And mark by rustic bridge, oer shallow stream, Cow-tending boy, to toil unreconciled, Absorbed as in some vagrant summer dream; Who now, in gestures wild, Starts dancing to his shadow on the wall, Feeling self-gratified, Nor fearing human thrall:
Then thread the sunny valley laced with streams, Or forests rude, and the oershadowed brims Of simple ponds, where idle shepherd dreams, And streaks his listless limbs; Or trace hay-scented meadows, smooth and long, Where joy's wild impulse swims In one continued song.
I love at early morn, from new mown swath, To see the startled frog his route pursue; To mark while, leaping oer the dripping path, His bright sides scatter dew, The early lark that, from its bustle flies, To hail his matin new; And watch him to the skies:
To note on hedgerow baulks, in moisture sprent, The jetty snail creep from the mossy thorn, With earnest heed, and tremulous intent, Frail brother of the morn, That from the tiny bents and misted leaves Withdraws his timid horn, And fearful vision weaves:
Or swallow heed on smoke-tanned chimney top, Wont to be first unsealing morning's eye, Ere yet the bee hath gleaned one wayward drop Of honey on his thigh; To see him seek morn's airy couch to sing, Until the golden sky Bepaint his russet wing:
And sawning boy by tanning corn espy, With clapping noise to startle birds away, And hear him bawl to every passer by To know the hour of day; And see the uncradled breeze, refreshed and strong, With waking blossoms play, And breathe eolian song.
I love the south-west wind, or low or loud, And not the less when sudden drops of rain Moisten my pallid cheek from ebon cloud, Threatening soft showers again, That over lands new ploughed and meadow grounds, Summer's sweet breath unchain, And wake harmonious sounds.
Rich music breathes in summer's every sound; And in her harmony of varied greens, Woods, meadows, hedge-rows, corn-fields, all around Much beauty intervenes, Filling with harmony the ear and eye; While oer the mingling scenes Far spreads the laughing sky.
And wind-enamoured aspin—mark the leaves Turn up their silver lining to the sun, And list! the brustling noise, that oft deceives, And makes the sheep-boy run; The sound so mimics fast-approaching showers, He thinks the rain begun, And hastes to sheltering bowers.
But now the evening curdles dank and grey, Changing her watchet hue for sombre weed; And moping owls, to close the lids of day, On drowsy wing proceed; While chickering crickets, tremulous and long, Light's farewell inly heed, And give it parting song.
The pranking bat its nighty circlet makes; The glow-worm burnishes its lamp anew Oer meadows dew-besprent; and beetle wakes Enquiries ever new, Teazing each passing ear with murmurs vain, As wanting to pursue His homeward path again.
Hark to the melody of distant bells That on the wind with pleasing hum rebounds By fitful starts, then musically swells Oer the dun stilly grounds; While on the meadow bridge the pausing boy Listens the mellow sounds, And hums in vacant joy.
Now homeward-bound, the hedger bundles round His evening faggot, and with every stride His leathern doublet leaves a rustling sound. Till silly sheep beside His path start tremulous, and once again Look back dissatisfied, Then scour the dewy plain.
How sweet the soothing calm that smoothly stills Oer the heart's every sense its opiate dews, In meek-eyed moods and ever balmy trills! That softens and subdues, With gentle quiet's bland and sober train, Which dreamy eve renews In many a mellow strain.
I love to walk the fields, they are to me A legacy no evil can destroy; They, like a spell, set every rapture free That cheered me when a boy. Play—pastime—all time's blotting pen concealed, Comes like a new-born joy, To greet me in the field.
For nature's objects ever harmonize With emulous taste, that vulgar deed annoys; It loves in quiet moods to sympathize, And meet vibrating joys Oer nature's pleasant things; nor will it deem Pastime the muse employs A vain obtrusive theme.
A World for Love
Oh, the world is all too rude for thee, with much ado and care; Oh, this world is but a rude world, and hurts a thing so fair; Was there a nook in which the world had never been to sear, That place would prove a paradise when thou and Love were near.
And there to pluck the blackberry, and there to reach the sloe, How joyously and happily would Love thy partner go; Then rest when weary on a bank, where not a grassy blade Had eer been bent by Trouble's feet, and Love thy pillow made.
For Summer would be ever green, though sloes were in their prime, And Winter smile his frowns to Spring, in beauty's happy clime; And months would come, and months would go, and all in sunny mood, And everything inspired by thee grow beautifully good.
And there to make a cot unknown to any care and pain, And there to shut the door alone on singing wind and rain— Far, far away from all the world, more rude than rain or wind, Oh, who could wish a sweeter home, or better place to find?
Than thus to love and live with thee, thou beautiful delight! Than thus to live and love with thee the summer day and night! The Earth itself, where thou hadst rest, would surely smile to see Herself grow Eden once again, possest of Love and thee.
Love, though it is not chill and cold, But burning like eternal fire, Is yet not of approaches bold, Which gay dramatic tastes admire. Oh timid love, more fond than free, In daring song is ill pourtrayed, Where, as in war, the devotee By valour wins each captive maid;—
Where hearts are prest to hearts in glee, As they could tell each other's mind; Where ruby lips are kissed as free, As flowers are by the summer wind. No! gentle love, that timid dream, With hopes and fears at foil and play, Works like a skiff against the stream, And thinking most finds least to say.
It lives in blushes and in sighs, In hopes for which no words are found; Thoughts dare not speak but in the eyes, The tongue is left without a sound. The pert and forward things that dare Their talk in every maiden's ear, Feel no more than their shadows there— Mere things of form, with nought of fear.
True passion, that so burns to plead, Is timid as the dove's disguise; Tis for the murder-aiming gleed To dart at every thing that flies. True love, it is no daring bird, But like the little timid wren, That in the new-leaved thorns of spring Shrinks farther from the sight of men.
The idol of his musing mind, The worship of his lonely hour, Love woos her in the summer wind, And tells her name to every flower; But in her sight, no open word Escapes, his fondness to declare; The sighs by beauty's magic stirred Are all that speak his passion there.
Nature's Hymn to the Deity
All nature owns with one accord The great and universal Lord: The sun proclaims him through the day, The moon when daylight drops away, The very darkness smiles to wear The stars that show us God is there, On moonlight seas soft gleams the sky And "God is with us" waves reply.
Winds breathe from God's abode "we come," Storms louder own God is their home, And thunder yet with louder call, Sounds "God is mightiest over all"; Till earth right loath the proof to miss Echoes triumphantly "He is," And air and ocean makes reply, God reigns on earth, in air and sky.
All nature owns with one accord The great and universal Lord: Insect and bird and tree and flower— The witnesses of every hour— Are pregnant with his prophesy And "God is with us" all reply. The first link in the mighty plan Is still—and all upbraideth man.
O Poesy is on the wane, For Fancy's visions all unfitting; I hardly know her face again, Nature herself seems on the flitting. The fields grow old and common things, The grass, the sky, the winds a-blowing; And spots, where still a beauty clings, Are sighing "going! all a-going!" O Poesy is on the wane, I hardly know her face again.
The bank with brambles overspread, And little molehills round about it, Was more to me than laurel shades, With paths of gravel finely clouted; And streaking here and streaking there, Through shaven grass and many a border, With rutty lanes had no compare, And heaths were in a richer order. But Poesy is on the wane, I hardly know her face again.
I sat beside the pasture stream, When Beauty's self was sitting by, The fields did more than Eden seem Nor could I tell the reason why. I often drank when not adry To pledge her health in draughts divine; Smiles made it nectar from the sky, Love turned een water into wine. O Poesy is on the wane, I cannot find her face again.
The sun those mornings used to find, Its clouds were other-country mountains, And heaven looked downward on the mind, Like groves, and rocks, and mottled fountains. Those heavens are gone, the mountains grey Turned mist—the sun, a homeless ranger, Pursues alone his naked way, Unnoticed like a very stranger. O Poesy is on the wane, Nor love nor joy is mine again.
Love's sun went down without a frown, For very joy it used to grieve us; I often think the West is gone, Ah, cruel Time, to undeceive us. The stream it is a common stream, Where we on Sundays used to ramble, The sky hangs oer a broken dream, The bramble's dwindled to a bramble! O Poesy is on the wane, I cannot find her haunts again.
Mere withered stalks and fading trees, And pastures spread with hills and rushes, Are all my fading vision sees; Gone, gone are rapture's flooding gushes! When mushrooms they were fairy bowers, Their marble pillars overswelling, And Danger paused to pluck the flowers That in their swarthy rings were dwelling. Yes, Poesy is on the wane, Nor joy nor fear is mine again.
Aye, Poesy hath passed away, And Fancy's visions undeceive us; The night hath ta'en the place of day, And why should passing shadows grieve us? I thought the flowers upon the hills Were flowers from Adam's open gardens; But I have had my summer thrills, And I have had my heart's rewardings. So Poesy is on the wane, I hardly know her face again.
And Friendship it hath burned away, Like to a very ember cooling, A make-believe on April day That sent the simple heart a-fooling; Mere jesting in an earnest way, Deceiving on and still deceiving; And Hope is but a fancy-play, And Joy the art of true believing; For Poesy is on the wane, O could I feel her faith again!
The Cellar Door
By the old tavern door on the causey there lay A hogshead of stingo just rolled from a dray, And there stood the blacksmith awaiting a drop As dry as the cinders that lay in his shop; And there stood the cobbler as dry as a bun, Almost crackt like a bucket when left in the sun. He'd whetted his knife upon pendil and hone Till he'd not got a spittle to moisten the stone; So ere he could work—though he'd lost the whole day— He must wait the new broach and bemoisten his clay.
