The Blue Poetry Book - Andrew Lang - ebook

The Blue Poetry Book ebook

Andrew Lang

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Mr. Andrew Lang has made this collection of what used to be called pieces of verse for the delectation of young readers. Precisely what kind of verse is most to the taste of the ripening minds of the numerous class that he had in view is a problem about which opinions may well differ; but one thing seems certain, and that is that, while they may not like many things in verse, they do, and always will, like those which possess the human interest which attaches to stirring events and heroic actions, of which they areas good judges as their elders. Mr. Lang's selections include no living poet, but neglect no great poet of the 19th century, his favorites, so far as he can be said to have any, being Scott, Campbell, Byron, Burns and other spirited singers of human emotion. We should like to be in the place of some of the young readers of Mr. Lang's anthology, that we might have for the first time the pleasure of being moved by Drayton's 'Ballad of Agincourt,' Campbell's 'Mariners of England,' Scott's 'Young Lochinvar,' Byron's 'Destruction of Sennacherib,' Macaulay's ' Battle of Maseby,' and what Coleridge calls that grand old ballad, 'Sir Patrick Spens.' This book is annotated with a rare extensive biographical sketch of the author, Andrew Lang, written by Sir Edmund Gosse, CB, a contemporary poet and writer.

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The Blue Poetry Book

Edited By Andrew Lang

With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford And Lancelot Speed

Contents:

Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

Introduction

Nurse's Song

A Boy's Song

I Remember, I Remember

The Lamb

Night

On A Spaniel Called 'Beau' Killing A Young Bird

Lucy Gray; Or, Solitude

Hunting Song

Lord Ullin's Daughter

The Chimney-Sweeper

Nora's Vow

Ballad Of Agincourt

Ye Mariners Of England

The Girl Describes Her Fawn

The Soldier's Dream

John Gilpin

Hohenlinden

The Village Blacksmith

Elegy On The Death Of A Mad Dog

The Outlaw

Battle Of The Baltic

Young Lochinvar

The Wreck Of The Hesperus

The Dog And The Water-Lily

To Flush, My Dog

Alice Brand

O, Wert Thou In The Cauld Blast

I Love My Jean

There'll Never Be Peace Till Jamie Comes Home

The Banks O' Doon

As Slow Our Ship

A Red, Red Rose

Bannockburn

The Minstrel-Boy

The Farewell

The Harp That Once Through T Ara's Halls

A Sea Dirge

Rose Aylmer

Song

Lucy Ashton's Song

Evening

Song

The Twa Corbies

To One In Paradise

Hymn To Diana

County Guy

Gathering Song Of Donald Dhu

The Destruction Of Sennacherib

The Cavalier

On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer

For Music

To Daffodils

The Solitary Reaper

To Blossoms

Proud Maisie

Sleep

Hymn For The Dead

The Poplar Field

Winter

Annabel Lee

To Mary

Twist Ye, Twine Ye

To Lucasta, On Going To The Wars

The Demon Lover

The Lawlands Of Holland

The Valley Of Unrest

The Burial Of Sir John Moore At Corunna

St. Swithin's Chair

Barthram's Dirge

To The Cuckoo

Helen Of Kirkconnel

To Althea From Prison

I Wandered Lonely:

