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Gisborne's "Forest adtalks."



An ancient poet's comparison of the supposed non-exist

ence of man after death with the vernal revival of the vegetable world. The lesson which ought to have been deduced from that revival. Appearance of a forest in May. Forest trees. The angler. Forest flowers. Analogy between the diversity of vegetable productions and the diversity of human talents. Birds. Address to parents.


The meanest herb we trample in the field, Or in the garden nurture, when its leaf In Autumn dies, forebodes another Spring, And from short slumber wakes to life again. Man wakes no more! Man, peerless, valiant, wise, Once chilled by death, sleeps hopeless in the dust, A long, unbroken, never-ending sleep!' Such was thy plaint, untutored bard,' when May, As now, the lawns revived ! 'T was thine to rove Darkling, ere yet from Death's reluctant shade, In cloudless majesty, the Son of God Sprang glorious ; while hell's ruler, he who late, With frantic scoffs of triumph, to his powers Pointed the sad procession as it moved From Calvary to the yet unclosed tomb, Viewed the grave yield its Conqueror ; and, aghast, Shunned, in the deepest midnight of his realms, The wrath of earth's and heaven's Almighty Lord.

The sun's meridian splendor, has illumed
Eternity! thy wonders : and as hills,
Far seen, by telescopic power draw nigh ;
Regions of bliss and realms of penal doom, –
More clear, more sure, than earth to mortal ken, -
Beyond the shades of death to Faith reveals!
Yet may this sylvan wild, from Winter's grasp
Now rescued, bid the soul, on loftiest hope
Musing elate, anticipate the hour
When, at the Archangel's voice, the slumbering dust
Shall wake, nor earth nor sea withhold her dead :
When, starting at the crash of bursting tombs,
Of mausoleums rent, and pyramids
Heaved from their base, the tyrant of the grave,
Propped on his broken sceptre, while the crown
Falls from his head, — beholds his prison-house
Emptied of all its habitants ; beholds
Mortal in immortality absorbed,
Corruptible in incorruption lost.


How swells the enraptured bosom, while the eye Wanders unsated with delight from shade To shade, from grove to thicket, from near groups To yon primeval woods with darkening sweep Retiring; and with beauty sees the whole Kindle, and glow with renovated life! For now, at Spring's reanimating call, Each native of the forest, from the trunk, Towering and huge, down to the tangled bush, Its own peculiar character resumes. Chief of the sylvan realms, its verdant wreath With tender olive stained the oak protrudes, Proud of a sheltered monarch, proud to lend A chaplet still to British loyalty, Even yet, with ruddy spoils from Autumn won Loaded, the beech its lengthened buds untwines. Its knotted bloom secured, the ash puts forth The winged leaf : the hawthorn wraps its boughs In snowy mantle : from the vivid greens That shine around, the holly, Winter's pride, Recedes abashed : the willow, in yon vale, Its silver lining to the breeze upturns ; And rustling aspens shiver by the brook ; TITE STREAMLET IN SPRING ; ITS FISH; ALDERS; TROUTS ;

THE ANGLER'S MISHAPS. While the unsullied stream, from April showers Refined, each sparkling pebble shows that decks The bottom ; and each scaly habitant Quick glancing in the shallows, or in quest Of plunder slowly sailing in the deep. There oft at eve, by shadowing alders veiled


Said the desponding lay, “Man wakes no more'? O blind! who read'st not in the teeming soil, The freshening meadow, and the bursting wood, A nobler lesson! – He who spake the word, And the sun rose from chaos, while the abyss From the new fires with shuddering surge recoiled ; He, at whose voice the moon's nocturnal beam, And starry legions, on the admiring earth Rained lustre ; He, whose providence the change Of day and night and seasons crowned with food, And health and peace proclaimed ; bade Nature's Point to the scenes of dim futurity.

[hand He on a world, in Gentile darkness lost, Pitying looked down : He to bewildered man Bade Spring, with annual admonition, hold Her emblematic taper ; not with light Potent each shade of doubt and fear to chase, Yet friendly through the gloom to guide his way, "Till the dawn crimsoned, and the impatient East, Shouting for joy, the Day-star's advent hailed.

