صور الصفحة

"Think, every morning when the sun peeps through The dim, leaf-latticed windows of the grove,

How jubilant the happy birds renew

Their old, melodious madrigals of love! And when you think of this, remember too

'T is always morning somewhere, and above

The awakening continents, from shore to shore,

Somewhere the birds are singing evermore.

"Think of your woods and orchards without birds! Of empty nests that cling to boughs and beams As in an idiot's brain remembered words Hang empty 'mid the cobwebs of his dreams!

Will bleat of nocks or bellowing of herds Make up for the lost music, when your teams

Drag home the stingy harvest, and no more

The feathered gleaners follow to your door?

"What! would you rather see the incessant stir

Of insects in the windrows of the hay, And hear the locust and the grasshopper

Their melancholy hurdy-gurdies play? Is this more pleasant to you than the whir

Of meadow-lark, and her sweet roundelay,

Or twitter of little field-fares, as you take

Your nooning in the shade of bush and brake?

"You call them thieves and pillagers; but know, They are the winged wardens of your farms,

Who from the cornfields drive the insidious foe,

And from your harvests keep a hundred harms; Even the blackest of them all, the crow,

Renders good service as your man-atarms,

Crushing the beetle in his coat of mail, And crying havoc on the slug and snail.

"How can I teach your children gentleness,

And mercy to the weak, and reverence For Life, which, in its weakness or excess,

Is still a gleam of God's omnipotence, Or Death, which, seeming darkness, is no less

The selfsame light, although averted hence,

When by your laws, your actions, and

your speech, You contradict the very things I teach?"

With this he closed; and through the audience went A murmur, like the rustle of dead leaves;

The farmers laughed and nodded, and some bent Their yellow heads together like their sheaves;

Men have no faith in fine-spun sentiment

Who put their trust in bullocks and in beeves.

The birds were doomed ; and, as the ree

ord shows, A bounty offered for the heads of croVs.

There was another audience out of reach, Who had no voice nor vote in making laws,

But in the papers read his little speech, And crowned, his modest temples with applause;

They made him conscious, each one more

than each, He still was victor, vanquished in

their cause. Sweetest of all the applause he won from


O fair Almira at the Academy! ■

And so the dreadful massacre began; O'er fields and orchards, and o'er woodland crests, The ceaseless fusillade of terror ran. Dead fell the birds, with blood-stains on their breasts, Or wounded crept away from sight of man,

While the young died of famine in their nests; A slaughter to be told in groans, not words,

The very St. Bartholomew of Birds!

The Summer came, and all the birds

were dead; The days were like hot coals; the

very ground Was burned to ashes; in the orchards


Myriads of caterpillars, and around The cultivated fields and garden beds Hosts of devouring insects crawled, and found No foe to check their march, till they had made

The land a desert without leaf or shade.

Devoured by worms, like Herod, was the town,

Because, like Herod, it had ruthlessly Slaughtered the Innocents. From the trees spun down The canker-worms upon the passers


Upon each woman's bonnet, shawl, and gown,

Who shook them off with just a little cry;

They were the terror of each favorite walk,

The endless theme of all the village talk.

The farmers grew impatient, but a few Confessed their error, and would not complain,

For after all, the best thing one can do

When it is raining, is to let it rain. Then they repealed the law, although they knew It would not call the dead to life again; As school-boys, finding their mistake too late,

Draw a wet sponge across the accusing slate.

That year in Killingworth the Autumn came

Without the light of his majestic look,

The wonder of the falling tongues of flame,

The illumined pages of his Doom's-
Day book.

A few lost leaves blushed crimson with

their shame, And drowned themselves despairing

in the brook, While the wild wind went moaning

everywhere, Lamenting the dead children of the air!

But the next Spring a stranger sight was


A sight that never yet by bard was sung,

As great a wonder as it would have been II some dumb animal had found a tongue t

A wagon, overarched with evergreen, Upon whose boughs were wicker cages hung,

All full of singing birds, came down the street,

Filling the air with music wild and sweet.

From all the country round these birds were brought, By order of the town, with anxious quest,

And, loosened from their wicker prisons, sought

In woods and fields the places they loved best, Singing loud canticles, which many thought

Were satires to the authorities addressed,

While others, listening in green lanes, averred

Such lovely music never had been heard!

But blither still and louder carolled they Upon the morrow, for they seemed to know

It was the fair Almira's wedding-day, And everywhere, around, above, below,

When the Preceptor bore his bride away, Their songs burst forth in joyous overflow,

And a new heaven bent over a new earth Amid the sunny farms of Killingworth.


