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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.”



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


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 (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.”


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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