THE DAY-STAR ARISEX. THE GENERAL RESURRECTIOX. That star has risen, and, with a glow that shames

1 Moschus, who flourished 156 or 256 B.C. See note p. 26.

From keen-eyed trouts, fixed where the sable flood Yet all one forming Hand, one Source supreme,
Mantled with foam, with twisted roots o'erhung, Own, mid distinctions infinite, one Lord,
Portends a giant prey -
the angler drops

Boundless in might, in wisdom, and in love ;
His fly in quivering circles on the pool,

And as his eye with vivifying beam
Fluttering with mimic wings ; then, while his hand Smiles, or the golden flood of life withdraws -
Trembles with hope, beholds, ill-omened sight, Flourish or fade.
That tells of dire misfortune! fractured lines

DIVERSIFIED TALENTS OF MEN ; INGRATITUDE FOR THEM. Dependent, or in complicated folds

MANKIND ONE MUTUALLY HELPFUL FAMILY. Linking the tangled boughs that sweep the stream,

Plans of accordant aim And rise and fall with every passing wave.

Speak the same Author. Mark the varied dower FOREST FLOWERS OF SPRING; THE PRIMROSE ; PILEWORT ; Of talent shared by man. These trace the laws


That bind the planet to its orb, and heave
Beneath the sylvan canopy, the ground

The billowy tide. The helm of empire those Glitters with flowery dyes : the primrose first

Rule, in the storm serene ; or poise the scales In mossy dell return of Spring to greet :

Of justice ; or when mad ambition scoffs Pilewort, that o'er her roots of healing fame

The sacred league, nor recks the landmark, hurl Expands the radiance of her starry bloom :

The long-suspended thunderbolt of war.

Some in translucent narrative recall
Arum, that in a mantling hood conceals
Her sanguine club, and spreads her spotted leaf

Past ages, or in visionary song
Armed with keen torture for the unwary tongue :

Heroic worth portray. Inventive, some

Call art the paths of life with needful aid
Anemone,' now robed in virgin white,
Now with faint crimson blushing : fraudful spurge, o

To smoothe, or grace with ornament. Some ply That seeks in beauty's garb her snares to hide,

The spade and ploughshare, skilful to foreknow

What best each soil may yield. Vain of his powers, In milky stream her poison veils, her stem

Thee, the great Giver, thee, Parent of good, In ruddy mantle wraps, and from a zone

Man overlooks or scorns. Thy several gifts,
Of dusky foliage elevates more bright

Harmonious though dissimilar, all conspire
Her crest of gold : sorrel,3 that hangs her cups,
Ere their fruil form and streaky veins decay,

To swell the sum of general bliss, all work

Thy glory; all well pleasing in thy sight, O'er her pale verdure, till parental care

Who bad’et the children of the dust perform Inclines the shortening stems, and to the shade

Each his peculiar office, and, combined Of closing leaves her infant race withdraws :

In one vast family with fraternal love, Orchis 4 with crowded pyramids the bank

Lend mutual aid, and praise their common God. Purpling : the harebell, as with grief depressed, Bowing her fragrance : and the scentless plant,5 BIRD-LIFE IN SPRING; SONGS ; THE JAY; WOODPECKER AXD

HIS HABITS ; MAGPIE ; WRYNECK ; That with the violet's borrowed form and hue

YOUNG; BIRDS TEACHING THEIR YOUNGLINGS TO FLY. The unskilful wanderer in the grove deceives.

While thus the imprisoned leaves and waking THE VARIOUS HABITS AND HABITATS OF PLANTS DESCRIBED.


