Page images
PDF
EPUB

"Forgive me!" he pleads, "you loved him

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The story of love's last triumph,

And the two hearts reconciled,

And the peace brought back to a hearthstone By the death of a little child.

THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE.

TENNYSON.

HALF a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,
All in the Valley of Death
Rode the Six Hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade !
Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the Valley of Death

Rode the Six Hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade !"
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the soldier knew
Some one had blundered:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the Valley of Death
Rode the Six Hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them,

Volleyed and thundered.

Stormed at with shot and shell,

Boldly they rode and well;

Into the jaws of Death,

Into the mouth of Hell,

Rode the Six Hundred.

Flashed all their sabers bare,
Flashed as they turned in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while

All the world wondered.

Plunged in the battery smoke, Right through the line they broke ;

Cossack and Russian

Reeled from the saber-stroke,

Shattered and sundered.

Then they rode back, but not,

Not the Six Hundred.

Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon behind them,

Volleyed and thundered.

Stormed at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came through the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,

Left of Six Hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made!
Honor the Light Brigade,

Noble Six Hundred !

NAPOLEON BONAPARTE.

PHILLIPS.

IF Napoleon's fortune was great, his genius was transcendent; decision flashed upon his counsels; and it was the same to decide and to perform. To inferior intellects, his combinations appeared perfectly impossible, his plans perfectly impracticable; but, in his hands, simplicity marked their development, and success vindicated their adoption.

His person partook the character of his mind, if the one never yielded in the cabinet, the other never bent in the field. Nature had no obstacles that he did not surmount-space no opposition that he did not spurn: and, whether amid Alpine rocks, Arabian sands, or polar snows, he seemed proof against peril, and empowered with ubiquity! The whole continent of Europe trembled at beholding the audacity of his designs, and the miracle of their execution. Skepticism bowed to the prodigies of his performance; romance assumed the air of history; nor was there aught too incredible for belief, or too fanciful for expectation, when the world saw a subaltern of Corsica waving his imperial flag over her

most ancient capitals. All the visions of antiquity became commonplaces in his contemplation; kings were his people -nations were his outposts; and he disposed of courts, and crowns, and camps, and churches, and cabinets, as if they were the titular dignitaries of the chess-board!

Through the pantomime of his policy, fortune played the clown to his caprices. At his touch, crowns crumbled, beggars reigned, systems vanished, the wildest theories took the color of his whim, and all that was venerable, and all that was novel, changed places with the rapidity of a drama. Even apparent defeat assumed the appearance of victory— his flight from Egypt confirmed his destiny—ruin itself only elevated him to empire. Amid all these changes he stood immutable as adamant. It mattered little whether in the field or the drawing-room, with the mob or the levée, wearing the Jacobin bonnet or the iron crown-banishing a Braganza, or espousing a Hapsburg-dictating peace on a raft to the czar of Russia, or contemplating defeat at the gallows of Leipsic--he was still the same military despot!

A SIMILAR CASE.

JACK, I hear you've gone and done it,—
Yes, I know; most fellows will;

Went and tried it once myself, sir,

Though you see I'm single still.
And you met her-did

you

tell me,

Down at Newport, last July,
And resolved to ask the question

At a soirée ? So did I.

I suppose you left the ball-room,
With its music and its light;
For they say love's flame is brightest
In the darkness of the night.

Well, you walked along together,
Overhead the starlit sky;

And I'll bet-old man, confess it-
You were frightened. So was I.

So you strolled along the terrace,
Saw the summer moonlight pour
All its radiance on the waters,

As they rippled on the shore,
Till at length you gathered courage,
When you saw that none was nigh-
Did you draw her close and tell her
That you loved her? So did I.

Well, I needn't ask you further,
And I'm sure I wish you joy.
Think I'll wander down and see you

When you're married-eh, my boy?
When the honeymoon is over

And you're settled down, we'll try—
What? the deuce you say! Rejected—
You rejected? So was I.

UNDER THE DAISIES.

IT is strange what a deal of trouble we take ;
What a sacrifice most of us willingly make;

How our lips will smile though our hearts may ache;
How we bend to the ways of the world for the sake
Of its poor and scanty praises;

And Time runs on in such pitiless flow,

That our lives are wasted before we know
That work to finish ere we go

To our long sleep under the daisies.

How often we fall in useless fright;
How often is wrong in the place of right;

« PreviousContinue »