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WHILE RESTING ON THE BRIDGE AT THE FOOT OF
THE Cock is crowing,
The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,
The lake doth glitter,
The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest;
The cattle are grazing,
Their heads never raising ;
There are forty feeding like one !
Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill
On the top of the bare hill ;
The Ploughboy is whooping —anon — anon:
There's joy in the mountains ;
There 's life in the fountains ;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!
LYRE! though such power do in thy magic live
As might from India's farthest plain
Recall the not unwilling Maid,
Assist me to detain
The lovely Fugitive : Check with thy notes the impulse which, betrayed By her sweet farewell looks, I longed to aid. Here let me gaze enrapt upon that eye, The impregnable and awe-inspiring fort Of contemplation, the calm port By reason fenced from winds that sigh Among the restless sails of vanity. But if no wish be hers that we should part, A humbler bliss would satisfy my heart.
Where all things are so fair, Enough by her dear side to breathe the air
Of this Elysian weather ; And, on or in, or near, the brook, espy Shade upon the sunshine lying
Faint and somewhat pensively; And downward Image gayly vying
With its upright living tree 'Mid silver clouds, and openings of blue sky As soft almost and deep as her cerulean eye.
Nor less the joy with many a glance
Cast up the Stream or down at her beseeching;
To mark its eddying foam-balls prettily distrest
By ever-changing shape and want of rest;
Or watch, with mutual teaching,
The current as it plays
In flashing leaps and stealthy creeps
Adown a rocky maze;
Or note (translucent Summer's happiest chance !)
In the slope-channel floored with pebbles bright,
Stones of all hues, gem emulous of gem,
So vivid that they take from keenest sight
The liquid veil that seeks not to hide them.
She had a tall man's height or more;
Her face from Summer's noontide heat
No bonnet shaded, but she wore
A mantle, to her very feet
Descending with a graceful flow,
And on her head a cap as white as new-fallen snow.
Her skin was of Egyptian brown:
Haughty, as if her eye had seen
Its own light to a distance thrown,
She towered, fit person for a Queen
To lead those ancient Amazonian files;
Or ruling Bandit's wife among the Grecian isles.
Advancing, forth she stretched her hand
And begged an alms with doleful plea
That ceased not; on our English land
Such woes, I knew, could never be ;
And yet a boon I gave her, for the creature
Was beautiful to see, - a weed of glorious feature.
I left her, and pursued my way;
And soon before me did espy
A pair of little Boys at play,
Chasing a crimson butterfly ;
The taller followed with his hat in hand,
Wreathed round with yellow flowers the gayest of
The other wore a rimless crown,
With leaves of laurel stuck about ; :
And, while both followed up and down,
Each whooping with a merry shout,
In their fraternal features I could trace
Unquestionable lines of that wild Suppliant's face.
Yet they, so blithe of heart, seemed unfit
For finest tasks of earth or air:
Wings let them have, and they might fit
Precursors to Aurora's car,
Scattering fresh flowers; though happier far, I
They dart across my path, — but lo,
Each ready with a plaintive whine !
Said I, “ Not half an hour ago
Your Mother has had alms of mine."
“That cannot be," one answered, “she is dead”:-
I looked reproof, — they saw, — but neither hung
“She has been dead, Sir, many a day." — “ Hush, boys ! you 're telling me a lie; It was your Mother, as I say!” And, in the twinkling of an eye, “Come! come !" cried one, and, without more ado, Off to some other play the joyous Vagrants flew !
WHERE are they now, those wanton Boys?
For whose free range the dædal earth
Was filled with animated toys,
And implements of frolic mirth;
With tools for ready wit to guide ;
And ornaments of seemlier pride,