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Like a leopard's tawny and spotted hide
Stretches the plain,
To the dry grass and the drier grain
How welcome is the rain !

In the furrowed land
The toilsome and patient oxen stand ;
Lifting the yoke-encumbered head,
With their dilated nostrils spread,
They silently inhale
The clover-scented gale,
And the vapours that arise
From the well-watered and smoking soil.
For this rest in the furrow after toil
Their large and lustrous eyes
Seem to thank the Lord,
More than man's spoken word.

Near at hand,
From under the sheltering trees,
The farmer sees
His pastures and his fields of grain,
As they bend their tops
To the numberless beating drops
Of the incessant rain.
He counts it as no sin
That he sees therein
Only his own thrift and gain.

H. W. Longfello:

XIII

EPITAPH ON A HARE Here lies, whom hound did ne'er pursue

Nor swifter greyhound follow, Whose foot ne'er tainted morning dew,

Nor ear heard huntsman's hallo!

Old Tiney, surliest of his kind,

Who, nurs'd with tender care, And to domestic bounds confined,

Was still a wild Jack-hare.

Though duly from my hand he took

His pittance every night, He did it with a jealous look,

And, when he could, would bite.

His diet was of wheaten bread,

And milk, and oats, and straw ; Thistles, or lettuces instead,

With sand to scour his maw.

On twigs of hawthorn he regaled,

On pippin's russet peel,
And when his juicy salads failed,

Sliced carrot pleased him well.

A Turkey carpet was his lawn,

Whereon he loved to bound, To skip and gambol like a fawn,

And swing himself around.

His frisking was at evening hours,

For then he lost his fear,
But most before approaching showers,

Or when a storm drew near.

Eight years and five round-rolling moons

He thus saw steal away,
Dozing out all his idle noons,

And every night at play.

I kept him for his humours' sake,

For he would oft beguile
My heart of thoughts that made it ache,

And force me to a smile.

But now, beneath this walnut shade,

He finds his long last home,
And waits, in snug concealment laid,

Till gentler Puss shall come.

He, still more aged, feels the shocks

From which no care can save,
And, partner once of Tiney's box,
Must soon partake his grave.

W. Cowper

XIV

ABOU BEN ADHEM AND THE ANGEL

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,

An angel writing in a book of gold :-
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou ?'—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answer'd, 'The names of those who love the Lord.'
‘And is mine one?' said Abou. “Nay, not so,'
Replied the Angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still ; and said, “I pray thee then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.'

The angel wrote and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And show'd the names whom love of God had bless'd,
And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the rest.

Leigh Hunt

XV

LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCY

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wigli:,

Alone and palely loitering ?
The sedge is wither'd from the lake,

And no birds sing.

Ah, what can ail thee, wretched wight,

So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrels granary is full,

And the harvest's done.

I see a lily on thy brow,

With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheek a fading rose

Fast withereth too.

I met a Lady in the meads,

Full beautiful, a fairy's child ;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,

And her eyes were wild.

I set her on my pacing steed,

And nothing else saw all day long ; For sideways would she lean and sing

A fairy's song

I made a garland for her head,

And bracelets too, and fragrant zone; She lookd at me as she did love,

And made sweet moan.

She found me roots of relish sweet,

And honey wild, and manna dew; And sure in language strange she said,

I love thee true.

She took me to her elfin grot,

And there she gazed and sighed deep, And there I shut her wild sad eyes,

So kissed to sleep.

And there we slumber'd on the moss,

And there I dream'd, ah, woe betide, The latest dream I ever dream'd

On the cold hill-side.

I saw pale kings, and princes too,

Pale warriors, death-pale were they all ; Who cried ‘La belle Dame sans mercy

Hath thee in thrall !!

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