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THE NUN.

'T is over; and her lovely cheek is now
On her hard pillow — there, alas ! to be
Nightly, through many and many a dreary hour,
Wan, often wet with tears, and (ere at length
Her place is empty, and another comes)
In anguish, in the ghastliness of death;
Hers never more to leave those mournful walls,
Even on her bier.

'Tis over; and the rite,
With all its pomp and harmony, is now
Floating before her. She arose at home,
To be the show, the idol of the day;
Her vesture gorgeous, and her starry head —
No rocket, bursting in the midnight-sky,
So dazzling. When to-morrow she awakes,
She will awake as though she still was there,
Still in her father's house; and, lo! a cell
Narrow and dark, naught through the gloom discerned,
Naught save the crucifix, the rosary,
And the gray habit lying by to shroud
Her beauty and grace.

When on her knees she fell, Entering the solemn place of consecration, And from the latticed gallery came a chant Of psalms, most saint-like, most angelical, Verse after verse sung out how holily, The strain returning, and still, still returning, Methought it acted like a spell upon her, And she was casting off her earthly dross ;

Yet was it sad as sweet, and, ere it closed,
Came like a dirge. When her fair head was shorn,
And the long tresses in her hands were laid,
That she might filing them from her, saying, “ Thus,
Thus I renounce the world and worldly things !” 23
When, as she stood, her bridal ornaments
Were, one by one, removed, even to the last,
That she might say, flinging them from her, “ Thus,
Thus I renounce the world!” when all was changed,
And, as a nun, in homeliest guise she knelt,
Distinguished only by the crown she wore,
Her crown of lilies as the

spouse

of Christ,
Well might her strength forsake her, and her knees
Fail in that hour! Well might the holy man,
He, at whose feet she knelt, give as by stealth
('T was in her utmost need; nor, while she lives, 24
Will it go from her, fleeting as it was)
That faint but fatherly smile, that smile of love
And pity!

Like a dream the whole is filed;
And they, that came in idleness to gaze
Upon the victim dressed for sacrifice,
Are mingling in the world; thou in thy cell
Forgot, TERESA. Yet, among them all,
None were so formed to love and to be loved,
None to delight, adorn; and on thee now
A curtain, blacker than the night, is dropped
Forever! In thy gentle bosom sleep
Feelings, affections, destined now to die,
To wither like the blossom in the bud, -
Those of a wife, a mother; leaving there
A cheerless void, a chill as of the grave,

A languor and a lethargy of soul,
Death-like, and gathering more and more, till Death
Comes to release thee. Ah! what now to thee,
What now to thee the treasure of thy youth?
As nothing!

But thou canst not yet reflect
Calmly; so many things, strange and perverse,
That meet, recoil, and go but to return,
The monstrous birth of one eventful day,
Troubling thy spirit — from the first at dawn,
The rich arraying for the nuptial feast,
To the black pall, the requiem.* All in turn
Revisit thee, and round thy lowly be
Hover, uncalled. Thy young and innocent heart,
How is it beating ? Has it no regrets ?
Discoverest thou no weakness lurking there?
But thine exhausted frame has sunk to rest.
Peace to thy slumbers !

THE FIRE-FLY.

THERE is an insect, that, when evening comes,
Small though he be and scarce distinguishable,
Like Evening clad in soberest livery,
Unsheathes his wings and through the woods and glades
Scatters a marvellous splendor. On he wheels,
Blazing by fits as from excess of joy,
Each gush of light a gush of ecstasy;
Nor unaccompanied; thousands that fling
A radiance all their own, not of the day,

270

Thousands as bright as he, from dusk till dawn,
Soaring, descending

In the mother's lap
Well may the child put forth his little hands,
Singing the nursery-song he learnt so soon ;
And the young nymph, preparing for the dance 209
By brook or fountain-side, in many a braid
Wreathing her golden hair, well may she cry,
“Come hither; and the shepherds, gathering round,
Shall say, Floretta emulates the Night,
Spangling her head with stars."

Oft have I met This shining race, when in the Tusculan groves My path no longer glimmered; oft among Those trees, religious once and always green, That still dream out their stories of old ROME Over the Alban lake ; oft met and hailed, Where the precipitate Anio thunders down, And through the surging mist a poet's house (So some aver, and who would not believe ?) 21 Reveals itself. Yet cannot I forget Him, who rejoiced me in those walks at eve, My earliest, pleasantest; who dwells unseen, And in our northern clime, when all is still, Nightly keeps watch, nightly in bush or brake His lonely lamp rekindling. Unlike theirs, His, if less dazzling, through the darkness knows No intermission; sending forth its ray Through the green leaves, a ray serene and clear As Virtue's own.

32*

272

FOREIGN TRAVEL.

It was in a splenetic humor that I sat me down to my scanty fare at TERRACINA; and how long I should have contemplated the lean thrushes in array before me I cannot say, if a cloud of smoke, that drew the tears into my eyes, , had not burst from the green and leafy boughs on the hearth-stone. "Why," I exclaimed, starting up from the table, “why did I leave my own chimney-corner ? — But am I not on the road to BRUNDUSIUM ? And are not these the very calamities that befell HORACE and VIRGIL, and MÆCENAS, and Plotius, and VARIUS? HORACE laughed at them. Then why should not I? HORACE resolved to turn them to account; and VIRGIL cannot we hear him observing that to remember them will, by and by, be a pleasure ?” My soliloquy reconciled me at once to my fate ; and when for the twentieth time I had looked through the window on a sea sparkling with innumerable brilliants, a sea on which the heroes of the Odyssey and the Æneid had sailed, I sat down as to a splendid banquet. My thrushes had the flavor of ortolans; and I ate with an appetite I had not known before. " Who," I cried, as I poured out my last glass of Falernian (for Falernian it was said to be, and in my eyes it ran bright and clear as a topaz-stone), “ who would remain at home, could he do otherwise ? Who would submit to tread that dull but daily round, his hours forgotten as soon as spent ?” and, opening my journal-book and dipping my pen in my ink-horn, I determined, as far as I could, to justify myself and my countrymen in wandering over the face of the earth. "It may serve me, ,” said I, "as a remedy in some future fit of the spleen.”

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