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THE MEETING OF THE DRYADS.*
Ir was not many centuries since,
When, gathered on the moonlit green,
A ring of weeping sprites was seen.
The freshman's lamp had long been dim,
Her sufferings on the evening flute.
They met not as they once had met,
To laugh o'er many a jocund tale;
And every cheek was cold and pale.
There rose a fair but faded one,
Who oft had cheered them with her song;
She waved a mutilated arm,
And silence held the listening throng.
* Written after a general pruning of the trees around Harvard College.
"Sweet friends," the gentle nymph began, "From opening bud to withering leaf, One common lot has bound us all,
In every change of joy and grief.
"While all around has felt decay,
We rose in ever-living prime, With broader shade and fresher green, Beneath the crumbling step of Time.
"When often by our feet has past
Some biped, nature's walking whim, Say, have we trimmed one awkward shape, Or lopped away one crooked limb?
"Go on, fair Science; soon to thee
Shall Nature yield her idle boast; Her vulgar fingers formed a tree,
But thou hast trained it to a post.
"Go paint the birch's silver rind,
And quilt the peach with softer down; Up with the willow's trailing threads,
Off with the sunflower's radiant crown!
"Go, plant the lily on the shore,
And set the rose among the waves, And bid the tropic bud unbind
Its silken zone in arctic caves;
Bring bellows for the panting winds,
"I cannot smile, the tide of scorn,
That rolled through every bleeding vein, Comes kindling fiercer as it flows
Back to its burning source again.
"Again in every quivering leaf
"A curse upon the wretch who dared
"In every julep that he drinks,
May gout, and bile, and headache be;
"May nightshade cluster round his path,
And thistles shoot, and brambles cling;
And dogwood burn, and nettles sting.
"On him may never shadow fall,
When fever racks his throbbing brow,
To hang him on my highest bough!"
the morning's herald beam
In sadness to her wounded tree.*
* A little poem, on a similar occasion, may be found in the works of Swift, from which, perhaps, the idea was borrowed; although I was as much surprised as amused to meet with it some time after writing the preceding lines.
THE MYSTERIOUS VISITER.
THERE was a sound of hurrying feet, A tramp on echoing stairs, There was a rush along the aisles,→ It was the hour of prayers.
And on, like Ocean's midnight wave,
He was a dark and swarthy man,
A faded coat of bottle green
Was buttoned round his breast.
There was not one among them all
Could say from whence he came; Nor beardless boy, nor ancient man, Could tell that stranger's name.