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Where proud Covent-garden, in desolate hours
Of snow and hoar-frost, spreads her fruit and her flowers,
Old Adam will smile at the pains that have made
Poor Winter look fine in such strange masquerade.
Mid coaches and chariots, a Waggon of straw
Like a magnet the heart of old Adam can draw;
With a thousand soft pictures his memory will teem,
And his hearing is touched with the sounds of a dream
Up the Hay-market hill he oft whistles his way,
Thrusts his hands in the Waggon, and smells at the hay;
He thinks of the fields he so often hath mown,
And is happy as if the rich freight were his own.
But chiefly to Smithfield he loves to repair,-
If you pass by at morning you'll meet with him there :
The breath of the Cows you may see him inhale,
And his heart all the while is in Tilsbury Vale.
Now farewell, Old Adam, when low thou art laid
May one blade of grass spring up over thy head;
And I hope that thy grave, wheresoever it be,
Will hear the wind sigh through the leaves of a tree..
There is a Flower, the Lesser Celandine,
That shrinks, like many more, from cold and rain;
And, the first moment that the sun may shine,
Bright as the sun itself, 'tis out again!
When hailstones have been falling, swarm on swarm,
Or blasts the green field and the trees distress'd,
Oft have I seen it muffled up from harm,
In close self-shelter, like a Thing at rest.
But lately, one rough day, this Flower I pass’d,
And recognized it, though an alter'd Form,
Now standing forth an offering to the Blast,
And buffeted at will by Rain and Storm.
I stopp’d, and said with inly-muttered voice,
“ It doth not love the shower, nor seek the cold:
This neither is its courage nor its choice,
But its necessity in being old.
The sunshine may not bless it, nor the dew;
It cannot help itself in its decay;
Stiff in its members, withered, changed of hue.”
And, in my spleen, I smiled that it was grey.
To be a Prodigal's Favorite-then, worse truth,
A Miser's Pensioner-behold our lot!
O Man! that from thy fair and shining youth
Age might but take the things Youth needed not!
ANIMAL TRANQUILLITY AND DECAY.
The little hedge-row birds
That peck along the road, regard him not.
He travels on, and in his face, his step,
His gait, is one expression ; every limb,
His look and bending figure, all bespeak
A man who does not move with pain, but moves
With thought.--He is insensibly subdued
To settled quiet: he is one by whom
All effort seems forgotten; one to whom
Long patience hath such mild composure given,
That patience now doth seem a thing of which
He hath no need. He is by nature led
To peace so perfect, that the young behold
With envy, what the Old Man hardly feels.
O now that the genius of Bewick were mine,
And the skill which he learned on the banks of the Tyne
Then the Muses might deal with me just as they chose,
For I'd take my last leave both of verse and of prose.
What feats would I work with my magical hand!
Book-learning and books should be banished the land :
And for hunger and thirst and such troublesome calls
Every Ale-house should then have a feast on its walls.
The Traveller would hang his wet clothes on a chair; Let them smoke, let them burn, not a straw would he care For the Prodigal Son, Joseph's Dream and his Sheaves, Oh, what would they be to my tale of two Thieves ?