Down come the houses! each drunk as a
Can’t say I fancy much this sort of thing;
Inside the bar it was safe and all right,
I shall go back there, and stop for the night.
KARL, THE MARTYR.
BY FRANCES WHITESIDE.
It was the closing of a summer’s
And trellised branches from encircling trees
Threw silver shadows o’er the golden space.
Where groups of merry-hearted sons of toil
Were met to celebrate a village feast;
Casting away, in frolic sport, the cares
That ever press and crowd and leave their mark
Upon the brows of all whose bread is earned
By daily labour. ’Twas perchance the feast
Of fav’rite saint, or anniversary
Of one of bounteous nature’s season gifts
To grateful husbandry—no matter what
The cause of their uniting. Joy beamed forth
On ev’ry face, and the sweet echoes rang
With sounds of honest mirth too rarely heard
In the vast workshop man has made his world,
Where months of toil must pay one day of song.
from the assembled throng
There sat a swarthy giant, with a face
So nobly grand that though (unlike the rest)
He wore no festal garb nor laughing mien,
Yet was he study for the painter’s art:
He joined not in their sports, but rather seemed
To please his eye with sight of others’ joy.
There was a cast of sorrow on his brow,
As though it had been early there.
He sat In listless attitude, yet not devoid
Of gentlest grace, as down his stalwart form
He bent, to catch the playful whisperings,
And note the movements of a bright-hair’d child
Who danced before him in the evening sun,
Holding a tiny brother by the hand.
He was the village
smith (the rolled-up sleeves
And the well-charred leathern apron show’d his craft);
Karl was his name—a man beloved by all.
He was not of the district. He had come
Amongst them ere his forehead bore one trace
Of age or suffering. A wife and child
He had brought with him; but the wife was dead.
Not so the child—who danced before him now
And held a tiny brother by the hand—
Their mother’s last and priceless legacy!
So Karl was happy still that those two lived,
And laughed and danced before him in the sun.
Yet sadly so.
The children both were fair,
Ruddy, and active, though of fragile form;
But to that father’s ever watchful eye,
Who had so loved their mother, it was plain
That each inherited the wasting doom
Which cost that mother’s life. ’Twas reason more
To work and toil for them by night and day!
Early and late his anvil’s ringing sound