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Who loved the little Rock, and set
Upon its head this coronet ?

Was it the humor of a child ?
Or rather of some gentle maid,
Whose brows, the day that she was styled
The shepherd-queen, were thus arrayed ?
Of man mature, or matron sage,
Or old man toying with his age ?

I asked, - 't was whispered: The device
To each and all might well belong;
It is the Spirit of Paradise
That prompts such work, a Spirit strong,
That gives to all the selfsame bent
Where life is wise and innocent.

1803.

XV.

THE REDBREAST CHASING THE BUTTERFLY.

ART thou the bird whom Man loves best,
The pious bird with the scarlet breast,

Our little English Robin ;
The bird that comes about our doors
When Autumn winds are sobbing ?
Art thou the Peter of Norway Boors ?

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Their Thomas in Finland,

And Russia far inland ?
The bird, that by some name or other
All men who know thee call their brother,
The darling of children and men?
Could Father Adam* open his

eyes And see this sight beneath the skies, He'd wish to close them again.

If the Butterfly knew but his friend,
Hither his flight he would bend ;
And find his way to me,
Under the branches of the tree :
In and out, he darts about;
Can this be the bird, to man so good,
That, after their bewildering,
Covered with leaves the little children,

So painfully in the wood ?

What ailed thee, Robin, that thou couldst pursue

A beautiful creature,
That is gentle by nature ?
Beneath the summer sky
From flower to flower let him fly;
'Tis all that he wishes to do.
The cheerer thou of our in-door sadness,

* See Paradise Lost, Book XI., where Adam points out to Eve the ominous sign of the Eagle chasing “two Birds of gayest plume,” and the gentle Hart and Hind pursued by their enemy.

He is the friend of our summer gladness :
What hinders, then, that ye should be
Playmates in the sunny weather,
And fly about in the air together ?
His beautiful wings in crimson are drest,
A crimson as bright as thine own:
Wouldst thou be happy in thy nest,
O pious Bird! whom man loves best,
Love him, or leave him alone!

1806.

XVI.

SONG FOR THE SPINNING-WHEEL.

FOUNDED UPON A BELIEF PREVALENT AMONG THE PAS

TORAL VALES OF WESTMORELAND.

SWIFTLY turn the murmuring wheel !
Night has brought the welcome hour,
When the weary fingers feel
Help, as if from faery power;
Dewy night o'ershades the ground;
Turn the swift wheel round and round !

Now, beneath the starry sky,
Couch the widely scattered sheep ;-
Ply the pleasant labor, ply!
For the spindle, while they sleep,

Runs with speed more smooth and fine,
Gathering up a trustier line.

Short-lived likings may be bred
By a glance from fickle eyes ;
But true love is like the thread
Which the kindly wool supplies,
When the flocks are all at rest
Sleeping on the mountain's breast.

1812.

XVII.

HINT FROM THE MOUNTAINS

FOR CERTAIN POLITICAL PRETENDERS.

“ Who but hails the sight with pleasure
When the wings of genius rise,
Their ability to measure

With great enterprise !
But in man was ne'er such daring
As yon Hawk exhibits, pairing
His brave spirit with the war in

The stormy skies !

he uses,

“ Mark him, how his power
Lays it by, at will resumes !
Mark, ere for his haunt he chooses

Clouds and utter glooms !

There, he wheels in downward mazes ; Sunward now his flight he raises, Catches fire, as seems, and blazes

With uninjured plumes!”

ANSWER.

“Stranger, 't is no act of courage Which aloft thou dost discern; No bold bird gone forth to forage

'Mid the tempest stern ; But such mockery as the nations See, when public perturbations Lift men from their native stations Like yon

TUFT OF FERN;

“ Such it is; the aspiring creature
Soaring on undaunted wing,
(So you fancied,) is by nature

A dull, helpless thing,
Dry and withered, light and yellow; -
That to be the tempest's fellow !
Wait, you shall see how hollow
Its endeavoring !”

and

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