THE RETURN OF THE GODDESS.
BY BAYARD TAYLOR.
Not as in youth, with steps
And cheeks all bright from rapture of the way,
But in strange mood, half cheerful, half forlorn,
She comes to me to-day.
Does she forget the trysts
we used to keep,
When dead leaves rustled on autumnal ground?
Or the lone garret, whence she banished sleep
With threats of silver sound?
Does she forget how shone
the happy eyes
When they beheld her?—how the eager tongue
Plied its swift oar through wave-like harmonies,
To reach her where she sung?
How at her sacred feet I cast
How she upraised me to her bosom fair,
And from her garland shred the first light crown
That ever pressed my hair?
Though dust is on the leaves,
her breath will bring
Their freshness back: why lingers she so long?
The pulseless air is waiting for her wing,
Dumb with unuttered song.
If tender doubt delay her
on the road,
Oh let her haste, to find that doubt belied!
If shame for love unworthily bestowed,
That shame shall melt in pride.
If she but smile, the crystal
calm will break
In music, sweeter than it ever gave,
As when a breeze breathes o’er some sleeping lake
And laughs in every wave.
The ripples of awakened song
Kissing her feet, and woo her not in vain,
Until, as once, upon her breast I lie,
Pardoned and loved again.
ON POPULAR KNOWLEDGE.
BY GEORGE S. HILLARD.
Against all institutions for the diffusion of knowledge among the community, an objection is often urged that they can teach nothing thoroughly, but only superficially, and that modest ignorance is better than presumptuous half-knowledge. How frequently is it said that “a little learning is a dangerous thing.” This celebrated line is a striking instance of the vitality which may be given to what is at least a very doubtful proposition by throwing it into a pointed form. If anything be a good at all, it is a good precisely in proportion to the extent in which it is possessed or enjoyed. A great deal of it is better than a little, but a little is better than none. No one says or thinks that a little conscience, or a little wisdom, or a little faith, or a little charity is a dangerous thing. Why then is a little learning dangerous? Alas, it is not the little learning, but the much ignorance which it supposes, that is dangerous!