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4 On fair Britannia's isle, bright bird, A legend strange is told of thee'Tis said thy blithesome song was hushed While Christ toiled up Mount Calvary, Bowed 'neath the sins of all mankind; And humbled to the very dust By the vile cross, while viler men Mocked with a crown of thorns the Just. Pierced by our sorrows, and weighed down By our transgressions,—faint and weak, Crushed by an angry Judge's frown, And agonies no word can ,'Twas then, dear bird, the legend says That thou, from out His crown, didst tear The thorns, to lighten the distress, And ease the pain that he must bear, While pendant from thy tiny beak The gory points thy bosom pressed, And crimsoned with thy Saviour's blood The sober brownness of thy breast! Since which proud hour for thee and thine. As an especial sign of grace God pours like sacramental wine Red signs of favor o'er thy race! DELLE W. NonTON.—To the Robin Redbreast. 5 You have learned, like Sir Proteus, to wreathe your arms, like a malcontent; to relish a lovesong, like a robin redbreast. Two Gentlemen of Verona. Act II. Sc. 1. L. 16.
6 The Redbreast, sacred to the household gods, Wisely regardful of the embroiling sky, In joyless fields and thorny thickets leaves
His shivering mates, and pays to trusted Man
John WEBSTER—The White Devil, or Vittoria
Corombona. A Dirge.
8 Now when the primrose makes a splendid show, And lilies face the March-winds in full blow, And humbler growths as moved with one desire Put on, to welcome spring, their best attire, Poor Robin is yet flowerless; but how gay With his red stalks upon this sunny day!
Art thou the bird whom Man loves best,
The pious bird with the scarlet breast,
Our little English Robin;
The bird that comes about our doors”
When autumn winds are sobbing? WoRDsworth—The Redbreast Chasing the
10 Stay, little cheerful Robin' stay, And at my casement sing, Though it should prove a farewell lay And this our parting spring
Then, little Bird, this boon confer,
Nor fail to be the harbinger
11 Parent of golden dreams, Romance! Auspicious queen of childish joys, Who lead'st along, in airy dance, Thy votive train of girls and boys. ByRON-To 12 Romances paint at full length people's wooings, But only give a bust of marriages: For no one cares for matrimonial cooings. There's nothing wrong in a connubial kiss. Think you, if Laura had been Petrarch's wife, He would have written sonnets all his life? BYRON-Don Juan. Canto III. St. 8.
13 He loved the twilight that surrounds The border-land of old romance; Where glitter hauberk, helm, and lance, And banner waves, and trumpet sounds, And ladies ride with hawk on wrist, And mighty warriors sweep along, Magnified by the purple mist, The dusk of centuries and of song. LoNGFELLow—Prelude to Tales of a Wayside Inn. Pt. W. L. 130.
14 Romance is the poetry of literature. MADAME NECKER.
15 Lady of the Mere, Sole-sitting by the shores of old romance. WoRDsworth—A Narrow Girdle of Rough Stones and Crags.