The cellar was empty, each barrel was drained To its dregs—and Sir John like a rebel remained In the street—for removal too powerful and large For two or three topers to take into charge. Odd zooks, said a gipsey, with bellows to mend, Had I strength I would just be for helping a friend To walk on his legs: but a child in the street Had as much power as he to put John on his feet. Then up came the blacksmith: Sir Barley, said he, I should just like to storm your old tower for a spree;
And my strength for your strength and bar your renown I'd soon try your spirit by cracking your crown. And the cobbler he tuckt up his apron and spit In his hands for a burster—but devil a bit Would he move—so as yet they made nothing of land; For there lay the knight like a whale in the sand. Said the tinker: If I could but drink of his vein I should just be as strong and as stubborn again. Push along, said the toper, the cellar's adry: There's nothing to moisten the mouth of a fly.
Says the host, We shall burn out with thirst, he's so big. There's a cag of small swipes half as sour as a wig. In such like extremes, why, extremes will come pat; So let's go and wet all our whistles with that. Says the gipsey, May I never bottom a chair If I drink of small swipes while Sir John's lying there. And the blacksmith he threw off his apron and swore Small swipes should bemoisten his gullet no more: Let it out on the floor for the dry cock-a-roach— And he held up his hammer with threatens to broach
Sir John in his castle without leave or law And suck out his blood with a reed or a straw Ere he'd soak at the swipes—and he turned him to start, Till the host for high treason came down a full quart. Just then passed the dandy and turned up his nose: They'd fain have him shove, but he looked at his clothes And nipt his nose closer and twirled his stick round And simpered, Tis nuisance to lie on the ground. But Bacchus, he laughed from the old tavern sign, Saying, Go on, thou shadow, and let the sun shine.
Then again they all tried, and the tinker he swore That the hogshead had grown twice as heavy or more. Nay nay, said the toper, and reeled as he spoke, We're all getting weak, that's the end of the joke. The ploughman came up and cut short his old tune, Hallooed "woi" to his horses and though it was June Said he'd help them an hour ere he'd keep them adry; Well done, said the blacksmith with hopes running high; He moves, and, by jingo, success to the plough! Aye aye, said the cobbler, we'll conquer him now.
The hogshead rolled forward, the toper fell back, And the host laughed aloud as his sides they would crack To see the old tinker's toil make such a gap In his coat as to rend it from collar to flap. But the tinker he grumbled and cried Fiddle-dee! This garment hath been an old tenant with me; And a needle and thread with a little good skill When I've leisure will make it stand more weathers still. Then crack went his breeks from the hip to the knee With his thrusting—no matter; for nothing cared he.
So long as Sir John rolled along to the door, He's a chip of our block, said the blacksmith, and swore; And as sure as I live to drive nails in a shoe He shall have at my cost a full pitcher or two. And the toper he hiccuped—which hindered an oath— So long as he'd credit, he'd pitcher them both. But the host stopt to hint when he'd ordered the dray Sir Barleycorn's order was purchase and pay. And now the old knight is imprisoned and ta'en To waste in the tavern man's cellar again.
And now, said the blacksmith, let forfeits come first For the insult swipes offered, or his hoops I will burst. Here it is, my old hearties—Then drink your thirst full, Said the host, for the stingo is worth a strong pull. Never fear for your legs if they're broken to-day; Winds only blow straws, dust, and feathers away. But the cask that is full, like a giant he lies, And giants alone can his spirits capsize. If he lies in the path, though a king's coming bye, John Barleycorn's mighty and there he will lie.
Then the toper sat down with a hiccup and felt If he'd still an odd coin in his pocket to melt, And he made a wry face, for his pocket was bare. —But he laughed and danced up, What, old boy, are you there? When he felt that a stiver had got to his knee Through a hole in his fob, and right happy was he. Says the tinker, I've brawled till no breath I have got And not met with twopence to purchase a pot. Says the toper, I've powder to charge a long gun, And a stiver I've found when I thought I'd got none;
So helping a thirsty old friend in his need Is my duty—take heart, thou art welcome indeed. Then the smith with his tools in Sir John made a breach, And the toper he hiccuped and ended his speech; And pulled at the quart, till the snob he declared When he went to drink next that the bottom was bared. No matter for that, said the toper, and grinned; I had but a soak and neer rested for wind. That's the law, said the smith, with a look rather vexed, But the quart was a forfeit; so pay for the next.
Thus they talked of their skill and their labour till noon When the sober man's toil was exactly half done, And there the plough lay—people hardly could pass And the horses let loose polished up the short grass And browsed on the bottle of flags lying there, By the gipsey's old budget, for mending a chair. The miller's horse tied to the old smithy door Stood stamping his feet, by the flies bitten sore, Awaiting the smith as he wanted a shoe; And he stampt till another fell off and made two:
Till the miller, expecting that all would get loose, Went to seek him and cursed him outright for a goose; But he dipt his dry beak in the mug once or twice And forgot all his passion and toil in a trice. And the flybitten horse at the old smithy post Might stamp till his shoes and his legs they were lost. He sung his old songs and forgot his old mill— Blow winds high or low, she might rest her at will. And the cobbler, in spite of his bustle for pelf, Left the shop all the day to take care of itself.
And the toper who carried his house on his head, No wife to be teazing, no bairns to be fed, Would sit out the week or the month or the year Or a life-time so long as he'd credit for beer. The ploughman he talked of his skill as divine, How he could plough thurrows as straight as a line; And the blacksmith he swore, had he but the command, He could shoe the king's hunter the best in the land; And the cobbler declared, was his skill but once seen, He should soon get an order for shoes from the queen.
But the tinker he swore he could beat them all three, For gi' me a pair of old bellows, says he, And I'll make them roar out like the wind in a storm And make them blow fire out of coal hardly warm. The toper said nothing but wished the quart full And swore he could toss it all off at a pull. Have one, said the tinker; but wit was away, When the bet was to bind him he'd nothing to pay. And thus in the face of life's sun-and-shower weather They drank, bragged, and sung, and got merry together.
The sun he went down—the last gleam from his brow Flung a smile of repose on the holiday plough; The glooms they approached, and the dews like a rain Fell thick and hung pearls on the old sorrel mane Of the horse that the miller had brought to be shod, And the morning awoke, saw a sight rather odd— For a bit of the halter still hung at the door, Bit through by the horse now at feed on the moor; And the old tinker's budget lay still in the weather, While all kept on singing and drinking together.
I've left my own old home of homes, Green fields and every pleasant place; The summer like a stranger comes, I pause and hardly know her face. I miss the hazel's happy green, The blue bell's quiet hanging blooms, Where envy's sneer was never seen, Where staring malice never comes.
I miss the heath, its yellow furze, Molehills and rabbit tracks that lead Through beesom, ling, and teazel burrs That spread a wilderness indeed; The woodland oaks and all below That their white powdered branches shield, The mossy paths: the very crow Croaks music in my native field.
I sit me in my corner chair That seems to feel itself from home, And hear bird music here and there From hawthorn hedge and orchard come; I hear, but all is strange and new: I sat on my old bench in June, The sailing puddock's shrill "peelew" On Royce Wood seemed a sweeter tune.
I walk adown the narrow lane, The nightingale is singing now, But like to me she seems at loss For Royce Wood and its shielding bough. I lean upon the window sill, The trees and summer happy seem; Green, sunny green they shine, but still My heart goes far away to dream.
Of happiness, and thoughts arise With home-bred pictures many a one, Green lanes that shut out burning skies And old crooked stiles to rest upon; Above them hangs the maple tree, Below grass swells a velvet hill, And little footpaths sweet to see Go seeking sweeter places still,
With bye and bye a brook to cross Oer which a little arch is thrown: No brook is here, I feel the loss From home and friends and all alone. —The stone pit with its shelvy sides Seemed hanging rocks in my esteem; I miss the prospect far and wide From Langley Bush, and so I seem
Alone and in a stranger scene, Far, far from spots my heart esteems, The closen with their ancient green, Heaths, woods, and pastures, sunny streams. The hawthorns here were hung with may, But still they seem in deader green, The sun een seems to lose its way Nor knows the quarter it is in.
I dwell in trifles like a child, I feel as ill becomes a man, And still my thoughts like weedlings wild Grow up to blossom where they can. They turn to places known so long I feel that joy was dwelling there, So home-fed pleasure fills the song That has no present joys to hear.
I read in books for happiness, But books are like the sea to joy, They change—as well give age the glass To hunt its visage when a boy. For books they follow fashions new And throw all old esteems away, In crowded streets flowers never grew, But many there hath died away.
Some sing the pomps of chivalry As legends of the ancient time, Where gold and pearls and mystery Are shadows painted for sublime; But passions of sublimity Belong to plain and simpler things, And David underneath a tree Sought when a shepherd Salem's springs,
Where moss did into cushions spring, Forming a seat of velvet hue, A small unnoticed trifling thing To all but heaven's hailing dew. And David's crown hath passed away, Yet poesy breathes his shepherd-skill, His palace lost—and to this day The little moss is blossoming still.
Strange scenes mere shadows are to me, Vague impersonifying things; I love with my old haunts to be By quiet woods and gravel springs, Where little pebbles wear as smooth As hermits' beads by gentle floods, Whose noises do my spirits soothe And warm them into singing moods.
Here every tree is strange to me, All foreign things where eer I go, There's none where boyhood made a swee Or clambered up to rob a crow. No hollow tree or woodland bower Well known when joy was beating high, Where beauty ran to shun a shower And love took pains to keep her dry,
And laid the sheaf upon the ground To keep her from the dripping grass, And ran for stocks and set them round Till scarce a drop of rain could pass Through; where the maidens they reclined And sung sweet ballads now forgot, Which brought sweet memories to the mind, But here no memory knows them not.
There have I sat by many a tree And leaned oer many a rural stile, And conned my thoughts as joys to me, Nought heeding who might frown or smile. Twas nature's beauty that inspired My heart with rapture not its own, And she's a fame that never tires; How could I feel myself alone?
