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And the tawny owl and the noisy daw,
While the trees are leafless;
While the fields are bare, Buttercups and Daisies
Spring up here and there.
Ere the crocus bold,
Opes its paly gold,
Buttercups are bright; Somewhere 'mong the frozen grass
Peeps the Daisy white. Little hardy flowers
Like to children poor, Playing in their sturdy health
By their mother's door; Purple with the north-wind,
Yet alert and bold, Fearing not and caring not,
Though they be a-cold! What to them is weather!
What are stormy showers ! Buttercups and Daisies
Are these human flowers! He who gave them hardship
And a life of care, Gave them likewise hardy strength
And patient hearts, to bear. Welcome yellow buttercups,
Welcome daisies white, Ye are in my spirit
Visioned, a delight! Coming ere the spring-time
Of sunny hours to tell — Speaking to our hearts of HIM
Who doeth all things well.
“ The mare was blind, and lame, and thin, And she had not a bone but it pierced her skin; For twenty years did she come and go, We'll be with her anon!" croaked the Carrion-crow. “And there bleats a lamb by the thundering linn, The mother ewe she has tumbled in; Three days ago and the lamb was strong, Now he is weak with fasting long. “All day long he moans and calls, And over his mother the water falls; He can see his mother down below, But why she comes not he does not know. “ His little heart doth pine away, And fainter and fainter he bleats to-day; So loud o'er the linn the waters brawl, That the shepherd he hears him not at all! “Twice I've been down to look at him, But he glanced on me his eyeballs dim; And among the stones so cold and bare, I saw the raven watching there. “ He'll have the first peck at his black eye, And taste of his heart before it die:Aha! though the hungry raven is there, As soon as he's ready we 'll have our share !" These are the words of the Carrion-crow, As he first croaks loud and then croaks low, And the spiders and millipedes hear him croak, As he sits up aloft on the ancient oak.
THE TIT MOUSE, OR BLUE-CAP. The merry Titmouse is a comical fellow; He weareth a plumage of purple and yellow, Barred over with black, and with white interlaced;Depend on 't, the Titmouse has excellent taste. And he, like his betters of noble old blood, Keeps up, with great spirit, a family feud; A feud with the owl;-and why? would you know;An old, by-gone quarrel of ages ago :Perhaps in the ark might be taken offence, But I know not, indeed, of the where and the
whence; Only this is quite true,– let them meet as they may, Having quarrelled long since, they would quarrel to
day. But we'll leave them to settle this ancient affair, And now look at his nest, made with exquisite care, Of lichen, and moss, and the soft downy feather. And the web of the spider to keep it together.
BUTTERCUPS AND DAISIES.
BUTTERCUPS and Daisies
Oh the pretty flowers, Coming ere the spring time
To tell of sunny hours.
I love it when it streameth in
The humble cottage door,
Upon the red-brick floor.
Deep in the clovery grass,
The gold-green beetles pass.
I love it on the breezy sea,
To glance on sail and oar, While the great waves, like molten glass,
Come leaping to the shore. I love it on the mountain-tops,
Where lies the thawless snow,
Lies stretching out below.
Hidden, and green, and cool, Through mossy boughs and veinèd leaves,
How is it beautful!
Is a brick out of place by your window?-don't send For the man with the trowel the fracture to mend, Through the dry months of summer, just leave it
alone, For the poor little Titmouse has made it his own. Peep in now, and look at that wonderful labour; And be glad to have near you so merry a neighbour; His work unto him is no trouble - behold For one moment his motions, so tricksy and bold. How he twists, how he turns with a harlequin grace! He can't lift a feather without a grimace; He carries the moss in his bill with an air ; And he laughs at the spider he robs of his lair. See his round, burly head, that is like a Friar Tuck, And his glancing black eye that is worthy of Puck; Saw you ever a merrier creature than he ? Oh, no!-make him welcome, as welcome can be ! His nest now is finished with fine cobweb thread, And the eggs are laid in it, white speckled with red; Now knock at the wall, or rap loud on the pane, Hark! what is that rapping so briskly again! "Tis the blithe mother-bird, all alive and alert, As her mate, every whit, is she comic and pert; Rap you once, - she raps twice ; she has nothing
to do, But to keep her eggs warm, and be neighbourly too! Oh, what! did you say that the Titmouse was steal
ing, That he ate your pear-buds while he shammed to be
reeling; And nipped off the apricot-bloom in his fun? And that shortly you 'll end his career with a gun! Oh! hold back your hand,—'twere a deed to repent; of your blame the poor fellow is quite innocent, – Stand back for one moment - anon he 'll be here, He believes you his friend, and he thinks not of fear. Here he comes !-see how drolly he looketh askew;And now hangs head downward; now glances on
you! Be not rash, though he light on your apricot-bough,Though he touches a bud, -there, he touches it now! There, he's got what he wanted, and off he has
flown!Now look at the apricot bud, - is it gone? Not the apricot bud, --but the grub that was in itYou may thank him, — he does you a service each
minute. Then love the poor Titmouse, and welcome him too, Great beauty is there in his yellow and blue; He's a fine cheerful fellow -- so let him be free of your garden—10 build in your wall or your tree!
