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THE EDGE OF THE SWAMP.

BY W. G. SIMMS.

The cayman

'Tis a wild spot and hath a gloomy look ;
The bird sings never merrily in the trees,
And the young leaves seem blighted. A rank growth
Spreads poisonously round, with power to taint,
With blistering dews, the thoughtless hand that dares
To penetrate the covert. Cypresses
Crowd on the dank, wet earth; and, stretched at length

-a fit dweller in such home-
Slumbers, half-buried in the sedgy grass,
Beside the green ooze where he shelters him.
A whooping crane erects his skeleton form,
And shrieks in flight. Two summer-ducks aroused
To apprehension, as they hear his cry,
Dash up from the lagoon, with marvellous haste,
Following his guidance. Meetly taught by these,
And startled at our rapid, near approach,
The steel-jawed monster, from his grassy bed,
Crawls slowly to his slimy, green abode,
Which straight receives him. You behold him now,

THE EDGE

OF THE SWAMP.

275

His ridgy back uprising as he speeds,
In silence to the centre of the stream,
Whence his head peers alone. A butterfly,
That, travelling all the day, has counted climes
Only by flowers, to rest himself awhile,
Lights on the monster's brow. The surly mute
Straightway goes down, so suddenly, that he,
The dandy of the summer flowers and woods,
Dips his light wings, and spoils his golden coat,
With the rank water of that turbid pond.
Wondering and vexed, the plumed citizen
Flies with an hurried effort, to the shore,
Seeking his kindred flowers :—but seeks in vain-
Nothing of genial growth may there be seen,
Nothing of beautiful! Wild, ragged trees,
That look like felon spectres — fetid shrubs,
That taint the gloomy atmosphere – dusk shades,
That gather, half a cloud, and half a fiend
In aspect, lurking on the swamp's wild edge,
Gloom with their sternness and forbidding frowns
The general prospect. The sad butterfly,
Waving his lackered wings, darts quickly on,
And, by his free flight, counsels us to speed,
For better lodgings, and a scene more sweet,
Than these drear borders offer us to-night.

33 SONG C2 193 STROYERL.

PARK

BEX JAXI X.

ITbe Svedes delight to tell of the Stromkerl, or boy of the stream, who haunts

the glassy bructs that steal genty through green meadows, and sits on the silver waves at moonright playing his barp to the elves who dance on the flowery margin-W. Irting.)

Come, dance, elfins, dance! for my harp is in tune,
The wave

ave-rocking gales are all lulled to repose ; And the breath of this exquisite evening of June,

Is scented with laurel and myrtle and rose.

Each lily that bends to the breast of my stream,

And sleeps on the waters transparently bright, Will in ecstacy wake, like a bride from her dream, When my tones stir the dark plumes of silence and

night.

My silken winged bark shall career by the shore,

As calmly as yonder white cloud on the air; And the notes ye have heard with such rapture before,

Shall impart new delight to the young and the fair.

THE

SONG OF

THE

STROMKERL.

277

The banks of my stream are enamelled with flowers

Come, shake from their petals the sweet, starry dew; Such music and incense can only be ours,

While clear falls the summer sky's curtain of blue !

Come, queen of the revels - come, form into bands

The elves and the fairies that follow your train: Tossing your tresses, and wreathing your hands,

Let your dainty feet glance to my wave-wafted strain!

Tis the Stromkerl who calls you, the boy of the stream

I hear the faint hum of your voices afar:-
Come, dance! I will play till the morn's rosy beam

Into splendour shall melt the last lingering star!

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The gay saloon was thronged with grace and beauty,
While astral rays shone out on lovely eyes,
And lovely eyes looked forth a clearer beam.

Fashion was there — not in her flaunting robes, Lavish of charms - but that fair sprite, who moulds All to her touch, yet leaves it nature still.

The light young laugh came reed-like on the ear,
Touching the chord of joy, electrical;
And smiles, too graceful for a sound, passed out
From ruby lips, like perfume from a flower.

Catching the gracious word of courtesy,
The listening maid turned to the speaker's eye;
And bowing in his honoured lowliness,
His manly head inclined to her slight form.

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