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The clouds might give abundant rain,
The nightly dews might fall,
And the herb that keepeth life in man
Might yet have drunk them all.
Then wherefore, wherefore were they made,
All dyed with rainbow light,
All fashioned with supremest grace,
Upspringing day and night, —
Springing in valleys green and low,
And on the mountains high,
And in the silent wilderness,
Where no man passes by ?
Our outward life requires them not,
Then wherefore had they birth?
To minister delight to man,
To beautify the earth;
To comfort man, to whisper hope
Whene'er his faith is dim;
For whoso careth for the flowers
Will much more care for him.
TO MY LITTLE COUSIN WITH HER FIRST
BONNET. – Mrs. Southey.
Fairies! guard the baby's bonnet,
Set a special watch upon it;
Elfin people ! to your care
I commit it, fresh and fair;
Neat as neatness, white as snow, —
See ye make it ever so.
Watch and ward set all about,
Some within and some without;
Over it, with dainty hand,
One her kirtle green expand;
One take post at every ring;
One at each unwrinkled string;
Two or three about the bow
Vigilant concern bestow;
A score, at least, on either side,
Gainst evil accident provide,
(Jolt or jar or overlay ;)
And so the precious charge convey
Through all the dangers of the way.
But when those are battled through,
Fairies ! more remains to do;
Ye must gift, before ye go,
The bonnet, and the babe also,
Gift it to protect her well,
Fays! from all malignant spell.
Charms and seasons to defy,
Blighting winds and evil eye;
And the bonny babe! on her
All your choicest gifts confer; —
Just as much of wit and sense
As may be hers without pretence,
Just as much of grace and beauty
As shall not interfere with duty, —
Just as much of sprightliness
As may companion gentleness, –
Just as much of firmness, too,
As with self-will hath naught to do, ---
Just as much light-hearted cheer
As may be melted to a tear,
By a word, a tone, a look,
Pity's touch, or Love's rebuke, -
As much of frankness, sweetly free,
As may consort with modesty, —
As much of feeling as will bear
Of after life the wear and tear,-
As much of life — But, fairies, there
Ye vanish into thinnest air;
And with ye parts the playful vein
That loved a light and trivial strain.
Befits me better, babe, for thee
T'invoke Almighty agency,
Almighty love, Almighty power,
To nurture up the human flower;
To cherish it with heavenly dew,
Sustain with earthly blessings too;
And when the ripe, full time shall be,
Engraft it on eternity!
THE YOUNG LETTER-WRITER. — Miss Lamb.
Dear Sir, Dear Madam, or Dear Friend,
With ease are written at the top;
When those two happy words are penned
A youthful writer oft will stop,
And bite his pen, and lift his eyes,
As if he thinks to find in air
The wished-for following words, or trics
To fix his thoughts by fixéd stare.
But haply all in vain, — the next
Two words may be so long before
They'll come, the writer, sore perplext,
Gives in despair the matter o'er;
And when maturer age he sees
With ready pen so swift inditing, With envy he beholds the ease
Of long-accustomed letter-writing.
Courage, young friend; the time may be,
When you attain maturer age,
Some, young as you are now, may see
You with like ease glide down a page.
Even then, when you, to years a debtor,
In varied phrase your meaning wrap, The welcom'st words in all your letter May be those two kind ones at the top.
ON ANOTHER'S SORROW.- Blake.
Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too ?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?
Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share ?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled ?
Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear ?
No! no! never can it be !
Never, never can it be!
And can He who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
THE PEBBLE AND THE ACORN.
Hear the small bird's grief and care,
Hear the woes that infants bear, -
And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast ?
And not sit the table near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear?
And not sit, both night and day,
Weeping all our tears away?
O, no! never can it be !
Never, never can it be!
He doth yive his joy to all ;
He becomes an infant small;
He becomes a man of woe;
He doth feel the sorrow too.
Think not thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy Maker is not nigh;
Think not thou canst weep a tear,
And thy Maker is not near.
O, he gives to us his joy,
That our griefs he may destroy ;
Till our grief is fled and gone,
He doth sit by us and moan.
THE PEBBLE AND THE ACORN. – H. F! Gould.
“I am a Pebble! and yield to none !"
Were the swelling words of a tiny stone;
6 Nor time nor seasons can alter me;
I am abiding, while ages flee.