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For the Master secs, alas!
That unhappy Figure near him,
Limping o'er the dewy grass,
Where the road it fringes, sweet,
Soft and cool to way-worn feet;
And, O indignity! an Ass,
by his noble Mastiffs side,
Tether'd to the Waggon's tail:
And the Ship, in all her pride,
Following after in full sail!
Not to speak of Babe and Mother;
Who, contented with each other,
And, snug as birds in leafy arbour,
Find, within, a blessed harbour!
with eager eyes the Master pries: Looks in and out—and through and through ; Says nothing—till at last he spies A wound upon the Mastiffs head, A wound—where plainly might be read What feats an Ass's hoof can do But drop the rest:-this aggravation, This complicated provocation, A hoard of grievances unseald, All past forgiveness it repeal do — And thus, and through distemper'd blood On both sides, Benjamin the tood, The patient, and the tender-hearted, Was from his Team and Waggon parted; When duty of that day was o'er, Laid down his whip—and served no more.— Nor could the waggon long survive Which Benjamin had ceased to drive: It linger'd on;–6uide after Guide Ambitiously the office tried; But each unmanageable hill Call'd for his patience and his skill;And sure it is, that through this night, And what the morning brought to light, Two losses had we to sustain, We lost both WAGGo Nea and WA IN
Accept, O friend, for praise or blame,
The gift of this adventurous Song;
A record which I dared to frame,
Though timid scruples check d me long;
They check'd me—and I left the theme
Untouch'd—in spite of many a gleam
of fancy which thereon was shed,
Like pleasant sunbeams shifting still
Upon the side of a distant hill:
But Nature might not be gainsaid;
For what I have and what I miss
I sing of these—it makes my bliss!
Nor is it I who play the part,
But a shy spirit in my heart,
That comes and goes—will sometimes leap
From hiding-places ten years deep;
Or haunts me with familiar face—
Returning, like a ghost unlaid,
Until the debt I owe be paid.
Forgive me, then ; for I had been
On friendly terms with this Machine:
In liim, while he was wont to trace
Our roads, through mauy a long year's space,
A living Almanack had we;
We had a speaking Diary,
That, in this uneventful place,
Gave to the days a mark and name
By which we knew them when they came.
—Yes, I, and all about me here,
Through all the changes of the year,
Had seen him through the mountains go,
In pomp of mist or pomp of snow,
Majestically huge and slow:
Or, with a milder grace adorning
The Landscape of a summer's morning;
While Grasmere smoothed her liquid plain
The moving image to detain ;
And mighty Fairfield, with a chime
Of cohoes, to his march kept time;
When little other business stirr'd,
And little other sound was heard;
In that delicious hour of balm,
Stillness, solitude, and calm,
While yet the Valley is array'd,
On this side with a sober shade;
On that is prodigally bright—
Crag, lawn, and wood—with rosy light.—
But most of all, thou lordly Wain!
I wish to have thee here again,
When windows flap and chimney roars,
And all is dismal out of doors;
And sitting by my fire, I see
Eight sorry Carts, no less a train!
Unworthy Successors of thee,
Come straggling through the wind and rain
And oft, as they pass slowly on,
Beneath my window—one by one—
See, perch’d upon the naked height
The summit of a cumbrous freight,
A single Traveller—and there
Another—then perhaps a Pair—
The lame, the sickly, and the old;
Men, Women, heartless with the cold;
And Babes in wet and starveling plight : o
Which once, be weather as it might,
Had still a nest within a nest,
Thy shelter—and their Mother's breast :
Then most of all, then far the most,
Do I regret what we have lost;
Am grieved for that unhappy sin
Which robb'd us of good Benjamin;–
And of his stately Charge, which none
Could keep alive when he was gone."
Within her gilded cage confined,
I saw a dazzling Belle,
A Parrot of that famous kind
Whose name is NoN-PAREil.
Like beads of glossy jet her eyes; And, smoothed by Nature's skill, With Pearl or gleaming agate vies Her finely-curved bill.
Her plumy Mantle's living hues
In mass opposed to mass,
Outshine the splendour that imbues
The robes of pictured glass.
And, sooth to say, an apter Mate
Did never tempt the choice
Of feathered Thing most delicate
In figure and in voice.
But, exiled from Australian Bowers,
And singleness her lot,
She trills her song with tutored powers,
Or mocks each casual note.
No more of pity for regrets
With which she may have striven :
Now but in wantonness she frets,
Or spite, if cause be given;
Arch, volatile, a sportive Bird By social glee inspired; Ambitious to be seen or heard, And pleased to be admired
This moss-lined shed, green, soft, and dry,
Harbours a self-contented Wren,
Not shunning man's abode, though shy,
Almost as thought itself, of human ken.
Strange places, coverts unendeared She never tried; the very nest in which this Child of Spring was reared, is warmed, thro' winter, by her feathery breast.
To the bleak winds she sometimes gives
A slender unexpected strain;
That tells the Hermitess still lives,
Though she appear not, and be sought in vain.
Say, Dora' tell me by yon placid Moon, If called to choose between the favoured pair, which would you be, the Bird of the Saloon, by Lady fingers tended with nice care, Caressed, applauded, upon dainties fed, Or Nature's Daakling of this mossy Shed?
TO THE SMALL CELANDINE. Paxsies, Lilies, Kingcups, Daisies, Let them live upon their praises; Long as there's a sun that sets Primroses will have their glory;
Long as there are Violets,
They will have a place in story:
There's a flower that shall be mine,
"Tis the little Celandine.
Eyes of some men travel far
For the finding of a star;
Up and down the heavens they go,
Meu that keep a mighty rout!
I'm as great as they, I trow,
Since the day I found thee out,
Little flower!—I'll make a stir
Like a great Astronomer,
Modest, yet withal an Elf
Bold, and lavish of thyself;
Since we needs must first have met
I have secn thee, high and low,
Thirty years or more, and yet
"T was a face I did not know;
Thou hast now, go where I may,
Fifty greetings in a day.
Ere a leaf is on a bush,
In the time before the Thrush
Has a thought about its nest,
Thou wilt come with half a call,
Spreading out thy glossy breast
Like a careless Prodigal;
Telling tales about the sun,
When we've little warmth, or noue.
Poets, vain men in their mood!
Travel with the multitude:
Never heed them; I aver
That they all are wanton Wooers;
But the thrifty Cottager,
Who stirs little out of doors,
Joys to spy thee near her home;
Spring is coming, Thou art come!
Comfort have thou of thy merit,
Kindly, unassuming Spirit!
Careless of thy neighbourhood,
Thou dost shew thy pleasant face
On the moor, and in the wood,
In the lane—there's not a place,
Howsoever mean it be,
But t is good enough for thee.
Ill befall the yellow Flowers,
Children of the flaring hours!
Buttercups, that will be seen,
Whether we will see or no;
Others, too, of lofty mien;
They have done as worldlings do,
Taken praise that should be thine,
Little, humble Celandine!
Prophet of delight and mirth,
Scorned and slighted upon earth!
Herald of a mighty band,
Of a joyous train ensuing,
Singing at my heart's command,
In the lanes my thoughts pursuing,
I will sing, as doth behove,
Hymns in praise of what I love!