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Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 130.djvu/586

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578
THE SEVEN-NIGHTS' WATCH, ETC.


THE SEVEN-NIGHTS' WATCH.

NORTH-COUNTRY SUPERSTITION.

Nay, don't turn the key, not yet, not yet, five nights haven't past and gone
Since we laid the green sods straight and meet, to wait for the cold gray stone;
See, his pipe still lies on the mantel where the old armchair is set,
The knife is left in the half-carved stick — don't turn the door-key yet!

How it rains! it must be dree an' all where the wet wind sweeps the brow,
And it's dry and warm by the hearthstone; don't steek the lintel now!
Fling a fir-log on the ingle; he was used to love the light,
That shone "haste thee" through the darkness, when he was abroad at night.

Thieves? nay, they scarce come up our way, and there's none so much to steal,
Just the bread loaf in the cupboard, and the hank on the spinning-wheel;
And I'd rather lose the all I have, aye, the burial-fee on the shelf,
Than think of him barred out from home, out in the cold by himself.

Whisht! was not yon a footstep in the path out there by the byre?
Whisht! I know how boards can creak. I say, pile sticks on the fire.
The wind sighs over the upland, just like a parting soul;
Get to bed with you all — I'll stay, and keep my watch by the gathering coal.

For all he grew so wild and strange, my one son loved his mother.
Mayhap he'd come to me when scarce he'd show himself to another.
When the drink was out he was always kind, and e'en when he had a drop
He was mild to me. Don't turn the key! For seven nights here I stop.

I bore him, kept him, and loved him; whatever else might come,
He knew, while his mother held the door, was always his welcome home.
You may stare and laugh, an' it please you; but, oh, a glint of him
Were just a sparkle of heaven to the eyes that are waxing dim!

And I know, should he meet his father, up there in the rest and joy,
He'll say, "A couple of nights are left, thou'st need to cheer her, my boy."
So, leave the key, and fetch the logs, till the mourner's week is done;
I tell thee I'll watch, lest I miss in sleep a last smile from my son.

All The Year Round.




ONE OF THE SEVENS.

"We spend our years as a tale that is told." — Ps. xc. 9.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the
days of my life." — Ps. xxiii. 6.

Seven times ten — they came and fled,
Fled as fleeth a morning dream;
My tale is told, my say is said,
I read the past by memory's beam.

Seven times ten, with untold woe
For sin unseen by all save One,
For evil thoughts that come and go,
For evil deeds, for good undone.

I've mourned the loss of precious things,
I've wept beside the honored dead,
Health has flown and riches had wings,
And thus the seventy years were sped.

With wayward steps my path I trod,
But oh! what mercies marked my way!
The love that led my soul to God
Has turned my darkness into day.

Seven times ten; all fades not yet, —
Sweet flowers, and fields, and books are mine,
Dear friends are round my table set,
And daily gifts of corn and wine.

Safe hid beneath overshadowing wings,
Age need not fear the winter blast;
Sure watered by celestial springs',
The path has verdure to the last.

For countless gifts, for bounteous grace,
Break forth, my soul, in songs of praise,
To him whose love redeems our race,
And crowns with blessing all our days.

By him is every want supplied;
And not alone from youth to age,
In death we live, for he hath died
To win our glorious heritage.

S. W.
Good Words.




WHEN WE ARE PARTED.

When we are parted, let me lie
In some far corner of thy heart,
Silent, and from the world apart,
Like a forgotten melody.
Forgotten by the world beside,
Cherished by one and one alone,
For some loved memory of its own,
So let me in thy heart abide.

When we are parted, keep for me
The sacred stillness of the night;
That hour, sweet love, is mine by right,
Let others claim thy day of thee.
The cold world sleeping at our feet,
My spirit shall discourse with thine;
When stars upon thy pillow shine,
At thy heart's door I stand and wait.

H. C. S.
Transcript.