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A reverent one. Though we to-day
Distrust beliefs and powers,
The artless, ageless things you say
Are fresh as May's own flowers,
Starring some pure primeval spring,
Ere Gold had grown despotic,Ere Life was yet a selfish thing, Or Love a mere exotic!
I need not search too much to find
Whose lot it was to send it,
That feel upon me yet the kind,
Soft hand of her who penned it ;
And see, through two score years of smoke,
In by-gone, quaint apparel,
Shine from yon time-black Norway oak
The face of Patience Caryl,-
The pale, smooth forehead, silver-tressed;
The gray gown, primly flowered;
The spotless, stately coif whose crest
Like Hector's horse-plume towered;
And still the sweet half-solemn look Where some past thought was clinging,
As when one shuts a serious book
To hear the thrushes singing.
I kneel to you! Of those you were,
Whose kind old hearts grow mellow,—
Whose fair old faces grow more fair
As Point and Flanders yellow;
Whom some old store of garnered grief,
Their placid temples shading,
Crowns like a wreath of autumn leaf
With tender tints of fading.
Peace to your soul! You died unwedDespite this loving letter.
And what of John? The less that 's said Of John, I think, the better.
A GENTLEMAN OF THE OLD SCHOOL.
E lived in that past Georgian day,
When men were less inclined to say
That "Time is Gold," and overlay
With toil their pleasure;
He held some land, and dwelt thereon,-
Where, I forget,—the house is gone;
His Christian name, I think, was John,-
His surname, Leisure.
Reynolds has painted him,-a face
Filled with a fine, old-fashioned grace,
Fresh-coloured, frank, with ne'er a trace
Of trouble shaded;
The eyes are blue, the hair is drest
In plainest way,-one hand is prest
Deep in a flapped canary vest,
With buds brocaded.
He wears a brown old Brunswick coat,
With silver buttons,-round his throat,
A soft cravat;-in all you note
An elder fashion,—
A strangeness, which, to us who shine
In shapely hats,-whose coats combine
All harmonies of hue and line,
He lived so long ago, you see!
Men were untravelled then, but we,
Like Ariel, post o'er land and sea
With careless parting;
He found it quite enough for him
To smoke his pipe in "garden trim,"
And watch, about the fish tank's brim,
The swallows darting.
He liked the well-wheel's creaking tongue,-
He liked the thrush that stopped and sung,-
He liked the drone of flies among
His netted peaches;
He liked to watch the sunlight fall
Athwart his ivied orchard wall;
Or pause to catch the cuckoo's call
Beyond the beeches.
His were the times of Paint and Patch,
And yet no Ranelagh could match
The sober doves that round his thatch
Spread tails and sidled;
He liked their ruffling, puffed content,-
For him their drowsy wheelings meant
More than a Mall of Beaux that bent,
Or Belles that bridled.
Not that, in truth, when life began
He shunned the flutter of the fan;
He too had maybe "pinked his man"
In Beauty's quarrel ;
But now his "fervent youth " had flown
Where lost things go; and he was grown
As staid and slow-paced as his own
Old hunter, Sorrel.
Yet still he loved the chase, and held
That no composer's score excelled
The merry horn, when Sweetlip swelled
Its jovial riot;
But most his measured words of praise
Caressed the angler's easy ways,—
His idly meditative days,—
His rustic diet.
Not that his "meditating" rose
Beyond a sunny summer doze;
He never troubled his repose
With fruitless prying;