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THE SPARROW'S NEST.
BEHOLD, within the leafy shade
Those bright blue eggs together laid !
On me the chance-discover'd sight
Gleam'd like a vision of delight. —
I started — seeming to espy
The home and shelter'd bed, -
The sparrow's dwelling, which, hard by
My father's house, in wet or dry,
My sister Emmeline and I
She look'd at it as if she fear'd it ;
Still wishing, dreading to be near it :
Such heart was in her, being then
A little prattler among men.
The blessing of my later years
Was with me when a boy :
She gave me eyes, she gave me ears ;
And humble cares, and delicate fears ;
A heart, the fountain of sweet tears :
And love, and thought, and joy.
FAREWELL, thou little nook of mountain ground,
Thou rocky corner in the lowest stair
Of that magnificent temple which doth bound
One side of our whole vale with grandeur rare ;
Sweet garden-orchard, eminently fair,
The loveliest spot that man hath ever found,
Farewell !- we leave thee to Heav'n's peaceful care,
Thee, and the cottage which thou dost surround.
Our boat is safely anchor'd by the shore,
And safely she will ride when we are gone;
The flowering shrubs that decorate our door
Will prosper, though untended and alone :
Fields, goods, and far-off chattels we have none;
These narrow bounds contain our private store
Of things earth makes and sun doth shine upon,
Here are they in our sight - we have no more.
Sunshine and shower be with you, bud and bell !
For two months now in vain we shall be sought;
We leave you here in solitude to dwell
With these our latest gifts of tender thought;
Thou, like the morning, in thy saffron coat
Bright gowan, and marsh-marigold, farewell !
Whom from the borders of the lake we brought
And placed together near our rocky well.
We go for one to whom ye will be dear;
And she will prize this bower, this Indian shed,
Our own contrivance, building without peer!
- A gentle maid, whose heart is lowly bred,
Whose pleasures are in wild fields gathered,
With joyousness, and with a thoughtful cheer,
She'll come to you, - to you herself will wed, -
And love the blessed life which we lead here.
Dear spot! which we have watch'd with tender heed,
Bringing thee chosen plants and blossoms blown,
Among the distant mountains, flower and weed,
Which thou hast taken to thee as thy own,
Making all kindness register'd and known ;
Thou for our sakes, though Nature's child indeed,
Fair in thyself and beautiful alone,
Hast taken gifts which thou dost little need.
And O most constant, yet most fickle place,
That hast thy wayward moods, as thou dost show
To them who look not daily in thy face;
Who, being loved, in love no bounds dost know,
And say'st when we forsake thee, 'Let them go!'
Thou easy-hearted thing, with thy wild race
Of weeds and flowers, till we return be slow,-
And travel with the year at a soft pace.
Help us to tell her tales of years gone by,
And this sweet spring the best beloved and best.
Joy will be flown in its mortality;
Something must stay to tell us of the rest.
Here, throng'd with primroses, the steep rock's breast
Glitter'd at evening like a starry sky;
And in this bush our sparrow built her nest,
Of which I sung one song that will not die.
O happy garden! whose seclusion deep
Hath been so friendly to industrious hours ;
And to soft slumbers, that did gently steep
Our spirits, carrying with them dreams of flowers,
And wild notes warbled among leafy bowers;
Two burning months let summer overleap,
And, coming back with her who will be ours,
Into thy bosom we again shall creep.
ONE morning (raw it was and wet,
A foggy day in winter time)
A woman on the road I met,
Not old, though something past her prime :
Majestic in her person, tall and straight;
And like a Roman matron's was her mien and gait.
The ancient spirit is not dead;
Old times, thought I are breathing there ;
Proud was I that my country bred
Such strength, a dignity so fair :
She begg'd an alms, like one in poor estate ;
I look'd at her again, nor did my pride abate.
When from these lofty thoughts I woke,
With the first word I had to spare,
I said to her, ' Beneath your cloak,
What's that which on your arms you bear?'
She answer'd soon as she the question heard, ' A simple burthen, sir, a little singing-bird.'
And thus continuing, she said,
I had a son, who many a day
Sail'd on the seas; but he is dead;
In Denmark he was cast away;
And I have travelled far as Hull, to see
What clothes he might have left, or other property.
"The bird and cage they both were his;
'Twas my son's bird ; and neat and trim
He kept it : many voyages
His singing-bird hath gone with him ;
When last he sail'd he left the bird behind,
As it might be, perhaps, from bodings of his mind.
'He to a fellow-lodger's care Had left it, to be watch'd and fed, Till he came back again ; and there I found it when my son was dead; And now — God help me for my little witI trail it with me, sir! he took so much delight in it.'
SHE dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove,
A maid whom there were none to praise,
And very few to love.
A violet by a mossy stone
Half hidden from the eye !
Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.
Alone she cuts, and binds the grain,
And sings a melancholy strain.
O listen ! for the vale profound
Is overflowing with the sound.
No nightingale did ever chant
So sweetly to reposing bands
Of travellers in some shady haunt,
Among Arabian sands :
No sweeter voice was ever heard
In spring-time from a cuckoo-bird,
Breaking the silence of the seas
Among the farthest Hebrides.
Will no one tell me what she sings?
Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow
For old, unhappy. far-off things,
And battles long ago :
Or is it some more humble lay,
Familiar matter of to-day?
Some natural sorrow, loss, or pain,
That has been, and may be again !
Whate'er the theme, the maiden sang
As if her song could have no ending;
I saw her singing at her work,
And o'er the sickle bending ;-
I listen'd till I had my fill :
And, as I mounted up the hill,
The music in my heart I bore,
Long after it was heard no more.
The dew was falling fast, the stars began to blink;
I heard a voice: it said, 'Drink, pretty creature, drink!'