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He preached but little, argued less;
But if a moll was in distress,
Or if a kitchen came to grief,
Or trouble tackled rogue or thief,
There Father John was sure to be
To blunt the edge o' misery;
And somehow managed every time
To ease despair or lessen crime.
That corner house was allus known
Around these parts as Podger's Own,
Till two pams in a drunken fight
Set the whole thing afire one night;
And where it stood they hypered round
And blasted rocks and shoveled ground
To build the factory over there,-
The one you see ; and that is where
Poor Father John-God give him rest |-
Preached his last sermon and his best.
One summer's day the thing was done;
The workmen set a blast and run.
They ain't so keerful here, I guess,
Where lives ain't worth a cent apiece,
As in the wards where things is dear,
And nothink ain't so cheap as here;
Least wise, the first they seed or knowed
A little chick had crossed the road.
He seemed to be just out o’ bed,
Bare-legged, with nothink on his head;
Chubby and cunnin', with his hair
Blown criss-cross by the mornin' air;
Draggin' a tin horse by a string,
Without much care for anything,
A-talkin' to hisself for joy-
A toddlin', keerless, baby boy.
Right for the crawlin' fuse he went,
As though to find out what it meant;
Trudgin' towards the fatal spot,
Till less 'n three feet off he got
From where the murderin' thing lay stille
Just waitin' for to spring and kill;
Marching along toward his grave,
And not a soul darcu go to save.
They hollered-all they durst to do;
He turned and laughed, and then bent low
To set the horsey on his feet,
And went right on a crowin'sweet.
And then a death-like silence
On all the tremblin', coward crew,
As each swift second seemed the last
Before the roaring of the blast.
Just then some chance or purpose brought
The priest; he saw, and quick as thought
He ran and caught the child and turned
Just as the slumberin' powder burned,
And shot the shattered rocks around,
And with its thunder shook the ground.
The child was sheltered ; Father John
Was hurt to death; without a groan
He set the baby down, then went
A step or two, but life was spent;
He tottered, looked up to the skies
With ashen face, but strange, glad eyes.
“My love, I come !" was all he said,
Sank slowly down, and so was dead.
Stranger, he left a memory here
That will be felt for many a year,
And since that day this ward has been
More human in its dens of sin.
The royal feast was done; the king
Sought some new sport to banish care, And to his jester cried : Sir Fool,
Kneel now, and make for us a prayer!” The jester doffed his cap and bells,
And stood the mocking court before:
They could not see the bitter smile
Behind the patient grin he wore.
He bowed his head, and bent his knee
Upon the monarch's silken stool;
His pleading voice arose :
“O Lord, Be merciful to me, a fool!
"No pity, Lord, could change the heart
From red with wrong to white as wool;
The rod must heal the sin; but, Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool!
« 'Tis not by guilt the onward sweep
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
'Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.
“These clumsy feet still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart-strings of a friend.
“The ill-timed truth we might have kept, -
Who knows how sharp it pierced and stung?
The word we had not sense to say, -
Who knows how grandly it had rung?
“Our faults no tenderness should ask,
The chastening stripe must cleanse them all >
But for our blunders,—oh, in shame
Before the eyes of Heaven we fall.
“Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will; but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool !"
The room was hushed; in silence rose
The king, and sought his garden cool,
And walked apart, and murmured low:
“Be merciful to me, a fool!"
- Atlantic Monthly.
THE CYNIC.-H. W. BEECHER.
The Cynic is one who never sees a good quality in a man. and never fails to see a bad one. He is the human owl, vigilant in darkness and blind to light, mousing for vermin, and never seeing noble game.
The Cynic puts all human actions into only two classesopenly bad, and secretly bad. All virtue, and generosity, and disinterestedness, are merely the appearance of good, but selfish at the bottom. He holds that no man does a good thing except for profit. The effect of his conversation
upon your feelings is to chill and sear them; to send you away sour and morose.
His criticisms and innuendoes fall indiscriminately upon every lovely thing, like frost upon the flowers. If Mr. A. is pronounced a religious man, he will reply: yes, on Sundays. Mr. B. has just joined the church : certainly; the elections are coming on. The minister of the gospel is called an example of diligence: it is his trade. Such a man is generous: of other men's money. This man is obliging: to lull suspicion and cheat you. That man is upright: because he is green. Thus his
eye strains out every good quality, and takes in only the bad. To him religion is hypocrisy, honesty a preparation for fraud, virtue only a want of opportunity, and undeniable purity, asceticism. The livelong day he will coolly sit with sneering lip, transfixing every character that is presented.
It is impossible to indulge in such habitual severity of opinion upon our fellow-men, without injuring the tenderness and delicacy of our own feelings. A man will be what his most cherished feelings are. If he encourage a noble generosity, every feeling will be enriched by it; if he nurse bitter and envenomed thoughts, his own spirit will absorb the poison, and he will crawl among men as a burnished adder, whose life is mischief, and whose errand is death.
He who hunts for flowers will find fowers; and he who loves weeds may find weeds.
Let it be remembered that no man, who is not himself morally diseased, will have a relish for disease in others. Reject, then, the morbid ambition of the Cynic, or cease to call yourself a man.
Beauty may be the path to nighest good,
And some successfully have it pursued.
Thou, who wouldst follow, be well warned to see
That way prove not a curved road to thee.
The straightest way, perhaps, which may be sought,
Lies through the great highway men call / ought.
CAPTAIN REECE OF THE MANTLEPIECE
W. S. GILBERT.
Of all the ships upon the blue,
No ship contained a better crew
Than that of worthy Captain Reece,
Commanding of the Mantlepiece.
He was adored by all his men,
For worthy Captain Reece, R. N.,*
Did all that lay within him to
Promote the comfort of his crew.
If ever they were dull or sad,
The captain danced to them like mad,
Or told, to make the time pass by,
Droll legends of his infancy.
A feather bed had every man,
Warm slippers and hot-water can,
Brown Windsor from the captain's store,
A valet, too, to every four.
Did they with thirst in summer burn,
Lo! seltzogenes at every turn;
And on all very sultry days
Cream-ices handed round on trays.
Then currant wine and ginger-pops
Stood handily on all the tops;
And, also, with amusement rife,
A“ Zoetrope, or wheel of life.”
New volumes came across the son
From Mister Mudie's libraree;
The Times and Saturday Review
Beguiled the leisure of the crew.
Kind-hearted Captain Reece, R. N.,
Was quite devoted to his men;
In point of fact, good Captain Reece
Beatified the Mantlepiece.
One summer eve, at half-past ten,
He said (addressing all his men):
“Come, tell me, please, what I can do
To please and gratify my crew. * Royal Navy.