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These pretty babes, with hand in hand,
Went wandering up and down;
But never more they saw the man
Approaching from the town.
Their pretty lips with blackberries
Were all besmeared and dyed,
And when they saw the darksome night,
They sat them down and cried.
Thus wandered these two pretty babes,
Till death did end their grief;
In one another's arms they died,
As babes wanting relief;
No burial these pretty babes
Of any man receives,
Till Robin-redbreast painfully
Did cover them with leaves.
And now the heavy wrath of God
Upon their uncle fell;
Yes, fearful fiends did haunt his house,
His conscience felt a hell;
His barns were fired, his goods consumed,
His lands were barren made;
His cattle died within the field,
And nothing with him stayed.
And in the voyage of Portugal,
Two of his sons did die;
And, to conclude, himself was brought
To extreme misery.
He pawned and mortgaged all his land
Ere seven years came about,
And now at length this wicked act
Did by this means come out.
The fellow that did take in hand
These children for to kill
Was for a robbery judged to die,
As was God’s blessed will;
Who did confess the very truth,
The which is here expressed;
Their uncle died while he for debt
In prison long did rest.
All you that be executors made,
And overseers eke,
Of children that be fatherless,
And infants mild and meek,
Take your example by this thing,
And yield to each his right;
Lest God, with such like misery,
Your wicked minds requite.
THE USE OF. FLOWERS.-- Mary Howitt.
GoD might have bade the earth bring forth
Enough for great and small,
The oak-tree and the cedar-tree,
Without a flower at all.
We might have had enough, enough
For every want of ours,
For luxury, medicine, and toil,
And yet have had no flowers.
The ore within the mountain mine
Requireth none to grow ;
Nor doth it need the lotus-flower
To make the river flow.
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 2
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,
THE YOUNG LETTER - WRITER,
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
To 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!
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 tries
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;