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A DREAM.

Now-A-DAYS it is almost too much to ask from any one, to expect him to believe in there being a meaning or an allegory in an actual dream. We have given our dreams to be the annual subject for Talking Societies, and we hold the conglomeration of discordant elements in a dream to be the mere fantasies of an unstrung brain. Yet the same people would readily admit that the thoughts lately dwelt on by the mind give the colouring to the picture, which fancy paints in dreams; and we may at least say that truths which have been thought on in the day-time may be set forth in more prominent colours by the imagination, in our sleep. We felt this preamble necessary, before bringing forward a dream, that befell one of our contributors; the outline of the dream is real, and the allegory that it seems to contain, we will leave to our readers to study. A sensation of weariness, as after a long and unsuccessful search : the mind the while loaded with a full burden of anxiety: an undefined sort of uncertainty, who or what were the objects that surrounded me; such was my dream. Then with a sudden thrill, I stood before a large case of wood; and I felt, I knew not why, that within that case was hidden a human body-murdered, and therefore thus hidden from the light; which body, it now seemed, had been the object of my search. A pause, and then the hammer began to do its work, and the first chamber was opened. Nothing there; again the crash of the splitting wood, and then I saw the torn shreds, such as we have read have often led the officers of justice in the pursuit of guilt. I needed not this evidence that my track was right:

the third partition fell, and the instrument of death lay before me; then with a sinking heart I struck again. And

; there, real and ghostly at the first, and then crumbling away before my eyes, lay the body. Scarce had the light of day broken in upon the long hidden crime, than the evidence of man's guilt shrunk away from the gaze of man. I felt relief, that the guilt which I had tracked to its root, dare not meet the revengeful eye of man; when from the crumbling dust, there seemed to be born a child, a child of weird face and sinister eye, hair matted and stiff, all unchildlike; while its long thin arms stretched out, like as one has seen the griping claws of a sea anemone, extended in readiness to seize its prey, and drag it down into its vortex. And what had I done? why must I be urged against my will to take up that child, to bear it in my arms? why should its charmed glance be ever fixed on mine, its clammy arms be round my neck, its nails, talons, claws, press on my flesh? These and a thousand other thoughts fled through my brain, as I felt forced to nurse, to fondle the hideous bairn; and then methought I was all alone, doomed to bear this child,-child sprung from human guilt, born from that putrefying monument of human sin; and I struggled, strove to throw it off; and then came an evil veil over my mind, and all things right seemed foolish and fantastic; and the vile, the horrid seemed the course alone of happiness and wisdom. And as every worst impulse seized me, the child seemed to smile on me with its impish, cunning smile, that spoke whole volumes of delight and malice; and then I strove again, and all for nought; its arms clung tighter and tighter to me,-I alone could do nothing, and there was none to help; and I said, “Man, how canst thou hope to stop the impulse of thy

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soul? Why shouldest thou be able to fight against evil ? thou alone hast the child of sin ; yield, yield, thou canst not stand alone ? And the wicked and the vile came over me again, with new and more powerful force, and my inmost soul was waked up to stem the torrent of the bad; but it swept over all the pure and good, like the overflown sewerage of some mighty city; I seemed to be swept on with the child, its iron grasp griped my arm, I could no more, I rushed madly on, and I was awake. The sunbeams were just breaking into the room, and the light of day given back to man, told that man was not alone,-the dream was gone.

AGE AND CHILDHOOD.

It was a grandsire old and grey,

And a fairy child of three,
Who sate apart, nor joined the play,

She sate upon his knee.
See, grandpapa, she said, we two

Alone are set aside;
But I will do as others do

Another Christmas-tide.
Nay, wish not years, the old man said,

And stroked her face and smiled,
For I would give my hoary head

Once more to be a child,
Thou wilt not feel, when thou art old,

The heavens to lie so near :
Nor in the stars of night behold

God's glory shine so clear.

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Thou ne'er wilt find the flowers so sweet,

The butterflies so gay,
· Nor think a paradise to meet

In every breath of May. .
And though the nightingale to thee

Her hidden note prolong,
It will no longer seem to be

A glorious angel's song.
All, all will change : unclothed and bare

The naked truth remain :
Each morning be a birth to care,

Each night a rest from pain.
Then wish not years, my darling child,

Nor look beyond to-morrow :
Life is a stream whose course is wild,

Its eddies stained with sorrow.

We

But, grandpapa, she said, Are not

You happy in your years ?
I do not see what you have got

To cause you any tears.
We love you, and we wait on you,
bless
your

silver hair :
And you have nothing now to do

But sit your easy chair.
O, happy in thine ignorance !

The old man said at length:
Yet wilt thou need, with life's advance,

Far other greater strength!
'Tis hard a perfect rose to find

Its petals once unfurled :
But harder still to keep a mind

Unspotted from the world.

And that soft eye, now like a dove's,

New bathed in morning's gleam, Will cloud to find the things it loves

Are falser than they seem.

For thou wilt see the vulgar rich

Tread down the noble poor,
And high-born follies lauded, which

Are censured in the boor.

And thou wilt see the wicked reign,

The good man suffer wrong,
The weak, oppressed with want and pain,

A victim to the strong.
And all this is the world; and thou,

My sweet, must in it share;
And hide beneath a silent brow

An aching sense of care.
Nor thou thyeelf be free of guilt,

But ever find within,
How hard to do the thing thou wilt,

Hard not to do the sin !
Then wish not years, the old man said,

Nor look beyond to-morrow!
Enough that now this little head
Is
pure,

and free from sorrow.
He ceased, and then the child I saw

With terrors vague oppressed, Gaze on him with a look of awe, Then sink

upon

his breast. He wiped her eyes : he calmed her gaze :

He soothed her trembling form: God set her feet in sunny ways, And shield her from the storm !

(w.)

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