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By tint and outline, all its sea and land.
She patted all the world; old empires peep'd
Between her baby fingers; her soft hand
Was welcome at all frontiers. How she leap'd,
And laugh'd, and prattled in her world-wide bliss;
But when we turn'd her sweet unlearned eye
On our own isle, she raised a joyous cry,
'Oh! yes, I see it, Letty's home is there!'
And, while she hid all England with a kiss,
Bright over Europe fell her golden hair.
As there I left the road in May,
And took my way along a ground,
I found a glade with girls at play,
By leafy boughs close-hemm'd around,
And there, with stores of harmless joys,
They plied their tongues, in merry noise;
Though little did they seem to fear
So queer a stranger might be near;
Teeh-hee! Look here! Hah! ha! Look there!
And oh so playsome, oh! so fair.
And one would dance as one would spring,
Or bob or bow with leering smiles,
And one would swing, or sit and sing,
Or sew a stitch or two at whiles,
And one skipp'd on with downcast face,
All heedless, to my very place,
And there, in fright, with one foot out,
Made one dead step and turn'd about.
Heeh, hee, oh! oh! ooh! oo!-Look there!
And oh! so playsome, oh! so fair.
Away they scamper'd all, full speed,
By boughs that swung along their track,
As rabbits out of wood at feed,
At sight of men all scamper back.
And one pull'd on behind her heel,
A thread of cotton, off her reel,
And oh! to follow that white clue,
I felt I fain could scamper too.
Teeh, hee, run here. Eeh! ee! Look there!
And oh! so playsome, oh! so fair.
-They sleep in shelter'd rest,
Like helpless birds in the warm nest,
On the castle's southern side;
Where feebly comes the mournful roar
Of buffeting wind and surging tide
Through many a room and corridor.
-Full on their window the moon's ray
Makes their chamber as bright as day.
It shines upon the blank white walls,
And on the snowy pillow falls,
And on two angel-heads doth play
Turn'd to each other-the eyes closed,
The lashes on the cheeks reposed.
Round each sweet brow the cap close-set
Hardly lets peep the golden hair;
Through the soft-open'd lips the air
Scarcely moves the coverlet.
One little wandering arm is thrown
At random on the counterpane,
And often the fingers close in haste
As if their baby-owner chased
The butterflies again.
This stir they have, and this alone;
But else they are so still!
-Ah, tired madcaps! you lie still;
But were you at the window now,
To look forth on the fairy sight
Of your illumined haunts by night,
To see the park-glades where you play
Far lovelier than they are by day,
To see the sparkle on the eaves,
And upon every giant-bough
Of those old oaks, whose wet red leaves
Are jewell'd with bright drops of rain—
How would your voices run again!
And far beyond the sparkling trees
Of the castle-park one sees
The bare heaths spreading, clear as day,
Moor behind moor, far, far away,
Into the heart of Brittany.
And here and there, lock'd by the land,
Long inlets of smooth glittering sea,
And many a stretch of watery sand
All shining in the white moon-beams—
But you see fairer in your dreams!
THE DESERTED GARDEN
I mind me in the days departed,
How often underneath the sun,
With childish bounds I used to run
To a garden long deserted.
The beds and walks were vanish'd quite;
And wheresoe'er had struck the spade,
The greenest grasses Nature laid,
To sanctify her right.
I call'd the place my wilderness;
For no one enter'd there but I.
The sheep look'd in, the grass to espy,
And pass'd it ne'ertheless.
The trees were interwoven wild,
And spread their boughs enough about
To keep both sheep and shepherd out,
But not a happy child.
Adventurous joy it was for me!
I crept beneath the boughs, and found
A circle smooth of mossy ground
Beneath a poplar tree.
Old garden rose-trees hedged it in,
Bedropt with roses waxen-white,
Well satisfied with dew and light,
And careless to be seen.
Long years ago, it might befall,
When all the garden flowers were trim,
The grave old gardener prided him
On these the most of all,-
Some Lady, stately overmuch,
Here moving with a silken noise,
Has blush'd beside them at the voice
That liken'd her to such.
Or these, to make a diadem,
She often may have pluck'd and twined; Half-smiling as it came to mind,
That few would look at them.
Oh, little thought that Lady proud,
A child would watch her fair white rose,
When buried lay her whiter brows,
And silk was changed for shroud !—
Nor thought that gardener (full of scorns
For men unlearn'd and simple phrase,)
A child would bring it all its praise,
By creeping through the thorns!
To me upon my low moss seat,
Though never a dream the roses sent
Of science or love's compliment,
I ween they smelt as sweet.
It did not move my grief, to see
The trace of human step departed.
Because the garden was deserted,
The blither place for me!
Friends, blame me not! a narrow ken Hath childhood twixt the sun and sward: We draw the moral afterward
We feel the gladness then.
And gladdest hours for me did glide
In silence at the rose-tree wall:
A thrush made gladness musical
Upon the other side.
Nor he nor I did e'er incline
To peck or pluck the blossoms white-
How should I know but that they might
Lead lives as glad as mine?
To make my hermit-home complete,
I brought clear water from the spring
Praised in its own low murmuring,-
And cresses glossy wet.
And so, I thought my likeness grew
(Without the melancholy tale)
To 'gentle hermit of the dale,'
And Angelina too.
For oft I read within my nook
Such minstrel stories! till the breeze
Made sounds poetic in the trees,—
And then I shut the book.
If I shut this wherein I write,
I hear no more the wind athwart
Those trees, nor feel that childish heart
Delighting in delight.
My childhood from my life is parted,
My footstep from the moss which drew
Its fairy circle round: anew
The garden is deserted.
Another thrush may there rehearse
The adrigals which sweetest are;
No more for me !—myself afar
Do sing a sadder verse.