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But it is blessedness! A year ago

I did not see it as I do to-day-
We are so dull and thankless; and too slow

To catch the sunshine till it slips away.
And now it seems surpassing strange to me,

That while I wore the badge of motherhood, I did not kiss more oft and tenderly

The little child that brought me only good.

And if some night when you sit down to rest,

You miss this elbow from your tired knee, This restless curling head from off your breast,

This lisping tongue that chatters constantly; If from your own the dimpled hands had slipped,

And ne'er would pestle in your palm again; If the white feet into their grave had tripped,

I could not blame you for your heartache then.

I wonder so that mothers ever fret

At little children clinging to their gown;
Or that the footprints, when the days are wet,

Are ever black enough to make them frown.
If I could find a little muddy boot,

Or cap, or jacket, on my chamber floor,
If I could kiss a rosy, restless foot,

And hear it patter in my house once more, -
If I could mend a broken cart to-day,

To-morrow make a kite to reach the sky,
There is no woman in God's world could say

She was more blissfully content than I.
But ah! the dainty pillow next my own

Is never rumpled by a shining head;
My singing birdling from its nest has flown,
The little boy I used to kiss is dead.

- May Riley Smith.

Courtesies to Parents.

PARENTS lean upon their children, and especially their sons, much earlier than either of

them imagine. Their love is a constant inspiration, a perennial fountain of delight, from which other lips may quaff, and be comforted thereby. It may be that the mother has been left a widow, depending on her only son for support. He gives her a comfortable home, sees that she is well clad, and allows no debts to accumulate, and that is all. It is considerable, more even than some sons do, but there is a lack. He seldom thinks it worth while to give her a caress; he has forgotten all those affectionate ways that kept the wrinkles from her face, and made her look so much younger, than her years; he is ready to put his hand in his pocket and gratify her slightest request, but to give of the abundance of his heart is another thing entirely. He loves his mother? Of course he does! Are there not proofs enough of his filial regard? Is he not continually making sacrifices for her benefit? What more can any reasonable woman ask?

Ah, but it is the mother heart that craves an occasional kiss, the support of your youthful arm, the little attentions and kindly courtesies of life, that smooth down so many of its asperities, and make the journey less wearisome. Material aid is good so far as it goes, but it has not the sustaining power which the loving, sympathetic heart bestows upon its object. You think she has outgrown these weaknesses and follies, and is content with the crust that is left; but you are mistaken. Every little offer of attention,—your escort to church or concert, or for a quiet walk, brings back the youth of her heart; her cheeks glow and her eyes sparkle with pleasure, and oh! how proud she is of her son !

Even the father, occupied and absorbed as he may be, is not wholly indifferent to these filial expressions of devoted love. He may pretend to care very little for them, but having faith in their sincerity, it would give him serious pain were they entirely withheld. Fathers need their sons quite as much as the sons need the fathers, but in how many deplorable inStances, do they fail to find in them a staff for their declining years !

My son, are you a sweetener of life? You may disappoint the ambition of your parents; may be unable to distinguish yourself as they fondly hoped; may find your intellectual strength inadequate to your own desires, but let none of these things move you from a determination to be a son of whose moral character they need never be ashamed. Begin early to cultivate a habit of thoughtfulness and cousideration of others, especially for those whom you are commanded to honor. Can you begrudge a few extra steps, for the mother who never stopped to number those you demanded during your helpless infancy? Have you the heart to slight her requests, or treat her remarks with indifference, when you cannot begin to measure the patient devotion with which she bore with your peculiarities ? Anticipate her wants, invite her confidence, be prompt to offer assistance, express your affection as heartily as you did when a child, that the mother may never grieve in secret for the son she has lost.

-S. S. Times.

A Winter's Evening Hymn to My Fire.

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THOU of home the guardian Lar,

And when our earth hath wandered far
into the cold, and deep snow covers
The walks of our New England lovers,
Their sweet secluded evening star!
'Twas with thy rays the English muse
Ripened her mild domestic hues ;
'Twas by thy flicker that she conned
The fireside wisdom that enrings
With light from heaven familiar things;
By thee she found the homely faith
In whose mild eye thy comfort stay'th,
When Death, extinguishing his torch,
Gropes for the latch-string in the porch ;
The love that wanders not beyond
His earliest nest, but sits and sings
While children smooth his patient wings.
Therefore with thee I love to read
Our brave old poets: at thy touch how stirs
Life in the withered words ! how swift recede
Time's shadows! and how glows again
Through its dead mass the incandescent verse,
As when upon the anvils of the brain
It glittering lay, cyclopically wrought
By the fast throbbing hammers of the poet's thought!
Thou murmurest, too, divinely stirred,
The aspirations unattained,
The rhythms so rathe and delicate,
They bent and strained
And broke, beneath the somber weight
Of any airiest mortal word;

As who would say, “ 'Tis those, I ween,
Whom lifelong armor-chafe makes lean

That win the laurel ;”.
While the gay snowstorm, held aloof,
To softest outline rounds the roof,
Or the rude North with baffled strain
Shoulders the frost-starred window pane !
Now the kind nymph to Bacchus borne
By Morpheus' daughter, she that seems
Gifted upon her natal morn
By him with fire, by her with dreams,
Nicotia, dearer to the Muse
Than all the grapes' bewildering juice,
We worship, unforbid of thee;
And, as her incense floats and curls
In airy spires and wayward whirls,
Or poises on its tremulous stalk
A Power of frailest revery,
So winds and loiters, idly free,
The current of unguided talk,
Now laughter-rippled, and now caught
In smooth dark pools of deeper thought.
Meanwhile thou mellowest every word,
A sweetly unobtrusive third :
For thou hast magic beyond wine,
To unlock natures each to each ;
The unspoken thought thou canst divine ;
Thou fillest the pauses of the speech
With whispers that to dream-land reach,
And frozen fancy-springs unchain
In Arctic outskirts of the brain.

