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CHRISTMAS is here;

Kind hearts and true,
Winds whistle shrill,

Gentle and just,
Icy and chill,

Peace to your dust!
Little care we;

We sing round the tree.
Little we fear
Weather without,

Care, like a dun,
Sheltered about

Lurks at the gate:
The mahogany-tree.

Let the dog wait;

Happy we'll be !
Once on the boughs

Drink, every one;
Birds of rare plume

Pile up the coals;
Sang, in its bloom;

Fill the red bowls,
Night-birds are we;

Round the old tree !
Here we carouse,
Singing, like them,

Drain we the cup.
Perched round the stem

Friend, art afraid?
Of the jolly old tree.

Spirits are laid

In the Red Sea.
Here let us sport,

Mantle it up;
Boys, as we sit,

Empty it yet;
Laughter and wit

Let us forget,
Flashing so free.

Round the old tree !
Life is but short,
When we are gone,

Sorrows, begone!
Let them sing on,

Life and its ills,
Round the old tree,

Duns and their bills,

Bid we to flee.
Evenings we knew,

Come with the dawn,
Happy as this;

Blue-devil sprite;
Faces we miss,

Leave us to-night,
Pleasant to see.

Round the old tree!


1811-1887. [BORN at Camberwell Grove, Surrey, May 20, 1811. Entered Cambridge in 1829, as a member of St. John's College, but after three years' residence left the university without 1832 he published a volume of poems.

Travelled in America for two years; after his return contributed some poems to Blackwood's Magazine. One of these, A Christmas Hymn, was greatly admired, and has been frequently reprinted. Went to New Zealand in 1842, where he became Colonial Secretary, Secretary for Crown Lands, and held various other important positions in the government of that colony. Returned to England in 1871. Since his return has published a volume of poems, Flotsam and Jetsam, Rhymes, Old and New, 1877. He also published in 1872, Ranolf and Amohia, a South Sea Dream.]

Å CHRISTMAS HYMN. It was the calm and silent night! No sound was heard of clashing wars

Seven hundred years and fifty-three Peace brooded o'er the hush'd Had Rome been growing up to might,

domain :
Apollo, Pallas, Jove, and Mars

less sway;

sever —

Held undisturb’d their ancient reign, 0, strange indifference! low and high In the solemn midnight,

Drowsed over

common joys and Centuries ago.


The earth was still -- but knew not Twas in the calm and silent night!

why The senator of haughty Rome,

The world was listening, unawares. Impatient, urged his chariot's flight, How calm a moment may precede From lordly revel rolling home;

One that shall thrill the world for Triumphal arches, gleaming, swell

ever! His breast with thoughts of bound- To that still moment, none would heed,

Man's doom was link'd no more to
What reck'd the Roman what befell
A paltry province far away,

In the solemn midnight
In the solemn midnight,

Centuries ago!
Centuries ago?
Within that province far away

It is the calm and solemn night!
Went plodding home a weary boor; A thousand bells ring out, and throw
A streak of light before him lay, Their joyous peals abroad, and smite
Fallen through a half-shut stable- The darkness - charm’d and holy

now! Across his path. He pass'd - for The night that erst no shame had worn, naught

To it a happy name is given; Told what was going on within; For in that stable lay, new-born, How keen the stars, his only thought The peaceful Prince of earth and The air how calm, and cold, and thin,

In the solemn midnight,

In the solemn midnight,
Centuries ago!

Centuries ago!


1812-1889. (ROBERT BROWNING, one of the most distinguished of modern English poets, was born in Çamberwell, near London, in 1812. In 1835 he published Paracelsus, which was favorably received, and in 1837 produced Strafford, a tragedy, in which Mr. Macready the actor personated the hero. Among his other works are Şordello, 1840; Pippa Passes; A Blot in the Scutcheon, 1843; King Victor

and King Charles; Return of the Druses; Dramatic Lyrics; Men and Women, 1855: The Soul's Errand, 1864; The Ring and the Book, 1869; Dramatic Idyls, 1879; Fifine at the Fair, 1872; Red Cotton Nightcaps, 1873; and Focoseria, 1883. In Nov., 1846, he married Miss Elizabeth Barrett, the distinguished poet, and after his marriage he resided for some year in Italy, chiefly at Florence, making occasional visits to France and England. The second edi. tion, enlarged, of a Bibliography of Robert Browning from 1833 to 1881, compiled by Frederick J. Furnivall, was published at London in 1882. His poetry, although difficult to be understood, has many admirers.) HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD NEWS FROM GHENT TO AIX. I SPRANG to the stirrup, and Joris, and Speed !” echoed the wall to us gal. he;

loping through; I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped Behind shut the postern, the lights sank

all three; "Good speed ! ” cried the watch, as the And into the midnight we galloped gate-bolts undrew;


to rest,

Not a word to each other; we kept the | By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried great pace

Joris, “ Stay spur ! Neck by neck, stride by stride, never Your Ross galloped bravely, the fault's changing our place;

not in her, I turned in my saddle and made its We'll remember at Aix" for one heard girths tight,

the quick wheeze Then shortened each stirrup, and set Of her chest, saw her stretched neck and the pique right,

staggeri knees, Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chained And sunk tail, and horrible heave of slacker the bit,

the flank, Nor galloped less steadily Roland a As down on her haunches she shud. whit.

dered and sank.

