« PreviousContinue »
TO THE CUCK00.-RETIREMENT.
Sleepless, and soon the small birds' melodies
Must hear, first uttered from my orchard trees ; And the first cuckoo's melancholy cry.
Even thus last night, and two nights more, I lay, And could not win thee, Sleep, by any stealth ;
So do not let me wear to-night away : Without thee, what is all the morning's wealth ?
Come, blessed barrier betwixt day and day, Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health!
Sonnet, to the Cuckoo.
When sunshine follows shower, the breast can thrill
Like the first summons, Cuckoo, of thy bill,
Measuring the periods of his lonely doom,
That cry can reach ; and to the sick man's room
May perish ; time may come when never more
The wilderness shall hear the lion roar ;
To rouse the dawn, soft gales shall speed thy wing,
The stars are mansions built by Nature's hand;
The sun is peopled; and with spirits blest,
Say can the gentle moon be unpossest? Huge Ocean shews, within his yellow strand, A habitation marvellously planned
For life to occupy in love and rest.
All that we see is dome, or vault, or nest,
Gave it while cares were weighing on my heart,
'Mid song of birds and insects murmuring;
And while the youthful year's prolific art-
And when I crossed the wild,
The solitary child.
She dwelt on a wide moor,
Beside a human door!
The hare upon the green;
Will never more be seen.
You to the town must go ;
Your mother through the snow.”
“ That, father, will I gladly do ;
'Tis scarcely afternoon, The minster-clock has just struck two,
And yonder is the moon.”
At this the father raised his hook,
And snapped a fagot-band ;
The lantern in her hand.
Not blither is the mountain roe :
With many a wanton stroke,
That rises up like smoke.
The storm came on before its time :
and down; And many a hill did Lucy climb,
But never reached the town.
The wretched parents all that night
Went shouting far and wide ;
To serve them for a guide.
At daybreak on a hill they stood
That overlooked the moor,
A furlong from their door.
They wept, and turning homeward, cried,
“ In heaven we all shall meet;" When in the snow the mother spied
The print of Lucy's feet.
Half breathless, from the steep hill's edge
They tracked the footmarks small ;
And by the long stone-wall;
And then an open field they crossed :
The marks were still the same; They tracked them on, nor ever lost ;
And to the bridge they came. They followed from the
bank Those footmarks, one by one, Into the middle of the plank,
And further there were none !
Yet some maintain that to this day
She is a living child,
Upon the lonesome wild.
And never looks behind, And sings a solitary song.
That whistles in the wind.
The Longest Day. Let us quit the leafy arbour,
And the torrent murmuring by ; Sol has dropp’d into his harbour,
Weary of the open sky. Evening now unbinds the fetters
Fashioned by the glowing light; All that breathe are thankful debtors
To the harbinger of night. Yet by some grave thoughts attended,
Eve renews her calm career ;
Is the longest of the year.
On this platform, light and free; Take thy bliss, while longest, shortest,
Are indifferent to thee.
THE LONGEST DAY.
Who would check the happy feeling
That inspires the linnet's song? Who would stop the swallow wheeling
On her pinions swift and strong? Yet at this impressive season,
Words which tenderness can speak
Might exalt the loveliest cheek ;
Steal the landscape from the sight,
Last forerunner of “Good night!" Summer ebbs ; each day that follows
Is a reflux from. on high, Tending to the darksome bollows
Where the frosts of winter lie. He who governs the creation,
In His providence assign'd
To the life of human kind.
Fresh flowers blow, as flowers have blown ; And the heart is loath to deaden
Hopes that she so long hath known. Be thou wiser, youthful maiden ;
And when thy decline shall come,
Hide the knowledge of thy doom.
Fix thine eyes upon the sea,
Look towards eternity.
On whose breast are thither borne All deceived and each deceiver,
Through the gates of night and morn;