The Joy Of Childhood

Down the dimpled green-sward dancing
Bursts a flaxen-headed bevy,
Bud-lipt boys and girls advancing
Love's irregular little levy.

Rows of liquid eyes in laughter,
How they glimmer, how they quiver!
Sparkling one another after,
Like bright ripples on a river.

Tipsy band of rubious faces,
Flushed with joy's etheral spirit,
Make your mocks and sly grimaces
At Love's self, and do not fear it!

by George Darley.

Discord In Childhood

Outside the house an ash-tree hung its terrible whips,
And at night when the wind arose, the lash of the tree
Shrieked and slashed the wind, as a ship’s
Weird rigging in a storm shrieks hideously.

Within the house two voices arose in anger, a slender lash
Whistling delirious rage, and the dreadful sound
Of a thick lash booming and bruising, until it drowned
The other voice in a silence of blood, ’neath the noise of the ash.

by David Herbert Lawrence.

Since, Lord, to thee
A narrow way and little gate
Is all the passage, on my infancy
Thou didst lay hold, and antedate
My faith in me.

O let me still
Write thee great God, and me a child:
Let me be soft and supple to thy will,
Small to my self, to others mild,
Behither ill.

Although by stealth
My flesh get on, yet let her sister
My soul bid nothing, but preserve her wealth:
The growth of flesh is but a blister;
Childhood is health.

by George Herbert.

HOW I could see through and through you!
So unconscious, tender, kind,
More than ever was known to you
Of the pure ways of your mind.

We who long to rest from strife
Labour sternly as a duty;
But a magic in your life
Charms, unknowing of its beauty.

We are pools whose depths are told;
You are like a mystic fountain,
Issuing ever pure and cold
From the hollows of the mountain.

We are men by anguish taught
To distinguish false from true;
Higher wisdom we have not;
But a joy within guides you.

by George William Russell.

The Age Of Infancy

The earth and sky were unknown worlds to me
Only the expanse of mother's bosom was a world to me

Every movement was a symbol of life's pleasure to me
My own speech was like a meaningless word to me

During infancy's pain if somebody made me cry
The noise of the door chain would comfort me

Oh! How I stared at the moon for long hours
Staring at its silent journey among broken clouds

I would ask repeatedly about its mountains and plains
And how surprised would I be at that prudent lie

My eye was devoted to seeing, my lip was prone to speak
My heart was no less than inquisitiveness personified

by Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

The earth and sky were unknown worlds to me
Only the expanse of mother's bosom was a world to me

Every movement was a symbol of life's pleasure to me
My own speech was like a meaningless word to me

During infancy's pain if somebody made me cry
The noise of the door chain would comfort me

Oh! How I stared at the moon for long hours
Staring at its silent journey among broken clouds

I would ask repeatedly about its mountains and plains
And how surprised would I be at that prudent lie

My eye was devoted to seeing, my lip was prone to speak
My heart was no less than inquisitiveness personified

by Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

Childhood - Iii

TO---


So when, mere child, I crossed the Atlantic tide,
Ah! ne'er to see our Carib isle again—
There, as it chanced, the watchful seaman spied
A bark come drifting o'er the azure plain;
Which, as it neared us, we beheld it void
Of living thing—alone on that wide main;
Hinting a tale of wretches that had died
By rock, or whelming surge, or hunger-slain
On the waste wave. So on that bark did go
Unquestioned; bearing o'er the waters blue
Its own mysterious story—none might know;
But left me, as it faded on the view,
With spirit stirred, and eye unconsciously
That strained upon that solitary sea.

by John Kenyon.

Thou poet-painter, preacher of great truth,
Far more suggestive thine than written tome
Lo, we return with thee to that vast dome,
Dim cavern of the past. Visions uncouth,
Vague, rayless, all impalpable in sooth,
Send back the startled soul. The waters come
All tranquilly from that dim cavern forth,
The mystic tide of human life. A child,
Borne on its bosom, sports with blossoms wild.
A Presence, felt, but still unseen, the boat
With gentle hand guides onward, and beguiled
With music lost in other years, they float
Upon the stream. The hours unfelt, for life
Is joy in its first voyage, with light and blossoms rife.

by Elizabeth Oakes Smith.

Childhood Alone Is Glad

Childhood alone is glad. With it time flees
In constant mimes and bright festivities.
It, like the ever-restless butterfly,
Or seeks or settles on some flower of joy.
Youth chases pleasure, but oft starteth pain;
And love, youth's birthright, oft is love in vain;
While manhood follows wealth, or woos ambition,
That are but courted cares; and, with transition
Insensible, he enters upon age;
Thence gilding like a spectre from life's stage,
E'en through the door of dotage. So he passes
To second childhood; but, as quickening gases,
Being fled, leave zestless a once cheering draught,
We grow not merry though the dotard laughed.

by Charles Heavysege.

TO---


I judge not hardly childhood's giddy glee;
For I remember when my mother died,
Half-wondering at that age what death might be,
How few the tears I shed. And when they hied
To shape her garden-grave (use,—sanctified
Among the dwellers of our tropic isle)
Where tamarind and orange, side by side,
Wove brightest bower, I too was there the while;
If moist-eyed 'mid the sad, yet curious more
Than sorrowful. But when the blasted rock,
Impracticable else, shook off a store
Of fruit, down raining at the nitrous shock,
On rushed I, with a childish joy, to seize
My spoil, the fruit of those grave-shadowing trees.

by John Kenyon.

TO---


Yet brood deep feelings in the youngling breast,
Though undeveloped, natural as speech;
And my own tropic isle this truth impressed,
That Nature teaches more than man may teach.
'Twas on an orange-tree, just within reach
Of childish hands, a bird had built her nest,
A mother-bird; and ne'er more impious breach
Than mine upon that blissful home of rest,
On sleeping town did night-sped warrior make;
And memory yet recals the mournful song
Which the reft parent, for her nestlings' sake,
Poured, round her ruined dwelling hovering long;
While every touch, that did her grief impart,
Dropt, like a precept, on my conscious heart.

by John Kenyon.

Childhood Memory

The sun shines alone in the afternoon,

And quietly the tone of the honey-bees wavers off.

In the garden the sisters' voices whisper -

There the boy listens in the wooden shed,

Still fevering over book and picture.

Weary the linden-trees wilt immersed in the blue.

A heron hangs motionless drowned in the ether,

By the fence fantastic shadow-shapes play.

The sisters go quietly into the house,

And soon their white clothes glimmer

Vaguely from bright rooms,

And confused the bushes' bluster dies down.

The boy strokes the cat's hair,

Bewitched by the mirror of her eyes.

An organ-sound far away on the hill

Lifts wonderfully into heaven.

by Georg Trakl.

It would be good to give much thought, before
you try to find words for something so lost,
for those long childhood afternoons you knew
that vanished so completely -and why?

We're still reminded-: sometimes by a rain,
but we can no longer say what it means;
life was never again so filled with meeting,
with reunion and with passing on

as back then, when nothing happened to us
except what happens to things and creatures:
we lived their world as something human,
and became filled to the brim with figures.

And became as lonely as a sheperd
and as overburdened by vast distances,
and summoned and stirred as from far away,
and slowly, like a long new thread,
introduced into that picture-sequence
where now having to go on bewilders us.

by Rainer Maria Rilke.

Sweet sister, if you knew, like me,
The charms of guileless infancy,
No more you'd envy riper years,
Or smiles, more bitter than your tears.

But childhood passes in an hour,
As perfume from a faded flower;
The joyous voice of early glee
Flies, like the Halcyon, o'er the sea.

Enjoy your morn of early Spring;
Soon time maturer thoughts must bring;
Those hours, like flowers that interclimb,
Should not be withered ere their time.

Too soon you'll weep, as we do now,
O'er faithless friend, or broken vow,
And hopeless sorrows, which our pride
In pleasure's whirl would vainly hide.

Laugh on! unconscious of thy doom,
All innocence and opening bloom;
Laugh on! while yet thine azure eye
Mirrors the peace that reigns on high.

by Victor Marie Hugo.