Hester

To Evening

The Sun Upon The Weirdlaw Hill

The Wife Of Usher's Well

Allen-A-Dale

The Beleaguered City

Alexander's Feast Or, The Power Of Music

The Passionate Shepherd To His Love

The Flowers O' The Forest

Ulalume

Kubla Khan

L'allegro

Il Penseroso

Jock Of Hazeldean

The Recollection

Auld Robin Gray

Willie Drowned In Yarrow

The Reverie Of Poor Susan

The Armada

Mary Ambree

Elizabeth Of Bohemia

Cherry Ripe

Morning

Death The Leveller

Annan Water

To A Waterfowl

So, We'll Go No More A Roving

The Land O' The Leal

Song Of The Emigrants In Bermuda

The Light Of Other Days

The Fire Of Drift-Wood

The War-Song Of Dinas Vawr

Arethusa

The Day Is Done

The Two April Mornings

To Helen

The Skylark

Fidele

Cumnor Hall

To A Skylark

The Nightingale

The Sleeper

Spring

The Battle Of Naseby

Rosabelle

The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner

The Haunted Palace

The Bard

Kinmont Willie

The Last Man

Ivry

Sir Patrick Spens

La Belle Dame Sans Mercy

The Child And The Snake

Tom Bowling

The Kitten And Falling Leaves

The Pilgrim

The Solitude Of Alexander Selkirk

The Eve Of St. John

Leader Haughs

Epitaph On A Hare

Battle Of Otterbourne

Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard

On The Morning Of Christ's Nativity

Winter

Christabel

Yarrow Unvisited

Yarrow Visited

Sir Hugh; Or, The Jew's Daughter

The Red Fisherman; Or, The Devil's Decoy

The Blue Poetry Book , A. Lang

Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck

86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9

Germany

ISBN: 9783849609238

www.jazzybee-verlag.de

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ANDREW LANG (1844-1912)

Biographical Sketch from "Portraits And Sketches" by Edmund Gosse

INVITED to note down some of my recollections of Andrew Lang, I find myself suspended between the sudden blow of his death and the slow development of memory, now extending in unbroken friendship over thirty-five years. The magnitude and multitude of Lang's performances, public and private, during that considerable length of time almost paralyse expression; it is difficult to know where to begin or where to stop. Just as his written works are so extremely numerous as to make a pathway through them a formidable task in bibliography, no one book standing out predominant, so his character, intellectual and moral, was full -of so many apparent inconsistencies, so many pitfalls for rash assertion, so many queer caprices of impulse, that in a whole volume of analysis, which would be tedious, one could scarcely do justice to them all. I will venture to put down, almost at haphazard, what I remember that seems to me to have been overlooked, or inexactly stated, by those who wrote, often very sympathetically, at the moment of his death, always premising that I speak rather of a Lang of from 1877 to 1890, when I saw him very frequently, than of a Lang whom younger people met chiefly in Scotland.

When he died, all the newspapers were loud in proclaiming his "versatility." But I am not sure that he was not the very opposite of versatile. I take "versatile" to mean changeable, fickle, constantly ready to alter direction with the weather-cock. The great instance of versatility in literature is Ruskin, who adopted diametrically different views of the same subject at different times of his life, and defended them with equal ardour. To be versatile seems to be unsteady, variable. But Lang was through his long career singularly unaltered; he never changed his point of view; what he liked and admired as a youth he liked and admired as an elderly man. It is true that his interests and knowledge were vividly drawn along a surprisingly large number of channels, but while there was abundance there does not seem to me to have been versatility. If a huge body of water boils up from a crater, it may pour down a dozen paths, but these will always be the same; unless there is an earthquake, new cascades will not form nor old rivulets run dry. In some authors earthquakes do take place as in Tolstoy, for instance, and in S. T. Coleridge but nothing of this kind was ever manifest in Lang, who was extraordinarily multiform, yet in his varieties strictly consistent from Oxford to the grave. As this is not generally perceived, I will take the liberty of expanding my view of his intellectual development.

To a superficial observer in late life the genius of Andrew Lang had the characteristics which we are in the habit of identifying with precocity. Yet he had not been, as a writer, precocious in his youth. One slender volume of verses represents all that he published in book-form before his thirty-fifth year. No doubt we shall learn in good time what he was doing before he flashed upon the world of journalism in all his panoply of graces, in 1876, at the close of his Merton fellowship. He was then, at all events, the finest finished product of his age, with the bright armour of Oxford burnished on his body to such a brilliance that humdrum eyes could hardly bear the radiance of it. Of the terms behind, of the fifteen years then dividing him from St. Andrews, we know as yet but little; they were years of insatiable acquirement, incessant reading, and talking, and observing gay preparation for a life to be devoted, as no other life in our time has been, to the stimulation of other people's observation and talk and reading. There was no cloistered virtue about the bright and petulant Merton don. He was already flouting and jesting, laughing with Ariosto in the sunshine, performing with a snap of his fingers tasks which might break the back of a pedant, and concealing under an affectation of carelessness a literary ambition which knew no definite bounds.

