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Who shall sing simple ditty about the Willow,

Dainty-fine and delicate as any bending spray

That dandles high the dainty bird that flutters there to trill

Tremulously tender song of greeting to the May.


Bravest, too, of the trees!—none to match your daring,–

First of greens to greet the Spring and lead in leafy sheen,–

Aye, and you’re the last–almost into winter wearing

Still the leaf of loyalty–still the badge of green.


Ah, my lovely willow–let the water lilt your graces,–

They alone with limped kisses lave your leaves above,

Flashing back your silvan beauty, and in shady places

Peering up with glimmering pebbles, like the eyes of love.


Come, brothers, share the fellowship

We celebrate to-night;

There’s grace of song on every lip

And every heart is light!

But first, before our mentor chimes

The hour of jubilee,

Let’s drink a health to good old times,

And good times yet to be!

Clink, clink, clink!

Merrily let us drink!

There’s tore of wealth

And more of health

In every glass we think

Clink, clink, clink!

To fellowship we drink!

And from the bowl!

No genial soul

In such an hour can shrink.


And you, oh, friends from west and east

And other foreign parts,

Come share the rapture of our feast,

The love of loyal hearts;

And in the wassail that suspends

All matters burthensome,

We’ll drink a health to good old friends

And good friends yet to come.

Clink, clink, clink!

To fellowship we drink!

And from the bowl!

No genial soul

In such an hour will shrink.

Clink, clink, clink!

Merrily let us drink!

There’s fellowship

In every sip

Of friendship’s brew, we think.


Music I heard with you was more than music,

And bread I broke with you was more than bread;

Now that I am without you, all is desolate;

All that was once so beautiful is dead.


Your hands once touched this table and the silver,

And I have seen your fingers hold the glass.

These things do not remember you, beloved,

And yet your touch upon them will not pass.


For it was in my heart you moved among them,

And blessed them with your hands and with your eyes;

And in my heart they will remember always,-

They knew you once, O beautiful and wise.

There was a cherry-tree. Its bloomy snows

Cool even now the fevered sight that knows

No more its airy vision of pure joy–

As when you were a boy.


There was a cherry-tree. The Bluejay sat

His blue against its white–O blue as jet

He seemed there then!– But now– Whoever knew

He was so pale a blue!


There was a cherry-tree–our child-eyes saw

The miracle:–Its pure white snows did thaw

Into a crimson fruitage, far too sweet

But for a boy to eat.


There was a cherry-tree, give thanks and joy!—

There was a bloom of snow–There was a boy–

There was a bluejay of the realest blue–

And fruit for both of you.

It shouts in the sails of the ships at sea,

He steals the down from the honeybee,

He makes the forest trees rustle and sing,

He twirls my kite till it breaks its string.

Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,

Whistling, howling, rainy wind,

North, South, East and West,

Each is the wind I like the best.

He calls up the fog and hides the hills,

He whirls the wings of the great windmills,

The weathercocks love him and turn to discover

His whereabouts-but he’s gone, the rover!

Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,

Whistling, howling, rainy wind,

North, South, East and West,

Each is the wind I like best.

The pine trees toss him cones with glee,

The flowers bend low in courtesy,

Each wave flings up a shower of pearls,

The flag in front of school unfurls.

Laughing, dancing, sunny wind,

Whistling, howling, rainy wind,

North, South, East and West,

Each is the wind I like best.

When the warm sun, that brings

Seed-time and harvest, has returned again,

‘Tis sweet to visit the still wood, where springs

The first flower of the plain.


I love the season well,

When forest glades are teeming with bright forms,

Nor dark and many-folded clouds foretell

The coming-on of storms.


From the earth’s loosened mould

The sapling draws its sustenance, and thrives;

Though stricken to the heart with winter’s cold,

The drooping tree revives.


The softly-warbled song

Comes from the pleasant woods, and colored wings

Glance quick in the bright sun, that moves along

The forest openings.


When the bright sunset fills

The silver woods with light, the green slope throws

Its shadows in the hollows of the hills

And wide the upland glows.


And when the eve is born,

In the blue the sky, o’er-reaching far,

Is hollowed out and the moon dips her horn,

And twinkles many a star.


Inverted in the tide

Stand the gray rocks, and trembling shadows throw,

And the fair trees look over, side by side,

And see themselves below.


Sweet April! many a thought

Is wedded unto thee, as hearts are wed;

Nor shall they fall, till, to its autumn brought,

Life’s golden fruit is shed.






My heart is like a little bird

That sits and sings for very gladness.

Sorrow is some forgotten word,

And so, except in rhyme, is sadness.


The world is very fair to me –

Such azure skies, such golden weather,

I’m like a long caged bird set free,

My heart is lighter than a feather.


I rise rejoicing in my life;

I live with love of God and neighbour;

My days flow on unmarred by strife,

And sweetened by my pleasant labour.


O youth! O spring! O happy days,

Ye are so passing sweet, and tender,

And while the fleeting season stays,

I revel care-free, in its splendour.

The day is ending,

The night descending;

The marsh is frozen,

The river dead.


Through clouds like ashes

The red sun flashes

On village windows

That glimmer red.


The snow recommences;

The buried fences

Mark no longer

The road o’er the plain;


While through the meadows,

Like fearful shadows,

Slowly passes

A funeral train.


The bell is pealing,

And every feeling

Within me responds

To the dismal knell;


Shadows are trailing,

My heart is bewailing

And tolling within

Like a funeral bell.

Is this time to be cloudy and sad,

When our mother Nature laughs around;

When even the deep blue heavens look glad,

And gladness breaths from the blossoming ground?


There are notes of joy from the hang-bird and wren,

And the gossip of swallows through all the sky;

The ground-squirrel gaily chirps by his den,

And the wilding bee hums merrily by.


The clouds are at play at the azure space,

And their shadows at play on the bright green vale,

And here they stretch to the frolic chase,

And there roll on the easy gale.


There’s a dance of leaves in that aspen bower,

There’s a titter of winds in that beechen tree,

There’s a smile on the fruit, and a smile on the flower,

And a laugh from the brook that runs to the sea.


And look at the broad-faced sun, how he smiles

On the dewy earth that smiles in his ray,

On the leaping waters and gay young isles;

At, look, and he’ll smile thy gloom away.

When I go up through the mowing field,

The headless aftermath,

Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew,

Half closes the garden path.


And when I come to the garden ground,

The whir of sober birds

Up from the tangle of withered weeds

Is sadder than any words


A tree beside the wall stands bare,

But a leaf that lingered brown,

Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,

Comes softly rattling down.


I end not far from my going forth

By picking the faded blue

Of the last remaining aster flower

To carry again to you.