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THE OAK AND THE BROOM.

A PASTORAL.

His fimple truths did Andrew glean

Beside the babbling rills;
A careful student he had been

Among the woods and hills.
One Winter's night, when through the trees
The wind was thundering, on his knees

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-—'tis true,
The splinters took another road –
I see them yonder—what a load

For such a thing 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 came, you know, with fire and smoke,

And hitherward it bent its way :
This ponderous block was caught by me,
And o'er your head, as you may see,

’T is hanging to this day !

“The thing had better been asleep,

Whatever thing it were,
Or breeze, or bird, 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 flumber 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 it is true, and more than true,

I know, and I have known it long; Frail is the bond by which we hold Our being, be we 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 me, why should I wilh 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 butterfly, all green and gold,

To me hath often flown,
Here in my blossoms to behold

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 breeze That instant brought two stripling bees

To rest and 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.”

*

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