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- Bitter-Sweet - 7/22 -

But, after all, we do not know the cause That stirs her fretfulness.

Well, let it go! What does the evening's talk amount to? Who Is wiser for the wisdom of the hour? The good old paths are good enough for me. The fathers walked to heaven in them, and we, By following mekly where they trod, may reach The home they found. There will be mysteries; Let those who like, bother their heads with them. If Ruth and David seek to fathom all, I wish them patience in their bootless quest. For one, I'm glad the misty talk is done, And we, alone.


And I.


I, too.


And I.


LOCALITY--_The cellar stair and the cellar_. PRESENT--DAVID _and_ RUTH.



Look where you step, or you'll stumble! Care for your coat, or you'll crock it! Down with your crown, man! Be humble! Put your head into your pocket, Else something or other will knock it. Don't hit that jar of cucumbers Standing an the broad-stair! They have not waked from their slumbers Since they stood there.


Yet they have lived in a constant jar! What remarkable sleepers they are!


Turn to the left--shun the wall-- One step more--that is all! Now we are safe on the ground, I will show you around.

Sixteen barrels of cider Ripening all in a row! Open the vent-channels wider! See the froth, drifted like snow. Blown by the tempest below! Those delectable juices Flowed through the sinuous sluices Of sweet springs under the orchard; Climbed into fountains that chained them; Dripped into cups that retained them, And swelled till they dropped, and we gained them. Then they were gathered and tortured By passage from hopper to vat, And fell-every apple crushed flat. Ah! how the bees gathered round them, And how delicious they found them! Oat-straw, as fragrant as clover, Was platted, and smoothly turned over, Weaving a neatly ribbed basket; And, as they built up the casket, In went the pulp by the scoop-full, Till the juice flowed by the stoup-full,-- Filling the half of a puncheon While the men swallowed their luncheon. Pure grew the stream with the stress Of the lever and screw, Till the last drops from the press Were as bright as the dew. There were these juices spilled; There were these barrels filled; Sixteen barrels of cider-- Ripening all in a row! Open the vent-channels wider! See the froth, drifted like snow, Blown by the tempest below!


Hearts, like apples, are hard and sour, Till crushed by Pain's resistless power; And yield their juices rich and bland To none but Sorrow's heavy hand. The purest streams of human love Flow naturally never, But gush by pressure from above With God's hand on the lever. The first are turbidest and meanest; The last are sweetest and serenest.


Sermon quite short for the text! What shall we hit upon next? Lift up the lid of that cask; See if the brine be abundant; Easy for me were the task To make it redundant With tears for my beautiful Zephyr-- Pet of the pasture and stall-- Whitest and comeliest heifer, Gentlest of all! Oh, it seemed cruel to slay her! But they insulted my prayer For her careless and innocent life, And the creature was brought to the knife With gratitude in her eye; For they patted her back, and chafed her head, And coaxed her with softest words, as they led Her up to the ring to die. Do you blame me for crying When my Zephyr was dying? I shut my room and my ears, And opened my heart and my tears, And wept for the half of a day; And I could not go To the rooms below Till the butcher went away.


Life evermore is fed by death, In earth and sea and sky; And, that a rose may breathe its breath, Something must die.

Earth is a sepulcher of flowers, Whose vitalizing mold Through boundless transmutation towers, In green and gold.

The oak tree, struggling with the blast, Devours its father tree, And sheds its leaves and drops its mast, That more may be.

The falcon preys upon the finch, The finch upon the fly, And nought will loose the hunger-pinch But death's wild cry.

The milk-haired heifer's life must pass That it may fill your own, As passed the sweet life of the grass She fed upon.

The power enslaved by yonder cask Shall many burdens bear; Shall nerve the toiler at his task, The soul at prayer.

From lowly woe springs lordly joy; From humbler good diviner; The greater life must aye destroy And drink the minor.

From hand to hand life's cup is passed Up Being's piled gradation, Till men to angels yield at last The rich collation.


Well, we are done with the brute; Now let us look at the fruit,-- Every barrel, I'm told, From grafts half a dozen years old. That is a barrel of russets; But we can hardly discuss its Spheres of frost and flint, Till, smitten by thoughts of Spring, And the old tree blossoming, Their bronze takes a yellower tint, And the pulp grows mellower in't. But oh! when they're sick with the savors Of sweets that they dream of, Sure, all the toothsomest flavors They hold the cream of! You will be begging in May,

Bitter-Sweet - 7/22

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