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American Annals of the Deaf

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Sweet Bells Jangled

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All the day was dark and weary, freighted down
           with shadows dreary.
Other shadows kept the sunlight from the threshold
           of my heart ;
Failure in its circle held me ; by its mighty magic
           spelled me.
Ere one hurt had erased to rankle, some new prickle
           made me start.

“Letters !” and I, wholly broken, turned in hopeless-
           ness unspoken :
“Doubtless, other stripes to smite me―Lord! my soul
           is sore enough !”
Then I forced my hand to take them, but I scanned,
           ere I would break them,
All the seals,― for I was growing cowardly through
           long rebuff.

Till my spirit-broken seeming was enlightened by the

Of a dear familiar writing, by a dearer hand devised.
When the arms that ache to hold us only may in dreams
           enfold us,
What a blessing lies in letters then I wholly realized!
O my talisman in sadness ! O, my pledge of coming
O my letter ! tempest-drifted over briny billowed seas !
For the sender’s sake I bless you, for the sender’s sake I
           press you.
To my trial-chastened bosom,― be its comforter for

Ah! I know whose letter this is ! there’s embalmed
           freight of kisses,―
Not the weapon that I dreaded in your travel-battered
You will feed my incompleteness, with your hived hoard
           of sweetness,
When I peel away the cover and pluck out the fruit
           beneath !

To some far-off spirit signal ; and I shiver, unaware,
As the wavelets of the river to the zephyr’s kisses quiver ;
Is my darling thinking of me in the distance, over there?

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