In those days, and when he appeared for the first time in London, the poet was paramount in him. Jowett is said to have predicted that he would be greatly famous in this line, but I know not what evidence Jowett had before him. Unless I am much mistaken, it was not until Lang left Balliol that his peculiar bent became obvious. Up to that time he had been a promiscuous browser upon books, much occupied, moreover, in the struggle with ancient Greek, and immersed in Aristotle and Homer. But in the early days of his settlement at Merton he began to concentrate his powers, and I think there were certain influences which were instant and far-reaching. Among them one was pre-eminent. When Andrew Lang came up from St. Andrews he had found Matthew Arnold occupying the ancient chair of poetry at Oxford. He was a listener at some at least of the famous lectures which, in 1865, were collected as "Essays in Criticism"; while one of his latest experiences as a Balliol undergraduate was hearing Matthew Arnold lecture on the study of Celtic literature. His conscience was profoundly stirred by "Culture and Anarchy" (1869); his sense of prose-form largely determined by "Friendship's Garland" (1871). I have no hesitation in saying that the teaching and example of Matthew Arnold prevailed over all other Oxford influences upon the intellectual nature of Lang, while, although I think that his personal acquaintance with Arnold was very slight, yet in his social manner there was, in early days, not a little imitation of Arnold's aloofness and superfine delicacy of address. It was unconscious, of course, and nothing would have enraged Lang more than to have been accused of "imitating Uncle Matt."

The structure which his own individuality now began to build on the basis supplied by the learning of Oxford, and in particular by the study of the Greeks, and "dressed" by courses of Matthew Arnold, was from the first eclectic. Lang eschewed as completely what was not sympathetic to him as he assimilated what was attractive to him. Those who speak of his "versatility" should recollect what large tracts of the literature of the world, and even of England, existed outside the dimmest apprehension of Andrew Lang. It is, however, more useful to consider what he did apprehend; and there were two English books, published in his Oxford days, which permanently impressed him: one of these was "The Earthly Paradise," the other D. G. Rossetti's " Poems." In after years he tried to divest himself of the traces of these volumes, but he had fed upon their honey-dew and it had permeated his veins.

Not less important an element in the garnishing of a mind already prepared for it by academic and aesthetic studies was the absorption of the romantic part of French literature. Andrew Lang in this, as in everything else, was selective. He dipped into the wonderful lucky-bag of France wherever he saw the glitter of romance. Hence his approach, in the early seventies, was threefold: towards the mediaeval lais and chansons, towards the sixteenth-century Pleiade, and towards the school of which Victor Hugo was the leader in the nineteenth century. For a long time Ronsard was Lang's poet of intensest predilection; and I think that his definite ambition was to be the Ronsard of modern England, introducing a new poetical dexterity founded on a revival of pure humanism. He had in those days what he lost, or at least dispersed, in the weariness and growing melancholia of later years a splendid belief in poetry as a part of the renown of England, as a heritage to be received in reverence from our fathers, and to be passed on, if possible, in a brighter flame. This honest and beautiful ambition to shine as one of the permanent benefactors to national verse, in the attitude so nobly sustained four hundred years ago by Du Bellay and Ronsard, was unquestionably felt by Andrew Lang through his bright intellectual April, and supported him from Oxford times until 1882, when he published " Helen of Troy." The cool reception of that epic by the principal judges of poetry caused him acute disappointment, and from that time forth he became less eager and less serious as a poet, more and more petulantly expending his wonderful technical gift on fugitive subjects. And here again, when one comes to think of it, the whole history repeated itself, since in " Helen of Troy " Lang simply suffered as Ronsard had done in the "Franciade." But the fact that 1882 was his year of crisis, and the tomb of his brightest ambition, must be recognised by every one who closely followed his fortunes at that time. Lang's habit of picking out of literature and of life the plums of romance, and these alone, comes to be, to the dazzled observer of his extraordinarily vivid intellectual career, the principal guiding line. This determination to dwell, to the exclusion of all other sides of any question, on its romantic side is alone enough to rebut the charge of versatility. Lang was in a sense encyclopaedic; but the vast dictionary of his knowledge had blank pages, or pages pasted down, on which he would not, or could not, read what experience had printed. Absurd as it sounds, there was always something maidenly about his mind, and he glossed over ugly matters, sordid and dull conditions, so that they made no impression whatever upon him. He had a trick, which often exasperated his acquaintances, of declaring that he had " never heard " of things that everybody else was very well aware of. He had " never heard the name " of people he disliked, of books that he thought tiresome, of events that bored him; but, more than this, he used the formula for things and persons whom he did not wish to discuss. I remember meeting in the street a famous professor, who advanced with uplifted hands, and greeted me with " What do you think Lang says now? That he has never heard of Pascal! " This merely signified that Lang, not interested (at all events for the moment) in Pascal nor in the professor, thus closed at once all possibility of discussion.

