Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

Watching the kirtles, red and blue,
Which cross the meadow in his view;
And he hears anon the busy throng
Sing the Strawberry-Pickers' Song :

IV.

“Rifle the sweets our meadows bear,

Ere the day has reached its nooning :
While the skies are fair, and the morning air
Awakens the thrush's tuning.

Softly the rivulet's ripples flow;
Dark is the grove that lovers know;
Here, where the whitest blossoms blow,

The reddest and ripest berries grow. “Bend to the crimson fruit, whose stain

Is glowing on lips and fingers ;
The sun has lain in the leafy plain,
And the dust of his pinions lingers.

Softly the rivulet's ripples flow;
Dark is the grove that lovers know;
Here, where the whitest blossoms blow,
The reddest and ripest berries grow.

“Gather the cones which lie concealed,

With their vines your foreheads wreathing; The strawberry-field its sweets shall yield

While the western winds are breathing.

Softly the rivulet's ripples flow;
Dark is the grove that lovers know:
Here, where the whitest blossoms blow,
The reddest and ripest berries grow.”

[ocr errors]

From the far hill-side comes again
An echo of the pickers' strain.
Sweetly the group their cadence keep;
Swiftly their hands the trailers sweep;
The vines are stripped and the song

is

sung,
A joyous labour for old and young-
For the blithe children, gleaning behind
The women, marvellous treasures find.

VI.

From the workers a maiden parts :

The baskets at her waistband shine With berries that look like bleeding hearts

Of a hundred lovers at her shrine ; No Eastern girl were girdled so well With silken belt and silvery bell. Her slender form is tall and strong; Her voice was the sweetest in the song; Her brown hair, fit to wear a crown, Loose from its bonnet ripples down. Toward the crates, that lie in the shade Of the chestnut-copse at the edge of the glade, She moves from her mates, through happy rows Of the children loving her as she goes.

Alice, our Alice !" one and all, Striving to stay her footsteps, call (For children, with skilful choice, dispense The largesse of their innocence); But on, with a sister's smile, she moves into the darkness of the

groves,

And deftly, daintily, one by one,
Shelters her baskets from the sun,
Under the network, fresh and cool,
Of lily-leaves from the crystal pool.

[blocks in formation]

(From “ MOTHER GOOSE FOR Grown Folks.") “ There was an old woman

Who lived in a shoe;
She had so many children,

She didn't know what to do:
To some she gave broth,

And to some she gave bread,
And some she whipped soundly,

And sent them to bed.”

find out the likeness ?
A portly old Dame,-
The mother of millions,—

BRITANNIA by name :
And-howe'er it

may
strike

you
In reading the song-
Not stinted in space

For bestowing the throng;
Since the Sun can himself

Hardly manage to go,
In a day and a night,

From the heel to the toe.

On the arch of the instep

She builds up her throne,

And, with seas rolling under,

She sits there alone; With her heel at the foot

Of the Himmalehs planted, And her toe in the icebergs,

Unchilled and undaunted.

Yet though justly of all

Her fine family proud, 'Tis no light undertaking

To rule such a crowd;
Not to mention the trouble

Of seeing them fed,
And dispensing with justice

The broth and the bread.

Some will seize upon one, —

Some are left with the other, And so the whole household

Gets into a pother.
But the rigid old Damne

Has a summary way
Of her own, when she finds

There is mischief to pay !

She just takes

up

the rod, As she lays down the spoon, And makes their rebellious backs

Tingle right soon : Then she bids them, while yet

The sore smarting they feel, To lie down, and go to sleep,

Under her heel !

Only once was she posed,

When the little boy Sam, Who had always before

Been as meek as a lamb, Refused to take tea,

As his mother had bid, And returned saucy answers

Because he was chid.

Not content even then,

He cut loose from the throne, And set about making

A shoe of his own; Which succeeded so well,

And was filled up so fast, That the world, in amazement,

Confessed, at the last, Looking on at the work

With a gasp and a stare, That 'twas hard to tell which

Would be best of the pair.

Side by side they are standing

Together to-day ;
Side by side may they keep

Their strong foothold for aye ! And beneath the broad sea,

Whose blue depths intervene, May the finishing string

Lie unbroken between!

« PreviousContinue »