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THE TOWN AND COUNTRY CHILD. — Cunningham.
CHILD of the country ! free as air
Art thou, and as the sunshine fair;
Born, like the lily, where the dew
Lies odorous when the day is new;
Fed 'mid the May-flowers like the bee;
Nursed to sweet music on the knee;
Lulled in the breast to that glad tune
Which winds make 'mong the woods of June;
I sing of thee; — 'tis sweet to sing
Of such a fair and gladsome thing.
Child of the town for thee I sigh;
A gilded roof’s thy golden sky,
A carpet is thy daisied sod,
A narrow street thy boundless road,
Thy rushing deer's the clattering tramp
Of watchmen, thy best light's a lamp, —
Through smoke, and not through trellised vines
And blooming trees, thy sunbeam shines;
I sing of thee in sadness; where
Else is wreck wrought in aught so farr 2
Child of the country ! thy small feet
Tread on strawberries red and sweet;
With thee I wander forth to see
The flowers which most delight the bee;
The bush o'er which the throstle sung
In April, while she nursed her young;
The den beneath the sloe-thorn, where
She bred her twins, the timorous hare;
The knoll, wrought o'er with wild blue-bells,
Where brown bees build their balmy cells;
The greenwood stream, the shady pool,
Where trouts leap when the day is cool.
The shilfa's nest, that seems to be
A portion of the sheltering tree, –
And other marvels, which my verse
Can find no language to rehearse.
Child of the town for thee, alas !
Glad nature spreads nor flowers nor grass.
Birds build no nests, nor in the sun
Glad streams come singing as they run;
A May-pole is thy blossomed tree,
A beetle is thy murmuring bee ;
Thy bird is caged, thy dove is where
Thy poulterer dwells, beside thy hare;
Thy fruit is plucked, and by the pound
Hawked clamorous all the city round;
No roses, twin-born on the stalk,
Perfume thee in thy evening walk;
No voice of birds, – but to thee comes
The mingled din of cars and drums,
And startling cries, such as are rife
When wine and wassail waken strife.
Child of the country ! on the lawn
I see thee like the bounding fawn,
Blithe as the bird which tries its wing
The first time on the winds of spring;
Bright as the sun when from the cloud
He comes as cocks are crowing loud;
Now running, shouting, 'mid sunbeams,
Now groping trouts in lucid streams,
Now spinning like a mill-wheel round,
Now hunting echo's empty sound,
Now climbing up some old, tall tree,
For climbing's sake. 'T is sweet to thee
To sit where birds can sit alone,
Or share with thee thy venturous throne.
Child of the town and bustling street,
What woes and snares await thy feet!
Thy paths are paved for five long miles,
Thy groves and hills are peaks and tiles;
Thy fragrant air is yon thick smoke,
Which shrouds thee like a mourning-cloak;
And thou art cabined and confined
At once from sun, and dew, and wind;
Or set thy tottering feet but on
Thy lengthened walks of slippery stone;
The coachman there careering reels,
With goaded steeds and maddening wheels:
And Commerce pours each poring son
In pelf's pursuit and hollos' run ;
While, flushed with wine, and stung at play,
Men rush from darkness into day,
The stream 's too strong for thy small bark;
There nought can sail, save what is stark.
Fly from the town, sweet child ! for health
Is happiness, and strength, and wealth.
There is a lesson in each flower,
A story in each stream and bower;
On every herb on which you tread
Are written words which, rightly read,
Will lead you from earth's fragrant sod
To hope, and holiness, and God.
I SAw a boy with eager eye
Open a book upon a stall,
And read as he 'd devour it all;
Which when the stall-man did espy,
Soon to the boy I heard him call: —
“You sir, you never buy a book,
Therefore in one you shall not look.”
S2 A SONG TO CREATING WISDOM.
The boy passed slowly on, and, with a sigh,
He wished he never had been taught to read,
Then of the old churl’s books he should have had no need.
Of sufferings the poor have many,
Which never can the rich annoy.
I soon perceived another boy,
Who looked as if he'd not had any
Food for that day at least, enjoy
The sight of cold meat in a tavern larder.
This boy's case, thought I, is surely harder;
Thus hungry longing, thus without a penny,
Beholding choice of dainty-dressed meat;
No wonder if he wish he ne'er had learned to eat.
ETERNAL Wisdom, thee we praise,
Thee the creation sings;
With thy loud name, rocks, hills, and seas,
And heaven's high palace rings.
Place me on the bright wings of day,
To travel with the sun;
With what amaze shall I survey
The wonders thou hast done :
Thy hand, how wide it spread the sky.
How glorious to behold!
Tinged with a blue of heavenly dye,
And starred with sparkling gol
There thou hast bid the globes of light
Their endless circles run;
There the pale planet rules the night,
And day obeys the sun.
Downward I turn my wondering eyes
On clouds and storms below,
Those under regions of the skies
Thy numerous glories show.
The noisy winds stand ready there
Thy orders to obey,
With sounding wings they sweep the air
To make thy chariot way.
There, like a trumpet, loud and strong, Thy thunder shakes our coast;
While the red lightnings wave along
The banners of thine host.
On the thin air, without a prop,
Hang fruitful showers around;
At thy command they sink and drop
Their fatness on the ground.
How did thy wondrous skill array
The fields in charming green;
A thousand herbs thy art display,
A thousand flowers between
The rolling mountains of the déep
Observe thy strong command;
Thy breath can raise the billows steep,
Or sink them to the sand.