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The Weaver

Ziphen Central – Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

One morn when the sun peeped over the hills,
Where tinkled the music of flowing rills,
And the dew lay thick on leaf and flower,
And the soft breeze shook an odorous shower
From the trees, and the world was all abloom鈥
A weaver sat at his busy loom.
He saw the sky so pure and blue,
And the pale spring flowers wet with dew.
He heard, as he wove, the hum of bees;
He caught the scent of blossoming trees,
The babble of water borne on the air,
With song of bird so high and clear;
The brightness of every beautiful thing
He caught as he worked, and wove them in.
The sun grew warmer, the day wore on;
The weaver beguiled the time with song.
He sung of the deeds of heroic men
Who died for freedom in bog or fen,
And his arm grew strong; he smote the beam
With strength unknown to his boyish dream;
And into the web he wove his pride,
His hopes, and his joys, so multiplied
Till under his hand they burned and blazed,
And the weaver looked on all amazed.
He wove in the richest, gaudiest dyes鈥
Scarlet like the birds of paradise;
Blue, deep blue, like the vaulted sky;
Gold like the sunbeams glinting by;
Green like the leaves of the swaying trees;
But he lost the sound of the gentle breeze.
Better he liked the roaring blast,
Which bowed the forest as on it passed.
He heeded no longer the babble of brooks
Hid in the coolness of shady nooks.
The roar of the waterfall, music made鈥
He loved the noonday, and not the shade.
The day wore on. The weaver still
Struck the beam with force of arm and will;
But he wearied now of the flaming dyes,
Gold and purple and blue of the skies,
And scarlet like birds of paradise.
Now with the gold of the wheaten sheaf
He mingled the brown of the russet leaf;
And, withered and pallid among the green,
Full many a faded flower was seen;
And many a snarl and many a knot,
And many a rent and unsightly spot.
He heart the whip-poor-will鈥檚 plaintive cry,
The raven鈥檚 croak, and the lone dove鈥檚 sigh;
And strangely, with grief and sadness blent,
Came a joy that the day was almost spent.
The day was done. The loom was still;
The arm no longer obeyed the will.
From the nerveless hands the shuttle dropped;
The tired feet the treadles stopped;
And before the Master鈥檚 eyes unrolled,
Lay the long day鈥檚 work heaped fold on fold.

Jack's Keepsake

Ziphen Central – Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

A little story came to my ears the other day which was so full of pathos that I have a mind to write it for the children who read the Advocate; and I hope if such children were ever given to teasing, they will take a thought on the subject, and do so no more.

Once upon a time, as stories generally begin, there was a little boy whose name was Jack—at lest that was the name he went by. When he was a tiny infant his proud father had said: “Let us call him John. It is a good, old-fashioned name; good men have been called by it, kings have worn it; it is a Bible name—John.”

How easily and how naturally it became “Johnnie” to the loving mother, and what a comfort to her was “Johnnie” in the sad days of her widowhood which followed!

As Johnnie grew up, the neighbors and the boys on the street called him “Jack;” and when that dear mother died, poor Jack was left alone.

Shall I try to tell you how Jack struggled with the grief that rent his little heart, of the hunger which tore at his vitals, of the many straits he was in, of the many shifts he made for bread? He ran errands, blacked boots, sold papers, and did everything a poor, homeless, ragged lad could do to keep soul and body together; but there were many more such as Jack, and it seemed that in the race he would be left behind. Read More

The Hero

Ziphen Central – Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

鈥淲ho is the hero?鈥 The old soldier鈥檚 face
Lit with a flush, and gleamed his sunken eye,
鈥淭he hero is the man who does his duty,
And fears not to die.
Where rolls the drum and shrieks the shell,
And men press on where men have fell;
Where red blood from the bayonet streams,
Where whistling bullets cleave the air鈥
The hero is found there.鈥

鈥淲ho is the hero?鈥 The gallant tar,
Bronzed by long voyages the world around,
Gave answer: 鈥淥n the sinking ship
The hero may be found.
When inky blackness veils the face of heaven,
When upon hidden rocks the ship is driven,
When through the broken spars the roaring gale
Thunders, and men鈥檚 hearts within them fail鈥
No hope from land or sea or earth or sky鈥
There does the hero die.

鈥淲ho is the hero?鈥 The man of God,
Whose silver locks proclaim his many years,
Whose pen was dipped in inspiration鈥檚 fount,
Answers (his voice comes to our ears):
鈥淕reater than he who falls amid the battle鈥檚 din
Or scales the walls, conquering the foe within,
Or, lion-hearted, breasts the foaming wave,
Giving his life the feebler souls to save,
Is he who conquers his own sinful heart,
And, ruling it, acts the true hero鈥檚 part.鈥

Field Flowers

Ziphen Central 鈥 Seeking Wisdom and Sublimity

From Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander

A wheat field stretching in billowy greenness as far as the eye could reach, with a promise of grain in its swaying tops, and countless wild flowers crowding and pushing among its growing stems for a glimpse at the sun.

鈥淒o not crowd me so,鈥 said a wheat stalk, swelling with a sense of importance and rejoicing in an incipient head. 鈥淒o not crowd me; make way for your betters.鈥

The little purple flower drooped its head timidly at the rough tone, but, on second thought, raised its dewy face, and made answer: 鈥淚 am not crowding you, but I must have room to grow as well as you.鈥

鈥淲hy must you have room to grow?鈥 said the wheat stalk, querulously. 鈥淥f what use are you in the world, anyway?鈥

鈥淚 adorn it; I help to beautify it; I add my humble flowers to celebrate the coming of spring.鈥

鈥淔iddlesticks!鈥 said the wheat stalk, contemptuously. 鈥淵ou are of no use whatsoever. Read More

A Word of Cheer

This continues the series of poems and short stories taken from Ailenroc’s Book, by Cornelia Alexander.

鈥淎ll here?鈥 the anxious father cries,
And scans each frightened face
Turned, in mute terror, to the flames
That wrapt their dwelling place.
鈥淎ll here?鈥 he asks. The mother wakes
From her deep swoon to find
Her infant son鈥擮, torturing thought!鈥
Sleeping, was left behind.

鈥淲hat, ho!鈥 the chief shouts. 鈥淟adders up!
Though fierce the flames, and wild,
Some gallant soul will brave their wrath
To save that precious child.鈥
But, lo! he must give back;
A fiery wall of scorching flame
Flashes across the track.
Read More