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What numerous votaries 'neath thy shadowy wing,
O mild and modest Evening, find delight!
First to the grove, his lingering fair to bring,
The warm and youthful lover, hating light,
Sighs oft for thee. And next the boisterous string
Of school-imps, freed from dame's all-dreaded sight,
Round village-cross, in many a wanton ring,
Wishes thy stay. Then too with vasty might
From steeple's side to urge the bounding ball,
The lusty hinds await thy fragrant call.
I, friend to all by turns, am join'd with all,
Lover, and elfin gay, and harmless hind;
Nor heed the proud, to real wisdom blind,
So as my heart be pure,
With footstep slow, in furry pall yclad,
His brows enwreath'd with holly never-sere,
Old Christmas 'comes, to close the waned year;
And aye the shepherd's heart to make right glad ;
Who, when his teeming flocks are homeward had,
To blazing hearth repairs and nut-brown beer,
And views, well pleas'd, the ruddy prattlers dear
Hug the grey mongrel; meanwhile maid and lad
Squabble for roasted crabs. Thee, sire, we hail,
Whether thine aged limbs thou dost enshroud >
In vest of snowy white and hoary veil;
Or wrapp'st thy visage in a sable cloud ;
Thee we proclaim with mirth and cheer, nor fail ©
To greet thee well with many a carol loud.
All ye who far from town, in rural hall,
Like me, were wont to dwell near pleasant field,
Enjoying all the sunny day did yield,
With me the change lament, in irksome thrall
By rains incessant held; for now no call
From early swain invites my hand to wield
The scythe; in parlour dim I sit conceal'd,
And mark the lessening sand from hour-glass fall,
Or 'neath my window view the wistful train
Of dripping poultry, whom the vine's broad leaves
Shelter no more. Mute is the mournful plain,
Silent the swallow sits beneath the thatch,
And vacant hind hangs pensive o'er his hatch,
Counting the frequent drop from reeded eaves.
WRITTEN AT THE CLOSE OF SPRING.
The garlands fade that Spring so lately wove,
Each simple flower, which she had nurs’d in dew,
Anemonies, that spangled every grove,
The primrose wan, and hare-bell, mildly blue.
No more shall violets linger in the dell,
Or purple orchis variegate the plain,
Till Spring again shall call forth every bell,
And dress with humid hands her wreaths again.
Ah, poor humanity! so frail, so fair,
Are the fond visions of thy early day,
Till tyrant passion, and corrosive care,
Bid all thy fairy colours fade away!
Another May new buds and flowers shall bring ;
All! why has happiness—no second Spring ?
Queen of the silver bow, by thy pale beam,
Alone and pensive, I delight to stray,
And watch thy shadow trembling in the stream,
Or mark the floating clouds that cross thy way.
And while I gaze, thy mild and placid light
Sheds a soft calm upon my troubled breast;
And oft I think, fair planet of the night,
That in thy orb the wretched may have rest :
The sufferers of the earth perhaps may go,
Releas'd by death, to thy benignant sphere,
And the sad children of despair and woe
Forget in thee their cup of sorrow here.
Oh, that I soon may reach thy world serene,
Poor wearied pilgrim in this toiling scene !