Page images

And laughed, and prattled in her pride of bliss !

But when we turned her sweet unlearned eye, On our own isle, she raised a joyous cry,

“Oh yes ! I see it, -Letty's home is there ! ” And while she hid all England with a kiss, Bright over Europe fell her golden hair.

Rev. Charles Tennyson-Turner.




It once might have been, once only :

We lodged in a street together,
You, a sparrow on the housetop lonely,

I, a lone she-bird of his feather.


Your trade was with sticks and clay,

You thumbed, thrust, patted and polished,
Then laughed, “They will see some day,

“Smith made, and Gibson demolished.”

My business was song, song, song ;

I chirped, cheeped, trilled and twittered,
“ Kate Brown's on the boards ere long,

“ And Grisi's existence embittered!"


I earned no more by a warble

Than you by a sketch in plaster ;
You wanted a piece of marble,

I needed a music-master.

We studied hard in our styles,

Chipped each at a crust like Hindoos,
For air, looked out on the tiles,

For fun, watched each other's windows.


You lounged, like a boy of the South,

Cap and blouse—nay, a bit of beard too ; Or you got it, rubbing your mouth

With fingers the clay adhered to.


And I-soon managed to find

Weak points in the flower-fence facing, Was forced to put up a blind,

And be safe in my corset lacing.


No harm! It was not my fault

If you never turned your eye's tail up, As I shook upon E in alt,

Or ran the chromatic scale up :


For spring bade the sparrows pair,

And the boys and girls gave guesses, And stalls in our street looked rare

With bulrush and water-cresses.


Why did not you pinch a flower

In a pellet of clay and fling it ? Why did not I put a power.

Of thanks in a look, or sing it?


I did look, sharp as a lynx

(And yet the memory rankles), When models arrived, some minx

Tripped up-stairs, she and her ankles.


But I think I gave you as good !

"That foreign fellow,-- who can know “ How she pays, in a playful mood,

“ For his tuning her that piano ?”


Could you say so, and never say,

Suppose we join hands and fortunes, “ And I fetch her from over the way,

"Her, piano, and long tunes and short tunes ? ”


No, no: you would not be rash,

Nor I rasher and something over : You've to settle yet Gibson's hash,

And Grisi yet lives in clover.


But you meet the Prince at the Board,

I'm queen myself at bals-paré, I've married a rich old lord,

And you're dubbed knight and an R.A.


Each lise unfulfilled, you see ;

It hangs still, patchy and scrappy:
We have not sighed deep, laughed and free,
Starved, feasted, despaired,

—been happy.


And nobody calls you a dunce,

And people suppose me clever: This could but have happened once, And we missed it, lost it for ever.

Robert Browning.



The Flower's Name.


Here's the garden she walked across,

Arm in my arm, such a short while since : Hark, now I push its wicket, the moss

Hinders the hinges and makes them wince ! She must have reached this shrub ere she turned,

As back with that murmur the wicket swung ; For she laid the poor snail, my chance foot spuned,

To feed and forget it the leaves among.


Down this side of the gravel-walk

She went while her robe's edge brushed the box : And here she paused in her gracious talk

To point me a moth on the milk-white phlox. Roses ranged in a valiant row,

I will never think that she passed you by ! She loves you, noble roses, I know ;

But yonder, see, where the rock-plants lie !


This flower she stooped at, finger on lip,

Stooped over, in doubt, as settling its claim ; Till she gave me, with pride to make no slip,

Its soft meandering Spanish name : What a name! Was it love or praise ?

Speech half-asleep or song half-awake? I must learn Spanish, one of these days,

Only for that slow sweet name's sake.


Roses, if I live and do well,

I may bring lier, one of these days, To fix you fast with as fine a spell,

Fit you each with his Spanish phrase ; But do not detain me now ; for she lingers

There, like sunshine over the ground, And ever I see her soft white fingers

Searching after the bud she found.

[ocr errors]

Flower, you Spaniard, look that you grow not,

Stay as you are and be loved for ever! Bud, if I kiss you, 'tis that you blow not :

Mind, the shut pink mouth opens never ! For while it pouts, her fingers wrestle

Twinkling the audacious leaves between, Till round they turn and down they nestle

Is not the dear mark still to be seen ?


Where I find her not, beauties vanish;

Whither I follow her, beauties flee ;
Is there no method to tell her in Spanish

June's twice June since she breathed it with me?
Come, bud, show me the least of her traces,

Treasure my lady's lightest footfall !
-Ah, you may flout and turn up your faces-
Roses, you are not so fair after all !

Robert Browning.



'Tis bedtime ; say your hymn, and bid “Good-night,”
“God bless Mamnia, Papa, and dear ones all,”
Your half-shut eyes beneath your eyelids fall,
Another minute you will shut them quite.
Yes, I will carry you, put out the light,
And tuck you up, altho' you are so tall!
What will you give me, Sleepy One, and call
My wages, if I settle you all right?
I laid her golden curls upon my armn,
I drew her little feet within my hand,
Her rosy palnis were joined in trustsul bliss,
Her heart next mine beat gently, soft and warm ;
She nestled to me, and, by Love's command,
Paid me my precious wages—“ Baby's kiss."

Francis, Earl of Rosslyn.

« PreviousContinue »