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The Flood was tyrannous and strong ;
The patient Brier suffered long,
Nor did he utter groan or sigh,
Hoping the danger would be past;
But, seeing no relief, at last
He ventured to reply.
“ Ah!” said the Brier, “ blame me not;
Why should we dwell in strife?
We who in this sequestered spot
Once lived a happy life!
You stirred me on my rocky bed, —
What pleasure through my veins you spread
The summer long, from day to day,
My leaves you freshened and bedewed ;
Nor was it common gratitude
That did your cares repay.
“When Spring came on with bud and bell,
Among these rocks did I
Before you hang my wreaths, to tell
That gentle days were nigh!
And in the sultry summer hours,
I sheltered you with leaves and flowers;
And in my leaves now shed and gone
The linnet lodged, and for us two
Chanted his pretty songs, when you
Had little voice or none.
"But now proud thoughts are in your breast, —
What grief is mine you see ;
Ah! would you think, even yet how blest
Together we might be !
Though of both leaf and flower bereft,
Some ornaments to me are left;
Rich store of scarlet hips is mine,
With which I, in
way, Would deck you many a winter day, A happy Eglantine!'
What more he said I cannot tell,
The Torrent down the rocky dell
Came thundering loud and fast ;
I listened, nor aught else could hear;
The Brier quaked — and much I fear
Those accents were his last.
His simple truths did Andrew glean
Beside the babbling rills ;
A careful student he had been
Among the woods and hills.
One winter's night, when through the trees
The wind was roaring, on his knees
His youngest-born did Andrew hold :
And while the rest, a ruddy choir,
Were seated round their blazing fire,
This Tale the Shepherd told.
“I saw a crag, a lofty stone
As ever tempest beat !
Out of its head an Oak had grown,
A Broom out of its feet.
The time was March, a cheerful noon,
The thaw-wind, with the breath of June,
Breathed gently from the warm southwest ;
When, in a voice sedate with age,
This Oak, a giant and a sage,
His neighbor thus addressed :
Eight weary weeks, through rock and clay, Along this mountain's edge, The Frost hath wrought both night and day, Wedge driving after wedge. Look up! and think, above your
head What trouble, surely, will be bred; Last night I heard a crash, — 't is true, The splinters took another road;
I see them yonder, — what a load
For such a Thing as you !
6. You are preparing, as before,
To deck your slender shape ;
And yet, just three years back
You had a strange escape :
Down from yon cliff a fragment broke;
It thundered down, with fire and smoke,
And hitherward pursued its way;
This ponderous block was caught by me,
And o'er your head, as you may see,
'T is hanging to this day!
666 If breeze or bird to this rough steep
Your kind's first seed did bear,
The breeze had better been asleep,
The bird caught in a snare:
For you and your green twigs decoy
The little witless shepherd-boy
To come and slumber in your bower;
And, trust me, on some sultry noon,
and he, Heaven knows how soon! Will perish in one hour.
66 From me this friendly warning take The Broom began to doze,
And thus, to keep herself awake,
Did gently interpose:
“My thanks for your discourse are due ;
That more than what you say is true,
I know, and I have known it long;
Frail is the bond by which we hold
Our being, whether young or old,
Wise, foolish, weak, or strong.
66 Disasters, do the best we can,
Will reach both great and small;
And he is oft the wisest man,
Who is not wise at all.
For me, why should I wish to roam ?
This spot is my paternal home,
It is my pleasant heritage;
My father many a happy year
Spread here his careless blossoms, here
Attained a good old age.
66° Even such as his may
lot. What cause have I to haunt My heart with terrors ? Am I not In truth a favored plant ! On me such bounty Summer pours, That I am covered o'er with flowers ; And, when the Frost is in the sky, My branches are so fresh and gay