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ON TURNING ONE DOWN WITH THE PLOW, IN APRIL

1786

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,

TEE, modest, crimson-tippèd flower,

Thou's met me in an evil hour,
For I maun crush amang the stoure

Thy slender stem;
To
spare

thee now is past my power,

Thou bonny gem.

Alas! it's no thy neibor sweet,
The bonny lark, companion meet,
Bending thee 'mang the dewy weet,

Wi' speckled breast,
When upward springing, blithe, to greet

The purpling east.

Cauld blew the bitter biting north
Upon thy early, humble birth;
Yet cheerfully thou glinted forth

Amid the storm,
Scarce reared above the parent earth

Thy tender form.

The flaunting flowers our gardens yield,
High sheltering woods and wa's maun shield:
But thou beneath the random bield

O’ clod or stane,
Adorns the histie stibble-field,

Unseen, alane.

Bield: shelter
Histie: dry, barren

Stoure: dust, dirt
Wa's: walls

Weet: wetness

There, in thy scanty mantle clad,
Thy snawie bosom sunward spread,
Thou lifts thy unassuming head

In humble guise;
But now the share uptears thy bed,

And low thou lies!

Such is the fate of artless maid,
Sweet floweret of the rural shade!
By love's simplicity betrayed,

And guileless trust,
Till she, like thee, all soiled, is laid

Low i' the dust.

Such is the fate of simple bard,
On life's rough ocean luckless starred!
Unskillful he to note the card

Of prudent lore,
Till billows rage, and gales blow hard,

And whelm him o'er!

Such fate to suffering worth is given,
Who long with wants and woes has striven,
By human pride or cunning driven

To misery's brink,
Till wrenched of every stay but Heaven,

He, ruined, sink!

Even thou who mourn'st the daisy's fate,
That fate is thine,—no distant date:
Stern Ruin's plowshare drives, elate,

Full on thy bloom,
Till crushed beneath the furrow's weight,
Shall be thy doom!

Robert Burns 212

TO DAFFODILS

F

'AIR Daffodils, we weep to see

You haste away so soon:
As yet the early-rising Sun

Has not attained his noon.

Stay, stay,
Until the hasting day

Has run
But to the even-song;
And, having prayed together, we

Will go with you along.

We have short time to stay, as you,

We have as short a Spring;
As quick a growth to meet decay
As you, or any thing.

We die,
As
your

hours do, and dry

Away
Like to the Summer's rain;
Or as the pearls of morning's dew,
Ne'er to be found again.

Robert Herrick

213

I

WANDERED lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash

upon

that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth

214

TO DAFFODILS1

O

YELLOW flowers that Herrick sung!

O yellow flowers that danced and swung
In Wordsworth’s verse, and now to me,

Unworthy, from this "pleasant lea,"
Laugh back, unchanged and ever young;-

1 Reprinted through special arrangement with Mr. Alban Dobson and vith the Oxford University Press.

Ah, what a text to us o'erstrung,
O'erwrought, o'erreaching, hoarse of iung,
You teach by that immortal glee,

O yellow flowers!

We, by the Age's oestrus stung,
Still hunt the New with eager tongue,

Vexed ever with the Old, but ye,
What

ye
have been

ye

still shall be,
When we are dust the dust among,
O yellow flowers!

Austin Dobson

215

MIGNON'S SONG 1

IGNON, a beautiful Italian maiden who is

wandering in a northern land, yearns sadly for the South and home.

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Know'st thou the land of white-robed orange trees,
Whose golden fruit in the rich-scented breeze
Glows thro' dusk verdure--sunlit realm of flowers,
Of towering laurels and hushed myrtle bowers
Blue-canopied?

With thee, with thee,
To that loved Southland, dearest, I would flee!

Know'st thou the palace mid whose pillared walls,
In lordly chambers and far-shimmering halls,
I roamed, by solitary dreams beguiled,
Till the cold marbles seemed to cry, Poor child!
Who wronged thee so?

With thee, with thee,
To that lost home, my loved one, I would fee!

1 From Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre. Translated by William F. Giesa

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