Twas moonset at starting; but while

we drew near Lokeren, the cocks crew, and twilight

dawned clear; At Boom, a great yellow star came out

to see; At Düffeld, 'twas morning as plain as

could be; And from Mecheln church-steeple we

heard the half chime, So Joris broke silence with “Yet there

is time!”

So we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud

in the sky;
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless

laugh, 'Neath our feet broke the brittle bright

stubble like chaff; Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang

white, And “Gallop" gasped Joris, “ for Aix

is in sight!”

At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the “ How they'll greet us !” and all in a

moment his roan sun, And against him the cattle stood black

Rolled neck and crop over; lay dead as every one,

a stone; To stare through the mist at us gallop. And there was my Roland to bear the ing past,

whole weight And I saw my stout galloper Roland at Of the news which alone could save Aix last,

from her fate, With resolute shoulders, each butting With his nostrils like pits full of blood

to the brim, away The haze, as some bluff river headland

And with circles of red for his eye

socket's rim.

its spray.

his ear,

And his low head and crest, just one

sharp ear bent back For my voice, and the other pricked out

on his track; And one eye's black intelligence — ever

that glance O'er its white edge at me, his own mas

ter, askance! And the thick heavy spume-flakes which

aye and anon His fierce lips shook upwards in gallop

ing on.

Then I cast loose my buff-coat, each

holster let fall, Shook off both my jack-boots, let go

belt and all, Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted Called my Roland his pet-name, my

horse without peer; Clapped my hands, laughed and sang,

any noise, bad or good, Till at length into Aix Roland galloped

and stood.

of grass

And all I remember is, friends flocking And such plenty and perfection, see,

round As I sat with his head 'twixt my knees

Never was! on the ground,

Such a carpet as, this summer-time, And no voice but was praising this Ro- o'er-spreads land of mine,

And embeds As I poured down his throat' our last Every vestige of the city, guessed alone, measure of wine,

Stock or stone Which (the burgesses voted by common Where a multitude of men breathed joy consent)

and woe Was no more than his due who brought

Long ago; good news from Ghent.

Lust of glory pricked their hearts uf,

dread of shame

Struck them tame;
And that glory and that shame alike,


Bought and sold.

WHERE the quiet-colored end of even- Now,- the single little turret that reing smiles,

mains Miles and miles,

On the plains, On the solitary pastures where our sheep By the caper overrooted, by the gourd Half-asleep

Overscored, Tinkle homeward through the twilight, While the patching houseleek's head stray or stop

of blossom winks As they crop

Through the chinks Was the site once of a city great and gay Marks the basement whence a tower in (So they say),

ancient time Of our country's very capital, its prince,

Sprang sublime,
Ages since,

And a burning ring, all round, the Held his court in, gathered councils,

chariots traced
wielding far

As they raced,
Peace or war.

And the monarch and his minions and

his dames

Viewed the games.
Now, — the country does not even boast

a tree,
As you see,

And I know — while thus the quietTo distinguish slopes of verdure, certain

colored eve

Smiles to leave
From the hills

To their folding, all our many tinkling Intersect and give a name to (else they



In such peace,

Melt away

Into one),
Where the domed and daring palace

shot its spires

Up like fires
O'er the hundred-gated circuit of a wall

Bounding all,
Made of marble, men might march on

nor be pressed,

Twelve abreast.

And the slopes and rills in undistin

guished gray That a girl with eager eyes and yellow


Waits me there
In the turret whence the charioteers

caught soul

For the goal,


ers forth

When the king looked, where she looks The shutters are shut, no light may now, breathless, dumb

pass, Till I come.

Save two long rays through the hinge's

chink. But he looked upon the city, every side, Far and wide,

Sixteen years old when she died !
All the mountains topped with temples, Perhaps she had scarcely heard my

all the glades

It was not her time to love: beside, All the causeys, bridges, aqueducts, - Her life had many a hope and aim, and then,

Duties enough and little cares,
All the men !

And now was quiet, now astir — When I do come, she will speak not, Till God's hand beckoned unawares, she will stand,

And the sweet white brow is all of Either hand

On my shoulder, give her eyes the
first embrace

Is it too late, then, Evelyn Hope?
Of my face,

What, your soul was pure and true, Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight The good stars met in your horoscope, and speech

Made you of spirit, fire, and dew – Each on each.

And just because I was thrice as old,

And our paths in the world diverged In one year they sent a million fight

so wide,

Each was nought to each, must I be South and North,

told? And they built their gods a brazen pil

We were fellow-mortals, nought be. lar high

side? As the sky, Yet reserved a thousand chariots in full

No, indeed! for God above force

Is great to grant, as mighty to make, Gold, of course.

And creates the love to reward the O heart! O blood that freezes, blood

love, that burns !

I claim you still, for my own love's Earth's returns

sake! For whole centuries of folly, noise and Delayed it may be for more lives yet, sin!

Through worlds I shall traverse, not Shut them in,

a few With their triumphs and their glories | Much is to learn and much to forget and the rest!

Ere the time be come for taking you Love is best.

But the time will come, at last it will,

When, Evelyn Hope, what meant, I EVELYN HOPE.

In the lower earth, in the years long

still, BEAUTIFUL Evelyn Hope is dead – That body and soul so pure and gay?

Sit and watch by her side an hour, Why your hair was amber, I shall divine, That is her book-shelf, this her bed; And your mouth of your own geraShe plucked that piece of geranium

nium's red flower,

And what you would do with me, in fine, Beginning to die, too, in the glass.

In the new life come in the old one's Little has yet been changed,

I think


shall say,

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