Page images
PDF
EPUB

'Tis said he had a tuneful tongue,

Such happy intonation, Wherever he sat down and sung

He left a small plantation ; Wherever in a lonely grove

He set up his forlorn pipes, The gouty oak began to move,

And flounder into hornpipes.

The mountain stirr'd its bushy crown,

And, as tradition teaches, Young ashes pirouetted down

Coquetting with young beeches; And briony-vine and ivy-wreath

Ran forward to his rhyming, And from the valleys underneath

Came little copses climbing.

The linden broke her ranks and rent

The woodbine wreaths that bind her, And down the middle buzz! she went

With all her bees behind her:
The poplars, in long order due,

With cypress promenaded,
The shock-head willows two and two

By rivers gallopaded.

Came wet-shot alder from the wave,

Came yews, a dismal coterie ;
Each pluck'd his one foot from the grave,

Poussetting with a sloe-tree :
Old elms came breaking from the vinc,

The vine stream'd out to follow,
And, sweating rosin, plump'd the pine

From many a cloudy hollow.

And wasn't it a sight to see,

When, ere his song was ended,
Like some great landslip, tree by tree,

The country-side descended ;
And shepherds from the mountain-eaves

Look'd down, half-pleased, half-frighten'd, As dash'd about the drunken leaves

The random sunshine lighten’d !

Oh, nature first was fresh to men,

And wanton without measure ; So youthful and so flexile then,

You moved her at your pleasure. Twang out, my fiddle ! shake the twigs !

And make her dance attendance ; Blow, flute, and stir the stiff-set sprigs,

And scirrhous roots and tendons.

'Tis vain ! in such a brassy age

I could not move a thistle ;
The very sparrows in the hedge

Scarce answer to my whistle ;
Or at the most, when three-parts-sick

With strumming and with scraping,
A jackass heehaws from the rick,

The passive oxen gaping.

But what is that I hear? a sound

Like sleepy counsel pleading; O Lord !—'tis in my neighbour's ground,

The modern Muses reading. They read Botanic Treatises,

And Works on Gardening thro' there, And Methods of transplanting trees,

To look as if they grew there.

The wither'd Misses ! how they prose

O’er books of travell’d seamen, And show you slips of all that grows

From England to Van Diemen.
They read in arbours clipt and cut,

And alleys, faded places,
By squares of tropic summer shut

And warm'd in crystal cases.

But these, tho' fed with careful dirt,

Are neither green nor sappy; Half-conscious of the garden-squirt,

The spindlings look unhappy. Better to me the meanest weed

That blows upon its mountain, The vilest herb that runs to seed

Beside its native fountain.

And I must work thro' months of toil,

And years of cultivation,
Upon my proper patch of soil

To grow my own plantation.
I'll take the showers as they fall,

I will not vex my bosom :
Enough if at the end of all

A little garden blossom.

ST. AGNESEVE.

DEEP on the convent-roof the snows

Are sparkling to the moon :
My breath to heaven like vapour goes :

May my soul follow soon!
The shadows of the convent-towers

Slant down the snowy sward,
Still creeping with the creeping hours

That lead me to my Lord :
Make Thou my spirit pure and clear

As are the frosty skies,
Or this first snowdrop of the year

That in my bosom lies.

As these white robes are soil'd and dark,

To yonder shining ground;
As this pale taper's earthly spark,

To yonder argent round;

« PreviousContinue »