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The housewife's spindle whirling round,
Or thread, or straw, that on the ground
Its shadow throws, by urchin sly
Held out to lure the roving eye;
Then, onward stealing, fiercely spring
Upon the futile, faithless thing.
Now, wheeling round, with bootless skili,
Thy bo-peep tail provokes thee still,
As oft beyond thy curving side
Its jetty tip is seen to glide ;
Till, from thy centre starting far,
Thou sidelong rear'st, with rump in air,
Erected stiff, and gait awry,
Like madam in her tantrums high :
Though ne'er a madam of them all,
Whose silken kirtle sweeps the hall,
More varied trick and whim displays,
To catch the admiring stranger's gaze.
The featest tumbler, stage-bedight, To thee is but a clumsy wight, Who every limb and sinew strains To do what costs thee little pains, For which, I trow, the gaping crowd Requites him oft with plaudits loud. But, stopped the while thy wanton play, Applauses, too, thy feats repay : For then beneath some urchin's hand, With modest pride thou tak'st thy stand, While many a stroke of fondness glides Along thy back and tabby sides. Dilated swells thy glossy fur, And loudly sings thy busy pur, As, timing well the equal sound, Thy clutching feet bepat the ground,
And all their harmless claws disclose,
Like prickles of an early rose;
While softly from thy whiskered cheek
Thy half-closed eyes peer mild and meek.
But not alone by cottage-fire
Do rustics rude thy feats admire ;
The learned sage, whose thoughts explore
The widest range of human lore,
Or, with unfettered fancy, fly
Through airy heights of poesy,
Pausing, smiles with altered air
To see thee climb his elbow-chair,
Or, struggling on the mat below,
Hold warfare with his slippered toe.
The widow'd dame, or lonely maid,
Who in the still, but cheerless shade
Of home unsocial, spends her age,
And rarely turns a lettered page ;
Upon her hearth for thee lets fall
The rounded cork, or paper-ball,
Nor chides thee on thy wicked watch
The ends of ravelled skein to catch,
But lets thee have thy wayward will,
Perplexing oft her sober skill.
Even he, whose mind of gloomy bent,
In lonely tower or prison pent,
Reviews the coil of former days,
And loathes the world and all its ways;
What time the lamp's unsteady gleam
Doth rouse him from his moody dream,
Feels, as thou gambol'st round his seat,
His heart with pride less fiercely beat,
And smiles, a link in thee to find
That joins him still to living kind.
Whence hast thou then, thou witless Puss, The magic power to charm us thus ? Is it, that in thy glaring eye, And rapid movements, we descry, While we at ease, secure from ill, The chimney-corner snugly fill, A lion, darting on the prey, A tiger, at his ruthless play ? Or is it, that in thee we trace, With all thy varied wanton grace, An emblem viewed with kindred eye, Of tricksy, restless infancy ?
Wish'd-for gales the light vane veering,
Better dreams the dull night cheering;
Lighter heart the morning greeting,
Thinks of better omen meeting ;
Eyes each passing stranger watching,
Ears each feeble rumour catching,
Say he existeth still on earthly ground,
The absent will return, the long, long lost be
In the tower the ward-bell ringing,
In the court the carols singing ;
Busy hands the gay board dressing,
Eager steps the threshold pressing,
Open'd arms in haste advancing,
Joyful looks through blind tears glancing ;
The gladsome bounding of his aged hound,
Say he in truth is here, our long, long lost is found.
Hymned thanks, and beadsmen praying,
With sheathed sword the urchin playing ;
Blazon'd hall with torches burning,
Cheerful morn in peace returning ;
Converse sweet that strangely borrows
Present bliss from former sorrows,
O who can tell each blessed sight and sound,
That says, He with us bides, our long, long lost is
The stately homes of England,
How beautiful they stand !
Amidst their tall ancestral trees,
O’er all the pleasant land !
The deer across their greensward bound
Through shade and sunny gleam,
And the swan glides past them with the sound
Of some rejoicing stream.
The merry homes of England !
Around their hearths by night,
What gladsome looks of household love
Meet in the ruddy light.
There woman's voice flows forth in song,
Or childhood's tale is told ;
Or lips move tunefully along,
Some glorious page of old.
The blessed homes of England !
How softly on their bowers
Is laid the holy quietness
That breathes from Sabbath-hours !
Solemn, yet sweet, the church-bell's chime
Floats through their woods at morn,
All other sounds in that still time
Of breeze and leaf are born.
The cottage homes of England !
By thousands on her plains,
They are smiling o'er the silvery brook,
And round the hamlet-fanes.
Through glowing orchards forth they peep,
Each from its nook of leaves;
And fearless there the lowly sleep,
As the bird beneath their eaves.
The free fair homes of England !
Long, long in hut and hall
May hearts of native proof be reared
To guard each hallowed wall.
And green for ever be the groves,
And bright the flowery sod,
Where first the child's glad spirit loves
Its country and its God.
THE GRAVE OF KÖRNER. CHARLES THEODORE KORNER, the celebrated young Ger