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THE WATERFALL AND THE EGLANTINE.
“ 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,
Hoping the danger would be past :
But, seeing no relief, at last
He ventured to reply.
« 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
Chaunted his pretty songs, when You
Had little voice or none.
“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 -.
Rich 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.
The Torrent thundered down the dell
With unabating haste;
I listened, nor aught else could hear ;
The Briar quaked - and much I fear
Those accents were his last.
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
As ever tempest beat !
Out of its head an Oak had grown,
A Broom out of its feet.
The time was March, a cheerful noon
The thaw-wind, with the breath of June,
Breathed gently from the warm South-west :
When, in a voice sedate with age,
This Oak, a giant and a sage,
His neighbour thus addressed :
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,