The hour was late; the fire burned low,

The Landlord's eyes were closed in sleep,
And near the story's end a deep
Sonorous sound at times was heard,
As when the distant bagpipes blow.
At this all laughed; the Landlord

As one awaking from a swound,
And, gazing anxiously around,
Protested that he had not slept,
But only shut his eyes, and kept
His ears attentive to each word.

Then all arose, and said "Good Night."
Alone remained the drowsy Squire
To rake the embers of the fire,
And quench the waning parlor light;

While from the windows, here and there,
The scattered lamps a moment gleamed,
And the illumined hostel seemed
The constellation of the Bear,
Downward, athwart the misty air,
Sinking and setting toward the sun.
Far off the village clock struck one.



A COLD, uninterrupted rain,
That washed each southern window-

And made a river of the road;
A sea of mist that overflowed
The house, the barns, the gilded vane,
And drowned the upland and the plain,
Through which the oak-trees, broad and

Like phantom ships went drifting by;
And, nidden behind a watery screen,
The sun unseen, or only seen
As a faint pallor in the sky ; —
Thus cold and colorless and gray,
The morn of that autumnal day,
As if reluctant to begin,
Dawned on the silent Sudbury Inn,
And all the guests that in it lay.

Full late they slept. They did not hear

The challenge of Sir Chanticleer,

Who on the empty threshing-floor,

Disdainful of the rain outside,

Was strutting with a martial stride,

As if upon his thigh he wore

The famous broadsword of the Squire,

And said, "Behold me, and admire!"

Only the Poet seemed to hear,
In drowse or dream, more near and near
Across the border-land of sleep
The blowing of a blithesome horn,
That laughed the dismal day to scorn;
A splash of hoot's and rush of wheels
Through sand and mire like stranding

As from the road with sudden sweep
The Mail drove up the little steep,
And stopped beside the tavern door;
A moment stopped, and then again

With crack of whip and bark of dog
Plunged forward through the sea of fog,
And all was silent as before, —
All silent save the dripping rain.

Then one by one the guests came down,
And greeted with a smile the Squire,
Who sat before the parlor fire,
Reading the paper fresh from town.
First the Sicilian, like a bird,
Before his form appeared, w as heard
Whistling and singing down the stair;
Then came the Student, with a look
As placid as a meadow-brook;
The Theologian, still perplexed
With thoughts of this world and the

The Poet then, as one who seems
Walking in visions and in dreams;
Then the Musician, like a fair
Hyperion from whose golden hair
The radiance of the morning streams;
And last the aromatic Jew
Of Alicant, who, as he threw
The door wide open, on the air
Breathed round about him a perfume
Of damask roses in full bloom,
Making a garden of the room.

The breakfast ended, each pursued.
The promptings of his various mood;
Beside the fire in silence smoked
The taciturn, impassive Jew,
Lost in a pleasant revery;
While, by his gravity provoked,
His portrait the Sicilian drew,
And wrote beneath it " Edrehi,
At the Red Horse in Sudbury."

By far the busiest of them all,
The Theologian in the hall
Was feeding robins in a cage, —
Two corpulent and lazy birds,

Vagrants and pilferers at best,
If one might trust the hostler's words,
Chief instrument of their arrest;
Two poets of the Golden Age,
Heirs of a boundless heritage
Of fields and orchards, east and west,
And sunshine of long summer days,
Though outlawed now and dispos-
sessed ! —
Such was the Theologian's phrase.

Meanwhile the Student held discourse
With the Musician, on the source
Of all the legendary lore
Among the nations, scattered wide
Like silt and seaweed by the force
And fluctuation of the tide;
The tale repeated o'er and o'er,
With change of place and change of

Disguised, transformed, and yet the same
We've heard a hundred times before.

The Poet at the window mused,
And saw, as in a dream confused,
The countenance of the Sun, discrowned,
And haggard with a pale despair,
And saw the cloud-rack trail and drift
Before it, and the trees uplift
Their leafless branches, and the air
Filled with the arrows of the rain,
And heard amid the mist below,
Like voices of distress and pain,
That haunt the thoughts of men insane,
The fateful cawings of the crow.

Then down the road, with mud besprent, And drenched with rain from head to hoof,

The rain-drops dripping from his mane
And tail as from a pent-house roof,
A jaded horse, his head down bent,
Passed slowly, limping as he went.