On The Infancy Of Our Savior

Hail! blessed Virgin, full of heavenly grace,
Blest above all that sprang from human race,
Whose heaven-saluted womb brought forth in one
A blessed Savior and a blessed Son.
O what a ravishment 't had been to see
Thy little Savior perking on thy knee!
To see Him nuzzle in thy virgin breast,
His milk-white body all unclad, undressed;
To see thy busy fingers clothe and wrap
His spraddling limbs in thy indulgent lap;
To see His desperate eyes with childish grace
Smiling upon His smiling mother's face;
And when His forward strength began to bloom
To see Him diddle up and down the room.
O who would think so sweet a Babe as this
Should ere be slain by a false-hearted kiss?
Had I a rag, if sure Thy body wore it,
Pardon, sweet Babe, I think I should adore it;
Till then, O grant this boon, a boon far dearer:
The weed not being, I may adore the Wearer.

by Francis Quarles.

Some sings of the lily, and daisy, and rose,
And the pansies and pinks that the Summertime
throws
In the green grassy lap of the medder that lays
Blinkin' up at the skyes through the sunshiney days;
But what is the lily and all of the rest
Of the flowers, to a man with a hart in his brest
That was dipped brimmin' full of the honey and dew
Of the sweet clover-blossoms his babyhood knew?
I never set eyes on a clover-field now,
Er fool round a stable, er climb in the mow,
But my childhood comes back jest as clear and as plane
As the smell of the clover I'm sniffin' again;
And I wunder away in a bare-footed dream,
Whare I tangle my toes in the blossoms that gleam
With the dew of the dawn of the morning of love
Ere it wept ore the graves that I'm weepin' above.

And so I love clover--it seems like a part
Of the sacerdest sorrows and joys of my hart;
And wharever it blossoms, oh, thare let me bow
And thank the good God as I'm thankin' Him now;
And I pray to Him still fer the stren'th when I die,
To go out in the clover and tell it good-bye,
And lovin'ly nestle my face in its bloom
While my soul slips away on a breth of purfume

by James Whitcomb Riley.

L'Enfance (Childhood)

L'enfant chantait; la mère au lit, exténuée,
Agonisait, beau front dans l'ombre se penchant ;
La mort au-dessus d'elle errait dans la nuée ;
Et j'écoutais ce râle, et j'entendais ce chant.

L'enfant avait cinq ans, et près de la fenêtre
Ses rires et ses jeux faisaient un charmant bruit ;
Et la mère, à côté de ce pauvre doux être
Qui chantait tout le jour, toussait toute la nuit.

La mère alla dormir sous les dalles du cloître ;
Et le petit enfant se remit à chanter...
La douleur est un fruit ; Dieu ne le fait pas croître
Sur la branche trop faible encor pour le porter.

Childhood

The Child was singing, and the Mother lay
Stretched on the bed which pain and anguish throng,
Death's cloud fast closing on her parting day:
I heard her laboring breath, I heard the song.

The Child its gambols by the lattice plied;
Its sport, its laughter, sounded glad and bright;
And the poor Mother by her darling's side,
Who sang all day, coughed through the painful night.

The Mother sleeps the cloister's stones below;
The Child sings, heedless of its orphan state:
Grief is a fruit that God forbids to grow
On boughs too feeble to support its weight.

by Victor Marie Hugo.

Heigh-ho! Babyhood! Tell me where you linger:
Let's toddle home again, for we have gone astray;
Take this eager hand of mine and lead me by the finger
Back to the Lotus lands of the far-away.

Turn back the leaves of life; don't read the story,--
Let's find the _pictures_, and fancy all the rest:--
We can fill the written pages with a brighter glory
Than Old Time, the story-teller, at his very best!

Turn to the brook, where the honeysuckle, tipping
O'er its vase of perfume spills it on the breeze,
And the bee and humming-bird in ecstacy are sipping
From the fairy flagons of the blooming locust trees.

Turn to the lane, where we used to 'teeter-totter,'
Printing little foot-palms in the mellow mold,
Laughing at the lazy cattle wading in the water
Where the ripples dimple round the buttercups of gold:

Where the dusky turtle lies basking on the gravel
Of the sunny sandbar in the middle-tide,
And the ghostly dragonfly pauses in his travel
To rest like a blossom where the water-lily died.

Heigh-ho! Babyhood! Tell me where you linger:
Let's toddle home again, for we have gone astray;
Take this eager hand of mine and lead me by the finger
Back to the Lotus lands of the far-away.

by James Whitcomb Riley.

A baby shines as bright
If winter or if May be
On eyes that keep in sight
A baby.

Though dark the skies or grey be,
It fills our eyes with light,
If midnight or midday be.

Love hails it, day and night,
The sweetest thing that may be
Yet cannot praise aright
A baby.

II.

All heaven, in every baby born,
All absolute of earthly leaven,
Reveals itself, though man may scorn
All heaven.

Yet man might feel all sin forgiven,
All grief appeased, all pain outworn,
By this one revelation given.

Soul, now forget thy burdens borne:
Heart, be thy joys now seven times seven:
Love shows in light more bright than morn
All heaven.

III.

What likeness may define, and stray not
From truth's exactest way,
A baby's beauty? Love can say not
What likeness may.

The Mayflower loveliest held in May
Of all that shine and stay not
Laughs not in rosier disarray.

Sleek satin, swansdown, buds that play not
As yet with winds that play,
Would fain be matched with this, and may not:
What likeness may?

IV.

Rose, round whose bed
Dawn's cloudlets close,
Earth's brightest-bred
Rose!

No song, love knows,
May praise the head
Your curtain shows.

Ere sleep has fled,
The whole child glows
One sweet live red
Rose.

by Algernon Charles Swinburne.

Childhood, sweet and sunny childhood,
With its careless, thoughtless air,
Like the verdant, tangled wildwood,
Wants the training hand of care.

See it springing all around us --
Glad to know, and quick to learn;
Asking questions that confound us;
Teaching lessons in its turn.

Who loves not its joyous revel,
Leaping lightly on the lawn,
Up the knoll, along the level,
Free and graceful as a fawn?

Let it revel; it is nature
Giving to the little dears
Strength of limb, and healthful features,
For the toil of coming years.

He who checks a child with terror,
Stops its play, and stills its song,
Not alone commits an error,
But a great and moral wrong.

Give it play, and never fear it --
Active life is no defect;
Never, never break its spirit --
Curb it only to direct.

Would you dam the flowing river,
Thinking it would cease to flow?
Onward it must go forever --
Better teach it where to go.

Childhood is a fountain welling,
Trace its channel in the sand,
And its currents, spreading, swelling,
Will revive the withered land.

Childhood is the vernal season;
Trim and train the tender shoot;
Love is to the coming reason,
As the blossom to the fruit.

Tender twigs are bent and folded --
Art to nature beauty lends;
Childhood easily is moulded;
Manhood breaks, but seldom bends.

by David Bates.

Childhood. (From The Danish)

There was a time when I was very small,
When my whole frame was but an ell in height;
Sweetly, as I recall it, tears do fall,
And therefore I recall it with delight.

I sported in my tender mother's arms,
And rode a-horseback on best father's knee;
Alike were sorrows, passions and alarms,
And gold, and Greek, and love, unknown to me,

Then seemed to me this world far less in size,
Likewise it seemed to me less wicked far;
Like points in heaven, I saw the stars arise,
And longed for wings that I might catch a star.

I saw the moon behind the island fade,
And thought, 'Oh, were I on that island there,
I could find out of what the moon is made,
Find out how large it is, how round, how fair!'

Wondering, I saw God's sun, through western skies,
Sink in the ocean's golden lap at night,
And yet upon the morrow early rise,
And paint the eastern heaven with crimson light;

And thought of God, the gracious Heavenly Father,
Who made me, and that lovely sun on high,
And all those pearls of heaven thick-strung together,
Dropped, clustering, from his hand o'er all the sky.

With childish reverence, my young lips did say
The prayer my pious mother taught to me:
'O gentle God! oh, let me strive alway
Still to be wise, and good, and follow Thee!'

So prayed I for my father and my mother,
And for my sister, and for all the town;
The king I knew not, and the beggar-brother,
Who, bent with age, went, sighing, up and down.

They perished, the blithe days of boyhood perished,
And all the gladness, all the peace I knew!
Now have I but their memory, fondly cherished;--
God! may I never lose that too!

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

I cannot reach it; and my striving eye
Dazzles at it, as at eternity.
Were now that chronicle alive,
Those white designs which children drive,
And the thoughts of each harmless hour,
With their content, too, in my power,
Quickly would I make my path even,
And by mere playing go to heaven.

