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In gardens such as these, and, o'er them all,
Built the broad roof. " But thou hast yet to see
A fairer sight,” she said, and led the way

To where a window of pellucid ice
195 Stood in the wall of snow, beside their path.

“Look, but thou may’st not enter.” Eva lookeil,
And lo! a glorious hall, from whose high vault
Stripes of soft light, ruddy, and delicate green,

And tender blue, flowed downward to the floor 200 And far around, as if the aerial hosts,

That march on high by night, with beamy spears,
And streaming banners, to that place had brought
Their radiant flags to grace a festival.

And in that hall a joyous multitude
205 Of those by whom its glistening walls were reared,

Whirled in a merry dance to silvery sounds,
That rang from cymbals of transparent ice,
And ice-cups, quivering to the skilful touch

Of little fingers. Round and round they flew, 210 As when, in spring, about a chimney top,

A cloud of twittering swallows, just returned,
Wheel round and round, and turn and wheel again,
Unwinding their swift track. So rapidly

Flowed the meandering stream of that fair dance, 215 Beneath that dome of light. Bright eyes that

looked
From under lily brows, and gauzy scarfs
Sparkling like snow-wreaths in the early sun,
Shot by the window in their mazy whirl.

And there stood Eva, wondering at the sight
129 Of those bright revellers and that graceful sweep

Of motion as they passed her; - long she gazed,
And listened long to the sweet sounds that thrilled
The frosty air, till now the encroaching cold
Recalled her to herself. “ Too long, too long

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225 Ilinger here,” she said, and then she sprang

Into the path, and with a hurried step
Followed it upward. Ever by her side
Her little guide kept pace. As on they went

Eva bemoaned her fault: “ What must they think – 230 The dear ones in the cottage, while so long,

Hour after hour, I stay without? I know
That they will seek me far and near, and

weep
To find me not. How could I, wickedly,

Neglect the charge they gave me?” As she spoke, 23; The hot tears started to her eyes; she knelt

In the mid path. “Father! forgive this sin;
Forgive myself I cannot– thus she prayed,
And rose and hastened onward. When, at last,

They reached the outer air, the clear north breathed 240 A bitter cold, from which she shrank with dread,

But the snow-maiden bounded as she felt
The cutting blast, and uttered shouts of joy,
And skipped, with boundless glee, from drift to

drift,

And danced round Eva, as she labored up 245 The mounds of snow,

Ah me! I feel my eyes
Grow heavy,” Eva said; “ they swim with sleep;
I cannot walk for utter weariness,
And I must rest a moment on this bank,

But let it not be long.” As thus she spoke, 250 In half-formed words, she sank on the smooth

snow,
With closing lids. Her guide composed the robe
About her limbs, and said,“ A pleasant spot
Is this to slumber in; on such a couch

Oft have I slept away the winter night,
255 And had the sweetest dreams.” So Eva slept,

But slept in death; for when the power of frost
Locks up the motions of the living frame,

The victim passes to the realm of Death

Through the dim porch of Sleep. The little guide, 260 Watching beside her, saw the hues of life

Fade from the fair smooth brow and rounded cheek,
As fades the crimson from a morning cloud,
Till they were white as marble, and the breath

Had ceased to come and go, yet knew she not 265 At first that this was death. But when she

marked
How deep the paleness was, how motionless
That once lithe form, a fear came over her.
She strove to wake the sleeper, plucked her robe,

And shouted in her ear, but all in vain ; 270 The life had passed away from those young limbs.

Then the snow-maiden raised a wailing cry,
Such as the dweller in some lonely wild,
Sleepless through all the long December night,
Hears when the mournful East begins to blow.

But suddenly was heard the sound of steps,
Grating on the crisp snow; the cottagers
Were seeking Eva; from afar they saw
The twain, and hurried toward them.

As they came, With gentle chidings ready on their lips, 280 And marked that deathlike sleep, and heard the

tale
Of the snow-maiden, mortal anguish fell
Upon their hearts, and bitter words of grief
And blame were uttered: “ Cruel, cruel one,

To tempt our daughter thus, and cruel we, 285 Who suffered her to wander forth alone

In this fierce cold.” They lifted the dear child,
And bore her home and chafed her tender limbs,
And strove, by all the simple arts they knew,
To make the chilled blood move, and win the

breath

275

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290 Back to her bosom; fruitlessly they strove.

The little maid was dead. In blank despair
They stood, and gazed at her who never more
Should look on them. " Why die we not with

her?
They said ; “ without her life is bitterness."
295 Now came the funeral day; the simple folk

Of all that pastoral region gathered round,
To share the sorrow of the cottagers.
They carved a way into the mound of snow

To the glen's side, and dug a little grave
300 In the smooth slope, and, following the bier,

In long procession from the silent door,
Chanted a sad and solemn melody.

· Lay her away to rest within the ground. Yea, lay her down whose pure and innocent life 305 Was spotless as these snows; for she was reared

In love, and passed in love life's pleasant spring,
And all that now our tenderest love can do
Is to give burial to her lifeless limbs."

They paused. A thousand slender voices round, 310 Like echoes softly flung from rock and hill,

Took up the strain, and all the hollow air
Seemed mourning for the dead; for, on that day,
The Little People of the Snow had come,

From mountain peak, and cloud, and icy hall,
315 To Eva's burial. As the murmur died,
The funeral train renewed the solemn chant.

Thou, Lord, hast taken her to be with Eve,
Whose gentle name was given her. Even so,

For so Thy wisdom saw that it was be
320 For her and us. We bring our bleeding hearts,

And ask the touch of healing from Thy band,
As, with submissive tears, we render back
The lovely and beloved to Him who gave.”

66

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They ceased. Again the plaintive murmur rose. 325 From shadowy skirts of low-hung cloud it came, And wide white fields, and fir-trees capped with

snow, Shivering to the sad sounds. They sank away To silence in the dim-seen distant woods.

The little grave was closed; the funeral train 330 Departed; winter wore away; the spring Steeped, with her quickening rains, the violet

tufts, By fond hands planted where the maiden slept. But, after Eva's burial, never more

The Little People of the 'Snow were seen 335 By human eye, nor ever human ear

Heard from their lips 'articulate speech again;
For a decree went forth to cut them off,
Forever, from communion with mankind.

The winter clouds, along the mountain-side, 340 Rolled downward toward the vale, but no fair

form
Leaned from their folds, and, in the icy glens,
And aged woods, under snow-loaded pines,
Where once they made their haunt, was emp-i.

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ness.

But ever, when the wintry days drew near, 345 Around that little grave, in the long night,

Frost-wreaths were laid, and tufts of silvery rime
In shape like blades and blossoms of the field,
As one would scatter flowers upon a bier.

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