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Think but of Julius Cæsar,
The heroic, wise, and braveTo have seen his legions in the field, His galleys on the wave!
Then, to have sate in the Forum, When Cicero's words grew strong; Or at evening by the Tiber walked, To listen Virgil's song!
I should have seen Rome's glory dimmed
When, round her leaguered wall,
Came down the Vandal and the Goth,
The Scythian and the Gaul;
And the dwarfish Huns by myriads, From the unknown northern shores; As if the very earth gave up
The brown-men of the moors.
I should have seen Old Wodin
And his seven sons go forth,
From the green banks of the Caspian sea
To the dim wilds of the north;
To the dark and piny forests,
Where he made his drear abode, And taught his wild and fearful faith, And thus became their god.
And the terrible Vikingr,
Dwellers on the stormy sea, The Norsemen and their Runic lore Had all been known to me! Think only of the dismal tales,
Of the mysteries I should know, If my long life had but begun Three thousand years ago!
NAY, go not to the town to-day,
The fierceness of this noon-tide ray,
Like furnace-fire, will hotly fall,
Reflected from each red-brick wall;
And the smooth pavement of the street,
Will seem to scorch thy passing feet;
And in the crush, and in the crowd
Of busy men, with voices loud,
Mingle not thou! but turn aside,
And let me be this day thy guide;
Come to the garden! Let us pass
Adown this smoothly-shaven grass;
Soft, cool, and as a carpet laid
For the fair foot of Eastern maid.
Here cannot come the scorching heat
Of noonday to thy cool retreat :
The shadow of a broad plane-tree
Is o'er thee like a canopy;
And, just anigh, within thine ear,
The tinkle of a fountain clear,
Within a marble basin falling;
And 'mong the shrouding leaves is heard The song of many an unseen bird; And near and far the cuckoo calling!—
And here comne odours that the breeze
Brings from the scented flowering trees;
Rich scent that gives the fancy flight
To eastern gardens of delight;
And say, whatever bower of bliss,
Was fairer in romance than this?—
Romance!-ay sure, and we will find
Some tale for this sweet spot designed,
Some ancient tale of woe and wonder,
Made to be read the blue sky under-
Made to be read when thoughts are free;
Some tale of fancy, fresh and airy,
Of beautiful dwellers in the sea,
Or gambols of the summer faëry!
Now scorching noon is passed, and closed The book on which our thoughts reposed, That pleasant book of fairy-wonder, Made to be read the blue skies under. Now let us take a wider range, The garden has unceasing change; And in this sunset's golden tide,
See how the flowers are beautified;
Sweet flowers,-sweet, radiant flowers that we
Regard as visible poetry—
The flowers of Greece, the flowers of Spain,
Of islands in the Southern main;
Of sunny Persia; far Cathay,
And the lion-realms of Africa-
How do they send the fancy forth,
As if she had a ship to speed her
To the far corners of the earth,
Where'er a vagrant thought can lead her! Where'er there is a breath of flowers, That far-off, pleasant land is ours!
Now, in these walks of verdant shade Which arching ever-greens have made, Let thee and me, with minds sedate, Watch till the evening groweth late; For holy is that serious thought Which by the coming night is brought; For then doth spiritual life unfold,
As flowers in day-light open wide; And God's good spirit, as of old, Seems to walk here at eventide!
SONG FOR THE BALL-PLAYERS.
goes the ball with might and main,
And soon it cometh down again;
Ups and downs, I've heard them say
For many a year, is the world's way!
Up goes the ball,-like a goblet-cup;
Hold your hand as you send it up!
Down it comes,-ere it reach the ground,
Catch the ball so firm and round!
An up and down, that is the way,
With a good round ball, that you must play;
Up, high as you can, then down again,
Five and five, and a double ten.
The world is a ball, and every star,
And the sun himself, great balls they are;
Round they go, and round about,
Ever and ever, yet ne'er are out!
Up goes the ball! oh, if I threw
Up to the very sky so blue,
Up to the moon, or to Charles Wain,
"T would be long ere the ball came down again!
An up and down-that is the way,
With a good round ball, that you must play ;
Up, high as you can, and down again,
Ten and ten, and six times ten!
Face to the shade, and back to the shine;
Send up your balls with a toss like mine,
Straight as a dart, as if 't were cast
From the spring of a mighty arbalast!
There it goes! good luck to the ball!
Here it comes, with a plumping fall;
How merry it is, our balls to throw,
Standing together thus in a row!
An up and a down, that is the way,
With a good round ball, that you must play;
Up, high as you can, and down again,
Now we have counted ten times ten.
