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My singing birdling from its nest is flown,-
MAY RILEY SMITII.
When the lessons and tasks are all ended,
And the school for the day is dismissed, The little ones gather around me
To bid me good-night and be kissed:
My neck in their tender embrace!
Shedding sunshine of love on my face !
Of my childhood too lovely to last; Of joy that my heart will remember,
While it wakes to the pulse of the past,
A partner of sorrow and sin,
And the glory of gladness within.
All my heart grows as weak as a woman's,
And the fountains of feeling will flow, When I think of the paths, steep and stony,
Where the feet of the dear ones must go; Of the mountains of Sin hanging o'er them,
Of the tempest of Fate blowing wild; Oh! there 's nothing on earth half so holy
As the innocent heart of a child !
They are idols of hearts and of households;
They are angels of God in disguise;
His glory still gleams in their eyes,
They have made me more manly and mild !
And I know, now, how Jesus could liken
The kingdom of God to a child.
I ask not a life for the dear ones,
All radiant, as others have done,
To temper the glare of the sun;
But my prayer would bound back to myself ;
But a sinner must pray for himself.
The twig is so easily bended,
I have banished the rule and the rod;
They have taught me the goodness of God;
Where I shut them for breaking a rule; My frown is sufficient correction;
My love is the law of the school.
I shall leave the old house in the autumn,
To traverse its threshold no more;
That meet me each morn at the door;
And the gush of their innocent glee,
That are brought every morning for me. I shall miss them at morn and at even,
Their song in the school and the street; I shall miss the low hum of their voices,
And the tread of their delicate feet.
And death says " the school is dismissed,"
CHARLES M. DICKINSON.
My Mind to me a Kingdom is. Page 1. WILLIAM BYRD (b. 1540, d. 1623) was organist to Queen Elizabeth, and composed an immense amount of vocal music.
The Lye. Page 2. The authorship of this poem has been disputed, and it is commonly printed as anonymous. But Percy ascribes it to RALEIGH, and a copy of it among the Chetham manuscripts bears his signature.
Man's Mortality. Page 6. SIMON WASTEL (b. about 1566) published in 1629 “Microbiblion, or the Bible's Epitome in Verse," of which these famous stanzas are a fragment.
Verses. Page 9. The story of CHEDIOCK TICHEBORNE is told in Disraeli's “Curiosities of Literature," Vol. II.
Good Ale. Page 18. JOHN STILL (d. 1607), Bishop of Bath and Wells, was the author of “Gammer Gurton's Needle," one of the earliest of English comedies.
The Sailor's Wife. Page 76. This poem has been commonly attributed to Mickle, author of "Cumnor Hall," because an imperfect copy of it was found among his papers. He himself never claimed it, nor would he be likely to have written it, as he never lived in a seaport. Miss ADAM was a poor school-mistress, who lived near Greenock, and died in Glasgow in 1765. She published a volume of poems, and claimed this one as hers.
Helen of Kirkconnel. Page 93. There are numerous versions of this poem. The one here given, by John MAYNE (b. 1759, d. 1836), is metrically the most perfect. It was published by Sir Walter Scott, in the Edinburgh “Annual Register" for 1815, who says : “A lady of the name of Helen Irving or Bell (for this is disputed by the two clans), daughter of the laird of Kirkconnell, in Dumfriesshire, and celebrated for her beauty, was beloved by two gentlemen in the neighborhood. The name of the favored suitor was Adam Fleming of Kirkpatrick ; that of the other has escaped tradition, although it has been alleged that he was a Bell of Blacket House. The addresses of the latter were, however, favored by the friends of the lady, and the lovers were therefore obliged to meet in secret, and by night, in the church-yard of Kirkconnell, a romantic spot surrounded by the river Kirtle. During one of these private interviews, the jealous and despised lover suddenly appeared on the opposite bank of the stream, and leveled his carabine at the breast of his rival. Helen threw herself before her lover, received in her bosom the bullet, and died in his arms. A desperate and mortal combat ensued between Fleming and the murderer, in which the latter was cut to pieces. Other accounts say that Fleming pursued his enemy to Spain, and slew him in the streets of Madrid." These events occurred in the reign of Mary Queen of Scots.
The Tears I Shed. Page 99. HELEN D'ARCY CRANSTOUN (b. 1765, d. 1838) became in 1790 the second wife of Prof. Dugald Stewart. The first four lines of the last stanza were inserted by Burns.
Lucy's Flittin'. Page 105. WILLIAM LAIDLAW (b. 1780, d. 1845) was the amanuensis and confidential friend of Sir Walter Scott. "Lucy's Flittin was contributed to Hogg's "Forest Minstrel," and Hogg himself wrote the closing stanza.
A Riddle. Page 109. This enigma has been frequently attributed to Lord Byron, and printed in two or three editions of his works. The answer is, the letter H.
Saint Patrick. Page 113. According to Samuel Lover, these verses were written in 1814 by two gentlemen jointly, while on their way to a masquerade where they were to appear as ballad-singers, HENRY BENNETT (b. in Cork about 1785) being one of them.
The Beacon. Page 122. This little poem has been persistently attributed to Moore; but it has been conclusively shown that it is the production of P. M. JAMES, an Englishman.
I would not Live Alway. Page 128. DR. MUHLENBERG made several revisions of his famous poem. The versions in the hymn-books contain some striking lines that do not appear in his final revision, which is here presented.
The Bivouac of the Dead. Page 197. In accordance with an act of the legislature of Kentucky, the remains of the soldiers from that state who fell at Buena Vista were brought home to Frankfort, and there interred under a handsome monument. This was the occasion of O'Hara's poem.
Lines on a Skeleton. Page 201. The manuscript of this poem was found near a skeleton in the London Royal College of Surgeons, about 1820. The author has never been found, though a reward of fifty guineas was offered for his discovery.
The Exile to his Wife. Page 223. JOSEPH BRENAN (b. 1829, d. 1857) was a native of the north of Ireland. He joined the Young Ireland party in 1848, and was one of the conductors of the "Irish Felon.” He was im