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The green and spangled dell,
For thee diffuses its sweet scent and hue:
Thou drinkest, from the tulip's ample bell,
The late and early dew.
I love, sweet bird ! to see
Thy crimson plumage in the morning clear.-
Thy gambols—thy capricious revelry
In the thin atmosphere.
How thou art full of life —
How art thou joyous through thy transient hour-
For thee, the morning air with sweets is rife -
For thee, blooms the May bower.
Go forth, on thy glad way!
The Eagle of a hundred years, is not
So happy in his towering pride of sway,
As thou, in thy brief lot!
She was, indeed, a pretty little creature,
So meek, so modest: what a pity, madam,
That one so young and innocent, should fall
A prey to the ravenous wolf.
- - The wolf, indeed ! You've left the nursery to but little purpose, If you believe a wolf could ever speak, Though, in the time of Æsop, or before. - Was 't not a wolf, then? I have read the story A hundred times; and heard it told: nay, told it Myself, to my younger sisters, when we've shrank
Together in the sheets, from very terror,
And, with protecting arms, each round the other,
E’en sobbed ourselves to sleep. But I remember,
I saw the story acted on the stage,
Last winter in the city, I and my school-mates,
With our most kind preceptress, Mrs. Bazely,
And so it was a robber, not a wolf
That met poor little Riding Hood i’ the wood ?
– Nor wolf nor robber, child: this nursery tale
Contains a hidden moral.
- Hidden: nay,
I'm not so young, but I can spell it out,
And thus it is : children, when sent on errands,
Must never stop by the way to talk with wolves.
– Tut! wolves again : wilt listen to me, child?
- Say on, dear grandma.
- Thus then, dear my daughter:
In this young person, culling idle flowers,
You see the peril that attends the maiden
Who in her walk through life, yields to temptation,
And quits the onward path to stray aside,
Allured by gaudy weeds.
- Nay, none but children
Could gather butter-cups, and May-weed, mother.
But violets, dear violets —methinks
I could live ever on a bank of violets,
Or die most happy there.
You die, indeed,
At your years die!
- Then sleep, ma'am, if you please,
As you did yesterday in that sweet spot
Down by the fountain ; where you seated you
To read the last new novel - what d'ye call't-
The Prairie, was it not ?
It was, my love,
And there, as I remember, your kind arm
Pillowed my aged head : 'twas irksome, sure,
To your young limbs and spirit.
— No, believe me,
To keep the insects from disturbing you
Was sweet employment, or to fan your cheek
When the breeze lull’d.
You're a dear child!
And then, To gaze on such a scene! the grassy bank, So gently sloping to the rivulet, All purple with my own dear violet, And sprinkled o’er with spring flowers of each tint. There was that pale and humble little blossom, Looking so like its namesake Innocence; The fairy-formed, flesh-hued anemone, With its fair sisters, called by country people Fair maids o' the spring. The lowly cinquefoil, too, And statelier marigold. The violet sorrel, Blushing so rosy red in bashfulness, And her companion of the season, dressed
In varied pink. The partridge evergreen,
Hanging its fragrant wax-work on each stem,
And studding the green sod with scarlet berries -
– Did you see all those flowers ? I marked them not.
-O many more, whose names I have not learned.
And then to see the light blue butterfly
Roaming about, like an enchanted thing,
From flower to flower, and the bright honey-bee -
And there, too, was the fountain, overhung
With bush and tree, draped by the graceful vine,
Where the white blossoms of the dogwood, met
The crimson red-bud, and the sweet birds sang
Their madrigals; while the fresh springing waters,
Just stirring the green fern that bathed within them,
Leaped joyful o'er their fairy mound of rock,
And fell in music—then passed prattling on,
Between the flowery banks that bent to kiss them.
I dreamed not of these sights or sounds.
- Then just Beyond the brook there lay a narrow strip, Like a rich riband, of enamelled meadow, Girt by a pretty precipice, whose top Was crowned with rose-bay. Half-way down there stood Sylphlike, the light fantastic columbine, As ready to leap down unto her lover Harlequin Bartsia, in his painted vest Of green and crimson.
---Tut! enough, enough,