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THE HAPPINESS OF ANIMALS.*
Grown so familiar with her frequent guest,
Scarce shuns me; and the stock-dove unalarmed
Sits cooing in the pine tree, nor suspends
His long love-ditty for my near approach.
Drawn from his refuge in some lonely elm,
That age or injury has hollowed deep,
Where, on his bed of wool and matted leaves,
He has outslept the winter, ventures forth,
To frisk awhile and bask in the warm sun,
The squirrel flippant, pert and full of play;
He sees me, and at once, swift as a bird,
Ascends the neighboring beech; there whisks his
And perks his ears, and stamps, and cries aloud, With all the prettiness of feigned alarm,
And anger insignificantly fierce.
The heart is hard in nature, and unfit
For human fellowship, as being void
Of sympathy, and therefore dead alike
To love and friendship both, that is not pleased
With sight of animals enjoying life,
Nor feels their happiness augment his own.
The bounding fawn, that darts along the glade
When none pursues, through mere delight of heart,
And spirits buoyant with excess of glee;
The horse, as wanton and almost as fleet,
That skims the spacious meadow at full speed,
Then stops and snorts, and, throwing high his heels,
Starts to the voluntary race again;
The very kine, that gambol at high noon,
The total herd receiving first from one
That leads the dance, a summons to be gay;
Though wild their strange vagaries, and uncouth
Their efforts, yet resolved, with one consent,
To give such act and utterance as they may
To ecstacy too big to be suppressed ;-
These and a thousand images of bliss,
With which kind Nature graces every scene,
Impart to the benevolent true joy.
THE KITTEN AND THE FALLING LEAVES.
SEE the kitten on the wall,
Sporting with the leaves that fall,
Withered leaves, one-two-and three,
From the lofty elder tree!
Through the calm and frosty air
Of this morning, bright and fair,
Eddying round and round, they sink
Softly, slowly; one might think,
From the motions that are made,
Every little leaf conveyed
Sylph or fairy hither tending,
To this lower world descending;
Each invisible and mute
In his wavering parachute.
... But the kitten, how she starts,
Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts,
First at one, and then its fellow,
Just as light and just as yellow;
There are many now-now one-
Now they stop, and there are none.
What intenseness of desire
In her upward eye of fire!
With a tiger-leap, half way
Now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then
Has it in her power again.
Were her antics played i' the eye
Of a thousand standers-by,
Clapping hands with shout and stare,
What would little Tabby care
For the plaudits of the crowd?
Over happy to be proud,
Over wealthy in the treasure
Of her own exceeding pleasure!
Whither, 'midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day, Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue Thy solitary way?
Vainly the fowler's eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.
Seek'st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean side?
There is a Power, whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast-
The desert and illimitable air-
Lone wandering, but not lost.
All day thy wings have fanned
At that far height, the cold thin atmosphere,
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.
And soon that toil shall end,
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend Soon o'er thy sheltered nest.
Thou'rt gone; the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given, And shall not soon depart.
He, who, from zone to zone,
Guides thro' the boundless sky thy certain flight, In the long way that I must tread alone,
Will lead my steps aright.
THE blazing sky is overcast,
Reviving nature breathes again;
A grateful darkness gathers fast,
And brings the welcome rain.
Large drops now fall around,
And singly beat the dusty ground.
Now faster fall the drops
Pattering on forest tops,
As if innumerable feet
Upon the green roofs beat,
All hastening to and fro
Love's ministry to do.