The old woman was feeble, rheumatic, and thin,
And with very great labour she managed to spin;
And all the day long, with unwearying zeal,
From Monday to Saturday round went her wheel;
Yet with all her turning, she scarce could contrive
To earn the small pittance that kept her alive;
So these good little children they both did their best,
And gave from their earnings what made up the rest.
Of wealth, which so many consider a blessing,
The three nothing knew-yet the joy of possessing,
Even in this poor cottage the inmates could share,
For the dame had her wheel, and her table and chair;
But Peggy and Willy, than these had far more;
For hers was the blackbird, that hung at the door,
The sweet singing blackbird, that filled with delight
Of its music, the cottage, from morning to night:
And his was the cat that slept under his bed,
And never looked famished howe'er it was fed.
Now, the tale that I had in my mind to rehearse,
Was related by Willy, though not told in verse:
Said Willy, "the cat had a kitten that lay
Behind my bed's head, on a cushion of hay;
A beautiful kit, though a mischievous elf,
And given to prowling about by itself.
Now it happened, one day, as I came from my work,
Before I had put by my rake and my fork,
The old cat came up, and she pawed and she mewed,
With the wofullest visage that ever I viewed,
And she showed me the door, and she ran in and out;
I couldn't conceive what the cat was about!
THE KITTEN'S MISHAP.
I'LL tell you a tale of a watery disaster;
Of a cat, and a kitten, and their little master;
A tale it shall be, neither made-up nor silly,
Of two good little children, named Peggy and Willy.
They were not rich children and clever, like you,
Who had books, toys, and pictures, and nothing to do;
They were two little orphans, that lived on a common,
In a very small house, with a very old woman.
A very old woman, as poor as could be;
And they worked for the bread that they eat, all So here ends my tale of this watery disaster,
Of the cat, and the kitten, and their little master.
At length, I bethought that the creature was good,
And she would have her way, let it be what it would;
And no sooner she saw me inclined to obey,
Than she set up her tail, and she scampered away
To a pond not far off, where the kitten I found
In a bottomless basket, just sinking, half drowned
However it got there, I never could tell,
For a cat hates the water-but so it befel;
Perhaps some bad boy this bad action had done,
To torture the kitten, and then call it fun;
Yet that I don't know; but I soon got her out,
And a terrible fright she had had, there's no doubt;
"T was a pitiful object, it drooped down its head,
And Peggy for some time declared it was dead.
But its heart was alive, spite the panic and pain,
And it opened its eyes and looked up again,
And we gave it some milk, and we dried its wet fur,
And oh! what a pleasure there was in its purr;
At length when we saw that all danger was over,
And that, well warmed and dried, it began to recover,
We laid it in bed, on its cushion of hay,
And wrapped it up snugly, and bade it 'good day.'
And then its poor mother gave over her mourning,
And lay down and purred like the wheel that was
And she and the kitten by care unperplexed,
Slept, purred, and scarce stirred all that day and the
Then scarcely a trace of her trouble she bore,
Though meeker and graver than ever before."
SPRING! the beautiful Spring is coming,
The sun shines bright and the bees are humming;
And the fields are rich with the early flowers,
Beds of crocus and daisies white,
And under the budding hedge-row, showers
Of the ficary golden bright!
Come, come, let you and me
Go out, and the promise of Spring-time see,
For many a pleasant nook. I know,
Where the hooded arum and blue-bell grow,
And crowds of violets white as snow;-
Come, come, let's go!
Let's go, for hark,
I hear the lark;
And the blackbird and the thrush on the hill-side tree,
Shout to each other so merrily.
And the wren sings loud,
And a little crowd
Of gnats in the sun dance cheerily.
Come, come! come along with me,
For the tassels are red on the tall larch tree,
And in homesteads hilly,
The spathed daffodilly
Is growing in beauty for me and thee!
'Tis Spring! 't is Spring, all creatures know it,
The skies, the earth, the waters show it,
The freckled snakes come out i' the sun,
The leverets race in the meadows green;
The sleep of the little dormouse is done,
And the frisking squirrel again is seen!
Come, come who will,
Let us take our fill
Of delight in the valley, the field, the hill; Let us go to the wood that so late was still;
The air is ringing
With singing, singing!
And flowers are springing
The lanes along,
The white and the red, And the umbelled head, And the single-blowing, All thickly growing,
This merry May morn, a thousand strong! The fishes are glad this May morning,
And like things of light
Through the waters bright,
Flash to and fro!
There's a sound of joy in the youthful Spring
There sings the lark!
Why tarry we yet? let's go!
The strong lamb boundeth,
The glad foal neighs;
And joy resoundeth
A thousand ways — Over hill, and valley, and wood, and plain, Joy poureth down like a shower of rain! I'll tarry no more! come, come, let's go!
LIFE AMONG THE MOUNTAINS.
