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"There is no home like the home of our infancy, no remembrances like those of our youth; the old trees whose topmost boughs we have climbed, the hedge containing that prize a bird's nest, the fairy tale we heard by the fireside, are things of deep and serious in maturity. The heart, crushed or hardened by its intercourse with the world, turns with affectionate delight to its early dreams. How I pity those whose childhood has been unhappy! to them one of the sweetest springs of feeling has been utterly denied, the most green and beautiful part of life laid waste. But to those whose spring has been what spring should ever be, fresh, buoyang, and gladsome, whose cup has not been poisoned at the first draught, how delicious is recollection! they truly know the pleasures of memory."


There is not

A valley of more quiet happiness,

Bosomed in greener trees, or with a river

Clearer than thine, Gladesmuir! There are huge hills

Like barriers by thy side, where the tall pine

Stands stately as a warrior in his prime,

Mixed with low gnarled oaks, whose yellow leaves

Are bound with ruby tendrils, emerald shoots,

And the wild blossoms of the honeysuckle;

And even more impervious grows the brier,

Covered with thorns and roses, mingled like

Pleasures and pains, but shedding richly forth

Ist [sic] fragrance on the air; and by its side

The wilding broom as sweet, which gracefully

Flings its long tresses like a maiden's hair

Waving in yellow beauty. The red deer

Crouches in safety in its secret lair;

The sapphire, bird's-eye, and blue violets

Mix with white daisies in the grass beneath;

And in the boughs above the woodlark builds,

And makes sweet music to the morning; while

All day the stock-dove's melancholy notes

Wail plaintively--the only sounds beside

The hum of the wild bees around some trunk

Of an old moss-clad oak, in which is reared

Their honey palace. Where the forest ends,

Stretched a wide brown heath, till the blue sky

Becomes its boundary; there the only growth

Are straggling thickets of the white-flowered thorn

And yellow furze: beyond are the grass-fields,

And of yet fresher verdure the young wheat;--

These border round the village. The bright river

Bounds like an arrow by, buoyant as youth

Rejoicing in its strength. On the left side,

Half hidden by the aged trees that time

Has spared as honouring their sanctity,

The old grey church is seen: its mossy walls

And ivy-covered windows tell how long

It has been sacred. There is a lone path

Winding beside yon hill: no neigb'ring height

Commands so wide a view; the ancient spire,

The cottages, their gardens, and the heath,

Spread far beyond, are in the prospect seen

By glimpses as the greenwood screen gives way.

One is now tracing it, who gazes round

As each look were his last. The anxious gasp

That drinks the air as every breath brought health;

The hurried step, yet lingering at times,

As fearful all it felt were but a dream--

How much they tell of deep and inward feeling!

That stranger is worn down with toil and pain,

His sinewy frame is wasted, and his brow

Is darkened with long suffering; yet he is

Oh more than happy!--he has reached his home,

And Ronald is a wanderer no more.

How often in that fair romantic land

Where he had been a soldier, he had turned

From the rich groves of Spain, to think upon

The oak and pine; turned from the spicy air,

To sicken for his own fresh mountain-breeze;

And loved the night, for then familiar things,

The moon and stars, were visible, and looked

As they had always done, and shed sweet tears

To think that he might see them shine again

Over his own Gladesmuir! That silver moon,

In all her perfect beauty, is now rising;

The purple billows of the west have yet

A shadowy glory; all beside is calm,

And tender and serene--a quiet light,

Which suited well the melancholy joy

Of Ronald's heart. As every step the light

Played o'er some old remembrance; now the ray

Dimpled the crystal river; now the church

Had all its windows glittering from beneath

The curtaining ivy. Near and more near he drew--

His heart beat quick, for the next step will be

Upon his father's threshold! But he paused--

He heard a sweet and sacred sound--they joined

In the accustomed psalm, and then they said

The words of God, and, last of all, a prayer

More solemn and more touching. He could hear

Low sobs as it was uttered. They did pray

His safety, his return, his happiness;

And ere they ended he was in their arms!

The wind rose up, and o'er the calm blue sky

The tempest gathered, and the heavy rain

Beat on the casement; but they press'd them round

The blazing hearth, and sat while Ronald spoke

Of the fierce battle; and all answered him

With wonder, and with telling how they wept

During his absence, how they numbered o'er

The days for his return. Thrice hallowed shrine

Of the heart's intercourse, our own fireside!

I do remember in my early youth

I parted from its circle; how I pined

With happy recollections--they to me

Were sickness and deep sorrow; how I thought

Of the strange tale, the laugh, the gentle smile

Breathing of love, that wiled the night away

The hour of absence past, I was again

With those who loved me. What a beauty dwelt

In each accustomed face! what music hung

On each familiar voice! We circled in

Our meeting ring of happiness. If e'er

This life has bliss, I knew and felt it then!


But there was one Ronald remembered not,

Yet 'twas a creature beautiful as Hope,

With eyes blue as the harebell when the dew

Sparkles upon its azure leaves; a cheek

Fresh as a mountain-rose, but delicate

As rainbow colors, and as changeful too.

"The orphan Ellen, have you then forgot

"Your laughing playmate?" Ronald would have


The maiden to his heart, but she shrank back:

A crimson blush and tearful lids belied

Her light tone, as she bade him not forget

So soon his former friends. But the next morn

Were other tears than those sweet ones that come

Of the full heart's o'erflowings. He was given,

The loved, the wanderer, to their prayers at last;

But he was now so changed, there was no trace

Left of his former self; the glow of health,

Of youth, was gone, and in his sallow cheek

And faded eye decay sat visible;--

All felt that he was sinking to the grave.

He wandered like a ghost around; would lean,

For hours, and watch the river; or would lie

Beneath some aged tree, and hear the birds

Singing so cheerfully; and with faint step

Would sometimes try the mountain side. He loved

To look upon the setting sun, and mark

The twilight's dim approach. He said he was

Most happy that all through his life one wish

Had still been present on his soul--the wish

That he might breathe his native air again;--

That prayer was granted, for he died at home.


One wept for him when other eyes were dry,

Treasured his name in silence and in teras,

Till her young heart's impassioned solitude

Was filled but with his image. She had soothed

And watched his last few hours--but he was gone!

The grave to her was now the goal of hope:

She pass'd, but gently as the rose-leaves fall

Scattered by the spring gales. Two months had fled

Since Ronald died; they threw the summer flowers

Upon his sod, and ere those leaves were tinged

With autumn's yellow colours, they were twined

For the poor Ellen's death-wreaths! . . .

They made her grave by Ronald's.