Why should men love
A wolf more than a lamb or dove?
Or choose hell-fire and brimstone streams
Before bright stars and God's own beams?
Who kisseth thorns will hurt his face,
But flowers do both refresh and grace,
And sweetly living - fie on men! -
Are, when dead, medicinal then;
If seeing much should make staid eyes,
And long experience should make wise,
Since all that age doth teach is ill,
Why should I not love childhood still?
Why, if I see a rock or shelf,
Shall I from thence cast down myself?
Or by complying with the world,
From the same precipice be hurled?
Those observations are but foul
Which make me wise to lose my soul.

And yet the practice worldlings call
Business, and weighty action all,
Checking the poor child for his play,
But gravely cast themselves away.

Dear, harmless age! the short, swift span
Where weeping Virtue parts with man;
Where love without lust dwells, and bends
What way we please without self-ends.

An age of mysteries! which he
Must live twice that would God's face see;
Which angels guard, and with it play,
Angels! which foul men drive away.

How do I study now, and scan
Thee more than e'er I studied man,
And only see through a long night
Thy edges and thy bordering light!
Oh for thy center and midday!
For sure that is the narrow way!

by Henry Vaughan.

There was a time when I was very small,
When my whole frame was but an ell in height;
Sweetly, as I recall it, tears do fall,
And therefore I recall it with delight.

I sported in my tender mother's arms,
And rode a-horseback on best father's knee;
Alike were sorrows, passions and alarms,
And gold, and Greek, and love, unknown to me,

Then seemed to me this world far less in size,
Likewise it seemed to me less wicked far;
Like points in heaven, I saw the stars arise,
And longed for wings that I might catch a star.

I saw the moon behind the island fade,
And thought, 'Oh, were I on that island there,
I could find out of what the moon is made,
Find out how large it is, how round, how fair!'

Wondering, I saw God's sun, through western skies,
Sink in the ocean's golden lap at night,
And yet upon the morrow early rise,
And paint the eastern heaven with crimson light;

And thought of God, the gracious Heavenly Father,
Who made me, and that lovely sun on high,
And all those pearls of heaven thick-strung together,
Dropped, clustering, from his hand o'er all the sky.

With childish reverence, my young lips did say
The prayer my pious mother taught to me:
'O gentle God! oh, let me strive alway
Still to be wise, and good, and follow Thee!'

So prayed I for my father and my mother,
And for my sister, and for all the town;
The king I knew not, and the beggar-brother,
Who, bent with age, went, sighing, up and down.

They perished, the blithe days of boyhood perished,
And all the gladness, all the peace I knew!
Now have I but their memory, fondly cherished;--
God! may I never lose that too!

by Jens Baggesen.

1
That childish thoughts such joys inspire,
Doth make my wonder, and His glory higher,
His bounty, and my wealth .more great
It chews His Kingdom, and His work complete.
In which there is not anything,
Not meet to be the joy of Cherubim.

2
He in our childhood with us walks,
And with our thoughts mysteriously He talks;
He often visiteth our minds,
But cold acceptance in us ever finds:
We send Him often grieved away,
Who else would show us all His Kingdom's joy.

3
O Lord, I wonder at Thy Love,
Which did my infancy so early move:
But more at that which did forbear
And move so long, though slighted many a year:
But most of all, at last that Thou
Thyself shouldst me convert, I scarce know how.

4
Thy gracious motions oft in vain
Assaulted me: my heart did hard remain
Longtime! I sent my God away
Grieved much, that He could not give me His joy.
I careless was, nor did regard
The End for which He all those thoughts prepared.

5
But now, with new and open eyes,
I see beneath, as if above the skies,
And as I backward look again
See all His thoughts and mine most clear arid plain.
He did approach, He me did woo;
I wonder that my God this thing would do,

6
From nothing taken first ,I was;
What wondrous things His glory brought to pass!
Now in the World I Him behold,
And me, enveloped in precious gold;
In deep abysses of delights,
In present hidden glorious benefits.

7
These thoughts His goodness long before
Prepared as precious and celestial store
With curious art in me inlaid,
That childhood might itself alone be said
My Tutor, Teacher, Guide to be,
Instructed then even by the Deitie.

by Thomas Traherne.

Brightly the sun of summer shone,
Green fields and waving woods upon,
And soft winds wandered by;
Above, a sky of purest blue,
Around, bright flowers of loveliest hue,
Allured the gazer's eye.
But what were all these charms to me,
When one sweet breath of memory
Came gently wafting by?
I closed my eyes against the day,
And called my willing soul away,
From earth, and air, and sky;

That I might simply fancy there
One little flower -- a primrose fair,
Just opening into sight;
As in the days of infancy,
An opening primrose seemed to me
A source of strange delight.

Sweet Memory! ever smile on me;
Nature's chief beauties spring from thee,
Oh, still thy tribute bring!
Still make the golden crocus shine
Among the flowers the most divine,
The glory of the spring.

Still in the wall-flower's fragrance dwell;
And hover round the slight blue bell,
My childhood's darling flower.
Smile on the little daisy still,
The buttercup's bright goblet fill
With all thy former power.

For ever hang thy dreamy spell
Round mountain star and heather bell,
And do not pass away
From sparkling frost, or wreathed snow,
And whisper when the wild winds blow,
Or rippling waters play.

Is childhood, then, so all divine?
Or Memory, is the glory thine,
That haloes thus the past?
Not all divine; its pangs of grief,
(Although, perchance, their stay be brief,)
Are bitter while they last.

Nor is the glory all thine own,
For on our earliest joys alone
That holy light is cast.
With such a ray, no spell of thine
Can make our later pleasures shine,
Though long ago they passed.

Acton

by Anne Brontë.

That Childish Thoughts Such Joys Inspire

1

That childish thoughts such joys inspire,
Doth make my wonder, and His glory higher,
His bounty, and my wealth .more great
It chews His Kingdom, and His work complete.
In which there is not anything,
Not meet to be the joy of Cherubim.


2

He in our childhood with us walks,
And with our thoughts mysteriously He talks;
He often visiteth our minds,
But cold acceptance in us ever finds:
We send Him often grieved away,
Who else would show us all His Kingdom's joy.


3

O Lord, I wonder at Thy Love,
Which did my infancy so early move:
But more at that which did forbear
And move so long, though slighted many a year:
But most of all, at last that Thou
Thyself shouldst me convert, I scarce know how.


4

Thy gracious motions oft in vain
Assaulted me: my heart did hard remain
Longtime! I sent my God away
Grieved much, that He could not give me His joy.
I careless was, nor did regard
The End for which He all those thoughts prepared.


5

But now, with new and open eyes,
I see beneath, as if above the skies,
And as I backward look again
See all His thoughts and mine most clear arid plain.
He did approach, He me did woo;
I wonder that my God this thing would do,


6

From nothing taken first ,I was;
What wondrous things His glory brought to pass!
Now in the World I Him behold,
And me, enveloped in precious gold;
In deep abysses of delights,
In present hidden glorious benefits.


7

These thoughts His goodness long before
Prepared as precious and celestial store
With curious art in me inlaid,
That childhood might itself alone be said
My Tutor, Teacher, Guide to be,
Instructed then even by the Deitie.

by Thomas Traherne.

On A Distant View Of The Village And School Of The Harrow Hill

Oh! mihi præteritos referat si Jupiter annos.~Virgil

Ye scenes of my childhood, whose lov'd recollection
Embitters the present, compar'd with the past;
Where science first dawn'd on the powers of reflection,
And friendships were form'd, too romantic to last;

Where fancy, yet, joys to retrace the resemblance
Of comrades, in friendship and mischief allied;
How welcome to me your ne'er fading remembrance,
Which rests in the bosom, though hope is deny'd

!Again I revisit the hills where we sported,
The streams where we swam, and the fields where we fought;
The school where, loud warn'd by the bell, we resorted,
To pore o'er the precepts by Pedagogues taught.

Again I behold where for hours I have ponder'd,
As reclining, at eve, on yon tombstone I lay;
Or round the steep brow of the churchyard I wander'd,
To catch the last gleam of the sun's setting ray.

I once more view the room, with spectators surrounded,
Where, as Zanga, I trod on Alonzo o'erthrown;
While, to swell my young pride, such applauses resounded,
I fancied that Mossop himself was outshone.

Or, as Lear, I pour'd forth the deep imprecation,
By my daughters, of kingdom and reason depriv'd;
Till, fir'd by loud plaudits and self-adulation,
I regarded myself as a Garrick reviv'd.

