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Ave Maria, bless that hallowed spot,
My vine-wreathed home, her smiling olive plains Oh look with pity on my lonely lot,
And bring the exile to his home again.
TO AN ABSENT BROTHER.
My brother, thou’rt a wanderer now,
The deep blue sea our path divides, But still our love shall follow thee,
Whatever weal or woe betide.
The memories of our early days,
Our mother's look, her tones of love, Those gentle teachings ever blent,
With holy themes of earth above.
These yearning thoughts oft bring thee back,
For wert thou not a sharer too,
That mother's form hath passed away,
But not the memories which endear, Or else when but her name is spoke,
Why thickly course the blinding tears.
Then think be thine a sunny path,
Or one of dangers lone and wild, That from the heaven her love hath won,
Our mother bends to bless her child.
"Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas !" How sweetly sounds the old time-honored salutation, bringing us back to days of yore, when the fondest dream of our juvenility was to anticipate the good old Santa Claus. How often we wondered at his magical ubiquity, yet never for one moment doubting the tales of our good old nurse, of the ponies prancing down the chimney, of the stockings being filled in a trice, of the justly proportioned rewards to each and all. Happy, happy days of innocent childhood-after years, with their more refined pleasures, can never compensate for the sweet delusions of youth.
Beautifully has one of our own poets described this festival in the days of “Merry England,” in those days “ when nature gave her ample store.” In “this wise sang he:”
“ Within the halls are song and laughter,
The cheeks of Christmas grow red and jolly, And sprouting is every corbel and rafter
With the lightsome green of ivy and holly. Through the deep gulf of the chimney wide Wallows the yule-log's roaring tide."
I question much if the iconoclastic march of progress can make up for what we have lost in the genial. heartiness of the AngloSaxon's mode of celebratior. May we
' never grow too wise for Merry Christmas ; and though often, very often in the vicissitudes of life, it brings to us with tenfold bitterness the memory of the loved and