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It echoes along the vacant hall,
Along the ceiling, along the floor,
And seems to say, at each chamber-door,-

"Forever-never !

Never-forever!'

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.

Through days of sorrow and of mirth,
Through days of death and days of birth,
Through every swift vicissitude
Of changeful time, unchanged it has stood,
And as if, like God, it all things saw,
It calmly repeats those words of awe, –

“Forevcr-never !

Never-forever ! "

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In that mansion used to be
Free-hearted Hospitality ;
Ilis great fires up the chimney roared ;
The stranger feasted at his board ;
But, like the skeleton at the feast,
That warning timepiece never ceased, -

"Forever-never !

Never-forever!"

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There groups of merry children played,
There youths and maidens dreaming strayed ;
O precious hours! O golden prime,
And affluence of love and time!
Even as a miser counts his gold,

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Those hours the ancient timepiece told,

"Forever-never !

Never-forever!”

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From that chamber, clothed in white,
The bride came forth on her wedding night;
There, in that silent room below,
The dead lay in his shroud of snow;
And in the hush that followed the prayer,
Was heard the old clock on the stair, —

“Forever-never !

Never-forever!”

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All are scattered now and fled,
Some are married, some are dead;

And when I ask, with throbs of pain,
"Ah! when shall they all meet again ? ”

As in the days long since gone by,
The ancient timepiece makes reply,

"Forever-never !

Never-forever!"

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Never here, forever there,
Where all parting, pain, and care,
And death, and time shall disappear,-
For ever there, but never here!
The horologe of Eternity
Sayeth this incessantly,

"Forever-never !

Never-forever!”

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THE FIRE OF DRIFT-WOOD,

DEVEREUX FARM, NEAR MARBLEHEAD.

We sat within the farm-house old,

Whose windows, looking o'er the bay, Gave to the sea-breeze, damp and cold,

An easy entrance, night and day.

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Not far away we saw the port,

The strange, old-fashioned, silent town, The lighthouse, the dismantled fort,

The wooden houses, quaint and brown.

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We sat and talked until the night,

Descending, filled the little room; Our faces faded from the sight,

Our voices only broke the gloom.

We spake of many a vanished scene,

Of what we once had thought and said, Of what had been, and might have been,

And who was changed, and who was dead;

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And all that fills the hearts of friends,

When first they feel, with secret pain, Their lives thenceforth have separate ends,

And never can be one again ;

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The first slight swerving of heart,

That words are powerless to express,

And leave it still unsaid in part,

Or say it in too great excess.

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The very tones in which we spake

Had something strange, I could but mark; The leaves of memory seemed to make

A mournful rustling in the dark.

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Oft died the words upon our lips,

As suddenly, from out the fire Built of the wreck of stranded ships,

The flames would leap and then expire.

And, as their splendor flashed and failed,

We thought of wrecks upon the main, Of ships dismasted, that were hailed

And sent no answer back again.

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The windows, rattling in their frames,

The ocean, roaring up the beach, The gusty blast, the bickering flames,

All mingled vaguely in our speech ;

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Until they made themselves a part

Of fancies floating through the brain, The long-lost ventures of the heart,

That send no answers back again.

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O flames that glowed ! O hearts that yearned !

They were indeed too much akin,
The drift-wood fire without that burned,

The thoughts that burned and glowed within.

RESIGNATION.

THERE is no flock, however watched and tended,

But one dead lamb is there!
There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended,

But has one vacant chair !

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The air is full of farewells to the dying,

And mournings for the dead;
The heart of Rachel, for her children crying,

Will not be comforted !

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Let us be patient! These severe afflictions

Not from the ground arise,
But oftentimes celestial benedictions

Assume this dark disguise.

We see but dimly through the mists and vapors;

Amid these earthly damps
What seem to us but sad, funereal tapers

May be heaven's distant lamps.

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There is no Death! What seems so is transition;

This life of mortal breath
Is but a suburb of the life elysian,

Whose portal we call Death.

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