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Six Hundred and Fifty Selected Poems

Six Hundred and Fifty Selected Poems

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Excerpt from Six Hundred and Fifty Selected Poems: From the People's Home Journal and Good Literature

Christmas Bells.

Ring out in joy, oh, chiming bells,
For in your melody there dwells
The music glad of Christmas-tide
On every hearthstone far and wide,
And rosy lips with laughter sweet
The happy songs of life repeat -
Ring out in joy!

Ring out in hope, oh, chiming bells,
For your clear voice of patience tells
To waiting hearts whose promise yields
No golden fruit of harvest-fields,
Whose garnered grain of toiling hand
Lies heaped upon a barren land -
Ring out in hope!

Ring out in grief, oh, chiming bells,
For in your trembling echo dwells
To saddened hearts a thought of old,
A picture framed in memory's gold,
A vanished face beneath the snow,
A dream of life's sweet long ago -
Ring out in grief!

Ring out in cheer, oh, chiming bells,
For in your peals a promise dwells
To listening hearts that strive to hear
The future's voice of hope and cheer;
For love and joy will have their birth
As snowdrops spring from icy earth
Ring out in cheer!

Ring out in peace, oh, chiming bells,
For Christmas-tide a message tells
To eager souls that bravely wait,
And loyal hearts too strong for fate
To crush to earth; oh, listen then
'Tis "peace on earth, good will to men" -
Ring out in peace!

The Little White Hearse.

Somebody's baby was buried to-day -
The empty white hearse from the grave rumbled back,
And the morning, somehow, seemed less smiling and gay,
As I paused on the walk while it crossed on its way,
And a shadow seemed drawn o'er the suns golden track.

Somebody's baby was laid out to rest,
White as a snowdrop and fair to behold,
And the soft little hands were crossed over the breast,
And the bauds and the lips and the eyelids were pressed
With kisses as hot as the eyelids were cold.

Somebody saw it go out of her sight
Under the coffin-lid, out of the door,
Somebody finds only darkness and blight
All thro' the glory of summer sunlight -
Some one whose baby will waken no more.

Somebody's sorrow is making me weep.
I know not her name, but I echo her cry
For the dearly bought baby she longed so to keep,
The baby that rode to its long lasting sleep
In the little white hearse that went rumbling by.

I know not her name, but her sorrow I know.
While I paused on the crossing I lived it once more -
And back to my heart surged that river of woe
That but in the breast of a mother can flow -
For the little white hearse has been, too, at my door.

- Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

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