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The Gambols of Children. Down the dimpled green-sward dancing,

Bursts a flaxen-headed bevy — Bud-lipt boys and girls advancing,

Love's irregular little levy. Rows of liquid eyes in laughter,

How they glimmer, how they quiver ! Sparkling one another after,

Like bright ripples on a river. Tipsy band of rubious faces,

Flushed with Joy's ethereal spirit, Make your mocks and sly grimaces At Love's self, and do not fear it.


To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall !
Now, dash away, dash away, dash away all !”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the

So, up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys—and St. Nicholas too.
And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a

bound. He was dressed all in fur from his head to his

foot, And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and

soot; A bundle of toys he had flung on his back, And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. His eyes how they twinkled! his dimples how

merry; His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry ; His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, And the beard on his chin was as white as the

snow. The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, And the smoke, it encircled his head like a

wreath. He had a broad face and a little round belly That shook, when he laughed, like a bowl full of

jelly. He was chubby and plump-a right jolly old elf; And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself. A wink of his eye, and a twist of his head, Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread. He spoke not a word, but went straight to his

work, And filled all the stockings; then turned with a

jerk, And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose. He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a

whistle, And away they all flew like the down of a

thistle; But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of

sight, “ Happy Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight!"


Saturday Afternoon.
I love to look on a scene like this,

Of wild and careless play,
And persuade myself that I am not old,

And my locks are not yet gray;
For it stirs the blood in an old man's heart,

And makes his pulses fly,
To catch the thrill of a happy voice,

And the light of a pleasant eye.
I have walked the world for fourscore years,

And they say that I am old That my heart is ripe for the reaper Death,

And my years are well-nigh told.
It is very true — it is very true -

I am old, and I “ bide my time;"
But my heart will leap at a scene like this,

And I half renew my prime.
Play on! play on! I am with you there,

In the midst of your merry ring;
I can feel the thrill of the daring jump,

And the 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 -
For the world, at best, is a weary place,

And my pulse is getting low;



But the grave is dark, and the heart will fail They grieven sore, in piteous durance pent,
In treading its gloomy way;

Awed by the power of this relentless dame;
And it wiles my heart from its dreariness And ofttimes, on vagaries idly bent,
To see the young so gay.

For unkempt hair, or task unconned, are sorely

And all in sight doth rise a birchen tree,
The Little Bagabond.

Which Learning near her little dome did stow,

Whilom a twig of small regard to see, DEAR mother, dear mother, the church is cold, Though now so wide its waving branches flow, But the ale-house is healthy, and pleasant,and warm:

And work the simple vassals mickle woe; Besides, I can tell where I am used well,

For not a wind might curl the leaves that blew, Such usage in heaven will never do well.

But their limbs shuddered, and their pulse beat

low; But if at the church they would give us some ale, And as they looked, they found their horror And a pleasant fire our souls to regale,

grew, We'd sing and we'd pray all the live-long day, And shaped it into rods, and tingled at the Nor ever once wish from the church to stray.

view. Then the parson might preach and drink and sing, So have I seen (who has not, may conceive) And we'd be as happy as birds in the spring; A lifeless phantom near a garden placed ; And modest Dame Lurch, who is always at church, So doth it wanton birds of peace bereave, Would not have bandy children, nor hiding, nor Of sport, of song, of pleasure, of repast; birch;

They start, they stare, they wheel, they look

aghast; And God, like a father rejoicing to see

Sad servitude ! such comfortless annoy
His children as pleasant and happy as he,
Would have no more quarrel with the devil or the No superstition clog his dance of joy,

May no bold Briton's riper age e'er taste! barrel,

No vision empty, vain, his native bliss destroy. But kiss him, and give him both drink and apparel.

WILLIAM BLAKE Near to this dome is found a patch so green,

On which the tribe their gambols do display;

And at the door imprisoning-board is seen,
The Schoolmistress.

Lest weakly wights of smaller size should stray,

Eager, perdie, to bask in sunny day! Ai me! full sorely is my heart forlorn,

The noises intermixed, which thence resound, To think how modest worth neglected lies, Do Learning's little tenement betray; While partial Fame doth with her blasts adorn Where sits the dame, disguised in look profound,

Such deeds alone as pride and pomp disguise ; And eyes her fairy throng, and turns her wheel Deeds of ill sort, and mischievous emprise.

around. Lend me thy clarion, goddess ! let me try To sound the praise of merit, ere it dies,

Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow, Such as I oft have chaunced to espy,

Emblem right meet of decency does yield; Lost in the dreary shades of dull obscurity.

Her apron dyed in grain, as blue, I trowe,

As is the hare-bell that adorns the field; In every village marked with little spire,

And in her hand for sceptre, she does wield Embowered in trees, and hardly known to Fame, Tway birchen sprays, with anxious fears entwined, There dwells, in lowly shed and mean attire, With dark distrust, and sad repentance filled,

A matron old, whom we Schoolmistress name, And stedfast hate, and sharp affliction joined, Who boasts unruly brats with birch to tame; And fury uncontrolled, and chastisement unkind.

