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SONGS FOR CHILDHOOD.
Pop! pop! and the kernels, one by one,
Came out of the embers flying; The boy held a long pine stick in hand,
And kept it busily plying; He stirred the corn, and it snapped the more, And faster jumped to the clean-swept floor.
Part of the kernels flew one way, And a part hopped out the other;
Some flew plump into the sister's lap, Some nnder the stool of the brother;
The little girl gathered them into a heap,
And called them a flock of milk-white sheep.
They came no more. But they tell the tale,
That when fogs are thick on the harbor reef The mackerel-fishers shorten sail,
For the signal they know will bring relief� For the voices of children still at play In a phantom hulk that drifts away
Through channels whose waters never fail.
It is but a foolish shipman's tale, A theme for a poet's idle page; But still, when the mists of doubt prevail, And we lie becalmed by the shores of age, We hear from the misty, troubled shore The voices of children gone before, Drawing the soul to its anchorage.
A GREYPORT LEGEND.
They ran through the streets of the sea-port town; They peered from the decks of the ships where they lay; The cold sea-fog that came whitening down Was never as cold or as white as they.
" Ho, Starbuck, and Pinckney, and Tenterden ! Run for your shallops, gather your men, Scatter your boats on the lower bay!"
Good cause for fear! In the thick midday
The hulk that lay by the rotting pier, Filled with the children in happy play, Parted its moorings and drifted clear. Drifted clear beyond reach or call; Thirteen children there were in all� All adrift in the lower bay!
Said a hard-faced skipper, " God help us all!
She will not float till the turning tide!" Said his wife, " My darling will hear my call, . Whether in sea or heaven she bide."
And she lifted a quaveriug voice and high� Wild and strange as a sea-bird's cry,
Till they shuddered and wondered at her side.
The fog drove down on each laboring crew,
Veiled each from each and the sky and shore; There was not a sound but the breath they drew, And the lap of water, and the creak of oar; And they felt the breath of the downs, fresh-blown O'er leagues of clover and cold gray stone, But not from the lips that had gone before.
Your tiny picture makes me yearn;
We are so far apart! My darling, I can only turn
And kiss you in my heart. A thousand tender thoughts a-wiug
Swarm in a summer clime, And hover round it murmuriug
Like bees at honey-time.
Upon a little girl I look,
Whose pureness makes me sad; I read as in a holy book;
I grow in secret glad i It seems my darling came to me
With something I have lost Over life's tossed and troubled sea,
On some celestial coast.
I think of her when spirit-bowed;
A glory fills the place; Like sudden light on swords, the proud
Smile flashes in my face: And others see, in passing by,
But can not understand The vision shining in mine eye,
My strength of heart and hand.
That grave content and touching grace Bring tears into mine eyes ;
She makes my heart a holy piace, Where hymns and incense rise ;