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THE MILL-STREAM. LONG trails of cistus-flowers
Creep on the rocky hill; And beds of strong spear-mint
Grow round about the mill; And from a mountain tarn above,
As peaceful as a dream, Like to child unruly, Though schooled and counselled truly,
Foams down the wild mill-stream! The wild mill-stream it dasheth,
In merriment away,
So busy all the day!
The mountain-roses fall; And fern and adder's tongue
Grow on the old mill-wall. The tarn is on the upland moor,
Where not a leaf doth grow; And through the mountain-gashes, The merry mill-stream dashes
Down to the sea below: But, in the quiet hollows,
The red trout groweth prime, For the miller and the miller's son
To angle when they've time. Then fair befall the stream
That turns the mountain-mill;
That windeth up the hill!
And to his old grey mare,
In storm as well as fair!
And to the miller's son;
While mountain-waters run!
To see the red squirrel frisk hither and thither,
And the water-rat plunging about in his mirth; And the thousand small lives that the warm summer
weather, Calls forth to rejoice on the bountiful earth! Then the mountains, how fair! to the blue vault of
heaven Towering up in the sunshine, and drinking the
light, While adown their deep chasms, all splintered and
riven, Fall the far-gleaming cataracts silvery white ! And where are the flowers that in beauty are glow
ing In the garden and fields of the young, merry spring, Like the mountain-side wilds of the yellow broom
blowing, And the old forest pride, the red wastes of the ling? Then the garden, no longer 'tis leafless and chilly, But warm with the sunshine and bright with the
sheen of rich flowers, the moss rose and the bright tiger-lily,
Barbaric in pomp as an Ethiop Queen.
The larkspur, the pink, and the sweet mignionette, And the blue fleur-de-lis, in the warm sunlight shin
ing. As if grains of gold in its petals were set ! Yes, the summer,-the radiant summer 's the fairest, For green-woods and mountains, for meadows and
bowers, For waters, and fruits, and for flowers the rarest,
And for bright shining butterflies, lovely as flowers!
Hark! hark! the merry warden's horn
On the free breeze away!
For 'tis a inerry day!
SUMMMER. They may boast of the spring-time when flowers are
the fairest, And birds sing by thousands on every green tree ; They may call it the loveliest, the greenest, the
rarest; — But the summer's the season that 's dearest to me! For the brightness of sunshine ; the depth of the
shadows; The crystal of waters; the fulness of green, And the rich flowery growth of the old pasture
meadows, In the glory of summer can only be seen. Oh, the joy of the green-wood! I love to be in it,
And list 10 the hum of the never-still bees, And to hear the sweet voice of the old mother linnet,
Calling unto her young 'mong the leaves of the trees !
With braided hair, of gold or jet,
With waiting-woman by;
To shroud those ladies high.
And presently they are arrayed,
And down the stately stairs they go, Where dainty pages sland a-row, To greet them with obeisance low,
And follow in the train.
And then into the castle-hall,
For they will hawk to-day.
In such a bright array!
or grooms in patient there.
By knight and lady fair.
Each with a bird on hand;
Fall in and join the band.
To moorlands wild and grey;
Impatient for their prey.
Nor once the game is missed!
For the hawk upon his wrist!
And kings were your compeers!
The times of other years!
Lying in London Tower;
Yours were the days of civil feud;
Of Woodstock's bloody bower!
To moat and castle-wall; To serf and baron, page and dame; To abbot sleek, as spaniel tame; To kings who could not sign their name;
To times of wrong and thrall! Times are not now as they were then; Ours is a race of different men, Who loathe the sword and love the pen;
For right, not rapine, bold. No more, as then, the ladies bright Work tapestry-work from morn till night; The very children read and write,
Like learned clerks of old! Oh, Falcon proud, and goshawk gay, Your pride of place has passed away; The lone wood is your home by day,
Your resting perch by night; The craggy rock your castle-tower; The gay green-wood your ladies' bower; Your own wild will, the master power
That can control your flight! Yet, noble bird, old fame is thine ; Still livest thou in the minstrel's line; Still in old pictures art the sign
Of high and pure degree; And still, with kindling hearts we read How barons came to Runymede, Falcon on wrist, to do the deed,
That made all England free!