Sun of all inmost confidence !
To thy rays doth the heart unclose
Its formal calyx of pretenses,

That close against rude day's offences,
And open its shy midnight rose.

-James Russell Lowell.

By the Fireside.

THAT is it fades and flickers in the fire,

Walleteris lade sights

, ainde yields reluctant breath,

As if in the red embers some desire,

Some word prophetic burned, defying death ? Lords of the forest, stalwart oak and pine,

Lie down for us in flames of martyrdom: A human household warmth, their death-fires shine ;

Yet fragrant with high memories they come, Bringing the mountain winds that in their boughs

Sang of the torrent, and the plashy edge Of

storm-swept lakes ; and echoes that arouse The eagles from a splintered eyrie ledge; And breath of violets sweet about their roots;

And earthy odors of the moss and fern ;
And hum of rivulets ; smell of ripening fruits ;

And green leaves that to gold and crimson turn.
What clear Septembers fade out in a spark !

What rare Octobers drop with every coal !
Within these costly ashes, dumb and dark,

Are hid spring's budding hope, and summer's soul. Pictures far lovelier smolder in the fire,

Visions of friends who walked among these trees, Whose presence, like the free air, could inspire

A winged life and boundless sympathies. Eyes with a glow like that in the brown beech,

When sunset through its autumn beauty shines ;

Or the blue gentian's look of silent speech,

To heaven appealing as earth's light declines; Voices and steps forever Aled away

From the familiar glens, the haunted hillsMost pitiful and strange it is to stay

Without you in a world your lost love fills.
Do you forget us—under Eden trees,

Or in full sunshine on the hills of God-
Who miss you from the shadow and the breeze,

And tints and perfumes of the woodland sod ?
Dear for your sake the fireside where we sit

Watching these sad, bright pictures come and go ; That waning years are with your memory lit,

Is the one lonely comfort that we know. Is it all memory? Lo, these forest boughs

Burst on the hearth into fresh leaf and bloom ; Waft a vague, far-off sweetness through the house,

And give close walls the hillside's breathing-room.

A second life, more spiritual than the first,

They find-a life won only out of death. O sainted souls, within you still is nursed

For us a flame not fed by mortal breath!

Unseen, ye bring to us, who love and wait,

Wafts from the heavenly hills, immortal air ; No flood can quench your heart's warmth, or abate ; Ye are our gladness, here and everywhere.

-Lucy Larcom.

The Fireside.

solid happiness we prize,
Within our breast this jewel lies,

And they are fools who roam:
The world has nothing to bestow;
From our own selves our joys must flow,

And that dear place-our home.

Our portion is not large indeed;
But then how little do we need!

For nature's calls are few:
In this art of living lies,
To want no more than may suffice,

And make that little do.

We'll therefore relish with content Whate'er kind Providence has sent,

Nor aim beyond our power: For if our stock be very small, Tis prudence to enjoy it all,

Nor lose the present hour.

Thus, hand in hand, through life we'll go; Its checkered paths of joy and woe

With cautious steps we'll tread; Quit its vain scenes without a tear, Without a trouble or a fear,

And mingle with the dead:

To be resigned when ills betide,
Patient when favors are denied,

And pleased with savors given;
Dear Chloe, this is wisdom's part;
This is that incense of the heart

Whose fragrance smells to heaven.

While conscience, like a faithful friend,
Shall through the gloomy vale attend,

And cheer our dying breath;
Shall, when all other comforts cease,
Like a kind angel, whisper peace,
And smooth the bed of death.

- Nathaniel Cotton.

My Own Fireside.

L

A babe, whose beauty's half divine,

In sleep his mother's eyes doth hide; Where may love seek a fitter shrine.

My own-my own fireside!

ET others seek for empty joys,

At ball or concert, rout or play; Whilst far from Fashion's idle noise,

Her gilded domes and trappings gay, I while the wintry eve away.

'Twixt book and lute the hours divide; And marvel how I e'er could stray

From thee-my own fireside! My own fireside! Those simple words

Can bid the sweetest dreams arise; Awaken feeling's tenderest chords,

And fill with tears of joy mine eyes. What is there my wild heart can prize,

That does not in thy sphere abide; Haunt of my home-bred sympathies,

My own-my own fireside! A gentle form is near me now;

A small white hand is clasped in mine; I gaze upon her placid brow,

And ask, what joys can equal thine?

Shrine of my household deities;

Bright scene of home's unsullied joys; To thee my burdened spirit flies,

When Fortune frowns, or Care annoys! Thine is the bliss that never cloys;

The smile whose truth hath oft been tried; What then, are this world's tinsel toys,

To thee-my own fireside!
Oh, may the yearnings, fond and sweet,

That bid my thoughts be all of thee,
Thus ever guide my wandering feet

To my heart soothing sanctuary! Whate'er my future years may be,

Let joy or grief my fate betide; Be still an Eden bright to me,

My own-my own fireside!

Fireside Dreams.

B

Y the fireside there are old men seated,
Seeing ruined cities in the ashes,

Asking sadly
Of the Past what it can ne'er restore them

By the fireside there are youthful dreamers,
Building castles fair with stately stairways,

Asking blindly
Of the Future it cannot give them.

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