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TO THE HIGHLAND GIRL OF INVERSNAID.
Sweet Highland Girl, a very shower
With earnest feeling I shall pray
What hand but would a garland cull
POEMS OF CHILDHOOD.
Thou art to me but as a wave
Now thanks to Heaven that of its grace
“One name is Elizabeth."—BEN Jonson.
I will paint her as I see her.
And her face is lily-clear, Lily-shaped, and dropped in duty To the law of its own beauty.
Oval cheeks encolored faintly, Which a trail of golden hair Keeps from fading off to air;
And a forehead fair and saintly, Which two blue eyes undershine, Like meek prayers before a shrine.
Face and figure of a child, -
Yet child-simple, undefiled, Frank, obedient, — waiting still On the turnings of your will.
Moving light, as all your things, As young birds, or early wheat, When the wind blows over it.
I hear in the chamber above me
The sound of a door that is opened,
From my study I see in the lamplight,
Grave Alice and laughing Allegra,
A whisper and then a silence;
They are plotting and planning together
I FEAR THY KISSES, GENTLE MAIDEN.
I FEAR thy kisses, gentle maiden;
My spirit is too deeply laden
I fear thy mien, thy tones, thy motion;
THE SMACK IN SCHOOL. A District school, not far away, Mid Berkshire hills, one winter's day, Was humming with its wonted noise Of threescore mingled girls and boys; Some few upon their tasks intent, But more on furtive mischief bent. The while the master's downward look Was fastened on a copy-book; When suddenly, behind his back, Rose sharp and clear a rousing smack As 't were a battery of bliss Let off in one tremendous kiss' “What's that " the startled master cries; “That, thir," a little imp replies, “Wath William Willith, if you pleathe, – I thaw him kith Thuthanna Peathe . " With frown to make a statue thrill, The master thundered, “Hither, Will !" Like wretch o'ertaken in his track, With stolen chattels on his back, Will hung his head in fear and shame, And to the awful presence came, – A great, green, bashful simpleton, The butt of all good-natured fun. With smile suppressed, and birch upraised, The threatener faltered, - “I’m amazed That you, my biggest pupil, should Beguilty of an act so rude : Before the whole set school to boot -What evil genius put you to 't " “'Twas she herself, sir,” sobbed the lad, “I did not mean to be so bad ; But when Susannah shook her curls, And whispered, I was 'fraid of girls, And dursn't kiss a baby's doll, I could n't stand it, sir, at all, But up and kissed her on the spot ' I know — boo-hoo-I ought to not, But, somehow, from her looks—boo-hooI thought she kind o' wished me to . " J. W. PALMER
26 POEMS OF CHILDHOOD.
OLD Master Brown brought his ferule down,
And ogled them over his sleeve. ANONYMOUS. -o
THE BAREFOOT BOY.
BLEssINGs on thee, little man, Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan : With thy turned-up pantaloons, And thy merry whistled tunes; With thy red lip, redder still Kissed by strawberries on the hill; With the sunshine on thy face, Through thy torn brim's jaunty grace; From my heart I give thee joy, I was once a barefoot boy Prince thou art, — the grown-up man Only is republican. Let the million-dollared ride 1 Barefoot, trudging at his side, Thou hast more than he can buy In the reach of ear and eye, – Outward sunshine, inward joy: Blessings on thee, barefoot boy
O for boyhood's painless play, Sleep that wakes in laughing day, Health that mocks the doctor's rules, Knowledge never learned of schools, Of the wild bee's morning chase, Of the wild-flower's time and place, Flight of fowl and habitude Of the tenants of the wood ; How the tortoise bears his shell, How the woodchuck digs his cell, And the ground-mole sinks his well; How the robin feeds her young, How the oriole's nest is hung; Where the whitest lilies blow, Where the freshest berries grow, Where the ground-nut trails its vine, Where the wood-grape's clusters shine; Of the black wasp's cunning way, Mason of his walls of clay, And the architectural plans Of gray hornet artisans 1–
For, eschewing books and tasks,
O for boyhood's time of June, Crowding years in one brief moon, When all things I heard or saw, Me, their master, waited for. I was rich in flowers and trees, Humming-birds and honey-bees; For my sport the squirrel played, Plied the snouted mole his spade; For my taste the blackberry cone Purpled over hedge and stone; Laughed the brook for my delight Through the day and through the night, Whispering at the garden wall, Talked with me from fall to fall ; Mine the sand-rimmed pickerel pond, . Mine the walnut slopes beyond, Mine, on bending orchard trees, Apples of Hesperides Still as my horizon grew, Larger grew my riches too; All the world I saw or knew Seemed a complex Chinese toy, Fashioned for a barefoot boy
O for festal dainties spread, Like my bowl of milk and bread, Pewter spoon and bowl of wood, On the door-stone, gray and rude : O'er me, like a regal tent, Cloudy-ribbed, the sunset bent, Purple-curtained, fringed with gold, Looped in many a wind-swung fold; While for music came the play Of the pied frogs' orchestra; And, to light the noisy choir, Lit the fly his lamp of fire. I was monarch : pomp and joy Waited on the barefoot boy
Cheerily, then, my little man, Live and laugh, as boyhood can Though the flinty slopes be hard, Stubble-speared the new-mown sward, Every morn shall lead thee through Fresh baptisms of the dew ; Every evening from thy feet Shall the cool wind kiss the heat: All too soon these feet must hide In the prison cells of pride, Lose the freedom of the sod, Like a colt's for work be shod, Made to tread the mills of toil,