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Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

The Mother’s Visit

LONG years ago she visited my chamber,
Steps soft and slow, a taper in her hand;
Her fond kiss she laid upon my eyelids,
Fair as an angel from the unknown land:
Mother, mother, is it thou I see?
Mother, mother, watching over me.

And yesternight I saw her cross my chamber,
Soundless as light, a palm-branch in her hand;
Her mild eyes she bent upon my anguish,
Calm as an angel from the blessed land;
Mother, mother, is it thou I see?
Mother, mother, art thou come for me?

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Outward Bound

OUT upon the unknown deep,
Where the unheard oceans sound,
Where the unseen islands sleep,--
Outward bound.
Following towards the silent west
O'er the horizon's curved rim,--
Or to islands of the blest,
--He with me and I with him--
Outward bound.

Nothing but a speck we seem
In the waste of waters round,
Floating, floating like a dream,--
Outward bound.
But within that tiny speck
Two brave hearts with one accord
Past all tumult, grief, and wreck,
Look up calm,--and praise the Lord,--
Outward bound.

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The Mill

WINDING and grinding
Round goes the mill:
Winding and grinding
Should never stand still.
Ask not if neighbor
Grind great or small:
Spare not your labor,
Grind your wheat all.
Winding and grinding round goes the mill:
Winding and grinding should never stand still.

Winding and grinding
Work through the day,
Grief never minding--
Grind it away!
What though tears dropping
Rust as they fall?
Have no wheel stopping--
Work comforts all.
Winding and grinding round goes the mill:

[...] Read more

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My Love Annie

SOFT of voice and light of hand
As the fairest in the land--
Who can rightly understand
My love Annie?

Simple in her thoughts and ways,
True in every word she says,--
Who shall even dare to praise
My love Annie?

Midst a naughty world and rude
Never in ungentle mood;
Never tired of being good--
My love Annie.

Hundreds of the wise and great
Might o'erlook her meek estate;
But on her good angels wait,
My love Annie.

[...] Read more

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One Summer Morning

IT is but a little while ago:
The elm-leaves have scarcely begun to drop away;
The sunbeams strike the elm-trunk just where they struck that day--
Yet all seems to have happened long ago.

And the year rolleth round, slow, slow:
Autumn will fade to winter and winter melt in spring,
New life return again to every living thing.
Soon, this will have happened long ago.

The bonnie wee flowers will blow;
The trees will re-clothe themselves, the birds sing out amain,--
But never, never, never will the world look again
As it looked before this happened--long ago!

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Now And Afterwards

TWO hands upon the breast,
And labor's done;
Two pale feet crossed in rest--
The race is won;
Two eyes with coin-weights shut,
And all tears cease;
Two lips where grief is mute,
Anger at peace':--
So pray we oftentimes, mourning our lot
God in his kindness answereth not.

'Two hands to work addrest
Aye for His praise;
Two feet that never rest
Walking His ways;
Two eyes that look above
Through all their tears;
Two lips still breathing love,
Not wrath, nor fear';
So pray we afterwards, low on our knees;

[...] Read more

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The Unknown Country

WHERE is the unknown country?'
I whispered sad and slow,--
'The strange and awful country
To which I soon must go, must go,
To which I soon must go?'

Out of the unknown country
A voice sang soft and low:--
'O pleasant is that country
And sweet it is to go, to go,
And sweet it is to go.

'Along the shining country
The peaceful rivers flow:
And in that wondrous country
The tree of life does grow, does grow,
The tree of life does grow.'

Ah, then into that country
Of which I nothing know,

[...] Read more

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Sunday Morning Bells

FROM the near city comes the clang of bells:
Their hundred jarring diverse tones combine
In one faint misty harmony, as fine
As the soft note yon winter robin swells.--
What if to Thee in Thine Infinity
These multiform and many-colored creeds
Seem but the robe man wraps as masquers' weeds
Round the one living truth Thou givest him--Thee?
What if these varied forms that worship prove,
Being heart-worship, reach Thy perfect ear
But as a monotone, complete and clear,
Of which the music is, through Christ's name, Love?
Forever rising in sublime increase
To 'Glory in the Highest,--on earth peace?'

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A Word In Season

THIS is a day the Lord hath made.'--Thus spake
The good religious heart, unstained, unworn,
Watching the golden glory of the morn.--
Since, on each happy day that came to break
Like sunlight o'er this silent life of mine,
Yea, on each beauteous morning I saw shine,
I have remembered these your words, rejoiced
And been glad in it. So, o'er many-voiced
Tumultuous harmonies of tropic seas,
Which chant an everlasting farewell grand
Between ourselves and you and the old land,
Receive this token: many words chance-sown
May oftentimes have taken root and grown,
To bear food fruit perennially, like these.

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Beatrice To Dante

REGARD me well: I am thy love, thy love;
Thy blessing, thy delight, thy hope, thy peace:
Thy joy above all joys that break and cease
When their full waves in widest circles move:
Thy bird of comfort, thine eternal dove,
Whom thou didst send out of thy mournful breast
To flutter back and point thee to thy rest:
Thine angel, who forgets her crown star-wove
To come to thee with folded woman-hands
Pleading,--'look on me, Beatrice, who stands
Before thee; by the Triune Light divine
Undazzled, still beholds thy human face,
And is more happy in this happy place
That thou alone art hers and she is thine.'

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