No, pasture molehills used to lie And talk to me of sunny days, And then the glad sheep resting bye All still in ruminating praise Of summer and the pleasant place And every weed and blossom too Was looking upward in my face With friendship's welcome "how do ye do?"
All tenants of an ancient place And heirs of noble heritage, Coeval they with Adam's race And blest with more substantial age. For when the world first saw the sun These little flowers beheld him too, And when his love for earth begun They were the first his smiles to woo.
There little lambtoe bunches springs In red tinged and begolden dye For ever, and like China kings They come but never seem to die. There may-bloom with its little threads Still comes upon the thorny bowers And neer forgets those prickly heads Like fairy pins amid the flowers.
And still they bloom as on the day They first crowned wilderness and rock, When Abel haply wreathed with may The firstlings of his little flock, And Eve might from the matted thorn To deck her lone and lovely brow Reach that same rose that heedless scorn Misnames as the dog rosey now.
Give me no high-flown fangled things, No haughty pomp in marching chime, Where muses play on golden strings And splendour passes for sublime, Where cities stretch as far as fame And fancy's straining eye can go, And piled until the sky for shame Is stooping far away below.
I love the verse that mild and bland Breathes of green fields and open sky, I love the muse that in her hand Bears flowers of native poesy; Who walks nor skips the pasture brook In scorn, but by the drinking horse Leans oer its little brig to look How far the sallows lean across,
And feels a rapture in her breast Upon their root-fringed grains to mark A hermit morehen's sedgy nest Just like a naiad's summer bark. She counts the eggs she cannot reach Admires the spot and loves it well, And yearns, so nature's lessons teach, Amid such neighbourhoods to dwell.
I love the muse who sits her down Upon the molehill's little lap, Who feels no fear to stain her gown And pauses by the hedgerow gap; Not with that affectation, praise Of song, to sing and never see A field flower grown in all her days Or een a forest's aged tree.
Een here my simple feelings nurse A love for every simple weed, And een this little shepherd's purse Grieves me to cut it up; indeed I feel at times a love and joy For every weed and every thing, A feeling kindred from a boy, A feeling brought with every Spring.
And why? this shepherd's purse that grows In this strange spot, in days gone bye Grew in the little garden rows Of my old home now left; and I Feel what I never felt before, This weed an ancient neighbour here, And though I own the spot no more Its every trifle makes it dear.
The ivy at the parlour end, The woodbine at the garden gate, Are all and each affection's friend That render parting desolate. But times will change and friends must part And nature still can make amends; Their memory lingers round the heart Like life whose essence is its friends.
Time looks on pomp with vengeful mood Or killing apathy's disdain; So where old marble cities stood Poor persecuted weeds remain. She feels a love for little things That very few can feel beside, And still the grass eternal springs Where castles stood and grandeur died.
Summer's pleasures they are gone like to visions every one, And the cloudy days of autumn and of winter cometh on. I tried to call them back, but unbidden they are gone Far away from heart and eye and forever far away. Dear heart, and can it be that such raptures meet decay? I thought them all eternal when by Langley Bush I lay, I thought them joys eternal when I used to shout and play On its bank at "clink and bandy," "chock" and "taw" and "ducking stone," Where silence sitteth now on the wild heath as her own Like a ruin of the past all alone.
When I used to lie and sing by old Eastwell's boiling spring, When I used to tie the willow boughs together for a swing, And fish with crooked pins and thread and never catch a thing, With heart just like a feather, now as heavy as a stone; When beneath old Lea Close oak I the bottom branches broke To make our harvest cart like so many working folk, And then to cut a straw at the brook to have a soak. O I never dreamed of parting or that trouble had a sting, Or that pleasures like a flock of birds would ever take to wing, Leaving nothing but a little naked spring.
When jumping time away on old Crossberry Way, And eating awes like sugarplums ere they had lost the may, And skipping like a leveret before the peep of day On the roly poly up and downs of pleasant Swordy Well, When in Round Oak's narrow lane as the south got black again We sought the hollow ash that was shelter from the rain, With our pockets full of peas we had stolen from the grain; How delicious was the dinner time on such a showery day! O words are poor receipts for what time hath stole away, The ancient pulpit trees and the play.
When for school oer Little Field with its brook and wooden brig, Where I swaggered like a man though I was not half so big, While I held my little plough though twas but a willow twig, And drove my team along made of nothing but a name, "Gee hep" and "hoit" and "woi"—O I never call to mind These pleasant names of places but I leave a sigh behind, While I see little mouldiwarps hang sweeing to the wind On the only aged willow that in all the field remains, And nature hides her face while they're sweeing in their chains And in a silent murmuring complains.
Here was commons for their hills, where they seek for freedom still, Though every common's gone and though traps are set to kill The little homeless miners—O it turns my bosom chill When I think of old Sneap Green, Puddock's Nook and Hilly Snow, Where bramble bushes grew and the daisy gemmed in dew And the hills of silken grass like to cushions to the view, Where we threw the pismire crumbs when we'd nothing else to do, All levelled like a desert by the never weary plough, All banished like the sun where that cloud is passing now And settled here for ever on its brow.
O I never thought that joys would run away from boys, Or that boys would change their minds and forsake such summer joys; But alack I never dreamed that the world had other toys To petrify first feelings like the fable into stone, Till I found the pleasure past and a winter come at last, Then the fields were sudden bare and the sky got overcast And boyhood's pleasing haunt like a blossom in the blast Was shrivelled to a withered weed and trampled down and done, Till vanished was the morning spring and set the summer sun And winter fought her battle strife and won.
By Langley Bush I roam, but the bush hath left its hill, On Cowper Green I stray, tis a desert strange and chill, And the spreading Lea Close oak, ere decay had penned its will, To the axe of the spoiler and self-interest fell a prey, And Crossberry Way and old Round Oak's narrow lane With its hollow trees like pulpits I shall never see again, Enclosure like a Buonaparte let not a thing remain, It levelled every bush and tree and levelled every hill And hung the moles for traitors—though the brook is running still It runs a sicker brook, cold and chill.
O had I known as then joy had left the paths of men, I had watched her night and day, be sure, and never slept agen, And when she turned to go, O I'd caught her mantle then, And wooed her like a lover by my lonely side to stay; Ay, knelt and worshipped on, as love in beauty's bower, And clung upon her smiles as a bee upon a flower, And gave her heart my posies, all cropt in a sunny hour, As keepsakes and pledges all to never fade away; But love never heeded to treasure up the may, So it went the common road to decay.
True as the church clock hand the hour pursues He plods about his toils and reads the news, And at the blacksmith's shop his hour will stand To talk of "Lunun" as a foreign land. For from his cottage door in peace or strife He neer went fifty miles in all his life. His knowledge with old notions still combined Is twenty years behind the march of mind. He views new knowledge with suspicious eyes And thinks it blasphemy to be so wise. On steam's almighty tales he wondering looks As witchcraft gleaned from old blackletter books. Life gave him comfort but denied him wealth, He toils in quiet and enjoys his health, He smokes a pipe at night and drinks his beer And runs no scores on tavern screens to clear. He goes to market all the year about And keeps one hour and never stays it out. Een at St. Thomas tide old Rover's bark Hails Dapple's trot an hour before it's dark. He is a simple-worded plain old man Whose good intents take errors in their plan. Oft sentimental and with saddened vein He looks on trifles and bemoans their pain, And thinks the angler mad, and loudly storms With emphasis of speech oer murdered worms. And hunters cruel—pleading with sad care Pity's petition for the fox and hare, Yet feels self-satisfaction in his woes For war's crushed myriads of his slaughtered foes. He is right scrupulous in one pretext And wholesale errors swallows in the next. He deems it sin to sing, yet not to say A song—a mighty difference in his way. And many a moving tale in antique rhymes He has for Christmas and such merry times, When "Chevy Chase," his masterpiece of song, Is said so earnest none can think it long. Twas the old vicar's way who should be right, For the late vicar was his heart's delight, And while at church he often shakes his head To think what sermons the old vicar made, Downright and orthodox that all the land Who had their ears to hear might understand, But now such mighty learning meets his ears He thinks it Greek or Latin which he hears, Yet church receives him every sabbath day And rain or snow he never keeps away. All words of reverence still his heart reveres, Low bows his head when Jesus meets his ears, And still he thinks it blasphemy as well Such names without a capital to spell. In an old corner cupboard by the wall His books are laid, though good, in number small, His Bible first in place; from worth and age Whose grandsire's name adorns the title page, And blank leaves once, now filled with kindred claims, Display a world's epitome of names. Parents and children and grandchildren all Memory's affections in the lists recall. And prayer-book next, much worn though strongly bound, Proves him a churchman orthodox and sound. The "Pilgrim's Progress" and the "Death of Abel" Are seldom missing from his Sunday table, And prime old Tusser in his homely trim, The first of bards in all the world with him, And only poet which his leisure knows; Verse deals in fancy, so he sticks to prose. These are the books he reads and reads again And weekly hunts the almanacks for rain. Here and no further learning's channels ran; Still, neighbours prize him as the learned man. His cottage is a humble place of rest With one spare room to welcome every guest, And that tall poplar pointing to the sky His own hand planted when an idle boy, It shades his chimney while the singing wind Hums songs of shelter to his happy mind. Within his cot the largest ears of corn He ever found his picture frames adorn: Brave Granby's head, De Grosse's grand defeat; He rubs his hands and shows how Rodney beat. And from the rafters upon strings depend Beanstalks beset with pods from end to end, Whose numbers without counting may be seen Wrote on the almanack behind the screen. Around the corner up on worsted strung Pooties in wreaths above the cupboard hung. Memory at trifling incidents awakes And there he keeps them for his children's sakes, Who when as boys searched every sedgy lane, Traced every wood and shattered clothes again, Roaming about on rapture's easy wing To hunt those very pooty shells in spring. And thus he lives too happy to be poor While strife neer pauses at so mean a door. Low in the sheltered valley stands his cot, He hears the mountain storm and feels it not; Winter and spring, toil ceasing ere tis dark, Rests with the lamb and rises with the lark, Content his helpmate to the day's employ And care neer comes to steal a single joy. Time, scarcely noticed, turns his hair to grey, Yet leaves him happy as a child at play.
