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THE ARCTIC EXPEDITION, ETC.


THE ARCTIC EXPEDITION.

(FROM THE WOMEN'S SIDE.)
May 29th, 1875.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "JOHN HALIFAX,
GENTLEMAN."

O let me smile a little, I pray,
Just a little, and while I may;
Even as a child smiles. After to-day,
I shall Have whole years to weep in.
let me talk like a child, unchid:
After to-day 'twill all be hid;
No hand will lift up the coffin-lid
Of the silence I shall sleep in.

In Portsmouth harbour the good ship rides,
Rocked safely upon the placid tides,
As love in a happy heart abides,
Moving with each emotion;
With voices and hands alive all o'er;
And to-morrow — (perhaps for evermore!) —
I shall look out from a desolate shore
Upon an empty ocean.

O love, my hero and my saint,
My knight of the white shield without taint.
This woman-heart turns sick and faint,
Although my lips may fail not:
I see the rocks under smiling seas,
I hear a tempest in every breeze,
I feel the icebergs as they freeze.
In the deeps where ship can sail not.

O love, my love, so brave, so young;
Strong arm, pure heart, and silent tongue;
O lonely years that stretch out so long!
One cry as of lost existence,
And my soul sits down before its doom.
As a white ghost sits at the door of a tomb:
No moan, no shriek, no tears, no gloom.
Only a still persistence.

Be of good cheer! Sail on, sail on.
Unto life, or death, for both are one
To the infinite faith in sweet days gone,
To the infinite love that folds thee:
These girlish arms are weak, I know.
But my heart is strong as a well-bent bow,
And whither thou goest I will go.
In my spirit that upholds thee.

Sail on, sail on, through the frozen seas,
To endless labour and little ease.
Come back triumphant, if Heaven so please,
Or with unwon goal, inglorious;
Only come back! — No. Should God say
That He has crowned thee another way.
Love! see beyond our night. His day!
And we are yet victorious.




A DAY OF SUMMER BEAUTY.

Out in the golden summer air,
Amid the purple heather,
A woman sat with drooping head.
And hands close knit together:
Never a bitter word she said.
Though all her life looked cold and dead-
Cold in the glowing haze that lay
Over the fair green earth that day,
That day of summer beauty.

Far, far away where leafy woods
Touched the sky, cloud-riven,
A thousand birds rang out life's bliss
In jubilee to heaven;
How could the poor old withered throat
Carol echoes to each soft note?
Every soul must pay life's cost —
Her deepest silence praised God most,
That day of summer beauty.
 
Too dulled her soul, too worn, to feel
Summer delight acutely;
While earth was praising God aloud
Her patience praised him mutely.
Her narrow life of thought and care —
Not life to live, but life to bear.
Contented that her soul was sad.
While all God's soulless things were glad,
That day of summer beauty.
 
And where she stayed, a dusky speck
In gorse and heather glory, —
A weary spirit watched and read
The pathos of her story:
A spirit doubt-opprest and worn,
Had found another more forlorn.
That trustful stayed, nor sought to guess
Life's meanings — which are fathomless.
Through all the summer beauty.

C. Brooke.
Good Words.




THE HOUR-GLASS.

Sparkling, dancing downwards,
Merrily drop the sands.
While the golden hours so gaily pass,
Amid rose, and lily, and soft green grass;
Wherefore so eager to turn the glass.
Oh dimpled baby-hands?
 
Glittering, flashing downwards,
In the glow of the April sun.
Ah, sweet white fingers, and sky-blue eyes,
And cheeks as rosy as western skies;
'Tis pity in Youth's first Paradise,
That the sands so swiftly run!
 
Stealing forever downwards.
Grey tinging their virgin gold.
Pulses still quiver, and hearts still beat,
But the road grows hard for the tired feet;
Surely the sky had more warmth and heat,
And the sands showed brighter of old!
 
Dropping drearily downwards.
The evening is well-nigh o'er.
The brightest and best the river have crossed.
The bolt is shot, and the venture lost;
The barque on the last long wave is tossed,
The glass needs to turn no more.

All the Year Round.