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FABLE.—Emerson. The Mountain and the Squirrel Had a quarrel, And the former called the latter “Little Prig :" Bun replied, “ You are doubtless very big, But all sorts of things and weather Must be taken in together To make up a year, And a sphere. And I think it no disgrace To occupy my place. If I'm not so large as you, You are not so small as I, And not half so spry : I'll not deny you make A very pretty squirrel-track ; Talents differ ; all is well and wisely put ; If I cannot carry forests on my back, Neither can you crack a nut.”
FROM “LAYS OF ANCIENT ROME.”—
The Captain of the Gate :
Death cometh soon or late.
Than facing fearful odds,
And the temples of his gods,
Who dandled him to rest,
His baby at her breast,
And for the holy maidens
Who feed the eternal flame, To save them from false Sextus
That wrought the deed of shame? “Hew down the bridge, Sir Consul,
With all the speed ye may ;
Will hold the foe in play.
May well be stopped by three.
And keep the bridge with me ?” Then out spake Spurius Lartius;
A Ramnian proud was he : “ Lo, I will stand at thy right hand,
And keep the bridge with thee.” And out spake strong Herminius;
Of Titian blood was he: “I will abide on thy left side,
And keep the bridge with thee.” “Horatius," quoth the Consul,
“ As thou sayest, so let it be." And straight against that great array
Forth went the dauntless Three. For Romans in Rome's quarrel
Spared neither land nor gold, Nor son, nor wife, nor limb, nor life,
In the brave days of old. Then none was for a party ;
Then all were for the state ; Then the great man helped the poor,
And the poor man loved the great : Then lands were fairly portioned;
Then spoils were fairly sold : The Romans were like brothers
In the brave days of old.
Now Roman is to Roman
More hateful than a foe,
And the Fathers grind the low.
In battle we wax cold :
In the brave days of old.
TO A SKYLARK.-Shelley.
Bird thou never wert,
Pourest thy full heart
From the earth thou springest
The blue deep thou wingest,
Of the sunken sun,
Thou dost float and run,
Melts around thy flight;
In the broad daylight
Of that silver sphere,
In the white dawn clear,
All the earth and air
With thy voice is loud, As, when night is bare,
From one lonely cloud The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is over
What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee ?
Drops so bright to see,
Like a poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Till the world is wrought
In a palace tower,
Soul in secret hour With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower.
Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew Scattering unbeholden
Its aërial hue Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the
view. Like a rose embowered
In its own green leaves, By warm winds deflowered,
Till the scent it gives Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy wingèd Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass, Rain-awakened flowers,
All that ever was Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass. Teach us, sprite or bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine ;
Praise of love or wine
Or triumphal chant,
But an empty vaunt-
Of thy happy strain ?
What shapes of sky or plain ?
Languor cannot be :
Never came near thee :
Thou of death must deem
Than we mortals dream, Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream ? We look before and after,
And pine for what is not : Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught : Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.