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Springing in valleys green and low,

And on the mountains high, And in the silent wilderness,

Where no man passes by?

Our outward life requires them not

Then wherefore had they birth 1 To minister delight to man—

To beautify the earth;

To comfort man, to whisper hope,

Whene'er his faith is dim;
For whoso careth for the flowers,

Will much more care for him I

Mart Howitt.

HOLY FLOWERS.

Woe's me—how knowledge makes forlorn!
The forest and the field are shorn
Of their old growth, the holy flowers;
Or if they spring, they are not ours.

Once musing in the woodland nook,
Each flower was as a written book,
Recalling, by memorial quaint,
The holy deed of martyred saint;
The patient faith, which, unsubdued,
Grew mightier through fire and blood.
One blossom, 'midst its leafy shade,
The virgin's purity portrayed;
And one, with cup all crimson dyed,
Spoke of a Saviour crucified:
And rich the store of holy thought
That little forest-flower brought.
Doctrine and miracle, whate'er
We draw from books was treasured there.
Faith, in the wild wood's tangled bound,
A blessed heritage had found!
And Charity and Hope were seen
In the lone isle and deep ravine.
Then, pilgrims in the forest brown,
Slow wandering on from town to town,
Halting 'mid mosses green and dank,
Breathed each a prayer before they drank
From waters by the pathway side.
Then, duly, morn and eventide,
Before those ancient crosses grey,
Now mouldering silently away,

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Aged and young, devoutly bent,
In simple prayer, how eloquent!
For, each good gift man then possessed
Demanded blessing, and was blest.

What though in our pride's selfish mood
We hold those times as dark and rude;
Yet give we, from our wealth of mind,
Feeling more grateful or refined 3
And yield we unto Nature aught
Of loftier, or of holier thought,
Than they who gave sublimest power,
To the small spring and simple flower?

Mary Howrrr.

Hark, hark!
The lark

At heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking marbuds now begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With everything that pretty bin
My lady sweet, arise!

SlIAKSPEAIlE.

First, the lark, when she means to rejoice to cheer herself and those that hear her, she then quits the earth, and sings as she ascends higher into the air; and having ended her heavenly employment, grows then mute and sad to think she must descend to the dull earth, which she would not touch but for necessity. "JT!

How do the blackbird and throssel, with their melodious voice, bid welcome to the cheerful spring, and in their fixed mouths warble forth such ditties as no art or instrument can reach to!

Nay, the smaller birds also do the like in their particular seasons, as, namely, the laverock, the tit-lark, the little linnet, and the honest robin, who loves mankind both alive and dead.

But the nightingale, another of my airy creatures, breathes such sweet loud music out of her little instrumental throat, that it might make mankind to think miracles are not ceased. He that at midnight, when the very labourer sleeps securely, should hear, as I have very often, the clear air, the sweet descants, the natural rising and falling, the doubling and redoubling of her voice, might well be lifted above earth, and say, "Lord, what music hast thou provided for the saints in heaven, when thou affordest bad men such music on earth!"

Thus speaks good, old Isaak Walton. Let us now hear Percy Bysshe Shelley, whose ode "To a Skylark" is worthy of the bird itself.

TO A SKYLARK.

Hail to thee, blithe spirit!

Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it, Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still, and higher,

From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;

The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning

Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are bright'ning Thou dost float and run,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale purple even

Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven
In the broad day-light;
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.

Keen as ore the arrows

Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows

In the white dawn clear,
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.

All the earth and air

With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,

From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.

SONGS OF SKYLA.EKS.

209

What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not Drops so bright to see,
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

Like a poet hidden

In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it needed not.

Like a high-born maiden

In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower;

Like a glow-worm golden

In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden

Its aerial hue

Among the flowers and grass which screen it from the view.

Like a rose embowered

In its own green leaves, By warm winds deflowered, Till the scent it gives Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves.

Sound of vernal showers

On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,

All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass:

Teach us, sprite or bird,

What sweet thoughts are thine;
I have never heard,

Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

Chorus hymeneal

Or triumphal chaunt,
Matched with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt,—
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

P

What objects are the fountains

Of thy happy strain 1
What fields, or waves, or mountains?

What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind t what ignorance of pain?

With thy clear, keen joyance,

Languor cannot be;
Shadow of annoyance
Never came near thee:
Thou lovest; but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

Waking or asleep,

Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

We look before and after,

And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter

With some pain is fraught:
Our sweetest songs are those which tell of saddest thought.

Yet if we could scorn

Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born

Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever could come near.

Better than all measures Of delight and sound,
Better than all treasures That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness

That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then as I am listening now.

Perot Bysshe Shelley.

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