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ONCE on a time, a Paper Kite
Was mounted on a wondrous height,
Where, giddy with its elevation,
It thus express'd self-admiration:
“See, how yon crowds of gazing people
Admire my flight above the steeple !
How would they wonder, if they knew
All that a kite like me can do !
Were I but free, I'd take a flight,
And pierce the clouds beyond their sight:
But ah! like a poor pris'ner bound,
My string confines me near the ground :
I'd brave the eagle's tow'ring wing,
Might I but fly without a string.'
It tugg'd and pull’d, while thus it spoke,
To break the string at last it broke.
Depriv'd at once of all its stay,
In vain it trjed to soar away ;
Unable its own weight to bear,
It flutter'd downward through the air :
Unable its own course to guide,
The winds soon plung'd it in the tide.
Ah! foolish kite; thou hadst no wing!
How couldst thou fly without a string ?
My heart replied: “O Lord, I see
How much this kite resembles me!
Forgetful that by thee I stand,
Impatient of thy ruling hand,
How oft I've wish'd to break the lines
Thy wisdom to my lot assigns !
How oft indulg'd a vain desire
For something more, or something higher !
And, but for grace, and love divine,
A fate thus dreadful had been mine."
THE COUNTRY MAID AND THE PIMPERNEL
“I'll go and peep at the Pimpernel,
And see if she think the clouds look well ;
For if the sun shine,
And 'tis like to be fine,
I shall go to the fair,
Lubin is there;
, what bode the clouds and the sky? If fair weather, no maiden so merry as I.”
The Pimpernel-flower had folded up
Her little gold star in her coral cup ;
And unto the maid
Thus her warning said:
“ Though the sun smile down,
There's a gathering frown
O’er the checker'd blue of the clouded sky;
So stay at home, for a storm is nigh.”
The maid first look'd sad, and then look'd cross,
Gave her foot a fling, and her head a toss;
“Say you so, indeed,
You mean little weed?
You're shut up for spite,
For the blue sky is bright;
To more credulous people your warnings tell:
I'll away to the fair Good day, Pimpernel.”
“Stay at home," quoth the flower. “In sooth,
not I; I'll don my straw hat with a silken tie;
* The Pimpernel, or “ Poor man's weather-glass," closes in damp or rainy weather.
O’er my neck so fair
I'll a kerchief wear,
White, checker'd with pink ;
And then -- let me think,
I'll consider my gown—for I'd fain look well:”
So saying, she stepp'd o’er the Pimpernel.
Now the wise little flower, wrapp'd safe from
Sat fearlessly waiting the coming storm;
Just peeping between
Her snug cloak of green,
Lay folded up tight
Her red robe so bright,
Though broider'd with purple, and starr'd with
gold, No eye might its bravery then behold.
The fair maiden straight donn'd her best array,
And forth to the festival hied away:
But scarce had she gone
Ere the storm came on,
And, 'mid thunder and rain,
She cried, oft and again, “Oh ! would I had minded yon boding flower, And were safe at home from the pelting
Now, maiden, the tale that I tell would say,
Don't don fine clothes on a doubtful day;
Nor ask advice, when, like many more,
Your resolve was taken some time before.
I WALK'd the fields at morning's prime,
The grass was ripe for mowing; The skylark sang his matin chime,
And all was brightly glowing. “And thus,” I cried, “ the ardent boy,
His pulse with rapture beating,
Deems life's inheritance is joy -
The future proudly greeting.”
I wander'd forth at noon : alas !
On earth's maternal bosom
The scythe had left the with’ring grass,
And stretch'd the faded blossom.
And thus, I thought with many a sigh,
The hopes we fondly cherish,
Like flow'rs which blossom but to die,
Seem only born to perish.
Once more at eve abroad I stray'd,
Through lonely hay-fields musing;
While ev'ry breeze that round me play'd
Rich fragrance was diffusing. The perfum'd air, the hush of eve,
To purer hopes appealing, O'er thoughts perchance too prone to grievė,
Scatter'd the balm of healing. For thus the actions of the just,
When memory hath enshrin'd them, E'en from the dark and silent dust Their odour leave behind them.
ALONG the surface of the winding stream,
Pursuing every turn gay swallows skim,
Or round the borders of the spacious lawn,
Fly in repeated circles, rising o'er
Hillock and fence with motion serpentine,
Easy and light. One snatches from the ground
A downy feather, and then upward springs,
Follow'd by others, but oft drops it soon,
In playful mood, or from too slight a hold,
When all at once dart at the falling prize.
ON PLANTING A TULIP-ROOT.
HERE lies a bulb, the child of earth,
Buried alive beneath the clod,
Ere long to spring, by second birth,
A new and nobler work of God.
'Tis said that microscopic pow'r
Might through its swaddling folds descry
The infant-image of the flow'r,
Too exquisite to meet the eye.
This, vernal suns and rains will swell,
Till from its dark abode it peep,
Like Venus rising from her shell,
Amidst the spring-tide of the deep.
Two shapely leaves will first unfold,
Then, on a smooth elastic stem,
The verdant bud shall turn to gold,
And open in a diadem.