Thou art to me but as a wave
Of the wild sea; and I would have
Some claim upon thee, if I could,
Though but of common neighborhood.
What joy to hear thee, and to see !
Thy elder brother I would be,
Thy father, - anything to thee.

Only, free from flutterings

Of loud mirth that scorneth measure,

Taking love for her chief pleasure. Choosing pleasures, for the rest,

Which come softly, – just as she,

When she nestles at your knee. Quiet talk she liketh best,

In a bower of gentle looks,

Watering flowers, or reading books. And her voice, it murmurs lowly,

As a silver stream may run,
Which yet feels, you feel, the sun.

Now thanks to Heaven ! that of its grace
Hath led me to this lonely place ;
Joy have I had ; and going hence
I bear away my recompense.
In spots like these it is we prize
Our Memory, feel that she hath eyes ;
Then why should I be loath to stir ?
I feel this place was made for her;
To give new pleasure like the past,
Continued long as life shall last.
Nor am I loath, though pleased at heart,
Sweet Highland Girl! from thee to part;
For I, methinks, till I grow old
As fair before me shall behold
As I do now, the cabin small,
The lake, the bay, the waterfall;
And thee, the spirit of them all !

And her smile, it seems half holy,

As if drawn from houghts more far
Than our common jestings are.

And if any poet knew her,

He would sing of her with falls

Used in lovely madrigals.
And if any painter drew her,

He would paint her unaware
With a halo round the hair.


[blocks in formation]


[blocks in formation]

A sudden rush from the stairway,

A sudden raid from the hall, By three doors left unguarded,

They enter my castle wall.

They climb up into my turret,

O'er the arms and back of my chair ; If I try to escape, they surround me :

They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,

Their arms about me intwine, Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen

In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine.

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,

Because you have scaled the wall, Such an old mustache as I am

Is not a match for you all ?

I have you fast in my fortress,

And will not let you depart, But put you into the dungeon

In the round-tower of my heart.

A DISTRICT school, not far away, Mid Berkshire hills, one winter's day, Was humming with its wonted noise Of threescore mingled girls and boys ; Some few upon their tasks intent, But more on furtive mischief bent. The while the master's downward look Was fastened on copy-book ; When suddenly, behind his back, Rose sharp and clear a rousing smack ! As 't were a battery of bliss Let off in one tremendous kiss! “What's that?” the startled master cries; “That, thir,” a little imp replies, “Wath William Willith, if you pleathe, I thaw him kith Thuthanna Peathe!" With frown to make a statue thrill, The master thundered, “Hither, Will !" Like wretch o'ertaken in his track, With stolen chattels on his back, Will hung his head in fear and shame, And to the awful presence came, – A great, green, bashful simpleton, The butt of all good-natured fun. With smile suppressed, and birch upraised, The threatener faltered, - I'm amazed That you, my biggest pupil, should Be guilty of an act so rude ! Before the whole set school to boot What evil genius put you to 't ?” “ 'Twas she herself, sir," sobbed the lad, I did not mean to be so bad ; But when Susannah shook her curls, And whispered, I was 'fraid of girls, And dursn't kiss a baby's doll, I could n't stand it, sir, at all, But up and kissed her on the spot ! I know — boo-hoo — I ought to not, But, somehow, from her looks — boo-hooI thought she kind o' wished me to !”

[blocks in formation]



For, eschewing books and tasks, Nature answers all he asks ; Hand in hand with her he walks, Face to face with her he talks, Part and parcel of her joy, Blessings on the barefoot boy!

Old Master Brown brought his ferule down,

And his face looked angry and red.
“Go, seat you there, now, Anthony Blair,

Along with the girls,” he said.
Then Anthony Blair, with a mortified air,

With his head down on his breast,
Took his penitent seat by the maiden sweet

That he loved, of all, the best.
And Anthony Blair seemed whimpering there,

But the rogue only made believe ; For he peeped at the girls with the beautiful curls,

And ogled them over his sleeve.



O for boyhood's time of June, Crowding years in one brief moon, When all things I heard or saw, Me, their master, waited for. I was rich in flowers and trees, Humming-birds and honey-bees; For my sport the squirrel played, Plied the snouted mole his spade ; For my taste the blackberry cone Purpled over hedge and stone ; Laughed the brook for my delight Through the day and through the night, Whispering at the garden wall, Talked with me from fall to fall; Mine the sand-rimmed pickerel pond, Mine the walnut slopes beyond, Mine, on bending orchard trees, Apples of Hesperides ! Still as my horizon grew, Larger grew my riches too ; All the world I saw or knew Seemed a complex Chinese toy, Fashioned for a barefoot boy !

Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan !
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes ;
With thy red lip, redder still
Kissed by strawberries on the hill ;
With the sunshine on thy face,
Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace ;
From my heart I give thee joy, –
I was once a barefoot boy !
Prince thou art, -the grown-up man
Only is republican.
Let the million-dollared ride!
Barefoot, trudging at his side,
Thou hast more than he can buy
In the reach of ear and eye,
Outward sunshine, inward joy :
Blessings on thee, barefoot boy !

O for boyhood's painless play,
Sleep that wakes in laughing day,
Health that mocks the doctor's rules,
Knowledge never learned of schools,
Of the wild bee's morning chase,
of the wild flower's time and place,
Flight of fowl and habitude
Of the tenants of the wood ;
How the tortoise bears his shell,
How the woodchuck digs his cell,
And the ground-mole sinks his well ;
How the robin feeds her young,
How the oriole's nest is hung;
Where the whitest lilies blow,
Where the freshest berries grow,
Where the ground-nut trails its vine,
Where the wood-grape's clusters shine ;
Of the black wasp's cunning way,
Mason of his walls of clay,
And the architectural plans
Of gray hornet artisans !

