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ccxxv MY DOVES

My little doves have left a nest

Upon an Indian tree,
Whose leaves fantastic take their rest

Or motion from the sea:
For ever there the sea-winds go
With sunlit paces, to and fro.

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
And lifted leaf, to interpose

Their chanting voices kind;
Interpreting that love must be
The meaning of the earth and sea.

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,
In mist and chillness pent,

With sudden upward look they listen
For sounds of past content—

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
Their fearless heads they lean,

And almost seem to understand
What human musings mean,—

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 echoings from out the hills,

All droppings from the skies,
All flowings from the wave, and wind,
Remember" d in their chant I find.

So teach ye me the wisest part.

My little doves! to move
Along the city ways with heart

Assured by holy love,
And vocal with such songs as own
A fountain to the world unknown.

'Twas hard to sing by Babel's stream,

More hard in Babel's street!
But, if the soulless creatures deem

Their music not unmeet,
For sunless walls,—let us begin,
Who wear immortal wings within!

To me fair memories belong

Of scenes that erst did bless*;
For no regret—but present song—

And lasting thankfulness—
And very soon to break away
Like types, in purer things than they!

I will have hopes that cannot fade,

For flowers the valley yields;
I will have humble thoughts instead

Of silent dewy fields!
My spirit and my God shall be
My sea-ward hill, my boundless sea.

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;
Whence thou dost pour upon the world a flood

Of harmony, with instinct more divine;
Type of the wise, who soar, but never roam;
True to the kindred points of Heaven and Home.

William Wordsworth


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,
That glance, and glide with fleetest motion,

Unwearied, though but yesternight
They buoy'd thee o'er the wide-spread ocean,—

A welcome promise bring once more
Of sparkling waters, waving meadows,

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,
Sweet too is thine, thou glad new-comer!

And I will joy, though pinions fleet
Too aptly tell of joys in summer!

Too aptly ?—Nay that word recall:
Deem rather it were cause for weeping,

If pleasant summer days were all,
And never came a day of reaping.

Or mark the swift-wing'd foreigner
Again: and check each thought of sadness:

All here may fade: it grieves not her:
She knows another land of gladness.

T. Davis



The skylark has perceiv'd his prison door
Unclosed; for liberty the captive tries:

Puss eagerly hath watch'd him from the floor,
And in her grasp he flutters, pants, and dies.

Lucy's own puss, and Lucy's own dear bird,
Her foster'd favourites both for many a day,

That which the tender-hearted girl preferr'd,
She, in her fondness, knew not sooth to say.

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