Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

again!"

The stock-doves together begin to coo

I often have heard talk of you, but ne'er saw you When they hear the voice of the old cuckoo ;

before, “ Ho! ho!" say they," he did not find

And there you 're standing sentinel at the hornetThose far-away countries quite to his mind,

castle-door! So he's come again to see what he can do

Well, what a size you are ! just like a great waspWith sucking the small birds' eggs, coo-coo!"

king! The black-bird, and throstle, and loud missel-cock, What a solemn buzz you make, now you 're upon the They sing altogether, the Cuckoo to mock;

wing! “What want we with him ? let him stay over sea!" My word! I do not wonder that people fear your Sings the bold, piping reed-sparrow, * want him?

sting! not we!"

So! 80 !-Don't be so angry! Why do you come at me “Cuckoo !" the Cuckoo shouts still,

With a swoop and with a hum, -Is't a crime to look “I care not for you, let you rave as you will!"

at ye? "Cuckoo !" the Cuckoo doth cry,

See where the testy fellow goes whiz into the hole, And the little boys mock him as they go by. And brings out from the hollow tree his fellows in a “ Hark! hark!" sings the chiff-chaff, “ hark! hark!"

shoal. says the lark,

Hark! what an awful, hollow boom! How fierce And the white-throats and buntings all twitter

they come! I'd rather “hark! hark !"

Just quietly step back, and stand from them a little The wren and the hedge-sparrow hear it anon,

farther. And " hark! hark !" in a moment shouts e: ery one.

There, now, the hornet-host is retreating to its den, “ Hark! hark ! — that 's the Cuckoo there, shouting And so, good Mr. Sentinel — lo! here I am again! amain!

Well! how the little angry wretch doth stamp and

raise his head, Bless our lives! why that egg-sucker's come back

And flirt his wings, and seem to say, "Come here “ Cuckoo !" the Cuckoo shouts still,

I'll sting you dead!" " I shall taste of your eggs, let you rave as you

No, thank you, fierce Sir Hornet, - that's not at all will!"

inviting ; “Cuckoo !" the Cuckoo doth cry,

But wbat a pair of shears the rascal has for biting! And the little boys mock him as they go by.

What a pair of monstrous shears to carry at his head!

If wasp or fly come in their gripe, that moment they The wate ns hear it, the rail and the smew,

are dead! And they say, — "Why on land there's a pretty There ! bite in two the whip-lash, as we poke it at

to-do! Sure the Cuckoo's come back, what else can be the See, how he bites ! but it is tough, and again he matter?

hurries in. The pyes and the jays are all making a clatter!"

Ho! ho! we soon shall have the whole of his rin. “ Hark! hark!" says the woodcock, “I hear him dictive race, myself,

With a hurry and a scurry, all flying in our face. Shouting up in the elm-tree, the comical elf!"

To potter in a Hornet's nest, is a proverb old and “ Hark! hark!" cries the widgeon, “and I hear him

good, too,

So it's just as well to take the hint, and retreat into Shouting loudly as ever, that self-same Cuckoo !"

the wood. • Well, well,” says the wild duck,“ what is it to us; Oh! here behind this bazel-bush we safely may look I've no spite 'gainst the Cuckoo; why make such a

out, fuss?

And see what all the colony of hornets is about. Let him shout as he lisieth --- he comes over sea -

Why what a furious troop it is, how fierce they seemn And his French may be French, 't is no matter to me;

to be, I have no spite against him, my soul 's not so narrow, As they fly now in the sunshine, now in shadow of I leave all such whims to the tomtit and sparrow!"

the tree ! “Cuckoo !" the Cuckoo shouts still,

And yet they're noble insects! their bodies red and “ You may all hold your peace, I shall do as I will!"

yellow, “Cuckoo !" the Cuckoo doth cry,

And large almost as little birds, how richly toned and And the little boys mock him as they go by.

mellow. And these old woods, so full of trees, all hollow and

decayed, THE HORNET.

Must be a perfect paradise, for the hornet legions

made. So, there at last I've found you, my famous old sel. Secure from village lads, and from gardener's watch

low! Ay, and mighty grand besides, in your suit of red They muy build their paper-nests, and issue for supand yellow!

plies

your chin!

ful eyes,

To orchards or to gardens, for plum, and peach, and pear,

THE USE OF FLOWERS. With wasp, fly, ant, and earwig, they 'll have a giant's share.

