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Said John, "You should wait till the autumn comes round,
Then nice apples you'd have, ripe and red;
Said Harry, "For apples I really can't wait,
I would rather have flowers instead."
Harry wishes to-day he had listened to John,
When he sees his poor apple tree bare,
But those who pluck flowers can't look to pluck fruit ;
Don't you think he'll be wiser next year?
A SWALLOW in the spring
Came to our granary, and 'neath the eaves
Essayed to make her nest, and there did bring
Wet earth, and straw, and leaves.
Day after day she toiled
With patient heart; but ere her work was crowned,
Some sad mishap the tiny fabric spoiled,
And dashed it to the ground.
She found the ruin wrought:
Yet not cast down, forth from her place she flew,
And, with her mate, fresh earth and grasses brought,
And built her nest anew.
But scarcely had she placed
The last soft feather on its ample floor,
When wicked hands, or chance, again laid waste,
And wrought the ruin o'er.
But still her heart she kept,
And toiled again; and last night, hearing calls,
I looked, and lo! three little swallows slept
Within the earth-made walls.
In early times, the story says,
When birds could talk and lecture,
A magpie called her feathered friends
To teach them architecture.
"To build a nest, my courteous friends,"-
They all began to chatter-
"No need to teach us that, good Mag;
"Tis such an easy matter!"
"To build a nest," Professor Mag
Resumed her speech demurely,
"First choose a well-forked bough, wherein
The nest may sit securely."
"Of course," said Jenny Wren. Two sticks for the foundation."
"Oh, all know that," quoth Mr. Rook, "Without this long oration."
"Now bend some slender twigs, to form The round sides of the dwelling."
"A fool knows that," exclaimed the thrush, "Without a magpie's telling."
"Next take some wool, and line the nest, And bind it well together."
"Why, that's as clear," exclaimed the owl, "As stars in frosty weather!"
While thus they talked, Professor Mag
Her nest had half completed;
And growing quite indignant now,
To see how she was treated,-
"Ladies and gentlemen," she said,
"I see you're all so clever,
My lessons are superfluous,-
I leave you, then, for ever."
Away she flew, and left the birds
Their folly to discover,
Who now can build but half a nest,
And cannot roof it over.
THE SIGNS OF RAIN
The magpie sits beneath her roof,
No rain nor hail can pelt her;
The others, brooding o'er their young,
Themselves enjoy no shelter.
No better fate do men deserve,
When self-conceit can lead them
Friendly instructions to despise,
And think they do not need them.
THE hollow winds begin to blow,
The clouds look black, the glass is low,
The soot falls down, the spaniels sleep,
And spiders from their cobwebs peep.
Hark! how the chairs and tables crack!
Old Betty's joints are on the rack;
Loud quack the ducks, the peacocks cry,
The distant hills are seeming nigh.
How restless are the snorting swine!
The busy flies disturb the kine :
Low o'er the grass the swallow wings,
The cricket, too, how sharp he sings!
Puss on the hearth, with velvet paws,
Sits wiping o'er her whiskered jaws ;
Through the clear stream the fishes rise,
And nimbly catch the incautious flies;
The frog has changed his yellow vest,
And in a russet + coat is drest;
My dog, so altered in his taste,
Quits mutton bones-on grass to feast;
And see yon rooks, how odd their flight,
They imitate the gliding kite,
And seem precipitate to fall,
As if they felt the piercing ball.
"Twill surely rain. I see with sorrow
Our jaunt must be put off to-morrow.
*On the rack, in great pain.
EDWARD JENNER, 1749-1823. + Light brown.
THE ivy in a dungeon grew,
Unfed by rain, uncheered by dew;
Its pallid+ leaflets only drank
Cave moistures foul, and odours rank.
But through the dungeon grating high
There fell a sunbeam from the sky;
It slept upon the grateful floor,
In silent gladness evermore.
The ivy felt a tremor shoot
Through all its fibres to the root;
It felt the light, it saw the ray,
It strove to blossom into day.
It grew, it crept, it pushed, it clomb -
Long had the darkness been its home;
But well it knew, though veiled in night,
The goodness and the joy of light.
Its clinging roots grew deep and strong,
Its stem expanded firm and long ;
And in the currents of the air
Its tender branches flourished fair.
It reached the beam-it thrilled-it curled
It blessed the warmth that cheers the world!
It rose towards the dungeon bars,
It looked upon the sun and stars.
It felt the life of bursting spring,
It heard the happy skylark sing;
*Inserted, together with "Summer Rain," p. 90, "Fairest and Dearest," p. 111, by Dr. Mackay; The Dewdrops," p. 59, by Mr. Carpenter; "To J. H.," p. 116, and "The Glove," p. 138, by Leigh Hunt, by permission of Messrs. Routledge & Sons.
It caught the breath of morns and eves,
And wooed the swallow to its leaves.
By rains and dews and sunshine fed,
Over the outer wall it spread;
And in the day-beam, waving free,
It grew into a steadfast tree.
Upon that solitary place
Its verdure threw adorning grace;
The mating birds became its guests,
And sang its praises from their nests.
Wouldst know the moral of the rhyme?
Behold the heavenly light, and climb,-
To every dungeon comes a ray
Of God's interminable day.
NOT worlds on worlds, in masses deep,
Need we to prove a God is here;
The daisy, fresh from nature's sleep,
Tells of His hand in lines as clear.
For who but He who arched the skies,
And pours the dayspring's living flood-
Wondrous alike in all He tries-
Could raise the daisy's purple bud,
Mould its green cup, its wiry stem,
Its fringed border nicely spin,
And cut the gold-embossèd gem,
That, set in silver, gleams within ;
And fling it, unrestrained and free,
O'er hill and dale, and desert sod,
That man, where'er he walks, may see
In every step the stamp of God?