Ye dreams of my boyhood, how much I regret you!
Unfaded your memory dwells in my breast;
Though sad and deserted, I ne'er can forget you:
Your pleasures may still be in fancy possest.

To Ida full oft may remembrance restore me,
While Fate shall the shades of the future unroll!
Since Darkness o'ershadows the prospect before me,
More dear is the beam of the past to my soul!

But if, through the course of the years which await me,
Some new scene of pleasure should open to view,
I will say, while with rapture the thought shall elate me,
Oh! such were the days which my infancy knew.

by George Gordon Byron.

These recollections with the scent of ferns
Are the idyll of early years
(Gregorio Gutierrez González)

Accompanying the hazy memories
Time so generously glorifies,
Returning to a welcoming heart
And flocking like white butterflies,
Come fantasies of happy childhood days.

Blue Beard, Little Red Ridinghood,
Lilliputians and the giant Gulliver,
All of you, floating in the mist of dreams,
Spread your wings, fly,
So I, the happy journeyer
Through storybooks, may summon you
To join with other, beloved characters.

O blessed youth! Eyes aglimmer
With dawning discovery
Follow the weary teacher’s hand
Across the big red figures
In the tattered primer,
Where traces of vague recognition,
Rewarding periods of youthful despondency,
Beneath indifferent shadows
Begin forming letters into words

On a dewy, white,
Luminous, restless August morning,
Helping a blazing sun rise
On wings of the breeze
Toward skies dotted with drifting clouds;
Listening to a grandmother’s
Exemplary fairy tales;
Skipping school
To organize a clamorous battle
In which rocks rattle like bullets
And a rumpled kerchief becomes a flag.
Constructing a manger scene
Of materials gathered from the woods,
Then, after the long, rowdy outing
Arranging the grasses,
Coral twigs, and treasured mosses,
And on strange and alien landscapes,
Perspectives never seen or dreamed,
Creating roads of golden sand
And waterfalls of gleaming tinsel.

Positioning the Wise Men on the hill
And overhead
The star that led them from afar;
In the crib, the laughing Baby Jesus
In his bed of
Softest mosses and leafy ferns.

Pristine soul, blush-pink cheeks,
Skin like ermine on the snow,
Flaxen curls,
Sparkling yet peaceful eyes, how fair
In memory the innocent babe!

Childhood, hallowed valley
Of blessed calm and coolness,
Where rays that will later blast our days
So softly shine,
How saintly your pure innocence,
How fleeting your brief happiness,
How sweet in hours of bitterness
To turn back to the past
And call upon those memories!

by Jose Asuncion Silva.

When I Roved A Young Highlander

When I roved a young Highlander o'er the dark heath,
And climb'd thy steep sumrnit, oh Morven of snow!
To gaze on the torrent that thunder'd beneath,
Or the mist of the tempest that gather'd below,
Untutor'd by science, a stranger to fear,
And rude as the rocks where my infancy grew,
No feeling, save one, to my bosom was dear
Need I say, my sweet Mary, 'twas centred in you?

Yet it could not be love, for I knew not the name,-
What passion can dwell in the heart of a child?
But still I pereceive an emotion the same
As I felt, when a boy, on the crag cover'd wild:
One image alone on my bosom impress'd
I loved my bleak regions, nor panted for new;
And few were my wants, for my wishes were bless'd;
And pure were my thoughts, for my soul was with you.

I arose with the dawn; with my dog as my guide,
From mountain to mountain I bounded along
I breasted the billows of Dee's rushing tide,
And heard at a distance the Highlander's song:
At eve, on my heath-cover'd couch of repose,
No dreams, save of Mary, were spread to my view;
And warm to the skies my devotions aoose,
For the first of my prayers was a blessing on you.

I left my bleak home, and my visions are gone;
The mountains are vanish'd, my youth is no more;
As the last of my race, I must wither alone,
And delight but in days I have witness'd before:
Ah! splendour has raised but embitter'd my lot;
More dear were the scenes which my infancy knew:
Though my hopes may have fail'd, yet they are not forgot;
Though cold is my heart, still it lingers with you.

When I see some dark hill point its crest to the sky,
I think of the rocks that o'ershadow Colbleen
When I see the soft blue of a love-speaking eye
I think of those eyes that endear'd the rude scene;
When, haply, some light-waving locks I behold,
That faintly resemble my Mary's in hue,
I think on the long, flowing ringlets of gold,
The locks that were sacred to beauty, and you.

Yet the day may arrive when the mountains once more
Shall rise to my sight In their mantles of snow:
But while these soar above me, unchanged as before
Will Mary be there to receive me? - ah, no!
Adieu, then, ye hills, where my childhood was bred!
Thou sweet flowing Dee, to thy waters adieu!
No home in the forest shall shelter my head,--
Ah! Mary, what home could be mine but with you?

by George Gordon Byron.

The Memorial Pillar

Hast thou thro' Eden's wild-wood vales, pursued
Each mountain-scene, magnificently rude,
Nor with attention's lifted eye, revered
That modest stone, by pious Pembroke rear'd,
Which still records, beyond the pencil's power,
The silent sorrows of a parting hour? ~ ROGERS.

Mother and child! whose blending tears
Have sanctified the place,
Where, to the love of many years,
Was given one last embrace;
Oh! ye have shrin'd a spell of power,
Deep in your record of that hour!

A spell to waken solemn thought,
A still, small under-tone,
That calls back days of childhood, fraught
With many a treasure gone;
And smites, perchance, the hidden source,
Tho' long untroubled–of remorse.

For who, that gazes on the stone
Which marks your parting spot,
Who but a mother's love hath known,
The one love changing not?
Alas! and haply learn'd its worth
First with the sound of 'Earth to earth?'

But thou, high-hearted daughter! thou,
O'er whose bright honour'd head,
Blessings and tears of holiest flow,
Ev'n here were fondly shed,–
Thou from the passion of thy grief,
In its full burst, couldst draw relief.

For, oh! tho' painful be th' excess,
The might wherewith it swells,
In nature's fount no bitterness
Of nature's mingling, dwells;
And thou hadst not, by wrong or pride,
Poison'd the free and healthful tide.

But didst thou meet the face no more
Which thy young heart first knew?
And all–was all in this world o'er,
With ties thus close and true?
It was!–On earth no other eye
Could give thee back thine infancy.

No other voice could pierce the maze
Where, deep within thy breast,
The sounds and dreams of other days
With memory lay at rest;
No other smile to thee could bring
A gladd'ning, like the breath of spring.

Yet, while thy place of weeping still
Its lone memorial keeps,
While on thy name, midst wood and hill,
The quiet sunshine sleeps,
And touches, in each graven line,
Of reverential thought a sign;

Can I, while yet these tokens wear
The impress of the dead,
Think of the love embodied there,
As of a vision fled?
A perish'd thing, the joy and flower
And glory of one earthly hour?

Not so!–I will not bow me so,
To thoughts that breathe despair!
A loftier faith we need below,
Life's farewell words to bear.
Mother and child!–Your tears are past–
Surely your hearts have met at last.

by Felicia Dorothea Hemans.

“Oh! Autumn winds, what means this plaintive wailing
Around the quiet homestead where we dwell?
Whence come ye, say, and what the story mournful
That your weird voices ever seek to tell—
Whispering or clamoring, beneath the casements,
Rising in shriek or dying off in moan,
But ever breathing, menace, fear, or anguish
In every thrilling and unearthly tone?”

“We come from far off and from storm-tossed oceans,
Where vessels bravely battle with fierce gale,—
Mere playthings of our stormy, restless power,
We rend them quickly, shuddering mast and sail;
And with their, stalwart, gallant crews we hurl them
Amid the hungry waves that for them wait,
Nor leave one floating spar nor fragile taffrail
To tell unto the world their dreary fate.”

“But He who holds you, wrathful winds of Autumn,
Within the hollow of His mighty hand,
Can stay your onward course of reckless fury,
Your demon wrath, or eerie sport command,
Changing your rudest blast to zephyr gentle
As rocks the rose in summer evenings still,
Calming the ocean and yourselves enchaining
By simple fiat of Almighty Will.”

“We’ve been, too in the close and crowded city
Where want is often forced to herd with sin;
And our cold breath has pierced through without pity,
Bare, ruined hovel and worn garments thin;
Through narrow chink and broken window pouring
Draughts rife with fever and with deadly chill,
Choosing our victims ’mid old age and childhood,
Or tender, fragile infancy at will.”