THE CHILD AND THE FLOWERS.
Put up thy work, dear mother;
Dear mother come with me, For I've found within the garden,
The beautiful sweel-pea' And rows of stately hollyhocks
Down by the garden-wall, All yellow, white, and crimson,
So many-hued and tall ! And bending on their stalks, mother,
Are roses white and red; And pale-stemmed balsams all a-blow,
On every garden-bed. Put up thy work. I pray thee,
And come out, mother dear! We used to buy these flowers, But they are growing here!
Oh, mother! little Amy
Would have loved these flowers to see ;Dost remember how we tried to get
For her a pink sweet-pea ?
Dost remember how she loved
Those rose-leaves pale and sere ? I wish she had but lived to see
The lovely roses here!
And wipe those tears away!
Before 'tis set of day!
o the little flax-flower,
It groweth on the hill,
It never standeth still.
One day it is a seed,
Scarce better than a weed.
As blue as is the sky;
We say, as we go by.
It groweth for the poor,
Beside his cottage-door.
That shimmer in the sun,
And shortly shall be spun. He thinketh how those tender flowers,
Of seed will yield him store ; And sees in thought his next year's crop
Blue shining round his door. Oh, the little flax-flower!
The mother, then says she, "Go pull the thyme, the heath, the fern
But let the flax-flower be!
It groweth for our own;
But leave the flax alone!
Much cometh to his share;
That we have tilled with care.
The good man and the little ones,
They pace it round about;
For it the rain to fall;
Great count of what is small !"
It groweth on the hill,
It never standeth still!
As if it loved to thrive;
Within its stem alive!
And may the kindly showers,
Give seed unto its flowers ! It is so rare a thing now-a-days to see flax grown in any quantity, that my English readers will not feel the full force of the above little poem. The English cottager has not often ground which he can use for this purpose ; and, besides, he can purchase calico for the wear of his family at a much cheaper cost than he could grow flax. Nor is the English woman "handy" at such matters. She would think it a great hardship to till, perhaps, the very ground upon which it was grown; to pull it with the help of her children only, and, to her other household cares and occupations, to add those of preparing, spinning, and it might be, to help even to weave it into good homespun cloth. Seventy or eighty years ago, however, this was not uncommon in England; and it is still common, and in some districts even general in Scotland. Burns alludes to the growth of flax in many of his poems; and in the “Cottar's Saturday Night," the mother reckons the age of the cheese from the time of the flax flowering.
The household interest which is taken in the flaxfield presented itself strongly to us in many a wild glen, and in many a desolate mountain-side in the Highlands of Scotland, in the summer of 1836. You came, in the midst of those stony and heathy wildernesses, upon a few turf-erections, without windows and without chimneys; the wild grasses of the moor and the heath itself grew often upon the roof, for all had originally been cut from the mountain-side ; and, but for the smoke which issued from the door, or the children that played about it, you might have doubted of its being a human dwelling. Miserable, however, as such homes may appear at first sight, they are, as it were, the natural growth of the mountain-moorland, and the eye soon finds in them much that is picturesque and characteristic.
About such places as these are frequently, too, patches of cultivated ground; the one of potatoes, and perhaps oats or barley, the other of flax. Thus grow, at the very door of this humble human tenement, the food and clothing of the family. How essential this growth is to them, may be seen from the nature of the ground. It is frequently the most difficult that can be conceived to bring into cultivation ;
* Out squire he hath the holt and hill,
Great halls and noble rent; We only have the flax-field,
Yet therewith are content. We watch it morn, we watch it night,
And when the stars are out,
one mass, as it seems, of stones, with the scantiest The owl in hollow oak, the man in den, intermixture of soil. These stones, many of which Chamber, or office, dusky and obscure, are of immense size, are with infinite toil and pa. Are creatures very heavy and demure; tience gathered from the earth, and piled into walls But soon their turn comes round, and then, round the little fields, otherwise the mountain sheep, Oh, what sharp claws and pitiless beak have they and perhaps the wild roes, would soon lay the whole To feather, fleece, and worry up their prey! waste. Here the mother, as well as the father, la
“ A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind," bours, and indeed the flax seems especially w belong So sang the noble bard, who, like the swallow, to her, for she must spin it before she can convert it Flew through far climes and soared where few can into family use.
