+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

And Miss Rosamond was torn as by a
power stronger than mine, and writhed in my
arms, and sobbed (for by this time the poor
darling was growing faint).

"They want me to go with them on to the
Fellsthey are drawing me to them. Oh, my
little girl! I would come, but cruel, wicked
Hester holds me very tight." But when
she saw the uplifted crutch she swooned
away, and I thanked God for it. Just at this
momentwhen the tall old man, his hair
streaming as in the blast of a furnace, was
going to strike the little shrinking child
Miss Furnivall, the old woman by my side,
cried out, "Oh. father! father! spare the little
innocent child!" But just then I sawwe
all sawanother phantom shape itself, and
grow clear out of the blue and misty light
that filled the hall; we had not seen her till
now, for it was another lady who stood by
the old man, with a look of relentless hate
and triumphant scorn. That figure was
very beautiful to look upon, with a soft
white hat drawn down over the proud brows,
and a red and curling lip. It was dressed in
an open robe of blue satin. I had seen that
figure before. It was the likeness of Miss
Furnivall in her youth; and the terrible
phantoms moved on, regardless of old Miss
Furnivall's wild entreaty,— and the uplifted
crutch fell on the right shoulder of the little
child, and the younger sister looked on, stony
and deadly serene. But at that moment, the
dim lights, and the fire that gave no heat,
went out of themselves, and Miss Furnivall
lay at our feet stricken down by the palsy

Yes! she was carried to her bed that night
never to rise again. She lay with her face to
the wall, muttering low but muttering alway:
"Alas! alas! what is done in youth can never
be undone in age! What is done in youth
can never be undone in age!"


ONCE on a time (as children's stories say),
A merchant came from countries far away
Back to his native land, bearing, conceal'd
In a small casket, diamonds that would yield
A sum sufficient to redeem a king
Taken by force in perilous combating.
This merchant in his trade had now grown old;
And all the chambers of his heart were cold,
And the pale ashes of the fires of youth
Lay on his soul, which knew not joy nor ruth:
But, at a bargain he was sharp and hard,
For cent, per cent, alone he had regard.
To swell his profits, or some mite to save,
He would have seen his children in their grave,
If children he had had; but, like a stone,
He seem'd all self-complete, and bloodless, and alone.
The love of money burnt in him like thirst:
His soul gaped for it, as, when earth is curs'd
With drouth, it gapes for water; and whene'er
He saw a merchant with an equal share,
He long'd to seize on all, by force or stealth,
Adding still more to his preposterous wealth.

Behold him, now, upon the salt sea strand!
Once more he treads upon his native land.
He knows the cliffs along the tawny beach;
He knows, far off, the winding river-reach:
He sees familiar sightshe hears familiar speech.
He stops. Perhaps from off his arid brain
The years have roll'd, and he is young again:
Perhaps, with an emotion strange and new,
The sense of home is on his heart like dew.—
Alas! not so. His only present sense
Is how to lodge to-night without expense.

He wander'd up into the little town;
And there by chance he heard of the renown
Of a great merchant-prince, who lived hard by
In royal pomp and liberality.
With these words carv'd above the open door:—
"Welcome to all men! Welcome, rich and poor!"
Thither that miser gladly turn'd his face,
And soon beheld, within a pleasant place
Beset with leaves that talk'd across the breeze,
White gleams of marble quivering through dark trees;
And, going nearer, saw rich walls arise,
With many windows, sparkling forth like eyes,
And sculptured figures, gazing from a height,
Like travelling angels pausing in their flight,
And colonnades in far-withdrawing rows,
And golden lamps in shadowy porticoes,
And terrace-walks upon the level roof,
Safe from intrusion, quiet, and aloof:—
Such was the palace which this merchant found.

From out the gates there came a restless sound
Of instruments of music; on light wings
Seeming to poise, and murmur of far things
In some divine and unknown tongue to all.
The sordid merchant pass'd into the hall,
And saw the master sitting at the board,
And cried aloud: "Oh, fair and princely lord!
Behold a ruin'd merchant at thy feet,
Who of thy bounty craves a little meat,
Lest Hunger fang him in the open ways.
Unto thy grace and charity he prays,
And bends him low."— The host rose up, and took
The merchant by the hand, with genial look,
And welcomed him with smiles and hearty speech,
And, with his own hand, meat and drink did reach.
And fed him nobly. But the miser's eye
Regarded all things avariciously;
And soon the splendours of that sun-bright house,—
Prodigal wealth, and riches marvellous,
The lucid gold, outshining everywhere,
The jewels, making star-rays through the air,—
Kindled a sudden hell-flame in his heart,
Bating his breath, making his blood to start,
And whisper'd in his brain a Devilish thing:
Even this: "When all the house is slumbering,
And eyes and ears, with fumes of feasting drenched,
Are sealed in sleep and every sense is quenched,
I will arise and seize on what I may,
And place it safely in the court till day;
And, that I may escape with all entire,
This princely house will I consume with fire,
And burn the phoenix in his spicy nest."

The feast being done, all rose to seek their rest;
And that old traitor, with his lips of fraud,
Said to the host: "Sweet sir! a spirit flawed
Has, by the oil and honey of your love,
Been rendered whole; and He who reigns above
Will, I doubt not, increase your righteous store
Perhaps this very night will crowd still more