Imagens das páginas

A few begin a short but vigorous race, .
And indolence, abashed, soon flies the place :
Thus challeng'd forth, see thither, one by one,
From every side, assembling playmates run;
A thousand wily antics mark their stay,
A starting crowd, impatient of delay:
Like the fond dove from fearful prison freed,
Each seems to say, “Come let us try our speed;"
Away they scour, impetuous, ardent, strong,
The green turf trembling as they bound along;
Adown the slope, then up the hillock climb,
Where every molehill is a bed of thyme;
There, panting, stop; yet scarcely can refrain,
A bird, a leaf, will set them off again :
Or, if a gale with strength unusual blow,
Scattering the wild-brier roses into snow,
Their little limbs increasing efforts try,
Like the torn flower the fair assemblage fly.
Ah, fallen rose! sad emblem of their doon ;
Frail as thyself, they perish while they bloom !


In yonder glass behold a drowning fly!
It's little feet how vainly does it ply!
It's cries I understand not, yet it cries;
Aud tender hearts can feel its agonies.
Poor, helpless victim! and will no one save,
Will no one snatch thee from the threat'ning


Is there no friendly hand, no helper nigh?
And must thou, little struggler, must thou die
Thou shalt not, while this hand can set thee free,
Thou shalt not die— this hand shall rescue thee;
My finger's tip shall prove a friendly shore ;-
There, trembler! all thy dangers now are o'er :
Wipe thy wet wings, and banish all thy fear;
Go, join thy buzzing brothers in the air.
Away it flies-resumes its harmless play,
And swiftly gambols in the golden ray.
Smile not, spectators, at this humble deed—
For you, perhaps, a nobler task's decreed,
A young and sinking family to save,
To raise the infant from destruction's wave;
To you for help the victims lift their eyes—
Oh! hear, for pity's sake, their plaintive cries !
Ere long, unless some guardian interpose,
O'er their devoted heads the flood may close.



The Angel of the flowers, one day,
Beneath a rose-tree sleeping lay,
That spirit to whom charge is given
To bathe young buds in dews of heaven;
Awaking from his light repose,
The Angel whispered to the rose :
“O fondest object of my care,
Still fairest found, where all are fair ;

For the sweet shade thou givest to me,
Ask what thou wilt, 'tis granted thee !”.
Then,” said the rose, with deepened glow,
“On me another grace bestow :".
The spirit paused in silent thought,
What grace was there that flower had not ?
'Twas but a moment-o'er the rose
A veil of moss the angel throws,
And robed in Nature's simplest weed,
Could there a flower that rose exceed?

46.-MORNING OR EVENING HYMN. Great God! how endless is thy love!

Thy gifts are every evening new,
And morning mercies from above

Gently distil like early dew.
Thou spreadst the curtains of the night,

Great guardian of my sleeping hours !
Thy sov'reign word restores the light,

And quickens all my drowsy powers.
I yield my powers to thy command,

To thee I consecrate my days;
Perpetual blessings from thy hand

Demand perpetual songs of praise.


[ocr errors]

One who would protect thee ever,

From the school-boy, kite, and hawk,
Musing, now obtrudes, but never

Dreamt of plunder in his walk.

He no weasel, stealing slily,

Would permit thy eggs to take;
Nor the pole-cat, nor the wily

Adder, nor the speckled snake.

May no cuckoo, wandering near thee,

Lay her egg within thy nest;
Nor thy young ones, born to cheer thee,

Be destroy'd by such a guest ! [1]

[ocr errors]

[1] The cuckoo usually deposits her egg in the nest of the hedge-sparrow, who hatches it, and tends the young one as her own, a service which he repays by speedily turning out all the other nestlings.

48.-THE CHILDREN IN THE WOOD. [1] Now ponder well, you parents dear,

These words which I shall write;
A doleful story you shall hear,

In time brought forth to light: -
A gentleman of good account,

In Norfolk dwelt of late,
Who did in honour far surmount [2]

Most men of his estate.
Sore sick he was, and like to die,

No help his life could save;
His wife by him as sick did lie,

And both possest one grave.
No love between these two was lost,

Each was to other kind;
In love they liv'd, in love they died,
· And left two babes behind :
The one a fine and pretty boy,

Not passing three years old ;
The other a girl, more young than he,

And fram'd in beauty's mould.
The father left his little son,

As plainly doth appear,
When he to perfect age [8] should come,

Three hundred pounds a year. [1] This very popular ballad is here reprinted from Percy's Reliques, with such slight alterations, both in the orthography and the style, as were necessary to fit it for this Selection. The original copy is thought to be more than two hundred years old.

[2] Surmount-exceed.
[3] Perfect age—the age of 21.

« AnteriorContinuar »