, 710 The pulse of life that round us beat;
The chill embargo of the snow
715 Clasp, Angel of the backward look
And folded wings of ashen gray
And voice of echoes far away,
The weird palimpsest old and vast, 720 Wherein thou hid’st the spectral past;
Where, closely mingling, pale and glow
Or smile-illumed or dim with tears, 725
Green hills of life that slope to death, And haunts of home, whose vistaed trees Shade off to mournful cypresses
With the white amaranths underneath.
Even while I look, I can but heed 730
The restless sands' incessant fall, Importunate hours that hours succeed, Each clamorous with its own sharp need,
And duty keeping pace with all.
Shut down and clasp the heavy lids; 735 I hear again the voice that bids
The dreamer leave his dream midway
740 Yet, haply, in some lull of life,
Some Truce of God which breaks its strife,
Dreaming in throngful city ways
Of winter joys his boyhood knew; 745 And dear and early friends — the few
Who yet remain — shall pause to view
These Flemish pictures of old days;
And stretch the hands of memory forth 750 To warm them at the wood-fire's blaze!
And thanks untraced to lips unknown
Or lilies floating in some pond,
The traveller owns the grateful sense
741. The name is drawn from a historic compact in 1040. when the Church forbade the barons to make any attack on each other between sunset on Wednesday and sunrise on the follow. ing Monday, or upon any ecclesiastical fast or feast day. It also provided that no man was to molest a laborer working in the fields, or to lay hands on any implement of husbandry, on pain of excommunication.
747. The Flemish school of painting was chiefly occupied with homely interiors.