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The frog has changed his yellow vest,
And in a russet coat is dressed.
Though June, the air is cold and still,
The mellow blackbird's voice is shrill.
My dog, so altered in his taste,
Quits mutton-bones on grass to feast;
And see yon rooks, how odd their flight,
They imitate the gliding kite,
And seem precipitate to fall,
As if they felt the piercing ball.
'Twill surely rain, I see with sorrow,
Our jaunt must be put off to-morrow.

E. Jenner

XXVII

HOW THEY BROUGHT THE GOOD

NEWS FROM GHENT TO AIX I sprang to the stirrup, and Joris, and he; I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three; ‘Good speed ! cried the watch, as the gate-bolts

undrew; 'Speed !' echoed the wall to us galloping through; Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest, And into the midnight we galloped abreast.

Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our

place; I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight, Then shortened each stirrup, and set the pique

right, Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chained slacker the bit, Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.

'Twas moonset at starting; but, while we drew near
Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear;
At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see;
At Düffeld, 'twas morning as plain as could be;
And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the

half-chime,
So Joris broke silence with, “Yet there is time!'

At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun,
And against him the cattle stood black every one,
To stare through the mist at us galloping past,
And I saw my stout galloper, Roland, at last,
With resolute shoulders each butting away
The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray;

And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent

back For my voice, and the other pricked out on his

track; And one eye's black intelligence,-ever that glance O'er its white edge at me, his own master, askance! And the thick heavy spume-flakes which aye and

anon

His fierce lips shook upwards in galloping on.

By Hasselt, Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, 'Stay

spur!

Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her, We'll remember at Aix'- for one heard the quick

wheeze Of her chest, saw the stretched neck, and staggering

knees, And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank, As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.

So we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Loos and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh,
'Neath our foot broke the brittle bright stubble like

chaff;
Till over by Dalhem a dome-tower sprang white,
And Gallop,' cried Joris, 'for Aix is in sight!'

'How they'll greet us !' and all in a moment his roan Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone; And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight Of the news which alone could save Aix from her

fate, With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim, And with circles of red for his eye-sockets' rim.

Then I cast my loose buff-coat, each holster let fall, Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all, Stood up in the stirrup, leaned, patted his ear, Called my Roland his pet name, my horse without

peer; Clapped my hands, laughed and sang, any noise,

bad or good, Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.

And all I remember is friends flocking round
As I sate with his head 'twixt my knees on the

ground, And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine, As I poured down his throat our last measure of

wine, Which (the burgesses voted by common consent) Was no more than his due who brought good news from Ghent.

R. Browning

XXVIII

THE RAINBOW

A fragment of a rainbow bright

Through the moist air I see,
All dark and damp on yonder height,

All bright and clear to me.

An hour ago the storm was here,

The gleam was far behind,
So will our joys and grief appear,

When earth has ceased to blind.

Grief will be joy if on its edge

Fall soft that holiest ray,
Joy will be grief if no faint pledge
Be there of heavenly day.

7. Keble

XXIX

THE RAVEN AND THE OAK

Underneath an old oak tree
There was of swine a huge company,
That grunted as they crunch'd the mast:
For that was ripe and fell full fast.
Then they trotted away, for the wind it grew high:
One acorn they left and no more might you spy.

Next came a Raven that liked not such folly:
He belonged, they did say, to the witch Melan-

choly !
Blacker was he than blackest jet,
Flew low in the rain and his feathers not wet.
He picked up the acorn and buried it straight
By the side of a river both deep and great.

Where then did the Raven go ?

He went high and low,
Over hill, over dale, did the black Raven go.

Many autumns, many springs
Travelled he with wandering wings:
Many summers, many winters~
I can't tell half his adventures.

At length he came back, and with him a she,
And the acorn was grown to a tall oak tree.
They built them a nest in the topmost bough,
And young ones they had and were happy enow.
But soon came a woodman in leathern guise,
His brow, like a pent house, hung over his eyes.
He'd an axe in his hand, not a word he spoke,
But with many a hem! and a sturdy stroke,
At length he brought down the poor Raven's old

oak. His young ones were killed, for they could not

depart, And their mother did die of a broken heart. The boughs from the trunk the woodman did sever; And they floated it down on the course of the river. They sawed it in planks, and its bark they did

strip, And with this tree and others they made a good

ship.

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