These tiny loiterers on the barley's beard, And happy units of a numerous herd Of playfellows, the laughing Summer brings, Mocking the sunshine in their glittering wings, How merrily they creep, and run, and fly! No kin they bear to labour's drudgery, Smoothing the velvet of the pale hedge-rose; And where they fly for dinner no one knows— The dew-drops feed them not—they love the shine Of noon, whose sun may bring them golden wine. All day they're playing in their Sunday dress— Till night goes sleep, and they can do no less; Then, to the heath bell's silken hood they fly, And like to princes in their slumbers lie, Secure from night, and dropping dews, and all, In silken beds and roomy painted hall. So merrily they spend their summer day, Now in the cornfields, now the new-mown hay. One almost fancies that such happy things, With coloured hoods and richly burnished wings, Are fairy folk, in splendid masquerade Disguised, as if of mortal folk afraid, Keeping their merry pranks a mystery still, Lest glaring day should do their secrets ill.
Black grows the southern sky, betokening rain, And humming hive-bees homeward hurry bye: They feel the change; so let us shun the grain, And take the broad road while our feet are dry. Ay, there some dropples moistened on my face, And pattered on my hat—tis coming nigh! Let's look about, and find a sheltering place. The little things around, like you and I, Are hurrying through the grass to shun the shower. Here stoops an ash-tree—hark! the wind gets high, But never mind; this ivy, for an hour, Rain as it may, will keep us dryly here: That little wren knows well his sheltering bower, Nor leaves his dry house though we come so near.
When once the sun sinks in the west, And dew-drops pearl the evening's breast; Almost as pale as moonbeams are, Or its companionable star, The evening primrose opes anew Its delicate blossoms to the dew; And, shunning-hermit of the light, Wastes its fair bloom upon the night; Who, blindfold to its fond caresses, Knows not the beauty he possesses. Thus it blooms on till night is bye And day looks out with open eye, Abashed at the gaze it cannot shun, It faints and withers, and is done.
The Shepherd's Tree
Huge elm, with rifted trunk all notched and scarred, Like to a warrior's destiny! I love To stretch me often on thy shadowed sward, And hear the laugh of summer leaves above; Or on thy buttressed roots to sit, and lean In careless attitude, and there reflect On times, and deeds, and darings that have been— Old castaways, now swallowed in neglect; While thou art towering in thy strength of heart, Stirring the soul to vain imaginings, In which life's sordid being hath no part. The wind of that eternal ditty sings, Humming of future things, that burn the mind To leave some fragment of itself behind.
These children of the sun which summer brings As pastoral minstrels in her merry train Pipe rustic ballads upon busy wings And glad the cotters' quiet toils again. The white-nosed bee that bores its little hole In mortared walls and pipes its symphonies, And never absent couzen, black as coal, That Indian-like bepaints its little thighs, With white and red bedight for holiday, Right earlily a-morn do pipe and play And with their legs stroke slumber from their eyes. And aye so fond they of their singing seem That in their holes abed at close of day They still keep piping in their honey dreams, And larger ones that thrum on ruder pipe Round the sweet smelling closen and rich woods Where tawny white and red flush clover buds Shine bonnily and bean fields blossom ripe, Shed dainty perfumes and give honey food To these sweet poets of the summer fields; Me much delighting as I stroll along The narrow path that hay laid meadow yields, Catching the windings of their wandering song. The black and yellow bumble first on wing To buzz among the sallow's early flowers, Hiding its nest in holes from fickle spring Who stints his rambles with her frequent showers; And one that may for wiser piper pass, In livery dress half sables and half red, Who laps a moss ball in the meadow grass And hoards her stores when April showers have fled; And russet commoner who knows the face Of every blossom that the meadow brings, Starting the traveller to a quicker pace By threatening round his head in many rings: These sweeten summer in their happy glee By giving for her honey melody.
The Firetail's Nest
"Tweet" pipes the robin as the cat creeps by Her nestling young that in the elderns lie, And then the bluecap tootles in its glee, Picking the flies from orchard apple tree, And "pink" the chaffinch cries its well-known strain, Urging its kind to utter "pink" again, While in a quiet mood hedgesparrows try An inward stir of shadowed melody. Around the rotten tree the firetail mourns As the old hedger to his toil returns, Chopping the grain to stop the gap close by The hole where her blue eggs in safety lie. Of everything that stirs she dreameth wrong And pipes her "tweet tut" fears the whole day long.
The Fear of Flowers
The nodding oxeye bends before the wind, The woodbine quakes lest boys their flowers should find, And prickly dogrose spite of its array Can't dare the blossom-seeking hand away, While thistles wear their heavy knobs of bloom Proud as a warhorse wears its haughty plume, And by the roadside danger's self defy; On commons where pined sheep and oxen lie In ruddy pomp and ever thronging mood It stands and spreads like danger in a wood, And in the village street where meanest weeds Can't stand untouched to fill their husks with seeds, The haughty thistle oer all danger towers, In every place the very wasp of flowers.
The frog half fearful jumps across the path, And little mouse that leaves its hole at eve Nimbles with timid dread beneath the swath; My rustling steps awhile their joys deceive, Till past,—and then the cricket sings more strong, And grasshoppers in merry moods still wear The short night weary with their fretting song. Up from behind the molehill jumps the hare, Cheat of his chosen bed, and from the bank The yellowhammer flutters in short fears From off its nest hid in the grasses rank, And drops again when no more noise it hears. Thus nature's human link and endless thrall, Proud man, still seems the enemy of all.
Emmonsail's Heath in Winter
I love to see the old heath's withered brake Mingle its crimpled leaves with furze and ling, While the old heron from the lonely lake Starts slow and flaps his melancholy wing, And oddling crow in idle motions swing On the half rotten ashtree's topmost twig, Beside whose trunk the gipsy makes his bed. Up flies the bouncing woodcock from the brig Where a black quagmire quakes beneath the tread, The fieldfares chatter in the whistling thorn And for the awe round fields and closen rove, And coy bumbarrels twenty in a drove Flit down the hedgerows in the frozen plain And hang on little twigs and start again.
Pleasures of Fancy
A path, old tree, goes by thee crooking on, And through this little gate that claps and bangs Against thy rifted trunk, what steps hath gone? Though but a lonely way, yet mystery hangs Oer crowds of pastoral scenes recordless here. The boy might climb the nest in thy young boughs That's slept half an eternity; in fear The herdsman may have left his startled cows For shelter when heaven's thunder voice was near; Here too the woodman on his wallet laid For pillow may have slept an hour away; And poet pastoral, lover of the shade, Here sat and mused half some long summer day While some old shepherd listened to the lay.
The heroes of the present and the past Were puny, vague, and nothingness to thee: Thou didst a span grasp mighty to the last, And strain for glory when thy die was cast. That little island, on the Atlantic sea, Was but a dust-spot in a lake: thy mind Swept space as shoreless as eternity. Thy giant powers outstript this gaudy age Of heroes; and, as looking at the sun, So gazing on thy greatness, made men blind To merits, that had adoration won In olden times. The world was on thy page Of victories but a comma. Fame could find No parallel, thy greatness to presage.
Above the russet clods the corn is seen Sprouting its spiry points of tender green, Where squats the hare, to terrors wide awake, Like some brown clod the harrows failed to break. Opening their golden caskets to the sun, The buttercups make schoolboys eager run, To see who shall be first to pluck the prize— Up from their hurry see the Skylark flies, And oer her half-formed nest, with happy wings, Winnows the air till in the cloud she sings, Then hangs a dust spot in the sunny skies, And drops and drops till in her nest she lies, Which they unheeded passed—not dreaming then That birds, which flew so high, would drop again To nests upon the ground, which anything May come at to destroy. Had they the wing Like such a bird, themselves would be too proud And build on nothing but a passing cloud! As free from danger as the heavens are free From pain and toil, there would they build and be, And sail about the world to scenes unheard Of and unseen,—O were they but a bird! So think they, while they listen to its song, And smile and fancy and so pass along; While its low nest, moist with the dews of morn, Lies safely, with the leveret, in the corn.
Waves trough, rebound, and furious boil again, Like plunging monsters rising underneath, Who at the top curl up a shaggy mane, A moment catching at a surer breath, Then plunging headlong down and down, and on Each following whirls the shadow of the last; And other monsters rise when those are gone, Crest their fringed waves, plunge onward and are past. The chill air comes around me oceanly, From bank to bank the waterstrife is spread; Strange birds like snowspots oer the whizzing sea Hang where the wild duck hurried past and fled. On roars the flood, all restless to be free, Like Trouble wandering to Eternity.
The Thrush's Nest
Within a thick and spreading hawthorn bush, That overhung a molehill large and round, I heard from morn to morn a merry thrush Sing hymns to sunrise, and I drank the sound With joy; and, often an intruding guest, I watched her secret toils from day to day— How true she warped the moss, to form a nest, And modelled it within with wood and clay; And by and by, like heath-bells gilt with dew, There lay her shining eggs, as bright as flowers, Ink-spotted-over shells of greeny blue; And there I witnessed in the sunny hours A brood of nature's minstrels chirp and fly, Glad as that sunshine and the laughing sky.
