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There the hum of the bees through the noonday is Light as a breeze astir,
Stemmed with the gossamer ;
The very flower to take
Into the heart, and make There the wren golden-crested, so lovely to see,
The cherished memory of all pleasant places; Hangs its delicate nest from the twigs of the tree;
Name but the light harebell, And there coos the ring-dove-oh, who would not go,
And straight is pictured well
Where'er of fallen state lie lonely traces.
Where hang its clustering locks,
Waving at dizzy height o'er ocean's brink; Hark! heard ye that laughter so loud and so long?
The hermit's scoopèd cell; Again now!-it drowneth the wood-linnet's song!
The forest's sylvan well, "T is the woodpecker laughing !- the comical ell! Where the poor wounded hart came down to drink His soul must be merry to laugh to himself!And now we are nearer-speak low- he not heard! We vision moors far-spread, Though he's merry at heart, he's a shy, timid bird. Where blooms the heather red, Hark! - now he is tapping the old, hollow tree:- And hunters with their dogs lie down at noon; One step farther on-now look upward-that's he! Lone shepherd-boys, who keep Oh, the exquisite bird ! — with his downward-hung On mountain-sides their sheep, head,
Cheating the time with flowers and fancies boon. With his richly-dyed greens—his pale yellow and red! On the gnarled tree-trunk with its sober-toned grey,
Old slopes of pasture-ground; What a beautiful mingling of colours are they!
Old fosse, and moat, and mound, Ah, the words you have spoken have frightened the
the Where the mailed warrior and crusader came ;
Old walls of crumbling stone, bird
Where trails the snap-dragon ;
Rise at the speaking of the Harebell's name.
We see the sere turf brown,
And the dry yarrow's crown The squirrel above him might chatter and chide;
Scarce raising from the stem its thick-set flowers ; And the purple-winged jay scream on every side;
The pale hawkweed we see, The great winds might blow, and the thunder might
The blue-flowered chiccory, roll,
And the strong ivy-growth o'er crumbling towers. Yet the fearless wood pecker still cling to the bole;
Light Harebell, there thou art, But soon as a footstep that's human is heard,
Making a lovely part A quick terror springs to the heart of the bird !
For the old splendour of the days gone by, For man, the oppressor and tyrant, has made
Waving, if but a breeze The free harmless dwellers of nature afraid !
Pant through the chestnut trees, 'Neath the fork of the branch, in the tree's hollow That on the hill-top grow broad-branched and high. bole,
Oh, when I look on thee, Has the timid woodpecker crept into his hole;
In thy fair symmetry, For there is his home in deep privacy hid,
And look on other flowers as fair beside, Like a chamber scooped into a far pyramid;
My sense is gratitude, And there is his mate, as secure as can be,
That God has been thus good, And his little young woodpeckers deep in the tree.
To scatter flowers, like common blessings, wide. And not till he thinks there is no one about, Will he come to his portal and slyly peep out; And then, when we're up at the end of the lane, We shall hear the old woodpecker laughing again.
THE SCREECH OWL.
The forest-tree beneath,
Pray thee, Owl, what art thou doing,
There are the red rose and the white;
Every living thing is creeping
Nought I see, so black the night is,
Pr'ythee, Owl, what is 't thou 'rt saying So terrific and dismaying? Dost thou speak of loss and ruin, In that ominous tu-whoo-ing? While the tempest yet was stiller, Homeward rode the kindly miller, With his drenched meal-sacks o'er him, And his little son before him ; Dripping wet, yet loud in laughter, Rode the jolly hunters after; And sore wet, and blown and wildern, Went a huddling group of children ; But each, through the tempest's pother, Got home safely to its mother; And ere afternoon was far on, Up the mountain spurred the Baron. How can evil then betide 'em ! In their houses warm they hide 'em. In his chimney-corner smoking, Sits the miller, spite thy croaking; And the children, snug and cozy, In their beds sleep warm and rosy ; And the Baron with his lady, Plays at chess sedate and steady.
Hoot away, then, an' it cheer thee, Only I and darkness hear thee. Trusting Heaven, we 'll fear no ruin, Spite thy ominous tu-whoo-ing!
There are they grouped, in form and hue,
Flowers are around me bright of hue,
Go, little book, and to the young and kind,
Beauty and love abroad, and who bestows
I LOVE those pictures that we see
My little book that hast been unto me,
So, do thy gracious work; and onward fare,
Sketches of Natural History.
TO ANNA MARY AND ALFRED WILLIAM
HOWITT, THESE SKETCHES, ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR THEIR AMUSEMENT,
ARE AFFECTIONATELY INSCRIBED.