God might have bade the earth bring forth And you, stout Mr. Sentinel, there standing at the

Enough for great and small, door,

The oak-tree and the cedar-tree, Though Homer said in his time, “ the hornet's soul

Without a flower at all. all o'er," You 're not so very spiritual, but soon some sunny

We might have had enough, enough

For every want of ours, morning I may find you in a green-gage, and give you a little

For luxury, medicine and toil,

And yet have had no flowers. warning, Or feeding in a Windsor pear; or at the juicy stalk The ore within the mountain mine Of my Negro-boy, grand dahlia, — too heavy much Requireth none to grow; to walk;

Nor doth it need the lotus-flower Ay, very much too heavy,—that juicy stem deceives,

To make the river flow. "Makes faint with too much sweet such heavy. winged thieves.”

The clouds might give abundant rain; Too heavy much to walk,—then, pray, how can you

The nightly dews might fall, fly?

And the herb that keepeth life in man No, there you 'll drop npon the ground, and there

Might yet have drunk them all. you 're doomed to die !

Then wherefore, wherefore were they made,

All dyed with rainbow-light, The Hornet is an insect that every one has heard All fashioned with supremest grace of, because the fearful effects of its sting and its

Upspringing day and night :fierceness are proverbial ; but it is by no means common in many parts of the country. In the mid

Springing in valleys green and low, land counties hornets are often talked of, but rarely

And on the mountains high, seen. We have lived in several of the midland

And in the silent wilderness counties, and seen a good deal of them, but never

Where no man passes by ? saw a hornet there. Since coming to reside in Sur

Our outward life requires them notrey, we have found plenty of them. They come

Then wherefore had they birth ?buzzing into the house, and are almost as common To minister delight to man, in the garden as wasps themselves, devouring the

To beautify the earth; fruits above-mentioned, and also as voracious of the green, tender bark of the dahlia, as ants are of the To comfort man - to whisper hope, juice of the yucca. They peel the young branches

Whene'er his faith is dim, with their nippers or shears, as a rabbit peels a

For who so careth for the flowers young tree; and wasps, and the great blue-bottle and

Will much more care for him! other flies follow in their train, and suck its juice greedily. In common, too, with the wasps, which by their side appear very diminutive insects, they gorge thernselves so with the pulp of fruit as to drop

THE CARRION.CROW. heavily on the earth on being suddenly disturbed, and are then easily destroyed. They frequently On a splintered bough sits the Carrion-crow, make their nests in the thatch of cottages and out. And first he croaks loud and then he croaks low; buildings, where it is difficult to destroy them, as in Twenties of years ago that bough such situations, neither fire, sulphur, nor gunpowder Was leafless and barkless as it is now. can be used, and producing large swarms there, they are dangerous and devouring neighbours. It is on the top of an ancient oak

On Bookhain Common, a pleasant wide tract, over- i That the Carrion-crow has perched to croak; grown with trees, principally oaks, and resembling a In the gloom of a forest the old oak grows,forest with its fern and green turfy glades, much When it was young there 's nobody knows. more than a common, we found two nests within a "Tis but half alive, and up in the air few yards of each other, in wo hollow trees, where you may see its branches splintered and bare ; the sentinel, and indeed the whole swarms, behaved You may see them plain in the cloudy night, themselves as above represented. Whether three of these insects are sufficient to kill a horse, as the old

They are so skeleton-like and white. country saying avers, is doubtful; but, from their The old oak trunk is gnarled and grey, size, the irritability of their nature, and the appear. But the wood has rotted all away, ance of their stings, they are very formidable crea- Nothing remains but a cave-like shell, tures indeed.

Where bats, and spiders, and millipedes dwell;

And the tawny owl and the noisy daw,
In many a hollow and many a flaw;
By night or by day, were you there about,
You might see them creep in, or see them creep out.
And there, on the top of that ancient oak,
The Carrion-crow he sits to croak;-
The words of his croaking I fain would know;
What does he say — that Carrion-crow?
He says, and he's merry as he can be, -
« To-night there's a famous feast for me ;
For me and my mate so beautiful,
Where the hound lies dead by the forest-pool.
“His master he knows not where he lies,
So we shall go down to peck out his eyes ;
His master he mourneth, early and late ;-
But 'tis joy to me and my beautiful mate!

“ And the miller last week he killed his mare, She lies in a hollow, I know where, There's an ancient cross of crumbling stone Down in that hollow dank and lone! “ The mare was blind, and lame, and thin, And she had not a bone but it pierced her skin; For twenty years did she come and go, We'll be with her anon !" croaked the Carrion-crow. " And there bleats a lamb by the thundering linn, The mother ewe she has tumbled in; Three days ago and the lamb was strong, Now he is weak with fasting long. “All day long he moans and calls, And over his mother the water falls; He can see his mother down below, But why she comes not he does not know. “ His little heart doth pine away, And fainter and fainter he bleats to-day ; So loud o'er the linn the waters brawl, That the shepherd he hears him not at all! “ Twice I've been down to look at him, But he glanced on me his eyeballs dim; And among the stones so cold and bare, I saw the raven watching there. " He'll have the first peck at his black eye, And taste of his heart before it die :Aha! though the hungry raven is there, As soon as he's ready we 'll have our share!" These are the words of the Carrion-crow, As he first croaks loud and then croaks low, And the spiders and millipedes hear him croak, As he sits up aloft on the ancient oak.

