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I asked—'twas whispered–The device
To each and all might well belong:
It is the spirit of Paradise
That prompts such work, a spirit strong,
That gives to all the self-same bent
Where life is wise and innocent.


THOUGH many suns have risen and set

Since thou, blithe May, wert born, And bards, who hailed thee, may forget

Thy gifts, thy beauty scorn;
There are who to a birthday strain

Confine not harp and voice,
But evermore throughout thy reign

Are grateful and rejoice!

Delicious odours! music sweet,

Too sweet to pass away!
Oh for a deathless song to meet

The soul's desire-a lay
That, when a thousand years are told,

Should praise thee, genial power! Through summer heat, autumnal cold,

And winter's dreariest hour.

Earth, sea, thy presence feel--nor less

If yon ethereal blue
With its soft smile the truth express,

The heavens have felt it too.
The inmost heart of man if glad

Partakes a livelier cheer;
And eyes that cannot but be sad

Let fall a brightened tear.

Since thy return, through days and weeks

Of hope that grew by stealth,
How many wan and faded cheeks

Have kindled into health!
The old, by thee revived, have said,

"Another year is ours;"
And wayworn wanderers, poorly fed,

Have smiled upon thy flowers.

Who tripping lisps a merry song

Amid his playful peers ?
The tender infant who was long

A prisoner of fond fears;
But now, when every sharp-edged blast

Is quiet in its sheath,
His mother leaves him free to taste

Earth's sweetness in thy breath.

Thy help is with the weed that creeps

Along the humblest ground; No cliff so bare but on its steeps

Thy favours may be found; But most on some peculiar nook

That our own hands have dressed, Thou and thy train are proud to look,

And seem to love it best.

And yet how pleased we wander forth

When May is whispering. “Come! Choose from the bowers of virgin earth

The happiest for your home; Heaven's bounteous love through me is spread

From sunshine, clouds, winds, waves, Drops on the mouldering turret's head,

And on your turf-clad graves!"

Such greeting heard, away with sighs

For lilies that must fade,
Or “the rathe primrose as it dies

Forsaken" in the shade!
Vernal fruitions and desires

Are linked in endless chase ; While, as one kindly growth retires,

Another takes its place.

And what if thou, sweet May, hast known

Mishap by worm and blight; If expectations newly blown

Have perished in thy sight; If loves and joys, while up they sprung,

Were caught as in a snare; Such is the lot of all the young,

However bright and fair.

Lo! streams that April could not check

Are patient of thy rule;
Gurgling in foamy water-break,

Loitering in glassy pool :
By thee, thee only, could be sent

Such gentle mists as glide,
Curling with unconfirmed intent,

On that green mountain's side.

How delicate the leafy veil

Through which yon house of God Gleams, mid the peace of this deep dale,

By few but shepherds trod!
And lowly huts, near beaten ways,

No sooner stand attired
In thy fresh wreaths, than they for praise

Peep forth, and are admired.

Season of fancy and of hope,

Permit not for one hour
A blossom from thy crown to drop,

Nor add to it a flower!
Keep, lovely May, as if by touch

Of self-restraining art,
This modest charm of not too much,

Part seen, imagined part !

A WREN'S NEST. AMONG the dwellings framed by birds

In field or forest with nice care, Is none that with the little wren's

In snugness may compare.

No door the tenement requires,

And seldom needs a laboured roof; Still is it to the fiercest sun

Impervious and storm-proof.

So warm, so beautiful withal,

In perfect fitness for its aim, That to the kind by special grace

Their instinct surely came.
And when for their abodes they seek

An opportune recess,
The hermit has no finer eye

For shadowy quietness.

These find, mid ivied abbey walls,

A canopy in some still nook ; Others are penthoused by a brae

That overhangs a brook.

There to the brooding bird her mate

Warbles by fits his low clear song ;
And by the busy streamlet both

Are sung to all day long.
Or in sequestered lanes they build,

Where, till the flitting bird's return,
Her eggs within the nest repose,

Like relics in an urn.
But still, where general choice is good,

There is a better and a best ;
And, among fairest objects, some

Are fairer than the rest;
This, one of those small builders proved

In a green covert, where, from out
The forehead of a pollard oak,

The leafy antlers sprout;
For she who planned the mossy lodge,

Mistrusting her evasive skill,
Had to a primrose looked for aid

Her wishes to fulfil.
High on the trunk's projecting brow,

And fixed an infant's span above
The budding flowers, peeped forth the nest,

The prettiest of the grove! The treasure proudly did I show

To some whose minds without disdain Can turn to little things, but once

Looked up for it in vain : 'Tis gone-a ruthless spoiler's prey,

Who heeds not beauty, love, or song, "Tis gone! (so seemed it) and we grieved

Indignant at the wrong.

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