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The Other wore a rimless crown
With leaves of laurel stuck about ;
And, while both followed up and down,
Each whooping with a merry shout,
In their fraternal features I could trace
Unquestionable lines of that wild Suppliant's face.
Yet they, so blithe of heart, seemed fit
For finest tasks of earth or air:
Wings let them have, and they might flit
Precursors of Aurora's Car,
Scattering fresh flowers ; though happier far, I ween,
To hunt their fluttering game o'er rock and level green.
They dart across my path — but lo,
Each ready with a plaintive whine!
Said I, “not half an hour ago
Your Mother has had alms of mine."
“ That cannot be,” one answered ." she is dead:
I looked reproof — they saw- - but neither hung his head.
- She has been dead, Sir, many a day.”.
“ Sweet Boys! Heaven hears that rash reply;
It was your Mother, as I say!”
And, in the twinkling of an eye,
“Come! come !” cried one, and without more ado,
Off to some other play the joyous Vagrants flew!
COMPOSED MANY YEARS AFTER.
WHERE are they now, those wanton Boys ?
For whose free range the dædal earth
Was filled with animated toys,
And implements of frolic mirth;
With tools for ready wit to guide ;
And ornaments of seemlier pride,
More fresh, more bright, than Princes wear;
For what one moment flung aside,
Another could repair;
What good or evil have they seen
Since I their pastime witnessed here,
Their daring wiles, their sportive cheer ?
I ask — but all is dark between !
Spirits of beauty and of grace!
Associates in that eager chase;
Ye, by a course to nature true,
The sterner judgment can subdue;
And waken a relenting smile
When she encounters fraud or guile;
And sometimes ye can charm away
The inward mischief, or allay,
Ye, who within the blameless mind
Your favourite seat of empire find !
They met me in a genial hour,
When universal nature breathed
As with the breath of one sweet flower,
A time to overrule the power
Of discontent, and check the birth
Of thoughts with better thoughts at strife,
The most familiar bane of life
Since parting Innocence bequeathed
Mortality to Earth!
Soft clouds, the whitest of the year,
Sailed through the sky-- the brooks ran clear;
The lambs from rock to rock were bounding;
With songs the budded groves resounding ;
And to my heart is still endeared
The faith with which it then was cheered ;
The faith which saw that gladsome pair
Walk through the fire with unsinged hair.
Or, if such thoughts must needs deceive,
Kind Spirits ! may we not believe
That they, so happy and so fair,
Through your sweet influence, and the care
Of pitying Heaven, at least were free
From touch of deadly injury?
Destined, whate'er their earthly doom,
For mercy and immortal bloom!
When Ruth was left half desolate,
Her Father took another Mate;
And Ruth, not seven years old,
A slighted Child, at her own will
Went wandering over dale and hill,
In thoughtless freedom bold.
And she had made a Pipe of straw,
And from that oaten Pipe could draw
All sounds of winds and floods ;
Had built a Bower upon the green,
As if she from her birth had been
An Infant of the woods.
Beneath her Father's roof, alone
She seemed to live; her thoughts her own;
Herself her own delight;
Pleased with herself, nor sad, nor gay;
And, passing thus the live-long day,
She grew to Woman's height.
There came a Youth from Georgia's shore
A military Casque he wore,
With splendid feathers drest;
He brought them from the Cherokees;
The feathers nodded in the breeze,
And made a gallant crest.
From Indian blood you deem him sprung:
Ah no! he spake the English tongue,
And bore a Soldier's name;
And, when America was free
From battle and from jeopardy,
He 'cross the ocean came.
With hues of genius on his cheek
In finest tones the Youth could speak :
_While he was yet a Boy,
The moon, the glory of the sun,
And streams that murmur as they run,
Had been his dearest joy.
He was a lovely Youth! I guess
The panther in the wilderness
Was not so fair as he;
And, when he chose to sport and play,
No dolphin ever was so gay
Upon the tropic sea.
Among the Indians he had fought
And with him many tales he brought
Of pleasure and of fear
Such tales as told to any Maid
By such a Youth, in the green shade,
Were perilous to hear.
He told of Girls a happy rout!
Who quit their fold with dance and shout,
Their pleasant Indian Town,
To gather strawberries all day long;
Returning with a choral song
When daylight is gone down.
He spake of plants divine and strange
hour their blossoms change,
Ten thousand lovely hues !
With budding, fading, faded flowers
They stand the wonder of the bowers
From morn to evening dews.
He told of the Magnolia, spread
High as a cloud, high over head !
The Cypress and her spire;
Of flowers that with one scarlet gleam
Cover a hundred leagues, and seem
To set the hills on fire.