“Oh, Autumn blasts, He, whose kind care doth temper
The searching wind unto the small shorn lamb,
To those poor shiv’ring victims, too, can render
Thy keenest, sharpest blasts, both mild and calm
Rave on—rave on, around our happy homestead
Upon this dark and wild November night,
Ye do but work out your God-given mission,
Mere humble creatures of our Father’s might.”

“But, listen, we come, too, from graveyards lonely,
From mocking revels held ’mid tombstones tall,
Tearing the withered leaves from off the branches,
The clinging ivy from the time-stained wall,—
Uprooting, blighting every tiny leaflet
That hid the grave’s bleak nakedness from sight,
Driving the leaves in hideous, death like dances,
Around the lowly mounds, the grave-stones white.”

“And, what of that, ye cruel winds of Autumn?
Spring will return again with hope and mirth,
Clothing with tender green the budding branches,
Decking with snowdrops, violets, the earth;
And, oh! sweet hope, sublime and most consoling,
The sacred dust within those graves shall rise
In God’s good time, to reign on thrones of glory
With Him, beyond the cloudless, golden skies.”

by Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon.

Metrical Letter, Written From London.

Margaret! my Cousin!--nay, you must not smile;
I love the homely and familiar phrase;
And I will call thee Cousin Margaret,
However quaint amid the measured line
The good old term appears. Oh! it looks ill
When delicate tongues disclaim old terms of kin,
Sirring and Madaming as civilly
As if the road between the heart and lips
Were such a weary and Laplandish way
That the poor travellers came to the red gates
Half frozen. Trust me Cousin Margaret,
For many a day my Memory has played
The creditor with me on your account,
And made me shame to think that I should owe
So long the debt of kindness. But in truth,
Like Christian on his pilgrimage, I bear
So heavy a pack of business, that albeit
I toil on mainly, in our twelve hours race
Time leaves me distanced. Loath indeed were I
That for a moment you should lay to me
Unkind neglect; mine, Margaret, is a heart
That smokes not, yet methinks there should be some
Who know how warm it beats. I am not one
Who can play off my smiles and courtesies
To every Lady of her lap dog tired
Who wants a play-thing; I am no sworn friend
Of half-an-hour, as apt to leave as love;
Mine are no mushroom feelings that spring up
At once without a seed and take no root,
Wiseliest distrusted. In a narrow sphere
The little circle of domestic life
I would be known and loved; the world beyond
Is not for me. But Margaret, sure I think
That you should know me well, for you and I
Grew up together, and when we look back
Upon old times our recollections paint
The same familiar faces. Did I wield
The wand of Merlin's magic I would make
Brave witchcraft. We would have a faery ship,
Aye, a new Ark, as in that other flood
That cleansed the sons of Anak from the earth,
The Sylphs should waft us to some goodly isle
Like that where whilome old Apollidon
Built up his blameless spell; and I would bid
The Sea Nymphs pile around their coral bowers,
That we might stand upon the beach, and mark
The far-off breakers shower their silver spray,
And hear the eternal roar whose pleasant sound
Told us that never mariner should reach
Our quiet coast. In such a blessed isle
We might renew the days of infancy,
And Life like a long childhood pass away,
Without one care. It may be, Margaret,
That I shall yet be gathered to my friends,
For I am not of those who live estranged
Of choice, till at the last they join their race
In the family vault. If so, if I should lose,
Like my old friend the Pilgrim, this huge pack
So heavy on my shoulders, I and mine
Will end our pilgrimage most pleasantly.
If not, if I should never get beyond
This Vanity town, there is another world
Where friends will meet. And often, Margaret,
I gaze at night into the boundless sky,
And think that I shall there be born again,
The exalted native of some better star;
And like the rude American I hope
To find in Heaven the things I loved on earth.

by Robert Southey.

This little rill, that from the springs
Of yonder grove its current brings,
Plays on the slope a while, and then
Goes prattling into groves again,
Oft to its warbling waters drew
My little feet, when life was new,
When woods in early green were dressed,
And from the chambers of the west
The warmer breezes, travelling out,
Breathed the new scent of flowers about,
My truant steps from home would stray,
Upon its grassy side to play,
List the brown thrasher's vernal hymn,
And crop the violet on its brim,
With blooming cheek and open brow,
As young and gay, sweet rill, as thou.

And when the days of boyhood came,
And I had grown in love with fame,
Duly I sought thy banks, and tried
My first rude numbers by thy side.
Words cannot tell how bright and gay
The scenes of life before me lay.
Then glorious hopes, that now to speak
Would bring the blood into my cheek,
Passed o'er me; and I wrote, on high,
A name I deemed should never die.

Years change thee not. Upon yon hill
The tall old maples, verdant still,
Yet tell, in grandeur of decay,
How swift the years have passed away,
Since first, a child, and half afraid,
I wandered in the forest shade.
Thou ever joyous rivulet,
Dost dimple, leap, and prattle yet;
And sporting with the sands that pave
The windings of thy silver wave,
And dancing to thy own wild chime,
Thou laughest at the lapse of time.
The same sweet sounds are in my ear
My early childhood loved to hear;
As pure thy limpid waters run,
As bright they sparkle to the sun;
As fresh and thick the bending ranks
Of herbs that line thy oozy banks;
The violet there, in soft May dew,
Comes up, as modest and as blue,
As green amid thy current's stress,
Floats the scarce-rooted watercress:
And the brown ground-bird, in thy glen,
Still chirps as merrily as then.

Thou changest not--but I am changed,
Since first thy pleasant banks I ranged;
And the grave stranger, come to see
The play-place of his infancy,
Has scarce a single trace of him
Who sported once upon thy brim.
The visions of my youth are past--
Too bright, too beautiful to last.
I've tried the world--it wears no more
The colouring of romance it wore.
Yet well has Nature kept the truth
She promised to my earliest youth.
The radiant beauty shed abroad
On all the glorious works of God,
Shows freshly, to my sobered eye,
Each charm it wore in days gone by.

A few brief years shall pass away,
And I, all trembling, weak, and gray,
Bowed to the earth, which waits to fold
My ashes in the embracing mould,
(If haply the dark will of fate
Indulge my life so long a date)
May come for the last time to look
Upon my childhood's favourite brook.
Then dimly on my eye shall gleam
The sparkle of thy dancing stream;
And faintly on my ear shall fall
Thy prattling current's merry call;
Yet shalt thou flow as glad and bright
As when thou met'st my infant sight.

And I shall sleep--and on thy side,
As ages after ages glide,
Children their early sports shall try,
And pass to hoary age and die.
But thou, unchanged from year to year,
Gayly shalt play and glitter here;
Amid young flowers and tender grass
Thy endless infancy shalt pass;
And, singing down thy narrow glen,
Shalt mock the fading race of men.

by William Cullen Bryant.

To The Reverend George Coleridge, Of Ottery St. Mary, Devon

A blessed lot hath he, who having past
His youth and early manhood in the stir
And turmoil of the world, retreats at length,
With cares that move, not agitate the heart,
To the same dwelling where his father dwelt;
And haply views his tottering little ones
Embrace those aged knees, and climb that lap,
On which first kneeling his own infancy
Lisped its brief prayer. Such, O my earliest friend!
Thine and thy brothers' favorable lot.
At distance did ye climb life's upland road,
Yet cheered and cheering: now fraternal love
Hath drawn you to one centre. Be your days
Holy, and blest and blessing may ye live!

To me th' Eternal Wisdom hath dispensed
A different fortune and more different mind.--
Me from the spot where first I sprang to light,
Too soon transplanted, ere my soul had fixed
Its first domestic loves; and hence through life
Chasing chance-started friendships. A brief while
Some have preserved me from life's pelting ills;
But, like a tree with leaves of feeble stem,
If the clouds lasted, or a sudden breeze
Ruffled the boughs, they on my head at once
Dropt the collected shower: and some most false,
False and fair-foliaged as the manchineel,
Have tempted me to slumber in their shade
E'en mid the storm; then breathing subtlest damps,
Mixed their own venom with the rain from heaven,
That I woke poisoned! But (the praise be His
Who gives us all things) more have yielded me
Permanent shelter: and beside one friend,
I, as beneath the covert of an oak,
Have raised a lowly shed, and know the names
Of husband and of father; nor unhearing
Of that divine and nightly-whispering voice,
Which from my childhood to maturer years
Spake to me of predestinated wreaths,
Bright with no fading colors!
Yet at times
My soul is sad, that I have roamed through life
Still most a stranger, most with naked heart,
At mine own home and birth-place: chiefly then,
When I remember thee, my earliest friend!
Thee, who didst watch my boyhood and my youth;
Didst trace my wanderings with a father's eye;
And, boding evil yet still hoping good,
Rebuked each fault and wept o'er all my woes.
Who counts the beatings of the lonely heart,
That Being knows, how I have loved thee ever,
Loved as a brother, as a son revered thee!
O 'tis to me an ever new delight,
To talk of thee and thine; or when the blast
Of the shrill winter, rattling our rude sash,
Endears the cleanly hearth and social bowl;
Or when, as now, on some delicious eve,
We in our sweet sequestered orchard-plot
Sit on the tree crooked earthward; whose old boughs,
That hand above us in an arborous roof,
Stirred by the faint gale of departing May,
Send their loose blossoms slanting o'er our heads!