How beautiful on little stream,
When sun and shade at play, Make silvery meshes, while the brook
Goes singing on its way.
Are wondrous to behold,
And bodies blue and gold !
How beautiful, on harvest slopes,
To see the sunshine lie; Or on the paler reaped fields,
Where yellow shocks stand high!
Oh, yes! I love the sunshine!
Like kindness or like mirth, Upon a human countenance,
Is sunshine on the earth!
Upon the earth; upon the sea ;
And through the crystal air, Or piled-up cloud ; the gracious sun
Is glorious everywhere!
ELEPHANT, thou sure must be
SUNSHINE. I LOVE the sunshine everywhere,
In wood and field and glen; I love it in the busy haunts
Of town-imprisoned men.
And with up-turned trunk didst browse, On the reed-palm's lowest boughs ; And didst see, upcurled from light, The ever-sleeping ammonite; And those dragon-worms at play In the waters old and grey ! Tell me, creature, in what place, Thou, the Noah of thy race, Wast preserved when death was sent Like a raging element, Like a whirlwind passing by,In the twinkling of an eye, Leaving mother earth forlorn Of her mighty eldest-born ;Turning all her life to stone With one universal groan! In what cavern drear and dark, Elephant, hast thou thine ark ? Dost thou in thy memory hold Record of that tale untold ? If thou do, I pray thee tell, It were worth the knowing well. Elephant, so old and vast, Thou a kindly nature hast; Grave thou art, and strangely wise, With observant, serious eyes, Somewhat in thy brain must be Of an old sagacity. Thou art solemn, wise and good ; Thou livest not on streaming blood; Thou, and all thine ancient frere, Were of natures unsevere; Preying not on one another; Nourished by the general mother Who gave forests thick and tall, Food and shelter for you all. Elephant, if thou hadst been Like the tiger fierce and keen, Like the lion of the brake, Or the deadly rattle-snake, Ravenous as thou art strong, Terror would to thee belong; And before thy mates and thee, All the earth would desert be! But instead, thou yield'st thy will, Tractable, and peaceful still; Full of good intent, and mild As a humble little child; Serving with obedience true, Aiding, loving, mourning too; For each noble sentiment In thy good, great heart is blent!
What an isle of beauty
The noble bird hath formed, The greenest trees and stateliest
Grow all the isle around.
In the water bright,
Plumy all and white.
Now he lies at rest,
To play about his breast.
Strong, and glad, and free! Dwelling on these waters,-
How pleasant it must be! Like a gleam of sunshine
In shadow passing on,Like a wreath of snow, thou art,
Wild and graceful swan! Thick grow the flowers
'Neath the chestnut shade ; Green grow the bulrushes
Where thy nest is made: Lovely ye, and loving, too,
The mother bird and thee, Watching o'er your cygnet brood,
Beneath the river tree. Kings made laws a-many,
Laws both stern and strong, In the days of olden time,
You to keep from wrong ; And o'er their palace-waters
Ye went, a gallant show, And Surrey and his Geraldine,
Beheld ye sailing slow. Tell me, Swan, I pray thee,
Art of that high race, Or a sylvan creature
From some far, lone place ? Saw ye in woody Athelney,
True Alfred's care and pain, Or, riding out among his men,
Good King Canute the Dane? No, from 'mid the icebergs,
Through long ages piled,
By the winter wild;
On their far journeys go;
Over the wastes of snow; From northern wildernesses,
Wild, and lone, and drear, Ice-lakes, cold and gleaming,
Ye have hastened here. The pleasant streams of England
Your homeward flight have stayed, And here among the bulrushes Your English nest is made.
THE WILD SWAN.
Fair flows the river,
Smoothly gliding on ; Green grow the bulrushes
Around the stately swan.
THE MILL STREAM.
LONG trails of cistus-flowers
Creep on the rocky hill; And beds of strong spear-mint
Grow round about the mill; And from a mountain tarn above,
As peaceful as a dream, Like to child unruly, Though schooled and counselled truly,
Foams down the wild mill-stream! The wild mill-stream it dasheth,
In merriment away,
So busy all the day!
