Page images
PDF
EPUB

.

But, if another gain your hand,
Far distant froni muy narive land,
Far hence from you and hope I'll fly,
And in some foreign region die.”
The virgin heard, and thus replied:
"If my consent to be your bride
Will make you happy, then be blest;
But grant me, first, one small request;
A sacrifice I must demand,
And in return will give my band."
“A sacrifice! Oh speak its name!
For you I'd forfeit wealth and fame;
Take my whole fortune, every cent--"
“ 'Twas something more than wealth I meant "
“Must I the realms of Neptune trace?
Oh speak the word! Where'er the place-
For you, the idol of my soul,
I'd e'en explore the frozen pole ;
Arabia's sandy deserts treac,
Or trace the Tigris to its head.”
“Oh, no, dear sir, I do not ask
So long a voyage, so hard a task ;
You must-but ah! the boon I want,
I have no hope that you will grant."
“Shall I, like Bonaparte, aspire
To be the world's imperial sire?
Express ine wish, and here I vow,
To place a crown upon your brow.”

Sir, these are trifles," she replied;

But, if you wish me for your bride, You must-but stili I fear to speak, You'll never grant the boon I seek.” “Oh say," he cried, “dear angel, say Wbat must I do, and I obey ; No longer rack me with suspense, Speak your commands, and send me hence." “Well, then, dear generous youth!” she cries, “If thus my heart you really prize, And wish to link your fate with mine, On one condition I am thine;

64

'Twill then become my pleasing duty,
To contemplate a husband's beauty;
And, gazing on his manly face,
His feelings and his wishes trace;
To banish thence each mark of care,
And light a smile of pleasure there.
Oh let me, then, 'tis all I ask,
Commence at once the pleasing task !
Oh let me, as becomes my place,
Cut those huge whiskers from your face!"
She said-but oh! what strange surprise
Was pictured in her lover's eyes !
Like lightning from the ground he sprung,
While wild amazement tied his tongue:
A statue, motionless, he gazed,
Astonished, horror-struck, amazed.
So looked the gallant Perseus, when
Medusa's visage met his ken;
So looked Macbeth, whose guilty eye
Discerned an “air-drawn dagger” nigh;
And so, the Prince of Denmark stared,
When first his father's ghost appeared.
At length our hero silence broke,
And thus in wildest accents spoke:

Cut off my whiskers! O ye gods!
I'd sooner lose my ears, by odds;
Madam, I'd not be so disgraced,
So lost to fashion and to taste,
To win an empress to my arms,
Though blest with more than mortal charms.
My whiskers! zounds !” He said no more,
But quick retreated through the door,
And sought a less obdurate fair,
To take the beau with all his hair.

JOHN MAYNARD.-HORATIO ALGER, JR. 'Twas on Lake Erie's broad expanse

One bright midsummer day, The gallant steamer Ocean Queen

Swept proudly on her way.

Bright faces clustered on the deck,

Or, leaning o'er the side,
Watched carelessly the feathery foam

That flecked the rippling tide.
Ah, who beneath that cloudless sky,

That smiling bends serene,
Could dream that danger, awful, vast,

Impended o'er the scene;
Could dream that ere an hour had sped

That frame of sturdy oak
Would sink beneath the lake's blue waves,

Blackened with fire and smoke?
A seaman sought the captain's side,

A moment whispered low;
The captain's swarthy face grew pale;

He hurried down below.
Alas, too late! Though quick, and sharp,

And clear his orders came,
No human efforts could avail

To quench th’insidious flame.
The bad news quickly reached the deck,

It sped from lip to lip,
And ghastly faces everywhere

Looked from the doomed ship.
“ Is there no hope, no chance of life?

A hundred lips implore; “But one,” the captain made reply,

“To run the ship on shore.” A sailor, whose heroic soul

That hour should yet reveal,
By name John Maynard, eastern-born,

Stood calmly at the wheel. “Head her south-east !” the captain shouts,

Above the smothered roar,
“ Head her south-east without delay!

Make for the nearest shore!”
No terror pales the helinsman's cheek,

Or clouds his dauntless eye,
As, in a sailor's measured tone,

His voice responds, “Ay! ay !”
Three hundred souls, the steamer's freight,

Crowd forward wild with fear,
BB*

While at the stern the dreaded flames

Above the deck appear.
John Maynard watched the nearing flames,

But still with steady hand
He grasped the wheel, and steadfastly

He steered the ship to land.
“ John Maynard, can you still hold out ?”

He heard the captain cry;
A voice from out the stifling smoke

Faintly responds, “Ay! ay!”
But half a mile! a hundred hands

Stretch eagerly to shore.
But half a mile! That distance sped

Peril shall all be o'er.
But half a mile! Yet stay, the flames

No longer slowly creep,
But gather round that helmsman bold,

With fierce, impetuous sweep.
“John Maynard !” with an anxious voice

The captain cries once more, “Stand by the wheel five minutes yet,

And we shall reach the shore.”
Through flame and smoke that dauntless heart

Responded firmly still,
Unawed, though face to face with death,

“ With God's good help I will!”
The flames approach with giant strides,

They scorch his hand and brow; One arm, disabled, seeks his side,

Ah! he is conquered now.
But no, his teeth are firmly set,

He crushes down his pain,
His knee upon the stanchion pressed,

He guides the ship again.
One moment yet! one moment yet!

Brave heart, thy task is o'er,
The pebbles grate beneath the keel,

The steamer touches shore.
Three bundred grateful voices rise

In praise to God that he
Hath saved them from the fearful fire,

And from the engulfing sea.

But where is he, that helmsman bold ?

The captain saw him reel,
His nerveless hands released their task,

He sank beside the wheel.
The wave received his lifeless corse,

Blackened with smoke and fire.
God rest him! Never hero had

A nobler funeral pyre!

DEEDS VERSUS CREEDS.-ANNIE I. MUZZEY.

Once, seeking truth, I wholly lost my way;

Rocked back and forward, by the swinging tides
Of doubt and faith, confused by many guides;
Each one armed with a doctrine and a creed

Which each felt sare to say
Would meet and satisfy my every need.
And one claimed Jesus was the son of God;

And one denied that he was more than man;

One scented wrath in the redeeming plan;
One dwelt upon its mercy and its love;

One threatened with the rod;
One wooed me with the cooings of a dove.
And whether souls were foreordained to bliss ;

And whether faith, or works were strong to save;

And whether judgment lay beyond the grave,
And love, with pardoning power, went down to hell;

Whether that road or this
Led up to heaven's gate, I could not tell.
Amid this dust of theologic strife,

I hungered with a want unsatisfied.

Heaven while I lived, not heaven when I died,
Was what I craved ; and how to make sublime

And beautiful my life,
While yet I lingered on the shores of time.
To judgment swift my guides in doctrine came;

Which one lived out the royal truths he preached i

Which one loved mercy, and ne'er overreached
His weaker brother? And which one forgot

His own in other's claim,
And put self last? I sought, but found him not;

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »