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It became my pleasant duty to take out a famous beauty
The prettiest woman present-I was happy as a king.
Her dress beyond a question, was an artist's best creation;
A miracle of loveliness was she from crown to toe. Her smile was sweet as could be, her voice just as it should be
Not high, and sharp, and wiry, but musical and low.
Her hair was soft and flossy, golden, plentiful and glossy;
Her eyes so blue and sunny, shone with every inward grace.
I could see that every fellow in the room was really yellow
With jealousy, and wished himself that moment in my place.
As the turtle soup we tasted, like a gallant man I hasted
To pay some pretty tribute to this muslin, silk, and gauze;
But she turned and softly asked me-and I own the question tasked me
What were my fixed opinions on the present suffrage laws.
I admired a lovely blossom, resting on her gentle bosom;
The remark I thought a safe one-I could hardly make a worse;
With a smile, like any Venus, she gave me its name and genus,
And opened very calmly a botanical discourse.
But I speedily recovered. As her taper fingers hovered
Like a tender benediction o'er a little bit of fish, Further to impair digestion, she brought up the Eastern Question.
By that time I fully echoed that other fellow's wish.
And as sure as I'm a sinner, right through that endless dinner
Did she talk of moral science, of politics and law, Of natural selection, of Free Trade and Protection, Till I came to look upon her with a sort of sol
Just to hear that lovely woman, looking more divine than human,
Talk with such discrimination of Ingersoll and
With such a childish, winning smile, quoting Huxley and Carlyle,
It was quite a revelation-it was better than a book.
Chemistry and mathematics, agriculture and chromatics,
Music, painting, sculpture-she knew all the tricks of speech
Bas-relief and chiaroscuro, and at last the Indian Bureau,
She discussed it quite serenely as she trifled with a peach.
I have seen some dreadful creatures, with vinegary features,
With their fearful store of learning setting me in sad eclipse;
But I am ready quite to swear, if I have ever heard the Tariff
Or the Eastern Question settled by such a pair of lips.
Never saw I dainty maiden so remarkably o'erladen From lip to tip of finger with the lore of books
Quite in confidence I say it, and I trust you'll not betray it,
But I pray to gracious heaven that I never may again.
SHE doth not flaunt her treasures in the face,
HER EYES AND MINE.
HER eyes are quicker than my own to see
I see the rose's beauty, not its blight,
The jewel's flash and gleam; the crown that lies Upon the hills, to me the sails are white;
Such pure delight comes to me through my eyes,
I do not even wish her keener sight,
And think it must be sad to be so wise.
ABOUT her lissome limbs the samite clings,
I meet her glances, sweet and soft and bold,
I know her well. T is she who fold on fold, In days long gone, 'round Merlin wise and old Wrapped all her subtle charms; sweet threatenings, And tears and smiles. Dead? Vivien dead? Why, You and I and all men for her sake Daily forget ourselves, and every day
Do hear the cry, "O, Fool!" She will not die While there is still in man a heart to break, A brain to turn, a soul to lead astray.
She comes, the radiant summer, but with the gracious comer,
With dew and bloom and sunshine there is still a little blot;
GEORGE FRANCIS ARMSTRONG.
EORGE FRANCIS ARMSTRONG comes of that Border family so well known to readers of ancient ballad literature-so well and unfavorably known, in its day, to the sheriff and wardens of Border counties-the Armstrongs, of Lidderdale. The numerous race of the Irish Armstrongs descend from an ancestor who settled in Fermanagh, in the reign of James I. The poet's father held various public offices of trust in Ireland, and at the time of the birth of his younger son was living in the County Dublin, not far from the borders of that other county, Wicklow, whose scenery forms a background to many of George Armstrong's finest sketches of life and character. His elder brother, Edmund, was also a poet, and one so nobly endowed, both in intellect and character, that his death, at the age of twenty-three, was felt to be a national loss, paralleled, perhaps, only twice in the century, when Ireland wept for Charles Wolfe and for Thomas Davis. On foot the brothers visited, together or separately, a great part of their native land; but Wicklow gave each of them his first poetic stimulus; and their first serious literary enterprise-which, however, could not be carried to publication-was a joint volume on such themes as the young poet has lately treated in his "Stories of Wicklow."
George Armstrong was born May 5th, 1845. He was educated chiefly in Dublin, where in due time he entered Trinity College (1862). His career in the University was a very distinguished one, and his prizes included the Vice-Chancellor's Prize for English Verse. He was especially active as a member of the literary societies in college, and, on the lamented death of his brother, succeeded him as President of the Philosophical Society. By this body and the Historical Society he was called upon to edit a selection of his brother's writings, which they desired to publish as a memorial-a task which none could have more worthily performed.
His first volume of poems was published in 1869. He was only twenty-four years old, but his mind had been ripened by study, thought and sorrow; and foreign travel (largely on foot) through several European countries had given him much of that experience of life without which the poet, however he may speak to the fancy, can rarely stir the deeper moral emotions. On the publication of this volume, a letter of warm praise from the
For, as if to so deride her, come the ant and bug greatest of European critics, Sainte-Beuve, must
The sunburn and the freckle and the bang that
-Hail and Farewell.
have given him full assurance of his right to take up the pen that had fallen from his brother's hand. His next publication was a drama named "Ugone," which was generously received by the
English press; and he appears to have seriously considered at the time the possibility of reviving the poetic drama of the stage. His study of the condition of the drama, however, led him to abandon the idea as, for the present, impracticable; but, happily, he did not abandon the dramatic form of literature, and between the years 1871 and 1876 his magnum opus, the triology entitled the "Tragedy of Israel," was written and published.
In 1871, he had been appointed Professor of English Literature and History in the Queen's College of Cork, a post which he still holds, to the great advantage of that institution. He is also a Fellow of the Royal University; and the Queen's University, together with his own University of Dublin, have acknowledged his literary distinction by honorary degrees. In 1879 he married Miss Marie Elizabeth Wrixon. A period of Continental travel followed, of which the most important memorial is his beautiful volume, "A Garland from Greece." Besides this, his most substantial literary works since the Triology have been the "Life and Letters" of his brother Edmund (a deeply interesting volume), the "Stories of Wicklow," in which he fulfilled the cherished scheme which he and his brother were to have executed in common, and a satire named "Mephistopheles in Broadcloth." He has also lately produced a work of great antiquarian, historical, and, through the beautiful drawings of Mrs. Armstrong, artistic interest — a family history of the Irish branches of the Savage family, whose blood has flowed in the veins of so many English poets - Tennyson, Landor and others. To these must be added Armstrong himself, who (through his mother) now represents the Glastry branch of the Savages of the Ards.
Professor Armstrong lives in Cork for the time that his official duties keep him there, but spends several months of the summer in Bray, W. Wicklow, among scenes in which, to this day, he finds the strongest impulse to his poetic faculty. He has taken no part in the passionate politics of his day and land, but is known to hold decidedly Unionist opinions. At the same time his interest in Ireland, its scenery, people and national history, is that of a true patriot. He is, indeed, far too much of a poet, as well as of a patriot, not to respect all that gives his country an individual place and character in the Empire of which it forms a part.
J. W. R.
THE LIVING AND THE DEAD.
OUR dead sleep on. Draw closer to the fire,
I marvel which is worthier of desire-
Or ours, with aching hearts and bursting tears, Who mourn for them, and stretch our hands and
To bring them back to us, or start to find The old seats vacant and no dear one by
To learn the last bright thought that flashes from the mind.
O, lovely are the earth and the wide heaven!
For ever! They who loved these breaking
And these green woods, and yon pale tints of even, See them no more. The wandering breeze of
Makes music in the grasses of their graves; The birds about their bright homes tenantless Warble to infant ears; the sunbeams creep Into their chambers' utter nakedness; The rills besides their doors in light unheeded leap. But we have still our Mountains that we love, And the full streams with all their melodies, Boughs brightening with a promise of sure spring
I' the level beam that gilds the winter grove, Still the quick blood that tingles in the breeze, Warm sleep secure of dawn's awakening, Reviving hope that reasserts her sway
Even in the saddest heart, soft twilight hours Wherein to dream our weariness away,
Still the keen eye and still the mind's unvanquished powers.
Compensates their cold rest the loss of these,
Of venturous thought, the meditative ease,
Or, find they larger bliss and lovelier light
Whether 't were good to follow them and dare, As they have dared, the void of Death unknown, Which of them shall arise from darkness and declare?
IN THE MOUNTAIN LAND. DREAD Spirit, that, whate'er the uncertain tongue Of crude Conjecture unto credulous ears May stammer, still to me, with heart yet young To learn, to feel, from out the measureless years Speakest, and everywhere through earth, sky, sea, Dost palpitate in ceaseless energy,—