Few but have kenned, in semblance meet portrayed, The tufted basil, pun-provoking thyme,
The childish faces of old Eol's train;

Fresh balm, and marygold of cheerful hue, Libs, Notus, Auster; these in frowns arrayed, The lowly gill, that never dares to climb;

How then would fare or earth, or sky, or main, And more I fain would sing, disdaining here to

Were the stern god to give his slaves the rein! rhyme. And were not she rebellious breasts to quell,

And were not she her statutes to maintain, Yet euphrasy may not be left unsung, The cot no more, I ween, were deemed the cell, That gives dim eyes to wander leagues around; Where comely peace of mind and decent order And pungent radish, biting infant's tongue; dwell.

And plantain ribbed, that heals the reaper's

wound; A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown; And marjoram sweet, in shepherd's posie found; A russet kirtle fenced the nipping air ;

And lavender, whose spikes of azure bloom 'Twas simple russet, but it was her own;

Shall be erewhile in arid bundles bound, 'Twas her own country bred the flock so fair; To lurk amid the labors of her loom,

'Twas her own labor did the fleece prepare; And crown her kerchiefs clean with mickle rare And, sooth to say, her pupils, ranged around,

perfume. Through pious awe did term it passing rare; For they in gaping wonderment abound,

And here trim rosemarine, that whilom crowned And think, no doubt, she been the greatest wight The daintiest garden of the proudest peer, on ground! .

Ere, driven from its envied site, it found

A sacred shelter for its branches here; Albeit ne flattery did corrupt her truth,

Where edged with gold its glittering skirts Ne pompous title did debauch her ear;

appear. Goody, good-woman, gossip, n'aunt, forsooth, Oh wassel days! O customs meet and well! Or dame, the sole additions she did hear;

Ere this was banished from its lofty sphere ! Yet these she challenged, these she held right Simplicity then sought this humble cell, dear;

Nor ever would she more with thane and lordling Ne would esteem him act as mought behove,

dwell. Who should not honored eld with these revere; For never title yet so mean could prove,

Here oft the dame, on Sabbath's decent eve, But there was eke a mind which did that title love. Hymned such psalms as Sternhold forth did

mete. One ancient hen she took delight to feed,

If winter 'twere, she to her hearth did cleave, The plodding pattern of the busy dame;

But in her garden found a summer-seat; Which, ever and anon, impelled by need,

Sweet melody! to hear her then repeat Into her school, begirt with chickens, came! How Israel's sons, beneath a foreign king,

Such favor did her past deportment claim; While taunting foemen did a song entreat, And if Neglect had lavished on the ground All for the nonce untuning every string,

Fragment of bread, she would collect the same; Uphung their useless lyres - small heart had they For well she knew, and quaintly could expound, to sing. What sin it were to waste the smallest crumb she found.

For she was just, and friend to virtuous lore,

And passed much time in truly virtuous deed; Herbs, too, she knew, and well of each could speak, And in those elfin ears would oft deplore

That in her garden sipped the silvery dew, The times when truth by Popish rage did bleed, Where no vain flower disclosed a gaudy streak; And tortuous death was true devotion's meed, But herbs for use and physic not a few,

And simple Faith in iron chains did mourn, Of grey renown, within these borders grew; That nould on wooden image place her creed;



And lawny saints in smouldering flames did burn; O ruthful scene! when from a nook obscure,
Ah, dearest Lord, forefend thilk days should e'er His little sister doth his peril see ;

All playful as she sate, she grows demure;

She finds full soon her wonted spirits flee ; In elbow-chair, like that of Scottish stem

She meditates a prayer to set him free; By the sharp tooth of cankering eld defaced, Nor gentle pardon could this dame deny, In which, when he receives his diadem,

(If gentle pardon could with dames agree) Our sovereign prince and liefest liege is placed, To her sad grief, which swells in either eye, The matron sate, and some with rank she And wrings her so that all for pity she could die.

graced, (The source of children's and of courtiers' pride! No longer can she now her shrieks command, Redressed affronts, for vile affronts there And hardly she forbears, through awful fear, passed;

To rushen forth, and with presumptuous hand And warned them not the fretful to deride,

To stay harsh justice in his mid-career. But love each other dear, whatever them betide. On thee she calls, on thee, her parent dear!

(Ah! too remote to ward the shameful blow !) Right well she knew each temper to descry; She sees no kind domestic visage near;

To thwart the proud, and the submiss to raise ; And soon a flood of tears begins to flow, Some with vile copper-prize exalt on high, And gives a loose at last to unavailing woe.

And some entice with pittance small of praise;

And other some with baleful sprig she frays; But ah! what pen his piteous plight may trace ? E'en absent, she the reins of power doth hold, Or what device his loud laments explain : While with quaint arts the giddy crowd she The form uncouth of his disguised face ? sways;

The pallid hue that dyes his looks amain 1 Forewarned if little bird their pranks behold, The plenteous shower that does his cheek dis'Twill whisper in her ear and all the scene un tain ? fold.