O for festal dainties spread,
Like my bowl of milk and bread,
Pewter spoon and bowl of wood,
On the door-stone, gray and rude !
O'er me, like a regal tent,
Cloudy-ribbed, the sunset bent,
Purple-curtained, fringed with gold,
Looped in many a wind-swung fold;
While for music came the play
Of the pied frogs' orchestra ;
And, to light the noisy choir,
Lit the fly his lamp of fire.
I was monarch : pomp and joy
Waited on the barefoot boy !

Cheerily, then, my little man,
Live and laugh, as boyhood can !
Though the siinty slopes be hard,
Stubble-speared the new-mown sward,
Every morn shall lead thee through
Fresh baptisms of the dew ;
Every evening from thy feet
Shall the cool wind kiss the heat:
All too soon these feet must hide
In the prison cells of pride,
Lose the freedom of the sod,
Like a colt's for work be shod,
Made to tread the mills of toil,

[ocr errors]


The greenest grasses Nature laid

To sanctify her right.

Up and down in ceaseless moil :
Happy if their track be found
Never on forbidden ground;
Happy if they sink not in
Quick and treacherous sands of sin.
Ah ! that thou couldst know thy joy,
Ere it passes, barefoot boy!


Adventurous joy it was for me!
I crept beneath the boughs and found
A circle smooth of mossy ground

Beneath a poplar-tree.

[blocks in formation]

Nor he nor I did e'er incline
To peck or pluck the blossoms white.
How should I know but roses might

Lead lives as glad as mine?

[merged small][ocr errors]

There are gains for all our losses,

There are balms for all our pain,
But when youth, the dream, departs,
It takes something from our hearts,

And it never comes again.
We are stronger, and are better,

Under manhood's sterner reign ;
Still we feel that something sweet
Followed youth, with flying feet,

Ard will never come again.
Something beautiful is vanished,

And we sigh for it in vain ;
We behold it everywhere,
On the earth, and in the air,

But it never comes again.

Another thrush may there rehearse
The madrigals which sweetest are ;
No more for me !

myself afar
Do sing a sadder verse.





I mind me in the days departed,
How often underneath the sun
With childish bounds I used to run

To a garden long deserted.

How dear to this heart are the scenes of my child

hood, When fond recollection presents them to view ! The orchard, the meadow, the deep-tangled wild

wood, Andevery loved spot which my infancy knew;The wide-spreading pond, and the mill which stood

by it,

The beds and walks were vanished quite;
And wheresoe'er had struck the spade,

The bridge, and the rock where the cataract fell; And I almost worshipped her when she smiled, The cot of my father, the dairy-house nigh it, And turned from her Bible to bless her child.

Ande'en the rude bucket which hung in the well. Years rolled on, but the last one sped, The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket, My idol was shattered, my earth-star fled ! The moss-covered bucket which hung in the well. I learnt how much the heart can bear,

When I saw her die in her old arm-chair. That moss-covered vessel I hail as a treasure ;

For often, at noon, when returned from the field, 'Tis past, 't is past ! but I gaze on it now, I found it the source of an exquisite pleasure, With quivering breath and throbbing brow :

The purest and sweetest that nature can yield. 'T was there she nursed me, 't was there she died, How ardent I seized it, with hands that were glow- And memory flows with lava tide. ing!

Say it is folly, and deem me weak,
And quick to the white-pebbled bottom it fell; Whilst scalding drops start down my
Then soon, with the emblem of truth overflowing, But I love it, I love it, and cannot tear

And dripping with coolness, it rose from the well; My soul from a mother's old arm-chair.
The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket,
The moss-covered bucket, arose from the well.




How sweet from the green mossy brim to receive it,

As, poised on the curb, it inclined to my lips ! Not a full blushing goblet could tempt me to leave

it, Though filled with the nectar that Jupiter sips. And now, far removed from the loved situation,

The tear of regret will intrusively swell, As fancy reverts to my father's plantation,

And sighs for the bucket which hangs in the well; The old oaken bucket, the iron-bound bucket, The moss-covered bucket which hangs in the well.



WOODMAN, spare that tree!

Touch not a single bough!
In youth it sheltered me,

And I'll protect it now.
'T was my forefather's hand

That placed it near his cot;
There, woodman, let it stand,

Thy axe shall harm it not !
That old familiar tree,

Whose glory and renown
Are spread o'er land and sea,

And wouldst thou hew it down?
Woodman, forbear thy stroke !

Cut not its earth-bound ties;
O, spare

that aged oak,
Now towering to the skies !
When but an idle boy

I sought its grateful shade;
In all their gushing joy

Here too my sisters played.
My mother kissed me here ;

My father pressed my hand
Forgive this foolish tear,

But let that old oak stand !

I love it, I love it! and who shall dare
To chide me for loving that old arm-chair ?
I've treasured it long as a sainted prize,
I've bedewed it with tears, I've embalmed it with

'T is bound by a thousand bands to my heart;
Not a tie will break, not a link will start ;
Would you know the spell ? - a mother sat there !
And a sacred thing is that old arm-chair.

In childhood's hour I lingered near
The hallowed seat with listening ear;
And gentle words that mother would give
To fit me to die, and teach me to live.
She told me that shame would never betide
With Truth for my creed, and God for my guide ;
She taught me to lisp my earliest prayer,
As I knelt beside that old arm-chair.

My heart-strings round thee cling,

Close as thy bark, old friend !
Here shall the wild-bird sing,

And still thy branches bend,
Old tree! the storm still brave !

And, woodman, leave the spot ;
While I've a hand to save,

Thy axe shall hurt it not.

I sat, and watched her many a day,
When her eye grew dim, and her locks were gray ;


« VorigeDoorgaan »