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And it seemed, as I retraced the ballad line by line,
That but half of it was hers, and one half of it was mine.
Again, and once again, did I repeat the song;
"Nay" said I, "more than half to the damsel must belong,
"For she looked with such a look, and she spake with such a
tone, "That I almost received her heart into my own."
66. —PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATED.
It chanced upon a winter's day,
But warm, and bright, and calm as May,
The birds, conceiving a design
To forestall sweet St. Valentine,
In many an orchard, copse and grove,
Assembled on affairs of love,
And with much twitter and much chatter,
Began to agitate the matter.
At length a Bullfinch, who could boast
More years and wisdom than the most,
Entreated, opening wide his beak,
A moment's liberty to speak;
And silence publicly enjoin'd,
Deliver'd briefly thus his mind:
"My friends! be cautious how ye treat
"The subject upon which we meet;
"I fear we shall have winter yet."
A finch, whose tongue knew no control,
With golden wing and satin poll,
A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried
What pairing means, thus pert replied:
"Methinks the gentleman," quoth she,
"Opposite in the apple tree,
"By his good will would keep us single
"Till yonder heaven and earth shall mingle,
"Or, (which is likelier to befall)
"Till death exterminate us all.
"I couple without more ado;
"My dear Dick Redcap, what say you?"
Dick heard, and tweedling, ogling, bridling,
Turning short round, strutting and sidling,
Attested glad his approbation
Of an immediate conjugation.
Their sentiments so well express'd
Influenced mightily the rest;
All pair'd and each pair built a nest.
But though the birds were thus in haste,
The leaves came on not quite so fast,
And Destiny, that sometimes bears
An aspect stern on man's affairs,
Not altogether smiled on theirs.
The wind, of late breath'd gently forth,
Now shifted east, and east by north;
Bare trees and shrubs but ill, you know,
Could shelter them from rain and snow,
Stepping into their nests, they paddled,
Themselves were chill'd their eggs were addled.
Soon every father bird and mother
Grew quarrelsome, and peck'd each other.
Parted without the least regret,
Except that they had ever met,
And learn'd in future to be wiser
Than to neglect a good adviser.
Cowper. 67. — AULD ROBIN GRAY.
When the sheep are in the fauld, and the kye at hame,
Young Jamie lo'ed me weel, and sought me for his bride;
He had'na been awa' a week but only twa,
My father couldna work, and my mother couldna spin;
My heart it said nay; I look'd for Jamie back;
My father urgit sair: my mother didna speak;
I hadna been a' wife a week but only four,
O sair, sair did we greet, muckle did we say;
I gang like a ghaist, and I carena to spin;
Lady A. Lindsay.
68. —THE DAFFODILS.
I Wandbe'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
Beside a lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky way,
Along the margin of a bay;
The waves beside them danced ; but they
A poet could not but be gay
I gazed and gazed, but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought.
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
Which is the bliss of solitude;
Wordsworth. 69. — ALEXANDER SELKIRK.
I Am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute;
From the centre hll round to the sea,
0 Solitude! where are the charms
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
1 am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone, Never hear the sweet music of speech,
I start at the sound of my own. The beasts that roam over the plain,
My form with indifference see; They are so unacquainted with man,
Their tamenesss is shocking to me.
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestow'd upon man, O, had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again! My sorrows I then might assuage
In the ways of religion and truth, Might learn from the wisdom of age,
And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth.
Religion ! what treasure untold
Resides in the heavenly word! More precious than silver and gold,
Or all that this earth can afford, But the sound of the church-going bell
These valleys and rocks never heard Never sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
Or smiled when a sabbath appear'd.