Слике страница
PDF
ePub

In the English tongue it had no name,
But a gentle thing it was, and tame,
And at the maiden's call it came:

And thus it sung one twilight hour,
In a wild tone so sweet and low,
As made a luxury of woe.
“ The nest was made of the silver moss,

And was built in the nutmeg tree,
Far in an ancient forest shade,

That sprung when the very world was made,

In an Indian isle beyond the sea. “There were four of us in the little nest,

And under our mother's wings we lay; And the father, the nutmeg leaves among, To the rising moon he sat and sung

For he sung both night and day. " And oh, he sung so sweetly,

The very winds were hushed !
And the elephant hunters all drew near,
In joy that wondrous song to hear,

That like wild waters gushed.
" And the little creatures of the wood

To hear it had a great delight, All but the wild wolf-cat, that prowls

To seek his prey at night. “The wild wolf-cat of the mountains old,

He stole to that tree of ours All silently he stole at night,

Like the green snake 'mong the flowers. “ His eyes were like two dismal fires,

His back was dusky grey ;
And he seized our father while he sung,

Then bounded with him away!

“Ah me! and I felt our mother's heart,

As it beat in awful fear,
And she gave a cry that any beast

But the basilisk-snake had been woe to hear.
“ But he spared her not for her beautiful wings;

He spared her not for her cry; And the silence of death came down on the woods

That had rung with her agony. “ And there we lay, four lonely ones !

Thai live-long day, and pined, and pined; And dismally through the forest-trees

Went by the moaning wind. “We watched the dreary stars come out,

And the pitiless moon come up the sky, And many a dreadtul sound we heard —

The serpent's hiss and the jackal's cry, And then a hush of downy wings

The nutmeg tree went by.
“ And ever and ever that dreamy sound,

For a long, long hour we heard ;
And then the eyes so terrible,
And the hooked beak, we knew them well,

Of the cruel dragon-bird !
“We were his prey; and then there came

In the light of the morning sun,
The giant eagle from the rock ;
He swooped on the nest with a heavy shock,

And left but me, the lonely one!
“Oh sorrow comes to the feeble thing,

And I was feeble as could be! And next the arrowy lightning came,

And smote our nutmeg tree.
“ Down went the tree; down went the nest,

And I had soon been dead of cold,
But that a Bramin passing by,
Beheld me with his kindly eye:
He bore me thence, and for a space
He kept me in a holy place,

Within a little cage of gold.
“ The Bramin's daughter tended me,

A gentle maid and beautiful; And all day long to me she sung, And all around my cage she hung

The large white-lily fresh and cool. “ And so I lived, - in joy I lived ;

And wben my wings were strong,
She placed me in a banyan tree,
Of her sweet will to set me free,

For the Bramin doth no creature wrong. “But I could not leave that kind old man

I could not leave that maiden bright:
And so my little nest I built
Beneath their temple's roof, and dwelt
Among sweet flowers and all fair things
The Indian people's offerings;

And me she called her soul's delight,
In that land's speech a loving name;
And thenceforth it my name became.

• Wild was the cry the father gave,

Till the midnight forest rang ; And Oh!' said the kindly hunters then, • Some sa vage creature, from its den Hath pounced upon that gentle bird,

And seized it as it sang!' “All wearily passed that woful night

With our poor mother's wail; And we watched, from out our little nest, The great round moon go down to rest,

And the little stars grow pale.

“ And then I felt our mother's heart

Flutter, as in a wild surprise ;
And we saw from a leafy bough above,

The basilisk-snake, with its stony eyes. " It lay on the bough like a bamboo rod,

All freckled and barred with green and brown; And the terrible light of its freezing eyes

Through the nutmeg boughs came down. " And lithely towards the little nest

It slid, and nearer it drew,
And its poisonous breath, like a stifling cloud,

Mong the nutmeg leaves it threw.

“But bloody war was in the land;

The old man and the maid were slain; The precious things were borne away A ruined heap the temple lay,

And I among the spoil was ta'en. * They said I was an idol bird,

That I had been enshrined there, And that the people worshipped me,

And that my gentle maiden fair Was priestess to the sea-green bird ! "T was false !-yet thus they all averred, And in the city I was sold For a great price in counted gold. Thy merchant-faiher purchased me, And I was borne across the sea; Thou know'st the rest - I am not sad ; With thee, sweet maiden, all are glad!"

