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Before the beginning of years

There came to the making of man Time, with a gift of tears;

Grief, with a glass that ran; Pleasure, with pain for leaven;

Summer with flowers that fell; Remembrance fallen from heaven,

And madness risen from hell ; Strength without hands to smite;

Love that endures for a breath; Night, the shadow of light,

And life, the shadow of death.

And the high gods took in hand

Fire, and the falling of tears, And a measure of sliding sand

From under the feet of the years ; And froth and drift of the sea ;

And dust of the labouring earth; And bodies of things to be

In the houses of death and of birth ; And wrought with weeping and laughter,

And fashioned with loathing and love, With life before and after

And death beneath and above,

For a day and a night and a morrow,

That his strength might endure for a span With travail and heavy sorrow,

The holy spirit of man.

From the winds of the north and the south

They gathered as unto strife; They breathed upon his mouth,

They filled his body with life; Eyesight and speech they wrought

For the veils of the soul therein, A time for labour and thought,

A time to serve and to sin; They gave him light in his ways,

And love, and a space for delight, And beauty and length of days,

And night and sleep in the night. His speech is a burning fire;

With his lips he travaileth; In his heart is a blind desire,

In his eyes foreknowledge of death ; He weaves, and is clothed with derision ;

Sows and he shall not reap; His life is a watch or a vision

Between a sleep and a sleep.

4. C. Swinburne.



• What is Life, Father?'

“A Battle, my child, Where the strongest lance may fail, Where the wariest eyes may be beguiled,

And the stoutest heart may quail.
Where the foes are gathered on every hand

And rest not day or night,
And the feeble little ones must stand

In the thickest of the fight.' • What is Death, Father?'

The rest, my child,
When the strife and the toil are o'er ;
The Angel of God, who, calm and mild,

Says we need fight no more;
Who driving away the demon band,

Bids the din of the battle cease ;
Takes banner and spear from our failing hand,

And proclaims an eternal Peace.' • Let me die, Father! I tremble and fear

To yield in that terrible strife !' • The crown must be won for Heaven, dear,

In the battle-field of life:
My child, though thy foes are strong and tried,

He loveth the weak and small;
The angels of Heaven are on thy side,

And God is over all !!*

Miss Procter.

Labitur et labetur in omne volubilis cevum.

Hor. Epist. I. 2.

River, river, little river,

Bright you sparkle on your way,
O’er the yellow pebbles dancing,
Through the flowers and foliage glancing,

Like a child at play.

River, river, swelling river,

On you rush o'er rough and smooth,
Louder, faster, brawling, leaping,
Over rocks by rose-banks sweeping,

Like impetuous youth.

River, river, brimming river

Broad and deep and still as time; Seeming still, yet still in motion, Tending onward to the ocean,

Just like mortal prime.

River, river, rapid river,

Faster now you slip away,
Swift and silent as an arrow
Through a channel dark and narrow,

Like life's closing day.

River, river, headlong river,

Down you dash into the sea,
Sea, that line hath never sounded,
Sea, that bark hath never rounded,
Like Eternity.

Mrs. Southey.


Two children in two neighbour villages
Playing mad pranks along the heathy leas;
Two strangers meeting at a festival;
Two lovers whispering by an orchard wall;
Two lives bound fast in one with golden ease;
Two graves grass-green beside a gray church-tower,
Washed with still rains and daisy-blossomed;
Two children in one hamlet born and bred;
So runs the round of life from hour to hour.

A. Tennyson.


Day dawned :-Within a curtained room
Filled to faintness with perfume,
A lady lay at point of doom.
Day closed :- A child had seen the light;
But for the lady, fair and bright
She rested in undreaming night.

Spring rose :--The lady's grave was green;
And near it oftentimes was seen
A gentle Boy, with thoughtful mien.

Years fled:-He wore a manly face,
And struggled in the world's rough race,
And won, at last, a lofty place.
And then he died ! Behold before ye
Humanity's poor sum and story;
Life, Death,—and all that is of Glory.

B. W. Procter.

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