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IV.

POOR ROBIN.*

[I OFTEN ask myself what will become of Rydal Mount after our

day. Will the old walls and steps remain in front of the house and about the grounds, or will they be swept away with all the beautiful mosses and ferns and wild geraniums and other flowers which their rude construction sutfered and encouraged to grow among them !--This little wild flower—“Poor Robin" -is here constantly courting my attention, and exciting what may be called a domestic interest with the varying aspects of its stalks and leaves and flowers. Strangely do the tastes of men differ according to their employment and habits of life. “What a nice well would that be,” said a labouring man to me one day, “if all that rubbish was cleared off.”

The rubbishwas some of the most beautiful mosses and lichens and ferns and other wild growths that could possibly be seen. Defend us from the tyranny of trimness and neatness showing itself in this way! Chatterton says of freedom—“Upon her head wild weeds were spread” and depend upon it if “ the marvellous boy" bad undertaken to give Flora a garland, he would have preferred what we are apt to call weeds to gardenflowers. True taste has an eye for both. Weeds have been called flowers out of place. I fear the place most people would assign to them is too limited. Let them come near to our abodes, as surely they may without impropriety or disorder.]

Now when the primrose makes a splendid show,
And lilies face the March-winds in full blow,
And humbler growths as moved with one desire
Put on, to welcome spring, their best attire,
Poor Robin is yet flowerless; but how gay
With his red stalks

sunny day!

upon
this

case with those who are making trial of their powers, with a hope to discover what they are best fitted for. In one quality, viz., quickness in the motions of her mind, she had, within the range of the Author's acquaintauce, no equal.

* The small wild Geranium known by that name.

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And, as his tufts of leaves he spreads, content
With a hard bed and scanty nourishment,
Mixed with the green, some shine not lacking power
To rival summer's brightest scarlet flower;
And flowers they well might seem to passers-by
If looked at only with a careless eye;
Flowers-or a richer produce (did it suit
The season) sprinklings of ripe strawberry fruit.
But while a thousand pleasures come unsought,
Why fix upon his wealth or want a thought?
Is the string touched in prelude to a lay
Of pretty fancies that would round him play
When all the world acknowledged elfin sway?
Or does it suit our humour commend
Poor Robin as a sure and crafty friend,
Whose practice teaches, spite of names to show
Bright colours whether they deceive or no ?-
Nay, we would simply praise the free good-will
With which, though slighted, he, on naked hill
Or in warm valley, seeks his part to fill;
Cheerful alike if bare of flowers as now,
Or when his tiny gems shall deck his brow:
Yet

more, we wish that men by men despised,
And such as lift their foreheads overpriced,
Should sometimes think, where'er they chance to spy
This child of Nature's own humility,
What recompense is kept in store or left
For all that seem neglected or bereft;
With what nice care equivalents are given,
How just, how bountiful, the hand of Heaven.

MARCH, 1840.

V.

THE GLEANER.

SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE.

(This poem was first printed in the Annual called the “Keepsake.” The painter's name I am not sure of, but I think it was Holmes.]

That happy gleam of vernal eyes,
Those locks from summer's golden skies,

That o'er thy brow are shed;
That cheek—a kindling of the morn,
That lip-a rose-bud from the thorn,

I saw; and Fancy sped
To scenes Arcadian, whispering, through soft air,
Of bliss that grows without a care,
And happiness that never flies--
(How can it where love never dies ?)
Whispering of promise, where no blight
Can reach the innocent delight;
Where pity, to the mind conveyed
In pleasure, is the darkest shade
That Time, unwrinkled grandsire, flings
From his smoothly gliding wings.

What mortal form, what earthly face
Inspired the pencil, lines to trace,
And mingle colours, that should breed
Such rapture, nor want power to feed;
For had thy charge been idle flowers,
Fair Damsel! o'er my captive mind,
To truth and sober reason blind,

'Mid that soft air, those long-lost bowers,
The sweet illusion might have hung, for hours.

Thanks to this tell-tale sheaf of corn,
That touchingly bespeaks thee born
Life's daily tasks with them to share
Who, whether from their lowly bed
They rise, or rest the weary head,
Ponder the blessing they entreat
From Heaven, and feel what they repeat,
While they give utterance to the prayer
That asks for daily bread.

1833.

VI.

TO A REDBREAST—(IN SICKNESS.)

[ALMOST the only verses by our lamented Sister Sara Hutchinson.]

Stay, little cheerful Robin ! stay,

And at my casement sing,
Though it should prove a farewell lay

And this our parting spring.
Though I, alas ! may ne'er enjoy

!
The promise in thy song ;
A charm, that thought can not destruy,

Doth to thy strain belong.

Methinks that in my dying hour

Thy song would still be dear,
And with a more than earthly power

My passing Spirit cheer.

Then, little Bird, this boon confer,

Come, and my requiem sing,
Nor fail to be the harbinger

Of everlasting Spring.

S. H.

TII.

I know an aged Man constrained to dwell
In a large house of public charity,
Where he abides, as in a Prisoner's cell,
With numbers near, alas! no company.

When he could creep about, at will, though poor
And forced to live on alms, this old Man fed
A Redbreast, one that to his cottage door
Came not, but in a lane partook his bread.

There, at the root of one particular tree,
An easy seat this worn-out Labourer found
While Robin pecked the crumbs upon his knee
Laid one by one, or scattered on the ground.

Dear intercourse was theirs, day after day ; What signs of mutual gladness when they met! Think of their common peace, their simple play, The parting moment and its fond regret.

Months passed in love that failed not to fulfil,
In spite of season's change, its own demand,
By fluttering pinions here and busy bill ;
There by caresses from a tremulous hand.

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