Nor dost thou sometimes recall those hours,
When with the joy of hope thou gav'st thine ear
To my wild firstling lays. Since then my song
Hath sounded deeper notes, such as beseem
Of that sad wisdom, folly leaves behind;
Or the high raptures of prophetic faith;
Or such as, tuned to these tumultuous times,
Cope with the tempest's swell!
These various songs,
Which I have framed in many a various mood,
Accept, my brother; and (for some perchance
Will strike discordant on thy milder mind)
If aught of error or intemperate truth
Should meet thine ear, think thou that riper age
Will calm it down, and let thy loves forgive it!

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

My Childhood Home I See Again

I

My childhood's home I see again,
And sadden with the view;
And still, as memory crowds my brain,
There's pleasure in it too.

O Memory! thou midway world
'Twixt earth and paradise,
Where things decayed and loved ones lost
In dreamy shadows rise,

And, freed from all that's earthly vile,
Seem hallowed, pure, and bright,
Like scenes in some enchanted isle
All bathed in liquid light.

As dusky mountains please the eye
When twilight chases day;
As bugle-tones that, passing by,
In distance die away;

As leaving some grand waterfall,
We, lingering, list its roar--
So memory will hallow all
We've known, but know no more.

Near twenty years have passed away
Since here I bid farewell
To woods and fields, and scenes of play,
And playmates loved so well.

Where many were, but few remain
Of old familiar things;
But seeing them, to mind again
The lost and absent brings.

The friends I left that parting day,
How changed, as time has sped!
Young childhood grown, strong manhood gray,
And half of all are dead.

I hear the loved survivors tell
How nought from death could save,
Till every sound appears a knell,
And every spot a grave.

I range the fields with pensive tread,
And pace the hollow rooms,
And feel (companion of the dead)
I'm living in the tombs.

II

But here's an object more of dread
Than ought the grave contains--
A human form with reason fled,
While wretched life remains.

Poor Matthew! Once of genius bright,
A fortune-favored child--
Now locked for aye, in mental night,
A haggard mad-man wild.

Poor Matthew! I have ne'er forgot,
When first, with maddened will,
Yourself you maimed, your father fought,
And mother strove to kill;

When terror spread, and neighbors ran,
Your dange'rous strength to bind;
And soon, a howling crazy man
Your limbs were fast confined.

How then you strove and shrieked aloud,
Your bones and sinews bared;
And fiendish on the gazing crowd,
With burning eye-balls glared--

And begged, and swore, and wept and prayed
With maniac laught[ter?] joined--
How fearful were those signs displayed
By pangs that killed thy mind!

And when at length, tho' drear and long,
Time smoothed thy fiercer woes,
How plaintively thy mournful song
Upon the still night rose.

I've heard it oft, as if I dreamed,
Far distant, sweet, and lone--
The funeral dirge, it ever seemed
Of reason dead and gone.

To drink it's strains, I've stole away,
All stealthily and still,
Ere yet the rising God of day
Had streaked the Eastern hill.

Air held his breath; trees, with the spell,
Seemed sorrowing angels round,
Whose swelling tears in dew-drops fell
Upon the listening ground.

But this is past; and nought remains,
That raised thee o'er the brute.
Thy piercing shrieks, and soothing strains,
Are like, forever mute.

Now fare thee well--more thou the cause,
Than subject now of woe.
All mental pangs, by time's kind laws,
Hast lost the power to know.

O death! Thou awe-inspiring prince,
That keepst the world in fear;
Why dost thos tear more blest ones hence,
And leave him ling'ring here?

by Abraham Lincoln.

To The Rev. George Coleridge

Notus in fratres animi paterni.
Hor. Carm. lib.II.2.

A blesséd lot hath he, who having passed
His youth and early manhood in the stir
And turmoil of the world, retreats at length,
With cares that move, not agitate the heart,
To the same dwelling where his father dwelt;
And haply views his tottering little ones
Embrace those agéd knees and climb that lap,
On which first kneeling his own infancy
Lisp'd its brief prayer. Such, O my earliest Friend!
Thy lot, and such thy brothers too enjoy.
At distance did ye climb Life's upland road,
Yet cheered and cheering: now fraternal love
Hath drawn you to one centre. Be your days
Holy, and blest and blessing may ye live!

To me the Eternal Wisdom hath dispens'd
A different fortune and more different mind—
Me from the spot where first I sprang to light
Too soon transplanted, ere my soul had fix'd
Its first domestic loves; and hence through life
Chasing chance-started friendships. A brief while
Some have preserved me from life's pelting ills;
But, like a tree with leaves of feeble stem,
If the clouds lasted, and a sudden breeze
Ruffled the boughs, they on my head at once
Dropped the collected shower; and some most false,
False and fair-foliag'd as the Manchineel,
Have tempted me to slumber in their shade
E'en mid the storm; then breathing subtlest damps,
Mix'd their own venom with the rain from Heaven,
That I woke poison'd! But, all praise to Him
Who gives us all things, more have yielded me
Permanent shelter; and beside one Friend,
Beneath the impervious covert of one oak,
I've rais'd a lowly shed, and know the names
Of Husband and of Father; not unhearing
Of that divine and nightly-whispering Voice,
Which from my childhood to maturer years
Spake to me of predestinated wreaths,
Bright with no fading colours!
Yet at times
My soul is sad, that I have roam'd through life
Still most a stranger, most with naked heart
At mine own home and birth-place: chiefly then,
When I remember thee, my earliest Friend!
Thee, who didst watch my boyhood and my youth;
Didst trace my wanderings with a father's eye;
And boding evil yet still hoping good,
Rebuk'd each fault, and over all my woes
Sorrow'd in silence! He who counts alone
The beatings of the solitary heart,
That Being knows, how I have lov'd thee ever,
Lov'd as a brother, as a son rever'd thee!
Oh! 'tis to me an ever new delight,
To talk of thee and thine: or when the blast
Of the shrill winter, rattling our rude sash,
Endears the cleanly hearth and social bowl;
Or when, as now, on some delicious eve,
We in our sweet sequester'd orchard-plot
Sit on the tree crook'd earth-ward; whose old boughs,
That hang above us in an arborous roof,
Stirr'd by the faint gale of departing May,
Send their loose blossoms slanting o'er our heads!

Nor dost not thou sometimes recall those hours,
When with the joy of hope thou gavest thine ear
To my wild firstling-lays. Since then my song
Hath sounded deeper notes, such as beseem
Or that sad wisdom folly leaves behind,
Or such as, tuned to these tumultuous times,
Cope with the tempest's swell!