The young Sicilian — who had grown
Impatient longer to abide
A prisoner, greatly mortified
To see completely overthrown
His plans for angling in the brook,
And, leaning o'er the bridge of stone,
To watch the speckled trout glide by,
And float through the inverted sky,
Still round and round the baited hook —
Now paced the room with rapid stride,
And, pausing at the Poet's side,
Looked forth, and saw the wretched

And said: "Alas for human greed,
That with cold hand and stony eye
Thus turns an old friend out to die,
Or beg his food from gate to gate!
This brings a tale intj my mind,
Which, if you are not disinclined
To listen, I will now relate."

All gave assent; all wished to hear,
Not without many a jest and jeer,
The story of a spavined steed;
And even the Student with the rest
Put in his pleasant little jest
Out of Malnerbe, that Pegasus
Is but a horse that with all speed
Bears poets to the hospital;
While the Sicilian, self-possessed,
After a moment's interval
Began his simple story thus.



At Atri in Abruzzo, a small town Of ancient Roman date, but scant renown.

One of those little places that have run Half up the hill, beneath a blazing sun, And then sat down to rest, as if to say, "I climb no farther upward, come what may," —

The Re Giovanni, now unknown to fame, So many monarchs since have borne the name.

Had a great bell hung in the marketplace

Beneath a roof, projecting some small space,

By way of shelter from the sun and rain. Then rode he through the streets with

all his train, And, with the blast of trumpets loud

and long,

Made proclamation, that whenever wrong

Was done to any man, he should but ring The great bell in the square, and he, the King,

Would cause the Syndic to decide thereon. Such was the proclamation of King John.

How swift the happy days in Atri sped, What wrongs were righted, need not

here be said. Suffice it that, as all things must decay,

The hempen rope at length was worn away,

Unravelled at the end, and, strand by strand,

Loosened and wasted in the ringer's hand, Till one, who noted this in passing by, Mended the rope with braids of briouy, So that the leaves and tendrils of the vine

Hung like a votive garland at a shrine.

By chance it happened that in Atri dwelt A knight, with spur on heel and sword in belt,

Who loved to hunt the wild-boar in the woods,

Who loved his falcons with their crimson hoods,

Who loved his hounds and horses, and all sports

And prodigalities of campsand courts ;— Loved, or had loved them; for at last,

grown old, His only passion was the love of gold.

He sold his horses, sold his hawks and hounds,

Rented his vineyards and his gardengrounds,

Kept but one steed, his favorite steed of all,

To starve and shiver in a naked stall, And day by day sat brooding in his chair, Devising plans how best to hoard and spare.

At length he said: "What is the use or need

To keep at my own cost this lazy steed,
Eating his head off in my stables here,
When rents are low and provender is

Let him go feed upon the public ways;
I want him only for the holidays."
So the old steed was turned into the

Of the long, lonely, silent, shadeless street;

And wandered in suburban lanes forlorn, Barked at by dogs, and torn by brier and thorn.

One afternoon, as in that sultry clime
It is the custom in the summer time,
With bolted doors and window-shutters

The inhabitants cf Atri slept or dozed;

When suddenly upon their senses fell The loud alarum of the accusing bell! The Syndic started from his deep repose, Turned on his couch, and listened, and then rose

And donned his robes, and with reluctant pace

Went panting forth into the marketplace,

Where the great bell upon its cross-beam swung

Reiterating with persistent tongue,
In half-articulate jargon, the old song:
"Some one hath done a wrong, hath
done a wrong!"

But ere he reached the belfry's light arcade

He saw, or thought he saw, beneath its shade,

No shape of human form of woman born, But a poor steed dejected and forlorn, Who with uplifted head and eager eye Was tugging at the vines of briony. "Domeneddio!" cried the Syndic straight,

"This is the Knight of Atri's steed of


He calls for justice, being sore distressed, And pleads his cause as loudly as the best."

Meanwhile from street and lane a noisy crowd

Had rolled together like a summer cloud,
And told the story of the wretched beast
In five-and-twenty different ways at

With much gesticulation and appeal
To heathen gods, in their excessive zeal.
The Knight was called and questioned;
in reply

Did not confess the fact, did not deny;
Treated the matter as a pleasant jest,
And set at naught the Syndic and the

Maintaining, in an angry undertone. That he should do what pleased him with his own.

And thereupon the Syndic gravely read The proclamation of the King; then said:

"Pride goeth forth on horseback grand and gay,

But cometh back on foot, and begs its way; Fame is the fragrance of heroic deeds,

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