Sybil of months, and worshipper of winds, I love thee, rude and boisterous as thou art; And scraps of joy my wandering ever finds Mid thy uproarious madness—when the start Of sudden tempests stirs the forest leaves Into hoarse fury, till the shower set free Stills the huge swells. Then ebb the mighty heaves, That sway the forest like a troubled sea. I love thy wizard noise, and rave in turn Half-vacant thoughts and rhymes of careless form; Then hide me from the shower, a short sojourn, Neath ivied oak; and mutter to the storm, Wishing its melody belonged to me, That I might breathe a living song to thee.
Man, Earth's poor shadow! talks of Earth's decay: But hath it nothing of eternal kin? No majesty that shall not pass away? No soul of greatness springing up within? Thought marks without hoar shadows of sublime, Pictures of power, which if not doomed to win Eternity, stand laughing at old Time For ages: in the grand ancestral line Of things eternal, mounting to divine, I read Magnificence where ages pay Worship like conquered foes to the Apennine, Because they could not conquer. There sits Day Too high for Night to come at—mountains shine, Outpeering Time, too lofty for decay.
Autumn comes laden with her ripened load Of fruitage and so scatters them abroad That each fern-smothered heath and mole-hill waste Are black with bramble berries—where in haste The chubby urchins from the village hie To feast them there, stained with the purple dye; While painted woods around my rambles be In draperies worthy of eternity. Yet will the leaves soon patter on the ground, And death's deaf voice awake at every sound: One drops—then others—and the last that fell Rings for those left behind their passing bell. Thus memory every where her tidings brings How sad death robs us of life's dearest things.
Signs of Winter
The cat runs races with her tail. The dog Leaps oer the orchard hedge and knarls the grass. The swine run round and grunt and play with straw, Snatching out hasty mouthfuls from the stack. Sudden upon the elmtree tops the crow Unceremonious visit pays and croaks, Then swops away. From mossy barn the owl Bobs hasty out—wheels round and, scared as soon, As hastily retires. The ducks grow wild And from the muddy pond fly up and wheel A circle round the village and soon, tired, Plunge in the pond again. The maids in haste Snatch from the orchard hedge the mizzled clothes And laughing hurry in to keep them dry.
Darkness like midnight from the sobbing woods Clamours with dismal tidings of the rain, Roaring as rivers breaking loose in floods To spread and foam and deluge all the plain. The cotter listens at his door again, Half doubting whether it be floods or wind, And through the thickening darkness looks afraid, Thinking of roads that travel has to find Through night's black depths in danger's garb arrayed. And the loud glabber round the flaze soon stops When hushed to silence by the lifted hand Of fearing dame who hears the noise in dread And thinks a deluge comes to drown the land; Nor dares she go to bed until the tempest drops.
NOTE.—The remaining poems in this section are taken from a series, numbering several hundred brief pieces, written by Clare in the winter of 1835-6. Perhaps it is unjust to Clare to consider them out of their environment; it would be more unjust not to represent this phase of his poetry.
Birds in Alarm
The firetail tells the boys when nests are nigh And tweets and flies from every passer-bye. The yellowhammer never makes a noise But flies in silence from the noisy boys; The boys will come and take them every day, And still she lays as none were ta'en away.
The nightingale keeps tweeting-churring round But leaves in silence when the nest is found. The pewit hollos "chewrit" as she flies And flops about the shepherd where he lies; But when her nest is found she stops her song And cocks [her] coppled crown and runs along. Wrens cock their tails and chitter loud and play, And robins hollo "tut" and fly away.
The frog croaks loud, and maidens dare not pass But fear the noisome toad and shun the grass; And on the sunny banks they dare not go Where hissing snakes run to the flood below. The nuthatch noises loud in wood and wild, Like women turning skreeking to a child. The schoolboy hears and brushes through the trees And runs about till drabbled to the knees. The old hawk winnows round the old crow's nest; The schoolboy hears and wonder fills his breast. He throws his basket down to climb the tree And wonders what the red blotched eggs can be: The green woodpecker bounces from the view And hollos as he buzzes bye "kew kew."
When midnight comes a host of dogs and men Go out and track the badger to his den, And put a sack within the hole, and lie Till the old grunting badger passes bye. He comes and hears—they let the strongest loose. The old fox hears the noise and drops the goose. The poacher shoots and hurries from the cry, And the old hare half wounded buzzes bye. They get a forked stick to bear him down And clap the dogs and take him to the town, And bait him all the day with many dogs, And laugh and shout and fright the scampering hogs. He runs along and bites at all he meets: They shout and hollo down the noisy streets.
He turns about to face the loud uproar And drives the rebels to their very door. The frequent stone is hurled where eer they go; When badgers fight, then every one's a foe. The dogs are clapt and urged to join the fray; The badger turns and drives them all away. Though scarcely half as big, demure and small, He fights with dogs for bones and beats them all. The heavy mastiff, savage in the fray, Lies down and licks his feet and turns away. The bulldog knows his match and waxes cold, The badger grins and never leaves his hold. He drives the crowd and follows at their heels And bites them through—the drunkard swears and reels.
The frighted women take the boys away, The blackguard laughs and hurries on the fray. He tries to reach the woods, an awkward race, But sticks and cudgels quickly stop the chace. He turns agen and drives the noisy crowd And beats the many dogs in noises loud. He drives away and beats them every one, And then they loose them all and set them on. He falls as dead and kicked by boys and men, Then starts and grins and drives the crowd agen; Till kicked and torn and beaten out he lies And leaves his hold and cackles, groans, and dies.
The shepherd on his journey heard when nigh His dog among the bushes barking high; The ploughman ran and gave a hearty shout, He found a weary fox and beat him out. The ploughman laughed and would have ploughed him in But the old shepherd took him for the skin. He lay upon the furrow stretched for dead, The old dog lay and licked the wounds that bled, The ploughman beat him till his ribs would crack, And then the shepherd slung him at his back; And when he rested, to his dog's surprise, The old fox started from his dead disguise; And while the dog lay panting in the sedge He up and snapt and bolted through the hedge.
He scampered to the bushes far away; The shepherd called the ploughman to the fray; The ploughman wished he had a gun to shoot. The old dog barked and followed the pursuit. The shepherd threw his hook and tottered past; The ploughman ran but none could go so fast; The woodman threw his faggot from the way And ceased to chop and wondered at the fray. But when he saw the dog and heard the cry He threw his hatchet—but the fox was bye. The shepherd broke his hook and lost the skin; He found a badger hole and bolted in. They tried to dig, but, safe from danger's way, He lived to chase the hounds another day.
Among the taller wood with ivy hung, The old fox plays and dances round her young. She snuffs and barks if any passes bye And swings her tail and turns prepared to fly. The horseman hurries bye, she bolts to see, And turns agen, from danger never free. If any stands she runs among the poles And barks and snaps and drives them in the holes. The shepherd sees them and the boy goes bye And gets a stick and progs the hole to try. They get all still and lie in safety sure And out again when every thing's secure And start and snap at blackbirds bouncing bye To fight and catch the great white butterfly.
The turkeys wade the close to catch the bees In the old border full of maple trees And often lay away and breed and come And bring a brood of chelping chickens home. The turkey gobbles loud and drops his rag And struts and sprunts his tail and then lets drag His wing on ground and makes a huzzing noise, Nauntles at passer-bye and drives the boys And bounces up and flies at passer-bye. The old dog snaps and grins nor ventures nigh. He gobbles loud and drives the boys from play; They throw their sticks and kick and run away.
The Poet's Death
The world is taking little heed And plods from day to day: The vulgar flourish like a weed, The learned pass away.
We miss him on the summer path The lonely summer day, Where mowers cut the pleasant swath And maidens make the hay.
The vulgar take but little heed; The garden wants his care; There lies the book he used to read, There stands the empty chair.
The boat laid up, the voyage oer, And passed the stormy wave, The world is going as before, The poet in his grave.
The Beautiful Stranger
I cannot know what country owns thee now, With France's forest lilies on thy brow. When England knew thee thou wert passing fair; I never knew a foreign face so rare. The world of waters rolls and rushes bye, Nor lets me wander where thy vallies lie. But surely France must be a pleasant place That greets the stranger with so fair a face; The English maiden blushes down the dance, But few can equal the fair maid of France. I saw thee lovely and I wished thee mine, And the last song I ever wrote is thine.
Thy country's honour on thy face attends; Men may be foes but beauty makes us friends.
He eats (a moment's stoppage to his song) The stolen turnip as he goes along; And hops along and heeds with careless eye The passing crowded stage coach reeling bye. He talks to none but wends his silent way, And finds a hovel at the close of day, Or under any hedge his house is made. He has no calling and he owns no trade. An old smoaked blanket arches oer his head, A whisp of straw or stubble makes his bed. He knows a lawless law that claims no kin But meet and plunder on and feel no sin— No matter where they go or where they dwell They dally with the winds and laugh at hell.
He waits all day beside his little flock And asks the passing stranger what's o'clock, But those who often pass his daily tasks Look at their watch and tell before he asks. He mutters stories to himself and lies Where the thick hedge the warmest house supplies, And when he hears the hunters far and wide He climbs the highest tree to see them ride— He climbs till all the fields are blea and bare And makes the old crow's nest an easy chair. And soon his sheep are got in other grounds— He hastens down and fears his master come, He stops the gap and keeps them all in bounds And tends them closely till it's time for home.
With careful step to keep his balance up He reels on warily along the street, Slabbering at mouth and with a staggering stoop Mutters an angry look at all he meets. Bumptious and vain and proud he shoulders up And would be something if he knew but how; To any man on earth he will not stoop But cracks of work, of horses and of plough. Proud of the foolish talk, the ale he quaffs, He never heeds the insult loud that laughs: With rosy maid he tries to joke and play,— Who shrugs and nettles deep his pomp and pride. And calls him "drunken beast" and runs away— King to himself and fool to all beside.
