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ccxxv MY DOVES
My little doves have left a nest
Upon an Indian tree,
Or motion from the sea:
The tropic flowers look'd up to it,
The tropic stars look'd down: And there my little doves did sit
With feathers softly brown, And glittering eyes that show'd their right To general Nature's deep delight.
And God them taught at every close
Of water far, and wind
Their chanting voices kind;
My little doves were borne away
From that glad nest of theirs; Across an ocean foaming aye,
And tempest-clouded airs. My little doves! who lately knew The sky and wave by warmth and blue!
And now within the city prison,
With sudden upward look they listen
For lapse of water, swell of breeze,
Or nut-fruit falling from the trees.
The stir, without the glow of passion, The triumph of the mart—
The gold and silver's dreary clashing With man's metallic heart—
The wheeled pomp, the pauper tread.
These only sounds are heard instead.
Yet still, as on my human hand
And almost seem to understand
With such a plaintive gaze, their eyne
Are fasten'd upwardly to mine.
Their chant is soft as on the nest
Beneath the sunny sky, For love that stirred it in their breast
Remains undyingly, And 'neath the city's shade can keep The well of music clear and deep.
And love, that keeps the music, fills
With pastoral memories;
All droppings from the skies,
So teach ye me the wisest part.
My little doves! to move
Assured by holy love,
'Twas hard to sing by Babel's stream,
More hard in Babel's street!
Their music not unmeet,
To me fair memories belong
Of scenes that erst did bless*;
And lasting thankfulness—
I will have hopes that cannot fade,
For flowers the valley yields;
Of silent dewy fields!
E. B. Browning
TO A SKYLARK Ethereal minstrel, pilgrim of the sky,
Dost thou despise the earth where cares abound? Or, while thy wings aspire, are heart and eye
Both with thy nest upon the dewy ground? Thy nest which thou canst drop into at will, Those quivering wings composed, that music still.
Leave to the nightingale her shady wood;
A privacy of glorious light is thine;
Of harmony, with instinct more divine;
TO THE FIRST SWALLOW 'Tis not one blossom makes a spring,
Nor yet one swallow makes a summer; Rut a sweet promise both may bring,
And thine is sweet, thou glad new comer!
Thy twittering voice, thy pinions light,
Unwearied, though but yesternight
A welcome promise bring once more
And countless things that fleet before
My spirit's eye in glimmering shadows ;—
Till gazing on thee wheeling near,
And hailing thee with joyful bosom, I know not whether is more dear,
The summer bird, or vernal blossom.
The blossom brought a promise sweet,
And I will joy, though pinions fleet
Too aptly ?—Nay that word recall:
If pleasant summer days were all,
Or mark the swift-wing'd foreigner
All here may fade: it grieves not her:
THE LOSS OF THE FAVOURITE
The skylark has perceiv'd his prison door
Puss eagerly hath watch'd him from the floor,
Lucy's own puss, and Lucy's own dear bird,
That which the tender-hearted girl preferr'd,