While the trees are leafless;

While the fields are bare, Buttercups and Daisies

Spring up here and there. Ere the snow-drop peepeth ;

Ere the crocus bold; Ere the early primrose

Opes its paly gold, Somewhere on a sunny bank

Buttercups are bright; Somewhere 'mong the frozen grass

Peeps the Daisy white. Little hardy flowers

Like to children poor, Playing in their sturdy health

By their mother's door; Purple with the north-wind,

Yet alert and bold, Fearing not and caring not,

Though they be a-cold! What to them is weather!

What are stormy showers ! Buttercups and Daisies

Are these human flowers! He who gave them hardship

And a life of care, Gave them likewise hardy strength

And patient hearts, to bear. Welcome yellow buttercups,

Welcome daisies white, Ye are in my spirit

Visioned, a delight! Coming ere the spring-time

Of sunny hours to tell Speaking to our hearts of Him

Who doeth all things well.

THE TITMOUSE, OR BLUE.CAP. The merry Titmouse is a comical fellow; He weareth a plumage of purple and yellow, Barred over with black, and with white interlaced ;Depend on 't, the Titmouse has excellent laste. And he, like his betters of noble old blood, Keeps up, with great spirit, a family feud; A feud with the owl ;—and why? would you know ;An old, by-gone quarrel of ages ago :Perhaps in the ark might be taken offence, But I know not, indeed, of the where and the

whence; Only this is quite true,—let them meet as they may, Having quarrelled long since, they would quarrel to

day. But we 'll leave them to settle this ancient affair, And now look at his nest, made with exquisite care, Of lichen, and moss, and the soft downy feather, And the web of the spider to keep it together.

BUTTERCUPS AND DAISIES.

BUTTERCUPS and Daisies

Oh the pretty flowers, Coming ere the spring time

To tell of sunny hours.

I love it when it streameth in

The humble cottage door,
And casts the chequered casement shade

Upon the red-brick floor.
I love it where the children lie

Deep in the clovery grass,
To watch among the twining roots

The gold-green beetles pass.
I love it on the breezy sea,

To glance on sail and oar, While the great waves, like molten glass,

Come leaping to the shore.

Is a brick out of place by your window ?-don't send For the man with the trowel the fracture to mend, Through the dry months of summer, just leave it

alone, For the poor little Titmouse has made it his own. Peep in now, and look at that wonderful labour ; And be glad to have near you so merry a neighbour; His work unto him is no trouble - behold For one moment his motions, so tricksy and bold. How he twists, how he turns with a harlequin grace! He can't lift a feather without a grimace; He carries the moss in his bill with an air ; And he laughs at the spider he robs of his lair. See his round, burly head, that is like a Friar Tuck, And his glancing black eye that is worthy of Puck; Saw you ever a merrier creature than he ? Oh, no!-make him welcome, as welcome can be! His nest now is finished with fine cobweb thread, And the eggs are laid in it, white speckled with red; Now knock at the wall, or rap loud on the pane, Hark! what is that rapping so briskly again! 'Tis the blithe mother-bird, all alive and alert, As her mate, every whit, is she comic and pert; Rap you once, -she raps twice ;- she has nothing

to do, But to keep her eggs warm, and be neighbourly too! Oh, what! did you say that the Titmouse was steal

ing, That he ate your pear-buds while he shammed to be

reeling; And nipped off the apricot-bloom in his fun? And that shortly you 'll end his career with a gun! Oh! hold back your hand,—'were a deed to repent ; of your blame the poor fellow is quite innocent,Stand back for one moment --anon he'll be here, He believes you his friend, and he thinks not of fear. Here he comes ! —see how drolly he looketh askew ;And now hangs head downward; now glances on

you! Be not rash, though he light on your apricot-bough, Though he touches a bud,-there, he touches it now! There, he's got what he wanted, and off he has

flown! Now look at the apricot bud, - is it gone? Not the apricot bud,but the grub that was in it! You may thank him, — he does you a service each

minute. Then love the poor Titmouse, and welcome him too, Great beauty is there in his yellow and blue; He's a fine cheerful fellow - so let him be free of your garden--to build in your wall or your tree!