When he in abject wise implores the dar,

Ne hopeth aught of sweet reprieve to gain ; Lo! now with state she utters the command; Or when from high she levels well her aim,

Eftsoons the urchins to their tasks repair ; And through the thatch his cries each falling Their books of stature small they take in hand, stroke proclaim.

Which with pellucid horn secured are,

To save from fingers wet the letters fair; The other tribe, aghast, with sore dismay, The work so gay, that on their back is seen,

Attend, and con their tasks with mickle care; St. George's high achievements doth declare; By turns, astonied every twig survey, On which thilk wight that has y-gazing been, And from their fellow's hateful wounds beware, Kens the forthcoming rod - unpleasing sight I Knowing, I wis, how each the same may share, ween!

Till fear has taught them a performance meet,

And to the well-known chest the dame repair, Ah luckless he, and born beneath the beam Whence oft with sugared cates she doth them Of evil star! it irks me while I write;

greet, As erst the bard by Mulla's silver stream, And ginger-bread y-rare; now, certes, doubly Oft as he told of deadly, dolorous plight,

sweet. Sighed as he sung, and did in tears indite. For, brandishing the rod, she doth begin

See to their seats they hie with merry glee, To loose the brogues, the stripling's late de And in beseemly order sitten there; light!

All but the wight of bum y-galled; he And down they drop; appears his dainty skin, Abhorreth bench, and stool, and fourm, and Fair as the furry coat of whitest ermilin.


(This hand in mouth y-fixed, that rends his Nor weeting how the Muse should soar on high, hair ;)

Wisheth, poor starveling elf! his paper kite may And eke with snubs profound, and heaving breast, fly.

Convulsions intermitting, doth declare
His grievous wrong, his dame's unjust behest ;

And this perhaps, who, censuring the design, And scorns her offered love, and shuns to be ca

Low lays the house which that of cards doth ressed.


Shall Dennis be! if rigid Fate incline,
His face besprent with liquid crystal shines, And many an epic to his rage shall yield;
His blooming face that seems a purple flower,

And many a poet quit th’ Aonian field,
Which low to earth its drooping head declines,

And, soured by age, profound he shall appear, All smeared and sullied by a vernal shower.

As he who now with 'sdainful fury thrilled Oh the hard bosoms of despotic power!

Surveys mine work; and levels many a sneer, All, all but she, the author of his shame,

And furls his wrinkly front, and cries, “What All, all but she, regret this mournful hour;

stuff is here ?" Yet hence the youth, and hence the flower shall claim,

And now Dan Phæbus gains the middle skie,

And Liberty unbars her prison-door; If so I deem aright, transcending worth and fame.

And like a rushing torrent out they fly,

And now the grassy cirque had covered o'er Behind some door, in melancholy thought,

With boisterous revel-rout and wild uproar; Mindless of food, he, dreary caitiff ! pines;

A thousand ways in wanton rings they run; Ne for his fellows' joyaunce careth aught,

Heaven shield their short-lived pastimes, I imBut to the wind all merriment resigns;

plore! And deems it shame if he to peace inclines ;

For well may freedom erst so dearly won, And many a sullen look askance is sent,

Appear to British elf more gladsome than the

sun. na un for his dame's annoyance he designs; And still the more to pleasure him she's bent,

Enjoy, poor imps ! enjoy your sportive trade, The more doth he, perverse, her 'haviour past

And chase gay flies, and cull the fairest flowers, resent.

For when my bones in grass-green sods are laid ;

For never may ye taste more careless hours Ah me! how much I fear lest pride it be!

In knightly castles, or in ladies' bowers. But if that pride it be, which thus inspires, Oh vain to seek delight in earthly thing ! Beware, ye dames, with nice discernment see,

But most in courts where proud Ambition Ye quench not too the sparks of noble fires.

towers; Ah! better far than all the Muses' lyres, Deluded wight! who weens fair peace can spring All coward arts, is valor's generous heat ; Beneath the pompous dome of kesar or of king.

The firm fixt breast which fit and right requires, Like Vernon's patriot soul! more justly great See in each sprite some various bent appear! Than craft that pimps for ill or flowery false These rudely carol most incondite lay; deceit.

Those sauntering on the green, with jocund leer

Salute the stranger passing on his way; Yet nursed with skill, what dazzling fruits appear! Some builden fragile tenements of clay;

E'en now sagacious Foresight points to show Some to the standing lake their courses bend, A little bench of heedless bishops here,

With pebbles smooth at duck and drake to And there a chancellor in embryo,

play; Or bard sublime, if bard may e'er be so, Thilk to the hunter's savory cottage tend, As Milton, Shakespeare, names that ne'er shall die! In pastry kings and queens th' allotted mite to

Though now he crawl along the ground so low, spend.

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