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There are visions of conquests, of splendor, and mirth

Floating over each drear winter's day,

But the tintings of hope, on this storm-beaten earth, Will melt, like the snowflakes, away;

Turn, turn thee to heaven, fair maiden, for bliss ; That world has a pure fount ne'er opened in this.

"It snows!" cries the widow, "Oh, God!" and her sighs

Have stifled the voice of her prayer;

Its burden ye'll read in her tear-swollen eyes, On her cheek sunk with fasting and care. 'Tis night, and her fatherless ask her for bread; But, "He gives the young ravens their food," And she trusts, till her dark hearth adds horror to dread,

And she lays on her last chip of wood.

Poor sufferer! that sorrow thy God only knows, 'Tis a most bitter lot to be poor when it snows!

-MRS. S. J. HALE.

20. FROST-WORK.

A little one sought me this morning,
Her blue eyes shining bright,
While over her cheeks the dimples
Were playing in changeful light.

"Come, come to my room," she whispered; "A curious thing is there;

A painter has been at work all night
In the cold and shivering air.

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And a forest of old and stately trees,
With branches that touch the sky.

"He has made both towers and temples,
And all kinds of curious things;
You might fancy some were angels,
With their grand and shining wings.

"They are all on my window painted,
The strange and beautiful things!
And the morning sun above them
A rainbow beauty flings."

I went with the little prattler,
The mystical work to see;
And glorious in the shining sun
Was the delicate tracery.

For, all night long, the artist
Had silently wrought away,

And only put by his pencil
At the coming in of day;

Softly and stealthily toiling,
By the holy light of the stars,
And the light that streams like a glory
From heaven's crystal bars.

He had gone, as he came, in silence;
But his work was left behind,

Like a friend who sends his favors
By night to the good and the kind.

How often the silent seeker
For better things above,
Finds more than angel beauty
In the Saviour's grace and love!

And when lip and brow have faded
In the dust and gloom of death,
Their memories come to the living
Evangels of love and faith.

Oh! teach me, beautiful frost-work,
Another lesson in life:

The web that is woven by night-time

In the morning with gems may be rife.

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21. THE FRINGED GENTIAN.

In the late days of September and the early days of October, when the sumachs are reddening and the oaks are feeling the touch of frost, when the gleaming light and life of summer have given place to the soft haze and dreamy stillness of autumn, along the borders of meadow brooks or swampy lowlands, expanding in the warm sunlight of midday, the flower-seeker may find a blossom

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bright with autumn dew

And colored with the heaven's own blue,"

the fringed gentian the Lucy flower or flower of light, the flower which Miss Bartlett declares "was never yet sung or painted sweetly enough."

Near it still linger the blazing golden-rod and starry asters, the curious turtle-head and the slender, pink gerardia; but the quiet blue of this flower harmonizes more truly with the soft lights and sombre shadows of advancing autumn.

From New England to Kentucky, in most lowlands it is found, yet not all know the beauty of this lovely child of autumn.

Let us peep into those deep flower-cups

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Helen Whitman has given us a very beautiful as well as interesting and instructive picture of the flower visited by the bee,

"Upon those soft-fringed lids the bee sits brooding
Like a fond lover, loth to say farewell,

Or with shut wing through silken folds intruding
Creeps near her heart his drowsy tale to tell.”

This flower has interesting kindred in the curious closed gentian, the famous Alpine gentian blossoming on the snow-line of the Alps, and the brilliant cultivated species.

The blue fringed gentian is a favorite with artists and poets; Ruskin, Bryant, Whittier, Bayard Taylor, and Helen Hunt Jackson are among those who have written of it. Its name perpetuates the memory of Gentius, a king of Illyria, who seventeen hundred years ago prized the tonic derived from the root.

But of all the tributes offered to this flower, that by William Cullen Bryant is the finest. He sees in the courageous little blossom, boldly, mid "frosts and shortening days," lifting its cup serenely to the sky, a type of human steadfastness and courage, and says:

"I would that thus, when I shall see
The hour of death draw near to me,
Hope, blossoming within my heart,
May look to heaven as I depart."

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