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 – 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 – 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

THE POPLAR FIELD

The poplars are fell’d, farewell to the shade
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade;
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.

Twelve years have elapsed since I last took a view
Of my favorite field, and the bank where they grew:
And now in the grass behold they are laid,
And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade.

The blackbird has fled to another retreat
Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat;
And the scene where his melody charm’d me before
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.

My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.

‘Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Short-lived as we are, our enjoyments, I see,
Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.

— W. Cowper

THE FERN SONG

THE FERN SONG

Dance to the beat of the rain, little Fern,
And spread out your palms again,
And say, “Tho’ the Sun
Hath my vesture spun,
He hath labored, alas, in vain,
But for the shade
That the Cloud hath made,
And the gift of the Dew and the Rain.”
Then laugh and upturn
All your fronds, little Fern,
And rejoice in the beat of the rain!

John Bannister Tabb

The Little Plant

In the heart of a seed,
Buried deep, so deep,
A dear little plant
Lay fast asleep!

“Wake!” said the sunshine,
“And creep to the light!”
“Wake!” said the voice
Of the raindrop bright.

The little plant heard
And it rose to see
What the wonderful
Outside world might be.

— Kate L. Brown