Page images
PDF
EPUB

GOLDEN LEAVES.

Anonymous.

NEW ENGLAND'S ANNOYANCES. “THE FIRST RECORDED POEM WRITTEN IN AMERICA.”—(1630.)

New England's annoyances, you that would know them,
Pray ponder these verses, which briefly do show them.

TH
THE place where we live is a wilderness wood,

Where grass is much wanting that's fruitful and good :
Our mountains and hills and our valleys below
Being commonly covered with ice and with snow :
And when the northwest wind with violence blows,
Then every man pulls his cap over his nose :
But if any's so hardy and will it withstand,
He forfeits a finger, a foot, or a hand.
But when the spring opens, we then take the hos,
And make the ground ready to plant and to sow;
Our corn being planted and seed being sown,
The worms destroy much before it is grown;
And when it is growing some spoil there is made
By birds and by squirrels that pluck up the blade;
And when it is come to full corn in the ear,
It is often destroyed by raccoon and by deer.

And now do our garments begin to grow thin,
And wool is much wanted to card and to spin ;
If we get a garment to cover without,
Our other in-garments are clout upon clout:
Our clothes we brought with us are apt to be torn,
They need to be clouted soon after they're worn;
But clouting our garments they hinder us nothing,
Clouts double are warmer than single whole clothing.

If fresh meat be wanting, to fill up our dish,
We have carrots and pumpkins and turnips and fish:
And is there a mind for a delicate dish,
We repair to the clam-banks, and there we catch fish.
'Stead of pottage and puddings and custards and pies,
Our pumpkins and parsnips are common supplies :
We have pumpkins at morning and pumpkins at noon;
If it was not for pumpkins we should be undone.

If barley be wanting to make into malt,
We must be contented and think it no fault;
For we can make liquor to sweeten our lips
Of pumpkins and parsnips and walnut-tree chips.

[blocks in formation]

Now while some are going let others be coming,
For while liquor's boiling it must have a scumming;
But I will not blame them, for birds of a feather,
By seeking their fellows, are flocking together.
But
you

whom the Lord intends hither to bring,
Forsake not the honey for fear of the sting;
But bring both a quiet and contented mind,
And all needful blessings you surely will find.

Anne Bradstreet.

CONTEMPLATIONS.

(1650.) UNDER the cooling shadow of a stately elm,

Close sat I by a goodly river's side,
Where gliding streams the rocks did overwhelm ;

A lonely place, with pleasures dignified.
I, once that loved the shady woods so well,

Now thought the rivers did the trees excel,
And if the sun would ever shine, there would I dwell.

While on the stealing stream I fixed mine eye,

Which to the longed-for ocean held its course, I marked nor crooks nor rubs that there did lie,

Could hinder aught, but still augment its force. “O happy flood,” quoth I, “that holdst thy race

Till thou arrive at thy beloved place, Nor is it rocks or shoals that can obstruct thy pace. Nor is't enough that thou alone may'st slide,

But hundred brooks in thy clear waves do meet : So hand in hand along with thee they glide

To Thetis' house, where all embrace and greet. Thou emblem true of what I count the best

O could I leave my rivulets to rest ! So may we press to that vast mansion ever blest. "Ye fish which in this liquid region 'bide,

That for each season have your habitation, Now salt, now fresh, when you think best to glide,

To unknown coasts to give a visitation,

« PreviousContinue »