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And happiness that never flies, –
(How can it where love never dies ?)—
Whispering of promise, where no blight
Can reach the innocent delight;
Where pity, to the mind conveyed
In pleasure, is the darkest shade
That Time, unwrinkled grandsire, flings
From his smoothly gliding wings.
What mortal form, what earthly face, Inspired the pencil, lines to trace, And mingle colors, that should breed Such rapture, nor want power to feed; For had thy charge been idle flowers, Fair Damsel ! o'er my captive mind, To truth and sober reason blind, 'Mid that soft air, those long-lost bowers, The sweet illusion might have hung, for hours.
Thanks to this tell-tale sheaf of corn,
That touchingly bespeaks thee born
Life's daily tasks with them to share
Who, whether from their lowly bed
They rise, or rest the weary head,
Ponder the blessing they entreat
From Heaven, and feel what they repeat,
While they give utterance to the prayer
That asks for daily bread.
TO A REDBREAST — (IN SICKNESS).
Stay, little cheerful Robin ! stay,
And at my casement sing,
Though it should prove a farewell lay
And this our parting spring.
Though I, alas ! may ne'er enjoy
The promise in thy song,
A charm, that thought cannot destroy,
Doth to thy strain belong.
Methinks that in my dying hour
Thy song would still be dear,
And with a more than earthly power
My passing Spirit cheer.
Then, little Bird, this boon confer:
Come, and my requiem sing, Nor fail to be the harbinger
Of everlasting Spring.
I KNOW an aged Man constrained to dwell
In a large house of public charity,
Where he abides, as in a Prisoner's cell,
With numbers near, alas ! no company.
When he could creep about, at will, though poor
And forced to live on alms, this old Man fed
A Redbreast, one that to his cottage door
Came not, but in a lane partook his bread.
There, at the root of one particular tree,
An easy seat this worn-out Laborer found,
While Robin pecked the crumbs upon his knee
Laid one by one, or scattered on the ground.
Dear intercourse was theirs, day after day; What signs of mutual gladness when they met! Think of their common peace, their simple play, The parting moment and its fond regret.
Months passed in love that failed not to fulfil,
In spite of season's change, its own demand,
By fluttering pinions here and busy bill ;
There by caresses from a tremulous hand.
Thus in the chosen spot a tie so strong
Was formed between the solitary pair,
That, when his fate had housed him ʼmid a throng,
The Captive shunned all converse proffered there.
Wife, children, kindred, they were dead and gone; But, if no evil hap his wishes crossed,
One living Stay was left, and on that one
Some recompense for all that he had lost.
O that the good old Man had power to prove,
By message sent through air or visible en,
That still he loves the Bird, and still must love;
That friendship lasts though fellowship is broken !
AFFECTIONS lose their object; Time brings forth
No successors; and, lodged in memory,
If love exist no longer, it must die,
Wanting accustomed food, must pass from earth,
Or never hope to reach a second birth.
This sad belief, the happiest that is left
To thousands, share not thou ; howe'er bereft,
Scorned, or neglected, fear not such a dearth.
Though poor and destitute of friends thou art,
Perhaps the sole survivor of thy race,
One to whom Heaven assigns that mournful part
The utmost solitude of age to face,
Still shall be left some corner of the heart
Where Love for living Thing can find a place.
These lines are by the Author of the Address to the Wind, &c., published heretofore along with my Poems. Those to a Redbreast are by a deceased female Relative.
HARMONIOUS Powers with Nature work
On sky, earth, river, lake, and sea ;
Sunshine and cloud, whirlwind and breeze,
All in one duteous task agree.
Once did I see a slip of earth
(By throbbing waves long undermined)
Loosed from its hold ; how, no one knew,
But all might see it float, obedient to the wind;
Might see it, from the
shore Dissevered, float upon the Lake, Float with its crest of trees adorned On which the warbling birds their pastime take.
Food, shelter, safety, there they find;
There berries ripen, flowerets bloom;
There insects live their lives, and die :
A peopled world it is; in size a tiny room.
And thus through many
This little Island may survive ;
But Nature, though we mark her not,
Will take away, may cease to give.