These various strains,
Which I have fram'd in many a various mood,
Accept, my Brother! and (for some perchance
Will strike discordant on thy milder mind)
If aught of error or intemperate truth
Should meet thine ear, think thou that riper Age
Will calm it down, and let thy love forgive it!

by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Ah me! conceiv'd in sin, and born in sorrow,
A nothing, here to day, but gone to morrow,
Whose mean beginning, blushing can't reveal,
But night and darkness must with shame conceal.
My mother's breeding sickness, I will spare,
Her nine months' weary burden not declare.
To shew her bearing pangs, I should do wrong,
To tell that pain, which can't be told by tongue.
With tears into this world I did arrive;
My mother still did waste, as I did thrive,
Who yet with love and all alacrity,
Spending was willing to be spent for me.
With wayward cries, I did disturb her rest,
Who sought still to appease me with her breast;
With weary arms, she danc'd, and By, By, sung,
When wretched I (ungrate) had done the wrong.
When Infancy was past, my Childishness
Did act all folly that it could express.
My silliness did only take delight
In that which riper age did scorn and slight,
In Rattles, Bables, and such toyish stuff.
My then ambitious thoughts were low enough.
My high-born soul so straitly was confin'd
That its own worth it did not know nor mind.
This little house of flesh did spacious count,
Through ignorance, all troubles did surmount,
Yet this advantage had mine ignorance,
Freedom from Envy and from Arrogance.
How to be rich, or great, I did not cark,
A Baron or a Duke ne'r made my mark,
Nor studious was, Kings favours how to buy,
With costly presents, or base flattery;
No office coveted, wherein I might
Make strong my self and turn aside weak right.
No malice bare to this or that great Peer,
Nor unto buzzing whisperers gave ear.
I gave no hand, nor vote, for death, or life.
I'd nought to do, 'twixt Prince, and peoples' strife.
No Statist I: nor Marti'list i' th' field.
Where e're I went, mine innocence was shield.
My quarrels, not for Diadems, did rise,
But for an Apple, Plumb, or some such prize.
My strokes did cause no death, nor wounds, nor scars.
My little wrath did cease soon as my wars.
My duel was no challenge, nor did seek.
My foe should weltering, with his bowels reek.
I had no Suits at law, neighbours to vex,
Nor evidence for land did me perplex.
I fear'd no storms, nor all the winds that blows.
I had no ships at Sea, no fraughts to loose.
I fear'd no drought, nor wet; I had no crop,
Nor yet on future things did place my hope.
This was mine innocence, but oh the seeds
Lay raked up of all the cursed weeds,
Which sprouted forth in my insuing age,
As he can tell, that next comes on the stage.
But let me yet relate, before I go,
The sins and dangers I am subject to:
From birth stained, with Adam's sinful fact,
From thence I 'gan to sin, as soon as act;
A perverse will, a love to what's forbid;
A serpent's sting in pleasing face lay hid;
A lying tongue as soon as it could speak
And fifth Commandment do daily break;
Oft stubborn, peevish, sullen, pout, and cry;
Then nought can please, and yet I know not why.
As many was my sins, so dangers too,
For sin brings sorrow, sickness, death, and woe,
And though I miss the tossings of the mind,
Yet griefs in my frail flesh I still do find.
What gripes of wind, mine infancy did pain?
What tortures I, in breeding teeth sustain?
What crudities my cold stomach hath bred?
Whence vomits, worms, and flux have issued?
What breaches, knocks, and falls I daily have?
And some perhaps, I carry to my grave.
Sometimes in fire, sometimes in water fall:
Strangely preserv'd, yet mind it not at all.
At home, abroad, my danger's manifold
That wonder 'tis, my glass till now doth hold.
I've done: unto my elders I give way,
For 'tis but little that a child can say.

by Anne Bradstreet.

Here, in the twilight, at the well-known gate
I linger, with no heart to enter more.
Among the elm-tops the autumnal air
Murmurs, and spectral in the fading light
A solitary heron wings its way
Southward--save this no sound or touch of life.
Dark is the window where the scholar's lamp
Was used to catch a pallor from the dawn.

Yet I must needs a little linger here.
Each shrub and tree is eloquent of him,
For tongueless things and silence have their speech.
This is the path familiar to his foot
From infancy to manhood and old age;
For in a chamber of that ancient house
His eyes first opened on the mystery
Of life, and all the splendor of the world.
Here, as a child, in loving, curious way,
He watched the bluebird's coming; learned the date
Of hyacinth and goldenrod, and made
Friends of those little redmen of the elms,
And slyly added to their winter store
Of hazel-nuts: no harmless thing that breathed,
Footed or winged, but knew him for a friend.
The gilded butterfly was not afraid
To trust its gold to that so gentle hand,
The bluebird fled not from the pendent spray.
Ah, happy childhood, ringed with fortunate stars!
What dreams were his in this enchanted sphere,
What intuitions of high destiny!
The honey-bees of Hybla touched his lips
In that old New-World garden, unawares.

So in her arms did Mother Nature fold
Her poet, whispering what of wild and sweet
Into his ear--the state-affairs of birds,
The lore of dawn and sunset, what the wind
Said in the tree-tops--fine, unfathomed things
Henceforth to turn to music in his brain:
A various music, now like notes of flutes,
And now like blasts of trumpets blown in wars.
Later he paced this leafy academe
A student, drinking from Greek chalices
The ripened vintage of the antique world.
And here to him came love, and love's dear loss;
Here honors came, the deep applause of men
Touched to the heart by some swift-winged word
That from his own full heart took eager flight--
Some strain of piercing sweetness or rebuke,
For underneath his gentle nature flamed
A noble scorn for all ignoble deed,
Himself a bondman till all men were free.

Thus passed his manhood; then to other lands
He strayed, a stainless figure among courts
Beside the Manzanares and the Thames.
Whence, after too long exile, he returned
With fresher laurel, but sedater step
And eye more serious, fain to breathe the air
Where through the Cambridge marshes the blue Charles
Uncoils its length and stretches to the sea:
Stream dear to him, at every curve a shrine
For pilgrim Memory. Again he watched
His loved syringa whitening by the door,
And knew the catbird's welcome; in his walks
Smiled on his tawny kinsmen of the elms
Stealing his nuts; and in the ruined year
Sat at his widowed hearthside with bent brows
Leonine, frosty with the breath of time,
And listened to the crooning of the wind
In the wide Elmwood chimneys, as of old.
And then--and then....

The after-glow has faded from the elms,
And in the denser darkness of the boughs
From time to time the firefly's tiny lamp
Sparkles. How often in still summer dusks
He paused to note that transient phantom spark
Flash on the air--a light that outlasts him!

The night grows chill, as if it felt a breath
Blown from that frozen city where he lies.
All things turn strange. The leaf that rustles here
Has more than autumn's mournfulness. The place
Is heavy with his absence. Like fixed eyes
Whence the dear light of sense and thought has fled,
The vacant windows stare across the lawn.
The wise sweet spirit that informed it all
Is otherwhere. The house itself is dead.

O autumn wind among the sombre pines,
Breathe you his dirge, but be it sweet and low.
With deep refrains and murmurs of the sea,
Like to his verse--the art is yours alone.
His once--you taught him. Now no voice but yours!
Tender and low, O wind among the pines.
I would, were mine a lyre of richer strings,
In soft Sicilian accents wrap his name.

by Thomas Bailey Aldrich.

I.
That idol, black eyes and yellow mop, without parents or court,
nobler than Mexican and Flemish fables;
his domain, insolent azure and verdure,
runs over beaches called by the shipless waves,
names ferociously Greek, Slav, Celt.

At the border of the forest-- dream flowers tinkle, flash, and flare,--
the girl with orange lips, knees
crossed in the clear flood that gushes from the fields,
nakedness shaded, traversed, dressed by rainbow, flora, sea.

Ladies who stroll on terraces adjacent to the sea;
baby girls and giantesses,
superb blacks in the verdigris moss,
jewels upright on the rich ground
of groves and little thawed gardens,--
young mothers and big sisters with eyes full of pilgrimages,
sultanas, princesses tyrannical of costume and carriage,
little foreign misses and young ladies gently unhappy.
What boredom, the hour of the 'dear body' and 'dear heart.'

II.
It is she, the little girl, dead behind the rosebushes. --
The young mamma, deceased, comes down the stoop.--
The cousin's carriage creaks on the sand.--
The little brother (he is in India!) there,
before the western sky in the meadow of pinks.

The old men who have been buried upright
in the rampart overgrown with gillyflowers.
Swarms of golden leaves surround the general's house.
They are in the south.--

You follow the red road to reach the empty inn.
The chateau is for sale; the shutters are coming off.
The priest must have taken away the key of the church.
Around the park the keepers' cottages are uninhabited.

The enclosures are so high that nothing
can be seen but the rustling tree tops.
Besides, there is nothing to be seen within.
The meadows go up to the hamlets without anvils or cocks.

The sluice gate is open.
O the Calvaries and the windmills of the desert,
the islands and the haystacks!
Magic flowers droned.

The slopes cradled him.
Beasts of a fabulous elegance moved about.
The clouds gathered over the high sea,
formed of an eternity of hot tears.

III.
In the woods there is a bird;
his song stops you and makes you blush.
There is a clock that never strikes.
There is a hollow with a nest of white beasts.

