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The redbreast, sacred to the household gods,
Wisely regardful of th’ embroiling sky,
In joyless fields and thorny thickets leaves
His shivering mates, and pays to trusted man
His annual visit. Half afraid, he first
Against the window beats ; then, brisk, alights
On the warm hearth ; then, hopping o'er the floor
Eyes all the smiling family askance,
And pecks, and starts, and wonders where he is :
Till, more familiar grown, the table crumbs
Attract his slender feet. The foodless wilds
Pour forth their brown inhabitants. The hare,
Though timorous of heart, and hard beset
By death in various forms, dark snares and dogs,
And more unpitying men, the garden seeks,
Urg'd on by fearless want. The bleating kind
Eye the bleak heaven, and next the glistening earth,
With looks of dumb despair ; then, sad dispers’d,
Dig for the withered herb through heaps of snow.

JAMES THOMSON, 1700-1745.



Summer joys are o'er ;

Flow'rets bloom no more
Wintry winds are sweeping,
Through the snow-drifts peeping,

Cheerful evergreen
Rarely now is seen.

Now no plumed throng

Charms the wood with song ;
Ice-bound trees are glittering ;
Merry snow-birds, twittering,

Fondly strive to cheer
Scenes so cold and drear.

Winter, still I see

Many charms in thee;
Love thy chilly greeting,
Snow-storms fiercely beating,

And the dear delights

Of the lung, long nights. Translation of T. Brooks.


Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind

As man's ingratitude ;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly;
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly ;

Then, heigh ho! the holly ;
This life is most jolly!

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
Thou dost not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot ;
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp

As friend remembered not.
Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly ;
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly ;

Then, heigh ho! the holly!
This life is most jolly!



Is there under heaven 4 more glorious and refreshing object of the kind than an impassable hedge of about four hundred feet in length, nine feet high, and five feet in diameter, which I can show in my gardens at Say's Court, at any time of the year, glittering with its armed and varnished leaves, the taller standards at orderly distances blushing with their natural coral-shorn and fashioned into columns and pilasters, architecturally shaped, at due distance ?

EVELYN'S " Siloa."




Holly and Ivy made a great party,
Who should have the mastery

In lands where they go.

Then spake Holly, “ I am fierce and jolly,
I will have the mastery

In lands where we go!"
Then spake Ivy, “ I am loud and proud,
And I will have the mastery

In lands where we go!"
Then spake Holly, and bent down on his knee,
“I pray thee, gentle Ivy, essay me no villainy,

In lands where we go!"


Nay, Ivy, nay, it shall not be, I wis,

Let Holly have the mastery, as the manner is.
Holly standeth in the hall fair to behold;
Ivy stands without the door, she is full sore a cold.

Nay, Ivy, nay, etc., etc.
Holly and his merry men, they dance now and they sing;
Ivy and her maidens they weep and their hands wring.

Nay, Ivy, nay, etc., etc.
Ivy hath a lyke,* she caught it with the cold,
So may they all have that do with Ivy hold.

Nay, Ivy, nay, etc., etc.
Holly he hath berries as red as any rose,
The foresters, the hunters, keep them for the does.

Nay, Ivy, nay, etc., etc.
Ivy she hath berries as black as any sloe,
There come the owls and eat them as they goe.

Nay, Ivy, nay, etc., etc.
Holly he hath birds, a full, fair flock,
The nightingale, the popinjay, the gentle laverock.

Nay, Ivy, nay, etc., etc.
Good Ivy say to us what bird hath thou ;
None but the owlet that cries How! How !

Dating in the 14th century.


A blue-eyed child that sits amid the noon,

O’erhung with a laburnum’s drooping sprays,
Singing her little songs, while softly, 'round

Along the grass the checkered sunshine plays.
All beauty that is throned in womanhood,
Pacing a summer-garden's fountain-walks,

* Unexplained in any glossary.

[blocks in formation]

That stoops to smooth a glossy spaniel down,

To hide her flushing cheek from one who talks.

A happy mother with her fair-faced girls,

In whose sweet Spring again her youth she sees,
With shout and dance, and laugh and bound and song,

Stripping an Autumn orchard's laden trees.

An aged woman in a wintry room-

Frost on the pane, without the whirling snow-
Reading old letters of her far-off youth,
Of sorrows past and joys of long ago.



When icicles hang by the wall,

And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,

And milk comes frozen home in pail ;
When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,

Tu-whit, to-whoo, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,

And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,

And Marian's nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,

Tu-whit, to-whoo, a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.



Sing on, sweet thrush, upon the leafless bough;

Sing on, sweet bird, I listen to thy strain;

See aged Winter, ’nnid his surly reign,
At thy blithe carol cheers his furrowed brow.

So in lone Poverty's dominion drear

Sits meek Content with light, unanxious heart,

Welcomes the rapid movements, bids them part, Vor asks if they bring aught to hope or fear.

I thank thee, Author of this opening day!

Thou whose bright sun now gilds the Orient skies !

Riches denied, thy boon was purer joys, What wealth could never give nor take away!

Yet come, thou child of poverty and care;
The mite high Heaven bestow'd, that mite with thee I'll share.

ROBERT BURNS, 1750-1796.


Sheath'd is the river as it glideth by,
Frost-pearl'd are all the boughs in forests old,
The sheep are huddling close upon the wold,
And over them the stars tremble on high.
Pure joys, these winter nights, around me lie;
'Tis fine to loiter through the lighted streets
At Christmas time, and guess from brow and pace
The doom and history of each one we meet;
What kind of heart beats in each dusky case;
Whiles startled by the beauty of a face
In a shop-light a moment; or, instead,
To dream of silent fields, where calm and deep
The sunshine lieth like a golden sleep-
Recalling sweetest looks of summers dead.




Gentle Spring, in sunshine clad,

Well dost thou thy power display!
For Winter maketh the light heart sad,

And thou-thou makest the sad heart gay.
He sees thee, and calls to his gloomy train,
The sleet, and the snow, and the wind, and the rain;
And they shrink away, and they flee in fear,
When thy merry step draws near!

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