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Sends up a pleasant smell, and the dry leaves
Are lifted by the grass—and so I know
That Nature, with her delicate ear, hath heard
The dropping of the velvet foot of Spring.
Take of my violets! I found them where
The liquid South stole o'er them, on a bank
That leaned to running water. There's to me
A daintiness about these early flowers
That touches me like poetry. They blow
With such a simple loveliness among
The common herbs of pasture, and breathe out
Their lives so unobtrusively, like hearts
Whose beatings are too gentle for the world.
I love to go in the capricious days
Of April and hunt violets; when the rain
Is in the blue cups trembling, and they nod
So gracefully to the kisses of the wind.
It may be deem'd too idle, but the young
Read nature like the manuscript of heaven,
And call the flowers its poetry. Go out!
Ye spirits of habitual unrest,
And read it when the “ fever of the world”
Hath made your hearts impatient, and, if life
Hath yet one spring unpoisoned, it will be
Like a beguiling music to its flow,
And you will no more wonder that I love
To hunt for violets in the April time.
“Mine eyes are sick of this perpetual flow
O: people, and my heart of one sad thought.”
On the cross beam under the Old South bell
The nest of a pigeon is builded well.
In summer and winter that bird is there,
Out and in with the morning air:
I love to see him track the street,
With his wary eye and active feet;
And I often watch him as he springs,
Circling the steeple with easy wings,
Till across the dial his shade has passed,
And the belfry edge is gained at last.
'Tis a bird I love, with its brooding note,
And the trembling throb in its mottled throat;
There's a human look in its swelling breast, .
And the gentle curve of its lowly crest;
And I often stop with the fear I feel-
He runs so close to the rapid wheel.
Whatever is rung on that noisy bell-
Chime of the hour, or funeral knell-
The dove in the belfry must hear it well.
When the tongue swings out to the midnight moon–
When the sexton cheerly rings for noon–
When the clock strikes clear at morning light-
When the child is waked with “ nine at night”-
When the chimes play soft in the Sabbath air,
Filling the spirit with tones of prayer-
Whatever tale in the bell is heard,
He broods on his folded feet unstirred,
Or rising half in his rounded nest,
He takes the time to smooth his breast,
Then drops again with filmed eyes,
And sleeps as the last vibration dies.
Sweet bird ! I would that I could be
A hermit in the crowd like thee !
With wings to fly to wood and glen,
Thy lot, like mine, is cast with men;
And daily, with unwilling feet,
I tread, like thee, the crowded street ;
But, unlike me, when day is o’er,
Thou canst dismiss the world and soar,
Or, at a half-felt wish for rest,
Canst smooth thy feathers on thy breast,
And drop, forgetful, to thy nest.
I would that in such wings of gold
I could my weary heart upfold ;
I would I could look down unmoved,
(Unloving as I am unloved,)
And while the world throngs on beneath,