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A covering, stepping painfully and slow,
And with a difficult utterance, like one
Whose heart is with an iron nerve put down,
Crying: Unclean! Unclean!"

Depart! Depart, O child Of Israel, from the temple of thy God! For he has smote thee with his chastening rod,

And to the desert-wild, From all thou lovest, away thy feet must fee, That from thy plague His people may be free.

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Depart! and come not near The busy mart, the crowded city, more, Nor set thy foot a human threshold o'er,

And stay thou not to hear Voices that call thee in the way; and fly From all who in the wilderness pass by.

Wet not thy burning lip In streams that to a human dwelling glide; Nor rest thee where the covert fountains hide;

Nor kneel thee down to dip The water where the pilgrim bends to drink By desert well or river's grassy brink.

'Twas now the first Of the Judean autumn, and the leaves, Whose shadows lay so still upon the path, Had put their beauty forth beneath the eye Of Judah's palmiest noble. He was young And eminently beautiful, and life Mantled in eloquent fullness on his lip And sparkled in his glance, and in his mien There was a gracious pride that every eye Followed with benisons-and this was he! With the soft airs of summer there had come A torpor on his frame, which not the speed Of his best barb, nor music, nor the blast Of the bold huntsman's horn, nor aught that stirs The spirit to its bent, might drive away. The blood beat not as wont within his veins; Dimness crept o'er his eye; a drowsy sloth Fettered his limbs like palsy, and his mien, With all its loftiness, seemed struck with eld. Even his voice was changed, a languid moan Taking the place of the clear silver key; And brain and sense grew faint, as if the light And very air were steeped in sluggishness. He strove with it awhile, as manhood will, Ever too proud for weakness, till the rein Slackened within his grasp, and in its poise The arrowy jereed like an aspen shook. Day after day, he lay as if in sleep. His skin grew dry and bloodless, and white scales, Circled with livid purple, covered him. And then his nails grew black and fell away From the dull flesh about them, and the hues Deepened beneath the hard unmoistened scales, And from their edges grew the rank white hair, And Helon was a leper!

And pass thou not between The weary traveler and the cooling breeze; And lie not down to sleep beneath the trees

Where human tracks are seen; Nor milk the goat that browseth on the plain, Nor pluck the standing corn or yellow grain.

And now depart! And when Thy heart is heavy, and thine eyes are dimn, Lift up thy prayer beseechingly to Him

Who, from the tribes of men, Selected thee to feel His chastening rod. Depart, O leper! and forget not God!

And he went forth alone! not one of all
The many whom he loved, nor she whose name
Was woven in the fibers of his heart
Breaking within him now, to come and speak
Comfort unto him. Yea, he went his way,
Sick, and heart-broken, and alone, to 'die!
For God had cursed the leper!

Day was breaking, When at the altar of the temple stood The holy priest of God. The incense lamp Burned with a struggling light, and a low chant Swelled through the hollow arches of the roof Like an articulate wail, and there, alone, Wasted to ghastly thinness, Helon knelt. The echoes of the melancholy strain Died in the distant aisles, and he rose up, Struggling with weakness, and bowed down his head Unto the sprinkled ashes, and put off His costly raiment for the leper's garb; And with the sackcloth round him and his lip Hid in a loathsome covering, stood still, Waiting to hear his doom:

It was noon, And Helon knelt beside a stagnant pool In the lone wilderness and bathed his brow, Hot with burning leprosy, and touched The loathsome water to his fevered lips, Praying that he might be so blest-to die! Footsteps approached, and, with no strength to flee, He drew the covering closer on his lip, Crying “Unclean! unclean!” and in the folds Of the coarse sackcloth shrouding up his face, He fell upon the earth till they should pass. Nearer the Stranger came and, bending o'er The leper's prostrate form, pronounced his name, “ Helon!" The voice was like the master-tone




Of a rich instrument, most strangely sweet;
And the dull pulses of disease awoke,
And for a moment beat beneath the hot
And leprous scales with a restoring thrill.
“Helon, arise!” And he forgot his curse,
And rose and stood before Him.

