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A thousand wily antics mark their stay,
A starting crowd impatient of delay.
Like the fond dove, from fearful prison freed,
Each seems to say, “Come, let us try our speed ;"
Away they scour, impetuous, ardent, strong,
The green turf trembling as they bound along;
Adown the slope, then up the hillock climb,
Where every mole-hill is a bed of thyme.
There panting stop; yet scarcely can refrain ;
A bird, a leaf, will set them off again :
Or, if a gale with strength unusual blow,
Scattering the wild-brier roses into snow,
Their little limbs increasing efforts try,
Like the torn flower the fair assemblage Ay.
THE FARMER'S BOY IN THE FIELDS.
Suor up from broad rank blades that droop below,
The nodding wheat-ear forms a graceful bow,
With milky kernels starting full, weigh'd down,
Ere yet the sun hath tinged its head with brown;
Whilst thousands in a flock, for ever gay,
Loud-chirping sparrows welcome in the day,
And from the mazes of the leafy thorn
Drop one by one upon the bending corn.
Giles with a pole assails their close retreats,
And round the grass-grown dewy border beats ;
On either side completely overspread,
Here branches bend, there corn o’ertops his head.
Green covert, hail! for thro’ the varying year
No hours so sweet, no scene to him so dear.
Here Wisdom's placid eye delighted sees
His frequent intervals of lonely ease,
And with one ray his infant soul inspires,
Just kindling there her never-dying fires,
Whence solitude derives peculiar charms,
And heaven-directed thought his bosom warms.
Just where the parting bough's light shadows play,
Scarce in the shade, nor in the scorching day,
Stretch'd on the turf he lies, a peopled bed,
Where swarming insects creep around his head.
The small dust-colour'd beetle climbs with pain
O'er the smooth plantain leaf, a spacious plain!
Thence higher still, by countless steps convey'd,
He gains the summit of a shiv’ring blade,
And flirts his filmy wings, and looks around,
Exulting in his distance from the ground.
The tender speckled moth here dancing seen,
The vaulting grasshopper of glossy green,
And all prolific Summer's sporting train,
Their little lives by various powers sustain.
But what can unassisted vision do ?
What, but recoil where most it would pursue ;
His patient gaze but finish with a sigh,
When music waking speaks the sky-lark nigh!
Just starting from the corn she cheerly sings,
And trusts with conscious pride her downy wings;
Still louder breathes, and in the face of day
Mounts up, and calls on Giles to mark her way.
Close to his eyes his hat he instant bends,
And forms a friendly telescope, that lends
Just aid enough to dull the glaring light,
And place the wandering bird before his sight;
Yet oft beneath a cloud she sweeps along,
Lost for awhile, yet pours her varied song.
He views the spot, and as the cloud moves by,
Again she stretches up the clear blue sky;
Her form, her motion, undistinguish'd quite,
Save when she wheels direct from shade to light:
The fluttering songstress a mere speck became,
Like fancy's floating bubbles in a dream;
He sees her yet, but yielding to repose,
Unwittingly his jaded eyelids close.
Delicious sleep! From sleep who could forbear,
With no more guilt than Giles, and no more care ?
Peace o'er his slumbers waves her guardian wing,
Nor Conscience once disturbs him with a sting:
Ile wakes refresh'd from every trivial pain,
And takes his pole and brushes round again.
That heaven's belov'd die early,
Prophetic Pity mourns;
But old as Truth, although in youth,
Died giant-hearted Burns.
Oh that I were the daisy
That sank beneath his plough, Or, “neighbour meet,” that "skylark sweet!”
Say, are they nothing now?
Thy Burns, child-honour'd Scotland!
Is many minds in one; With thought on thought, the name is fraught,
Of glory's peasant son.
Thy Chaucer is thy Milton,
And might have been thy Tell;
As Hampden fought, thy Sidney wrote,
And would have fought as well.
Be proud, man-childed Scotland !
Of earth's unpolished gem;
And “Bonny Doon," and "heaven aboon,"
For Burns hath hallowed them.