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Looking away through the sea-mists
   Not at the stumbling feet,—
Are the tear-blind eyes of the wanderer
   When she and Pale Sorrow meet.

Her passion is mute in this presence,
   And low, with her lace on her hands,
Keeps she a vigil of silence
   Midst the wrecks on the storm-bent sands;
Till comes through the moonless darkness,
   Wraith-like, unheard, and slow,
With trailing: garments of mourning,
   Patience, with heavenward brow.

She rises up from her weeping,
   And looks o'er the sea again;
But night is low on the waters,
   And her eyes may watch in vain.
Onward, by Patience guided,
   Onward along the shore,
Leaving the wrecks unburied,
   Unburied for evermore.

Peace comes in the morning twilight,
   Strength comes in the later day,
And all these four together
   Press forward upon the way.
Not without bitter struggle
   Passes the noon-tide heat:
Turn'd back and check'd and baffled
   Oft are her weary feet.

Could she but sit and rest her
   One hour by the whitening wave,
And gather old dreams around her,
   'Tis all that her heart would crave:
But, no! she must work and suffer
   While the day is daylight still;
There is time for rest and idlesse
   In the grave beyond the hill.

Quicksand and ghastly breakers
   Are there on the forward-track:
"Go on," moans the tide advancing,
   "No lingering, no looking back!"'
Swifter, and ever swifter,
   Comes the roll of the mighty flood,
And the waves of dark Time sweep over
   The spot where late she stood.

A wide, black waste of water
   Strewn o'er with spar and mast,
The wrecks that the currents carry
   To the Present from the Past.
Across that heaving whirlpool
   She may look and look, again,
There is only mist and foaming,
   Thick cloud and driving rain.
Dead Hopes, lost Love, lost Happiness,
   Lie pale on the tempest sea
Seed sown in youth for a harvest
   That shall never gather'd be.

Forward, and ever forward,
   Skirting the haggard rocks,
Where no glimmer of golden sunshine
   The dull, grey silence mocks.
Footsore and lagging often,
   Weary both heart and brain
"Courage, faint heart, and forward!
   Such travail is not in vain."

The heat of the day is over,
   Twilight enshrouds the sky:
Gone back are the sullen waters,
   Leaving the footprints dry.

Some faint on the deep-ribb'd sea-sand
   In all their wandering maze,
When she and her heart went blindly
   Through long, long aching days:
Some clear as if cut in marble,
   Straight on the beaten strand;
Steady and true to their purpose,
   Guided by angel hand.

Sitting alone by my fire-side,
   Alone this October night,
Tracing a backward journey
   By memory's pale moonlight,
Looking through Life's long vista
   To its hours of golden sands,
And counting the years on my fingers
   Since my youth and I shook hands
Till bright in the far-off distance,
   Like sun in a pictured scene,
As I round the hills of autumns,
   The old spring-times are seen.



"LET me," said somebody who knew what
he was saying, "write the ballads of a people,
and he may write their history who will." If
the Czar of all the Russias would only allow
me to make his roads for him, the great problem
of the way out of barbarism in his empire
could be solved by a child. There is no such
civiliser as a good road. With an imperfect
highway disappear highwaymen, crawling
beggars, dirty inns and extortionate charges,
lazy habits, ignorance, and waste lands. Our
shops, our horses' legs, our boots, our hearts,
have all benefited by the introduction of
Macadam; and the eighteen modern improvements
mentioned by Sydney Smith can all be
traced, directly or indirectly, to the time when
it fortuitously occurred to the astute Scotchman
(Where are his Life and Times, in
twenty volumes?) to strew our path with
pulverised granite. I am convinced that our
American cousins would be much less
addicted to bowie-kniving, revolvering,
expectorating, gin-slinging, and cow-hiding the
members of their legislature, if they would
only substitute trim, level, hedge-lined
highways for the vile corduroy roads and railway
tracks thrown slovenly anyhow, like the
clothes of a drunken man, across prairies,
morasses, half- cleared forests, and dried-up
water-courses, by means of which they accomplish
their thousand-mile trips in search of
dollars. What a dreadful, though delightful
place was Paris when I knew it first!—foul
gutters rolling their mud-cataracts between
rows of palaces; suburban roads alternating
between dust-heaps and sloughs of despond;
and boulevards so badly paved, that the out-
patienced population were continually tearing
them up to make barricades with. There
have been no émeutes in Paris since boulevards
were macadamised. Much of the
ribbonism, landlord-stalking from behind
hedges, and Skibbereen starvation of Ireland,
may be attributed to the baleful roads of