follow. In the same way is the household provided with
"T is true; and therefore still we find woollen garments ; they are all home-spun and home. That gentle spirits love the robin, made, even to many a goodly tartan. The “ tarry That comes, as Wordsworth says, “ when winds are woo" of Scotland, like the " lint flower,” is a national thing; the affections, as well as the fire-side interests Pecks at your window; sits upon your spade,
sobbing;" of that country are connected with them.
And often thanks you in a serenade.
Which seems to say—“I'd do as well without you,"
Night or day In birds, as men, there is a strange variety,
Will be away, In both your dandies and your peris maitres ;
Though hooted, shot at, nor once coaxed or beckoned ! Your clowns, your grooms, in feathered legs or gaiters; In town or country in the densest alley Your hawks, and gulls, and harpies to satiety.
Of monstrous London - in the loneliest valley On sea or land it matters not an ace
On palace-roof-on cottage-thatch, You find the feathered or unfeathered race
On church or chapel – farm or shop, Of bipeds, showing every form and figure,
The Sparrow's still the bird on the house-top." But everywhere the sharp-clawed and the bigger –
I think 'twas Solomon who said so, Falcons that shoot, and men that pull the trigger
And in the Bible having read so, Still pressing on the lesser and forlorn!
You find that this ubiquity 'T is hard to bear, and yet it must be borne,
Extends itself far up into antiquity. Although we walk about in wrath and scorn,
Yes, through all countries and all ages To see the hectoring, lording, and commotion
While other birds have sung in woods or cages, For ever going on in earth or ocean!
This noisy, impudent and shameless varlet The conquerors fierce; those thievish chaps, the Though neither noble, rich, nor clad in scarlet, lawyers,
Would have the highest place without the asking. That chirp and gabble, wheedle and bamboozle ;
Upon your roof the lazy scamp is basking The jackdaw-race of pleaders, the pert cawyers
Chirping, scuflling, screaming, fighting, In their grey wigs, the sober rooks that puzzle
Flying and Muttering up and down Land-sharks, and pirates both of sea and land ;
From peep of day to evening brown. Your corinorants acting the sedate and grand :
You may be sleeping, sick, or writing, The singers, and the Paganinis,
And needing silence – there's the Sparrow, Who filch your fruit, and pocket up your guineas; Just at your window — and enough to harrow The tomtit, mime; - the wren, small poet;
The soul of Job in its severest season. The silly creatures that by scores
There, as it seemeth, for no other reason Nurse cuckoo-imps, that out of doors
But to confound you; – he has got, Have turned their children, and they never know it! Up in the leaden gutter burning hot, I walk in cities, 'mong the human herds,
Every low scape-grace of the Sparrow-clan,
Loons of all ages,-grandsire, boy and man,
Old beldame Sparrow, wenches bold,
All met to wrangle, raffle, rant, and scold.
Send out your man! shoot! blow to powder ”T is quite impossible in one or other
The villanous company, that fiercer, louder To walk and see not — man and bird are brother.
Drive you distracted. There! bang! goes the gun, The owl can't see in day-light;
And all the little lads are on the run Oh no! he's blind and stupid
To see the slaughter ;-not a bird is slainA very fool,- a blockhead plain to see!
There were some feathers flew - a leg was broke, But just step out and look at him at night,
But all went off as if it were a joke When all the world is slumbering, save he
In come your man - and there they are again! My word! you 'll find him then as brisk as Cupid ! With open eyes and benk that has the knack
Of all the creatures, that were ever set To snap up mouse or rabbit by the back?
Upon two legs, there 's nothing to be mer,
Save some congeners in our own sweet race, At home, abroad, wherever seen or heard,
Unlike all others of the feathered race.
