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As in an idiot's brain remembered words
Hang empty 'mid the cobwebs of his dreams! Will bleat of flocks or bellowing of herds
Make up for the lost music, when your teams Drag home the stingy harvest, and no more
The feathered gleaners follow to your door? “What! would you rather see the incessant stir
Of insects in the windrows of the hay,
Their melancholy hurdy-gurdies play?
Of meadow-lark, and her sweet roundelay,
Your nooning in the shade of bush and brake ? * You call them thieves and pillagers; but know
They are the winged wardens of your farms, Who from the corn-fields drive the insidious foe,
And from your harvests keep a hundred harms; Even the blackest of them all, the crow,
Renders good service as your man-at-arms, Crushing the beetle in his coat of mail,
And crying havoc on the slug and snail. “How can I teach your children gentleness,
And mercy to the weak, and reverence
Is still a gleam of God's omnipotence,
The selfsame light, although averted hence,
A murmur, like the rustle of dead leaves;
Their yellow heads together like their sheaves;
Who put their trust in bullocks and in beeves. The birds were doomed; and, as the record shows, A bounty offered for the heads of crows.
There was another audience out of reach,
Who had no voice nor vote in making laws, But in the papers read his little speech,
And crowned his modest temples with applause; They made him conscious, each one more than each,
He still was victor, vanquished in their cause.
And so the dreadful massacre began;
O'er fields and orchards, and o'er woodland crests, The ceaseless fusillade of terror ran,
Dead fell the birds, with blood-stains on their breasts, Or wounded crept away from sight of man,
While the young died of famine in their nests;
The days were like hot coals; the very ground
Myriads of caterpillars, and around The cultivated fields and garden beds
Hosts of devouring insects crawled, and found No foe to check their march, till they had made The land a desert without leaf or shade. Devoured by worms, like Herod, was the town,
Because, like Herod, it had ruthlessly Slaughtered the Innocents. From the trees spun down
The canker-worms upon the passers-by,
Who shook them off with just a little cry;
Confessed their error, and would not complain,
When it is raining, is to let it rain.
It would not call the dead to life again;
That year in Killingworth the Autumn came
Without the light of his majestic look,
The illumined pages of his Doomsday-Book.
And drowned themselves despairing in the brook,
A sight that never yet by bard was sung,
If some dumb animal had found a tongue!
All full of singing birds, came down the street,
From all the country round these birds were brought,
By order of the town, with anxious quest,
In woods and fields the places they loved best,
Were satires to the authorities addressed,
But blither still and louder carolled they
Upon the morrow, for they seemed to know
And everywhere, around, above, below,
Their songs burst forth in joyous overflow,
CLOSE OF FIRST DAY.
The hour was late ; the fire burned low, Then all arose, and said “Good Night."
To rake the embers of the fire,
The constellation of the Bear, Protested that he had not slept,
Downward, athwart the misty air, But only shut his eyes, and kept
Sinking and setting toward the sun. His ears attentive to each word.
Far off the village clock struck one.
THE SECOND DAY.
A COLD, uninterrupted rain,
Then one by one the guests came down, That washed each southern window-pane, And greeted with a smile the Squire, And made a river of the road ;
Who sat before the parlour fire, A sea of mist that overflowed
Reading the paper fresh from town.
Then came the Student, with a look
With thoughts of this world and the As a faint pallor in the sky ;
next; Thus cold and colourless and gray, The Poet then, as one who seems The morn of that autumnal day,
Walking in visions and in dreams; As if reluctant to begin,
Then the Musician, like a fair Dawned on the silent Sudbury Inn, | Hyperion from whose golden hair And all the guests that in it lay.
The radiance of the morning streams;
And last the aromatic Jew Full late they slept. They did not hear Of Alicant, who, as he threw The challenge of Sir Chanticleer,
The door wide open, on the air Who on the empty threshing-floor, Breathed round about him a perfume Disdainful of the rain outside,
Of damask roses in full bloom, Was strutting with a martial stride, Making a garden of the room. As if upon his thigh he wore The famous broadsword of the Squire, The breakfast ended, cach pursued And said, “Behold me and admire!” The promptings of his various mood ;
Beside the fire in silence smoked Only the Poet seemed to hear,
The taciturn, impassive Jew,
While, by his gravity provoked,
By far the busiest of them all,
Two poets of the Golden Age, All silent save the dripping rain. Heirs of a boundless heritage
Of fields and orchards, east and west, A jaded horse, his head down bent,
Impatient longer to abide
His plans for angling in the brook, Among the nations, scattered wide And, leaning o'er the bridge of stone, Like salt and seaweed by the force To watch the speckled trout glide by, And fluctuation of the tide ;
And float through the inverted sky, The tale repeated o'er and o'er,
Still round and round the baited hook,-With change of place and change of Now paced the room with rapid stride, name,
And, pausing at the Poet's side, Disguised, transformed, and yet the sanje Looked forth, and saw the wretched We've heard a hundred times before.
And said: “ Alas for human greed, The Poet at the window mused,
That with cold band and stony eye And saw, as in a dream confused, Thus turns an old friend out to die, The countenance of the Sun, discrowned, Or beg his food from gate to gate! And haggard with a pale despair, This brings a tale into my mind, And saw the cloud-rack trail and drift | Which, if you are not disinclined Before it, and the trees uplift
To listen, I will now relate." Their leafless branches, and the air Filled with the arrows of the rain, All gave assent; all wished to hear, And heard amid the mist below,
Not without many a jest and jeer, Like voices of distress and pain,
The story of a spavined steed;
Out of Malherbe, that Pegasus
| While the Sicilian, self-possessed,
THE SICILIAN'S TALE.
THE BELL OF ATRI.