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Modest, yet withal an Elf
Bold, and lavish of thyself;
Since we needs must first have met
I have seen thee, high and low,
Thirty years or more, and yet
"T was a face I did not know;
Thou hast now, go where I may,
Fifty greetings in a day.
Ere a leaf is on a bush,
In the time before the Thrush
Has a thought about her nest,
Thou wilt come with half a call,
Spreading out thy glossy breast
Like a careless Prodigal;
Telling tales about the sun,
When we've little warmth or none.
Poets, vain men in their mood! Travel with the multitude; Never heed them; I aver
That they are all wanton Wooers;
But the thrifty Cottager,
Who stirs little out of doors,
Joys to spy thee near her home;
Spring is coming, Thou art come!
Comfort have thou of thy merit,
Kindly, unassuming Spirit!
Careless of thy neighbourhood,
Thou dost show thy pleasant face
On the moor, and in the wood,
In the lane- there's not a place,
Howsoever mean it be,
But 't is good enough for thee.
Ill befall the yellow Flowers,
Children of the flaring hours!
Buttercups, that will be seen,
Whether we will see or no;
Others, too, of lofty mien;
They have done as worldlings do,
Taken praise that should be thine,
Little, humble Celandine!
Prophet of delight and mirth,
Ill-requited upon earth;
Herald of a mighty band,
Of a joyous train ensuing,
Serving at my heart's command,
Tasks that are no tasks renewing,
I will sing as doth behove,
Hymns in praise of what I love!
TO THE SAME FLOWER. PLEASURES newly found are sweet When they lie about our feet: February last, my heart
First at sight of thee was glad;
All unheard of as thou art,
Thou must needs, I think, have had,
I have not a doubt but he,
Whosoe'er the man might be,
Who the first with pointed rays
(Workmen worthy to be sainted
Set the sign-board in a blaze,
When the rising sun he painted,
Took the fancy from a glance
At thy glittering countenance.
Soon as gentle breezes bring
News of winter's vanishing,
And the children build their bowers
Sticking 'kerchief-plots of mould
All about with full-blown flowers,
Thick as sheep in shepherd's fold.
With the proudest thou art there,
Mantling in the tiny square.
Often have I sighed to measure
By myself a lonely pleasure,
Sighed to think, I read a book
Only read, perhaps, by me;
Yet I long could overlook
Thy bright coronet and Thee,
And thy arch and wily ways,
And thy store of other praise.
Blithe of heart from week to week
Thou dost play at hide-and-seek;
While the patient primrose sits
Like a Beggar in the cold,
Thou, a Flower of wiser wits,
Slip'st into thy sheltering hold;
Liveliest of the vernal train
When ye all are out again.
Drawn by what peculiar spell,
By what charm of sight or smell,
Does the dim-eyed curious Bee,
Labouring for her waxen cells,
Fondly settle upon Thee,
Prized above all buds and bells
Opening daily at thy side,
By the season multiplied?
Thou art not beyond the moon,
But a thing “beneath our shoon:"
Let the bold Discoverer thrid
In his bark the polar sea;
Rear who will a pyramid;
Praise it is enough for me,
If there be but three or four
Who will love my little Flower.
THE WATERFALL AND THE EGLANTINE. "BEGONE, thou fond presumptuous Elf," Exclaimed an angry Voice,
"Nor dare to trust thy foolish self Between me and my choice."
In and out, he darts about;
Can this be the Bird, to man so good,
That, after their bewildering,
Covered with leaves the little children,
So painfully in the wood?
What ailed thee, Robin, that thou could'st pursue A beautiful Creature,
That is gentle by nature?
Beneath the summer sky
From flower to flower let him fly;
"T is all that he wishes to do.
The Cheerer Thou of our in-door sadness,
He is the Friend of our summer gladness:
What hinders, then, that ye should be
Playmates in the sunny weather,
And fly about in the air together!
Ha beautiful wings in crimson are drest,
A crimson as bright as thine own:
If thou would'st be happy in thy nest,
O pious Bird! whom man loves best,
Love him or leave him alone!
THAT way look, my Infant, lo!
What a pretty baby show!
See the Kitten on the Wall,
Sporting with the leaves that fall,
Withered leaves- one-two- and three
From the lofty Elder-tree!
Through the calm and frosty air,
Of this morning bright and fair,
Eddying round and round they sink
Softly, slowly one might think,
From the motions that are made,
Every little leaf conveyed
Sylph or Faery hither tending, –
To this lower world descending,
Each invisible and mute,
In his wavering parachute.
But the Kitten, how she starts, Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts! First at one, and then its fellow Just as light and just as yellow; There are many now- now oneNow they stop and there are none; What intenseness of desire
In her upward eye of fire!
With a tiger-leap half way
Now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then
Has it in her power again:
Quick as he in feats of art,
Far beyond in joy of heart.
Were her antics played in the eye
Of a thousand Standers-by,
Clapping hands with shout and stare,
What would little Tabby care
For the plaudits of the Crowd?
Over happy to be proud,
Over wealthy in the treasure
Of her own exceeding pleasure!
"T is a pretty Baby-treat;
Nor, I deem, for me unmeet;
Here, for neither Babe nor me,
Other Play-mate can I see.
Of the countless living things,
That with stir of feet and wings
(In the sun or under shade,
Upon bough or grassy blade)
And with busy revellings,
Chirp and song, and murmurings,
Made this Orchard's narrow space,
And this Vale so blithe a place;
Multitudes are swept away,
Never more to breathe the day:
Some are sleeping; some in Bands
Travelled into distant Lands;
Others slunk to moor and wood,
Far from human neighbourhood;
And, among the Kinds that keep
With us closer fellowship,
Vainly glitter hill and plain,
And the air is calm in vain;
Vainly Morning spreads the lure
Of a sky serene and pure;
Creature none can she decoy
Into open sign of joy :
Is it that they have a fear
Of the dreary season near?
Or that other pleasures be
Sweeter even than gaiety?
Yet, whate'er enjoyments dwell
In the impenetrable cell
Of the silent heart which Nature
Furnishes to every Creature;
Whatsoe'er we feel and know
Too sedate for outward show,
Such a light of gladness breaks,
Pretty Kitten! from thy freaks, —
Spreads with such a living grace
O'er my little Laura's face;
Yes, the sight so stirs and charms
Thee, Baby, laughing in my arms,
That almost I could repine
That your transports are not mine, That I do not wholly fare
Even as ye do, thoughtless Pair!
And I will have my careless season
Spite of melancholy reason,
Will walk through life in such a way
That, when time brings on decay,
Now and then I may possess
Hours of perfect gladsomeness.
-Pleased by any random toy;
By a Kitten's busy joy,
Or an Infant's laughing eye
Sharing in the ecstasy;
I would. fare like that or this,
Find my wisdom in my bliss;
Keep the sprightly soul awake,
And have faculties to take,
Even from things by sorrow wrought,
Matter for a jocund thought,
Spite of care, and spite of grief,
To gambol with Life's falling Leaf.
A FLOWER GARDEN.
TELL me, ye Zephyrs! that unfold, While fluttering o'er this gay Recess, Pinions that fanned the teeming mould Of Eden's blissful wilderness,
Did only softly-stealing Hours
There close the peaceful lives of flowers?