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POEMS OF CHILDHOOD AND AGE.
Y heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The child is father of the man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.
TO A BUTTERFLY.
Stay near me--do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart!
Dead times revive in thee:
Thou bring'st, gay creature as thou art,
A solemn image to my heart,
My father's family.
Oh, pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time when, in our childish plays,
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chased the butterfly!
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey: with leaps and springs
I followed on from brake to bush;
But she, God love her ! feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.
That is work of waste and ruin-
Do as Charles and I are doing!
Strawberry-blossoms, one and all,
We must spare then-here are many:
Look at it—the flower is small,
Small and low, though fair as any :
Do not touch it ! summers two
I am older, Anne, than you.
Pull the primrose, sister Anne !
Pull as many as you can.
-Here are daisies, take your fill;
Pansies, and the cuckoo flower :
Of the lofty daffodil
Make your bed, and make your bower ;
Fill your lap, and fill
bosom : Only spare the strawberry-blossom !
Primroses, the spring may love them:
Summer knows but little of them :
Violets, a barren kind,
Withered on the ground must lie ;
Daisies leave no fruit behind
When the pretty flowerets die ;
Pluck them, and another year
As many will be blowing here.
God has given a kindlier power
To the favoured strawberry-flower.
When the months of spring are fled
Hither let us bend our walk;
Lurking berries, ripe and red,
Then will hang on every stalk,
Each within its leafy bower;
And for that promise spare the flower !
CHARACTERISTICS OF A CHILD THREE
Loving she is, and tractable, though wild;
And innocence hath privilege in her
To dignify arch looks and laughing eyes ;
And feats of cunning; and the pretty round
Of trespasses, affected to provoke
Mock-chastisement and partnership in play.
And, as a faggot sparkles on the hearth,
Not less if unattended and alone
Than when both young and old sit gathered round
And take delight in its activity,
Even so this happy creature of herself
Is all-sufficient ; solitude to her
Is blithe society, who fills the air
With gladness and involuntary songs.
Light are her sallies as the tripping fawn's
Forth-startled from the fern where she lay couched;
Unthought of, unexpected, as the stir
Of the soft breeze ruffling the meadow flowers;
Or from before it chasing wantonly
The many-coloured images impressed
Upon the bosom of a placid lake.
LUCY GRAY; OR, SOLITUDE.
Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray;
And, when I crossed the wild,
I chanced to see at break of day
The solitary child.
No mate, no comrade Lucy knew ;
She dwelt on a wide moor-
The sweetest thing that ever grew
Beside a human door!
You yet may spy the fawn at play,
The hare upon the green ;
But the sweet face of Lucy Gray
Will never more be seen.
“To-night will be a stormy night,
You to the town must go ;
And take a lantern, child, to light
Your mother through the snow.”
“That, father, will I gladly do:
'Tis scarcely afternoon-
The minster-clock has just struck two,
And yonder is the moon.”
At this the father raised his hook,
And snapped a faggot-band;
He plied his work ;-and Lucy took
The lantern in her hand.
Not blither is the mountain roe:
With many a wanton stroke
Her feet disperse the powdery snow,
That rises up like smoke.
The storm came on before its time:
She wandered up and down ;
And many a hill did Lucy climb;
But never reached the town.
The wretched parents all that night
Went shouting far and wide ;
But there was neither sound nor sight
To serve them for a guide.
At day-break on a hill they stood
That overlooked the moor:
And thence they saw the bridge of wood,
A furlong from their door.
They wept, and turning homeward, cried,
“In heaven we all shall meet :"
When in the snow the mother spied
The print of Lucy's feet.
Then downward from the steep hill's edge
They track the footmarks small;
And through the broken hawthorn hedge,
And by the long stone wall;
And then an open field they crossed :
The marks were still the same;
They tracked them on, nor ever lost;
And to the bridge they came.
They followed from the snowy bank
Those footmarks, one by one,
Into the middle of the plank;
And further there were none !