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And oft, like echoes, answering remote,
We hide in thickets from the feathered throng,
· And strain in rivalship each throbbing throat,

Singing in shrill responses all day long,
Whilst the glad truant listens to our song.
“Wherefore, great King of Years, as thou dost love
The raining music from a morning cloud,
When vanished larks are carolling above,
To wake Apollo with their pipings loud; —
If ever thou hast heard in leafy shroud
The sweet and plaintive Sappho of the dell,
Show thy sweet mercy on this little crowd,
And we will muffle up the sheepfold bell
Whene'er thou listenest to Philomel.”
Then Saturn thus: “Sweet is the merry lark,
That carols in man's ear so clear and strong;
And youth must love to listen in the dark
That tuneful elegy of Tereus' wrong;
But I have heard that ancient strain too long,
For sweet is sweet but when a little strange,
And I grow weary for some newer song;
For wherefore had I wings, unless to range
Through all things mutable from change to change
“But wouldst thou hear the melodies of Time,
Listen when sleep and drowsy darkness roll
Over hushed cities, and the midnight chime
Sounds from their hundred clocks, and deep bells toll
Like a last knell over the dead world's soul,
Saying, Time shall be final of all things,
Whose late, last voice must elegize the whole, -
O, then I clap aloft my brave broad wings,
And make the wide air tremble while it rings !"

Then next a fair Eve-Fay made meek address,
Saying, “We be the handmaids of the Spring,
In sign whereof, May, the quaint broideress,
Hath wrought her samplers on our gauzy wing.
We tend upon buds' birth and blossoming,
And count the leafy tributes that they owe —
As, so much to the earth — so much to fling
In showers to the brook — so much to go
In whirlwinds to the clouds that made them grow.

“The pastoral cowslips are our little pets,
And daisy stars, whose firmament is green;
Pansies, and those veiled nuns, meek violets,
Sighing to that warm world from which they screen;
And golden daffodils, plucked for May's Queen;
And lonely harebells, quaking on the heath;
And Hyacinth, long since a fair youth seen,
Whose tuneful voice, turned fragrance in his breath,
Kissed by sad Zephyr, guilty of his death.

“The widowed primrose weeping to the moon,
And saffron crocus in whose chalice bright
A cool libation hoarded for the noon
Is kept — and she that purifies the light,
The virgin lily, faithful to her white,
Whereon Eve wept in Eden for her shame;
And the most dainty rose, Aurora's spright,
Our every godchild, by whatever name —
Spare us our lives, for we did nurse the same!”
Then that old Mower stamped his heel, and struck
His hurtful scythe against the harmless ground,
Saying, “Ye foolish imps, when am I stuck
With gaudy buds, or like a wooer crowned

With flowery chaplets, save when they are found
Withered ? — Whenever have I plucked a rose,
Except to scatter its vain leaves around ?
For so all gloss of beauty I oppose,
And bring decay on every flower that blows.
“Or when am I so wroth as when I view
The wanton pride of Summer; — how she decks
The birth-day world with blossoms ever new,
As if Time had not lived, and heaped great wrecks
Of years on years ? — 0, then I bravely vex
And catch the gay Months in their gaudy plight,
And slay them with the wreaths about their necks,
Like foolish heifers in the holy rite,
And raise great trophies to my ancient might !”
Then saith another, “We are kindly things,
And like her offspring nestle with the dove,
Witness these hearts embroidered on our wings,
To show our constant patronage of love: –
We sit ať even, in sweet bowers above
Lovers, and shake rich odors on the air,
To mingle with their sighs; and still remove
The startling owl, and bid the bat forbear
Their privacy, and haunt some other where.
“And we are near the mother when she sits
Beside her infant in its wicker bed; .
And we are in the fairy scene that flits
Across its tender brain : sweet dreams we shed,
And whilst the tender little soul is filed
Away, to sport with our young elves, the while
We touch the dimpled check with roses red,
And tickle the soft lips until they smile,
So that their careful parents they beguile.

0, then, if ever thou hast breathed a vow
At Love's dear portal, or at pale moon-rise
Crushed the dear curl on a regardful brow
That did not frown thee from thy honey prize --
If ever thy sweet son sat on thy thighs,
And wooed thee from thy careful thoughts within
To watch the harmless beauty of his eyes,
Or glad thy fingers on his smooth soft skin,
For love's dear sake, let us thy pity win!”
Then Saturn fiercely thus: “What joy have I
In tender babes, that have devoured mine own,
Whenever to the light I heard them cry,
Till foolish Rhea cheated me with stone ?
Whereon, till now, is my great hunger shown,
In monstrous dints of my enormous tooth ;
And, — but the peopled world is too full grown
For hunger's edge,- I would consume all youth
At one great meal, without delay or ruth!

“For I am well-nigh crazed and wild to hear
How boastful fathers taunt me with their breed,
Saying, "We shall not die nor disappear,
But in these other selves, ourselves succeed,
Even as ripe flowers pass into their seed
Only to be renewed from prime to prime,'
All of which boastings I am forced to read,
Besides a thousand challenges to Time
Which bragging lovers have compiled in rhyme.

“Wherefore, when they are sweetly met o' nights, There will I steal, and with my hurried hand Startle them suddenly from their delights . Before their next encounter hath been planned,

Ravishing hours in little minutes spanned ;
But when they say farewell, and grieve apart,
Then like a leaden statue I will stand,
Meanwhile their many tears incrust my dart,
And with a ragged edge cut heart from heart.”
Then next a merry Woodsman, clad in green,
Stept vanward from his mates, that idly stood
Each at his proper ease, as they had been
Nursed in the liberty of old Sherwood,
And wore the livery of Robin Hood,
Who wont in forest shades to dine and sup,-
So came this chief right frankly, and made good
His haunch against his axe, and thus spoke up,
Doffing his cap, which was an acorn's cup:
“We be small foresters and gay, who tend
On trees and all their furniture of green,
Training the young boughs airily to bend,
And show blue snatches of the sky between; .
Or knit more close intricacies, to screen
Birds' crafty dwellings as may hide them best,
But most the timid blackbird's — she, that seen,
Will bear black poisonous berries to her nest,
Lest man should cage the darlings of her breast.
“We bend each tree in proper attitude,
And founting willows train in silvery falls;
We frame all shady roofs and arches rude,
And verdant aisles leading to Dryads halls,
Or deep recesses where the Echo calls; —
We shape all plumy trees against the sky,
And carve tall elms' Corinthian capitals, –
When sometimes, as our tiny hatchets ply,
Men say, the tapping woodpecker is nigh.

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