In Athens dwelt a long, long time,
And noted all of that fair clime,

Which we so long to know.
And then, as he grew old and wise,

He should go to Palestine,
And in the Holy City dwell,
Till, like his home, he knew it well,

With the Bible, line by line.
He should have stood on Lebanon,

Beneath the Cedar's shade;
And, with a meek and holy heart,
On the Mount of Olives sate apart,

And by the Jordan strayed.
And have travelled on where Babylon

Lay like a desert heap,
Where the pale hyacinth grows alone,
And where beneath the ruined stone

The bright, green lizards creep!
And if, the great world round about,

Through flowery Hindostan; To the Western World ; to the Southern Cape, Where dwell the zebra and the ape,

Had gone this pleasant man.

THE CHILDREN'S WISH.

What tales he would tell on winter nights!

of Indian hunters grim, As they sit in the pine-bark wigwam's bound, While the hungry wolf is barking round,

In the midnight forest dim.

Or how they meet by the council fire,

Wearing the hen-hawk's feather, To hear some famous Sagum's “talk," To see them bury the tomahawk,

And smoke the pipe together.

Or of the bloody Indian wars,

When 'neath each foresl-tree Was done some fell deed of affright, And the war-whoop rang at dead of night,

Through the wild woods dismally.

Ou for an old, grey traveller,

By our winter fire to be,
To tell 'is of each foreign shore,
Of sunny seas and mountains hoar,

Which we can never see!
To tell us of those regions stern,

Covered with frost and snow, Where, not the hardy fir can bear The bitter cold of that northern air,

'Mong the dwarfish Esquimaux! Or where, on the high and snowy ridge

Of the Dofrine mountains cold, The patient rein-deer draws the sledge, With rattling hoofs, along the ledge

of mountains wild and old! Or, if that ancient traveller

Had gone o'er the hills of Spain, Of other scenes he would proudly speak, Than icy seas and mountains bleak;

And a weary way of pain. He would tell of green and sunny vales,

Thick woods and waters clear, Of singing birds, and summer skies, And peasant girls with merry eyes,

And the dark-browed muleteer!
Or, think if he had been at Rome,

And in St. Peter's stood,
And seen each venerable place.
Built, when the old, hero

Of Rome was great and good!
And more, if he had voyaged o'er

The bright blue Grecian sea, 'Mong isles where the white-lily grows, And the gum-cistus and the rose,

The bay and olive tree !
And had felt on old Parnassus' top

The pleasant breezes blow;

He would tell of dim and savage coasts,

Of shipwrecks dark and dread;
Of coral reefs in sleeping seas;
Of bright isles of the Hesperides —

And more than we have read !
And oh, that such old man were here,

With his wise and travelled look,
With thought, like deep exhaustless springs;
And a memory full of wondrous things,

Like a glorious picture book!

race

THE ENGLISH MOTHER

An English matron sate at eve

Beneath the stately free That grew before her husband's hall, With her young son at her knee:

And “Not unworthy of my sires,

Shall be my manhood years !". Said he, in a proud, but artless tone,

And his mother kissed his brow, And said, “ I trust in God that none Of thy noble sires in the ages gone,

Had a nobler son than thou!"

THE DEPARTED.

All

green and ancient were the woods
That grew around their home,
And old and quaint armorial stones