The mountain-roses fall; And fern and adder's tongue
Grow on the old mill-wall. The tarn is on the upland moor,
Where not a leaf doth grow; And through the mountain-gashes, The merry mill-stream dashes
Down to the sea below: But, in the quiet hollows,
The red trout groweth prime, For the miller and the miller's son
To angle when they've time. Then fair befall the stream
That turns the mountain-mill; And fair befall the narrow road
That windeth up the hill! And good luck to the countryman,
And to his old grey mare, That upward toileth steadily, With meal-sacks laden heavily,
In storm as well as fair!
And to the miller's son ;
While mountain-waters run!
To see the red squirrel frisk hither and thither,
And the water-rat plunging about in his mirth; And the thousand small lives that the warm summer
weather, Calls forth to rejoice on the bountiful earth! Then the mountains, how fair! to the blue vault of
heaven Towering up in the sunshine, and drinking the
light, While adown their deep chasms, all splintered and
riven, Fall the far-gleaming cataracts silvery white! And where are the flowers that in beauty are glow.
ing In the garden and fields of the young, merry spring, Like the mountain-side wilds of the yellow broom
blowing, And the old forest pride, the red wastes of the ling? Then the garden, no longer 'tis leafless and chilly, But warm with the sunshine and bright with the
sheen Or rich flowers, the moss rose and the bright tiger-lily,
Barbaric in pomp as an Ethiop Queen.
The larkspur, the pink, and the sweet mignionette, And the blue fleur-de-lis, in the warm sunlight shin
ing, As if grains of gold in its petals were set! Yes, the summer,--the radiant summer's the fairest, For green-woods and mountains, for meadows and
bowers, For waters, and fruits, and for flowers the rarest,
And for bright shining butterflies, lovely as flowers!
SUMMMER. ay may boast of the spring-time when flowers are
the fairest, And birds sing by thousands on every green tree ; They may call it the loveliest, the greenest, the
rarest; But the summer 's the season that 's dearest to me! For the brightness of sunshine ; the depth of the
shadows; The crystal of waters; the fulness of green, And the rich flowery growth of the old pasture
meadows, In the glory of summer can only be seen. Oh, the joy of the green-wood! I love to be in it,
And list to the hum of the never-still bees, And to hear the sweet voice of the old mother linnet,
Calling unto her young 'mong the leaves of the trees !
Hark! hark! the merry warden's horn
On the free breeze away!
For 'tis a merry day! With braided hair, of gold or jet, There's many a May and Margaret. Before her stately mirror set,
With waiting-woman by; There's scarlet cloak, and hat and hood; And riding-dress of camlet good, Green as the leaf within the wood,
To shroud those ladies high.
And presently they are arrayed,
Yours were the days of civil feud;
Of Woodstock's bloody bower!
To moat and castle-wall; To serf and baron, page and dame; To abbot sleek, as spaniel tame; To kings who could not sign their name;
To times of wrong and thrall! Times are not now as they were then; Ours is a race of different men, Who loathe the sword and love the pen;
For right, not rapine, bold. No more, as then, the ladies bright Work tapestry-work from morn till night; The very children read and write,
Like learned clerks of old!
Oh, Falcon proud, and goshawk gay,
Your resting perch by night;
That can control your fight!
And down the stately stairs they go,
And follow in the train.
For they will hawk to-day.
In such a bright array! The kennelled hounds' long bark is heard; The falconer talking to his bird; The neighing steeds; the angry word
Of grooms ito patient there. But soon the bustle is dismissed ;The falconer sets on every wrist A hooded hawk, that's stroked and kissed
By knight and lady fair.
Each with a bird on hand;
Fall in and join the band.
To moorlands wild and grey;
Impatient for their prey.
Nor once the game is missed!
For the hawk upon his wrist!
. And kings were your compeers!
The times of other years!
Lying in London Tower;
Yet, noble bird, old fame is thine ; Still livest thou in the minstrel's line; Still in old pictures art the sign
Of high and pure degree; And still, with kindling hearts we read How barons came to Runymede, Falcon on wrist, to do the deed,
That made all England free!
THE CHILD AND THE FLOWERS
Put up thy work, dear mother;
Dear mother come with me, For I've found within the garden,
The beautiful sweet-pea' And rows of stately hollyhocks
Down by the garden-wall. All yellow, white, and crimson,
So many-hued and tall' And bending on their stalks, mother,
Are roses white and red; And pale-stemmed balsams all a-blow
On every garden-bed Put up thy work, I pray thee,
And come out, mother dear! We used to buy these flowers, But they are growing here !