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I HAD found out a sweet green spot,
The din of the city disturbed it not,
But the spirit, that shades the quiet cot
I found that lily's bloom
It smiled, like a star in the misty gloom,
And it sent abroad a soft perfume,
I sat by the lily's bell,
The leaves, that rose in a flowing swell,
Grew faint and dim, then drooped and fell, And the flower had flown away.
I looked where the leaves were laid,
And, as gloomy thoughts stole on me, said,
6. There is many a sweet and blooming maid Who will soon as dimly die."
THE CHURCH BELL.
We have read many affecting, instructive, and moral tales, but certainly none to surpass the following, translated from the German by CLARA Cushman. Its quiet pathos, the motive with which it is impregnated, the beneficial and pious tone (pious without being fanatical) in which it is clothed, and the skill evinced in its construction, render it a true gem; and we trust none of our readers will pass it by unnoticed.
The village was small, and the church was not a cathedral, but a quiet, unostentatious stone chapel, half covered by climbing plants, and a forest of dark trees round it. They shaded the interior so completely in the summer afternoons, that the figure of the altar-piece (painted, the villagers averred, by Abrecht Durer) could scarce be distinguished, and rested upon the broad canvas, a mass of shadowy outlines.
A quaint carved belfrey rose above the trees, and in the bright dawn of the Sabbath, a chime, sweet and holy, floated from it, calling the villagers to their devotions; but the bell, whose iron tongue gave forth that chime, was not the bell that my
THE CHURCH BELL.
story speaks of. There was another, long before that was cast, that had hung for years, perhaps a century, in the same place. But now it is no longer elevated. Its tongue is mute, for it lies upon the ground at the foot of the church tower, broken and bruised. It is half buried in the rich mould, and there are green stains creeping over it, eating into its iron heart. No one heeds it now, for those who had brought it there are sleeping coldly and silently all around in the churchyard. The shadow of these dark trees rests on many graves.
How came the bell to be thus neglected ? A new generation arose.
"See," they said, "the church where our parents worshipped falls to decay. Its towers crumble to dust. The bell has lost its silver tone it is broken. We will have a new tower, and another bell shall call us to our worship."
So the old belfrey was destroyed, and the old bell lay at the foundation. It was grieved at the cruel sentence, but it scorned to complain. It was voiceless.
They came, weeks after, to remove it mains would still be of use; but strive as they would, no strength was able to raise the bell. It had grown ponderous — it defied them, rooted to the earth as it seemed.
“ They cannot make me leave my post,” thought the bell. “I will watch over this holy spot. It has been my care for years."
Time passed, and they strove no longer to remove the relic. Its successor rang clearly from the tower above his head, and the old bell slumbered on in warm sunshine and the dreary storm, unmolested, and almost forgotten.
The afternoon was calm, but the sun's rays were most powerful. A bright, noble boy had been walking listlessly under the whispering trees. He was in high health, and was resting from eager exercise ; for there was a flush upon his open brow, and as he walked he wiped the beaded drops from his forehead.
“Ah, here is the place," he said. “I will lie down in the cool shade, and read this pleasant volume.”
So the youth stretched his wearied limbs upon the velvet grass, and his head rested near the old bell; but he did not know it, for there was a low shrub with thick serrated leaves and fragrant blossoms spreading over it, and the youth did not care to look beyond.
Presently the letters in his book began to grow indistinct. There was a mist creeping over the page, and while he wondered at the marvel, a wow, clear voice spoke to him. Yes, it called his name, 6 Novalis."
“I am here,” said the lad, though he could see nu one. He glanced upward and around, yet there was no living creature in sight.
“Listen,” said the voice. "I have not spoken
THE CHURCH BELL.
to mortal for many, many years. My voice was hushed at thy birth. Come, I will tell thee of it.”
The youth listened, though he was sadly amazed. He felt bound to the spot, and he could not close his ears.
“ Time has passed swiftly,” said the voice, "since I watched the children, who are now men and women, at their sports in the neighboring forest. I looked out from my station in the old tower, and morning and evening beheld with joy those innocent faces, as they ran and bounded in wild delight, fearless of the future, and careless of the present hour. They were all my children, for I rejoiced at their birth ; and if it was ordained that the good Shepherd early called one of the lambs to his bosom, I tolled not mournfully, but solemnly, at the departure. I knew it was far better for those who slept thus peacefully, and I could not sorrow for them.
“I marked one, a fair, delicate girl, who often separated herself from her merry companions. She would leave their noisy play, and stealing with her book and work through the dark old trees, would sit or hours in the shadow of the tower. Though she never came without a volume, such a one as just now you were reading, the book was often neglected ; and, leaning her head upon her hand, she would remain until the twilight tenderly veiled her beautiful form, rapt in a deep, still musing. I knew that her thoughts were holy and pure