Page images



[ocr errors]

Stretched at its ease the beast I viewed,
And saw it eat the air for food.”

“ I've seen it, sir, as well as you,
And must again affirm it blue;
At leisure I the beast surveyed,
Extended in the cooling shade.”

'tis green, sir, I assure ye.”
“Green !” cried the other in a fury :
“Why, sir, d'ye think I've lost my eyes ? "
“ 'Twere no great loss,” the friend replies ;
“For if they always serve you thus,
You'll find them but of little use."

So high at last the contest rose,
From words they almost came to blows :
When luckily came by a third ;
To him the question they referred ;
And begged he'd tell them, if he knew,
Whether the thing was green or blue.

“Sirs,” cries the umpire, “cease your pother; The creature's neither one nor t’other. I caught the animal last night, And viewed it o'er by candlelight; I marked it well, 'twas black as jetYou stare—but, sirs, I've got it yet, And can produce it.”- Pray, sir, do; I'll lay my life the thing is blue.” “ And I'll be sworn, that when you've seen The reptile, you'll pronounce it green.' “Well, then, at once to ease the doubt,” Replies the man, “I'll turn him out; And when before your eyes I've set him, you

don't find him black I'll eat him.”
He said ; and full before their sight
Produced the beast, and lo ! 'twas white.
Both stared; the man looked wondrous wise-


“My children," the Chameleon cries
(Then first the creature found a tongue),

You all are right, and all are wrong:
When next you talk of what you view,
Think others see as well as you:
Nor wonder if you find that none
Prefers your eyesight to his own.”

JAMES MERRICK, 1720—1769.

Sweet to the morning traveller

The skylark's earliest song,
Whose twinkling wings are seen at fits

The dewy light among.
And cheering to the traveller

The gales that round him play,
When faint and wearily he drags

Along his noontide way.
And when beneath th' unclouded sun

Full wearily toils he,
The flowing water makes to him

Most pleasant melody.
And when the evening light decays,

And all is calm around,
There is sweet music to his ear

In the distant sheep-bell's sound.
And sweet the neighbouring church's bell

That marks his journey's bourn ;
But sweeter is the voice of love
That welcomes his return !

SOUTHEY, 1774–1843.

To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall,
The snail sticks close, nor fears to fall,
As if he grew there, house and all


Within that house secure he hides,
When danger imminent betides
Of storm, or other harm besides

Of weather.

Give but his horns the slightest touch,
His self-collecting power is such,
He shrinks into his house with much


Wherein he dwells, he dwells alone,
Except himself has chattels*

none, Well satisfied to be his own

Whole treasure.

Thus hermit-like his life he leads,
Nor partner of his banquet needs,
And if he meets one, only feeds

The faster.

Who seeks him must be worse than blind, (He and his house are so combined), If finding it he fails to find

Its master. COWPER, 1731–1800.

* Chattels, property.



How fine has the day been! How bright was the sun!
How lovely and joyful the course that he run,
Though he rose in a mist when his race he begun

And there followed some droppings of rain!
But now the fair traveller comes to the west,
His rays are all gold, and his beauties are best,
He paints the sky gay as he sinks to his rest,

And foretells a bright rising again.
Just such is the Christian ; his course he begins,
Like the sun in a mist, while he mourns for his sins
And melts into tears; then he breaks out and shines,

And travels his heavenly way;
But when he comes nearer to finish his race,
Like a fine setting sun, he looks richer in grace,
And gives a sure hope at the end of his days,
Of rising in brighter array.

DR. WATTS, 1746—1748.

In yonder brake there is a nest,

But come not, George, too nigh,
Lest the poor mother frightened thence

Should leave her young and fly.
Think with what pain, through many a day,

Soft moss and straw she brought :
And let our own dear mother's care

Be present to our thought.
And think how must her heart deplore,

And droop with grief and pain,
If those she reared, and nursed, and loved,
She never should see again.


A HOLIDAY! a holiday! and is it really true,
I've not a single thing to-day, but what I like, to do?
I'll shut up all the horrid books, I will not leave one out,
And I'll forget them every one, and all they are about.
A holiday! a holiday! whole hours to laugh and play!
I'm half afraid the time will pass so very soon away ;
I scarcely know which game to try, of all my pretty games,
And I've so many that I can't remember half their names.
A holiday! a holiday ! oh dear, what shall I do?
I'll go and ask mamma, perhaps she'll think of something

I do not like all work, I know, the same thing every day,
Nor do I fancy I should like, much better, always play.
A holiday! a holiday ! oh, how I wish I knew
The thing, of every other thing, which most I like to do!
I've always hoped from such a day much more than I have

found, And yet there's something full of joy and pleasure in the


[ocr errors]

A holiday! a holiday! before the day is past
I shall be glad, I'm almost sure, it cannot always last ;
For I am never half so pleased, or happy, I must say,
As when I've done my lessons well, and so deserved to

A holiday! a holiday! I think I like to learn,
And play and work, and work and play, each in its proper
A holiday! a holiday! I'll call it just the same,
For after all, it seems to me, the charm is in the name.



« PreviousContinue »