Page:Pieces People Ask For.djvu/69

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59
THE READING-CLUB.

And, joined together, by magic gifted,
In stature perfect and motion free,
The trio, each with his mallet lifted,
Loud on the echoing gong struck three.
Clang! clang! clang! and the brazen hammers
Dropped, and lay where they lay before,
And the arms of the holders fell off their shoulders,
And their heads went rolling down to the floor,
And the little men tumbled, and cracked, and crumbled,
And vanished—as if to rise no more.

And as many as each hour's figure numbered,
So many men of that small brigade,
Whose members the marble floor encumbered,
Made themselves, and as soon unmade;
Till at noon rose all, and, each one swinging
His brazen sledge by its brazen helve,
Set all the rooms of the palace ringing
As their strokes on the silver gong told twelve.

Rajah Balpoora, Prince of Jullinder,
Died. But the great clock's tireless heart
Beat on; and still, in that hall of splendor,
The twelve little sextons played their part.
And the wise who entered the palace portal
Read in the wonder the lesson plain:—
Every human hour is a thing immortal,
And days but perish to rise again.
From the grave of every life we saddened,
Comes back the clamor of olden wrongs;
And our deeds that other souls have gladdened,
Ring from the past like angel songs.

Theron Brown.

THE DEACON'S RIDE.

On his cool back porch sat Deacon Brown, the richest and fattest man in town.
Before, behind, to left and right, showed meadows dotted with gold and white,
And grazing there in the pastures green, fifteen fine Jerseys as ever seen;