« AnteriorContinuar »
145.—THE WORM AND THE SNAIL. A little worm, too close that played In contact with a gard'ner's spade, Writhing about in sudden pain, Perceived that he was cut in twain ; His nether half left short and free, Much doubting its identity. However, when the shock was past, New circling rings were formed so fast By Nature's hand, which fails her never, That soon he was as long as ever. But yet the insult and the pain This little reptile did retain, In what, in man, is called the brain.
One fine spring evening, bright and wet, Ere yet the April sun was set, When slimy reptiles crawl and coil Forth from the soft and humid soil, He left his subterranean clay, To move along the gravelly way ; Where suddenly his course was stopt, By something on the path that dropt; When, with precaution and surprise, He straight shrunk up to half his size. That 'twas a stone was first his notion, But soon discovering locomotion, He recognised the coat of mail And horny antlers of a snail, Which some young rogue (we beg his pardon) Had flung into his neighbour's garden.
The snail, all shattered and infirm, Deplored his fate, and told the worm.
“ Alas !” says he, “I know it well,
All this is owing to my shell;
They could not send me up so high,
Describing circles in the sky,
But that, on this account, 'tis known
I bear resemblance to a stone :
Would I could rid me of my case,
And find a tenant for the place!
I'll make it known to all my kin ;-
This house to let-inquire within !”
“Good !” says the worm, “ the bargain's struck ;
I take it, and admire my luck ;
That shell, from which you'd fain be free,
Is just the very thing for me.
Oft have I wished, when danger calls,
For such impervious castle walls,
Both for defence and shelter made,
From greedy crow, and murderous spade :
Yes, neighbour snail, I'll hire the room,
And pay the rent when strawberries come.”
“Do,” says the snail, “and I'll declare
You'll find the place in good repair ;
With winding ways, that will not fail
To accommodate your length of tail.”
(This fact the wily rogue concealing-
The fall had broken in his ceiling).
“0,” says the sanguine worm, “I knew
That I might safely deal with you ;"
Thus was the tenement transferred,
And that without another word.
Off went the snail in houseless plight;
Alas! it proved a frosty night,
And ere a peep of morning light,
One wish supreme he found prevail ;
In all the world this foolish snail
Saw nothing he should like so well
Which was—that he had got a shell.
But soon for this he ceased to sigh :
A little duck came waddling by,
Who, having but a youthful bill,
Had ventured not so large a pill,
(E'en at imperious hunger's call)
As this poor reptile, house and all.
But finding such a dainty bite
All ready to his appetite,
Down went the snail, whose last lament
Mourned his deserted tenement.
Meantime the worm had spent his strength
In vain attempts to curl his length
His small apartment's space about,
For head or tail must needs stick out.
Now, if this last was left, 'twas more
Exposed to danger than before,
And 'twould be vastly strange, he said,
To sit in-doors without one's head.
Alas! he now completely bears
The unknown weight of household cares,
And wishes much some kind beholder
Would take the burden off his shoulder.
Now broke the dawn; and soon with fear,
Feeling the shock of footsteps near,
He tried to reach that wished-for goal,
The shelter of a neighbouring hole;
Which proved, when danger threatened sore,
A certain refuge heretofore.
But failed him now this last resort :
His new appendage stopt him short :
For all his efforts would not do
To force it in, or drag it through.
Oh then, poor worm ! what words can say
How much he wished his shell away!
But wishes all were vain, for oh!
The garden roller, dreaded foe!
Came growling by, and did not fail
To crush our hero head and tail,
-Just when the duck devoured the spail.
Thus says the fable :-learn from hence,
It argues want of common sense,
To think our trials and our labours
Harder and heavier than our neighbours' :
Or that 'twould lighten toils and cares,
To give them ours in change for theirs :
For whether man's appointed lot
Be really equalized or not,
(A point we need not now discuss),
Habit makes ours the best to us.
146,-CHILDREN LISTENING TO A
See the lark prunes his active wings,
Rises to heav'n, and soars, and sings!
His morning hymns, his mid-day lays,
Are one continued song of praise;
He speaks his Maker all he can,
And shames the silent tongue of man.
When the declining orb of light
Reminds him of approaching night,
His warbling vespers (1) swell his breast,
And, as he sings, he sinks to rest.
Shall birds instructive lessons teach,
And we be deaf to what they preach?
No, ye dear nestlings of my heart,
Go, act the wiser songster's part;
Spurn your warm couch at early dawn,
And with your God begin the morn;
To Him your grateful tribute pay
Through every period of the day;
To Him your evening songs direct,
His eye shall watch, His arm protect;
Though darkness reigns, He's with you still,
Then sleep, my babes, and fear no ill.
147.-THE KITTEN AND THE FALLING
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
 Vespers--properly, the evening service of the Ro. man Catholic church; here, evening songs.