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TRADITIONARY BALLAD.

"Then take me on your knee, mother, And listen, mother of mine; — A hundred fairies danced last night, And the harpers they were nine.

"And merry was the glee of the harp-strings, And their dancing feet so small;But, O, the sound of the talking Was merrier far than all!"

"And what were the words, my Mary, That you did hear them say?"
"I '11 tell you all, my mother,— But let me have my way!

"And some, they played with the water, And rolled it down the hill: —
'And this,' they said, 'shall speedily turn The poor old miller's mill;

"' For there has been no water

Ever since the first of May;
And a busy man shall the miller be

By the dawning of the day!

"' O, the miller, how he will laugh
When he sees the mill-dam rise!

The jolly old miller, how he will laugh,
Till the tears fill both his eyes!'

"And some, they seized the little winds,

That sounded over the hill,
And each put a horn into his mouth,

And blew so sharp and shrill: —

'" ' And there,' said they, 'the merry winds go,

Away from every horn;
And those shall clear the mildew dank

From the blind old widow's corn!

"' O, the poor, blind old widow,— Though she has been blind so long, She '11 be merry enough when the mildew's gone, And the corn stands stiff and strong!'

"And some they brought the brown lint-seed, And flung it down from the Low : —

* And this,' said they, 'by the sunrise, In the weaver's croft shall grow!

"' O the poor, lame weaver,

How he will laugh outright
When he sees his dwindling flax-field

All full of flowers by night!'

"And then upspoke a brownie,
With a long beard on his chin: —

*I have spun up all the tow,' said he,

1 And I want some more to spin.

"' I Ve spun a piece of hempen cloth, And I want to spin another, — A little sheet for Mary's bed, And an apron for her mother!'

"And with that I could not help but laugh, And I laughed out loud and free; And then on the top of the Caldon-Low There was no one left but me.

72 TO THE LADY-BIRD.

"And all on the top of the Caldon-Low
The mists were cold and gray,

And nothing I saw but the mossy stones
That round about me lay.

"But as I came down from the hill-top,

I heard ajar below;
How busy the jolly miller was,

And how merry the wheel did go!

"And I peeped into the widow's field,
And, sure enough, were seen The yellow ears of the mildewed corn
All standing stiff and green.

"And down by the weaver's croft I stole,
To see if the flax were high;

But I saw the weaver at his gate,
With the good news in his eye!

"Now, this is all I heard, mother,

And all that I did see;
So, prythee, make my bed, mother,

For I'm tired as I can be!"

TO THE LADY-BIRD. - Mrs. Southey.

Lady-bird! lady-bird! fly away home, -—
The field-mouse is gone to her nest,

The daisies have shut up their sleepy red eyes,
And the bees and the birds are at rest.

Lady-bird! lady-bird! flyaway home, —

The glow-worm is lighting her lamp, The dew's falling fast, and your fine speckled wings

Will flag with the close-clinging damp.

Lady-bird! lady-bird! fly away home, —

Good luck if you reach it at last! The owl's come abroad, and the bat's on the roam,

Sharp set from their Ramazan fast.

Lady-bird! lady-bird! fly away home, —

The fairy bells tinkle afar! Make haste, or they '11 catch ye, and harness ye fast

With a cobweb to Oberon's car.

Lady-bird! lady-bird! fly away home,—

To your house in the old willow-tree, Where your children, so dear, have invited the ant

And a few cosey neighbors to tea.

Lady-bird! lady-bird! fly away home, —

And, if not gobbled up by the way, Nor yoked by the fairies to Oberon's car,

You 're in luck, — and that's all I've to say.

THE ROOK AND THE SPARROW. — Miss Lamb.

A Little boy with crumbs of bread
Many a hungry sparrow fed.
It was a child of little sense
Who this kind bounty did dispense;
For suddenly it was withdrawn,
And all the birds were left forlorn,

74 TO A REDBREAST.

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.

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