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“ Yet keep good heart, my Mabel,
If thou the fairies see,
If they should speak to thee. “ And when into the fir-wood
Thou go'st for fagots brown, Do not, like idle children,
Go wandering up and down.
My child, with earnest speed;
Within the wood, take heed. “For they are spiteful brownies
Who in the wood abide,
Lest evil should betide.
Whilst thou art in the wood, Of dwarfish, wilful brownies,
But of the Father good.
To fetch the water thence,
Lest this should give offence.
She loves that water bright;
On many a summer night. “But she's a gracious lady,
And her thou need'st not fear; Only disturb thou not the stream,
Nor spill the water clear!"
Will no word disobey,
With the wheaten cake so fine; With the new-made pat of butter,
And the little flask of wine. And long before the sun was hot,
And morning mists had cleared, Beside the good old grandmother
The willing child appeared. And all her mother's message
She told with right good-will, How that the father was away,
And the little child was ill.
And then the table spread;
And then she made the bed.
“ Ten paces down the dell, And bring in water for the day;
Thou know'st the lady-well.!"
The first time that good Mabel went,
Nothing at all saw she,
That sate upon a tree.
There sate a lady bright
All clothed in green and white.
And then she stooped to fill
But no drop did she spill. “Thou art a handy maiden,"
The fairy lady said ; “ Thou hast not spilled a drop, nor yet
The fair spring troubled ! “ And for this thing which thou hast done,
Yet may'st not understand, I give to thee a better gift
Than houses or than land.
As thou hast done this day;
And shalt be loved alway!"
And nought could Mabel see,
Upon the leafy tree. -“And now go,” said the grandmother,
“ And fetch in fagots dry; All in the neighbouring fir-wood,
Beneath the trees they lie.”
Into the fir-wood near,
And the grass grew thin and sere.
Nor yet a live branch pull,
She picked her apron full.
Came sliding to her mind,
With home-thoughts sweet and kind.
Within the fir-wood still, They watched her how she picked the wood,
And strove to do no ill. “ And oh, but she is small and neat,"
Said one, " 'twere shame to spite A creature so demure and meek,
A creature harmless quite !" “ Look only," said another,
“ At her little gown of blue; At the kerchief pinned about her head, And at her little shoe !"
Thus happened it to Mabel
On that Midsummer-day, And these three fairy-blessings
She look with her away. - "Tis good to make all duty sweet,
To be alert and kind; "Tis good, like little Mabel,
To have a willing mind!
A CHRISTMAS CAROL.
"Oh, but she is a comely child,”
Said a third, “and we will lay A good-luck-penny in her path,
A boon for her this day, – Seeing she broke no living wood;
No live thing did affray."
Of the finest silver ore,
Lay Mabel's feet before.
The fairy penny good;
Went wondering from the wood.
“Let flax be ever so dear, Will buy her clothes of the very best,
For many and many a year!" -"And go, now," said the grandmother,
"Since falling is the dew,
And milk the mother-ewe !"
Through copses thick and wild;
Went on the willing child.
She kept beside the burn,
Nor broke the lady-fern.
Within the lonesome glen,
Were strong and well again.
She heard a coming sound,
Were gathering all around.
AWAKE, arise, good Christians,
Let nothing you dismay;
Was born upon this day!
That now is in the sky,
Came down from God on high. Came down on clouds of glory,
Arrayed in shining light, Unto the shepherd-people,
Who watched their flocks by night. And through the midnight silence
The heavenly host began, "Glory to God the highest ;
On earth good-will to man!
For, on this happy morn,
In Bethlehem town is born!"
And then she heard a little voice,
Shrill as the midge's wing, That spake aloud,“ a human child
Is here — yet mark this thing!
“The lady-fern is all unbroke,
The strawberry.flower unta'en ! What shall be done for her, who still
From mischief can refrain ?"
Up rose the joysul shepherds
From the ground whereon they lay, As ye should rise, good Christians,
To hail this blessed day! Up rose the simple shepherds,
All with a joyful mind; “And let us go, with speed," said they,
· This holy child to find !" Not in a kingly palace
The son of God they found, But in a lowly manger
Where oxen fed around. The glorious king of heaven;
The Lord of all the earth, In mercy condescended
To be of humble birth. There worshipped him the wise men,
As prophets had foretold; And laid their gifts before him,
Frankincense, myrrh, and gold.
With holy wonder stirred,
" Give her a fairy-cake!" said one,
“Grant her a wish!" said three; “The latest wish that she hath wished,"
Said all, “ whate'er it be!"! – Kind Mabel heard the words they spake,
And from the lonesome glen, Unto the good old grandmother
Went gladly back again.
And homeward went rejoicing
Upon that Christmas morn, Declaring unto every one,
That Jesus Christ was born. That he was born, - the Saviour,
The promised one of old ; That they had seen the son of God
To every one they told. And, like unto the shepherds,
We wander far and near, And bid ye wake, good Christians,
The joyful news to hear. Awake, arise, good Christians,
Let nothing you dismay, Remember Christ the Saviour
Was born upon this day!
