Page images
PDF

In a hard time of frost and snow,
Not knowing where for food to go.
He would no longer give them bread,
Because he had observed (he said)
That sometimes to the window came
A great black bird, a rook by name,
And took away a small bird's share ;
So foolish Henry did not care
What became of the great rook
That from the little sparrows took
Now and then, as 't were by stealth,
A part of their abundant wealth,
Nor evermore would feed his sparrows.
Thus ignorance a kind heart narrows.
I wish I had been there, I would
Have told the child rooks live by food
In the same way that sparrows do.
I also would have told him, too,
Birds act by instinct, and ne'er can
Attain the rectitude of man.
Nay, that even when distress
Does on poor human nature press,
We need not be too strict in seeing
The failings of a fellow-being.

TO A REDBREAST. - Langhorne.

LITTLE bird with bosom red,
Welcome to my humble shed !
Courtly domes of high degree
Have no room for thee or me;
Pride and pleasure's fickle throng
Nothing mind an idle song.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Daily near my table steal,
While I pick my scanty meal.
Doubt not, little though there be,
But I'll cast a crumb to thee,
Well rewarded if I spy
Pleasure in thy glancing eye;
See thee, when thou 'st eat thy fill,
Plume thy breast, and wipe thy bill.
Come, my feathered friend, again,
Well thou know'st the broken pane.

MARINER'S HYMN. — Mrs. Southey.

LAUNCH thy bark, mariner !

Christian, God speed thee! Let loose the rudder bands,

Good angels lead thee ! Set thy sails warily,

Tempests will come; Steer thy course steadily,

Christian, steer home!

Look to the weather bow,

Breakers are round thee; Let fall the plummet now,

Shallows may ground thee.
Reef in the foresail, there!

Hold the helm fast !
So, let the vessel wear, —

There swept the blast.

What of the night, watchman ?

What of the night? " Cloudy, all quiet,

No land yet, — all 's right."

Be wakeful, be vigilant,

Danger may be
At an hour when all seemeth

Securest to thee.

How ! gains the leak so fast ?

Clear out the hold, -
Hoist up thy merchandise,

Heave out thy gold ; -
There, let the ingots go; —

Now the ship rights ;
Hurra! the harbour's near, -

Lo! the red lights.

Slacken not sail yet

At inlet or island;
Straight for the beacon steer,

Straight for the high land ;
Crowd all thy canvass on,

Cut through the foam;
Christian ! cast anchor now,-

Heaven is thy home!

THE TWO ESTATES. — Mary Howitt.

The children of the rich man, no carking care they

know, Like lilies in the sunshine, how beautiful they grow ! And well may they be beautiful ; in raiment of the best, In velvet, gold, and ermine, their little forms are drest. With a hat and jaunty feather set lightly on their head, And golden hair, like angels? locks, over their shoul.

ders spread.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

And well may they be beautiful ; they toil not, neither

spin, Nor dig, nor delve, nor do they aught their daily dread

to win. They eat from gold and silver all luxuries wealth can

buy; They sleep on beds of softest down, in chambers rich

and high. They dwell in lordly houses, with gardens round about, And servants to attend them if they go in or out.

They have music for the hearing, and pictures for the

eye, And exquisite and costly things each sense to grat

ify. No wonder they are beautiful! and if they chance to

die, Among dead lords and ladies, in the chancel-vault, they

lie, With marble tablets on the wall inscribed, that all may

know The children of the rich man are mouldering below.

The children of the poor man, around the humble doors
They throng of city alleys and solitary moors.
In hot and noisy factories they turn the ceaseless

wheel,
And eat with feeble appetite their coarse and joyless
· meal.
They rise up in the morning ne'er dreaming of de-

light, And weary, spent, and heartsore they go to bed at

They have no brave apparel, with golden clasp and

gem; So their clothes keep out the weather, they 're good

enough for them. Their hands are broad and horny; they hunger and

are cold; They learn what toil and sorrow mean ere they are

five years old.' . The poor man's child must step aside if the rich man's

child go by ; And scarcely aught may minister to his little vanity.

And of what could he be vain ? — his most beautiful

array

Is what the rich man's children have worn and cast

away. The finely spun, the many-hued, the new, are not for

him, He must clothe himself, with thankfulness, in garments

soiled and dim. He sees the children of the rich in chariots gay go by, And,“ What a heavenly life is theirs," he sayeth with

a sigh.

Then straightway to his work he goeth, for, feeble

though he be, His daily toil must still be done to help the family. Thus live the poor man's children; and if they chance

to die, In plain, uncostly coffins, 'mong common graves, they

lie; Nor monument nor headstone their humble names de

clare ; But thou, O God, wilt not forget the poor man's chil.

dren there!

« PreviousContinue »