The morning road is thronged with merry boys Who seek the water for their Sunday joys; They run to seek the shallow pit, and wade And dance about the water in the shade. The boldest ventures first and dashes in, And others go and follow to the chin, And duck about, and try to lose their fears, And laugh to hear the thunder in their ears. They bundle up the rushes for a boat And try across the deepest place to float: Beneath the willow trees they ride and stoop— The awkward load will scarcely bear them up. Without their aid the others float away, And play about the water half the day.
Bonny and stout and brown, without a hat, She frowns offended when they call her fat— Yet fat she is, the merriest in the place, And all can know she wears a pretty face. But still she never heeds what praise can say, But does the work, and oft runs out to play, To run about the yard and ramp and noise And spring the mop upon the servant boys. When old hens noise and cackle every where She hurries eager if the eggs are dear, And runs to seek them when they lay away To get them ready for the market day. She gambols with the men and laughs aloud And only quarrels when they call her proud.
She hastens out and scarcely pins her clothes To hear the news and tell the news she knows; She talks of sluts, marks each unmended gown, Her self the dirtiest slut in all the town. She stands with eager haste at slander's tale, And drinks the news as drunkards drink their ale. Excuse is ready at the biggest lie— She only heard it and it passes bye. The very cat looks up and knows her face And hastens to the chair to get the place; When once set down she never goes away, Till tales are done and talk has nought to say. She goes from house to house the village oer, Her slander bothers everybody's door.
I wandered out one rainy day And heard a bird with merry joys Cry "wet my foot" for half the way; I stood and wondered at the noise,
When from my foot a bird did flee— The rain flew bouncing from her breast I wondered what the bird could be, And almost trampled on her nest.
The nest was full of eggs and round— I met a shepherd in the vales, And stood to tell him what I found. He knew and said it was a quail's,
For he himself the nest had found, Among the wheat and on the green, When going on his daily round, With eggs as many as fifteen.
Among the stranger birds they feed, Their summer flight is short and low; There's very few know where they breed, And scarcely any where they go.
With arms and legs at work and gentle stroke That urges switching tail nor mends his pace, On an old ribbed and weather beaten horse, The farmer goes jogtrotting to the fair. Both keep their pace that nothing can provoke Followed by brindled dog that snuffs the ground With urging bark and hurries at his heels. His hat slouched down, and great coat buttoned close Bellied like hooped keg, and chuffy face Red as the morning sun, he takes his round And talks of stock: and when his jobs are done And Dobbin's hay is eaten from the rack, He drinks success to corn in language hoarse, And claps old Dobbin's hide, and potters back.
The passing traveller with wonder sees A deep and ancient stonepit full of trees; So deep and very deep the place has been, The church might stand within and not be seen. The passing stranger oft with wonder stops And thinks he een could walk upon their tops, And often stoops to see the busy crow, And stands above and sees the eggs below; And while the wild horse gives its head a toss, The squirrel dances up and runs across. The boy that stands and kills the black nosed bee Dares down as soon as magpies' nests are found, And wonders when he climbs the highest tree To find it reaches scarce above the ground.
"The Lass With The Delicate Air"
Timid and smiling, beautiful and shy, She drops her head at every passer bye. Afraid of praise she hurries down the streets And turns away from every smile she meets. The forward clown has many things to say And holds her by the gown to make her stay, The picture of good health she goes along, Hale as the morn and happy as her song. Yet there is one who never feels a fear To whisper pleasing fancies in her ear; Yet een from him she shuns a rude embrace, And stooping holds her hands before her face,— She even shuns and fears the bolder wind, And holds her shawl, and often looks behind.
For Sunday's play he never makes excuse, But plays at taw, and buys his Spanish juice. Hard as his toil, and ever slow to speak, Yet he gives maidens many a burning cheek; For none can pass him but his witless grace Of bawdry brings the blushes in her face. As vulgar as the dirt he treads upon He calls his cows or drives his horses on; He knows the lamest cow and strokes her side And often tries to mount her back and ride, And takes her tail at night in idle play, And makes her drag him homeward all the way. He knows of nothing but the football match, And where hens lay, and when the duck will hatch.
He plays with other boys when work is done, But feels too clumsy and too stiff to run, Yet where there's mischief he can find a way The first to join and last [to run] away. What's said or done he never hears or minds But gets his pence for all the eggs he finds. He thinks his master's horses far the best, And always labours longer than the rest. In frost and cold though lame he's forced to go— The call's more urgent when he journeys slow. In surly speed he helps the maids by force And feeds the cows and hallos till he's hoarse; And when he's lame they only jest and play And bid him throw his kiby heels away.
Maids shout to breakfast in a merry strife, And the cat runs to hear the whetted knife, And dogs are ever in the way to watch The mouldy crust and falling bone to catch. The wooden dishes round in haste are set, And round the table all the boys are met; All know their own save Hodge who would be first, But every one his master leaves the worst. On every wooden dish, a humble claim, Two rude cut letters mark the owner's name; From every nook the smile of plenty calls, And rusty flitches decorate the walls, Moore's Almanack where wonders never cease— All smeared with candle snuff and bacon grease.
Love and Solitude
I hate the very noise of troublous man Who did and does me all the harm he can. Free from the world I would a prisoner be And my own shadow all my company; And lonely see the shooting stars appear, Worlds rushing into judgment all the year. O lead me onward to the loneliest shade, The darkest place that quiet ever made, Where kingcups grow most beauteous to behold And shut up green and open into gold. Farewell to poesy—and leave the will; Take all the world away—and leave me still The mirth and music of a woman's voice, That bids the heart be happy and rejoice.
The snow falls deep; the forest lies alone; The boy goes hasty for his load of brakes, Then thinks upon the fire and hurries back; The gipsy knocks his hands and tucks them up, And seeks his squalid camp, half hid in snow, Beneath the oak which breaks away the wind, And bushes close in snow-like hovel warm; There tainted mutton wastes upon the coals, And the half-wasted dog squats close and rubs, Then feels the heat too strong, and goes aloof; He watches well, but none a bit can spare, And vainly waits the morsel thrown away. Tis thus they live—a picture to the place, A quiet, pilfering, unprotected race.
The Frightened Ploughman
I went in the fields with the leisure I got, The stranger might smile but I heeded him not, The hovel was ready to screen from a shower, And the book in my pocket was read in an hour.
The bird came for shelter, but soon flew away; The horse came to look, and seemed happy to stay; He stood up in quiet, and hung down his head, And seemed to be hearing the poem I read.
The ploughman would turn from his plough in the day And wonder what being had come in his way, To lie on a molehill and read the day long And laugh out aloud when he'd finished his song.
The pewit turned over and stooped oer my head Where the raven croaked loud like the ploughman ill-bred, But the lark high above charmed me all the day long, So I sat down and joined in the chorus of song.
The foolhardy ploughman I well could endure, His praise was worth nothing, his censure was poor, Fame bade me go on and I toiled the day long Till the fields where he lived should be known in my song.
Farewell to the bushy clump close to the river And the flags where the butter-bump hides in for ever; Farewell to the weedy nook, hemmed in by waters; Farewell to the miller's brook and his three bonny daughters; Farewell to them all while in prison I lie— In the prison a thrall sees nought but the sky.
Shut out are the green fields and birds in the bushes; In the prison yard nothing builds, blackbirds or thrushes, Farewell to the old mill and dash of the waters, To the miller and, dearer still, to his three bonny daughters.
In the nook, the large burdock grows near the green willow; In the flood, round the moorcock dashes under the billow; To the old mill farewell, to the lock, pens, and waters, To the miller himsel', and his three bonny daughters.
The Old Year
The Old Year's gone away To nothingness and night: We cannot find him all the day Nor hear him in the night: He left no footstep, mark or place In either shade or sun: The last year he'd a neighbour's face, In this he's known by none.
All nothing everywhere: Mists we on mornings see Have more of substance when they're here And more of form than he. He was a friend by every fire, In every cot and hall— A guest to every heart's desire, And now he's nought at all.
Old papers thrown away, Old garments cast aside, The talk of yesterday, Are things identified; But time once torn away No voices can recall: The eve of New Year's Day Left the Old Year lost to all.
When shall I see the white-thorn leaves agen, And yellowhammers gathering the dry bents By the dyke side, on stilly moor or fen, Feathered with love and nature's good intents? Rude is the tent this architect invents, Rural the place, with cart ruts by dyke side. Dead grass, horse hair, and downy-headed bents Tied to dead thistles—she doth well provide, Close to a hill of ants where cowslips bloom And shed oer meadows far their sweet perfume. In early spring, when winds blow chilly cold, The yellowhammer, trailing grass, will come To fix a place and choose an early home, With yellow breast and head of solid gold.
The thistle-down's flying, though the winds are all still, On the green grass now lying, now mounting the hill, The spring from the fountain now boils like a pot; Through stones past the counting it bubbles red hot.
The ground parched and cracked is like overbaked bread, The greensward all wracked is, bents dried up and dead. The fallow fields glitter like water indeed, And gossamers twitter, flung from weed unto weed.
Hill tops like hot iron glitter bright in the sun, And the rivers we're eying burn to gold as they run; Burning hot is the ground, liquid gold is the air; Whoever looks round sees Eternity there.
I peeled bits of straws and I got switches too From the grey peeling willow as idlers do, And I switched at the flies as I sat all alone Till my flesh, blood, and marrow was turned to dry bone. My illness was love, though I knew not the smart, But the beauty of love was the blood of my heart. Crowded places, I shunned them as noises too rude And fled to the silence of sweet solitude. Where the flower in green darkness buds, blossoms, and fades, Unseen of all shepherds and flower-loving maids— The hermit bees find them but once and away. There I'll bury alive and in silence decay.
