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30

SEA-BIRD AND LAND-BIRD.

In the grassy deep where I make my nest.

Say, canst thou hear

My carol clear, —
Thou, by the soundful sea oppressed ?

FRAILTY'S SHIELD.

Look what arms the fenceless wield, -
Frailest things have frailty's shield !
Cockle-boat outrides the gale
That has shred the frigate's sail ;
Curlew skims the breaker's crest;
Swings the oriole in its nest;
Flower a single summer bred
Lightly lifts its jaunty head,
When is past the storm whose stroke
Laid the pride of centuried oak;
Where with fire the soil was bathed
The white trefoil springs unscathed.

Frailest things have frailty's shield :
Here a fly in amber sealed;
There a bauble, tossed aside
Under ancient lava-tide,
Meets the musing delver's gaze.
Time the king's memorial lays,
Touching it with sportive staff,
But spares Erotion's epitaph.

Frailest things have frailty's shield,
Guarded by a charm concealed ;

32

FRAILTY'S SHIELD.

So the gaunt and ravening wild
Softens towards the weaning child,
And along the giddy steep
Safe one glideth, blind with sleep.

Art thou mighty ? - Challenged Fate
Chooseth thee for wrestling mate!
Art thou feeble ? Fate disarmed,
Turning, leaveth thee unharmed.
Thou that bendest shalt not break;
Smiling in the tempest's wake,
Thou shalt rise, and see around
How the strong ones strew the ground;
Saving lightness thou didst wield, -
Frailest things have frailty's shield !

THE SHORE WITHOUT A PORT.

I KNOW a shore without a port,
'T were better be the east wind's sport

Than to adventure here !
Sails drooped and motionless, we stand
Not more than one poor league from land,

Yet thither may not steer.

Such calm prevails, 't were not more vain,
Shipmates, upon the waveless plain

To give the sail and oar.
Like flickering metal cooled in mold,
A solid sea of burnished gold

Divides us from the shore.

The land is fair and flowerful :
On many an old-wrecked, floating hull,

Wing'd seeds, windblown, alight;
They spring again in rank display, -
The lotus, kissed with sun and spray,

And unknown flowers of night.

Good sooth! an idle crew are we
To have no errand on the sea,
No trade with

any

strand :

34

THE SHORE WITHOUT A PORT.

We nothing do but strive to guess
(With lids half-shut in idleness)

What shapes are on the land.

Some say this region is the home
Of elf, and sprite, and urchin gnome,

A shrewd and jealous clan;
And some have seen a gala rout
Of Loves and Graces borne about

In Cytherea's van.

But some, of holier vision, deem
This is the seat of

dream
The gods send dreaming youth:
Our crew is like to mutiny,
No two the same delight can see,

every

Yet each contends for Truth!

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