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As soon as 'tis daylight to-morrow, with me,
You shall go to the orchard, and then you will see
That he has been there, and made such a rout,
And cracked the branches, and strewn them about;
Heaven grant that he spare but that one upright twig
That looked up at the sky so proud and big
All last summer, as well you know,
Studded with apples, a beautiful show!
Hark! over the roof he makes a pause,
And growls as if he would fix his claws
Right in the slates, and with a huge rattle,
Drive them down, like men in a battle:
– But let him range round; he does us no harm,
We build up the fire, we're snug and warm;
Untouched by his breath, see the candle shines bright,
And burns with a clear and steady light;
Books have we to read, – but that half-stifled knell,
Alas! 'tis the sound of the eight o'clock bell.
- Come now, we'll to bed! and when we are there,
He may work his own will, and what shall we care ?
He may knock at the door, - we'll not let him in;
May drive at the windows, - we'll laugh at his din;
Let him seek his own home, wherever it be ;
Here's a cozie warm house for Edward and me.”
The next (also a child's poem), written in 1807, was composed on the eve of the return of Mrs. Wordsworth, after a month's absence in London. Miss Wordsworth and the children were then staying at Coleorton :
“THE MOTHER'S RETURN. “ A month, sweet little ones, is past Since your dear Mother went away, And she to-morrow will return; Tomorrow is the happy day.
“O blessed tidings! thought of joy!
The eldest heard with steady glee; Silent he stood; then laughed amain, And shouted, ‘Mother, come to me l'
“ Louder and louder did he shout,
With witless hope to bring her near; 'Nay, patience! patience, little boy! Your tender mother cannot hear.'
“I told of hills, and far-off towns,
And long, long vales to travel through, —
He listens, puzzled, sore perplexed,
But he submits; what can he do?
“No strife disturbs his sister's breast;
She wars not with the mystery
Of time and distance, night and day;
The bonds of our humanity.
“Her joy is like an instinct — joy
Of kitten, bird, or summer fly;
She dances, runs without an aim;
She chatters in her ecstasy.
“Her brother now takes up the note,
And echoes back his sister's glee;
They hug the infant in my arms,
As if to force his sympathy.
“Then, settling into fond discourse,
We rested in the garden bower;
While sweetly shone the evening sun,
In his departing hour.
“We told o'er all that we had done,
Our rambles by the swift brook's side,
Far as the willow-skirted pool,
Where two fair swans together glide.
“ We talked of change, of winter gone,
Of green leaves on the hawthorn spray,
Of birds that build their nests and sing,
And all ‘since Mother went away!'
“To her these tales they will repeat,
To her our new-born tribes will show,
The goslings green, the ass's colt,
The lambs that in the meadow go.
" — But see, the evening star comes forth 1
To bed the children must depart;
A moment's heaviness they feel,
A sadness at the heart :
“ 'Tis gone — and in a merry fit
They run upstairs in gamesome race;
I, too, infected by their mood,
I could have joined the wanton chase.
“Five minutes past — and, O the change!
Asleep upon their beds they lie;
Their busy limbs in perfect rest,
And closed the sparkling eye.”
The following poem was written at Rydal Mount in 1832. Wordsworth has said he believed it arose out of a casual expression of one of Mr. Swinburne's children: –
LOVING AND LIKING: IRREGULAR VERSES, AD
DRESSED TO A CHILD.
“There's more in words than I can teach;
Yet listen, Child!— I would not preach;
But only give some plain directions
To guide your speech and your affections.
Say not you love a roasted fowl,
But you may love a screaming owl,
And, if you can, the unwieldy toad
That crawls from his secure abode
Within the mossy garden wall
When evening dew's begin to fall.
Oh mark the beauty of his eye:
What wonders in that circle lie!
So clear, so bright, our fathers said
He wears a jewel in his head !
“ And when upon some showery day,
Into a path or public way
A frog leaps out from bordering grass,
Startling the timid as they pass,
Do you observe him, and endeavor
To take the intruder into favor;
Learning from him to find a reason
For a light heart in a dull season.
And you may love him in the pool,
That is for him a happy school,
In which he swims as taught by nature,
Fit pattern for a human creature,
Glancing amid the water bright,
And sending upward sparkling light.
“Nor blush if o'er your heart be stealing
A love for things that have no feeling:
The spring's first rose by you espied
May fill your breast with joyful pride;
And you may love the strawberry-flower,
And love the strawberry in its bower;
But when the fruit, so often praised
For beauty, to your lip is raised,
Say not you love the delicate treat,
But like it, enjoy it, and thankfully eat.
“ Long may you love your pensioner mouse,
Though one of a tribe that torment the house:
Nor dislike for her cruel sport the cat,
Deadly foe both of mouse and rat;
Remember she follows the law of her kind,
And Instinct is neither wayward nor blind.
Then think of her beautiful gliding form,
Her tread that would scarcely crush a worm,
And her soothing song by the winter fire,
Soft as the dying throb of the lyre.
“I would not circumscribe your love:
It may soar with the eagle and brood with the dove,
May pierce the earth with the patient mole,
Or track the hedgehog to his hole.
Loving and liking are the solace of life,
Rock the cradle of joy, smooth the death-bed of strife.
“You love your father and your mother,
- Your grown-up and your baby brother ;
You love your sister, and your friends,
And countless blessings which God sends:
And while these right affections play,
You live each moment of your day;
They lead you on to full content,
And likings fresh and innocent,
That store the mind, the memory feed,
And prompt to many a gentle deed :
But likings come, and pass away;
'Tis love that remains till our latest day:
Our heavenward guide is holy love,
And will be our bliss with saints above.”
The poem suggested by an island on Derwent-water, which is said to have been composed so late as the year 1842, shows that, if the date be correct, which is somewhat doubtful, Miss Wordsworth was at that time in full possession of her faculties. These lines, we are informed, she used to take pleasure in repeating during her last illness.