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SONGS FOR CHILDHOOD. 91
" Their graves are green, they may be seen,"
The little maid replied, "Twelve steps or more from my mother's door,
And they are side by side.
" My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem ; And there upon the ground I sit,
And sing a song to them.
"And often after sunset, sir,
When it is light and fair, I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.
" The first that died was sister Jane;
Iu bed she moaning lay, Till God released her from her pain ;
And then she went away.
" So iu the church-yard she was laid;
And, when the grass was dry, Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I.
"And when the ground was white with snow,
Aud I could run and slide, My brother John was forced to go,
And he lies by her side."
" How many are you, then," said I,
" If they two are in heaven ?" Quick was the little maid's reply,
" O master ! we are seven."
" But they are dead; those two are dead;
Their spirits are in heaven!" 'Twas throwing words away ; for still The little maid would have her will;
And said, " Nay, we are seven !"
Not for the violets golden
That sprinkle the vale below ; Not for the milk-white lilies
That lean from the fragrant hedge, Coquetting all day with the sunbeams,
And stealing their golden edge; Not for the vines on the upland
Where the bright red berries rest; Nor the pinks, nor the pale, sweet cowslip,
It seemeth to me the best.
I once had a little brother,
With eyes that were dark and deep; In the lap of that olden forest
He lieth, in peace asleep. Light as the down of the thistle,
Free as the winds that blow, We roved there the beautiful summers,
The summers of long ago. But his feet on the hills grew weary,
Aud one of the autumn eves I made for my little brother
A bed of the yellow leaves.
Sweetly his pale arms folded
My neck, in a silent embrace, As the light of immortal beauty
Silently covered his face. Aud when the arrows of sunset
Lodged in the tree-tops bright, He fell, iu his saint-like beauty,
Asleep by the gates of light. Therefore, of all the pictures
That hang on Memory's wall, The one of the dim old forest
Seemeth the best of all.
THE DROWNED BABY.
THE LITTLE BROTHER. Alice Cary.
Among the beautiful pictures That hang on Memory's wall
Is one of a dim old forest, That seemeth the best of all.
Not for its gnarled oaks olden, Dark with the mistletoe ;
A little child, with her bright blue eyes,
And her hair like golden spray, Sat on the rock by the steep cliff's foot,
As the ocean ebbed away.
And she longed for the milk-white, shining foam,
As it danced to the shingle's hum, And she stretched out her hand and tottered fast,
To bring the white feathers home.
And still, as she strayed, the tide ebbed fast, And the gleaming foam laughed on,