The bully of his tribe — to all beyond
It may be thought that I have here dealt hard Men made to elbow, bustle, cheat or steal,
measure to the Sparrow, but the character I have Careless of scorn, incapable to feel
given of him will be recognised by those who know Indignity or shame — vulgar and vain,
him, as true. Cowper calls them, a thievish race, Hunger and cold their only sense of pain.
that scared as often as you please,
As oft return, a pert, voracious kind; Just of this class, amongst all feathered things, Is this Jack Sparrow. He's no bird that sings, and that every farmer knows them to be. What He makes no grand pretences; has no fine
multitudes do you see dropping down upon, or rising Airs of high breeding - he but wants to dine. from the wheat as it is ripening in the fields. ForHis dress is brown, his body stiff and stout,
merly a price was set upon their heads and eggs, by Coarse in his nature, made 10 prog about.
country parishes. In many places a penny was given What are his delicate fancies? Who e'er sees for a Sparrow's head, and the same for three or four The Sparrow in his sensibilities?
eggs; but this is now done away with, and the farmThere are the nightingales, all soul and song, er must destroy them himself, or pay dearly for it in Moaning and warbling the green boughs among.
his corn, There are the larks that on etherial wing,
Nothing can exceed the self-complacence of this Sing to high Heaven as heavenly spirits sing; bird, You see him build his nest amongst the richThere are the merle, the mavis, birds whose lays est tracery of a church roof or window; within the Inspired the minstrel songs of other days;
very coronet or escutcheon set up over the gate of There are the wandering tribes, the cuckoo sweet; hall or palace. We saw this summer, the hay and Swallows that singing on your chimneys meet, litter of his nest hanging out from the richly-cut ini. Through spring and summer, and anon are flown tial-letters of William and Mary over one of the prin. To lands and climes, to sages yet unknown. cipal windows of Hampton Court. Nay he would Those are your pnets ;-hirds of genius — those build in a span-new V. R. set up only yesterday, or That have their nerves and feel refined woes. in the queen's very crown itself though it were But these Jack Sparrows; why they love far more worth a kingdom, if it were only conveniently placed Than all this singing nonsense, your barn-door! for his purpose. He thinks nothing too good for him. They love your cherry-tree - your rows of peas, But the most provoking part of his character is, Your ripening corn crop, and to live at ease ! the pleasure which he takes in teasing, molesting and You find no Sparrow in the far-off-wonds
hectoring over birds of the most quiet and inoffenNo-he's not fond of hungry solitudes.
sive nature. He builds about your houses, and He better loves the meanest hamlet -- where thinks no other bird has any business to do the same. Aught's to be had, the Sparrow will be there, The martin, which loves to build under the eaves of Sturdy and bold, and wrangling for his share. our dwellings, after crossing the seas from some far The tender linnet bathes her sides and wings country, — has especially to bear his insolence and In running brooks and purest forest-springs. aggressions. There is a pretty story in the “ Evenings The Sparrow rolls and scuffles in the dust
at Home,” of iwo of these interesting birds, who had That is his washing or his proper rust.
their nest usurped by a Sparrow, getting together
their fellow's, and building him up in the nest, where Before your carriage as you drive to town he was left a prisoner amid his plunder. But the To his base meal the Sparrow settles down; gentleness of the martin is so great, that such an inHe knows the safety-distance to an inch,
tance of poetical justice is more curious, than likely Up to that point he will not move or flinch ;- to occur a second time. But every summer the You think your horse will crush him-no such thing, sparrow lords it over the martin, and frequently That coachman's whip might clip his fluttering wing, drives it away by its impertinence. We watched Or take his head off in a twink but he
his behaviour this year with a good deal of attention. Knows better still and liveth blithe and free, Two pairs of martins came and built their nests be
neath the eaves of the stable, near each other. At home he plagues the martins with his noise – Scarcely were the nests half finished, when several They build, he takes possession and enjoys; sparrows were seen watching on the tiles close to Or if he want it not, he takes it still,
them, chirping loudly, and conceitedly, and every Just because teasing others is his will.
now and then flying at the martins. The nests, From hour to hour, from tedious day to day
however, were completed; but no sooner was this He sits to drive the rightful one away.
this done, than the sparrows tvok possession of them,