Adorned their stately dome :
And 'mid dark trees, a little church

Its holy form displayed,
Within whose deep and quiet vaults

Their noble dead were laid.
The boy turned up his eager eyes

To his mother, as she told of the proud race from whom he sprung,

And their achievements old.
“My son, the legend of our house,

Is simply • Trust in God,'
And none unworthy of such trust,

Within its halls have trod.
The blood of thy heroic line

Has reddened many a field,
And trophies of the fights they won

Are blazoned on thy shield ;
The banners which they bore away,

All soiled and torn and red,
Are mouldering in yon holy pile,

Above the warrior dead;
And many an ancient coat of mail,

And plumed helm and sword,
All proved in some heroic cause,

Within thy home are stored.
Thou bear’st the noble name they bore,

Their blood is in thy veins,
And much thy worthy sires have done,

But more for thee remains.
They shrunk not in the dreadful hour

Of persecution's scathe,
And some 'mid bonds and some 'mid fire,

Maintained their righteous faith.
Thou must not shrink, thou must not fear,

Nor e'er belie their trust,
For God who brought the mighty low,

He raised them from the dust.
And in our dangerous hour of pride,

When honours gird us round,
Alas! the boasted strength of man

Js often weakest found ;
And they who put their trust in heaven,

'Mid darkness and dismay,
Too soon forget the God they sought,

When fear has passed away. The hour of chiefest danger now

Is nigh — so heaven thee guide :Prosperity will try thee, boy,

As ne'er thy sires were tried ! And oh, unworthy of thy sires,

Not here couldst thou find rest; Thou might'st not stand beneath these trees,

Were thine a guilty breast ;
These ancient walls, yon holy fane,

This green and stately tree,
Couldst thou disgrace thy noble namne,

Would speak reproach to thee !"

- From the woods and the summer fields he is gone,

With his merry laugh and his sunny brow! The garden looks dim and the house is lone,

Where, dearest mother, is he wandering now ?" “He is gone in a brighter home to dwell,

With beautiful creatures all love and joy, Where death comes not, and no sad farewell

With its parting tone can his bliss alloy.
He is gone to a happier home than ours,

Beneath the light of more radiant skies,
And his path is bright with more lovely flowers

Than in the sweet summer e'er met thine eyes. “Thou wilt meet him no more in the fields of earth

For the pleasant days of his life are o'er, And the joyful peals of his laughing mirth

Will ring from our evening hearth no more. Thou wilt see him no more as he used to be;

Thou wilt sleep by his side no more at night, Nor with thee again will he bend the knee,

And his evening-prayer with thine unite !" “ Mother, his cheeks are cold and pale,

His eyes are closed, yet he does not sleep, For he wakens not at my earnest call ;

Is it death, dear mother,--that rest so deep?" “My child, his sleep is the sleep of death;

Yet we may not deem it a darkened lot, And his spirit, more pure than the breezes' breath,

May be wandering near, though we know it not! And wish him not back, thou lonely child,

Though we miss his love, and his pleasant voice, Thou wilt soon to thy loss be reconciled,

And again in the summer-woods rejoice. “ He dwells where the fields can never fade,

Where night comes not, nor day is dim; Where the glory of God is the sun, and the shade

Is the shadowing wing of the cherubim. And oh! in yon bright and happy land,

Thou again mayst his sunny beauty see, And hear his voice, 'mid a joyful band,

From the shades of death as it welcomes thee!"

A POETICAL CHAPTER ON TAILS. ONE evening three boys did their father assail, With “ tell us a tale, papa, tell us a tale!" “ A tale ?" said their father, “ Oh yes! you shall see, That a tale of all tails it this evening shall be ;

Again the boy looked in her face,

His bright eyes dimmed with tears,

A tale having reference to all tails whatever, And the handsomest ladies I often have heard,
Of air or of ocean, of field or of river!

Give a monstrous price for the tail of this bird ; First the tail of a cat,---now this tail can express Then the sweet bird of Paradise—don't you rememAll passions, all humours, than language no less." ber "Oh, you ’re joking, papa," cried at once all the three, The beautiful creature we saw last November, * Yours are tails with an i, and not tales with an e.!" | With his banner-like tail, that gracefully spread, * Well, well," said their father, “I shall be surprised, And was seen like a glory encircling his head ? If my tails with an i in the end are despised; Of that of the peacock no word will I say, So, sirs, I 'll proceed: now this tail, as I said, The thing is so common, you see it each day. Expresses what moves her in heart or in head. And now your attention to change I could wish Is she pleased — you know it is quiet, no doubt; To a different tail-even that of a fish; Js she angry — you know how she wags it about; And no less than the tail of the bird is this made Would she coax you,—she rubs, and she purrs, and with wonderful knowledge the creature to aid. her tail,

"T is his helm, and with it no more could he keep, With her back at right angles, she lists like a rail; Than a ship without rudder his place in the deep, Then the tail of a dog,—you need hardly be told, And the wisest philosophers all have decided, What tales this same tail of a dog can unfold. That no filter instrument could be provided. In his joy how he wags il—from turnspit to hound; That the shark, my dear boys, has a tail, without doubt, In his trouble. poor rogue! how it droops to the ground. From some book or other you 've long since made out; Then the tails of the horse and the cow, need I say! And you know how it puts, without hesitation, What useful and excellent Ny-traps are they? The crew of a ship into great consternation, But away! and the hot sandy deseris exploring, When he flaps down his tail on the deck, and no Do you hear how the terrible lion is roaring!

wonder, And see in the thicket his fiery eye flashing, For, like a sledge-hammer, it falleih in thunder; And his furious tail on his tawny sides lashing! And lest that its force 'gainst the ship should prevail, Yes, he is the king of all beasts, and can send The first thing they do, is to chop off its tail ! Most marvellous power to his very tail's end. Besides there are others,—the monkey's tail; you The same with the tiger -- and so of each kind, Know well what a monkey with his tail can do. The tail is a capital index of mind.

