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Child of the country! free as air
Art thou, and as the sunshine fair ;
Born, like the lily, where the dew
Lies odorous when the day is new;
Fed 'mid the May-flowers like the bee,
Nurs'd to sweet music on the knee,
Lull'd in the breast to that glad tune
Which winds make 'mong the woods of June :
I sing of thee ;-'tis sweet to sing
Of such a fair and gladsome thing.
Child of the town! for thee I sigh ;
A gilded roof's thy golden sky,
A carpet is thy daisied sod,
A narrow street thy boundless road,
Thy rushing deer's the clattering tramp
Of watchmen, thy best light's a lamp, -
Through smoke, and not through trellised vines
And blooming trees, thy sunbeam shines :
I sing of thee in sadness; where
Else is wreck wrought in aught so fair.
Child of the country! thy small feet
Tread on strawberries red and sweet ;
With thee I wander forth to see
The flowers which most delight the bee ;
The bush o'er which the throstle sung
In April, while she nursed her young ;
The den beneath the sloe-thorn, where
She bred her twins the timorous hare ;
The knoll, wrought o'er with wild, bluebells,
Where brown bees build their balmy cells ;
The greenwood stream, the shady pool,';
Where trouts leap when the day is cool ;
The shilfa's nest that seems to be
A portion of the sheltering tree,-
And other marvels which my verse
Can find no language to rehearse.
Child of the town ! for thee, alas !
Glad Nature spreads nor flowers nor grass ;
Birds build no nests, nor in the sun
Glad streams come singing as they run :
A Maypole is thy blossom’d tree,
A beetle is thy murmuring bee;
Thy bird is cag'd, thy dove is where
Thy poulterer dwells, beside thy hare;
Thy fruit is pluck'd, and by the pound
Hawk'd clamorous all the city round;
No roses, twinborn on the stalk,
Perfume thee in thy evening walk ;
No voice of birds, but to thee comes
The mingled din of cars and drums,
And startling cries, such as are rife
When wine and wassail waken strife.
Child of the country on the lawn I see thee like the bounding fawn,
Blithe as the bird which tries its wing
The first time on the winds of spring;
Bright as the sun when from the cloud
He comes as cocks are crowing loud;
Now running, shouting, 'mid sunbeams,
Now groping trouts in lucid streams,
Now spinning like a mill-wheel round,
Now hunting echo's empty sound,
Now climbing up some old tall tree-
For climbing sake. 'Tis sweet to thee
To sit where birds can sit alone,
Or share with thee thy venturous throne.
Child of the town and bustling street, What woes and snares await thy feet ! Thy paths are paved for five long miles, Thy groves and hills are peaks and tiles ; Thy fragrant air is yon thick smoke, Which shrouds thee like a mourning cloak ; And thou art cabin'd and confined, At once from sun, and dew, and wind; Or set thy tottering feet but on Thy lengthen'd walks of slippery stone ; The coachman there careering reels With goaded steeds and maddening wheels ; And Commerce pours each poring son In pelf's pursuit and hollos' run : While flush'd with wine, and stung at play, Men rush from darkness into day. The stream's too strong for thy small bark ; There nought can sail, save what is stark.
Fly from the town, sweet child ! for health Is happiness, and strength, and wealth. There is a lesson in each flower, A story in each stream and bower ; On every herb on which you tread Are written words which, rightly read, Will lead you from earth's fragrant sod, To hope, and holiness, and God.
Awake, my love! ere morning's ray
Throws off night's weed of pilgrim grey ;
Ere yet the hare, cower'd close from view,
Licks from her fleece the clover dew :
Or wild swan shakes her snowy wings,
By hunters roused from secret springs :
Or birds upon the boughs awake,
Till green Arbigland's woodlands shake.
She comb'd her curling ringlets down,
Lac'd her green jupes, and clasp'd her shoon ;
And from her home, by Preston-burn,
Came forth the rival light of morn.
The lark's song dropp'd,—now loud, now hush,--
The goldspink answer'd from the bush ;
The plover, fed on heather crop,
Call’d from the misty mountain top.
'Tis sweet, she said, while thus the day
Grows into gold from silvery grey,
To hearken heaven, and bush, and brake,
Instinct with soul of song awake;
To see the smoke, in many a wreath,
Stream blue from hall and bower beneath,
Where yon blithe mower hastes along
With glittering scythe and rustic song.
Yes, lovely one! and dost thou mark
The moral of yon carolling lark ?
Tak'st thou from Nature's counsellor tongue
The warning precept of her song?
Each bird that shakes the dewy grove
Warms its wild note with nuptial love ;
The bird, the bee, with various sound,
Proclaim the sweets of wedlock round.
THE LASS OF GLENESLAN-MILL.
The laverock loves the dewy light,
The bee the balmy fox-glove fair ; The shepherd loves the glowing morn,
When song and sunshine fill the air :
But I love best the summer moon,
With all her stars, pure streaming still ; For then, in light and love I meet,
The sweet lass of Gleneslan-mill. The violets lay their blossoms low,
Beneath her white foot, on the plain;
Their fragrant heads the lilies wave,
Of her superior presence fain.
O might I clasp her to my heart,
And of her ripe lips have my will !
For loath to woo, and long to win,
Was she by green Gleneslan-mill. Mute was the wind, soft fell the dew,
O’er Blackwood brow bright glow'd the moon; Rills murmur'd music, and the stars
Refused to set our heads aboon :
Ye might have heard our beating hearts,
Our mixing breaths, -all was so still,
Till morning's light shone on her locks,-
Farewell, lass of Gleneslan-mill.
Wert thou an idol all of gold,
Had I the eye of worldish care,-
I could not think thee half so sweet,
Look on thee so, or love thee mair.
Till death's cold dewdrop dim mine eye,
This tongue be mute, this heart lie still --Thine every wish of joy and love,
My lass of green Gleneslan-mill!
THE POET'S BRIDAL-DAY SONG.
O! my love's like the steadfast sun,
Or streams that deepen as they run ;
Nor hoary hairs, nor forty years,
Nor moments between sighs and fears ;
Nor nights of thought, nor days of pain,
Nor dreams of glory dreamed in vain,-
Nor mirth, nor sweetest song which flows
To sober joys and soften woes,
Can make my heart or fancy flee
One moment, my sweet wife, from thee.