Poetry – THE SNOWDROP

Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid!
Ever as of old time,
Solitary firstling,
Coming in the cold time,
Prophet of the gay time,
Prophet of the May time,
Prophet of the roses,
Many, many welcomes,
February fair-maid!

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Poetry – My Old Coat

My Old Coat
My Old Coat

BE ever true to me, thou well-loved coat,
For we are growing old together now,
These ten long years I’ve brushed thee every day
Myself; great Socrates the Sage, I trow
Had not done better! And if remorseless Fate
Gnaw with sharp tooth that poor, thin cloth of thine,
Resist, say I, with calm philosophy,
Let us not part, thou dear old friend of mine!

How I recall—(for even now I’m bless’d
With a good memory!), that glad day of days
When first I wore thee! It was at my feast;
My friends to crown my glory, sang thy praise.
Thy poverty and age that honor me
Have not yet made their early love decline—
They’re ready still to feast us once again.
Let us not part, thou dear old friend of mine!

Have I perfumed thee with those floods of musk,
Which the vain fop exhales before his glass?
Have I exposed thee, waiting audience,
To scorn and laughter of the great who pass?
Just for a paltry ribbon, all fair wide France
Was rent apart, but simply I combine
A few sweet wild-flowers for thine ornament.
Let us not part, thou dear old friend of mine!…

Fear nevermore those days of struggling vain,
When the same lowly destiny was ours;
Those days of pleasure intermix’d with pain,
Of sunny sky o’ercast by April showers.
Soon comes the night, for evening shadows fall,
And soon forever must I my coat resign.
Wait yet a little, together we’ll end it all,
And never part, thou dear old friend of mine!…

— Pierre Jean de Béranger

Poetry – Home

I came back late and tired last night
Into my little room,
To the long chair and the firelight
And comfortable gloom.

But as I entered softly in
I saw a woman there,
The line of neck and cheek and chin,
The darkness of her hair,
The form of one I did not know
Sitting in my chair.

I stood a moment fierce and still,
Watching her neck and hair.
I made a step to her; and saw
That there was no one there.

It was some trick of the firelight
That made me see her there.
It was a chance of shade and light
And the cushion in the chair.

Oh, all you happy over the earth,
That night, how could I sleep?
I lay and watched the lonely gloom;
And watched the moonlight creep
From wall to basin, round the room,
All night I could not sleep.

Poetry – HISTORY OF THE CRIES OF LONDON

Here’s fine rosemary, sage and thyme.
Come, buy my ground ivy.
Here’s featherfew, gilliflowers, and rue.
Come, buy my knotted marjoram, ho!
Come, buy my mint, my fine green mint.
Here’s fine lavender for your cloaths,
Here’s parsley and winter savory,
And heartsease which all do choose.
Here’s balm and hyssop and cinquefoil,
All fine herbs it is well known.
Let none despise the merry, merry cries
Of famous London Town.

Here’s pennyroyal and marygolds.
Come, buy my nettle-tops.
Here’s water-cresses and scurvy grass,
Come buy my sage of virtue, ho!
Come, buy my wormwood and mugworts.
Here’s all fine herbs of every sort.
Here’s southernwood that’s very good.
Dandelion and houseleek.
Here’s dragon’s tongue and wood sorrel,
With bear’s-foot and horehound.
Let none despise the merry, merry cries
Of famous London Town.

— Roxburghe Ballads

Poetry – THE BONNY RED HECKLE

Away frae the smoke an’ the smother,
Away frae the crush o’ the thrang!
Away frae the labour an’ pother
That have fettered our freedom sae lang!
For the May’s i’ full bloom i’ the hedges
And the laverock’s aloft i’ the blue,
An’ the south wind sings low i’ the sedges,
By haughs that are silvery wi’ dew.
Up, angler, off wi’ each shackle!
Up, gad and gaff, and awa’!
Cry ‘Hurrah for the canny red heckle,
The heckle that tackled them a’!’


Then back to the smoke and the smother,
The uproar and crush o’ the thrang;
An’ back to the labour and pother,
But happy and hearty and strang.
Wi’ a braw light o’ mountain and muirland,
Outflashing frae forehead and e’e,
Wi’ a blessing flung back to the norland,
An’ a thousand, dear Coquet, to thee!
As again we resume the old shackle,
Our gad an’ our gaff stowed awa’,
An’—goodbye to the canny ‘red heckle,’
The heckle that tackled them a’!’

— Thomas Westwood

Poetry – THE BROOK TROUT’S HOME

“I am Salmo fontinalis.
To the sparkling fountain born;
And my home is where oxalis.
Heather bell and rose adorn
The crystal basin in the dell
(Undine the wood-nymph knows it well):
That is where I love to dwell.
There was I baptized and christened,
‘Neath the somber aisles of oak;
Mute the cascade paused and listened.
Never a word the brooklet spoke;
Bobolink was witness then.
Likewise grosbeak, linnet, wren—
And all the fairies joined “amen!”
Thus as Salmo fontinalis
Recognized the wide world o’er.
In my limpid crystal palace.
Content withal, I ask no more.
Leaping through the rainbow spray.
Snatching flies the livelong day.
Naught to do but eat and play.”

— Charles Hallock.

Poetry – A HILL VAGABOND


Snakin’ wood down the mount’ins,
Fishin’ the little streams;
Smokin’ my pipe in the twilight,
An’ dreamin’ over old dreams;

Breathin’ the breath o’ the cool snows,
Sniffin’ the scent o’ the pine;
Watchin’ the hurryin’ river,
An’ hearin’ the coyotes whine.

This is life in the mount’ins,
Summer an’ winter an’ fall,
Up to the rainy springtime,
When the birds begin to call.

Then I fix my rod and tackle,
I read, I smoke an’ I sing.
Glad like the birds to be livin’—
Livin’ the life of a king!

—Louise Paley