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If an indignant eye we lift above,

To lose some sparkling goblet ill content, Which, but for that keen watchfulness of love,

Swift certain poison through our veins had sent.”

THE UNCLE.

BY H. G. BELL.

I HAD an uncle once-a man

Of threescore years and three ;-
And when my reason's dawn began,

He'd take me on his knee;
And often talk, whole winter nights,

Things that seemed strange to me.
He was a man of gloomy mood,

And few his converse sought;
But, it was said, in solitude

His conscience with him wrought;
And there, before his mental eye,

Some hideous vision brought.
There was not one in all the house

Who did not fear his frown,
Save I, a little careless child,

Who gambolled up and down,
And often peeped into his room,

And plucked him by the gown.
I was an orphan and alone,-

My father was his brother,
And all their lives I knew that they

Had fondly loved each other;
And in my uncle's room there hung

The picture of my mother.

There was a curtain over it,

'Twas in a darkened place,
And few or none had ever looked

Upon my mother's face,
Or seen her pale expressive smile

Of melancholy grace.
One night, I do remember well,

The wind was howling high,
And through the ancient corridors

It sounded drearily-
I sat and read in that old hall;

My uncle sat close by.
I read - but little understood

The words upon the book ;
For with a sidelong glance I marked

My uncle's fearful look.
And saw how all his quivering frame

In strong convulsions shook. A silent terror o'er me stole,

A strange, unusual dread ;
His lips were white as bone- his eyes

Sunk far down in his head ;
He gazed on me, but 'twas the gaze

Of the unconscious dead.
Then suddenly he turned him round,

And drew aside the veil That hung before my mother's face;

Perchance my eyes might fail, But ne'er before that face to me

Had seemed so ghastly pale. "Come hither, boy !" my uncle said,

I started at the sound ; 'Twas choked and stifled in his throat,

And hardly utterance found :“Come hither, boy !” then fearfully

He cast his eyes around.

“ That lady was thy mother once,

Thou wert her only child ;-
O God! I've seen her when she held

Thee in her arms and smiled, -
She smiled upon thy father, boy,

'Twas that which drove me wild ! “He was my brother, but his form

Was fairer far than mine;
I grudged not that;—he was the prop

Of our ancestral line,
And manly beauty was of him

A token and a sign.
“ Boy! I had loved her too,— nay, more,

'Twas I who loved her first; For months—for years—the golden thought Within

my

soul was nursed ; He came-he conquered— they were wed;

My air-blown bubble burst !
“Then on my mind a shadow fell,

And evil hopes grew rife ;
The damning thought stuck in my heart,

And cut me like a knife,
That she, whom all my days I loved,

Should be another's wife!
“By Heaven ! it was a fearful thing

To see my brother now,
And mark the placid calm that sat

For ever on his brow,
That seemed in bitter scorn to say,

I am more loved than thou !
“I left my home- I left the land-

I crossed the raging sea ;-
In vain-in vain—where'er I turned,

My memory went with me ;-
My whole existence, night and day,

In memory seemed to be.

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“I came again--I found them here-

Thou 'rt like thy father, boyHe doted on that pale face there,

I've seen them kiss and toy,I've seen him locked in her fond arms,

Wrapped in delirious joy ! “He disappeared-draw nearer, child ;

He died — no one knew how ;
The murdered body ne'er was found,

The tale is hushed up now;
But there was one who rightly guessed

The hand that struck the blow. “It drove her mad-yet not his death,

No--not his death alone :
For she had clung to hope, when all

Knew well that there was none;-
No, boy! it was a sight she saw

That froze her into stone ! “I am thy uncle, child,-- why stare

So frightfully aghast ?The arras waves, but know'st thou not

'Tis nothing but the blast ? 1, too, have had my fears like these,

But such vain fears are past. “I'll show thee what thy mother saw,

I feel 'twill ease my breast,
And this wild tempest-laden night

Suits with the purpose best.-
Come hither—thou hast often sought
To open this old chest.
“ It has a secret spring; the touch

Is known to me alone ;
Slowly the lid is raised, and now-

What see you that you groan
So heavily ?- That thing is but

A bare-ribbed skeleton.”

A sudden crash- the lid fell down

Three strides he backwards gave,-
“Oh God ! it is my brother's self

Returning from the grave !
His grasp of lead is on my throat-

Will no one help or save ?
That night they laid him on his bed,

In raving madness tossed ;
He gnashed his teeth, and with wild oaths

Blasphemed the Holy Ghost;
And, ere the light of morning broke,

A sinner's soul was lost.

ABOU BEN ADHEM.

BY LEIGH HUNT.

a

ABOU BEN ADHEM (may his tribe increase !)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold :-
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou ?”—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“ And is mine one ?said Abou. Nay, not so,"
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, “ I pray thee then,
“ Write me as one that loves his fellow-men.”

a

The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night It came again with a great wakening light, And showed the names whom love of God had blessed, And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

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