THE splintered, northern mountains lay
All round about my mother's dwelling, All full of craggy hollows grey,
Where ice-cold, sparkling streams were welling.
Upon the mountains lay the snow,
Far gleaming snows that melted never; And deeply, darkly, far below,
Went sounding on, a lonely river.
Upon the mountain summits hung
The tempest-clouds so darkly scowling, And winds in caverned hollows sung, Like unto desert creatures howling.
Day after day the sunshine slept,
Night after night the moon was hidden;
And rain and wind about us kept,
Week after week, like guests unbidden.
And many a time the deep snows fell,
In the dark months of winter weather; And quite shut in our mountain dell,
We, and our lonely flock together.
We had a little flock of sheep,
I herded them both night and morning; My mother in the house did keep,
Her busy wheel for ever turning.
What joy it was, as I brought them round,
Into their pen, at nightfall darkling, To hear that old wheel's droning sound,
And see the cheerful wood-fire sparkling!
On stilly eves, beside my flock,
The sounds I heard will haunt me ever, The eagle rising from the rock,
The wind-borne roaring of the river:
The gathering of the coming storm, Like far-off angry giants talking; The grey mist like a ghostly form
Over the ridgy mountain stalking!
I saw, I heard, I loved them all;
My days and nights were never weary. Though many a passing guest would call My life forlorn, those mountains dreary. Would I were back among the hills;
Could see the heath, and scent the gowan, Would I could hear those sounding rills, And sit beneath the lonely rowan!
But our little flock of sheep are gone,
Like snowy clouds in moonlight flying; And my mother lies 'neath the churchyard stone, With long, dry bent-grass round her sighing!
WITH hoary hair, and bent with age,
He goes forth on his pilgrimage,
An old man from his forest-cell,
With sandalled feet, and scallop shell;
His sight is dim, his steps are slow,
And pain and hardship must he know,
An old, way-faring man, alone,
And yet his spirit bears him on.
For what? the holy place to see;
To kneel upon Mount Calvary,
Golgotha's dreary bound to trace,
To traverse every desert place,
In which the Saviour trod of yore; For this he beareth travail sore, Hunger and weariness and pain, Nor longeth for his home again!
Now see another pilgrim, gay,
And heartsome as a morn in May;
Young, beautiful, and brave, and strong,
As a wild stag he bounds along;
Mountains his path may not impede ;
The winds and waters serve his need.
He is a pilgrim bound to see
All the old lands of poesy;
At antique cross and altar-stone,
And where dim pagan rites were done;
In groves; by springs; on mountains hoar;
In classic vale; by classic shore;
Where wise men walked; where brave men fell;
Or tale of love hath left its spell,
It matters not his foot is there,
Joyful to breathe of classic air;
Joyful on classic forms to gaze,
And call back light from ancient days. -
It is a fond and ardent quest,
And leaves its pilgrim ill at rest!
Behold, once more! - From youth to age
Man goeth on a pilgrimage;
Or rich or poor, unwise or wise,
Before each one this journey lies;
"T is to a land afar, unknown,
Yet where the great of old are gone,
Poet and patriot, sage and seer;
All whom we worship or revere ;
This awful pilgrimage have made, -
Have passed to the dim land of shade.
Youth, with his radiant locks, is there;
And old men with their silver hair;
And children sportive in their glee ;-
A strange and countless company!
Ne'er on that land gazed human eyes;
Man's science hath not traced its skies,
Nor mortal traveller e'er brought back
Chart of that journey's fearful track.
Thou art a pilgrim to that shore, Like them, thou canst return no more! Oh, gird thee, for thou needest strength For the way's peril as its length! Oh, faint not by the way, nor heed Dangers nor lures, nor check thy speed; So God be with thee, pilgrim blessed, Thou journeyest to the LAND OF REST!
NAY, tell me not of Austral flowers,
Or purple bells from Persia bowers,
The cowslip of this land of ours,
Is dearer far to me!
This flower in other years I knew!
I know the fields wherein it grew,
With violets white and violets blue,
Beneath the garden-tree!
The apple and the damson trees;
The cottage-shelter for our bees;
I see them and beyond all these,
A something dearer still;
I see an eye serenely blue,
A cheek of girlhood's freshest hue,
A buoyant heart, a spirit true,
Alike in good and ill.
Sweet Sister, thou wert all to me,
And I, sufficient friend for thee: -
Where was a happier twain than we,
Who had no mate beside?
Like wayside flowers in merry May,
Our pleasures round about us lay; -
A joyful morning had our day,
Whate'er our eve betide!
A MAIDEN had an Indian bird,
And she kept it in her bower; The sweetest bird that e'er was seen,— Its feathers were of the light sea-green, And its eye had a mild intelligence, As if it were gifted with human sense: