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READING BOOK

N° V.

THE BROOK.

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I COME from haunts of coot and hern,

I make a sudden sally
And sparkle out among the fern,

To bicker down a valley.
By thirty hills I hurry down,

Or slip between the ridges, By twenty thorps, a little town,

And half a hundred bridges. Till last by Philip's farm I flow

To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.
I chatter over stony ways,

In little sharps and trebies,
I bubble into eddying bays,

I babble on the pebbles. With many a curve my banks I fret

By many a field and fallow, And many a fairy foreland set

With willow-weed and mallow. I chatter, chatter, as I flow

To join the brimming river, For men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever.

I wind about, and in and out,

With here a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,

And here and there a grayling,
And here and there a foamy flake

Upon me, as I travel
With many a silvery waterbreak

Above the golden gravel,
And draw them all along, and flow

To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,

But I go on for ever.
I steal by lawns and grassy plots,

I slide by hazel covers ;
I move the sweet forget-me-nots
That

grow for happy lovers.
I slip, I slide, I gloom, I glance,

Among my skimming swallows;
I make the netted sunbeam dance

Against my sandy shallows.
I murmur under moon and stars

In brambly wildernesses ;
I linger by my shingly bars;

I loiter round my cresses ;
And out again I curve and flow

To join the brimming river,
For men may coine and men may go,
But I go on for ever.

Tennyson.

THE SEA-GULL.*

The white sea-gull, the wild sea-gull,

A joyful bird is he,
As he lies like a cradled thing at rest

In the arms of a sunny sea ! * From Sketches of Natural History, published by A. W. Bennett,

The little waves rock to and fro,

And the white gull lies asleep,
As the fisher's bark, with breeze and tide,

Goes merrily over the deep.
The ship, with her fair sails set, goes by,

And her people stand to note
How the sea-gull sits on the rocking waves,

As still as an anchored boat.
The sea is fresh, and the sea is fair,

And the sky calm overhead,
And the sea-gull lies on the deep, deep sea,

Like a king in his royal bed !
The white sea-gull, the bold sea-gull,

A joyful bird is he,
Sitting, like a king, in calm repose,

On the breast of the heaving sea !
The waves leap up, the wild wind blows,

And the gulls together crowd,
And wheel about, and madly scream

To the sea that is roaring loud : And let the sea roar ever so loud,

And the wind pipe ever so high,
With a wilder joy the bold sea-gull

Sends forth a wilder cry.
For the sea-gull is a daring bird,

And he loves with the storm to sail ;
To ride in the strength of the billowy sea,

And to breast the driving gale !
The little boat she is tossed about

Like a sea-weed, to and fro;
The tall ship reels like a drunken man,

As the gusty tempests blow;
But the sea-gull laughs at the pride of man,

And sails, in a wild delight,
On the torn-up breast of the night-black sea,

Like a foam-cloud, calm and white. The waves may rage, and the winds may roar,

But he fears not wreck, nor need; For he rides the sea, in its stormy strength, As a strong mau rides his steed.

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The white sea-gull, the bold sea-gull,

He makes on the shore his nest,
And he tries what the inland fields may be;

But he loves the sea the best !
And away from land, a thousand leagues,
He

goes mid the surging foam; What matter to him is land shore,

For the sea is his truest home! And away

to the north mid ice-rocks stern, And amid the frozen snow, To a sea that is lone and desolate,

Will the wanton sea-gull go.
He cares not for the winter wild,

Nor those desert regions chill;
In the midst of the cold, as on calm blue seas,

The sea-gull hath his will !
And the dead whale lies on the northern shores,

And the seal, and the sea-horse grim ;
And the death of the great sea-creatures makes

A full, merry feast for him.
The wild sea-gull, the bold sea-gull,

As he screams in his wheeling flight,
As he sits on the waves in storm or calm,

All comes to him aright!
All comes to him as he likes it best,

Nor any his will gainsay !
And he rides on the waves like a bold young king
That was crowned but yesterday !

Mary Howitt.

THE REAPER AND THE FLOWERS.

THERE is a Reaper, whose name is Death,

And, with his sickle keen, He reaps

the bearded grain at a breath, And the flowers that grow between. * Shall I have nought that is fair ? ' saith he;

'Have nought but the bearded grain ? Though the breath of these flowers

sweet to me, I will give them all back again.'

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