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Sylph or fairy hither tending-
To this lower world descending,
Each invisible and mute,
In his wavering parachute. [1]
-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 one-
Now they stop, and there are none-
What intenseness of desire
In her up-turned 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 :
Now she works with three or four,
Like an Indian conjuror ; [2]
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 ?
Far too happy to be proud;
Over-wealthy in the treasure
Of her own exceeding pleasure! Wordsworth.

[1] Parachute-a machine, in form resembling a large umbrella, by which persons may descend from a great height in the air, generally used in connection with an air-balloon.

[2] Indian conjuror - The Indian conjurors perform astonishing feats with balls, keeping several in motion above, and even around them, at the same time.

148.-THE DAME SCHOOLMISTRESS. In yonder cot, along whose mouldering walls, In many a fold, the mantling woodbine falls, The village matron kept her little schoolGentle of heart, yet knowing well to rule ; Staid was the dame, and modest was her mien; Her garb was coarse, yet whole, and nicely clean: Her neatly-border'd cap, as lily fair, Beneath her chin was pinn'd, with decent care, And pendent ruffles, of the whitest lawn Of ancient make, her elbows did adorn. Faint with old age, and dim were grown her eyes, A pair of spectacles their want supplies; These does she guard secure in leathern case From thoughtless wights in some unweeted [1]

place. Here first I enter'd, though with toil and pain, The lowly vestibule [2] of learning's fane; (3) Enter'd with pain, yet soon I found the way, Though sometimes toilsome, many a sweet display.

Much did I grieve, on that ill-fated morn,
When I was first to school reluctant borne ;
Severe I thought the dame, though oft she tried
To soothe my swelling spirits when I sigh'd;
And oft, when harshly she reprov'd, I wept,
To my lone corner, broken-hearted, crept,
And thought of tender home, where anger never

kept.

[1] Unweeted_unknown.
[2] Vestibule-porch, entrance.
[8] Fane-temple.

But soon, enur'd to alphabetic toils,
Alert I met the dame with jocund smiles;
First at the form, my task for ever true,
A little favourite rapidly I grew :
And oft she stroked my head with fond delight,
Held me a pattern to the dunce's sight;
And as she gave my diligence its praise,
Talk'd of the honours of my future days.

Kirke White.

149.—THE SILK-WORM.
FROM THE LATIN OF VINCENT BOURNE.
The beams of April, ere it goes,
A worm, scarce visible, disclose ;
All winter long content to dwell
The tenant of his native shell.
The same prolific season gives
The sustenance by which he lives,
The mulberry-leaf, a simple store,
That serves him till he needs no more!
For, his dimensions once complete,
Thenceforth none ever see him eat;
Though, till his growing-time be past,
Scarce ever is he seen to fast.
That hour arrived, his work begins ;
He spins and weaves, and weaves and spins;
Till circle upon circle wound
Careless around him and around,
Conceals him with a veil, though slight,

Impervious [1] to the keenest sight. [1] Impervious--that cannot be passed through or penetrated.

Thus self-enclosed, as in a cask, [1]
At length he finishes his task :
And, though a worm when he was lost,
Or caterpillar at the most,
When next we see him, wings he wears,
And in papilio [2] pomp appears;
Becomes oviparous ; [3] supplies
With future worms and future flies,
The next ensuing year;—and dies !

Well were it for the world, if all
Who creep about this earthly ball-
Though shorter-lived than most he be-
Where useful in their kind as he.

Cowper.

150.—THE CAT AND THE GOLD FISHES,

'Twas on a lofty vase's side,
Where China's gayest art had dyed

The azure flowers that blow, [4]
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima reclined,

Gazed on the lake below.
Her conscious tail her joy declared,
Her fair round face, her snowy beard,

The velvet of her paws, [1] In allusion to the cocoon or web, in which the silkworm envelopes himself.

[2] Papilio-butterfly.
[3] Oviparous-bringing forth eggs.

[4] The meaning is, that it was a handsome blue and white China vase.

Her coat, that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,

She saw, and purr'd applause.
Still had she gazed, but 'midst the tide,
Two angel forms were seen tu glide,

The genii of the stream!
Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue,[1]
Through richest purple to the view,

Betrayed a golden gleam.
The hapless nymph with wonder saw ;
A whisker first, and then a claw,

With many an ardent wish,
She stretch'd in vain to reach the prize :
What female heart can gold despise ?

What cat's averse to fish ?

Presumptuous maid! with looks intent,
Again she stretch'd, again she bent,

Nor knew the gulf between;
(Malignant fate sat by and smiled),
The slippery verge her feet beguiled,

She tumbled headlong in.
Eight times emerging from the flood,
She mew'd to every watery god,

Some speedy aid to send ;
No dolphin came, no nereid (2) stirr'd,
Nor cruel Tom nor Susan heard ;

A favourite has no friend.

[1] Tyrian hue—The purple dye of Tyre was very cele. brated in ancient times.

[2] Nereid- an imaginary being so called, a sea-nymph.

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