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His youngest born did Andrew hold: And while the rest, a ruddy quire, Were seated round their blazing fire, This Tale the Shepherd told.
* I saw a crag, a lofty stone
As ever tempest beat!
Out of its head an Oak had grown,
A Broom out of its feet.
The time was March, a cheerful noon—
The thaw-wind, with the breath of June,
Breathed gently from the warm south-west:
When, in a voice sedate with age,
This Oak, a giant and a sage,
His neighbour thus addressed :
• ‘Eight weary weeks, through rock and clay,
Along this mountain's edge,
The Frost hath wrought both night and day,
Wedge driving after wedge.
Look up ! and think, above your head
What trouble, surely, will be bred;
Last night I heard a crash—t is true,
The splinters took another road—
I see them yonder—what a load
For such a Tuing as you!
• ‘You are preparing, as before,
To deck your slender shape;
And yet, just three years back—no more—
You had a strange escape.
Down from yon cliff a fragment broke;
It thundered down, with fire and smoke,
And hitherward pursued its way:
This ponderous Block was caught by me,
And o'er your head, as you may sce,
T is hanging to this day!
• ‘The thing had better been asleep,
Whatever thing it were,
or Breeze, or lird, or Dog, or Sheep,
That first did plant you there.
For you and your green twigs decoy
The little witless Shepherd-boy
To come and slumber in your bower;
And, trust me, on some sultry noon,
Both you and he, Heaven knows how soon
Will perish in one hour.
• ‘From me this friendly warning take"—
The Broom began to doze,
And thus to keep herself awake
Did gently interpose:
‘My thanks for your discourse are due;
That more than what you say is true
I know, and I have known it long;
Frail is the bond by which we hold
Our being, whether young or old,
wise, foolish, weak, or strong.
• Disasters, do the best we can, Will reach both great and small; And he is oft the wisest man, who is not wise at all, For ine, why should I wish to roam This spot is my paternal home,
It is my pleasant heritage;
My Father many a happy year,
Here spread his careless blossoms, here
Attained a good old age.
“Even such as his may be my lot.
What cause have I to haunt
My heart with terrors Am I not
In truth a favoured plant!
On me such bounty Summer pours,
That I am covered o'er with flowers;
And, when the Frost is in the sky,
My branches are so fresh and gay
That you might look at me and say,
This Plant can never die.
• ‘The Ilutterfly, all green and gold,
To me hath often flown,
Here in my Blossoms to belold -
Wings lovely as his own.
When grass is chill with rain or dew,
Beneath my shade, the mother Ewe
Lies with her infant Lamb ; I see
The love they to each other make,
And the sweet joy, which they partake,
It is a joy to me.'
* Her voice was blithe, her heart was light;
The Broom might have pursued
Her speech, until the stars of night
Their journey had renewed:
But in the branches of the Oak
Two Ravens now began to croak
Their nuptial song, a gladsome air;
And to her own green bower the brecze
That instant brought two stripling Bees
To rest, or murmur there.
“One night, my Children' from the North
There came a furious blast;
At break of day I ventured forth,
And near the Cliff I passed.
The storm had fallen upon the Oak,
And struck him with a mighty stroke,
And whirled, and whirled him far away;
And, in one hospitable cleft,
The little careless Broom was left
To live for many a day.”
SONG FOR THE SPINNING WIIEEL.
ou NDED UPON A BELIFF PREVALENT A Moxo, THE
PASTORAL VALES OF WEstvior: LAN n.
Swiftly turn the murmuring wheel !
Night has brought the welcome hour,
When the weary fingers feel
Help, as if from faery power;
Dewy night o'ershades the ground;
Turn the swift wheel round and round'
Now, beneath the starry sky,
Couch the widely-scattered sheep;-
Ply the pleasant labour, ply!
For the spindle, while they sleep,
Runs with motion smooth and fine,
Gathering up a trustier line.
Short-lived likings may be bred
By a glance from fickle eyes;
But true love is like the thread
Which the kindly wool supplies,
When the flocks are all at rest
Sleeping on the mountain's breast.
—-THE REDBREAST AND BUTTERFLY.
Aat thou the Bird whom Man loves best,
The pious Bird with the scarlet breast,
Our little English Robin;
The Bird that comes about our doors
When Autumn winds are sobbing?
Art thou the Peter of Norway Boors?
Their Thomas in Finland,
And Russia far inland
The Bird, who by some name or other
All men who know thee call their Brother,
The Darling of Children and men
Could Father Adam open his eyes,'
And see this sight beneath the skies,
lle'd wish to close them again.
If the Butterfly knew but his friend,
Hither his flight he would bend;
And find his way to me
Under the branches of the tree:
In and out, he darts about;
Can this be the Bird, to man so good,
That, after their bewildering,
Did cover with leaves the little children,
So painfully in the wood?
What ailed thee, Robin, that thou couldst pursue
A beautiful Creature,
That is gentle by mature?
Beneath the summer sky
From flower to flower let him fly;
"T is all that he wishes to do.
The Cheerer Thou of our in-door sadness,
He is the Friend of our summer gladness:
What hinders, then, that ye should be
Playmates in the sunny weather,
And fly about in the air together!
His beautiful wings in crimson are drest,
A crimson as bright as thine own :
If thou wouldst be happy in thy nest,
O pious Bird whom Man loves best,
Love him, or leave him alone!
