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Three flights of steps, nor looking left nor right, Alike regardless of their smile or frown,
Down the long street he walked, as one who said, And quite determined not to be laughed down. “A town that boasts inhabitants like me Can have no lack of good society.”
“Plato, anticipating the reviewers,
From his republic banished without pity
You put to death, by means of a committee, The wrath of God he preached from year to year, The ballad-singers and the troubadours,
And read with fervor Edwards on the Will: The street-musicians of the heavenly city, His favorite pastime was to slay the deer
The birds, who make sweet music for us all
In our dark hours, as David did for Saul.
From the green steeples of the piny wood; From the Academy whose belfry crowned The oriole in the elm; the noisy jay,
The Hill of Science with its vane of brass, Jargoning like a foreigner at his food; Came the Preceptor, gazing idly round,
The bluebird balanced on some topmost spray, Now at the clouds, and now at the green grass, Flooding with melody the neighborhood; And all absorbed in reveries profound
Linnet and meadow-lark, and all the throng Of fair Almira in the upper class,
That dwell in nests, and have the gift of song,— Who was, as in a sonnet he had said, As pure as water and as good as bread.
“ You slay them all! and wherefore? For the
gain And next the Deacon issued from his door,
Of a scant handful, more or less, of wheat, In his voluminous neck-cloth, white as snow; Or rye, or barley, or some other grain, A suit of sable bombazine he wore:
Scratched up at random by industrious feet His form was ponderous, and his step was slow; Searching for worm or weevil after rain, There never was so wise a man before ;
Or a few cherries that are not so sweet He seemed the incarnate “ Well, I told you so !" | As are the songs these uninvited guests And to perpetuate his great renown,
Sing at their feast with comfortable breasts. There was a street named after him in town.
“ Do you ne'er think what wondrous beings These came together in the new town-hall,
these 1 With sundry farmers from the region round: Do you ne'er think who made them, and who The Squire presided, dignified and tall,
taught His air impressive and his reasoning sound. The dialect they speak, where melodies Ill fared it with the birds, both great and small, Alone are the interpreters of thought?
Hardly a friend in all that crowd they found, Whose household words are songs in many keys, But enemies enough, who every one
Sweeter than instrument of man e'er caught! Charged them with all the crimes beneath the sun. Whose habitations in the tree-tops even
Are half-way houses on the road to heaven ! When they had ended, from his place apart
Rose the Preceptor, to redress the wrong, “Think, every morning when the sun peeps through And, trembling like a steed before the start,
The dim, leaf-latticed windows of the grove, Looked round bewildered on the expectant How jubilant the happy birds renew throng;
Their old melodious madrigals of love! Then thought of fair Almira, and took heart And when you think of this, remember, too,
To speak out what was in him, clear and strong. 'Tis always morning somewhere, and above
" How can I teach your children gentleness, Devoured by worms, like Herod, was the town, And mercy to the weak, and reverence
Because, like Herod, it had ruthlessly For Life, which, in its weakness or excess, Slaughtered the Innocents. From the trees spun Is still a gleam of God's omnipotence,
down Or Death, which, seeming darkness, is no less The canker-worms upon the passers-by,—
The self-same light, although averted hence, Upon each woman's bonnet, shawl, and gown, When by your laws, your actions, and your speech, Who shook them off with just a little cry: You contradict the very things I teach ?” They were the terror of each favorite walk,
The endless theme of all the village talk. With this he closed; and through the audience went
The farmers grew impatient; but a few A murmur like the rustle of dead leaves ; Confessed their error, and would not complain ; The farmers laughed and nodded, and some bent For, after all, the best thing one can do,
Their yellow heads together like their sheaves : When it is raining, is to let it rain. Men have no faith in fine-spun sentiment Then they repealed the law, although they knew
Who put their trust in bullocks and in beeves. It would not call the dead to life again : The birds were doomed; and as the record shows, As schoolboys, finding their mistake too late, A bounty offered for the heads of crows.
Draw a wet sponge across the accusing slate.
That year in Killingworth the Autumn came
Without the light of his majestic look, The wonder of the falling tongues of flame,
The illumined pages of his Dooms-Day Book. A few lost leaves blushed crimson with their shame,
And drowned themselves despairing in the brook, While the wild wind went moaning everywhere, Lamenting the dead children of the air. But the next Spring, a stranger sight was seen,
A sight that never yet by bard was sung, As great a wonder as it would have been
If some dumb animal had found a tongue: A wagon overarched with evergreen,
Upon whose boughs were wicker cages hung, All full of singing-birds came down the street, Filling the air with music wild and sweet.
