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The birch-tree swang her fragrant hair,
The bramble cast her berry, The gin within the juniper
Began to make him merry.
With cypress promenaded,
By rivers gallopaded.
Came wet-shod 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 vine,
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-frightened, 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 ;
Scarce answer to my whistle ;
With strumming and with scraping,
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.
And alleys, faded places,
And warm'd in crystal cases.
But these, though fed with careful dirt,
Are neither green nor sappy ; Half-conscious of the garden-squirt,
The poor things 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,
To grow my own plantation.
I will not vex my bosom,
A little garden blossom.
Deep on the convent-roof the snows
Are sparkling to the moon:
May my soul follow soon!
Slant down the snowy sward,
That lead me to my Lord:
As are the frosty skies,
That in my bosom lies.