I looked on the eyes of fair woman too long, Till silence and shame stole the use of my tongue: When I tried to speak to her I'd nothing to say, So I turned myself round and she wandered away. When she got too far off, why, I'd something to tell, So I sent sighs behind her and walked to my cell. Willow switches I broke and peeled bits of straws, Ever lonely in crowds, in Nature's own laws— My ball room the pasture, my music the bees, My drink was the fountain, my church the tall trees. Who ever would love or be tied to a wife When it makes a man mad all the days of his life?
The Winter's Come
Sweet chestnuts brown like soling leather turn; The larch trees, like the colour of the Sun; That paled sky in the Autumn seemed to burn, What a strange scene before us now does run— Red, brown, and yellow, russet, black, and dun; White thorn, wild cherry, and the poplar bare; The sycamore all withered in the sun. No leaves are now upon the birch tree there: All now is stript to the cold wintry air.
See, not one tree but what has lost its leaves— And yet the landscape wears a pleasing hue. The winter chill on his cold bed receives Foliage which once hung oer the waters blue. Naked and bare the leafless trees repose. Blue-headed titmouse now seeks maggots rare, Sluggish and dull the leaf-strewn river flows; That is not green, which was so through the year Dark chill November draweth to a close.
Tis Winter, and I love to read indoors, When the Moon hangs her crescent up on high; While on the window shutters the wind roars, And storms like furies pass remorseless by. How pleasant on a feather bed to lie, Or, sitting by the fire, in fancy soar With Dante or with Milton to regions high, Or read fresh volumes we've not seen before, Or oer old Burton's Melancholy pore.
The wind waves oer the meadows green And shakes my own wild flowers And shifts about the moving scene Like the life of summer hours; The little bents with reedy head, The scarce seen shapes of flowers, All kink about like skeins of thread In these wind-shaken hours.
All stir and strife and life and bustle In everything around one sees; The rushes whistle, sedges rustle, The grass is buzzing round like bees; The butterflies are tossed about Like skiffs upon a stormy sea; The bees are lost amid the rout And drop in [their] perplexity.
Wilt thou be mine, thou bonny lass? Thy drapery floats so gracefully; We'll walk along the meadow grass, We'll stand beneath the willow tree. We'll mark the little reeling bee Along the grassy ocean rove, Tossed like a little boat at sea, And interchange our vows of love.
Bonny Lassie O!
O the evening's for the fair, bonny lassie O! To meet the cooler air and walk an angel there, With the dark dishevelled hair, Bonny lassie O!
The bloom's on the brere, bonny lassie O! Oak apples on the tree; and wilt thou gang to see The shed I've made for thee, Bonny lassie O!
Tis agen the running brook, bonny lassie O! In a grassy nook hard by, with a little patch of sky, And a bush to keep us dry, Bonny lassie O!
There's the daisy all the year, bonny lassie O! There's the king-cup bright as gold, and the speedwell never cold, And the arum leaves unrolled, Bonny lassie O!
O meet me at the shed, bonny lassie O! With a woodbine peeping in, and the roses like thy skin Blushing, thy praise to win, Bonny lassie O!
I will meet thee there at e'en, bonny lassie O! When the bee sips in the bean, and grey willow branches lean, And the moonbeam looks between, Bonny lassie O!
Meet Me in the Green Glen
Love, meet me in the green glen, Beside the tall elm tree, Where the sweet briar smells so sweet agen; There come with me, Meet me in the green glen.
Meet me at the sunset Down in the green glen, Where we've often met By hawthorn tree and foxes' den, Meet me in the green glen.
Meet me in the green glen, By sweet briar bushes there; Meet me by your own sen, Where the wild thyme blossoms fair. Meet me in the green glen.
Meet me by the sweet briar, By the mole hill swelling there; When the West glows like a fire God's crimson bed is there. Meet me in the green glen.
Love Cannot Die
In crime and enmity they lie Who sin and tell us love can die, Who say to us in slander's breath That love belongs to sin and death. From heaven it came on angel's wing To bloom on earth, eternal spring; In falsehood's enmity they lie Who sin and tell us love can die.
Twas born upon an angel's breast. The softest dreams, the sweetest rest, The brightest sun, the bluest sky, Are love's own home and canopy. The thought that cheers this heart of mine Is that of love; love so divine They sin who say in slander's breath That love belongs to sin and death.
The sweetest voice that lips contain, The sweetest thought that leaves the brain, The sweetest feeling of the heart— There's pleasure in its very smart. The scent of rose and cinnamon Is not like love remembered on; In falsehood's enmity they lie Who sin and tell us love can die.
Peggy said good morning and I said good bye, When farmers dib the corn and laddies sow the rye. Young Peggy's face was common sense and I was rather shy When I met her in the morning when the farmers sow the rye.
Her half laced boots fit tightly as she tripped along the grass, And she set her foot so lightly where the early bee doth pass. Oh Peggy was a young thing, her face was common sense, I courted her about the spring and loved her ever thence.
Oh Peggy was the young thing and bonny as to size; Her lips were cherries of the spring and hazel were her eyes. Oh Peggy she was straight and tall as is the poplar tree, Smooth as the freestone of the wall, and very dear to me.
Oh Peggy's gown was chocolate and full of cherries white; I keep a bit on't for her sake and love her day and night. I drest myself just like a prince and Peggy went to woo, But she's been gone some ten years since, and I know not what to do.
The Crow Sat on the Willow
The crow sat on the willow tree A-lifting up his wings, And glossy was his coat to see, And loud the ploughman sings, "I love my love because I know The milkmaid she loves me"; And hoarsely croaked the glossy crow Upon the willow tree. "I love my love" the ploughman sung, And all the fields with music rung.
"I love my love, a bonny lass, She keeps her pails so bright, And blythe she trips the dewy grass At morning and at night. A cotton dress her morning gown, Her face was rosy health: She traced the pastures up and down And nature was her wealth." He sung, and turned each furrow down, His sweetheart's love in cotton gown.
"My love is young and handsome As any in the town, She's worth a ploughman's ransom In the drab cotton gown." He sang and turned his furrow oer And urged his team along, While on the willow as before The old crow croaked his song: The ploughman sung his rustic lay And sung of Phoebe all the day.
The crow he was in love no doubt And [so were] many things: The ploughman finished many a bout, And lustily he sings, "My love she is a milking maid With red rosy cheek; Of cotton drab her gown was made, I loved her many a week." His milking maid the ploughman sung Till all the fields around him rung.
Now is Past
Now is past—the happy now When we together roved Beneath the wildwood's oak-tree bough And Nature said we loved. Winter's blast The now since then has crept between, And left us both apart. Winters that withered all the green Have froze the beating heart. Now is past.
Now is past since last we met Beneath the hazel bough; Before the evening sun was set Her shadow stretched below. Autumn's blast Has stained and blighted every bough; Wild strawberries like her lips Have left the mosses green below, Her bloom's upon the hips. Now is past.
Now is past, is changed agen, The woods and fields are painted new. Wild strawberries which both gathered then, None know now where they grew. The skys oercast. Wood strawberries faded from wood sides, Green leaves have all turned yellow; No Adelaide walks the wood rides, True love has no bed-fellow. Now is past.
I wish I was where I would be, With love alone to dwell, Was I but her or she but me, Then love would all be well. I wish to send my thoughts to her As quick as thoughts can fly, But as the winds the waters stir The mirrors change and fly.
I ne'er was struck before that hour With love so sudden and so sweet. Her face it bloomed like a sweet flower And stole my heart away complete. My face turned pale as deadly pale, My legs refused to walk away, And when she looked "what could I ail?" My life and all seemed turned to clay.
And then my blood rushed to my face And took my sight away. The trees and bushes round the place Seemed midnight at noonday. I could not see a single thing, Words from my eyes did start; They spoke as chords do from the string And blood burnt round my heart.
Are flowers the winter's choice? Is love's bed always snow? She seemed to hear my silent voice And love's appeal to know. I never saw so sweet a face As that I stood before: My heart has left its dwelling-place And can return no more.
How beautiful the summer night When birds roost on the mossy tree, When moon and stars are shining bright And home has gone the weary bee! Then Mary Bayfield seeks the glen, The white hawthorn and grey oak tree, And nought but heaven can tell me then How dear thy beauty is to me.
Dear is the dewdrop to the flower, The old wall to the weary bee, And silence to the evening hour, And ivy to the stooping tree. Dearer than these, than all beside, Than blossoms to the moss-rose tree, The maid who wanders by my side— Sweet Mary Bayfield is to me.
Sweet is the moonlight on the tree, The stars above the glassy lake, That from the bottom look at me Through shadows of the crimping brake. Such are sweet things—but sweeter still Than these and all beside I see The maid whose look my heart can thrill, My Mary Bayfield's look to me.
O Mary with the dark brown hair, The rosy cheek, the beaming eye, I would thy shade were ever near; Then would I never grieve or sigh. I love thee, Mary dearly love— There's nought so fair on earth I see, There's nought so dear in heaven above, As Mary Bayfield is to me.
The Maid of Jerusalem
Maid of Jerusalem, by the Dead Sea, I wandered all sorrowing thinking of thee,— Thy city in ruins, thy kindred deplored, All fallen and lost by the Ottoman's sword.
I saw thee sit there in disconsolate sighs, Where the hall of thy fathers a ruined heap lies. Thy fair finger showed me the place where they trod, In thy childhood where flourished the city of God.
The place where they fell and the scenes where they lie, In the tomb of Siloa—the tear in her eye She stifled: transfixed there it grew like a pearl, Beneath the dark lash of the sweet Jewish Girl.
Jerusalem is fallen! still thou art in bloom, As fresh as the ivy around the lone tomb, And fair as the lily of morning that waves Its sweet-scented bells over desolate graves.
