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He goes on Sunday to the church,

And sits among his boys;
Ile hears the parson pray and preach,

He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,

And it makes his heart rejoice.

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,

Singing in Paradise !
He needs must think of her once more,

How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard rough hand he wipes

A tear out of his eyes.

Toiling, - rejoicing, - sorrowing,

,Onward through life he goes ; Each morning sees some task begin,

Each evening sees it close; Something attempted, something done,

Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,

For the lesson thou hast taught! Thus at the flaming forge of life

Our fortunes must be wrought; Thus on its sounding anvil shaped

Each burning deed and thought.


I HAVE read in some old marvellous tale,

Some legend strange and vague, That a midnight host of spectres pale

Beleaguered the walls of Prague.

Beside the Moldar's rushing stream,

With the wan moon overhead, There stood, as in an awful dream,

The army of the dead.

White as a sea-fog, landward bound,

The spectral camp was seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,

The river flowed between.

No other voice nor sound was there,

No drum, nor sentry's pace ;
The mist-like banners clasped the air,

As clouds with clouds embrace.

But, when the old cathedral bell

Proclaimed the morning prayer, The white pavilions rose and fell

On the alarmèd air.

Down the broad valley, fast and far

The troubled army fled ;
Up rose the glorious morning star,

The ghastly host was dead.

I have read, in the marvellous heart of man,

That strange and mystic scroll,
Than an army of phantoms vast and wan

Beleaguer the human soul.

Encamped beside Life's rushing stream,

In Fancy's misty light,
Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam

Portentious through the night.

Upon its midnight battle-ground

The spectral camp is seen, ,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,

Flows the River of Life between.


No other voice, nor sound is there,

In the army of the grave;
No other challenge breaks the air,

But the rushing of Life's wave.

And, when the solemn and deep church-bell

Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,

The shadows sweep away.

Down the broad Vale of Tears afar

The spectral camp is fled : Faith shineth as a morning star,

Our ghastly fears are dead.


ALL houses wherein men have lived and died

Are haunted houses. Through the open doors The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,

With feet that make no sound upon the floors.

We meet them at the doorway, on the stair,

Along the passage they come and go, Impalpable impressions on the air,

A sense of something moving to and fro.

There are more guests at table than the hosts

Invited; the illuminated hall
Is thronged with quiet, inoffensive ghosts,

As silent as the pictures on the wall.

The stranger at my fireside cannot sce

The forms I see, nor hear the sounds I hear: He but perceives what is; while unto me

All that has been is visible and clear.

We have no title-deeds to house or lands;

Owners and occupants of earlier dates From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands

And hold in mortmain still their old estates.

The spirit world around this world of sense

Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere Wafts through these earthly mists and vapors dense,

A vital breath of more ethereal air.

Our little lives are kept in equipoise

By opposite attractions and desires ; The struggle of the instinct that enjoys

And the more noble instinct that aspires.

The perturbations, the perpetual jar

Of earthly wants and aspirations high, Come from the influence of that unseen star

That undiscovered planet in our sky.

And as the moon, from some dark gate of cloud,

Throws o'er the sea a floating bridge of light, Across whose trembling plank our fancies crowd,

Into the realms of mystery and night,

So from the world of spirits there descends

A bridge of light, connecting it with this, O'er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,

Under our thoughts above the dark abyss.

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