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ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
Pushing through the elm-tree copse, Up away the frisky squirrel hies, Winding up the stream, light-hearted, Golden wood-lights glancing in his eyes, Where the osier pathway leads,
And adown the tree Past the boughs she stoops -- and stops. Great ripe nuts, kissed brown by July sun, Lo, the wild swan had deserted,
In the little lap dropped one by one. And a rat had gnawed the reeds.
Hark, how blackbird pipes to see the fun!
“Happy Bell," pipes he. Ellie went home sad and slow. If she found the lover ever,
Little Bell looked up and down the glade, With his red-roan steed of steeds,
“Squirrel, squirrel, if you 're not afraid, Sooth I know not! but I know
Come and share with me!" She could never show him never,
Down came squirrel eager for his fare,
Down came bonny blackbird, I declare;
Ah the merry three !
Piped and frisked from bough to bough again,
’Neath the morning skies,
In the little childish heart below Piped the blackbird on the beechwood spray, All the sweetness seems to grow and grow, Pretty maid, slow wandering this way,
And shine out in happy overflow What 's your name?” quoth he,
From her blue, bright eyes. “What's your name? O, stop and straight unfold, Pretty maid with showery curls of gold.”
By her snow-white cot at close of day, “ Little Bell,” said she.
Knelt sweet Bell, with folded palms, to pray;
Very calm and clear Little Bell sat down beneath the rocks,
Rose the praying voice to where, unseen, Tossed aside her gleaming golden locks,
In blue heaven, an angel shape serene Bonny bird,” quoth she,
Paused awhile to hear. Sing me your best song before I go.”
“What good child is this,” the angel said, “ Here 's the very finest song I know,
“ That with happy heart beside her bed Little Bell,” said he.
Prays so lovingly?”
Low and soft, 0, very low and soft, And the blackbird piped ;- you never heard Crooned the blackbird in the orchard croft, Half so gay a song from any bird,
Bell, dear Bell!” crooned he. Full of quips and wiles, Now so round and rich, now soft and slow, “Whom God's creatures love," the angel fair All for love of that sweet face below,
Murmured, “God doth bless with angels' care ; Dimpled o'er with smiles.
Child, thy bed shall be
Folded safe from harm. Love, deep and kind, And the while the bonny bird did pour
Shall watch around and leave good gifts behind, His full heart freely o'er and o'er
Little Bell, for thee!"
A VISIT FROM ST. NICHOLAS.
’T was the night before Christmas, when all
through the house Down the dell she tripped and through the glade, Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; Peeped the squirrel from the hazel shade, The stockings were hung by the chimney with And from out the tree
care, Swung, and leaped, and frolicked, void of fear; In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there : While bold blackbird piped that all might hear, The children were nestled all snug in their beds, “Little Bell,” piped he.
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their
heads; Little Bell sat down amid the fern,
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap, “Squirrel, squirrel, to your task return; Had just settled our brains for a long winter's Bring me nuts,” quoth she.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
THE Frost looked forth, one still, clear night, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. And he said, “Now I shall be out of sight; The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow So through the valley and over the height Gave a lustre of midday to objects below;
In silence I'll take my way.
The wind and the snow, the hail and the rain, With a little old driver, so lively and quick
Who make so much bustle and noise in vain, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
But I'll be as busy as they !” More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, And he whistled and shouted, and called them Then he went to the mountain, and powdered its by name:
crest, “Now, Dasher ! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and He climbed up the trees, and their boughs he Vixen!
dressed On, Comet ! on, Cupid ! on, Donder and Blitzen! With diamonds and pearls, and over the breast To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall ! Of the quivering lake he spread Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!” A coat of mail, that it need not fear As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, The downward point of many a spear When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the That he hung on its margin, far and near, sky,
Where a rock could rear its head. So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, With the sleigh full of toys, – and St. Nicholas He went to the windows of those who slept, too.
And over each pane like a fairy crept : And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof Wherever he breathed, wherever he stepped, The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
By the light of the moon was seen As I drew in my head, and was turning around, Most beautiful things. There were flowers and Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
trees, He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot, There were bevies of birds and swarms of bees, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and There were cities, thrones, temples, and towers, soot;
and these A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
All pictured in silver sheen ! And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. His eyes how they twinkled! his dimples how But he did one thing that was hardly fair, merry!
He peeped in the cupboard, and, finding there His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry; That all had forgotten for him to prepare, His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
, Now, just to set them a thinking, And the beard on his chin was as white as the I 'll bite this basket of fruit,” said he ;
"This costly pitcher I 'll burst in three,
“ One name is Elizabeth."-- BEN JONSON, . Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
I WILL paint her as I see her, He spokenota word, but went straight to his work,
Ten times have the lilies blown And filled all the stockings; then turned with a
Since she looked upon the sun. jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And her face is lily-clear, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
Lily-shaped, and dropped in duty He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
To the law of its own beauty.
Oval cheeks encolored faintly, “Happy Christmas to all, and to alla good-night!"
Which a trail of golden hair
HANNAH F. GOULD.
CLEMENT C. MOORE.
You bells in the steeple, ring, ring out your Every tinkle on the shingles has an echo in the
And a thousand dreary fancies into busy being How many soever they be,
start; And let the brown meadow-lark's note asheranges
And a thousand recollections weave their bright Come over, come over to me.
hues into woof, Yet birds' clearest carol by fall or by swelling As I listen to the patter of the soft rain on the No magical sense conveys,
roof. And bells have forgotten their old art of telling The fortune of future days.
There in fancy comes my mother, as she used to
years agone, “ Turn again, turn again,"once they rang cheerily To survey the infant sleepers ere she left them While a boy listened alone :
till the dawn.