'Mid the mighty, 'mid the mean, Little children may be seen, Like the flowers that spring up fair, Bright and countless, everywhere! In the far isles of the main; In the desert's lone domain; In the savage mountain-glen, 'Mong the tribes of swarthy men; Wheresoe'er a foot hath gone: Wheresoe'er the sun hath shone On a league of peopled ground, Little children may be found ! Blessings on them! they in me Move a kindly sympathy, With their wishes, hopes, and fears; With their laughter and their tears; With their wonder so intense, And their small experience! Little children, not alone On the wide earth are ye known, 'Mid its labours and its cares, 'Mid its sufferings and its snares. Free from sorrow, free from strife, In the world of love and life, Where no sinful thing hath trod; In the presence of your God. Spotless, blameless, glorified, Little children, ye abide!
LITTLE CHILDREN. SPORTING through the forest wide; Playing by the water-side ; Wandering o'er the heathy fells; Down within the woodland dells; All among the mountain wild, Dwelleth many a little child ! In the baron's hall of pride; By the poor man's dull fireside ;
Dost mark the billows heaving
Before the coming gale ;
That turns the seaman pale ?
Loy'st thou the lightning's flash; The booming of the mountain waves —
The thunder's deafening crash ?
Thou art a bird of woe!
Of the misery thou dost know! There was a ship went down last night,
A good ship and a fair; A costly freight within her lay,
And many a soul was there ! The night-black storm was over her,
And 'neath the caverned wave: In all her strength she perished,
Nor skill of man could save.
Went upward to the sky;
Nor human aid was nigh.
Went'st screaming o'er the foam ;Are there no tidings from that ship
Which thou canst carry home? Yes! He who raised the tempest up,
Sustained each drooping one; And God was present in the storm,
Though human aid was none!
One moment he beholds his flowers,
The next they are forgot : He eateth of his rarest fruits
As though he ate them not. It is not with the poor man so ;
He knows each inch of ground, And every single plant and flower
That grows within its bound. He knows where grow his wall-flowers,
And when they will be out; His moss-rose, and convolvulus
That twines his pales about. He knows his red sweet-williams;
And the stocks that cost him dear, That well-set row of crimson stocks,
For he bought the seed last year. And though unto the rich man
The cost of flowers is nought, A sixpence to a poor man
Is toil, and care, and thought. And here is his potatoe-bed,
All well-grown, strong, and green ; How could a rich man's heart leap up
At anything so mean!
And a thankful man is he,
How rich his board will be
Beside the fire will stand, Each with a large potatoe
In a round and rosy hand. The rich man has his wall-fruits,
And his delicious vines;
His melons and his pines.
His currants white and red;
And a little strawberry-bed. A happy man he thinks himself,
A man that 's passing well,To have some fruit for the children,
And some besides to sell.
THE POOR MAN'S GARDEN. Ah yes, the poor man's garden!
It is great joy to me,
Before his door to see!
His gardeners young and old;
Nor worketh in the mould. It is not with the poor man so,
Wealth, servants, he has none; And all the work that's done for him
Must by himself be done. All day upon some weary task
He toileth with good will;
His garden-plot to till.
And 'neath his garden trees;
He seems to take his ease.
Around the rich man's trellissed bower
Gay, costly creepers run;
To screen him from the sun.
And there before the little bench,
O'ershadowed by the bower, Grow southern-wood and lemon-thyme,
Sweet-pea and gilliflower;
Rich-scented side by side ;
And here comes the old grandmother,
When her day's work is done ;
To cheer it in the sun.
The good man comes to get
White pink, and mignonette. And here, on Sabbath-evenings,
Until the stars are out,
He walketh all about.
Him doth it satisfy;
That does not fill his eye.
For though his grounds are wide,
With soul unsatisfied.
Far more than herbs and flowers;
And joy for weary hours.
The old, mossy apple-tree ;
I know every apple-tree !
Bringing dark days, frost, and rime; But the apple is in vogue
At the Christmas-time;
Folks are full of glee;
Of the primest tree;
of the brave old apple-tree!
Let them sing of bright red gold ;
Let them sing of silver fair; Sing of all that is on the earth,
All that's in the air; All that's in the sunny air,
All that's in the sea ;
Of the apple-tree!
The ripe, rosy apple-tree !
Which they ponder day and night; Easier leaves than theirs I read,
Blossoms pink and white; Blossom-leaves all pink and white,
Wherein I can see
The old apple-tree;
The ripe, rosy apple-tree !
Soon as harvest-toil is o'er,
Be they less or more ;
Is well-known to me ;
of the apple-tree;
Lo! there the hermit of the waste,
The ghost of ages dim, The fisher of the solitudes,
Stands by the river's brim! Old Heron, in the feudal times,
Beside the forest stream, And by the moorland waters,
Thus didst thou love to dream. And over towers and castles high,
And o'er the armed men, Skirmishing on the border-lands,
Or crouching in the glen; Thy heavy wings were seen to flit,
Thy azure shape was known To pilgrim and to anchorite,
In deserts scorched and lone. Old Heron, in those feudal times
Thou wast in dangerous grace,
All for the royal chase.
Than one which wore a crown;
From the skies to strike thee down. And out came trooping courtly dames,
And men of high degree, On steeds caparisoned in gold,
With bridles ringing free. Came king and queen; came warrior stout;
Came lord and lady fair,
Into the autumn air.
The monk with crown new-shorn,
In the last Lent forlorn.