BY JEAN REBOUL, THE BAKER OF NISMES
An angel with a radiant face,
Above a cradle bent to look,
Seemed his own image there to trace,
As in the waters of a brook.
“Dear child! who me resemblest so,”
It whispered, “come, O come with me!
Happy together let us go,
The earth unworthy is of thee!
“Here none to perfect bliss attain;
The soul in pleasure suffering lies;
Joy hath an undertone of pain,
And even the happiest hours their sighs.
“Fear doth at every portal knock;
Never a day serene and pure
From the o’ershadowing tempest’s shock
Hath made the morrow’s dawn secure.
“What then, shall sorrows and shall fears
Come to disturb so pure a brow?
And with the bitterness of tears
These eyes of azure troubled grow?
“Ah no! into the fields of space,
Away shalt thou escape with me;
And Providence will grant thee grace
Of all the days that were to be.
“Let no one in thy dwelling cower,
In sombre vestments draped and veiled;
But let them welcome thy last hour,
As thy first moments once they hailed.
“Without a cloud be there each brow;
There let the grave no shadow cast;
When one is pure as thou art now,
The fairest day is still the last.”
And waving wide his wings of white,
The angel, at these words, had sped
Towards the eternal realms of light!—
Poor mother! see, thy son is dead!
ON THE TERRACE OF THE AIGALADES
BY JOSEPH MERY
From this high portal, where upsprings
The rose to touch our hands in play,
We at a glance behold three things—
The Sea, the Town, and the Highway.
And the Sea says: My shipwrecks fear;
I drown my best friends in the deep;
And those who braved icy tempests, here
Among my sea-weeds lie asleep!
The Town says: I am filled and fraught
With tumult and with smoke and care;
My days with toil are overwrought,
And in my nights I gasp for air.
The Highway says: My wheel-tracks guide
To the pale climates of the North;
Where my last milestone stands abide
The people to their death gone forth.
Here, in the shade, this life of ours,
Full of delicious air, glides by
Amid a multitude of flowers
As countless as the stars on high;
These red-tiled roofs, this fruitful soil,
Bathed with an azure all divine,
Where springs the tree that gives us oil,
The grape that giveth us the wine;
Beneath these mountains stripped of trees,
Whose tops with flowers are covered o’er,
Where springtime of the Hesperides
Begins, but endeth nevermore;
Under these leafy vaults and walls,
That unto gentle sleep persuade;
This rainbow of the waterfalls,
Of mingled mist and sunshine made;