And there's a mildew in the lapse

Of a few swift and checkered years, But nature's book is even yet With all my mother's lessons writ.

Love and awe Mingled in the regard of Helon's eyes As he beheld the stranger. He was not In costly raiment clad, nor on His brow The symbol of a princely lineage wore; No followers at His back, nor in His hand Buckler, or sword, or spear, --yet in His mien Command sat throned serene, and if He smiled, A kingly condescension graced His lips, "The lion would have crouched to in his lair. His garb was simple, and His sandals worn; His statue modeled with a perfect grace; His countenance the impression of a God Touched with the open innocence of a child; His eye was blue and calm, as in the sky In the serenest noon; His hair unshorn Fell to His shoulders; and His curling beard The fullness of perfected manhood bore. He looked on Helon earnestly awhile, As if His heart were moved, and, stooping down, He took a little water in His hand And laved the sufferer's brow, and said, “Be clean!" And lo! the scales fell from him, and his blood Coursed with delicious coolness through his veins, And his dry palms grew moist, and on his lips The dewy softness of an infant's stole. His leprosy was cleansed, and he fell down Prostrate at Jesus' feet and worshiped Him.

I have been out at eventide

Beneath a moonlight sky of spring, When earth was garnished like a bride,

And night had on her silver wing; When bursting leaves, and diamond grass,

And waters leaping to the light, And all that makes the pulses pass

With wilder fleetness, thronged the night, When all was beauty; then have I

With friends, on whom my love is fung Like myrrh on winds of Araby,

Gazed up where evening's lamp is hung, And when the beautiful spirit there

Flung over me its golden chain, My mother's voice came on the air

Like the light dropping of the rain,
And, resting on some silver star

The spirit of a bended knee,
I've poured out low and fervent prayer

That our eternity might be
To rise in Heaven, like stars at night,
And tread a living path of light.


My mother's voice! how often creep

Its accents on my lonely hours, Like healing sent on wings of sleep,

Or dew to the unconscious flowers. I can forget her melting praye

While leaping pulses madly fly, But in the still, unbroken air

Her gentle tone comes stealing by, And years, and sin, and folly flee And leave me at my mother's knee.

I have been on the dewy hills,

When night was stealing from the dawn, And mist was on the waking rills,

And tints were delicately drawn In the gray East; when birds were waking

With a low murmur in the trees, And melody by fits was breaking

Upon the whisper of the breeze; And this when I was forth, perchance As a worn traveler from the dance, And when the sun sprang gloriously And freely up, and hill and river

Were catching upon wave and tree The arrows from his subtle quiver,

I say a voice had thrilled me then, Heard on the still and rushing light,

Or, creeping from the silent glen, Like words from the departing night,

Hath stricken me, and I have pressed On the wet grass my fevered brow,

And, pouring forth the earliest First prayer, with which I learned to bow,

Have felt my mother's spirit rush L'pon me as in by-past years,

And, yielding to the blessed gush
Of my ungovernable tears,

Have risen up, the gay, the wild,
Subdued and humble as a child.

The evening hours, the birds, the flowers,

The starlight, moonlight-all that's meet For Heaven in this lost world of ours,

Remind me of her teachings sweet. My heart is harder, and perhaps

My thoughtlessness hath drunk up tears;

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"Alas! my noble boy! that thou shouldst die!

Thou, who wast 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,

And to my bosom I have tried to press thee! Now was I wont to feel my pulses thrill,

Like a rich harp-string, yearning to caress thee, And hear thy sweet my futher" from those dumb

And cold lips, Absalom!

I have walked the world for fourscore years,

And they say that I am old, That my heart is ripe for the reaper, Death,

And my years are well nigh told. It is very true. It is very true.

I'm old, and “I bide my time,” But my heart will leap at a scene like this,

And I half renew my prime.

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I am willing to die when my time shall come,

And I shall be glad to go;
For the world at best is a weary place,

And my pulse is getting low;
But the grave is dark, and the heart will fail

In treading its gloomy way;
And it wiles my heart from its dreariness

To see the young so gay.

“But death is on thee. I shall hear the gush

Of music, and the voices of the young; And life will pass me in the mantling blush

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