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Then she took up her burden of life again,
Saying only, “ It might have been.”

Alas for maiden, alas for judge,
For rich repiner and household drudge !

God pity them both ! and pity us all,
Who vainly the dreams of youth recall;

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these : It might have been !"

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Ah, well! for us all some sweet hope lies
Deeply buried from human eyes ;

And, in the hereafter, angels may
Roll the stone from its grave away!

JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER.

HANNAH BINDING SHOES.

POOR lone Hannah,
Sitting at the window, binding shoes !

Faded, wrinkled,
Sitting, stitching, in a mournful muse!

Bright-eyed beauty once was she,
When the bloom was on the tree :

Spring and winter
Hannah's at the window, binding shoes.

Not a neighbor
Passing nod or answer will refuse

To her whisper,

“ Is there from the fishers any news?”

Oh, her heart's adrift with one
On an endless voyage gone!

Night and morning
Hannah's at the window, binding shoes,

Fair young Hannah,
Ben, the sunburnt fisher, gayly woos;

Hale and clever,
For a willing heart and hand he sues.

May Day skies are all aglow,
And the waves are laughing so !

For her wedding
Hannah leaves her window, and her shoes.

May is passing: 'Mid the apple boughs a pigeon coos.

Hannah shudders,
For the mild south-wester mischief brews.

Round the rocks of Marblehead,
Outward bound, a schooner sped:

Silent, lonesome,
Hannah's at the window, binding shoes.

'Tis November.
Now no tears her wasted cheek bedews.

From Newfoundland
Not a sail returning will she lose,
Whispering hoarsely, “ Fisherman,
Have you, have you heard of Ben ?”

Old with watching,
Hannah's at the window, binding shoes.

Twenty winters
Wear and tear the ragged shore she views.

Twenty summers ;-
Never one has brought her any news.

Still her dim eyes silently
Chase the white sail o'er the sea :

Hapless, faithful,
Hannah's at the window, binding shoes.

LUCY LARCOM.

LANGLEY LANE.

In all the land, range up, range down,

Is there ever a place so pleasant and sweet
As Langley Lane in London town,

Just out of the bustle of square and street ?
Little white cottages all in a row,
Gardens where bachelors’-buttons grow,

Swallows' nests in roof and wall,
And up above, the still blue sky
Where the woolly-white clouds go sailing by,–

I seem to be able to see it all.

For now, in summer, I take my chair,

And sit outside in the sun, and hear The distant murmur of street and square,

And the swallows and sparrows chirping near ; And Fanny, who lives just over the way, Comes running many a time each day

With her little hand's touch so warm and kind ; And I smile and talk, with the sun on my cheek,

And the little live hand seems to stir and speak;

For Fanny is dumb and I am blind.

Fanny is sweet thirteen, and she

Has fine black ringlets and dark eyes clear,
And I am older by summers three,-

Why should we hold one another so dear?
Because she cannot utter a word,
Nor hear the music of bee or bird,

The water-cart's splash or the milkman's call !
Because I have never seen the sky,
Nor the little singers that hum and fly,-

Yet know she is gazing upon them all !

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For the sun is shining, the swallows fly,

The bees and the blue-flies murmur low,
And I hear the water-cart go by,

With its cool splash! splash! down the dusty row;
And the little one close at my side perceives
Mine eyes upraised to the cottage eaves,

Where birds are chirping in summer shine;
And I hear, though I cannot look, and she,
Though she cannot hear, can the singers see,-

And the little soft fingers flutter in mine.

Hath not the dear little hand a tongue,

When it stirs on my palm for the love of me? Do I not know she is pretty and young ?

Hath not my soul an eye to see ? 'Tis pleasure to make one's bosom stir, To wonder how things appear to her,

That I only hear as they pass around;
And as long as we sit in the music and light,
She is happy to keep God's sight,

And I am happy to keep God's sound.

Why, I know her face, though I am blind,

I made it of music long ago :
Strange large eyes, and dark hair twined

Round the pensive light of a brow of snow;
And when I sit by my little one,
And hold her hand and talk in the sun,

And hear the music that haunts the place,
I know she is raising her eyes to me,
And guessing how gentle my voice must be,

And seeing the music upon my face.

Though, if ever the Lord should grant me a prayer

(I know the fancy is only vain), I should pray, just once, when the weather is fair,

To see little Fanny and Langley Lane ;
Though Fanny, perhaps, would pray to hear
The voice of the friend that she holds so dear,
The
song

of the birds, the hum of the street,It is better to be as we have been,Each keeping up something, unheard, unseen,

To make God's heaven more strange and sweet.

Ah ! life is pleasant in Langley Lane!

There is always something sweet to hear,Chirping of birds or patter of rain,

And Fanny, my little one, always near.

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