I love it on the mountain-tops,

Where lies the thawless snow,
And half a kingdom, bathed in light,

Lies stretching out below.
And when it shines in forest-glades,

Hidden, and green, and cool, Through mossy boughs and veinèd leaves,

How is it beautful!
How beautiful on little stream,

When sun and shade at play,
Make silvery meshes, while the brook

Goes singing on its way.
How beautiful, where dragon-flies

Arę wondrous to behold,
With rainbow wings of gauzy pearl,

And bodies blue and gold !

How beautiful, on harvest slopes,

To see the sunshine lie; Or on the paler reaped fields,

Where yellow shocks stand high! Oh, yes! I love the sunshine!

Like kindness or like mirth, Upon a human countenance,

Is sunshine on the earth!

Upon the earth; upon the sea ;

And through the crystal air, Or piled-up cloud ; the gracious sun

Is glorious everywhere!

THE ELEPHANT.

ELEPHANT, thou sure must be
Of the Titan progeny ;
One of that old race that sleep.
In the fossil mountains deep!
Elephant, thou must be one!-
Kindred to the Mastodon, -
One that didst in friendship mix
With the huge Megalonix;
With the Mammoth hadst command
O'er the old-world forest-land.
Thou, those giant ferns didst see,
Taller than the tallest tree;

SUNSHINE. I LOVE the sunshine everywhere,

In wood and field and glen; I love it in the busy haunts

of town-imprisoned men.

And with up-turned trunk didst browse, On the reed-palm's lowest boughs ; And didst see, npcurled from light, The ever-sleeping ammonite ; And those dragon-worms at play In the waters old and grey! Tell me, creature, in what place, Thou, the Noah of thy race, Was! preserved when death was sent Like a raging element, Like a whirlwind passing by,In the twinkling of an eye, Leaving mother earth forlorn Of her mighty eldest-born ;Turning all her life to stone With one universal groan! In what cavern drear and dark, Elephant, hast thou thine ark? Dost thou in thy memory hold Record of that tale untold ? If ihou do, I pray thee tell, It were worth the knowing well. Elephant, so old and vast, Thou a kindly nature hast ; Grave thou art, and strangely wise, With observant, serious eyes, Somewhat in thy brain must be Of an old sagacity. Thou art solemn, wise and good ; Thou livest not on streaming blood; Thou, and all thine ancient frere, Were of natures unsevere ; Preying not on one another ; Nourished by the general mother Who gave forests thick and tall, Food and shelter for you all. Elephant, if thou hadst been Like the tiger fierce and keen, Like the lion of the brake, Or the deadly rattle-snake, Ravenous as thou art strong, Terror would to thee belong; And before thy mates and thee, All the earth would desert be! But instead, thou yield'st thy will, Tractable, and peaceful still ; Full of good intent, and mild As a humble little child; Serving with obedience true, Aiding, loving, mourning too; For each noble sentiment In thy good, great heart is blent!

What an isle of beauty

The noble bird hath formed, The greenest trees and stateliest

Grow all the isle around.
Low bend the branches

In the water bright,
Up comes the swan sailing,

Plumy all and white.
Like a ship at anchor,

Now he lies at rest,
And little waves seem daintily

To play about his breast.
Wild bird of beauty,

Strong, and glad, and free! Dwelling on these waters -

How pleasant it must be! Like a gleam of sunshine

In shadow passing on,Like a wreath of snow,

thou art, Wild and graceful swan! Thick grow the flowers

'Neath the chestnut shade ; Green grow the bulrushes

Where thy nest is made : Lovely ye, and loving, ton,

The mother bird and thee, Watching o'er your cygnet brood,

Beneath the river tree. Kings made laws a-many,

Laws both stern and strong, In the days of olden time,

You to keep from wrong ; And o'er their palace-waters

Ye went, a gallant show, And Surrey and his Geraldine,

Beheld ye sailing slow. Tell me, Swan, I pray thee,

Art of that high race, Or a sylvan creature

From some far, lone place ? Saw ye in woody Athelney,

True Alfred's care and pain, Or, riding out among his men,

Good King Canute the Dane? No, from 'mid the icebergs,

Through long ages piled,
Sometime ye were driven

By the winter wild;
From where the ermine hunters,

On their far journeys go;
From where the reindeer sledges speed

Over the wastes of snow ; From northern wildernesses,

Wild, and lone, and drear, Ice-lakes, cold and gleaming,

Ye have hastened here. The pleasant streams of England

Your homeward flight bave stayed, And here among the bulrushes Your English nest is made.

THE WILD SWAN.

Fair flows the river,

Smoothly gliding on ; Green grow the bulrushes

Around the stately swan.

« ForrigeFortsæt »