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BENEATH these fruit-tree boughs that shed
Their snow-white blossoms on my head, With brightest sunshine round me spread
Of spring's unclouded weather, In this sequestered nook how sweet To sit upon my Orchard-seat ! And Flowers and Birds once more to greet, · My last year's Friends together.
One have I marked, the happiest Guest
In all this covert of the blest :
Hail to Thee, far above the rest
In joy of voice and pinion,
Thou, Linnet ! in thy green array,
Presiding Spirit here to-day,
Dost lead the revels of the May,
And this is thy dominion.
While Birds, and Butterflies, and Flowers
Make all one Band of Paramours,
Thou, ranging up and down the bowers,
Art sole in thy employment
A Life, a Presence like the Air,
Scattering thy gladness without care,
Too blest with any one to pair,
Thyself thy own enjoyment.
Upon yon tuft of hazel trees,
That twinkle to the gusty breeze,
Behold him perched in ecstasies,
Yet seeming still to hover ;
There! where the flutter of his wings
Upon his back and body flings
Shadows and sunny glimmerings,
That cover him all over.
While thus before my eyes he gleams, A Brother of the Leaves he seems ; When in a moment forth he teems
His little song in gushes : As if it pleased him to disdain The voiceless Form he chose to feign, While he was dancing with the train
Of Leaves among the bushes.
Pansies, Lilies, Kingcups, Daisies,
Let them live upon their praises ;
Long as there's a sun that sets
Primroses will have their glory;
Long as there are Violets, :-
They will have a place in story :
There's a flower that shall be mine,
'Tis the little Celandine.
Eyes of some men travel far
For the finding of a star ;
Up and down the heavens they go,
Men that keep a mighty rout!
I'm as great as they, I trow,
Since the day I found thee out,
Little flower ! — I'll make a stir
Like a great Astronomer.
Modest, yet withal an Elf
Bold, and lavish of thyself;
Since we needs must first have met
I have seen thee, high and low,
Thirty years or more, and yet
'Twas a face I did not know;
Thou hast now, go where I may,
Fifty greetings in a day.
Ere a leaf is on a bush,
In the time before the Thrush
Has a thought about it's nest,
Thou wilt come with half a call,
Spreading out thy glossy breast
Like a careless Prodigal ;
Telling tales about the sun,
When we've little warmth, or none.
Poets, vain men in their mood !
Travel with the multitude;
Never heed them ; I aver
That they all are wanton Wooers;
But the thrifty Cottager,
Who stirs little out of doors,