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Ere a leaf is on a bush,
In the time before the thrush
Has a thought about her nest,
Thou wilt come with half a call,
Spreading out thy glossy breast
Like a careless prodigal;
Telling tales about the sun,
When we've little warmth, or none.
Comfort have thou of thy merit,
Kindly unassuming Spirit !
Careless of thy neighbourhood,
Thou dost show thy pleasant face
On the moor, and in the wood,
In the lane ;-there's not a place,
Howsoever mean it be,
But 'tis good enough for thee.
Ill befall the yellow flowers,
Children of the flaring hours !
Butter-cups that will be seen,
Whether we will see or no;
Others, too, of lofty mien ;
They have done as worldlings do,
Taken praise that should be thine,
Little, humble Celandine !
Prophet of delight and mirth,
Ill requited upon earth;
Herald of a mighty band,
Of a joyous train ensuing,
Serving at my heart's command,
Tasks that are no tasks renewing,
I will sing, as doth behove,
Hymns in praise of what I love !
Hast thou seen, in winter's stormiest day,
The trunk of a blighted oak,
Nor dead, but sinking in slow decay
Beneath time's resistless stroke,
Round which a luxuriant ivy had grown,
And wreathed it with verdure no longer its own?'
Perchance thou hast seen this sight, and then,
As I at thy years might do,
Pass'd carelessly by, nor turn'd again
That scathed wreck to view.
But now I can draw from that mouldering tree
Thoughts which are soothing and dear to me.
O smile not ! nor think it a worthless thing,
If it be with instruction fraught;
That which will closest and longest cling
Is alone worth a serious thought!
Should aught be unlovely which thus can shed
Grace on the dying, and leaves on the dead ?
FROM THE GERMAN OF GOETHE.
A VIOLET blossom'd on the green,
With lowly stem, and bloom unseen:
It was a sweet, low flower.
A shepherd maiden came that way,
With lightsome step and aspect gay,
Came near, came near,
Came o'er the green with song.
Ah! thought the violet, might I be
The fairest flower on all the lea,
Ah! but for one brief hour ;.
And might be plucked by that dear maid,
And gently on her bosom laid,
Ah! but, ah! but
A few dear moments long.
Alas! the maiden, as she pass'd,
No eye upon the violet cast ;
She crush'd the poor, wee flower ;
It sank, and dying, heaved no sigh,
And if I die, at least I die
By her, by her,
Beneath her feet I die.
TO THE PAINTED COLUMBINE.
Bright image of the early years
When glow'd my cheek as red as thou, And life's dark throng of cares and fears Were swift-winged shadows o'er my sunny brow! Thou blushest from the painter's page,
Robed in the mimic tints of art; But Nature's hand in youth's green age With fairer hues first traced thee on my heart. The morning's blush, she made it thine,
The morn's sweet breath, she gave it thee; And in thy look, my Columbine ! Each fond-remember'd spot she bade me see. I see the hill's far-gazing head,
Where gay thou noddest in the gale ; I hear light-bounding footsteps tread The grassy path that winds along the vale. I hear the voice of woodland song
Break from each bush and well-known tree, And, on light pinions borne along, Comes back the laugh from childhood's heart of
O'er the dark rock the dashing brook,
With look of anger, leaps again,
Ana' hastening to each flowery nook,
Its distans voice is heard far down the glen,
Fair child of art! thy charms decay,
Touched by the wither'd hand of Time:
And hushed the music of that day,
When my voice mingled with the streamlet's
chime; But on my heart thy cheek of bloom
Shall live when Nature's smile has fled;
And rich with memory's sweet perfume,
Shall o'er her grave thy tribute incense shed.
There shalt thou live and wake the glee
That echoed on thy native hill;
And when, loved flower! I think of thee,
My infant feet will seem to seek thee still.
O LADY, twine no wreath for me,
Or twine it of the cypress-tree !
Too lively glow the lilies light,
The varnish'd holly's all too bright,