Page images

more; he lifted with difficulty his heavy eyelids, but within was no eye, and in his beating breast there was, instead of a heart, a wound. He lifted up his hands and folded them to pray ; but the arms lengthened out and dissolved, and the hands, still folded, fell away. Above, on the vault of the church, stood the dial-plate of eternity, on which no number appeared, and which was its own index hand; but a black finger pointed thereon, and the dead sought to see the time by it. ...

An immense and immeasurably extended hammer was about to strike the hour of time and shatter the universe, when I awoke.

My soul wept for joy that I could still pray to God and the joy, and the weeping, and the faith in him, were my prayer. And as I arose, the sun was glowing deep behind the full purpled ears of corn, and casting meekly the gleam of its twilight red on the little moon, which was rising in the east without an aurora; and between the sky and the earth, a gay transient air people was stretching out its short wings, and living, as I did, before the Infinite Father; and from all nature around me flowed peaceful tones as from distant evening bells.

MAXIMS FROM RICHTER'S WORKS. He who remains modest, not when he is praised but when he is blamed, is truly modest.

Of all human qualities, modesty is most easily stifled by

than censure.

The truest love is the most timid; the falsest is the boldest.

If you wish to become acquainted with your betrothed, trarel with him for a few days, - especially if he is accompanied by his own folks, - and take your mother along.

It is the misfortune of the bachelor that he has no one to tell him frankly his faults; but the husband has this happiness.

Dying for the truth is death not merely for one's country, but also for the world.

Truth, like the Medicean Venus, may be transmitted to posterity in thirty fragments, but posterity will put them together into a goddess.

GENIUS is the alarm-clock of sleeping centuries.

THERE are truths of which we hope that great men will be more firmly convinced than we can be, and that therefore our conviction will be supplemented by theirs.

We wish for immortality not as the reward, but as the perpetuity, of virtue.

VIRTUE can be no more rewarded than joy ; its sole reward is its continuance.

Vice wins the battle-field, but virtue the Elysian fields.

ART may not be the bread, but it is the wine of life. To disparage it on the plea of utility is to imitate Domitian, who ordered the grape-vines to be rooted out in order to promote agriculture.

A CONVERSATION about a work of art can embrace almost everything.

KNOWLEDGE and Action. — It is a fine thing in the springtide of youth to poetize and theorize, and then in the years of manhood to rule from a higher throne and to crown thoughts with deeds. It is like the sun, which in the morning merely paints the clouds and lights up the earth, but at midday fructifies it with heat, and yet continues to shine and to paint rainbows on storm-clouds.

If a ruler has received the two heavenly gifts of knowledge and purity of heart, the earthly gift of statecraft will come of itself. Thus two celestial telescopes combine to form one terrestrial telescope.

NECESSITY is the mother of the arts; but also the grandmother of vices.

SATIRE invents ridiculous combinations of purely imaginary follies, not in order that they may be laughed at and laid aside, for they never existed, but in order to render the sense of the ludicrous more acute, so that like combinations in real life may be better observed.

A MAN may curse a misfortune, but never weep over it.

He who no longer aspires to be more than a man will be less than a man.

The thought of immortality is a luminous sea, in which he who bathes is all surrounded by stars.

WHERE man is, infinity begins.

A BEING in whom the thought of immortality can arise cannot be mortal.

O Music ! thou that bringest the past and the future with their fluttering flames so near to our wounds, art thou the evening zephyr of this life, or the morning breeze of the life to come! Yes, thy notes are echoes which angels catch from the joyous tones of another world, in order to drop into our mute heart and our desolate night the exhaled vernal harmonies of the heavens that fly far from us.

Man, an Egyptian deity, a patchwork of beasts' beads and human bodies, stretches out his hands in opposite directions towards the present and the future life. He is moved by spiritual and material forces, as the moon is attracted at once by the sun and the earth; but the earth holds it fast in its fetters, while the sun only produces slight deviations in its course.

The progress of mankind towards the holy city of God is like that of some penitents, who on their pilgrimage to Jerusalem always take three steps forward and one backward.

He who differs from the world in important matters should be the more careful to conform to it in insignificant ones.

PAILOSOPHY and the nymph Echo never let you have the last


CHILDHOOD, and its terrors rather than its raptures, take wings and radiance in dreams, and sport like fireflies in the little night of the soul. Do not crush these flickering sparks!

It is a fine thing that authors, even those who deny the immortality of their souls, seldom dare to contest that of their names; and as Cicero affirmed that he would believe in another life even if there were none, so they wish to cling to the belief in the future eternal life of their names, although the critics may have furnished positive proofs to the contrary.

Let us not despise the slender thread upon which we and our fortune may depend. If, like the spider, we have spun and drawn it out of ourselves, it will hold us quite well; and we may hang on it safely as the tempest tosses us and the web uninjured to and fro.



RILEY, JAMES WHITCOMB, a popular American dialect writer, often referred to as the “Burns of America,” was born at Greenfield, Ind., in 1854. He made his first appearance as a writer of verses in the “Indianapolis Journal,” in 1882. He has published “The Old Swimmin' Hole, and ’Leven More Poems, by Benjamin F. Johnson, of Boone" (1883); “ The Boss Girl and Other Sketches, Stories and Poems" (1886); “ Afterwhiles,” and “ Character Sketches and Poems” (1887); “ Pipes o' Pan at Zekesbury,” and “Old-Fashioned Roses ” (1889); “Rhymes of Childhood Days(1890); “Neighborly Poems" (1891); "Flying Islands of the Night" (1891); “ An Old Sweetheart of Mine" (1891); “Green Fields and Running Brooks" (1893); “ Poems Here at Home" (1893); “ Armazindy” (1894), a volume of Hoosier harvest-airs and child-rhymes ; “Rubáiyát of Doc' Sifers(1897); A Child World” (1897).

THE ELF-CHILD.' LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay, An' wash the cups an’ saucers up, and brush the crumbs away, An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth an' sweep, An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board and keep; An' all us other children, when the supper things is done, We set around the kitchen fire, an' has the mostest fun A-list'nin' to the watch tales 'at Annie tells about, An' the gobble-uns 'at gits you

Aby the gobble.

Ef yomon't



Onc't they was a little boy would n't say his pray’rs —
An' when he went to bed at night, away upstairs,
His mammy heerd him holler, an' his daddy heerd him bawl, .
An' when they turned the kivvers down he was n't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an’ cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' everywheres, I guess,

Selections used by permission of the author and the Bowen-Merrill Co.

But all they ever found was thist, his pants an' roundabout:-
An' the gobble-uns 'll git you

Ef you


An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of everyone an' all her blood-an-kin.
An' onc't when they was “company," an' old folks was there,
She mocked 'em, an' shocked 'em, an' said she did n't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run and hide,
They was two great Big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's

An' the gobble-uns 'll git you

Ef you


An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lampwick sputters, an' the wind goes W00-00 !
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is squenched away -
You better mind yer parents, an' yer teacher fond an' dear,
Au' churish them 'at loves you, and dry the orphant's tear,
An' help the po' an' needy ones, 'at clusters all about,
Er the gobble-uns 'll git you

Ef you




I CANNOT say and I will not say
That he is dead. — He is just away!
With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand,
He has wandered into an unknown land,
And left us dreaming how very fair
It needs must be, since he lingers there.

« PreviousContinue »