Eddying round and round they sink Softly, slowly: one might think, From the motions that are made, Every little leaf conveyed Sylph or Faery hither tending, To this lower world descending, Each invisible and mute, In his wavering parachute. ——But the Kitten, how she starts, Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts? First at one, and then its fellow Just as light and just as yellow; There are many now—now one— Now they stop; and there are none— What intenseness of desire In her upward eye of fire! With a tiger-leap half way Now she meets the coming prey, Lets it go as fast, and then Has it in her power again: Now she works with three or four, Like an Indian Conjuror; Quick as he in feats of art, Far beyond in joy of heart. Were her antics played in the eye Of a thousand Standers-by, Clapping hands with shout and stare, What would little Tabby care For the plaudits of the Crowd? Over happy to be proud, Over wealthy in the treasure Of her own exceeding pleasure!
T is a pretty Baby-treat; Nor, I deem, for me unmeet; Here, for neither Babe nor me, Other Play-mate can I see. Of the countless living things, That with stir of feet and wings, (In the sun or under shade, Upon bough or grassy blade) And with busy revellings, Chirp and song, aud murmurings, Made this Orchard's narrow space, And this Wale so blithe a place; Multitudes are swept away Never more to breathe the day: Some are sleeping; some in Bands Travelled into distant Lands; Others slunk to moor and wood, Far from human neighbourhood; And, among the Kinds that keep With us closer fellowship, With us openly abide, All have laid their mirth aside. —Where is he that giddy Sprite, Blue-cap, with his colours bright, Who was blest as bird could be, Feeding in the apple-tree; Made such wanton spoil and rout, Turning blossons inside out; Hung with head towards the ground, Fluttered, perched, into a round Bound himself, and then unbound ! Lithest, gaudiest Harlequin! Prettiest Tumbler ever seen!
Light of heart, and light of limb, What is now become of Ilim? Lambs, that through the mountains went Frisking, bleating merriment, When the year was in its prime, They are sobered by this time. If you look to vale or hill, If you listen, all is still, Save a little neighbouring Rill, That from out the rocky ground Strikes a solitary sound. Vainly glitters hill and plain, And the air is calm in vain; Wainly Morning spreads the lure Of a sky serene and pure; Creature none can she decoy Into open sign of joy: Is it that they have a fear Of the dreary season near? Or that other pleasures be Sweeter even than gaiety?
Yet, whate'er enjoyments dwell In the impenetrable cell Of the silent heart which Nature Furnishes to every Creature; Whatsoe'er we feel and know too sedate for outward show, Such a light of gladness breaks, Pretty Kitten! from thy freaks,— Spreads with such a living grace O'er my little Laura's face; Yes, the sight so stirs and charms Thee, Baby, laughing in my arms, That almost I could repine That your transports are not mine That I do not wholly fare Even as we do, thoughtless Pair! And I will have my careless season Spite of melancholy reason; will walk through life in such a way That, when time brings on decay, Now and then I may possess Hours of perfect gladsomeness. –Pleased by any random toy; By a Kitten's busy joy, Or an Infant's laughing eye Sharing in the ecstasy; I would fare like that or this, Find my wisdom in my bliss; Keep the sprightly soul awake, And have faculties to take, Even from things by sorrow wrought, Matter for a jocund thought, Spite of care, and spite of grief, To gambol with Life's falling Leaf.
Trlu me, ye Zephyrs' that unfold,
while fluttering o'er this gay Recess,
Pinions that fanned the teeming mould
Of Eden's blissful wilderness,
Did only softly-stealing Hours
There close the peaceful lives of flowers?
Say, when the moving Creatures saw
All kinds commingled without fear,
Prevailed a like indulgent law
For the still Growths that prosper here?
Did wanton Fawn and Kid forbear
The half-blown Rose, the Lily spare?
Or peeped they often from their beds
And prematurely disappeared,
Devoured like pleasure ere it spreads
A bosom to the Sun endeared?
If such their harsh untimely doom,
It falls not here on bud or bloom.
All Summer long the happy Eve
Of this fair Spot her flowers may bind,
Noreer, with ruffled fancy, grieve,
From the next glance she casts, to find
That love for little Things by Fate
ls rendered vain as love for great.
Yet, where the guardian Fence is wound,
So subtly is the eye beguiled
It sees not nor suspects a Bound,
No more than in some forest wild;
Free as the light in semblance–crost
Only by art in nature lost.
And, though the jealous turf refuse
By random footsteps to be prest,
And feeds on never-sullied dews,
Ye, gentle breezes from the West,
With all the ministers of Hope,
Are tempted to this sunny slope'
And hither throngs of Birds resort; Some, inmates lodged in shady nests, Some, perched on stems of stately port That nod to welcome transient guests; While flare and Leveret, seen at play, Appear not more shut out than they.
Apt emblem (for reproof of pride)
This delicate Enclosure shows
Of modest kindness, that would hide
The firm protection she bestows;
Of manners, like its viewless fence,
Ensuring peace to innocence.
Thus spake the moral Muse—her wing
Abruptly spreading to depart,
She left that farewell offering, -
Memento for some docile heart;
That may respect the good old Age
when Fancy was Truth's willing Page;
And Truth would skim the flowery glade,
Though entering but as Fancy's Shade.
With little here to do or see
Of things that in the great world be,
Sweet Daisy' oft I talk to thee,
For thou art worthy,