Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

A rich man has his wall-fruit,
And his delicious vines;
His fruit for every season,
His melons and his pines.

The poor man has his gooseberries,
His currants white and red,
His apple and his damson tree,
And a little strawberry-bed.

A happy man he thinks himself,
A man that's passing well,-
To have some fruit for the children,
And some besides to sell.

Around the rich man's trellised bower
Gay, costly creepers run;
The poor man has his scarlet beans
To screen him from the sun.

And there before the little bench,
O'ershadow'd by the bower,
Grow southernwood and lemon-thyme,
Sweetpea and gilliflower;

And pinks and clove-carnations,
Rich scented, side by side;
And at the end a hollyhock
With an edge of London-pride.

And here the old grandmother comes
When her day's work is done;
And here they bring the sickly babe
To cheer it in the sun.

And here on sabbath mornings,
The good man comes to get
His Sunday nosegay, moss-rose bud,
White pink, and mignonette.

And here on sabbath evenings,
Until the stars are out,
With a little one in either hand
He walketh all about.

For though his garden-plot is small,
Him doth it satisfy;

For there's no niche of all his ground
That does not fill his eye.

MISS MITFORD'S GARDEN.

It is not with the rich man thus;
For though his grounds are wide,
He looks beyond, and yet beyond,
With soul unsatisfied.

Yes! in the poor man's garden grow,
Far more than herbs and flowers,
Kind thoughts, contentment, peace of mind,
And joy for weary hours.

289

MARY HOWITT.

MISS MITFORD'S GARDEN.

"Fancy a small plot of ground, with a pretty low irregular cottage at one end; a large granary, divided from the dwelling by a little court running along one side; and a long thatched shed open towards the garden, and supported by wooden pillars, on the other. The bottom is bounded half by an old wall, and half by an old paling, over which we see a pretty distance of woody hills. The house, the granary, wall, and paling, are covered with vines, cherrytrees, roses, honeysuckles, and jessamines, with great clusters of tall hollyhocks running up between them, a large elder overhanging the little gate, and a magnificent bay-tree, such a tree as shall scarcely be matched in these parts, breaking with its beautiful conical form the horizontal lines of the buildings. This is my garden; and the long pillared shed, the sort of rustic arcade which runs along one side, parted from the flower-beds by a row of rich geraniums, is our out-of-doors drawing-room.

"I know nothing so pleasant as to sit there on a summer afternoon, with the western sun flickering through the great elder-tree, and lighting up our gay parterres, where flowers and flowering shrubs are set as thick as grass in a field, a wilderness of blossom, interwoven, intertwined, wreathy, garlandy, profuse beyond all profusion, where we may guess there is such a thing as mould, but never see it. I know nothing so pleasant as to sit in the shade of that dark bower, with the eye resting on that bright piece of colour,

lighted so gloriously by the evening sun, now catching a glimpse of the little birds as they fly rapidly in and out of their nests-for there are always two or three bird-nests in the thick tapestry of cherry-trees, honeysuckles, and Chinaroses, which cover our walls-now tracing the gay gambols of the common butterflies as they sport round the dahlias; and watching that rarer moth, which the country people, fertile in pretty names, call the bee-bird; that bird-like insect which flutters in the hottest days over the sweetest flowers, inserting its long proboscis into the small tube of the jessamine, and hovering over the scarlet blossoms of the geranium, whose bright colours seem reflected on its own feathery breast, that insect which seems so thoroughly a creature of the air, never at rest; always, even when feeding, selfpoised and self-supported, and whose wings, in their ceaseless motion, have a sound so deep, so full, so lulling, so musical. Nothing so pleasant as to sit amid that mixture of flower and leaf watching the bee-bird! Nothing so pretty to look at as my garden! It is quite a picture; only, unluckily, it resembles a picture in more qualities than one-it is fit for nothing but to be looked at. One might as well think of walking in a bit of framed canvass. There are walks, to be sure, tiny paths of smooth gravel, called such by courtesy-but they are so overhung by roses and lilies, and such gay encroachers, so overhung by convolvulus, and heart's-ease, and mignonette, and other sweet stragglers, that, except to edge through them occasionally, for the purposes of planting, or weeding, or watering, there might as well be no paths at all. Nobody thinks of walking in my garden. Even my dog, May, glides about with a delicate and trackless step, like a swan through the water; and we, its two-footed denizens, are fain to treat it as if it were really a saloon, and go out for a walk towards sunset, just as if we had not been sitting in the open air all day."

GARDEN PICTURES.

GARDEN PICTURES FROM TENNYSON.

Not wholly in the busy world, nor quite
Beyond it, blooms the garden that I love.
News from the humming city comes to it
In sound of funeral or of marriage bells;
And sitting muffled in dark leaves you hear
The windy clanging of the minster clock;
Although between it and the garden lies
A league of grass, washed by a slow broad stream
That, stirr'd with languid pulses of the oar,
Waves all its lazy lilies, and creeps on,
Barge-laden, to three arches of a bridge,
Crown'd with the minster-towers.

The fields between
Are dewy-fresh, browsed by deep-udder'd kine,
And all about the large lime feathers low,
The lime a summer-home of murmurous wings.

We reach'd a meadow slanting to the north,
Down which a well-worn pathway courted us
To one green wicket in a privet-hedge;
This yielding gave into a grassy walk
Through crowded lilac-ambush trimly pruned;
And one warm gush, full-fed with perfume, blew
Beyond us, as we enter'd in the cool.

The garden stretches southward. In the midst
A cedar spread his dark-green layers of shade.
The garden-glasses shone, and momently
The twinkling laurel scatter'd silver lights.

A garden bower'd close

With plaited alleys on the trailing rose,
Long alleys falling down to twilight grots,
Or opening upon some level plots
Of crowned lilies, standing near
Purple spiked lavender :

Whither in after-life retired

From brawling storms,
From weary wind,

With youthful fancy reinspired,
We may hold converse with all forms
Of festal flowers.

291

A CHILD'S GARDEN.

Underneath the chesnuts dripping
Through the grasses wet and fair,
Straight I sought my garden ground,
With the laurel on the mound,
And the pear-tree oversweeping
A side shadow of green air.

In the garden lay supinely

A huge giant, wrought of spade! Arms and legs were stretched at length, And the meadow turf, cut finely,

Round then laid and interlaid.

Call him Hector, son of Priam,

Such his title and degree.

With my rake I smoothed his brow;
Both his cheeks I weeded through;

But a rhymer such as I am,
Scarce can sing his dignity.

Eyes of gentranellas' azure,

Staring, winking, at the skies; Nose of gilly-flowers and box; Scented grasses, put for locks Which a little breeze, at pleasure, Set a-waving round his eyes.

Brazen helm of daffodillies,

With a glitter towards the light;
Purple violets, for the mouth,
Breathing perfumes west and south;
And a sword of flashing lilies,
Holden ready for the fight.

And a breast-plate made of daisies,
Closely fitting, leaf by leaf;
Periwinkles interlaced,

Drawn for belt about the waist; While the brown bees, humming praises, Shot their arrows round the chief.

And who knows (I sometimes wondered), If the disembodied soul

Of old Hector, once of Troy, Might not take a dreary joy Here to enter-if it thundered, Rolling up the thunder-roll?

« ForrigeFortsæt »