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He cannot walk, he cannot speak,
Nothing he knows of books and men, He is the weakest of the weak,
And has not strength to hold a pen. He has no pocket and no purse,
Nor ever yet has owned a penny, But has more riches than his nurse,
Because he wants not any.
He rules his parents by a cry,
And holds them captive by a smile, A despot, strong through infancy,
A king, from lack of guile.
He lies upon his back and crows,
Or looks with grave eyes on his mother What can he mean? But I suppose
They understand each other. Indoors or out, early or late,
There is no limit to his sway; For wrapt in baby-robes of state
He governs night and day. Kisses he takes as rightful due,
And, Turk-like, has his slaves to dress him; His subjects bend before him too: I'm one of them, God bless him!
26. THE IVY GREEN.
O a dainty plant is the Ivy green,
That creepeth o'er ruins old !
In his cell so lone and cold.
To pleasure his dainty whim; And the mouldering dust that years have made Is a merry meal for him.
Creeping where no life is seen,
A rare old plant is the Ivy green.
And a staunch old heart has he;
To his friend the huge Oak Tree!
And his leaves he gently waves,
Creeping where grim Death has been,
Whole ages have fled, and their works decayed,
And nations have scattered been;
From its hale and hearty green.
Shall fatten on the past;
Creeping on where Time has been,
27. HOW SLEEP THE BRAVE.
How sleep the brave, who sink to rest
By fairy hands their knell is rung;
Come, spirit watchers at the golden gateway
That leads from Earth to realm of Fantasy, Guide our perplexed feet, and bring us straightway
Where freshest springs ard fairest pastures be.
Reveal to us the splendour and the wonder
Ye show to happy hearts that sojourn long; Teach us the mystery that lieth under
The opening hawthorn and the blackbird's song.
So shall we turn again with gladder faces
To this our dusty world of every day,
And greet each flower that blossoms on our way.
So may the spells ye taught us still be ours
In Life's chill Autumn; when the nights are long, And still our hearts find treasure of late flowers,
And hear, through rain and mist, the redbreast's song.
29. THE LOSS OF THE "BIRKENHEAD."
Right on our flank the crimson sun went down,
The deep sea rolled around in dark repose,
A cry of women rose.
The stout ship Birkenhead lay hard and fast,
Caught, without hope, upon a hidden rock: Her timbers thrilled as nerves, when through them passed
The spirit of that shock;
And ever, like base cowards who leave their ranks
In danger's hour, before the rush of steel, Drifted away, disorderly, the planks,
From underneath her keel.
Confusion spread; for, though the coast seemed near,
Sharks hovered thick along that white sea-brink. The boats could hold ?—not all-and it was clear
She was about to sink.
"Out with those boats, and let us haste away,”
Cried one, “ere yet yon sea the bark devours." The man thus clamouring was, I scarce need say,
No officer of ours.
We knew our duty better than to care
For such loose babblers, and made no reply; Till our good colonel gave the word, and there
Formed us in line-to die.
There rose no murmur from the ranks, no thought
By shameful strength unhonoured life to seek; Our post to quit we were not trained, nor taught
To trample down the weak.
So we made women with their children go.
The oars ply back again, and yet again;
Still under steadfast men.
What followed why recall? The brave who died,
Died without finching in the bloody surf. They sleep as well beneath that purple tide, As others under turf.
F. H. DOYLE.
30. LOCK THE DOOR, LARISTON.
"Lock the door, Lariston, lion of Liddesdale; Lock the door, Lariston, Lowther comes on;
The Amstrongs are flying,
The widows are crying, The Castletown's burning, and Oliver's gone! "Lock the door, Lariston, high on the weather-gleam See how the Saxon plumes bob on the sky
Yeoman and carbineer,
Billman and halberdier,