It must not be forgotten that we have lived to see him, always wonderful indeed, and always passionately devoted to perfection and purity, but worn, tired, harassed by the unceasing struggle, the lifelong slinging of sentences from that inexhaustible ink-pot. In one of the most perfect of his poems, " Natural Theology," Lang speaks of Cagn, the great hunter, who once was kind and good, but who was spoiled by fighting many things. Lang was never " spoiled," but he was injured; the surface of the radiant coin was rubbed by the vast and interminable handling of journalism. He was jaded by the toil of writing many things. Hence it is not possible but that those who knew him intimately in his later youth and early middle-age should prefer to look back at those years when he was the freshest, the most exhilarating figure in living literature, when a star seemed to dance upon the crest of his already silvering hair. Baudelaire exclaimed of Theophile Gautier: " Homme heureux! homme digne d'envie! il n'a jamais aimé que le Beau!" and of Andrew Lang in those brilliant days the same might have been said. As long as he had confidence in beauty he was safe and strong; and much that, with all affection and all respect, we must admit was rasping and disappointing in his attitude to literature in his later years, seems to have been due to a decreasing sense of confidence in the intellectual sources of beauty. It is dangerous, in the end it must be fatal, to sustain the entire structure of life and thought on the illusions of romance. But that was what Lang did he built his house upon the rainbow.

The charm of Andrew Lang's person and company was founded upon a certain lightness, an essential gentleness and elegance which were relieved by a sharp touch; just as a very dainty fruit may be preserved from mawkishness by something delicately acid in the rind of it. His nature was slightly inhuman; it was unwise to count upon its sympathy beyond a point which was very easily reached in social intercourse. If any simple soul showed an inclination, in eighteenth-century phrase, to " repose on the bosom " of Lang, that support was immediately withdrawn, and the confiding one fell among thorns. Lang was like an Angora cat, whose gentleness and soft fur, and general aspect of pure amenity, invite to caresses, which are suddenly met by the outspread paw with claws awake. This uncertain and freakish humour was the embarrassment of his friends, who, however, were preserved from despair by the fact that no malice was meant, and that the weapons were instantly sheathed again in velvet. Only, the instinct to give a sudden slap, half in play, half in fretful caprice, was incorrigible. No one among Lang's intimate friends but had suffered from this feline impulse, which did not spare even the serenity of Robert Louis Stevenson. But, tiresome as it sometimes was, this irritable humour seldom cost Lang a friend who was worth preserving. Those who really knew him recognised that he was always shy and usually tired.

His own swift spirit never brooded upon an offence, and could not conceive that any one else should mind what he himself minded so little and forgot so soon. Impressions swept over him very rapidly, and injuries passed completely out of his memory. Indeed, all his emotions were too fleeting, and in this there was something fairy-like; quick and keen and blithe as he was, he did not seem altogether like an ordinary mortal, nor could the appeal to gross human experience be made to him with much chance of success. This, doubtless, is why almost all imaginative literature which is founded upon the darker parts of life, all squalid and painful tragedy, all stories that " don't end well" all religious experiences, all that is not superficial and romantic, was irksome to him. He tried sometimes to reconcile his mind to the consideration of real life; he concentrated his matchless powers on it; but he always disliked it. He could persuade himself to be partly just to Ibsen or Hardy or Dostoieffsky, but what he really enjoyed was Dumas pêre, because that fertile romance-writer rose serene above the phenomena of actual human experience. We have seen more of this type in English literature than the Continental nations have in theirs, but even we have seen no instance of its strength and weakness so eminent as Andrew Lang. He was the fairy in our midst, the wonder-working, incorporeal, and tricksy fay of letters, who paid for all his wonderful gifts and charms by being not quite a man of like passions with the rest of us. In some verses which he scribbled to R.L.S. and threw away, twenty years ago, he acknowledged this unearthly character, and, speaking of the depredations of his kin, he said:

Faith, they might steal me, w? ma will,

And, ken'd I ony fairy hill

I#d lay me down there, snod and still,

Their land to win;

For, man, I maistly had my fill

O' this world's din

His wit had something disconcerting in its impishness. Its rapidity and sparkle were dazzling, but it was not quite human; that is to say, it conceded too little to the exigencies of flesh and blood. If we can conceive a seraph being fanny, it would be in the manner of Andrew Lang. Moreover, his wit usually danced over the surface of things, and rarely penetrated them. In verbal parry, in ironic misunderstanding, in breathless agility of topsy-turvy movement, Lang was like one of Milton's " yellow-skirted fays," sporting with the helpless, moon-bewildered traveller. His wit often had a depressing, a humiliating effect, against which one's mind presently revolted. I recollect an instance which may be thought to be apposite: I was passing through a phase of enthusiasm for Emerson, whom Lang very characteristically detested, and I was so ill-advised as to show him the famous epigram called " Brahma." Lang read it with a snort of derision (it appeared to be new to him), and immediately he improvised this parody:

If the wild bowler thinks he bowls,

Or if the batsman thinks he's bowled,

They know not, poor misguided souls,

They, too, shall perish unconsoled.

I am the batsman and the bat,

I am the bowler and the ball,

The umpire, the pavilion cat,

The roller, pitch and stumps, and all

This would make a pavilion cat laugh, and I felt that Emerson was done for. But when Lang had left me, and I was once more master of my mind, I reflected that the parody was but a parody, wonderful for its neatness and quickness, and for its seizure of what was awkward in the roll of Emerson's diction, but essentially superficial. However, what would wit be if it were profound? I must leave it there, feeling that I have not explained why Lang's extraordinary drollery in conversation so often left on the memory a certain sensation of distress.

But this was not the characteristic of his humour at its best, as it was displayed throughout the happiest period of his work. If, as seems possible, it is as an essayist that he will ultimately take his place in English literature, this element will continue to delight fresh generations of enchanted readers. I cannot imagine that the preface to his translation of " Theocritus," "Letters to Dead Authors," "In the Wrong Paradise," " Old Friends," and " Essays in Little " will ever lose their charm; but future admirers will have to pick their way to them through a tangle of history and anthropology and mythology, where there may be left no perfume and no sweetness. I am impatient to see this vast mass of writing reduced to the limits of its author's delicate, true, but somewhat evasive and ephemeral. genius. However, as far as the circumstances of his temperament permitted, Andrew Lang has left with us the memory of one of our most surprising contemporaries, a man of letters who laboured without cessation from boyhood to the grave, who pursued his ideal with indomitable activity and perseverance, and who was never betrayed except by the loftiness of his own endeavour. Lang's only misfortune was not to be completely in contact with life, and his work will survive exactly where he was most faithful to his innermost illusions.

INTRODUCTION

The purpose of this Collection is to put before children, and young people, poems which are good in themselves, and especially fitted to live, as Theocritus says, ' on the lips of the young.' The Editor has been guided to a great extent, in making his choice, by recollections of what particularly pleased himself in youth. As a rule, the beginner in poetry likes what is called ' objective ' art — verse with a story in it, the more vigorous the story the better. The old ballads satisfy this taste, and the Editor would gladly have added more of them, but for two reasons. First, there are parents who would see harm, where children see none, in ' Tamlane ' and  ' Clerk Saunders.' Next, there was reason to dread that the volume might become entirely too Scottish. It is certainly a curious thing that, in Mr. Palgrave's Golden Treasury, where some seventy poets are represented, scarcely more than a tenth of the number were born north of Tweed. In this book, however, intended for lads and lassies, the poems by Campbell, by Sir Walter Scott, by Burns, by the Scottish song-writers, and the Scottish minstrels of the ballad, are in an unexpectedly large proportion to the poems by English authors.

