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Unheard and unespied
Through key-holes we do glide;
Over tables, stools, and shelves,
We trip it with our fairy elves.
And if the house is swept,
And from uncleanness kept,
We praise the household maid,
And duly she is paid ;
For every night, before we go,
We drop a tester [1] in her shoe.
Then o'er a mushroom's head
Our table-cloth we spread ;
A grain of rye or wheat,
The manchet [2] that we eat;
Pearly drops of dew we drink
In acorn-cups fill’d to the brink.
The grasshopper, gnat, and fly,
Serve for our minstrelsy.
Grace said, we dance awhile,
And so the time beguile;
And if the moon doth hide her head,
The glow-worm lights us home to bed.
O’er tops of dewy grass
So nimbly do we pass,
The young and tender stalk
Ne'er bends where we do walk;
Yet in the morning may be seen
Where we, the night before, have been.

[1] Tester-a sixpence.
[2] Manchet-a small white loaf.



Say, weary bird, whose level flight,
Thus at the dusky hour of night

Tends thro' the midway air,
Why yet beyond the verge of day
Is lengthen'd out thy dark delay,
Adding another to the hours of care?

The wren, within her mossy nest,
Has hush'd her little brood to rest ;

The wild wood-pigeon, rock'd on high,
Has coo'd his last soft notes of love,
And fondly nestles by his dove,
To guard her downy young from the inclement sky.

Haste, bird, and nurse thy callow brood ;
They call on heaven and thee for food,

On some bleak cliff's neglected tree;
Haste, weary bird, thy lagging flight-
It is the chilling hour of night,

Fit hour of rest for me and thee!


Down the deep and miry lane,
Creaking comes the empty wain ;
And driver on the shaft-horse sits,
Whistling now and then by fits ;

And oft, with his accustom'd call,
Urging on the sluggish Ball.
The barn is still, the master's gone,
The thresher puts his jacket on,
While Dick, upon the ladder tall,
Nails the dead kite to the wall.

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Here comes shepherd, Jack, at last,
He has penn’d the sheep-cote fast;
For 'twas but two nights before,
A lamb was eaten on the moor:
His empty wallet Rover carries,
Nor for Jack, when near home, tarries ;
With lolling tongue he runs to try
If the horse-trough is not dry.
The milk is settled in the pans,
And supper messes in the cans ;
In the hovel carts are wheel'd,
And both the colts are driven a-field;
The snare for Mister Fox is set,
The leaven laid, the thatching wet,
And Bess has slunk away to talk,
With Roger, in the holly-walk.

Kirke White.


I saw an aged beggar in my walk ;
And he was seated by the highway side,

On a low structure of rude masonry,
Built at the foot of a huge hill, that they
Who lead their horses down the steep rough road
May thence remount at ease. The aged man
Had placed his staff across the broad smooth stone
That overlays the pile ; and from a bag,
All white with flour, the dole of village dames,
He drew his scraps and fragments one by one,
And scanned them with a fixed and serious look
Of idle computation. In the sun,
Upon the second step of that small pile,
Surrounded by those wild, unpeopled hills,
He sat, and ate his food in solitude :
And, ever scattered from his palsied hand,
That, still attempting to prevent the waste,
Was baffled still, the crumbs in little showers
Fell on the ground; and the small mountain birds,
Not venturing yet to peck their destined meal,
Approached within the length of half his staff.

Him from my childhood have I known ; and then
He was so old, he seems not older now;
He travels on, a solitary man,
So helpless in appearance, that for him
The sauntering horseman-traveller does not throw
With careless hand his alms upon the ground,
But stops—that he may safely lodge the coin
Within the old man's hat-nor quits him so,
But still, when he has given his horse the rein,
Watches the aged beggar with a look
Sidelong, and half reverted. She who tends
The toll-gate, when in summer at her door
She turns her wheel, if on the road she sees

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The aged beggar coming, quits her work
And lifts the latch for him, that he may pass.
The postboy, when his rattling wheels o'ertake
The aged beggar in the woody lane,
Shouts to him from behind; and if, thus warned,
The old man does not change his course, the boy
Turns with less noisy wheels to the road side,
And passes gently by—without a curse
Upon his lips, or anger at his heart.
He travels on, a solitary man ;
His age has no companion. On the ground
His eyes are turned, and, as he moves along,
They move along the ground : and evermore,
Instead of common and habitual sight
Of fields with rural works, of hill and dale,
And the blue sky, one little span of earth
Is all his prospect. Thus from day to day,
Bow-bent, his eyes for ever on the ground,
He plies his weary journey, seeing still,
And seldom knowing that he sees, some straw,
Some scattered leaf or marks which, in one track,
The nails of cart or chariot wheel have left
Impress'd on the white road in the same line,
At distance still the same. Poor traveller!
His staff trails with him; scarcely do his feet
Disturb the summer dust; he is so still
In look and motion, that the cottage curs,
Ere he has passed the door, will turn away,
Weary of barking at him. Boys and girls,
The vacant and the busy, maids and youths,
And urchins newly breeched-all pass him by :
Him even the slow-paced waggon leaves behind.


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