When I think of Jerusalem in kingdoms yet free, I shall think of its ruins and think upon thee; Thou beautiful Jewess, content thou mayest roam; A bright spot in Eden still blooms as thy home.
I would not feign a single sigh Nor weep a single tear for thee: The soul within these orbs burns dry; A desert spreads where love should be. I would not be a worm to crawl A writhing suppliant in thy way; For love is life, is heaven, and all The beams of an immortal day.
For sighs are idle things and vain, And tears for idiots vainly fall. I would not kiss thy face again Nor round thy shining slippers crawl. Love is the honey, not the bee, Nor would I turn its sweets to gall For all the beauty found in thee, Thy lily neck, rose cheek, and all.
I would not feign a single tale Thy kindness or thy love to seek; Nor sigh for Jenny of the Vale, Her ruby smile or rosy cheek. I would not have a pain to own For those dark curls and those bright eyes A frowning lip, a heart of stone, False love and folly I despise.
Thou Flower of Summer
When in summer thou walkest In the meads by the river, And to thyself talkest, Dost thou think of one ever— A lost and a lorn one That adores thee and loves thee? And when happy morn's gone, And nature's calm moves thee, Leaving thee to thy sleep like an angel at rest, Does the one who adores thee still live in thy breast?
Does nature eer give thee Love's past happy vision, And wrap thee and leave thee In fancies elysian? Thy beauty I clung to, As leaves to the tree; When thou fair and young too Looked lightly on me, Till love came upon thee like the sun to the west And shed its perfuming and bloom on thy breast.
Pretty swallow, once again Come and pass me in the rain. Pretty swallow, why so shy? Pass again my window by.
The horsepond where he dips his wings, The wet day prints it full of rings. The raindrops on his [ ] track Lodge like pearls upon his back.
Then again he dips his wing In the wrinkles of the spring, Then oer the rushes flies again, And pearls roll off his back like rain.
Pretty little swallow, fly Village doors and windows by, Whisking oer the garden pales Where the blackbird finds the snails;
Whewing by the ladslove tree For something only seen by thee; Pearls that on the red rose hing Fall off shaken by thy wing.
On that low thatched cottage stop, In the sooty chimney pop, Where thy wife and family Every evening wait for thee.
Tis three years and a quarter since I left my own fireside To go aboard a ship through love, and plough the ocean wide. I crossed my native fields, where the scarlet poppies grew, And the groundlark left his nest like a neighbour which I knew.
The pigeons from the dove cote cooed over the old lane, The crow flocks from the oakwood went flopping oer the grain; Like lots of dear old neighbours whom I shall see no more They greeted me that morning I left the English shore.
The sun was just a-rising above the heath of furze, And the shadows grow to giants; that bright ball never stirs: There the shepherds lay with their dogs by their side, And they started up and barked as my shadow they espied.
A maid of early morning twirled her mop upon the moor; I wished her my farewell before she closed the door. My friends I left behind me for other places new, Crows and pigeons all were strangers as oer my head they flew.
Trees and bushes were all strangers, the hedges and the lanes, The steeples and the houses and broad untrodden plains. I passed the pretty milkmaid with her red and rosy face; I knew not where I met her, I was strange to the place.
At last I saw the ocean, a pleasing sight to me: I stood upon the shore of a mighty glorious sea. The waves in easy motion went rolling on their way, English colours were a-flying where the British squadron lay.
I left my honest parents, the church clock and the village; I left the lads and lasses, the labour and the tillage; To plough the briny ocean, which soon became my joy— I sat and sang among the shrouds, a lonely sailor-boy.
The Sleep of Spring
O for that sweet, untroubled rest That poets oft have sung!— The babe upon its mother's breast, The bird upon its young, The heart asleep without a pain— When shall I know that sleep again?
When shall I be as I have been Upon my mother's breast Sweet Nature's garb of verdant green To woo to perfect rest— Love in the meadow, field, and glen, And in my native wilds again?
The sheep within the fallow field, The herd upon the green, The larks that in the thistle shield, And pipe from morn to e'en— O for the pasture, fields, and fen! When shall I see such rest again?
I love the weeds along the fen, More sweet than garden flowers, For freedom haunts the humble glen That blest my happiest hours. Here prison injures health and me: I love sweet freedom and the free.
The crows upon the swelling hills, The cows upon the lea, Sheep feeding by the pasture rills, Are ever dear to me, Because sweet freedom is their mate, While I am lone and desolate.
I loved the winds when I was young, When life was dear to me; I loved the song which Nature sung, Endearing liberty; I loved the wood, the vale, the stream, For there my boyhood used to dream.
There even toil itself was play; Twas pleasure een to weep; Twas joy to think of dreams by day, The beautiful of sleep. When shall I see the wood and plain, And dream those happy dreams again?
My love she wears a cotton plaid, A bonnet of the straw; Her cheeks are leaves of roses spread, Her lips are like the haw. In truth she is as sweet a maid As true love ever saw.
Her curls are ever in my eyes, As nets by Cupid flung; Her voice will oft my sleep surprise, More sweet then ballad sung. O Mary Bateman's curling hair! I wake, and there is nothing there.
I wake, and fall asleep again, The same delights in visions rise; There's nothing can appear more plain Than those rose cheeks and those bright eyes. I wake again, and all alone Sits Darkness on his ebon throne.
All silent runs the silver Trent, The cobweb veils are all wet through, A silver bead's on every bent, On every leaf a bleb of dew. I sighed, the moon it shone so clear; Was Mary Bateman walking here?
Bonny Mary O!
The morning opens fine, bonny Mary O! The robin sings his song by the dairy O! Where the little Jenny wrens cock their tails among the hens, Singing morning's happy songs with Mary O!
The swallow's on the wing, bonny Mary O! Where the rushes fringe the spring, bonny Mary O! Where the cowslips do unfold, shaking tassels all of gold, Which make the milk so sweet, bonny Mary O!
There's the yellowhammer's nest, bonny Mary O! Where she hides her golden breast, bonny Mary O! On her mystic eggs she dwells, with strange writing on their shells, Hid in the mossy grass, bonny Mary O!
There the spotted cow gets food, bonny Mary O! And chews her peaceful cud, bonny Mary O! In the mole-hills and the bushes, and the clear brook fringed with rushes To fill the evening pail, bonny Mary O!
The cowpond once agen, bonny Mary O! Lies dimpled like thy sen, bonny Mary O! Where the gnat swarms fall and rise under evening's mellow skies, And on flags sleep dragon flies, bonny Mary O!
And I will meet thee there, bonny Mary O! When a-milking you repair, bonny Mary O! And I'll kiss thee on the grass, my buxom, bonny lass, And be thine own for aye, bonny Mary O!
Where She Told Her Love
I saw her crop a rose Right early in the day, And I went to kiss the place Where she broke the rose away And I saw the patten rings Where she oer the stile had gone, And I love all other things Her bright eyes look upon. If she looks upon the hedge or up the leafing tree, The whitethorn or the brown oak are made dearer things to me.
I have a pleasant hill Which I sit upon for hours, Where she cropt some sprigs of thyme And other little flowers; And she muttered as she did it As does beauty in a dream, And I loved her when she hid it On her breast, so like to cream, Near the brown mole on her neck that to me a diamond shone Then my eye was like to fire, and my heart was like to stone.
There is a small green place Where cowslips early curled, Which on Sabbath day I trace, The dearest in the world. A little oak spreads oer it, And throws a shadow round, A green sward close before it, The greenest ever found: There is not a woodland nigh nor is there a green grove, Yet stood the fair maid nigh me and told me all her love.
I love the fitful gust that shakes The casement all the day, And from the glossy elm tree takes The faded leaves away, Twirling them by the window pane With thousand others down the lane.
I love to see the shaking twig Dance till the shut of eve, The sparrow on the cottage rig, Whose chirp would make believe That Spring was just now flirting by In Summer's lap with flowers to lie.
I love to see the cottage smoke Curl upwards through the trees, The pigeons nestled round the cote On November days like these; The cock upon the dunghill crowing, The mill sails on the heath a-going.
The feather from the raven's breast Falls on the stubble lea, The acorns near the old crow's nest Drop pattering down the tree; The grunting pigs, that wait for all, Scramble and hurry where they fall.
Invitation to Eternity
Say, wilt thou go with me, sweet maid, Say, maiden, wilt thou go with me Through the valley-depths of shade, Of bright and dark obscurity; Where the path has lost its way, Where the sun forgets the day, Where there's nor light nor life to see, Sweet maiden, wilt thou go with me?
Where stones will turn to flooding streams, Where plains will rise like ocean's waves, Where life will fade like visioned dreams And darkness darken into caves, Say, maiden, wilt thou go with me Through this sad non-identity Where parents live and are forgot, And sisters live and know us not?
Say, maiden, wilt thou go with me In this strange death of life to be, To live in death and be the same, Without this life or home or name, At once to be and not to be— That was and is not—yet to see Things pass like shadows, and the sky Above, below, around us lie?
The land of shadows wilt thou trace, Nor look nor know each other's face; The present marred with reason gone, And past and present both as one? Say, maiden, can thy life be led To join the living and the dead? Then trace thy footsteps on with me: We are wed to one eternity.
The Maple Tree
The maple with its tassel flowers of green, That turns to red a staghorn-shaped seed, Just spreading out its scolloped leaves is seen, Of yellowish hue, yet beautifully green; Bark ribbed like corderoy in seamy screed, That farther up the stem is smoother seen, Where the white hemlock with white umbel flowers Up each spread stoven to the branches towers; And moss around the stoven spreads, dark green, And blotched leaved orchis, and the blue bell flowers; Thickly they grow and neath the leaves are seen; I love to see them gemmed with morning hours, I love the lone green places where they be, And the sweet clothing of the maple tree.