There is a cathedral that goes down and a lake that goes up.
There is a little carriage abandoned in the copse
or that goes running down the road beribboned.
There is a troupe of little actors in costume, glimpsed on the road
through the border of the woods.
And then, when you are hungry and thirsty,
there is someone who drives you away.

IV.
I am the saint at prayer on the terrace
like the peaceful beasts
that graze down to the sea of Palestine.
I am the scholar of the dark armchair.
Branches and rain hurl themselves at the windows of my library.
I am the pedestrian of the highroad by way of the dwarf woods;
the roar of the sluices drowns my steps.
I can see for a long time the melancholy wash of the setting sun.
I might well be the child abandoned on the jetty
on its way to the high seas, the little farm boy following the lane,
its forehead touching the sky. The paths are rough.
The hillocks are covered with broom.
The air is motionless. How far away are the birds and the springs!
It can only be the end of the world ahead.

V.
Let them rent me this whitewashed tomb, at last,
with cement lines in relief,-- far down under ground.
I lean my elbows on the table,
the lamp shines brightly on these newspapers
I am fool enough to read again, these stupid books.
An enormous distance above my subterranean parlor,
houses take root, fogs gather.
The mud is red or black.
Monstrous city, night without end!
Less high are the sewers. At the sides,
nothing but the thickness of the globe.
Chasms of azure, wells of fire perhaps.
Perhaps it is on these levels that moons and comets meet,
fables and seas. In hours of bitterness,
I imagine balls of sapphire, of metal.
I am master of silence.
Why should the semblance of an opening
pale under one corner of the vault?

by Arthur Rimbaud.

Friar Philip's Geese

IF these gay tales give pleasure to the FAIR,
The honour's great conferred, I'm well aware;
Yet, why suppose the sex my pages shun?
Enough, if they condemn where follies run;
Laugh in their sleeve at tricks they disapprove,
And, false or true, a muscle never move.
A playful jest can scarcely give offence:
Who knows too much, oft shows a want of sense.
From flatt'ry oft more dire effects arise,
Enflame the heart and take it by surprise;
Ye beauteous belles, beware each sighing swain,
Discard his vows:--my book with care retain;
Your safety then I'll guarantee at ease.--
But why dismiss?--their wishes are to please:
And, truly, no necessity appears
For solitude:--consider well your years.
I HAVE, and feel convinced they do you wrong,
Who think no virtue can to such belong;
White crows and phoenixes do not abound;
But lucky lovers still are sometimes found;
And though, as these famed birds, not quite so rare,
The numbers are not great that favours share;
I own my works a diff'rent sense express,
But these are tales:--mere tales in easy dress.

To beauty's wiles, in ev'ry class, I've bowed;
Fawned, flattered, sighed, e'en constancy have vowed
What gained? you ask--but little I admit;
Howe'er we aim, too oft we fail to hit.
My latter days I'll now devote with care,
To guard the sex from ev'ry latent snare.
Tales I'll detail, and these relate at ease:
Narrations clear and neat will always please;
Like me, to this attention criticks pay;
Then sleep, on either side, from night till day.
If awkward, vulgar phrase intervene,
Or rhymes imperfect o'er the page be seen,
Condemn at will; but stratagems and art,
Pass, shut your eyes, who'd heed the idle part?
Some mothers, husbands, may perhaps be led,
To pull my locks for stories white or red;
So matters stand: a fine affair, no doubt,
And what I've failed to do--my book makes out.

THE FAIR my pages safely may pursue,
And this apology they'll not refuse.
What recompense can I presume to make?
A tale I'll give, where female charms partake,
And prove resistless whatsoe'er assail:
Blessed BEAUTY, NATURE ever should prevail.

HAD Fate decreed our YOUTH, at early morn,
To view the angel features you adorn,
The captivating pow'rs AURORA bless,
Or airy SPRING bedecked in beauteous dress,
And all the azure canopy on high
Had vanished like a dream, once you were nigh.
And when his eyes at length your charms beheld,
His glowing breast with softest passion swelled;
Superior lustre beamed at ev'ry view;
No pleasures pleased: his soul was fixed on you.
Crowns, jewels, palaces, appeared as naught.
'Twas solely beauteous woman now he sought.

A WOOD, from earliest years, his home had been,
And birds the only company he'd seen,
Whose notes harmonious often lulled his care,
Beguiled his hours, and saved him from despair;
Delightful sounds! from nightingale and dove
Unknown their tongue, yet indicant of love.

THIS savage, solitary, rustick school,
The father chose his infancy to rule.
The mother's recent death induced the sire,
To place the son where only beasts retire;
And long the forest habitants alone
Were all his youthful sight had ever known.

TWO reasons, good or bad, the father led
To fly the world:--all intercourse to dread
Since fate had torn his lovely spouse from hence;
Misanthropy and fear o'ercame each sense;
Of the world grown tired, he hated all around:--
Too oft in solitude is sorrow found.
His partner's death produced distaste of life,
And made him fear to seek another wife.
A hermit's gloomy, mossy cell he took,
And wished his child might thither solely look.

AMONG the poor his little wealth he threw,
And with his infant son alone withdrew;
The forest's dreary wilds concealed his cell;
There Philip (such his name) resolved to dwell.

BY holy motives led, and not chagrin,
The hermit never spoke of what he'd seen;
But, from the youth's discernment, strove to hide,
Whate'er regarded love, and much beside,
The softer sex, with all their magick charms,
That fill the feeling bosom with alarms.
As years advanced, the boy with care he taught;
What suited best his age before him brought;
At five he showed him animals and flow'rs,
The birds of air, the beasts, their sev'ral pow'rs;
And now and then of hell he gave a hint,
Old Satan's wrath, and what might awe imprint,
How formed, and doomed to infamy below;
In childhood FEAR 's the lesson first we know!

THE years had passed away, when Philip tried,
In matters more profound his son to guide;
He spoke of Paradise and Heav'n above;
But not a word of woman,--nor of LOVE.
Fifteen arrived, the sire with anxious care,
Of NATURE'S works declaimed,--but not the FAIR:
An age, when those, for solitude designed,
Should be to scenes of seriousness confined,
Nor joys of youth, nor soft ideas praised
The flame soon spreads when Cupid's torch is raised.

AT length, when twenty summers time had run,
The father to the city brought his son;
With years weighed down, the hermit scarcely knew
His daily course of duty to pursue;
And when Death's venomed shaft should on him fall;
On whom could then his boy for succour call?
How life support, unknowing and unknown?
Wolves, foxes, bears, ne'er charity have shown;
And all the sire could give his darling care,
A staff and wallet, he was well aware
Fine patrimony, truly, for a child!
To which his mind was no way reconciled.
Bread few, 'twas clear, the hermit would deny,
And rich he might have been you may rely;
When he drew near, the children quickly cried
Here's father Philip--haste, the alms provide;
And many pious men his friends were found,
But not one female devotee around:
None would he hear; the FAIR he always fled
Their smiles and wiles the friar kept in dread.

OUR hermit, when he thought his darling youth;
Well fixed in duty and religious truth,
Conveyed him 'mong his pious friends, to learn
How food to beg, and other ways discern.
In tears he viewed his son the forest quit,
And fain would have him for the world unfit.

THE city's palaces and lofty spires,
Our rustick's bosom filled with new desires.
The prince's residence great splendour showed,
And lively pleasure on the youth bestowed.
What's here? said he; The court, his friends replied:--
What there?--The mansions where the great reside:--
And these?--Fine statues, noble works of art:
All gave delight and gratitude his heart.
But when the beauteous FAIR first caught his view,
To ev'ry other sight he bade adieu;
The palace, court, or mansions he admired,
No longer proved the objects he desired;
Another cause of admiration rose,
His breast pervaded, and disturbed repose.
What's this, he cried, so elegantly neat?
O tell me, father; make my joy complete!

WHAT gave the son such exquisite delight,
The parent filled with agonizing fright.
To answer, howsoe'er he'd no excuse,
So told the youth--a bird they call a goose.

O BEAUTEOUS bird, exclaimed th' enraptured boy,
Sing, sound thy voice, 'twill fill my soul with joy;
To thee I'd anxiously be better known;
O father, let me have one for my own!
A thousand times I fondly ask the boon;
Let's take it to the woods: 'tis not too soon;
Young as it is, I'll feed it morn and night,
And always make it my supreme delight.

by Jean De La Fontaine.