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Go, rock the little wood-bird in his nest,
Curl the still waters, bright with stars, and rouse The wide old wood from his majestic rest,
Summoning from the innumerable boughs The strange, deep harmonies that haunt his breast;
Pleasant shall be thy way where meekly bows The shutting flower, and darkling waters pass, And 'twixt the o'ershadowing branches and the grass. The faint old man shall lean his silver head
To feel thee; thou shalt kiss the child asleep, And dry the moisten'd curls that overspread
His temples, while his breathing grows more deep; And they, who stand about the sick man's bed,
Shall joy to listen to thy distant sweep,
And softly part his curtains to allow
Thy visit, grateful to his burning brow.
Go-but the circle of eternal change,
That is the life of nature, shall restore, With sounds and scents from all thy mighty range,
Thee to the birth-place of the deep once more;
Sweet odors in the sea-air, sweet and strange,
Shall tell the home-sick mariner of the shore;
And, listening to the murmur, he shall deem
He hears the rustling leaf and running stream.
WANTON droll, whose harmless play
Beguiles the rustic's closing day,
When drawn the ev'ning fire about,
Sit aged crone and thoughtless lout,
And child upon his three-foot stool,
Waiting till his supper cool;
And maid, whose cheek outblooms the rose,
As bright the blazing fagot glows,
Who, bending to the friendly light,
Plies her task with busy sleight;
Come, show thy tricks and sportive graces,
Thus circled round with merry faces.
Backward coil'd, and crouching low,
With glaring eyeballs watch thy foe,
The housewife's spindle whirling round,
Or thread, or straw, that on the ground
Its shadow throws, by urchin sly
Held out to lure the roving eye;
Then, onward stealing, fiercely spring
Upon the futile, faithless thing.
Now, wheeling round with bootless skill,
Thy bo-peep tail provokes thee still,
As oft beyond thy curving side
Its jetty tip is seen to glide;
Till, from thy centre starting far,
Thou sidelong rear'st, with rump in air,
Erected stiff, and gait awry,
Like madam in her tantrums high:
Though ne'er a madam of them all,
Whose silken kirtle sweeps the hall,
More varied trick and whim displays,,
To catch the admiring stranger's gaze.
The featest tumbler, stage-bedight,
To thee is but a clumsy wight,
Who every limb and sinew strains
To do what costs thee little pains,
For which, I trow, the gaping crowd
Requites him oft with plaudits loud.
But, stopp'd the while thy wanton play,
Applauses, too, thy feats repay :
For then beneath some urchin's hand,
With modest pride thou takest thy stand,
While many a stroke of fondness glides
Along thy back and tabby sides.
Dilated swells thy-glossy fur,
And loudly sings thy busy pur,
As, timing well the equal sound,
Thy clutching feet bepat the ground,
All their harmless claws disclose,
Like prickles of an early rose;
While softly from thy whisker'd cheek
Thy half-closed eyes peer mild and meek.
But not alone by cottage fire
Do rustics rude thy feats admire;
The learned sage, whose thoughts explore
The widest range of human lore,
Or, with unfetter'd fancy, fly
Through airy heights of poesy,
Pausing, smiles with alter'd air
To see thee climb his elbow-chair,
Or, struggling on the mat below,
Hold warfare with his slipper'd toe.
The widow'd dame, or lonely maid,
Who in the still, but cheerless shade
Of home unsocial, spends her age,
And rarely turns a letter'd page;
Upon her hearth for thee lets fall
The rounded cork, or paper-ball,
Nor chides thee, on thy wicked watch
The ends of ravellid skein to catch,
But lets thee have thy wayward will,
Perplexing oft her sober skill.
Even he, whose mind of gloomy bent,
In lonely tower or prison pent,
Reviews the coil of former days,
And loathes the world and all its ways;
What time the lamp's unsteady gleam
Doth rouse him from his moody dream,
Feels, as thou gambol'st round his seat,
His heart with pride less fiercely beat,
And smiles, a link in thee to find
That joins him still to living kind.
Whence hast thou then, thou witless Puss, The magic power to charm us thus ?
Is it, that in thy glaring eye,
And rapid movements, we descry,
While we at ease, secure from ill,
The chimney-corner snugly fill,
A lion, darting on the prey,
A tiger at his ruthless play?
Or is it, that in thee we trace,
With all thy varied wanton grace,
An emblem viewd with kindred eye,
Of tricksy, restless infancy?
DIRGE IN CYMBELINE. To fair Fidele's grassy tomb
Soft maids and village hinds shall bring Each opening sweet, of earliest bloom,
And rifle all the breathing spring. No wailing ghost shall dare appear,
To vex with shrieks this quiet grove, But shepherd lads assemble here,
And melting virgins own their love.
No wither'd witch shall here be seen,
No goblins lead their nightly crew; The female fays shall haunt the green,
And dress thy grave with pearly dew! The redbreast oft, at evening hours,
Shall kindly lend his little aid,
With hoary moss, and gather'd Aowers,
To deck the ground where thou art laid
When howling winds and beating rain
In tempests shake the sylvan cell, Or 'midst the chase on every plain,
The tender thought on thee shall dwell,
Each lonely scene shall thee restore,
For thee the tear be duly shed ; Beloved, till life can charm no more; And mourn'd, till pity's self be dead.
BENEATH these fruit-tree boughs that shed
Their snow-white blossoms on my head,
With brightest sunshine round me spread
Of spring's unclouded weather,
In this sequester'd nook how sweet
To sit upon my orchard-seat!
And birds and flowers once more to greet,
My last year's friends together.
One have I mark'd, the happiest guest
In all this covert of the blest :
Hail to thee, far above the rest
In joy of voice and pinion,
Thou, Linnet! in thy green array,
Presiding spirit here to-day,
Dost lead the revels of the May,
And this is thy dominion.
While birds, and butterflies, and flowers
Make all one band of paramours,
Thou, ranging up and down the bowers,
Art sole in thy employment;
A life, a presence like the air,
Scattering thy gladness without care,
Too bless'd with any one to pair,
Thyself thy own enjoyment.
Upon yon tuft of hazel trees,
That twinkle to the gusty breeze,