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69.—THE OLD MAN'S COMFORTS, AND

HOW HE GAINED THEM. “ You are old, Father William,” the young man

cried, The few locks which are left you are grey; You are hale, Father William, a hearty old man,

Now tell me the reason, I pray?" “In the days of my youth,” Father William replied,

“I remember'd that youth would fly fast, And abused not my health and my vigour at first,

That I never might need them at last.' “ You are old, Father William," the young man

cried, “And pleasures with youth pass away, And yet you lament not the days that are gone,

Now tell me the reason, I pray?" “In the days of my youth,” Father William replied,

" I remember'd that youth could not last; I thought of the future, whatever I did,

That I never might grieve for the past." “ You are old, Father William," the young man

cried, " And life must be hastening away ; You are cheerful, and love to converse upon death!

Now tell me the reason, I pray?” “Iam cheerful, young man,” Father William replied,

“Let the cause thy attention engage; In the days of my youth I remember'd my God! And He hath not forgotten my age !”

Southey.

70.—THE PET PLANT. A florist a sweet little blossom espied, Which bloom'd, like its ancestors, by the road

side; Its colours were simple, its charms they were few, Yet the flower looked fair on the spot where it

grew;The florist beheld it, and cried, “ I'll enchant The botanical world with this sweet little plantIts leaves shall be sheltered and carefully nursed, It shallcharm all the world, though I met with it first

Under a hedge." He carried it home to his hot-house with care, And he said, “though the rarest exotics (1) are

there, My little pet plant, when I've nourish'd its stem, In tint and in fragrance shall emulate them, Though none shall suspect from the roadside it

came; Rhodum Sidum I'll call it-a beautiful nameWhen botanists look through their glasses and view Its beauties, they'll never suspect that it grew

Under a hedge.” The little pet plant, when it shook off the dirt Of its own native ditch, began to grow pert, And tossed its small head, for perceiving that none But exotics were round it, it thought itself one: As a field-flower all would have said it was fair, And praised it, though gaudier blossoms were there;

· [1] Exotics--foreign plants.

But when it assumes hot-house airs we see through The forced tint of its leaves, and suspect that it grew

Under a hedge. In the bye-ways of life, oh! how many there are, Who being born under some fortunate star, Assisted by talent or beauty, grow rich, And bloom in a hot-house instead of a ditch ! And while they disdain not their own simple stem, The honours they grasp may gain honour for them; But when, like the pet plant, such people grow

pert, We soon trace them to their original dirt

Under a hedge.

71.-GOD PROVIDETH FOR THE

MORROW!
Lo, the lilies of the field,
How their leaves instruction yield !
Hark to Nature's lesson, given
By the blessed birds of heaven!
Every bush and tufted tree
Warbles sweet philosophy:
“ Mortal, fly from doubt and sorrow:
God provideth for the morrow!
“Say, with richer crimson glows
The kingly mantle than the rose ?
Say, have kings more wholesome fare
Than we, poor citizens of air?
Barns nor hoarded grain have we,
Yet we carrol merrily.
Mortal, fly from doubt and sorrow!
God provideth for the morrow !

“ One there lives, whose guardian eye
Guides our humble destiny;
One there lives, who, Lord of all,
Keeps our feathers, lest they fall.
Pass we blithely, then, the time,
Fearless of the snare and lime, [1]
Free from doubt and faithless sorrow,
God provideth for the morrow!”

Heber.

72.—THE HUMMING-BIRD.
The humming-bird! the humming-bird !

So fairy-like and bright;
It lives among the sunny flowers,

A creature of delight!
In the radiant islands of the East,

Where fragrant spices grow,
A thousand, thousand humming-birds

Go glancing to and fro.
Like living fires they fit about,

Scarce larger than a bee,
Among the broad palmetto leaves,

And through the fan palm tree.
And in those wild and verdant woods,

Where stately moras tower,
Where hangs from branching tree to tree

The scarlet passion-flower; (1) Lime_birdlime, a substance used by birdcatchers. Where on the mighty river banks,

La Plate and Amazon,
The cayman, [1] like an old tree trunk,

Lies basking in the sun;
There builds her nest the humming-bird,

Within the ancient wood,
Her nest of silky cotton down,

And rears her tiny brood.
She hangs it to a slender twig,

Where waves it light and free,
As the campanero [2] tolls his song,

And rocks the mighty tree.
All crimson is her shining breast,

Like to the red, red rose;
Her wing is the changeful green and blue

That the neck of the peacock shews.
Thou, happy, happy humming-bird,

No winter round thee lours ; [3]
Thou never saw'st a leafless tree,

Nor land without sweet flowers.
A reign of summer joyfulness

To thee for life is given ;
Thy food, the honey from the flower,
Thy drink, the dew from heaven!

Mary Howitt. [1] Cayman-the American alligator.

[2] Campanero-a West Indian bird whose note may be heard nearly three miles off like the toll of a distant convent bell.

[3] Compare this with the last verse but one of No. 6, “ The Cuckoo."

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