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When the little buds unclose,
Red, and white, and pied, and blue;
And that virgin flower, the rose,
Opes her heart to hold the dew,
Wilt thou lock thy bosom up
With no jewel in its cup 2
Let not cold December sit
Thus in love's peculiar throne;
Brooklets are not prison'd now,
But crystal frosts are all agone;
And that which hangs upon the spray,
It is no snow, but flower of May 1
She stood breast high amid the corn,
Clasp'd by the golden light of morn,
Like the sweetheart of the sun
Who many a glowing kiss had won.
On her cheek an autumn flush,
Deeply ripened:—such a blush
In the midst of brown was born,
Like red poppies grown with corn.
Round her eyes her tresses fell,
Which were blackest none could tell;
But long lashes veil'd a light,
That had else been all too bright.
And her hat, with shady brim,
Made her tressy forehead dim;-
Thus she stood amid the stooks
Praising God with sweetest looks:–
Sure, I said, heav'n did not mean, Where I reap thou should'st but glean; Lay thy sheaf adown and come,
She's up and gone, the graceless girl!
And robb'd my failing years ; My blood before was thin and cold,
But now 'tis turn’d to tears :
My shadow falls upon my grave,
So near the brink I stand ;
She might have stayed a little yet,
And led me by the hand !
Aye, call her on the barren moor,
And call her on the hill ;
'Tis nothing but the heron's cry,
And plovers answer shrill :
My child is flown on wilder wings
Than they have ever spread ;
And I may even walk a waste
That widen'd when she fled."
Full many a thankless child has been,
But never one like mine; Her meat was served on plates of gold,
Her drink was rosy wine : But now she'll share the robin's food,
And sup the common rill, Before her feet will turn again
To meet her father's will !
I REMEMBER, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn:
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day ;
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!
I remember, I remember,
The roses—red and white;
The violets and the lily-cups,
Those flowers made of light !
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birth-day,+
The tree is living yet!
I remember, I remember,
Where I was used to swing ;
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing :
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!
I remember, I remember,
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I’m farther off from heav'n
Than when I was a boy.
OH ! well may poets make a fuss
In summer time, and sigh, “O rus!”
Of London pleasures sick:
My heart is all at pant to rest
In greenwood shades, my eyes detest
This endless meal of brick |
What joy have I in June's return ?
My feet are parch'd, my eyeballs burn;
I scent no flowery gust:
But faint the flagging zephyr springs,
With dry Macadam on its wings,
My sun his daily course renews
Due east, but with no eastern dews;
The path is dry and hot!
His setting shows more tamely still,
He sinks behind no purple hill,
But down a chimney's pot!
Oh! but to hear the milk-maid blythe,
Or early mower whet his scythe
The dewy meads among !
My grass is of that sort, alas !
That makes no hay, call'd sparrow-grass
By folks of vulgar tongue!
Oh! but to smell the woodbine sweet !
I think of cowslip-cups, but meet
With very vile rebuffs
For meadow buds, I get a whiff
Of Cheshire cheese, or only sniff
The turtle made at Cuff's.
How tenderly Rousseau review'd
His periwinkles' mine are strew'd :
My rose blooms on a gown |
I hunt in vain for eglantine,
And find my blue-bell on the sign
That marks the Bell and Crown |
Where are ye, birds ! that blithely wing
From tree to tree, and gaily sing
Or mourn in thickets deep
My cuckoo has some ware to sell,
The watchman is my Philomel,
My blackbird is a sweep !
Where are ye, linnet! lark' and thrush :
That perch on leafy bough and bush,
And tune the various song 2
Two hurdy-gurdists, and a poor
Street-Handel grinding at my door,
Are all my “tuneful throng.”
Where are ye, early-purling streams,
Whose waves reflect the morning beams,
And colours of the skies?
My rills are only puddle-drains
From shambles, or reflect the stains
Sweet are the little brooks that run
O'er pebbles glancing in the sun,
Singing in soothing tones :
Not thus the city streamlets flow;
They make no music as they go,
Though never “ off the stones.”
Where are ye, pastoral, pretty sheep,
That wont to bleat, and frisk, and leap
Beside your woolly dams?
Alas ! instead of harmless crooks,
My Corydons use iron hooks,
And skin—not shear—the lambs.
The pipe whereon, in olden day,
Th’ Arcadian herdsman us'd to play
Sweetly, here soundeth not ;
But merely breathes unwelcome fumes,
Meanwhile the city boor consumes
The rank weed—“ piping hot.”
All rural things are vilely mock’d,
On every hand the sense is shock'd
With objects hard to bear :
Shades- vernal shades ! where wine is sold !
And for a turfy bank, behold
An Ingram's rustic chair !
Where are ye, London meads and bow'rs,
And gardens redolent of flow'rs
Wherein the zephyr wons ?
Alas! Moor Fields are fields no more !
See Hatton's Garden brick'd all o'er ;