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The shades of eve had crossed the glen

That frowns o'er infant Avonmore, When, nigh Loch Dan, two weary men,

We stopped before a cottage door.

“God save all here," my comrade cries,

And rattles on the raised latch-pin; “God save you kindly," quick replies

A clear sweet voice, and asks us in.

We enter; from the wheel she starts,

A rosy girl with soft black eyes ;
Her fluttering court'sy takes our hearts,

Her blushing grace and pleased surprise.

Poor Mary, she was quite alone,

For, all the way to Glenmalure, Her mother had that morning gone,

And left the house in charge with her.

But neither household cares, nor yet

The shame that startled virgins feel, Could make the generous girl forget

Her wonted hospitable zeal.

She brought us in a beechen bowl

Sweet milk that smacked of mountain thyme, Oat cake, and such a yellow roll

Of butter, it gilds all my rhyme !

And, while we ate the grateful food

(With weary limbs on bench reclined), Considerate and discreet, she stood

Apart, and listened to the wind.

Kind wishes both our souls engaged,

From breast to breast spontaneous ran The mutual thought, – we stood and pledged


“The milk we drink is not more pure,

Sweet Mary, - bless those budding charms! Than your own generous heart, I'm sure,

Nor whiter than the breast it warms !".

She turned and gazed, unused to hear

Such language in that homely glen; But, Mary, you have naught to fear,

Though smiled on by two stranger-men.

Thou whose locks outshine the sun,
Golden tresses wreathed in one,
As the braided streamlets run !

Standing, with reluctant feet,
Where the brook and river meet,
Womanhood and childhood fleet!

Gazing, with a timid glance,
On the brooklet's swift advance,
On the river's broad expanse !

Deep and still, that gliding stream
Beautiful to thee must seem
As the river of a dream.

Then why pause with indecision,
When bright angels in thy vision
Beckon thee to fields Elysian ?

Seest thou shadows sailing by,
As the dove, with startled eye,
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?

Hearest thou voices on the shore,
That our ears perceive no more,
Deafened by the cataract's roar ?

O thou child of many prayers !
Life hath quicksands, Life hath snares !
Care and age come unawares !

Like the swell of some sweet tune,
Morning rises into noon,
May glides onward into June.

Childhood is the bough where slumbered
Birds and blossoms many-numbered ;-
Age, that bough with snows encumbered.

Gather, then, each flower that grows,
When the young heart overflows,
To embalm that tent of snows.

Bear a lily in thy hand ;
Gates of brass cannot withstand
One touch of that magic wand.

Bear through sorrow, wrong, and ruth,
In thy heart the dew of youth,
On thy lips the smile of truth.

0, that dew, like balm, shall steal
Into wounds that cannot heal,
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal ;

And that smile, like sunshine, dart
Into many a sunless heart,
For a smile of God thou art.


Not for a crown would I alarm

Your virgin pride by word or sign, Nor need a painful blush disarm

My friend of thoughts as pure as mine.



SWEET Highland Girl, a very shower
Of beauty is thy earthly dower !
Twice seven consenting years have shed
Their utmost bounty on thy head ;
And these gray rocks, this household lawn,
These trees,

- a veil just half withdrawn,
This fall of water that doth make
A murmur near the silent lake,
This little bay, a quiet road
That holds in shelter thy abode;
In truth together ye do seem
Like something fashioned in a dream ;
Such forms as from their covert peep
When earthly cares are laid asleep!
But O fair Creature ! in the light
Of common day so heavenly bright,
I bless thee, Vision as thou art,
I bless thee with a human heart :
God shield thee to thy latest years !
I neither know thee nor thy peers;
And yet my eyes are filled with tears.
With earnest feeling I shall pray
For thee when I am far away ;
For never saw I mien or face
In which more plainly I could trace
Benignity and home-bred sense
Ripening in perfect innocence.
Here scattered like a random seed,
Remote from men, thou dost not need
The embarrassed look of shy distress,
And maidenly shamefacedness :
Thou wear'st upon thy forehead clear
The freedom of a mountaineer;
A face with gladness overspread,
Soft smiles, by human kindness bred ;
And seemliness complete, that sways
Thy courtesies, about thee plays ;
With no restraint, but such as springs
From quick and eager visitings
Of thoughts that lie beyond the reach
Of thy few words of English speech,
A bondage sweetly brooked, a strife
That gives thy gestures grace and life !
So have I, not unmoved in mind,
Seen birds of tempest-loving kind,
Thus beating up against the wind.
What hand but would a garland cull
For thee who art so beautiful ?
O happy pleasure ! here to dwell
Beside thee in some heathy dell ;
Adopt your homely ways and dress,
A shepherd, thou a shepherdess !
But I could frame a wish for thee
More like a grave reality :

