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FANCY, who leads the pastimes of the glad,
Full oft is pleased a wayward dart to throw;
Sending sad shadows after things not sad,
Peopling the harmless fields with signs of woe:
Beneath her sway, a simple forest cry
Becomes an echo of man's misery.
Blithe ravens croak of death ; and when the owl
Tries his two voices for a favorite strain,
Tu-aohat! Tu-aohoo! the unsuspecting fowl
Forebodes mishap or seems but to complain ;
Fancy, intent to harass and annoy,
Can thus pervert the evidence of joy.
Through border wilds where naked Indians stray,
Myriads of notes attest her subtle skill ;
A feathered taskmaster cries, “WORK AWAY!”
And, in thy iteration, “ WHIP POOR WILL!”*
* See Waterton's Wanderings in South America.
Is heard the spirit of a toil-worn slave,
Lashed out of life, not quiet in the grave.
What wonder? at her bidding, ancient lays
Steeped in dire grief the voice of Philomel ;
And that fleet messenger of summer days,
The Swallow, twittered subject to like spell;
But ne'er could Fancy bend the buoyant Lark
To melancholy service. — Hark! O hark !
The daisy sleeps upon the dewy lawn,
Not lifting yet the head that evening bowed ;
But He is risen, a later star of dawn,
Glittering and twinkling near yon rosy cloud;
Bright gem instinct with music, vocal spark;
The happiest bird that sprang out of the Ark !
Hail, blest above all kinds ! — Supremely skilled Restless with fixed to balance, high with low, Thou leav'st the halcyon free her hopes to build On such forbearance as the deep may show; Perpetual flight, unchecked by earthly ties, Leav'st to the wandering bird of paradise.
Faithful, though swift as lightning, the meek Dove ;
Yet more hath Nature reconciled in thee;
So constant with thy downward eye of love,
Yet, in aerial singleness, so free;
So humble, yet so ready to rejoice
In power of wing and never-wearied voice.
To the last point of vision, and beyond,
Mount, daring warbler !- that love-prompted
strain ('Twixt thee and thine a never-failing bond) Thrills not the less the bosom of the plain : Yet might'st thou seem, proud privilege ! to sing All independent of the leafy spring.
How would it please old Ocean to partake,
With sailors longing for a breeze in vain,
The harmony thy notes most gladly make,
Where earth resembles most his own domain !
Urania's self might welcome with pleased ear
These matins mounting towards her native sphere.
Chanter by heaven attracted, whom no bars
To daylight known deter from that pursuit,
'T is well that some sage instinct, when the stars
Come forth at evening, keeps thee still and mute;
For not an eyelid could to sleep incline
Wert thou among them, singing as they shine !
AT COLEORTON HALL, LEICESTERSHIRE.
Tell me, ye Zephyrs ! that unfold,
While fluttering o'er this gay recess,
Pinions that fanned the teeming mould
Of Eden's blissful wilderness,
Did only softly stealing hours
There close the peaceful lives of flowers ?
Say, when the moving creatures saw
All kinds commingled without fear,
Prevailed a like indulgent law
For the still growths that prosper here?
Did wanton fawn and kid forbear
The half-blown rose, the lily spare ?
Or peeped they often from their beds
And prematurely disappeared,
Devoured like pleasure ere it spreads
A bosom to the sun endeared ?
If such their harsh, untimely doom,
It falls not here on bud or bloom.
All summer long the happy Eve
Of this fair spot her flowers may bind,
Nor e'er, with ruffled fancy, grieve,
From the next glance she casts, to find
That love for little things by Fate
Is rendered vain as love for great.
Yet, where the guardian fence is wound,
So subtly are our eyes beguiled
We see not nor suspect a bound,
No more than in some forest wild;
The sight is free as air, or crost
Only by art in nature lost.
And though the jealous turf refuse
By random footsteps to be prest,
And feed on never-sullied dews,
Ye, gentle breezes from the west,
With all the ministers of hope
Are tempted to this sunny slope !
And hither throngs of birds resort; Some, inmates lodged in shady nests, Some, perched on stems of stately port That nod to welcome transient guests; While hare and leveret, seen at play, Appear not more shut out than they.
Apt emblem (for reproof of pride)
This delicate inclosure shows
Of modest kindness, that would hide
The firm protection she bestows;
Of manners, like its viewless fence,
Insuring peace to innocence.