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Then, little Bird, this boon confer,
Come, and my requiem sing,
Nor fail to be the harbinger
Of everlasting Spring.
I KNOW an aged Man constrained to dwell
In a large house of public charity,
Where he abides, as in a Prisoner's cell,
With numbers near, alas! no company.
When he could creep about, at will, though poor
And forced to live on alms, this old Man fed
A Redbreast, one that to his cottage door
Came not, but in a lane partook his bread.
There, at the root of one particular tree,
An easy seat this worn-out Labourer found
While Robin pecked the crumbs upon
his knee Laid one by one, or scattered on the ground.
Dear intercourse was theirs, day after day; What signs of mutual gladness when they met! Think of their common peace, their simple play, The parting moment and its fond regret.
Months passed in love that failed not to fulfil, In spite of season's change, its own demand, By fluttering pinions here and busy bill ; There by caresses from a tremulous hand.
Thus in the chosen spot a tie so strong
Was formed between the solitary pair,
That when his fate had housed him mid a throng
The Captive shunned all converse proffered there.
Wife, children, kindred, they were dead and gone ;
But, if no evil hap his wishes crossed,
One living Stay was left, and on that one
Some recompense for all that he had lost.
O that the good old Man had power to prove,
By message sent through air or visible token,
That still he loves the Bird, and still must love ;
That friendship lasts though fellowship is broken!
AFFECTIONS lose their object ; Time brings forth
No successors; and, lodged in memory,
If love exist no longer, it must die, -
Wanting accustomed food, must pass from earth,
Or never hope to reach a second birth.
This sad belief, the happiest that is left
To thousands, share not Thou; howe'er bereft,
Scorned, or neglected, fear not such a dearth.
Though poor and destitute of friends thou art,
Perhaps the sole survivor of thy race,
One to whom Heaven assigns that mournful part
The utmost solitude of age to face,
Still shall be left some corner of the heart
Where Love for living Thing can find a place.
[My poor sister takes a pleasure in repeating these verses, which she
composed not long before the beginning of her sad illness.] These lines are by the Author of the Address to the Wind, &c.
published heretofore along with my Poems. The above tu a Redbreast are by a deceased female Relative.
HARMONIOUS Powers with Nature work
On sky, earth, river, lake and sea;
Sunshine and cloud, whirlwind and breeze,
All in one duteous task agree.
Once did I see a slip of earth
(By throbbing waves long undermined)
Loosed from its hold; how, no one knew,
But all might see it float, obedient to the wind;
Might see it, from the mossy shore
Dissevered, float upon the Lake,
Float with its crest of trees adorned
On which the warbling birds their pastime take.
Food, shelter, safety, there they find;
There berries ripen, flowerets bloom ;
There insects live their lives, and die;
A peopled world it is; in size a tiny room.
And thus through many seasons' space
This little Island may survive;
But Nature, though we mark her not,
Will take away, may cease to give.
Perchance when you are wandering forth
Upon some vacant sunny day,
Without an object, hope, or fear,
Thither your eyes may turn—the Isle is passed away;
Buried beneath the glittering Lake,
Its place no longer to be found;
Yet the lost fragments shall remain
To fertilize some other ground.
How beautiful the Queen of Night, on high
Her way pursuing among scattered clouds,
Where, ever and anon, her head sbe shrouds
Hidden from view in dense obscurity.
But look, and to the watchful eye
A brightening edge will indicate that soon
We shall behold the struggling Moon
Break forth,--again to walk the clear blue sky.
[ "No faculty yet given me to espy
The dusky Shape within her arms imbound.” Afterwards, when I could not avoid seeing it, I wondered at this, and the more so because, like most children, I had been in the habit of watching the moon through all her changes, and had often continued to gaze at it when at the full, till half blinded.]
Late, late yestreen I saw the new moone
Wi' the auld moone in hir arme.'
Ballad of Sir Patrick Spence, Percy's Reliqui's.
ONCE I could hail (howe'er serene the sky)
The Moon re-entering her monthly round,
No faculty yet given me to espy
The dusky Shape within her arms imbound,
That thin memento of effulgence lost
Which some have named her Predecessor's ghost.
Young, like the Crescent that above me shone,
Nought I perceived within it dull or dim;
All that appeared was suitable to One
Whose fancy had a thousand fields to skim;
To expectations spreading with wild growth,
And hope that kept with me her plighted troth.
I saw ambition quickening at the view)
A. silver boat launched on a boundless flood;
A pearly crest, like Dian’s when it threw
Its brightest splendour round a leafy wood;
But not a hint from under-ground, no sign
Fit for the glimmering brow of Proserpine.