The Blue Poetry Book

NURSE'S SONG

When the voices of children are heard on the green

And laughing is heard on the hill,

My heart is at rest within my breast,

And everything else is still.

Then come home, my children, the sun is gone down,

And the dews of night arise ;

Come, come, leave off play, and let us away

Till the morning appears in the skies.

No, no, let us play, for it is yet day,

And we cannot go to sleep ;

Besides in the sky the little birds fly.

And the hills are all covered with sheep.

Well, well, go and play till the light fades away.

And then go home to bed.

The little ones leap'd and shouted and laugh'd ;

And all the hills echoed.

W. Blake.

A BOY'S SONG

Where the pools are bright and deep,

Where the grey trout lies asleep,

Up the river and o'er the lea,

That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the blackbird sings the latest,

Where the hawthorn blooms the sweetest

Where the nestlings chirp and flee.

That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the mowers mow the cleanest,

Where the hay lies thick and greenest ;

There to trace the homeward bee.

That's the way for Billy and me.

Where the hazel bank is steepest.

Where the shadow falls the deepest,

Where the clustering nuts fall free,

That's the way for Billy and me.

Why the boys should drive away

Little sweet maidens from the play,

Or love to banter and fight so well.

That's the thing I never could tell.

But this I know, I love to play,

Through the meadow, among the hay

Up the water and o'er the lea.

That's the way for Billy and me.

J, Hogg.

I REMEMBER, I REMEMBER

I REMEMBER, I remember

The house where I was born,

The little window where the sun

Came peeping in at morn ;

He never came a wink too soon,

Nor brought too long a day,

But now, I often wish the night

Had borne my breath away !

I remember, I remember

The roses, red and white,

The violets, and the lily-cups,

Those flowers made of light !

The lilacs where the robin built,

And where my brother set

The laburnum on his birthday,—

The tree is living yet !

I remember, I remember

Where I was used to swing,

And thought the air must rush as fresh

To swallows on the wing ;

My spirit flew in feathers then,

That is so heavy now,

And summer pools could hardly cool

The fever on my brow !

I remember, I remember

The fir trees dark and high ;

I used to think their slender tops

Were close against the sky :

It was a childish ignorance,

But now 'tis little joy

To know I'm farther off from heav'n

Than when I was a boy.

T. Hood.

THE LAMB

Little Lamb, who made thee ?

Dost thou know who made thee.

Gave thee life, and bid thee feed

By the stream and o'er the mead;

Gave thee clothing of delight,

Softest clothing, woolly, bright ;

Gave thee such a tender voice

Making all the vales rejoice ;

Little Lamb, who made thee ?

Dost thou know who made thee

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.

He is called by thy name,

For He calls Himself a Lamb : —

He is meek and He is mild ;

He became a little child.

I a child, and thou a lamb,

We are called by His name.

Little Lamb, God bless thee ;

Little Lamb, God bless thee.

W. Blake.

NIGHT

The Sun descending in the west,

The evening star does shine ;

The birds are silent in their nest,

And I must seek for mine.

The moon, like a flower

In heaven's high bower,

With silent delight

Sits and smiles on the night.

Farewell, green fields and happy groves,

Where flocks have ta'en delight ;

Where lambs have nibbled, silent moves

The feet of angels bright ;

Unseen, they pour blessing,

And joy without ceasing.

On each bud and blossom,

And each sleeping bosom.

They look in every thoughtless nest,

Where birds are cover'd warm.

They visit caves of every beast.

To keep them all from harm : —

If they see any weeping

That should have been sleeping,

They pour sleep on their head.

And sit down by their bed.

