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The birch-tree swang her fragrant hair,
The bramble cast her berry, The gin within the juniper
Began to make him merry,
With cypress promenaded,
By rivers gallopaded.
Came wet-shod alder from the wave,
Came yews, a dismal coterie;
Poussetting with a sloe-tree:
The vine stream'd out to follow,
From many a cloudy hollow.
And wasn't it a sight to see,
When, ere his song was ended, Like some great landslip, tree by tree,
The country-side descended;
And shepherds from the mountain-eaves
As dash'd about the drunken leaves
Oh, nature first was fresh to men,
And wanton without measure; So youthful and so flexile then,
You moved her at your pleasure. Twang out, my fiddle! shake the twigs!
And make her dance attendance; Blow, flute, and stir the stiff-set sprigs,
And scirrhous roots and tendons.
'Tis vain! in such a brassy age
I could not move a thistle;
Scarce answer to my whistle;
With strumming and with scraping,
The passive oxen gaping.
But what is that I hear I a sound
Like sleepy counsel pleading: O Lord !—'tis in my neighbour's ground,
The modern Muses reading. They read Botanic Treatises,
And Works on Gardening thro' there, And Methods of transplanting trees,
To look as if they grew there.
The wither'd Misses! how they prose
O'er books of travell'd seamen, And show you slips of all that grows
From England to Van Diemen.
And alleys, faded places,
And warm'd in crystal cases.
But these, though fed with careful dirt,
Are neither green nor sappy; Half-conscious of the garden-squirt,
The poor things look unhappy.
Better to me the meanest weed
The vilest herb that runs to seed
And I must work thro' months of toil,
And years of cultivation, Upon my proper patch of soil
To grow my own plantation. I'll take the showers as they fall,
I will not vex my bosom, Enough if at the end of all
A little garden blossom.
i. Deep on the convent-roof the snows
Are sparkling to the moon:
May my soul follow soon!
Slant down the snowy sward,
That lead me to my Lord:
As are the frosty skies,
That in my bosom lies.