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To hear again such music sung
My mother's cheek turned somewhat red
And said her voice had lost its power,
And she was in her autumn bower; The water of a spring-time brook
Makes plenteous music through the land, But surely 'twas an idle look
Which sought it in October's sand; Her harp, too, since that night of pain Had never known its chords again.
But still within her secret breast
By Winter, could not be o'er nice,--
Nor note its chill of autumn ice :
And thus, to please an old man's whim, With folded hands, she sang to him.
When sailed our swift eagle
O’er valley and highland,
Fled back to his island, -
His pride and devotion.
Is lit on our banner.
The port-shadows under;
Let naught break agunder.
The impotent taunt let
Go by,--the wind brings it;
No matter who flings it.
Ne'er hearken his story,
For Freedom and Glory.
"Nay, never say," the old man cried, “ Your voice is like a brooklet dried; But rather say 'tis filled again, O'erflowing with the autumn rain.
It carries me back, both brain and heart,
As if a gale swept o'er the scroll;
I see the storied past unroll; And now, methinks, I may impart
Something of Nora and the child.
My memory is a restive colt,
Stubborn at times, contrary, wild, At the wrong moment apt to bolt;
But wine upon an old man's lip,
Then laughed he his accustomed laugh,
That shook the glasses on the board, And, with a long and breathless quaff,
The wine across his lip was poured: The goblet dropt from out his hold,
And crashed to fragments on the floor; Slow sank his chin, slow drooped his lid, His heavy hands beside him slid;
He slept,-ay, slept,—but breathed no more, And left the story still untold.
As when some monarch of the trees,
Which held so long defiant state Against the lightning and the gale,
O'erborne at last by its own weight, While laughing in the passing breeze,
Falls prone in the astonished vale, So fell our grand old Hercules.