W. Blake.

ON A SPANIEL CALLED 'BEAU' KILLING A YOUNG BIRD

A SPANIEL, Beau, that fares like you,

Well fed, and at his ease,

Should wiser be than to pursue

Each trifle that he sees.

But you have killed a tiny bird.

Which flew not till to-day,

Against my orders, whom you heard

Forbidding you the prey.

Nor did you kill that you might eat,

And ease a doggish pain,

For him, though chased with furious heat,

You left where he was slain.

Nor was he of the thievish sort.

Or one whom blood allures.

But innocent was all his sport

"Whom you have torn for yours.

My dog ! what remedy remains,

Since, teach you all I can,

I see you, after all my pains,

So much resemble man ?

Beau's reply

Sir, when I flew to seize the bird

In spite of your command,

A louder voice than yours I heard,

And harder to withstand.

You cried — ' Forbear ! ' — but in my breast

A mightier cried — ' Proceed ! ' —

'Twas Nature, sir, whose strong behest

Impell'd me to the deed.

Yet much as Nature I respect,

I ventured once to break

(As you perhaps may recollect)

Her precept for your sake ;

And when your linnet on a day,

Passing his prison door,

Had flutter' d all his strength away,

And panting pressed the floor ;

"Well knowing him a sacred thing,

Not destined to my tooth,

I only kiss'd his ruffled wing,

And lick'd the feathers smooth.

Let my obedience then excuse

My disobedience now,

Nor some reproof yourself refuse

From your aggrieved Bow-wow ;

If killing birds be such a crime,

(Which I can hardly see),

What think you, sir, of killing Time

With verse address' d to me ?

W. COWPER.

LUCY GRAY; OR, SOLITUDE

Oft I had heard of Lucy Gray :

And, when I crossed the wild,

I chanced to see at break of day

The solitary child.

No mate, no comrade Lucy knew ;

She dwelt on a wide moor,

— The sweetest thing that ever grew

Beside a human door !

You yet may spy the fawn at play,

The hare upon the green ;

But the sweet face of Lucy Gray

Will never more be seen.

To-night will be a stormy night —

You to the town must go ;

And take a lantern, Child, to light

Your mother through the snow.'

' That, Father ! will I gladly do :

'Tis scarcely afternoon —

The minster-clock has just struck two,

And yonder is the moon ! '

At this the Father raised his hook,

And snapped a faggot-band ;

He plied his work ; — and Lucy took

The lantern in her hand.

Not blither is the mountain roe :

With many a wanton stroke

Her feet disperse the powdery snow,

That rises up like smoke.

The storm came on before its time;

She wandered up and down ;

And many a hill did Lucy cUmb,

But never reached the town.

The wretched parents all that night

Went shouting far and wide ;

But there was neither sound nor sight

To serve them for a guide.

At day-break on a hill they stood

That overlooked the moor ;

And thence they saw the bridge of wood,

A furlong from their door.

They wept — and, turning homeward, cried,

' In heaven we all shall meet ! '

— "When in the snow the mother spied

The print of Lucy's feet.

Then downwards from the steep hill's edge

They tracked the footmarks small ;

And through the broken hawthorn hedge,

And by the long stone wall ;

And then an open field they crossed :

The marks were still the same ;

They tracked them on, nor ever lost ;

And to the bridge they came.

They followed from the snowy bank

Those footmarks, one by one,

Into the middle of the plank ;

And further there were none !

— Yet some maintain that to this day

She is a living child ;

That you may see sweet Lucy Gray

Upon the lonesome wild.

O'er rough and smooth she trips along,

And never looks behind ;

And sings a solitary song

That whistles in the wind.

W. Wordsworth.

HUNTING SONG

Waken, lords and ladies gay !

On the mountain dawns the day ;

All the jolly chase is here,

"With hawk, and horse, and hunting spear !

Hounds are in their couples yelling,

Hawks are whistling, horns are knelling ;

Merrily, merrily, mingle they,

'Waken, lords and ladies gay.'

Waken, lords and ladies gay !

The mist has left the mountain grey,

Springlets in the dawn are steaming.

