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With Red Riding Hood, the darling,
The flower of fairy lore. Did the painter, dreaming
In a morning hour, Catch the fairy seeming Of this fairy flower ?
Winning it with eager eyes
Lingering with a long delight
Giving us a sweet surprise
The flower of fairy lore ?
Where the cowslip bends,
Did the little maiden stay.
We, too, loiter mid life's flowers,
All love lingering on their way,
The flower of fairy lore.
“Now, brother," said the dying man,
'Look to my children dear ; Be good unto my boy and girl,
No friends else I have here."
“O brother kind," quoth she, “You are the man must bring our babes
To wealth or misery.
“And if you keep them carefully,
Then God will you reward ; If otherwise you seem to deal,
God will your deeds regard." With lips as cold as any stone
She kissed her children small : “God bless you both, my children dear,”
With that the tears did fall.
LÆTITIA ELIZABETH LANDON,
Their parents being dead and gone,
The children home he takes,
And much of them he makes.
A twelvemonth and a day,
To make them both away.
THE CHILDREN IN THE WOOD.
Now ponder well, you parents dear,
The words which I shall write ; A doleful story you shall hear,
In time brought forth to light : A gentleman, of good account,
In Norfolk lived of late, Whose wealth and riches did surmount
Most men of his estate.
He bargained with two ruffians strong,
Which were of furious mood,
And slay them in a wood.
He did the children send
With one that was his friend.
Sore sick he was, and like to die,
No help then he could have ; His wife by him as sick did lie,
And both possessed one grave. No love between these two was lost,
Each was to other kind ; In love they lived, in love they died,
And left two babes behind :
The one a fine and pretty boy,
Not passing three years old ; The other a girl, more young than he,
And made in beauty's mould. The father left his little son,
As plainly doth appear, When he to perfect age should come,
Three hundred pounds a year,
So that the pretty speech they had
Made Murder's heart relent; And they that undertook the deed
Full sore they did repent.
Yet one of them, more hard of heart,
Did vow to do his charge, Because the wretch that hired him
Had paid him very large.
The other would not agree thereto,
So here they fell at strife; With one another they did fight,
About the children's life ; And he that was of mildest mood
Did slay the other there, Within an unfrequented wood ;
While babes did quake for fear.
The fellow that did take in hand
These children for to kill Was for a robber judged to die,
As was God's blessed will ; Who did confess the very truth,
The which is here expressed ; Their uncle died while he, for debt,
In prison long did rest.
And overseers eke,
And infants mild and meek,
And yield to each his right, Lest God with such-like misery
Your wicked minds requite.
He took the children by the hand
When tears stood in their eye,
And look they did not cry ;
While they for food complain :
A MOTHER'S LOVE.
These pretty babes, with hand in hand,
Went wandering up and down, But nevermore they saw the man
Approaching from the town. Their pretty lips with blackberries
Were all besmeared and dyed, And when they saw the darksome night
They sate them down and cried.
Thus wandered these two pretty babes
Till death did end their grief ; In one another's arms they died,
As babes wanting relief.
Of any man receives,
Did cover them with leaves.
A LITTLE in the doorway sitting, The mother plied her busy knitting ; And her cheek so softly smiled, You might be sure, although her gaze Was on the meshes of the lace, Yet her thoughts were with her child. But when the boy had heard her voice, As o'er her work she did rejoice, His became silent altogether ; And slyly creeping by the wall, He seized a single plume, let fall By some wild bird of longest feather ; And, all a-tremble with his freak, He touched her lightly on the cheek. 0, what a loveliness her eyes Gather in that one moment's space, While peeping round the post she spies Her darling's laughing face ! O, mother's love is glorifying, On the cheek like sunset lying ; In the eyes a moistened light, Softer than the moon at night !
And now the heavy wrath of God
Upon their uncle fell ;
His conscience felt an hell.
His lands were barren made ; His cattle died within the field,
And nothing with him stayed.
THE GAMBOLS OF CHILDREN.
And, in the voyage of Portugal,
Two of his sons did die ; And, to conclude, himself was brought
To extreme misery.
Ere seven years came about ;
Did by this means come out :
Down the dimpled greensward dancing
Bursts a flaxen-headed bevy, — Bud-lipt boys and girls advancing,
Love's irregular little levy. Rows of liquid eyes in laughter,
How they glimmer, how they quiver ! Sparkling one another after,
Like bright ripples on a river.
Tipsy band of rubious faces,
Not willing to be left — still by my side, Flushed with Joy's ethereal spirit, Haunting my walks, while summer-day was Make your mocks and sly grimaces
dying ; At Love's self, and do not fear it. Nor leaving in thy turn, but pleased to glide
Through the dark room where I was sadly
Or by the couch of pain, a sitter meek,
Watch the dim eye, and kiss the fevered cheek.
Earth's fragile idols ; like a tender flower, Three little girls with sluttering curls No strength in all thy freshness, prone to fade, Flit to and fro together :
And bending weakly to the thunder-shower ; There's Bell with her bonnet of satin sheen, Still, round the loved, thy heart found force to And Mand with her mantle of silver-green,
bind, And Kate with her scarlet feather.
And clung, like woodbine shaken in the wind ! Under my window, under my window,
Then Thou, my merry love, — bolil in thy glee, Leaning stealthily over,
Under the bough, or by the firelight dancing, Merry anıl clear, the voice I hear,
With thy sweet temper, and thy spirit free, Of each glad-hearted rover.
Didst come, as restless as a bird's wing glan. Ah! sly little Kate, she steals my roses ;
cing, And Maud and Bell twine wreaths and posies, Full of a wild and irrepressible mirth, As merry as bees in clover.
