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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,
Tips 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.
THE SON G OF THE STR, O M KE R.L.
IThe Swedes delight to tell of the Stromkerl, or boy of the stream, who haunts the glassy brooks that steal gently through green meadows, and sits on the silver waves at moonlight, playing his harp to the elves who dance on the flowery margin.—W. Irving.]
CoME, dance, elfins, dance! for my harp is in tune,
The wave-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
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 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!
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 mature 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.
There was a hum of social harmony,
“Like the soft south” upon the rushing seas.
Between its pauses, burst the harp's rich tone,
Poured out by one who filled the Poet's eye
With fond fruition of his classic dream.
A voice was there — clear and distinct it rose
Like evening’s star when other stars are dim: —
Clear, sweet, and lonely, as that southern bird’s
Who on far turrets trills his midnight lay.
In the heart's cavern, deep that voice went down,
Waking up echoes of the silent past.
Oh, woman! lovely in thy beauty's power! Thrice lovely, when we know that thou canst turn To duty's path, and tread it with a smile.