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SATURDAY AFTERNOON. 245
I can feel the thrill of the daring jump,
And rush of the breathless swing. I hide with you in the fragrant hay,
And I whoop the smothered call, And my feet slip up on the seedy floor,
And I care not for the fall.
I am willing to die when my time shall come,
And I shall be glad to go;
And my pulse is getting low
In treading its gloomy way;
To see the young so gay.
THE CHINA TREE.
Though the blossoms be ripe on the China tree, Though the flower of the orange be fair to see,— And the pomegranate's blush, and the humming-bird's
wing, Throw the charms of elysium, O South, on thy spring; It is dearer to me to remember the North, Where scarce the green leaf yet comes timidly forth, — To walk in thy gardens, and dream that I roam Through the verdureless fields and the forests of Home.
If the golden-hued oriole sing from the tide,
Oh, the blue bird is sweeter by Delaware's side:
And the sound of that flood on the beaches so dear!
Ne'er ripples the river so pleasantly here.
Oh, the pebble-strown beaches, that echo all day
To the kill-deer's shrill shriek and the bank-swallow's lay,
And at eve, when the harvest moon mellows the shade,
To the sigh of the lover, the laugh of the maid!
China tree! though thy blossoms, in chaplets, may bond The brows of the brave, and the necks of the fond,
THE CHINA TREE. 217
Never think that fit garlands our oak cannot form,
One evening wet and weary came Friendship to my door, And begged for shelter from the storm—I'd sheltered
him before — A piteous look he gave me, and asked in accents mild If his companion I 'd let in, he said, a harmless child.
I stirred the dying embers, and soon the fagot blazed, I spread my frugal table, the wine their spirits raised;
LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP. 249
For Friendship a soft couch I made, and e'er he sunk to
rest, The urchin his companion thus his thanks to me expressed:
"Dear ma'am," lisped he, in accents so winning, soft,
and sweet, "If not saved by your kindness, I had perished at your feet; I pray accept my thanks, ma'am, for ne'er was bounty cast On heart that more could feel it—or where 'twill longer
I stroked his flaxen ringlets, and kissed his snowy brow, "You are welcome, pretty child," I said, "no thanks to
me you owe," Then first, I saw the urchin had a quiver by his side: And with good store of arrows, too, that quiver was supplied.
I started at so strange a sight, and begged their use to know—• [this is my bow,
"They are arrows, ma'am," he archly said, " and this— I hid it 'neath my cloak, ma'am, lest it some harm should get, And much I fear my bow is spoiled, for see, the string is wet.
"But if to all your kindness, ma'am, you 'd add one favor
more, I 'd beg to try just if my bow is good as 'twas before;"