Her simple heart could not but feel

The words we spoke were free from guile ; She stooped, she blushed, she fixed her wheel,

'Tis all in vain, — she can't but smile ! Just like sweet April's dawn appears

Her modest face, — I see it yet,
And though I lived a hundred years

Methinks I never could forget
The pleasure that, despite her heart,

Fills all her downcast eyes with light,
The lips reluctantly apart,

The white teeth struggling into sight, The dimples eddying o'er her cheek,

The rosy cheek that won't be still ;0, who could blame what flatterers speak,

Did smiles like this reward their skill ?

For such another smile, I vow,

Though loudly beats the midnight rain, I'd take the mountain-side e'en now,

And walk to Luggelaw again !



SWEETER and sweeter,

Soft and low,
Neat little nymph,

Thy numbers flow,
Urging thy thimble,
Thrift's tidy symbol,
Busy and nimble,

To and fro;
Prettily plying

Thread and song,
Keeping them flying

Late and long,
Through the stitch linger,
Kissing thy finger,

Quick, -as it skips along.

Many an echo,

Soft and low,
Follows thy flying

Fancy so,
Melodies thrilling,
Tenderly filling
Thee with their trilling,

Come and go ;
Memory's finger,

Quick as thine,
Loving to linger

On the line,
Writes of another,

Dearer than brother:
Would that the name were mine!


Thou art to me but as a wave Of the wild sea ; and I would have Some claim upon thee, if I could, Though but of common neighborhood. What joy to hear thee, and to see ! Thy elder brother I would be, Thy father, — anything to thee.

Only, free from flutterings

Of loud mirth that scorneth measure,

Taking love for her chief pleasure.
Choosing pleasures, for the rest,

Which come softly, — just as she,
When she nestles at your knee.

Quiet talk she liketh best,

In a bower of gentle looks, Watering flowers, or reading books.

And her voice, it murmurs lowly,

As a silver stream may run,
Which yet feels, you feel, the sun.

Now thanks to Heaven ! that of its grace
Hath led me to this lonely place ;
Joy have I had ; and going hence
I bear away my recompense.
In spots like these it is we prize
Our Memory, feel that she hath eyes :
Then why should I be loath to stir ?
I feel this place was made for her;
To give new pleasure like the past,
Continued long as life shall last.
Nor am I loath, though pleased at heart,
Sweet Highland Girl ! from thee to part;
For I, methinks, till I grow old
As fair before me shall behold
As I do now, the cabin small,
The lake, the bay, the waterfall ;
And thee, the spirit of them all !

And her smile, it seems half holy,

As if drawn from thoughts more far Than our common jestings are.

And if any poet knew her,

He would sing of her with falls

Used in lovely madrigals.
And if any painter drew her,

He would paint her unaware
With a halo round the hair.


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A sudden rush from the stairway,

A sudden raid from the hall, By three doors left unguarded,

They enter my castle wall.

They climb up into my turret,

O'er the arms and back of my chair ; If I try to escape, they surround me :

They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,

Their arms about me intwine, Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen

In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine.

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,

Because you have scaled the wall, Such an old mustache as I am

Is not a match for you all ?

I have you fast in my fortress,

And will not let you depart, But put you into the dungeon

In the round-tower of my heart.

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
Be guilty of an act so rude !
Before the whole set school to boot -
What evil genius put you to 't ?”
“'T was 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-hoo-
I thought she kind o' wished me to !".


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For, eschewing books and tasks, Nature answers all he asks ; Hand in hand with her he walks, Face to face with her he talks, Part and parcel of her joy, Blessings on the barefoot boy !

Old Master Brown brought his ferule down,

And his face looked angry and red.
Go, seat you there, now, Anthony Blair,

Along with the girls," he said.
Then Anthony Blair, with a mortified air,

With his head down on his breast,
Took his penitent seat by the maiden sweet

That he loved, of all, the best.
And Anthony Blair seemed whimpering there,

But the rogue only made believe ; For he peeped at the girls with the beautiful curls,

And ogled them over his sleeve.



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 !


BLESSINGS on thee, little man, Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan! With thy turned-ur 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! 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 !

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 slinty 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,

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