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DEATH

IT is not death, that—sometime—in a sigh
This eloquent breath shall take its speechless flight;
That—sometime—these bright stars, that now reply
In sunlight to the sun, shall set in night:
That this warm conscious flesh shall perish quite,
And all life's ruddy springs forget to flow;
That thoughts shall cease, and the immortal sprite
Be lapp'd in alien clay and laid below;
It is not death to know this,—but to know
That pious thoughts, which visit at new graves
In tender pilgrimage, will cease to go
So duly and so oft,—and when grass waves
Over the past-away, there may be then
No resurrection in the minds of men.

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/IATTHEW ARNOLD
SHAKESPEARE

OTHERS abide our question—Thou art free.
We ask and ask—Thou smilest and art still,
Out-topping knowledge! For the loftiest hill
Who to the stars uncrowns his majesty,
Planting his steadfast footsteps in the sea,
Making the heaven of heavens his dwelling-place,
Spares but the cloudy border of his base
To the foiPd searching of Mortality;
And thou, who didst the stars and sunbeams know,
Self-school'd, self-scann'd, self-honour'd, self-secure,
Didst walk on earth unguess'd at.—Better so!
All pains the immortal spirit must endure,
All weakness which impairs, all griefs which bow,
Find their sole voice in that victorious brow.

DECEMBER

HOAR Time about the house betakes him slow,
Seeking an entry for his weariness;
And in that dreadful company Distress
And the sad Night with silent footsteps go.
On my poor hearth the brands are scarce aglow,
And in the woods without pale wanderers press;
Where, waning in the pines from less to less,
Mysterious hangs the horned moon, and low.

For now December, full of aged care,
Comes in upon the year and weakly grieves,
Mumbling his lost desires and his despair;
And with mad, trembling hand still interweaves
The dank sear flower-stalks tangled in his hair,
While round about him whirl the rotten leaves.

ARTHUR CHRISTOPHER BENSON
REGRET

I HOLD it now more shameful to forget
Than fearful to remember; if I may
Make choice of pain, my Father, I will pray
That I may suffer rather than regret;
And this dull aching at my heart to-day
Is harder far to bear than when I set
My passionate heart some golden thing to get,
And, as I clasped it, it was torn away.

"The world is fair," the elder spirit saith,

"The tide flows fast, and on the further shore

Wait consolations and surprises rare."

But youth still cries, "The love that was my faith

Is broken, and the ruined shrine is bare

And I am all alone for evermore."

GAILY and greenly let my seasons run:
And should the war-winds of the world uproot
The sanctities of life, and its sweet fruit
Cast forth as fuel for the fiery sun;
The dews be turned to ice; fair days begun
In peace wear out in pain, and sounds that suit
Despair and discord keep Hope's harpstring mute,
Still let me live as love and life were one:
Still let me turn on earth a childlike gaze
And trust the whispered charities that bring
Tidings of human truth; with inward praise
Watch the weak motion of each common thing,
And find it glorious. Still let me raise
On wintry wrecks an altar to the Spring.

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