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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 144 pages of information about Gifts of Genius.

THE BABY AND THE BOY MUSICIAN.

BY LYDIA HUNTLEY SIGOURNEY.

    A cherub in its mother’s arms,
      Look’d from a casement high—­
    And pleasure o’er the features stray’d,
    As on his simple organ play’d
      A boy of Italy.

    So, day by day, his skill he plied,
      With still increasing zeal,
    For well the glittering coin he knew,
    Those fairy fingers gladly threw,
      Would buy his frugal meal.

    But then! alas, there came a change
      Unheeded was his song,
    And in his upraised, earnest eye
    There dwelt a silent wonder, why
      The baby slept so long.

    That polished brow, those lips of Rose
      Beneath the flowers were laid—­
    But where the music never tires,
    Amid the white-robed angel choir
      The happy spirit stray’d.

    Yet lingering at the accustom’d place
      That minstrel ply’d his art,
    Though its soft symphony of words
    Convulsed with pain the broken chords
      Within a mother’s heart.

    They told him that the babe was dead
      And could return no more,
    Dead!  Dead!—­to his bewildered ear,
    A foreign language train’d to hear—­
      The sound no import bore.

    At length, by slow degrees, the truth
      O’er his young being stole,
    And with sad step he went his way
    No more for that blest babe to play,
      The tear-drop in his soul.

City of Washington, May 24, 1858.

THE ERL-KING.

(FROM THE GERMAN OF GOETHE.)

BY MRS. E.F.  ELLET.

    By night through the forest who rideth so fast,
    While the chill sleet is driving, and fierce roars the blast? 
    ’Tis the father, who beareth his child through the storm,
    And safe in his mantle has wrapped him from harm.

    “My son, why hid’st thy face, as in fear?”
    “Oh, father! see, father! the Erl-king is near! 
    The Erl-king it is, with his crown and his shroud!”
    “My boy! it is naught but a wreath of the cloud.”

    “Oh, pretty child! come—­wilt thou go with me! 
    With many gay sports will I gambol with thee;
    There are flowers of all hues on our fairy strand—­
    My mother shall weave thee robes golden and grand.”

    “Oh, father! my father! and dost thou not hear
    What the Erl-king is whispering low in mine ear?”
    “Be quiet, my darling! thy hearing deceives;
    ’Tis but the wind whistling among the crisp leaves.”

    “Oh, beautiful boy! wilt thou come with me!—­say! 
    My daughters are waiting to join thee at play! 
    In their arms they shall bear thee through all the dark night—­
    They shall dance, they shall sing thee to slumber so light?”

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