Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE FLY AND THE SPIDER.

FRESH was the breath of morn; the busy breeze,
As poets tell us, whispered through the trees,

And swept the dew-clad blooms with wings so light; Phoebus got up and made a blazing fire,

That gilded every country-house and spire,
And smiling, put on his best looks so bright.

On this fair morn, a spider who had set,
To catch a breakfast, his old waving net,
With curious art upon a spangled thorn,
At length, with gravely, squinting, longing eye,
Near him beheld a pretty plump young fly,
Humming her little orisons to morn.

"Good morrow, dear Miss Fly," quoth gallant Grim; "Good morrow, Sir," replied Miss Fly to him:

"Walk in, Miss, pray, and see what I'm about:" "I'm much obliged to you, Sir," Miss Fly rejoined, My eyes are both so very good, I find,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

That I can plainly see the whole without."

"Fine weather, Miss."-" Yes, very, very fine,"
Quoth Miss," Prodigious fine indeed :"
"But why so coy," quoth Grim, "that you decline
To put within
my bower your pretty head?”
""Tis simply this,

[ocr errors]

Quoth cautious Miss,

"I fear you like my pretty head so well,

"You'd keep it for yourself, Sir,-who can tell ?"

"Then, let me squeeze your lovely hand, my dear, "And prove that all your fears are foolish vain." "I've a sore finger, Sir; nay more, I fear

"You really would not let it go again." "Poh poh! child, pray dismiss your idle dread; "I would not hurt a hair of that sweet head."

66

Well, then, with one kind kiss of friendship meet me:" "La, Sir," quoth Miss, with seeming artless tongue, "I fear our salutation would be long;"

"So loving too, I fear that you would eat me."
So saying, with a smile she left the rogue,
To weave more lines of death, and plan for prog,

THE VILLAGE SCHOOLMASTER.

BESIDE yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,
The village master taught his little school;
A man severe he was, and stern to view,
I knew him well, and every truant knew ;
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laughed with counterfeited glee
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper, circling round,
Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned;
Yet he was kind, or, if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault;
The village all declared how much he knew;
'Twas certain he could write and cipher too;
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And e'en the story ran that he could gauge;
In arguing too the parson owned his skill,
For e'en though vanquished, he could argue still;
While words of learned length and thundering sound
Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around,
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.
But past is all his fame. The very spot
Where many a time he triumphed is forgot.

NIGHT.

NIGHT is the time for rest;

How sweet, when labours close, To gather round an aching breast The curtain of repose,

Stretch the tired limbs, and lay the head Down on our own delightful bed!

Night is the time for dreams;

The gay romance of life,

When truth that is, and truth that seems,

Mix in fantastic strife:

Ah! visions, less beguiling far

Than waking dreams by daylight are!

Night is the time for toil;

To plough the classic field,
Intent to find the buried spoil
Its wealthy furrows yield;
Till all is ours that sages taught,
That poets sang, and heroes wrought.

Night is the time to weep;

To wet with unseen tears

Those graves of memory, where sleep
The joys of other years;

Hopes, that were Angels at their birth,

But died when young like things of earth.

Night is the time to watch;

O'er ocean's dark expanse,

To hail the Pleiades, or catch

The full moon's earliest glance, That brings into the home-sick mind All we have loved and left behind.

Night is the time for care;
Brooding on hours misspent,
To see the spectre of Despair,
Come to our lonely tent;

Like Brutus, 'midst his slumbering host,
Summoned to die by Cæsar's ghost.

Night is the time to think;

When, from the eye, the soul
Takes flight, and, on the utmost brink
Of yonder starry pole,

Discerns beyond the abyss of night
The dawn of uncreated light.

Night is the time to pray;

Our Saviour oft withdrew
To desert mountains far away;
So will his follower do,

Steal from the throng to haunts untrod,
And commune there alone with God.

Night is the time for Death;

When all around is peace,
Calmly to yield the weary breath,

From sin and suffering cease,

Think of heaven's bliss, and give the sign
To parting friends;-such death be mine.

ON VISITING A SCENE OF CHILDHOOD.

"I came to the place of my birth, and said, 'The friends of my youth, where are they? and Echo answered, Where are they?'"

LONG years had elapsed since I gazed on the scene, Which my fancy still robed in its freshness of green,The spot where, a school-boy, all thoughtless, I strayed By the side of the stream, in the gloom of the shade.

H

I thought of the friends, who had roamed with me there, When the sky was so blue, and the flowers were so fair,All scattered!-all sundered by mountain and wave, And some in the silent embrace of the grave !

I thought of the green banks, that circled around, With wild-flowers, and sweet-briar, and eglantine crowned:

I thought of the river, all quiet and bright

As the face of the sky on a blue summer night:

And I thought of the trees, under which we had strayed,
Of the broad leafy boughs, with their coolness of shade;
And I hoped, though disfigured, some token to find
Of the names, and the carvings, impressed on the rind.

All eager, I hastened the scene to behold,
Rendered sacred and dear by the feelings of old;
And I deemed that, unaltered, my eye should explore
This refuge, this haunt, this Elysium of yore.

'Twas a dream!—not a token or trace could I view
Of the names that I loved, of the trees that I knew:
Like the shadows of night at the dawning of day,
"Like a tale that is told,"-they had vanished away.

And methought the lone river, that murmured along,
Was more dull in its motion, more sad in its song,
Since the birds, that had nestled and warbled above,
Had all fled from its banks, at the fall of the grove.

I paused and the moral came home to my heart :-
Behold, how of earth all the glories depart!
Our visions are baseless,―our hopes but a gleam,—
Our staff but a reed,—and our life but a dream.

Then, O, let us look-let our prospects allure-
To scenes that can fade not, to realms that endure,
To glories, to blessings, that triumph sublime

O'er the blightings of change, and the ruins of time.

« PreviousContinue »