Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

7

À WINTER WREATH.

MRS. WILLIAM HEY.

Talk not of Winter as a dotard old,

Grey-hair'd and feeble, palsied every limb,

"A wither'd branch his sceptre;" —'tis a whim He well may laugh to scorn. A warrior bold Girded with strength is he! Asleep-awake,

He is all energy to ear and sight;
He bids the winds go forth, and forests quake,
Like flowers before gay summer's fresh’ning gale.

He doth unchain the floods, and in their might Adown the hills they rush, and through the vale, With deafʼning clamour, till they reach the main.

The main ! how awful in its maddened ire ! It looks as if 'twould never know again

The gentleness which summer airs inspire.
Yet, like most tyrants, Winter sometimes shows

A softness foreign to his wonted mood;
Then would you deem he borrow'd Fancy's wand,
Such wondrous shapes he fashions of the snows.

Anon he casts his hoar-frost on the wood,
And, when the sun breaks forth, each tree doth stand

A sparkling marvel, which, could Summer see,

The leafy goddess sure would envious be. But short-lived is his

grace.

This

very morn The winds were laid ; the skies, serene and clear, Wore April's tint; and, though the meads were shorn

Of flowers and verdure, yet the hedges glow'd
With scarlet fruitage of the rose and thorn.

The holly, too, its blushing berries show'd
With seeming pride; and ivy never sere,
That dreads no changes, deems no season drear,
Deck'd forest tree, grey rock, and ruin'd shed
Nay, even on the ground its drapery spread.
Of each we took; and from the yielding bough
The forked branch of spectral misletoe,

As was most meet, we added to our store;
Then gayful home our varied trophies bore.
To-night, how changed the scene! His iron mood
Stern Winter has resumed. How wild, how rude
Drives the fierce blast along! The sky how dark !
How fast the snow-flakes fall! And hark! oh, hark !
“ The floods lift up their voice!" But, whilst without
All is mad revelry and savage rout,
Within, let smiles of cheerfulness and mirth
Shed more than sunshine on the social hearth.
Let youth and age each lend appropriate grace
To the bright circle. May no vacant place
Remind us sadly that, since last we met,
Another star in friendship's sky is set !
Dark memories hence! Oh, not to-night
Our happy meeting dim or blight.
Upon the fire more faggots fling;
And fetch the trophies cull'd this morn,

Our presence-chamber to adorn.
And just to give a hint of Spring,
And add to strength a softening grace,
We'll mingle with the hardier race
Flowers of the yellow aconite,
For simple beauty “richly dight;"
And, better still, the Christmas rose,
Which, blent with prickly holly, shows
Like captive lady mid a band
Of warriors arm'd with spear and brand.
Our task is done: branch-berry-flower-
Each in its placema fitting bower.
It seems to shield from north wind keen
The fragile form of fairy queen.
Now let us from the vaulted roof
Suspend our garland, winter-proof:
But bashful maidens stand aloof-
The charter'd misletoe is there
Ye know the penalty. Beware!

*

But Time, who never stays his flight,
Whether man's lot be dark or bright,
Now to the warning dial lends
His voice; and through the hall it sends
The signal note. We own the token,
And farewell words are oft re-spoken:
“Good night! good night!" from fond lips fall.
How silent now the lonely hall !

(By permission of the Author.)

THE PILGRIMS AND THE PEAS.

DR. JOHN WOLCOTT (PETER PINDAR).

A BRACE of sinners, for no good,

Were ordered to the Virgin Mary's shrine, Who at Loretto dwelt, in wax, stone, wood,

And, in a fair white wig, looked wondrous fine. Fifty long miles had these sad rogues to travel, With something in their shoes much worse than gravel; In short, their toes, so gentle, to amuse, The priest had ordered peas into their shoes • A nostrum famous in old Popish times, For purifying souls when foul with crimes;

A sort of apostolic salt

That Popish priests did for its powers exalt,
For keeping souls of sinners sweet,
Just as our kitchen-salt keeps meat.
The knaves set off on the same day,
Peas in their shoes, to go and pray:
But
very

different was their speed, I wot.
One of the sinners galloped on,
Light as a bullet from a gun;

The other limped as if he had been shot. One saw the Virgin soon—"peccavi" cried

Had his soul whitewashed all so clever;

[graphic]

Things more true and deep

Than we mortals dream, Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream ?

We look before and after,

And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter

With some pain is fraught:
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest

thought.

Yet if we could scorn

Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born

Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever could come near.

Better than all measures

Of delight and sound,
Better than all treasures

That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground

Teach me half the gladness

That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness

From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening sot,

[graphic]
« ForrigeFortsæt »