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Hark, now I push its wicket, the moss
Hinders the hinges and makes them wince! She must have reached this shrub ere she turned, As back with that murmur the wicket swung; For she laid the poor snail, my chance foot spurned, To feed and forget it the leaves among.
Down this side of the gravel-walk
She went while her robe's edge brushed the box: And here she paused in her gracious talk
To point me a moth on the milk-white phlox. Roses, ranged in valiant row,
I will never think that she passed you by! She loves you noble roses, I know;
But yonder, see, where the rock-plants lie!
This flower she stopped at, finger on lip,
Roses, if I live and do well,
I may bring her, one of these days,
But do not detain me now; for she lingers
There, like sunshine over the ground, And ever I see her soft white fingers Searching after the bud she found.
Flower, you Spaniard, look that you grow not,
Twinkling the audacious leaves between,
Where I find her not, beauties vanish;
June's twice June since she breathed it with me? Come, bud, show me the least of her traces, Treasure my lady's lightest footfall!
—Ah, you may flout and turn up your faces-
II. SIBRANDUS SCHAFNABURGENSIS.
Plague take all your pedants, say I!
He who wrote what I hold in my hand, Centuries back was so good as to die,
Leaving this rubbish to cumber the land;
This, that was a book in its time,
Printed on paper and bound in leather, Last month in the white of a matin-prime Just when the birds sang all together,
Into the garden I brought it to read,
And under the arbute and laurustine Read it, so help me grace in my need, From title-page to closing line. Chapter on chapter did I count,
As a curious traveller counts Stonehenge; Added up the mortal amount;
And then proceeded to my revenge.
Yonder's a plum-tree with a crevice
An owl would build in, were he but sage; For a lap of moss, like a fine pont-levis
In a castle of the middle age,
Joins to a lip of gum, pure amber;
When he'd be private, there might he spend Hours alone in his lady's chamber:
Into this crevice I dropped our friend.
Splash, went he, as under he ducked,
-At the bottom, I knew, rain-drippings stagnate; Next a handful of blossoms I plucked
To bury him with, my bookshelf's magnate; Then I went in-doors, brought out a loaf,
Half a cheese, and a bottle of Chablis;
Lay on the grass and forgot the oaf
Now, this morning, betwixt the moss
And gum that locked our friend in limbo,
And sat in the midst with arms akimbo:
Here you have it, dry in the sun,
With all the binding all of a blister,
Oh, well have the droppings played their tricks! Did he guess how toadstools grow, this fellow? Here's one stuck in his chapter six!
How did he like it when the live creatures
And the newt borrowed just so much of the preface
All that life and fun and romping,
All that frisking and twisting and coupling,
While slowly our poor friend's leaves were swamping
To the play-house at Paris, Vienna or Munich,
And danced off the ballet with trousers and tunic.
Come, old martyr! What, torment enough is it? Back to my room shall you take your sweet self. Good-bye, mother-beetle; husband-eft, sufficit!
See the snug niche I have made on my shelf! A.'s book shall prop you up, B.'s shall cover you, Here's C. to be grave with, or D. to be gay, And with E. on each side, and F. right over you, Dry-rot at ease till the Judgment-day!
SOLILOQUY OF THE SPANISH CLOISTER.
GR-R-R-there go, my heart's abhorrence!
At the meal we sit together:
Salve tibi! I must hear