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stone with a sand-glass, skull and cross-bones, chiselled not rudely, and a few words inscribed. The younger brother regarded the operation with a troubled eye, and said, loudly enough to be heard by several of the bystanders, “William, this was not kind in you; you should have told me of this. I loved my father as well as you could love him. You were the elder, and, it may be, the favorite son; but I had a right in nature to have joined you in ordering this head-stone, had I not ?"
During these words the stone was sinking into the earth, and many persons who were on their way from the grave returned. For a while the elder brother said nothing, for he had a consciousness in his heart that he ought to have consulted his father's son in designing this last becoming mark of affection and respect to his memory; so the stone was planted in silence, and now stood erect, decently and simply, among the other unostentatious memorials of the humble dead.
The inscription merely gave the name and age of the deceased, and told that the stone had been erected “by his affectionate sons. The sight of these words seemed to soften the displeasure of the angry man, and he said, somewhat more mildly, “Yes, we were his affectionate sons; and since my name is on the stone, I am satisfied, brother. We have not drawn together kindly of late years, and perhaps never may; but I acknowledge and respect your worth; and here, before our own friends and before the friends of our father, with my foot above his head, I express my willingness to be on other and better terms with you; and if we cannot command love in our hearts, let us, at least, brother, bar out all unkindness.”
The minister who had attended the funeral, and had something intrusted to him to say publicly before he left the churchyard, now came forward, and asked the elder brother why he spake not regarding this matter. He saw that there was something of a cold and sullen pride rising up in his heart, for not easily may any man hope to dismiss from the chamber of his heart even the vilest guest, if once cherished there. With a solemn, and almost severe air, he looked upon the relenting man, and then, changing his countenance into serenity, said gently
“Behold, how good a thing it is,
And how becoming well,
In unity to dwell !" The time, the place, and this beautiful expression of a natural sentiment, quite overcame a heart in which many kind, if not warm, affections dwelt; and the man thus appealed to bowed down his head and wept. “Give me your hand, brother;" and it was given, while a murmur of satisfaction arose from all present, and all hearts felt kindlier and more humanely towards each other.
As the brothers stood fervently, but composedly grasping each other's hand, in the little hollow that lay between the grave of their mother, long since dead, and of their father, whose shroud was haply not yet still from the fall of dust to dust, the minister stond beside them with a pleasant countenance, and said—“I must fulfil the promise I made to your father on his death-bed. I must read to you a few words which his hand wrote at an hour when his tongue denied its office. I must not say that you did your duty to your old father: for did he not often beseech you, apart from one another, to be reconciled, for your own sakes as Christians, for his sake, and for the sake of the mother who bare you, and, Stephen, who died that you might be born? When the palsy struck him for the last time, you were both absent; nor was it your fault that you were not beside the old man when he died.
“As long as sense continued with him here, did he think of you two, and of you two alone. Tears were in his eyes; I saw them there, and on his cheek too, when no breath came from his lips. But of this no more. He died with this paper in his hand; and he made me know that I was to read it to you over his grare. I now obey him.
you will let my bones lie quiet in the grave, near the dust of your mother, depart not from my burial till, in the name of God and Christ, you promise to love one another as you used to do. Dear boys, receive my blessing.'
Some turned their heads away to hide the tears that needed not to be hidden—and when the brothers had released each other from a long and sobbing embrace, many went up to them, and, in a single word or two, expressed their joy at this perfect reconcilement. The brothers themselves walked away from the churchyard, arm in arm, with the minister to the manse. On the following Sabbath, they were seen sitting with their families in the same pew, and it was observed that they read together off the same Bible when the minister gave out the text, and that they sang together, taking hold of the same psalm-book. The same psalm was sung, (given out at their own request,) of which one verse had been repeated at their father's grave; a larger sum than usual was on that Sabbath found in the plate for the poor, for Love and Charity are sisters. And ever after, both during the peace and the troubles of this life, the hearts of the brothers were as one, and in nothing were they divided.
A MORNING PICTURE.
She hath risen up from her morning prayer,
Lest the whisper should break the dream that smiled
'Tis a lonely glen! but the happy child
Is the heron asleep on the silvery sand
All close together in beauty and love,
Lays from Fairy Land.
THE MIDNIGHT OCEAN.
Calm as the cloudless heaven, the heaven discloses,
Far down within the watery sky reposes.
Like that of dreamer murmuring in his sleep;
Above the happy deep.
For the land it is far away ;
Should ever sport and play.
TO THE MEMORY OF THE REV. JAMES GRAHAME, THE POET
With tearless eyes and undisturbed heart,
With solemn features, half-creating awe,
How beautiful is genius when combined With holiness! Oh, how divinely sweet The tones of earthly harp, whose chords are touch'd By the soft hand of Piety, and hung Upon Religion's shrine, there vibrating With solemn music in the ear of God. And must the bard from sacred themes refrain ? Sweet were the hymns in patriarchal days, That, kneeling in the silence of his tent, Or on some moonlight hill, the shepherd pour'd Unto his heavenly Father. Strains survive Erst chanted to the lyre of Israel, More touching far than ever poet breathed Amid the Grecian isles, or later times Have heard in Albion, land of every lay.
Such glory, Grahame! thine: Thou didst despise To win the ear of this degenerate age By gorgeous epithets, all idly heap'd On theme of earthly state, or, idler still, By tinkling measures and unchasten'd lays, Warbled to pleasure and her siren-train, Profaning the best name of poesy. With loftier aspirations, and an aim More worthy man's immortal nature, Thou That holiest spirit that still loves to dwell In the upright heart and pure, at noon of night Didst fervently invoke, and, led by her Above the Aonian mount, send from the stars Of heaven such soul-subduing melody As Bethlehem-shepherds heard when Christ was born.
THE EVENING CLOUD-A SONNET.
A cloud lay cradled near the setting sun,
A gleam of crimson tinged its braided snow; Long had I watch'd the glory moving on,