Page images
PDF

We Ve laid him there, where the blessed air
Disports with the lovely light,
And raineth showers
Of those sweet flowers,
So silver white;

Where the blackbird sings, and the wild bee's wings
Make music all day long,
And the cricket at night
(A dusky sprite i)

Takes up the song.

He loved to lie where his wakeful eye
Could keep me still in sight,
Whence a word or a sign,
Or a look of mine,

Brought him like light.

Nor word, nor sign, nor look of mine,
From under the lime-tree bough,
With bark and bound,
And frolic round,

Shall bring him now.

But he taketh his rest, where he loved best
In the days of his life to be,
And that place will not
Be a common spot
Of earth to me.

56 CHRISTMAS TIMES.

CHRISTMAS TIMES. —Howard.

'T Was the night before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In the hope that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads,
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap;
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash, —
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, —
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name: —
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer! now, Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Dunder and Blixen!
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall,
Now, dash away! dash away! dash away, all!"
As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each tiny hoof;
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and

soot;
A bundle of toys was flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! h.'s dimjles how

merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry; His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath. He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all his stockings, — then turned with a jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, And away they all flew, like the down of a thistle; But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

THE PET LAMB. — Wordsworth.

The dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink; I heard a voice; it said, "Drink, pretty creature, drink."

58 THE PET LAMB.

And, looking o'er the hedge, before me I espied
A snow-white mountain lamb, with a maiden at its
side.

No other sheep were near, the lamb was all alone,
And by a slender cord was tethered to a stone;
With one knee on the grass did the little maiden

kneel, While to that mountain lamb she gave its evening

meal.

The lamb, while from her hand he thus his supper

took, Seemed to feast with head and ears, and his tail with

pleasure shook; "Drink, pretty creature, drink," she said, in such a

tone, That I almost received her heart into my own.

'Twas little Barbara Lethwaite, a child of beauty rare! I watched them with delight, they were a lovely pair. Now with her empty can the maiden turned away; But ere ten yards were gone, her footsteps she did stay.

Towards the lamb she looked; and from that shady

place I unobserved could see the workings of her face; If nature to her tongue could measured numbers

bring, Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid might sing: —

"What ails thee, young one? what? why pull so at thy cord? Is it not well with thee? well both for bed and

board? Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be; Rest, little, young one, rest; what is 't that aileth thee?

"What is it thou wouldst seek? what is wanting to thy heart? Thy limbs are they not strong? and beautiful thou

art. This grass is tender grass; these flowers they have no

peers, And that green corn all day long is rustling in thy

ears!

"If the sun be shining hot, do but stretch thy woollen

chain, This birch is standing by, its covert thou canst gain; For rain and mountain storms —the like thou need'st not fear — The rain and storm are things that scarcely can come here.

"Rest, little, young one, rest; thou hast forgot the

day When my father found thee first, in places far away; Many flocks were on the hills, but thou wert owned by none, And thy mother from thy side forevermore was gone.

"He took thee in his arms, and in pity brought thee home; O blessed day for thee! then whither wouldst thou

roam?

« PreviousContinue »