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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 291 pages of information about Town and Country; or, life at home and abroad, without and within us.

A FOREST PIC-NIC SONG.

    Within these woods, beneath these trees,
        We meet to-day a happy band;
    All joy is ours,—­we feel the breeze
        Blow gently o’er our native land. 
    How brightly blooms each forest flower! 
        What cheerful notes the wild bird sings! 
    How nature charms our festive hour,
        What beauty round our pathway springs! 
    The aged bear no weight of years;
        The good old man, the matron too,
    Forget their ills, forget their fears,
        And range the dim old forests through
    With youth and maiden on whose cheek
        The ruddy bloom of health doth glow,
    And in whose eyes the heart doth speak
        Oft more than they would have us know. 
    How pleasant thus it is to dwell
        Within the shadow of this wood,
    Where rock and tree and flower do tell
        To all that nature’s God is good! 
    Here nature’s temple open stands,—­
        There’s none so nobly grand as here,—­
    The sky its roof; its floor, all lands,
        While rocks and trees are worshippers. 
    There’s not a leaf that rustles now,
        A bird that chants its simple lays,
    A breeze that passing fans our brow,
        That speaks not of its Maker’s praise. 
    O, then, let us who gather here
        Praise Him who gave us this glad day,
    And when the twilight shades appear
        Pass with his blessing hence away!

THE WARRIOR’S BRIDE.

CHAPTER I.

Rome was enjoying the blessings of peace; and so little employment attended the soldier’s every-day life, that the words “as idle as a soldier” became a proverb indicative of the most listless inactivity.

The people gave themselves up to joy and gladness.  The sound of music was heard from all parts of the city, and perfumed breezes went up as an incense from the halls of beauty and mirth.

It was, indeed, a blessed time for the city of the seven hills; and its people rejoiced as they had not for many a long, long year-ay, for a century.

“Peace, sweet peace, a thousand blessings attend thy glad reign.  See you how quietly the peasant’s flocks graze on our eternal hills?  The tinkling bell is a sweeter sound than the trumpet’s blast; and the curling smoke, arising from the hearth-stones of contented villagers, is a truer index of a nation’s power than the sulphurous cloud from the field of battle.  What say you, Alett,—­is it not?”

Thus spake a youth of noble mien, as he stood with one arm encircling the waist of a lady, of whose beauty it were useless to attempt a description.  There are some phases of beauty which pen cannot describe, nor pencil portray,—­a beauty which seems to hover around the form, words, and motions of those whose special recipients it is; a sort of ethereal loveliness, concentrating the tints of the rainbow, the sun’s golden rays, and so acting upon the mind’s eye of the observer as almost to convince him that a visitant from a sphere of perfection is in his presence.

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