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Once on the boughs Birds of rare plume Sang, in its bloom ; Night-birds are we: Here we carouse, Singing like them, Perched round the stem Of the jolly old tree.

Here let us sport,
Boys, as we sit;
Laughter and wit
Flashing so free.
Life is but short-
When we are gone,
Let them sing on,
Round the old tree.

Evenings we knew,
Happy as this;
Faces we miss,
Pleasant to see.
Kind hearts and true,
Gentle and just,
Peace to your dust!
We sing round the tree.
Care, like a dun,
Lurks at the gate :
Let the dog wait;
Happy we'll be !
Drink, every one ;
Pile up the coals,
Fill the red bowls,
Round the old tree !

Drain we the cup: –
Friend, art afraid ?
Spirits are laid
In the Red Sea.
Mantle it up ;
Empty it yet ;
Let us forget,
Round the old tree,

Sorrows, begone !
Life and its ills,
Duns and their bills,
Bid we to flee.
Come with the dawn,
Blue-devil sprite,
Leave us to-night
Round the old tree.

William Makepeace Thackeray.


(A Fragment.)


While her laugh, full of lise, without any controul
But the sweet one of gracefulness, rung from her soul ;
And where it most sparkled no glance could discover,
In lip, cheek, or eyes, for she brighten'd all over,-
Like any fair lake that the breeze is upon,
When it breaks into dimples and laughs in the sun.

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THEY seemed to those who saw them meet
The casual friends of every day,
Her smile was undisturbed and sweet,
His courtesy was free and gay.

But yet if one the other's name
In some unguarded moment heard,
The heart you thought so calm and tame,
Would struggle like a captured bird :

And letters of mere formal phrase
Were blistered with repeated tears, –
And this was not the work of days,
But had gone on for years and years !

Alas! that Love was not too strong
For maiden shame and manly pride !
Alas! that they delayed so long
The goal of mutual bliss beside.

Yet what no chance could then reveal,
And neither would be first to own,
Let sate and courage now conceal,
When truth could bring remorse alone.

Richard, Lord Houghton.


TWENTY years hence my eyes may grow,
If not quite dim, yet rather so,
Yet yours from others they shall know

Twenty years hence.

Twenty years hence, tho'it may hap
That I be call'd to take a nap
In a cool cell where thunder-clap

Was never heard.

There breathe but o'er my arch of grass
A not too-sadly sigh'd Alas,
And I shall catch, ere you can pass,
That winged word.

Walter Savage Landor.



Nature says,

Why do our joys depart
For cares to seize the heart ?
I know not.
Obey; and man obeys.
I see, and know not why
Thorns live and roses die.

Walter Savage Landor.


While thou wert by

With laughing eye,
I felt the glow and song of spring ;

Now thou art gone

I sit alone,
Nor heed who smile nor hear who sing.

Walter Savage Landor.



The day of brightest dawn (day soonest flown !)
Is that when we have met and you have gone.

Walter Savage Landor.


Do you ask what the birds say? The sparrow, the dove,
The linnet and thrush say, “ I love and I love !"
In the winter they're silent—the wind is so strong ;
What it says I don't know, but it sings a loud song.
But green leaves, and blossoms, and sunny warm weather,
And singing and loving—all come back together.
But the lark is so brimful of gladness and love,
The green fields beneath him, the blue sky above,
That he sings and he sings, and for ever sings he-
“I love my love, and my love loves me !”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge.



The Boy and his Top.

A LITTLE boy had bought a top,
The best in all the toyman's shop;
He made a whip with good eel's skin,
He lash'd the top, and made it spin ;

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All the children within call,
And the servants, one and all,
Stood round to see it and admire.
At last the top began to tire ;
He cried out, Pray, don't whip me, master,
You whip too hard ; I can't spin faster ;
I can spin quite as well without it.
The litile boy replied, “I doubt it ;
I only whip you for your good.
You were a foolish lump of wood ;
By dint of whipping you were raised
To see yourself admired and praised,
And if I left you, you'd remain
A foolish lump of wood again."


Whipping sounds a little odd,
It don't mean whipping with a rod,
It means to teach a boy incessantly,
Whether by lessons or more pleasantly,
Every hour and every day,
By every means, in every way,
By reading, writing, rhyming, talking,
By riding to see sights, and walking :
If you leave off he drops at once,
A lumpish, wooden-headed dunce.

John Hookham Frere.



In tattered old slippers that toast at the bars,
And a ragged old jacket perfumed with cigars,
Away from the world and its toils and its cares,
I've a snug little kingdom up four pair of stairs.

To mount to this realm is a toil, to be sure,
But the fire there is bright and the air rather pure ;
And the view I behold on a sunshiny day
Is grand through the chimney-pots over the way.

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