Streaming among the streams;
Her steps paved with green
The downward ravine Which slopes to the western gleams,
And, gliding and springing,
She went, ever singing In murmurs as soft as sleep;
The Earth seemed to love her,
And Heaven smiled above her, As she lingered towards the deep.
From all the country round these birds were
brought By order of the town, with anxious quest, And, loosened from their wicker prison, sought
In woods and fields the places they loved best, Singing loud canticles, which many thought
Were satires to the authorities addressed ; While others, listening in green lanes, averred Such lovely music never had been heard.
Then Alpheus bold,
On his glacier cold, With his trident the mountains strook
And opened a chasm
In the rocks; with the spasm All Erymanthus shook.
And the black south wind,
It concealed behind The urns of the silent snow,
And earthquake and thunder
Did rend in sunder
The beard and the hair
Of the river-god were
As he followed the light
Of the fleet nymph's flight To the brink of the Dorian deep.
But blither still and louder carolled they
Upon the morrow, for they seemed to know It was the fair Almira's wedding-day;
And everywhere, around, above, below, When the Preceptor bore his bride away,
Their songs burst forth in joyous overflow, And a new heaven bent over a new earth Amid the sunny farms of Killingworth.
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW.
From her couch of snows
From cloud and from crag
With many a jag, Shepherding her bright fountains.
She leapt down the rocks
“Oh, save me!. Oh, guide me!
And bid the deep hide me, For he grasps me now by the hair!”
The loud Ocean heard,
To its blue depth stirred, And divided at her prayer ;
And under the water
The Earth's white daughter Fled like a sunny beam;
Behind her descended
Her billows, unblended
Like a gloomy stain
On the emerald main, Alpheus rushed behind,
As an eagle pursuing
A dove to its ruin Down the streams of the cloudy wind.
By the ruin'd abbey still ; Turning here and there a mill, Bearing tribute to the river — Little streams, I love you ever.
Under the bowers
Where the ocean powers Sit on their pearlèd thrones;
Through the coral woods
Of the weltering floods, Ovar heaps of unvalued stones;
Through the dim beams
Which amid the streams Weave a network of colored light;
And under the caves,
Where the shadowy waves Are as green as the forest's night
Outspeeding the shark,
And the sword-fish dark, Under the ocean foam;
And up through the rifts
Of the mountain cliffs They passed to their Dorian home.
Summer music is there flowing,
Little streams have flowers a many,
And now from their fountains
In Enna's mountains, Down one vale where the morning basks
Like friends once parted,
Grown single-hearted, They ply their watery tasks.
At sunrise they leap
From their cradles steep
At noontide they flow
Through the woods below, And the meadows of asphodel;
And at night they sleep
In the rocking deep Beneath the Ortygian shore;
Like spirits that lie
In the azure sky,
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
Little streams, their voices cheery,
LITTLE streams are light and shadow; Flowing through the pasture meadow, Flowing by the green way-side, Through the forest dim and wide, Through the hamlet still and smallBy the cottage, by the hall,
Down in valleys green and lowly,
The Water! the Water!
Where I have happy been, And showered upon its bosom flowers
Culled from each meadow green; And idly hoped my life would be So crowned by love's idolatry.
The Water! the Water ! · My heart yet burns to think How cool thy fountain sparkled forth,
For parched lip to drink. The Water! the Water !
Of mine own native glen ; The gladsome tongue I oft have heard,
But ne'er shall hear again, Though fancy fills my ear for aye With sounds that live so far away!
The Water ! The Water !
The joyous brook for me,
Its ever-living glee.
That sleepless, merry heart,
And loveth to impart,
The gentle stream for me,
Beside the alder-tree.
That ever-bubbling spring
In deepest wondering,
The merry, wanton brook That bent itself to pleasure me,
Like mine old shepherd crook. The Water! the Water!
That sang so sweet at noon, And sweeter still all night, to win
Smiles from the pale, proud moon, And from the little fairy faces That gleam in heaven's remotest places. The Water! the Water!
The dear and blessed thing, That all day fed the little flowers
On its banks blossoming. The Water! the Water!
That murmured in my ear Hymns of a saint-like purity,
That angels well might hear, And whisper in the gates of heaven, How meek a pilgrim had been shriven. The Water! the Water!
Where I have shed salt tears, In loneliness and friendliness,
A thing of tender years.
The Water! the Water!
The mild and glassy wave, Upon whose broomy banks I've longed
To find my silent grave, The Water! the Water!
0, blest to me thou art ! Thus sounding in life's solitude
The music of my heart, And filling it, despite of sadness, With dreamings of departed gladness.
The Water! the Water !
The mournful, pensive tone
This weary life was done.
That rolled so bright and free,
Was its soul's purity;
Song of the Brook.
I make a sudden sally
To bicker down a valley.