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In her house with the trees overhead,
In his business a-toiling for bread ;
And her kinsfolk and neighbours did say of her child
(Under the lofty elm-tree), That a prettier never did babble and smile
Up a-top of a proud mother's knee ; And his mother did toss him, and kiss him, and call Him her darling, and life, and her hope and her all.
But she found in the evening the child was not well
(Under the gloomy elm-tree), And she felt she could give all the world for to tell
Of a truth what his ailing could be ; And she thought on him last in her prayers at night, And she look'd at him last as she put out the light.
And she found him grow worse in the dead of the
night (Under the gloomy elm-tree), And she press'd him against her warm bosom so
tight, And she rock'd him so sorrowfully ; And there, in his anguish, a-nestling he lay, Till his struggles grew weak, and his cries died
And the moon was a-shining down into the place
(Under the gloomy elm-tree), And his mother could see that his lips and his
face Were as white as clean ashes could be ; And her tongue was a-tied, and her still heart did
swell Till her senses came back with the first tear that
Never more can she feel his warm face in her
breast (Under the leafy elm-tree), For his eyes are a-shut, and his hands are at
rest, And he's now from his pain a-set free; For his soul we do know is to heaven a-fled, Where no pain is a-known, and no tears are a-shed.
THE USEFUL PLOUGH
A country life is sweet !
To walk in the air, how pleasant and fair,
The fairest of flowers adorning the bowers, And every meadow's brow;
So that I say, no courtier may
Compare with them who clothe in grey, And follow the useful plough.
They rise with the morning lark,
Then folding their sheep, they hasten to sleep;
With what content and merriment,
A WREN'S NEST
Among the dwellings framed by birds
In field or forest with nice care,
In snugness may compare.
And seldom needs a laboured roof;
Impervious, and storm-proof.
So warm, so beautiful withal,
In perfect fitness for its aim,
Their instinct surely came.
An opportune recess,
For shadowy quietness.
These find, 'mid ivied abbey walls,
A canopy in some still nook ; Others are pent-housed by a brae
That overhangs a brook.
There to the brooding bird her mate
Warbles by fits his low clear song ; And by the busy streamlet both
Are sung to all day long.
Or in sequestered lanes they build,
Where, till the flitting bird's return, Her eggs within the nest repose,
Like relics in an urn.
But still, where general choice is good,
There is a better and a best ; And, among fairest objects, some
Are fairer than the rest.
This, one of those small builders proved
In a green covert, where from out The forehead of a pollard oak
The leafy antlers sprout ;
For she who planned the mossy lodge,
, Had to a primrose looked for aid,
Her wishes to fulfil.
High on the trunk's projecting brow,
And fixed an infant's span above The budding flowers, peeped forth the nest, The prettiest of the grove !
The treasure proudly did I show
To some whose minds without disdain Can turn to little things ; but once
Looked up for it in vain :
'Tis gone-a ruthless spoiler's prey,
Who heeds not beauty, love, or song, 'Tis gone! (so seemed it) and we grieved,
Indignant at the wrong.
Just three days after, passing by
In clearer light, the moss-built cell I saw, espied its shaded mouth ;
And felt that all was well.
The primrose for a veil had spread
The largest of her upright leaves ; And thus, for purposes benign,
A simple flower deceives.
Concealed from friends who might disturb
Thy quiet with no ill intent, Secure from evil eyes and hands
On barbarous plunder bent,
Rest, mother-bird ! and when thy young
Take flight, and thou art free to roam, When withered is the guardian flower,
And empty thy late home,
Amid the unviolated grove,