And have we forgotten the beaver ? it yields Then the tail of the rattle-snake-should you not fear The poor, patient creature great help when he builds, Its dry, husky sound in the forest to hear?

"T is the wagon he draws his materials upon, Suppose you were sleeping, the tree-roots your bed, "T is the trowel to finish his work when 't is done. And this terrible monster had crept to your head, Of the fox, too, in Norway, you've heard, without fail, And his tail should awake you,—I 'm sure you 'd be How he angles for crabs with his great bushy tail. glad

And there is the pigtail that gentlemen wore, That a tail with a larum the rattle-snake had. With its various fashions, about half a score. A propos of the snake - you've heard, I dare say. And the great cat-o'-nine tails! that terrible beast, Of the wasp and the homes, and such things as they; Has made itself famous by its tails, at least. of a venomous weapon they carry about,

And the tail of a comet! that tail, in its strongth, And moreover, you all know, I make not a doubt, Extending some thousands of miles in its length, That 't is placed in the tail, which same venomous Is nothing to laugh at; a most awful thing, thing

That could sweep down the world with its terrible The wise of all nations have christened a sting; swing! Bat the tail of a bird for no mischief is sent, And now since we've conned over bird, beast, and fish, A most scientific, and good instrument,

What greater amusement, my boys, could you wish? Constructed, indeed, on an excellent plan,

But the next time, however, I think we must try Light, flexible too, and spread out like a fan; For some nobler subject than tails with an i: Tis ballast and rudder, which ill he could spare, And so, good night to each one, now this the last line And a buoy to keep up the small creature in air. Of the ostrich, the tail is an elegant thing,

And the book and the chapter shall here have their Which is not despised by the mightiest king,

FINIS.

is

2 A

201

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

I made my masts of wild sea rush,

That grew on a secret shore;
And the scarlet plume of the halcyon-bird,

Was the pleasant fag I bore.
I took for my sails the butterfly's wings,

For my ropes the spider's line;
And that mariner old, the Nautilus,

To steer me over the brine.
For he crossed the sea six thousand years,

And he knew each isle and bay ;
And I thought that we, in my little boat,

Could merrily steer away.
The stores I took were plentiful:

The dew as it sweetly fell ;
And the honey-combs that were hoarded up

In the wild bees' summer cell.
“ Now steer away, thou helmsman good,

Over the waters free;
To the charmed isle of the seven kings,

That lies in the midmost sea!"
He spread the sail, he took the helm;

And long ere ever I wist,
We had sailed a league, we reached the isle

That lay in the golden mist.
The charmed isle of the seven kings,

'Tis a place of wondrous spell ! But all that happ'd unto me there

In a printed book I'll tell.
Now," said I one day to the Nautilus,

As we stood on the strand,
“Unmoor my ship, thou helmsman good,

And steer me back to land.
" For my mother I know is sick at heart,

And longs my face to see ;
What ails thee now, thou Nautilus,

Art slow to sail with me?"
Up-do my will — the wind is fresh,

To set the vessel free !"

I snatch'd down the sails, I snapp'd the ropes,

I broke the masts in twain ; But on flew the bark, and against the rocks

Like a living thing did strain.

“Thou hast steer'd us wrong, thou helmsman vile !"

Said I to the Nautilus bold, “ We shall shoot down the gulf! we're dead men

both!
Dost know what a course we hold ?"

And I seized the helm with a sudden jerk,

And we wheel'd round like a bird : But I saw the gulf of eternity,

And the tideless waves I heard.

[ocr errors]

“Good master," said the Nautilus

"I thought you might desire, To have some wondrous things to tell,

Beside your mother's fire.
“What's sailing on a summer sea ?

As well sail on a pool !
Oh, but I know a thousand things
That are wild and beautiful!

« ПретходнаНастави »