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And the sea-fog, like a ghost,
Haunted that dreary coast,

But onward still I sailed.

“ Four days I steered to eastward,

Four days without a night:
Round in a fiery ring
Went the great sun, O King,

With red and lurid light.”

a

Here Alfred, King of the Saxons,

Ceased writing for a while; And raised his eyes from his book, With a strange and puzzled look,

And an incredulous smile.

But Othere, the old sea-captain,

He neither paused nor stirred, Till the King listened, and then Once more took

up
his

pen,
And wrote down every word.

“ And now the land,” said Othere,

Bent southward suddenly, And I followed the curving shore, And ever southward bore

Into a nameless sea.

66 And there we hunted the walrus,

The narwhale, and the seal ;
Ha! 't was a noble game!
And like the lightning's flame

Flew our harpoons of steel.

“ There were six of us all together,

Norsemen of Helgoland;
In two days and no more
We killed of them threescore,

And dragged them to the strand !"

Here Alfred the Truth-Teller

Suddenly closed his book,
And lifted his blue eyes,
With doubt and strange surmise

Depicted in their look.

And Othere, the old sea-captain,

Stared at him wild and weird,
Then smiled, till his shining teeth
Gleamed white from underneath

His tawny, quivering beard.

And to the King of the Saxons,

In witness of the truth,
Raising his noble head,
He stretched his brown hand, and said,
“ Behold this walrus-tooth !

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

ODE ON THE MORNING OF CHRIST'S

NATIVITY

This is the month, and this the happy morn, Wherein the Son of Heaven's Eternal King, Of wedded maid and virgin mother born, Our great redemption from above did bring ; For so the holy sages once did sing

That He our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty
Wherewith He wont at Heaven's high council-table
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside; and, here with us to be
Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

Say, heavenly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God ?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain
To welcome Him to this his new abode,
Now while the heaven, by the sun's team untrod,
Hath took no print of the approaching light,
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons

bright?

See how from far, upon the eastern road,
The star-led wizards haste with odors sweet:
Oh, run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
Have thou the honor first thy Lord to greet,
And join thy voice unto the angel quire
From out his secret altar touched with hallowed fire.

THE HYMN

It was the winter wild

While the heaven-born Child
All meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies;

Nature in awe to Him

Had doffed her gaudy trim,
With her great Master so to sympathize :
It was no season then for her
To wanton with the sun, her lusty paramour.

:

Only with speeches fair

She woos the gentle air
To hide her guilty front with innocent snow;

And on her naked shame,

Pollute with sinful blame,
The saintly veil of maiden white to throw;
Confounded, that her Maker's eyes
Should look so near upon her foul deformities.

But He, her fears to cease,

Sent down the meek-eyed Peace; She, crowned with olive green, came softly sliding

Down through the turning sphere

His ready harbinger, With turtle wing the amorous clouds dividing; And waving wide her myrtle wand, She strikes a universal peace through sea and land.

No war or battle's sound

Was heard the world around : The idle

spear

and shield were high up hung ; The hooked chariot stood

Unstained with hostile blood ; The trumpet spake not to the armed throng ; And kings sat still with awful eye, As if they surely knew their sovran Lord was by,

But peaceful was the night

Wherein the Prince of Light
His reign of peace upon the earth began :

The winds, with wonder whist,

Smoothly the waters kist, Whispering new joys to the mild ocean Who now hath quite forgot to rave, While birds of calm sit brooding on the charmed

wave.

The stars, with deep amaze,

Stand fixed in steadfast gaze,
Bending one way their precious influence;

And will not take their flight

For all the morning light, Or Lucifer that often warned them thence ; But in their glimmering orbs did glow Until their Lord himself bespake, and bid them go.

And though the shady gloom

Had given day her room,
The sun himself withheld his wonted speed,

And hid his head for shame,

As his inferior flame The new-enlightened world no more should need ; He saw a greater Sun appear Than his bright throne or burning axletree could

bear.

The shepherds on the lawn

Or ere the point of dawn
Sate simply chatting in a rustic row;

Full little thought they then

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