THESE simple and unpretending Sketches require no introduction; and yet, when title-page, contents, and dedication have been made out, an introduction so naturally follows, that it might be supposed a book could not be put together without one,-though the writer, as in my case, has little to say either of her. self or her volume.
All, therefore, that I shall now remark is, that these Sketches were written for my own Children; and many of them at their suggestion; and that in seeing the pleasure they have derived from them, I have hoped their young contemporaries may find them equally agreeable. A few of them have already appeared in some of the Juvenile Annuals, and may therefore be familiar to many of my young readers; but I trust they will pardon a reprint of what is already known, in the prospect of finding more that is new.
Nottingham, May 1834.
Amid the foaming waves thou sat'st,
And steer'dst thy little boat;
So bravely set afloat.
That wild and stormy tide;
Thy young ones at thy side.
I pray thee tell to me,
That bore thee to the sea !
Upon thy watery way,
That round about thee lay?
Swoop down as thou passed by?
The lurking otter lie?
Yet, caused it no alarm?
Did strive to do thee harm?
As thou wast borne along,
Thou hadst a spirit strong!
The sparrows when they fall;
To brave thy perils all. He kept thy little ark afloat;
He watched o'er thine and thee; And safely through the foaming flood
Hath brought thee to the sea."
SKETCHES OF NATURAL HISTORY.
I pray thee tell to me,
That bore thee to the sea!
Within thy sedgy screen ;
And reeds so strong and green.
To view thy fairy place;
As if thy home to grace.
And bowed the bulrush strong; And far above those tall green reeds, · The waters poured along. “ And where is she, the Water-Coot,"
I cried, “ that creature good ?" But then I saw thee in thine ark,
Regardless of the food.
CAMEL, thou art good and mild,
And Eve in her young innocence
Delayed her footsteps there;
To see a tree so fair.
With the shade of human ill,
Yet wast thou goodly still.
There thou go'st untired and meek,
Thou wast made for usefulness,
And when an ancient poet
Some lofty theme would sing, He made the Cedar symbol forth
Each great and gracious thing.
Above all other trees!
For kingly palaces.
And on the Phænix-pyre,
Could feed the odorous fire. In the temple of Jerusalem,
That glorious temple old, They only found the cedar-wood
To match with carved gold. Thou great and noble Solomon,
What king was e'er like thee ? Thou 'mong the princes of the earth
Wast like a Cedar tree! But the glory of the Cedar tree
Is as an old renown,
Upon Mount Lebanon.
And dear to painter's eye;
On earth will never die !
MONKEY, little merry fellow, Thou art nature's punchinello! Full of fun as Puck could be ; Harlequin might learn of thee! Look now at his odd grimaces ! Saw you e'er such comic faces ? Now like learned judge sedate ; Now with nonsense in his pate!
The all-creating One;
That crowned Mount Lebanon.
That angels came to see,
The goodly Cedar tree.
Beneath its shadow dim; And from its spreading, leafy boughs Went up the wild bird's hymn.
Nature, in a sunny wood,
How you sate and made a din Louder than had ever been, Till the Parrots, all a-riot, Chattered too to keep you quiet;
THE FOSSIL ELEPHANT.
The earth is old! Six thousand years
Are gone since I had birth; In the forests of the olden time,
And the solitudes of earth.
Little, merry Monkey, tell
How the world's first children ran Laughing from the monkey-man, Litile Abel and his brother, Laughing, shouting to their mother!
And could you keep down your mirth, When the floods were on the earth; When from all your drowning kin, Good old Noah took you in?
In the very ark, no doubt, You went frolicking about; Never keeping in your mind, Drowned monkeys left behind!
No, we cannot hear of this;
Have ye no traditions,-none
We were a race of mighty things;
The world was all our own.
And the giant Mastodon.
No ship with oar or sail;
By the Dragon and the Whale.
Abode, a creature grim;
Coiled up in the waters dim.
A proud, imperial lot!
Or else we knew it not.
No fortress on the hill;
With armies up, to kill.
No silver and no gold;
And its granite mountains old.
We knew its breadth and length;
And the majesty of strength.
Wherefore, ask not of me;
Let that suffice for thee.
Were buried beneath the earth;
In the caves where they had birth!
Whether on land or sea;
As if for eternity!
And far in the realms of thawless ice,
Beyond each island shore,
To awake to life no more!
When the world consumes in fire, Will their frozen sepulchres be loosed, And their dreadful doom expire!