Diamonds on the brake are gleaming ;

And foresters have busy been,

To track the buck in thicket green ;

Now we come to chant our lay,

' Waken, lords and ladies gay.'

"Waken, lords and ladies gay !

To the greenwood haste away ;

We can show you where he lies,

Fleet of foot, and tall of size ;

We can show the marks he made,

When 'gainst the oak his antlers fray'd ;

You shall see him brought to bay—

' Waken, lords and ladies gay.'

Louder, louder chant the lay.

Waken, lords and ladies gay !

Tell them youth, and mirth, and glee,

Run a course as well as we ;

Time, stern huntsman ! who can baulk,

Stanch as hound, and fleet as hawk ?

Think of this, and rise with day,

Gentle lords and ladies gay !

Sir W. Scott.

LORD ULLIN'S DAUGHTER

A CHIEFTAIN, to the Highlands bound,

Cries, ' Boatman, do not tarry !

And I'll give thee a silver pound.

To row us o'er the ferry.'

Now who be ye, would cross Lochgyle,

This dark and stormy water ? '

' O, I'm the chief of Ulva's isle.

And this Lord Ullin's daughter.—

And fast before her father's men

Three days we've fled together,

For should he find us in the glen,

My blood would stain the heather.

' His horsemen hard behind us ride ;

Should they our steps discover,

Then who will cheer my bonny bride

When they have slain her lover ? '

Outspoke the hardy Highland wight,

' I'll go, my chief— I'm ready ;

It is not for your silver bright,

But for your winsome lady :

' And by my word ! the bonny bird

In danger shall not tarry ;

So though the waves are raging white,

I'll row you o'er the ferry.' —

By this the storm grew loud apace,

The water- wraith was shrieking ;

And in the scowl of heaven each face

Grew dark as they were speaking.

But still as wilder blew the wind,

And as the night grew drearer,

Adown the glen rode armed men.

Their trampling sounded nearer. —

' Haste thee, haste ! ' the lady cries,

' Though tempests round us gather ;

I'll meet the raging of the skies,

But not an angry father.' —

The boat has left a stormy land,

A stormy sea before her, —

When, oh ! too strong for human hand,

The tempest gather'd o'er her.

And still they row'd amidst the roar

Of waters fast prevailing :

Lord Ullin reach'd that fatal shore.

His wrath was changed to wailing. —

For sore dismay'd, through storm and shade.

His child he did discover : —

One lovely hand she stretch'd for aid,

And one was round her lover.

' Come back ! come back ! ' he cried in grief,

' Across this stormy water :

And I'll forgive your Highland chief,

My daughter !— oh my daughter I ' —

'Twas vain : the loud waves lashed the shore,

Return or aid preventing ; —

The waters wild went o'er his child, —

And he was left lamenting.

T. Campbell.

THE CHIMNEY-SWEEPER

When my mother died I was very young,

And my father sold me while yet my tongue

Could scarcely cry, ' 'weep ! 'weep ! 'weep ! weep ! '

So your chimneys I sweep, and in soot I sleep.

There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head,

That curl'd like a lamb's back, was shaved ; so I said,

' Hush, Tom ! never mind it, for when your head's bare.

You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair.'

And so he was quiet : and that very night.

As Tom was a-sleeping, he had such a sight.

That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, and Jack,

Were all of them lock'd up in coffins of black.

And by came an angel, who had a bright key,

And he open'd the coffins, and set them all free ;

Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they run.

And wash in a river, and shine in the sun.

Then, naked and white, all their bags left behind,

They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind ;

And the angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy,

He'd have God for his father, and never want joy.

And so Tom awoke ; and we rose in the dark,

And got with our bags and our brushes to work ;

Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy and warm ;

So, if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.

W. Blake.

NORA'S VOW

Hear what Highland Nora said, —

' The Earlie's son I will not wed,

Should all the race of nature die,

And none be left but he and I.

For all the gold, for all the gear.

And all the lands both far and near.

That ever valour lost or won,

I would not wed the Earlie's son.'

' A maiden's vows,' old Galium spoke,

' Are lightly made, and lightly broke ;