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COME, my little Robert, near,
Fie! what filthy hands are here,-
Who that e'er could understand
The rare structure of a hand,
With its branching fingers fine,
Work itself of hands divine,
Strong yet delicately knit,
For ten thousand uses fit,
Overlaid with so clear skin
You may see the blood within,
And the curious palm disposed
In such lines some have supposed
You may read the fortunes there
By the figures that appear,-
Who this hand would choose to cover
With a crust of dirt all over,
Till it looked in hue and shape
Like the forefoot of an ape?
Man or boy, that works or plays
In the fields or the highways,
May, without offence or hurt,
From the soil contract a dirt,
Which the next clear spring or river
Washes out and out for ever;
But to cherish stains impure,
Soil deliberate to endure,
On the skin to fix a stain
Till it works into the grain,
Argues a degenerate mind,
Sordid, slothful, ill-inclined,
Wanting in that self-respect
Which does virtue best protect.
Virtue next to godliness,
Easiest, cheapest, needfullest duty,
To the body health and beauty,
Who that 's human would refuse it
When a little water does it?
THE BLIND BOY.- Colley Cibber.
O, SAY what is that thing called light,
Which I must ne'er enjoy?
What are the blessings of thy sight?
O, tell your poor blind boy!
You talk of wondrous things you see,
You say the sun shines bright;
I feel him warm, but how can he
Or make it day or night?
My day or night myself I make,
Whene'er I sleep or play;
And could I ever keep awake
With me 't were always day.
With heavy sighs I often hear
You mourn my hapless woe; But sure with patience I can bear
A loss I ne'er can know.
Then let not what I cannot have
My cheer of mind destroy;
Whilst thus I sing, I am a king,
Although a poor blind boy.
THE LAME BROTHER. - Miss Lamb.
My parents sleep both in one grave;
My only friend 's a brother,
The dearest things upon the earth
We are to one another.
A fine, stout boy I knew him once,
With active form and limb;
Whene'er he leaped, or jumped, or ran,
O, I was proud of him!
He leaped too far, he got a hurt,
He now does limping go;
When I think on his active days,
My heart is full of woe.
He leans on me, when we to school
Do every morning walk;
I cheer him on his weary way,
He loves to hear my talk,
The theme of which is mostly this,
What things he once could do;
He listens pleased, then sadly says,
"Sister, I lean on you!"
Then I reply," Indeed you 're not
Scarce any weight at all,
And let us now still younger years
To memory recall.
"Led by your little elder hand,
I learned to walk alone;
Careful you used to be of me,
My little brother John.
"How often, when my young feet tired,
You've carried me a mile,
And still together we can sit,
And rest a little while.
"For our kind master never minds,
If we 're the very last;
He bids us never tire ourselves
With walking on too fast."
TRANSLATED FROM HERDER, BY MARY HOWITT.
AMONG green, pleasant meadows,
All in a grove so wild,
Was set a marble image
Of the Virgin and the child.
Here, oft, on summer evenings,
A lovely boy would rove,
To play beside the image
That sanctified the grove.
Oft sat his mother by him,
Among the shadows dim, And told how the Lord Jesus Was once a child like him.
"And now from highest heaven
He doth look down each day,
And sees whate'er thou doest,
And hears what thou dost say!"
Thus spoke his tender mother;
And on an evening bright, When the red, round sun descended 'Mid clouds of crimson light,
Again the boy was playing,
And earnestly said he, "O beautiful child Jesus,
Come down and play with me!
"I will find thee flowers the fairest,
And weave for thee a crown;
I will get thee ripe, red strawberries,
If thou wilt but come down!
"O holy, holy Mother,
Put him down from off thy knee; For in these silent meadows
There are none to play with me!
Thus spoke the boy so lovely,
The while his mother heard,
And on his prayer she pondered,
But spoke to him no word.
That selfsame night she dreamed
A lovely dream of joy;
She thought she saw young Jesus
There, playing with the boy.