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THE WATERFALL AND THE EGLANTINE.
“ BEGONE, thou fond presumptuous Elf,"
Exclaimed a thundering Voice,
“ Nor dare to thrust thy foolish self
Between me and
my choice !"
A small cascade fresh swoln with snows
Thus threatened a poor Briar-rose,
That, all bespattered with his foam,
And dancing high, and dancing low,
Was living, as a child might know,
In an unhappy home.
“ Dost thou presume my course to block ?
Off, off! or, puny Thing!
I'll hurl thee headlong with the rock
To which thy fibres cling."
The Flood was tyrannous and strong;
The patient Briar suffered long,
Nor did he utter groan or sigh,
Hoping the danger would be past :
But, seeing no relief, at last
He ventured to reply.
“ Ah !" said the Briar,
66 blame me not; Why should we dwell in strife? We who in this sequestered spot, Once lived a happy life ! You stirred me on my rocky bed What pleasure through my veins you spread ! The Summer long, from day to day, My leaves
freshened and bedewed ; Nor was it common gratitude That did your cares repay.
“ When Spring came on with bud and bell,
Among these rocks did I
Before you hang my wreaths, to tell
That gentle days were nigh!
And, in the sultry summer hours,
I sheltered you with leaves and flowers ;
And in my leaves — now shed and gone,
The Linnet lodged, and for us two
Chaunted his pretty songs, when You
Had little voice or none.
“ But now proud thoughts are in your breast
What grief is mine you see.
Ah! would you think, even yet how blest
Together we might be!
Though of both leaf and flower bereft,
Some ornaments to me are left
Rich store of scarlet hips is mine,
With which I, in my
way, Would deck you many a winter's day, A happy Eglantine !"
What more he said I cannot tell.
The Torrent thundered down the dell
With unabating haste;
I listened, nor aught else could hear ;
The Briar quaked – and much I fear
Those accents were his last.
His simple truths did Andrew glean
Beside the babbling rills;
A careful student he had been
Among the woods and hills.
One winter's night, when through the Trees
The wind was roaring, on his knees
His youngest born did Andrew'hold:
And while the rest, a ruddy quire,
Were seated round their blazing fire,
This Tale the Shepherd told.
“ I saw a crag, a lofty stone
As ever tempest beat!
Out of its head an Oak had grown,
A Broom out of its feet.
The time was March, a cheerful noon
The thaw-wind, with the breath of June,
Breathed gently from the warm South-west :
When, in a voice sedate with age,
This Oak, a giant and a sage,
His neighbour thus addressed :
Eight weary weeks, through rock and clay,
Along this mountain's edge,
The Frost hath wrought both night and day,
Wedge driving after wedge.
Look up! and think, above your head
What trouble, surely, will be bred;
Last night I heard a crash
The splinters took another road
I see them yonder - what a load
For such a Thing as you !
You are preparing, as before,
To deck your slender shape ;
And yet, just three
You had a strange escape.
Down from yon Cliff a fragment broke;
It thundered down, with fire and smoke,