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OLD CROW

59

My father's house in wet or dry
My sister Emmeline and I

Together visited.

She looked at it and seemed to fear it;
Dreading, though wishing, to be near it;
Such heart was in her, being then
A little Prattler among men.
The Blessing of my later years
Was with me when a boy;
She gave me eyes, she gave me ears,
And humble cares, and delicate fears
A heart the fountain of sweet tears,
And love, and thought, and joy.

WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

OLD CROW

The bird in the corn

Is a marvellous crow.
He was laid and was born

In the season of snow;
And he chants his old catches
Like a ghost under hatches.

He comes from the shades

Of his wood very early,
And works in the blades

Of the wheat and the barley,
And he's happy, although
He's a grumbleton crow.

The larks have devices

For sunny delight,
And the sheep in their fleeces

Are woolly and white;
But these things are scorn
Of the bird in the corn.

And morning goes by,

And still he is there,
Till a rose in the sky

Calls him back to his lair
In the boughs where the gloom
Is a part of his plume.

But the boy in the lane

With his gun, by-and-by,
To the heart of the grain

Will narrowly spy,
And the twilight will come,
And no crow will fly home.

John DRINKWATER

DAFFODIL

BATTE
GORBO, as thou camest this way,

By yonder little hill,
Or as thou through the fields did stray,

Saw'st thou my Daffodil?

She's in a frock of Lincoln green,

Which colour likes her sight,

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And never hath her beauty seen,

But through a veil of white;

Than roses richer to behold,

That trim up lovers' bowers, The pansy and the marigold,

Though Phoebus' paramours.

GORBO
Thou well describ'st the daffodil;

It is not full an hour,
Since by the spring, near yonder hill,

I saw that lovely flower.

BATTE

Yet my fair flower thou didst not meet

Nor news of her didst bring,
And yet my Daffodil 's more sweet

Than that by yonder spring.

GORBO

I saw a shepherd that doth keep

In yonder field of lilies,
Was making (as he fed his sheep)

A wreath of daffodillies.

BATTE

Yet, Gorbo, thou delud'st me still,

My flower thou didst not see; For, know, my pretty Daffodil

Is worn of none but me.

To show itself but near her feet

No lily is so bold,
Except to shade her from the heat,

Or keep her from the cold.

GORBO
Through yonder vale as I did pass,

Descending from the hill,
I met a smirking bonny lass,

They call her Daffodil:

Whose presence, as along she went,

The pretty flowers did greet, As though their heads they downward bent

With homage to her feet.

And all the shepherds that were nigh,

From top of every hill, Unto the valleys loud did cry,

There goes sweet Daffodil.

BATTE
Ay, gentle shepherd, now with joy

Thou all my flocks dost fill,
That's she alone, kind shepherd boy;
Let us to Daffodil.

MICHAEL DRAYTON

A CHRISTMAS LEGEND

63

A CHRISTMAS LEGEND

ABROAD on a winter's night there ran
Under the starlight, leaping the rills
Swollen with snow-drip from the hills,

Goat-legged, goat-bearded Pan.

He loved to run on the crisp white floor,
Where black hill-torrents chiselled grooves,
And he loved to print his clean-cut hooves,

Where none had trod before.

And now he slacked and came to a stand
Beside a river too broad to leap;
And as he panted he heard a sheep

That bleated near at hand.

“Bell-wether, bell-wether, what do you say?
Peace, and huddle your ewes from cold!”
Master, but ere we went to fold

Our herdsman hastened away.

Over the hill came other twain
And pointed away to Bethlehem,
And spake with him, and he followed them,

And has not come again.

He dropped his pipe of the river-reed;
He left his scrip in his haste to go;
And all our grazing is under snow,

So that we cannot feed.”

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