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"Begone, thou fond presumptuous Elf," Exclaimed a thundering Voice,"Nor dare to thrust thy foolish self Between me and my choice!" A small cascade fresh swoln with snows Thus threatened a poor Briar-rose, That, all bespattered with his foam, And dancing high, and dancing low, Was living, as a child might know, In an unhappy home.
"Dost thou presume my course to block?
Off, off! or, puny Thing!
I'll hurl thee headlong with the rock
To which thy fibres cling."
The Flood was tyrannous and strong;
The patient Briar suffered long,
Nor did he utter groan or sigh,
"Ah!" said the Briar, "blame me not;
Why should we dwell in strife?
We who in this sequestered spot,
Once lived a happy life!
You stirred me on my rocky bed —
What pleasure through my veins you spread!
The Summer long, from day to day,
My leaves you freshened and bedewed;
Nor was it common gratitude
That did your cares repay.
"When Spring came on with bud and bell,
Among these rocks did I
Before you hang my wreaths, to tell
That gentle days were nigh!
And, in the sultry summer hours,
I sheltered you with leaves and flowers;
And in my leaves — now shed and gone,
The Linnet lodged, and for us two
"But now proud thoughts are in your breast —
What grief is mine you see.
Ah! would you think, even yet how blest
Together we might be!
Though of both leaf and flower bereft,
Some ornaments to me are left —
Eich store of scarlet hips is mine, With which I, in my humble way, Would deck you many a winter's day, A happy Eglantine!"
What more he said I cannot tell.
His simple truths did Andrew glean
Beside the babbling rills;
A careful student he had been
Among the woods and hills.
One winter's night, when through the Trees
The wind was roaring, on his knees
His youngest born did Andrew hold:
And while the rest, a ruddy quire,
Were seated round their blazing fire,
This Tale the Shepherd told.
"I saw a crag, a lofty stone
The time was March, a cheerful noon—
Eight weary weeks, through rock and clay,
Along this mountain's edge,
The Frost hath wrought both night and day,
Wedge driving after wedge.
Look up! and think, above your head
What trouble, surely, will be bred;
Last night I heard a crash — 'tis true,
The splinters took another road —
I see them yonder — what a load
For such a Thing as you!
You are preparing, as before,
To deck your slender shape;
And yet, just three years back—no more —
You had a strange escape.
Down from yon Cliff a fragment broke;
It thundered down, with fire and smoke,