[Illustration: The poet’s children.]
It was now the time for them to set off on their long journey; the old doves had exercised their young ones, and they were sure that they could perform the journey. Next morning early they were to set off.
All night there was a light burning in the young musician’s chamber, and towards morning the most heavenly music sounded from the window, which the old monk had opened a little, a very little, for fresh air, because his young friend had complained of the room being close and hot. The sound awoke the doves; and they listened to what they still thought a glorious bird. The little old man sat with his feeble hands together, and his head raised; it was the first time for years that he had ever sat so; the young man played, and there was a heavenly joy in his soul; he knew not whether he was in heaven or earth; all his pain was gone. It was a blissful moment; the next, and all was still in the chamber—wonderfully still. The lamp continued burning, a soft breeze blew in from the half-opened window, and just stirred the little old man’s Carmelite frock, and lifted the young man’s dark locks, but they neither of them moved.
“That glorious bird has done his singing for this morning,” said the old doves; “he will now sleep—let us set off; all our friends and neighbors are off already; we have a long journey before us.” The parent doves spread their wings; they and their elder ones were away, but the younger stayed as if entranced in the nest; he could think of nothing but the glorious bird that had just been singing: his family wheeled round the cypress, and then returned for him; they bade him come, for it was late. The sun was rising above the sea, and all the doves of Carmel were ready for flight. The younger dove then spread its wings also for this long journey, bearing with him still the remembrance of that thrilling music which affected him so greatly.
The turtle-doves went forth on their long journey. The young musician and the little old monk had started before them on one much longer.
THE DYING CHILD
BY HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN.
Mother, I’m tired, and I would fain
Let me repose upon thy bosom sick;
But promise me that thou wilt leave off weeping,
Because thy tears fall hot upon my cheek.
Here it is cold: the tempest raveth
But in my dreams all is so wondrous bright;
I see the angel-children smiling gladly,
When from my weary eyes I shut out light.
Mother, one stands beside me now! and,
Dost thou not hear the music’s sweet accord?
See how his white wings beautifully glisten?
Surely those wings were given him by the Lord!
Green, gold, and red, are floating all
They are the flowers the angel scattereth.
Should I have also wings while life has bound me?
Or, mother, are they given alone in death?