Like a young sunbeam to the gladdened earth! Under my window, under my window,
Thine was the shout, the song, the burst of joy, In the blue Midsummer weather,
Which sweet from childhood's rosy lip reStealing slow, on a hushed tiptoe,
soundeth ; I catch them all together :
Thine was the eager spirit naught could cloy, Bell with her bonnet of satin sheen,
And the glad heart from which all grief reAnd Maud with her mantle of silver-green,
boundeth ; And Kate with the scarlet feather.
And many a mirthful jest and mock reply
Lurked in the laughter of thy dark-blue eye. Under my window, under my window, And off through the orchard closes ;
And thine was many an art to win and bless, While Maud she flouts, and Bell she pouts,
The cold and stern to joy and fondness warm. They scamper and drop their posies ;
ing; But dear little Kate takes naught amiss,
The coaxing smile, the frequent soft caress, And leaps in my arms with a loving kiss, And I give her all my roses.
The earnest, tearful prayer all wrath disarm
ing! Again my heart a new affection found, But thought that love with thee had reached its
bound. THE MOTHER'S HEART.
At length THOU camest, – thou, the last and WHEN first thou camest, gentle, shy, and fond, least, My eldest born, first hope, and dearest treasure,
Nicknamed "the Emperor" by thy laughing My heart received thee with a joy beyond
brothers, All that it yet had felt of earthly pleasure ; Because a haughty spirit swelled thy breast, Nor thought that any love again might be
And thou didst seek to rule and sway the So deep and strong as that I felt for thee.
Mingling with every playful infant wile
And natural piety that leaned to heaven ;
Yei patient to rebuke when justly given ; An eye of resolute and successful scheming ! Obedient, casy to be reconciled,
Fair shoulders, curling lips, and dauntless brow, And meekly cheerful ; such wert thou, my Fit for the world's strife, not for poet's dream.
Organ finer, deeper, clearer,
Though it be a stranger's tone, Than the winds or waters dearer, More enchanting to the hearer,
For it answereth to his own. But, of all its witching words, Those are sweetest, bubbling wild Through the laughter of a child.
Harmonies from time touched towers,
Haunted strains from rivulets, Hum of bees among the flowers, Rustling leaves, and silver showers, –
These, erelong, the ear forgets ; But in mine there is a sound Ringing on the whole year round, Heart-deep laughter that I heard Ere my child could speak a word.
Nor sheep nor kine were near ; the lamb was
all alone, And by a slender cord was tethered to a stone ; With one knee on the grass did the little
maiden kneel, While to that mountain-lamb she gave its
evening meal. The lamb, while from her hand he thus his
supper took, Seemed to feast with head and ears; and his
tail with pleasure shook. “Drink, pretty creature, drink !" she said, in
such a tone That I almost received her heart into my own. 'Twas little Barbara Lewthwaite, a child of
beauty rare ! I watched them with delight : they were
Ah! 't was heard by ear far purer,
Fondlier formed to catch the strain, Ear of one whose love is surer, Hers, the mother, the endurer
of the deepest share of pain ;
Now with her empty can the maiden turned away;
SEVEN TIMES ONE. But ere ten yards were gone, her footsteps did she stay.
THERE's no dew left on the daisies and clover,
There's no rain left in heaven. Right towards the lamb she looked ; and from a
I've said my “seven times" over ind over, shady place
Seven times one are seven.
I am old, — so old I can write a letter ; bring, Thus, thought I, to her lamb that little maid The lambs play always, – they know no better :
My birthday lessons are done. might sing :
They are only one times one. “What ails thee, young one ? — what? Why pull so at thy cord ?
O Moon! in the night I have seen you sailing Is it not well with thee? - well both for bed and And shining so round and low. board ?
You were bright - ah, bright — but your light Thy plot of grass is soft, and green as grass can be ;
is failing ; Rest, little young one, rest; what is 't that You are nothing now but a bow. aileth thee?
You Moon ! have you done something wrong in • Thou know'st that twice a day I have brought heaven, thee in this can
That God has hidden your face? Fresh water from the brook, as clear as ever ran; I hope, if you have, you will soon be forgiven, And twice in the day, when the ground is wet And shine again in your place.
with dew, I bring thee draughts of milk, warm milk it O velvet Bee ! you 're a dusty fellow, — is, and new.
You ’ve powdered your legs with gold.
O brave marsh Mary-buds, rich and yellow, “Thy limbs will shortly be twice as stout as
Give me your money to hold ! they are now ; Then I'll yoke thee to my cart like a pony in o Columbine ! open your folded wrapper, the plough.
Where two twin turtle-doves dwell ! My playmate thou shalt be; and when the wind | O Cuckoo-pint ! toll me the purple clapper is cold,
That hangs in your clear green bell ! Our hearth shall be thy bed, our house shall be thy fold.
And show me your nest, with the young ones in
it, “ Here thou need'st not dread the raven in the I will not steal them away :
I am old ! you may trust me, linnet, linnet ! Night and day thou art safe, our cottage is I am seven times one to-day. hard by.
JEAN INGELOW Why bleat so after me? Why pull so at thy chain? Sleep, and at break of day I will come to thee again!"
WE ARE SEVEN. As homeward through the lane I went with lazy
A SIMPLE child, feet,
That lightly draws its breath, This song to myself did I oftentimes repeat;
And feels its life in every limb, And it seemed, as I retraced the ballad line by
What should it know of death ? line, That but half of it was hers, and one half of it
I met a little cottage girl : was mine.
She was eight years old, she said ; Again, and once again, did I repeat the song ;
Her hair was thick with many a curl “Nay,” said I, “ more than half to the damsel
That clustered round her head. must belong, For she looked with such a look, and she spake
She had a rustic, woodland air, with such a tone,
And she was wildly clad ; That I almost received her heart into my own."
Her eyes were fair, and very fair ;
Her beauty made me glad.