Burst from their tombs, the birds that lurked unseen In size, in form, in texture, and in use,

Amid the hybernal shade, in busy tribes How various are the tribes whose verdure warms

Pour their forgotten multitudes, and catch And decorates the earth! Some from the wild

New life, new rapture, from the smile of Spring. Untracked by foot of man, from mountain glens

The oak’s dark canopy, the moss-grown thorns, And rifted crags precipitous, aloft

Flutter with hurried pinions, and resound Urge their aspiring boles and knotted strength,

With notes that suit a forest ; some perehance, Destined with fleets to spread the main, or build

Rude singly, yet with sweeter notes combined Engines, whose ponderous and convulsive strokes

In unison harmonious ; notes that speak, Thundering shall rock the ground. With pensile

vocal to the listening wood, boughs

The fears and hopes, the griefs and joys, that heare Some droop o'er willowy streams, and yield their For humbler service. Some in grassy pile (growth

The feathered breast. Proud of cerulean stains

From heaven's unsullied arch purloined, the jay And flowery broidure clad, with fragrance cheer,

Screams hoarse. With shrill and oft-repeated cry, With food sustain, the animated world.

Her angular course, alternate rise and fall, 1 Wood-anemone. Anemone nemorosa, Linn.

The woodpecker prolongs; then to the trunk 2 Wood-spurge. Euphorbia amygdaloides, Linn. 3 Wood-sorrel. Oxalis acetosa, Linn. This plant, as soon

Close clinging, with unwearied beak assails as its petals have fallen off, thrusts its seed-vessels, with a The hollow bark; through every cell the strokes motion in appearance almost voluntary, under the contigu

Roll the dire echoes that from wintry sleep ous leaves ; the foot-stalk, which till then had been straight, bending itself back in a sharp angle, and thus bringing Awake her insect prey; the alarméd tribes (stem : down its charge to the shelter provided by nature.

Start from each chink that cleaves the mouldering 4 Orchis mascula, Linn. Wood-orchis. 6 Dog's violet ; the viola canina of Linnæus.

Their scattered flight with lengthening tongue the foe





In lange

Their pinions, in short flights their strength to prove, And venturous trust the bosom of the air.



Pursues; joy glistens on her verdant plumes,
And brighter scarlet sparkles on her crest.
From bough to bough the restless magpie roves,
And chatters as she flies. In sober brown
Drest, but with nature's tonderest pencil touched,
The wryneck her monotonous complaint
Continues ; harbinger of her who, doomed
Never the sympathetic joy to know
That warms the mother cowering o'er her young,
A stranger robs, and to that stranger's love
Her egg commits unnatural : the nurse,
Unwitting of the change, her nestling feeds
With toil augmented ; its portentous throat
Wondering she views with ceaseless hunger gape,
Starts at the glare of its capacious eyes,
Its giant bulk, and wings of hues unknown.
Meanwhile the little songsters, prompt to cheer
Their mates close brooding in the brake below,
Strain their shrill throats ; or, with parental art,
From twig to twig their timid offspring lead ;
Teach them to seize the unwary gnat, to poise

O ye ! whose knees a youthful progeny climbs, While mirth, the fruit of innocence and love, Dimples their cheeks, and shuts their laughing eyes, Think on your charge ! Fast as the expanding mind Imbibes the lesson, from her fount above Bid truth in ampler stream infuse her lore. Leave not, in vernal dawn when life invokes Your culturing hand, the field to weeds a prey Native, quick sprouting : plant, with earliest care, The seeds you most desire should fill the soil ; And nurse, with zeal proportioned to its worth, Each rising produce. Teach your infant race That 't is not theirs, like songsters of the grove, Born but to sport and futter for a day, To dote on vain and transitory joys. Teach them the harder, nobler task decreed To prove the sons of Adam. Teach them love Supreme of God, and, next to God, of man. Teach them 't is theirs, in arduous conflict ranged, 'Gainst sin and powers of darkness, to make known Their firm allegiance to the King of kings.

1 The Welsh and Swedes consider this bird as the forerunner or servant of the cuckoo, and the Welsh call it "cuckoo's attendant ;' in mid England it is named . cuckoo's maiden.'

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May's Husbandry.”

* *

Cold May and windy Forgotten month past,

Barn filleth up finely. Do now at the last. * * Frou May till October, leave cropping, for why? In woodsere, whatever thou croppest will die ; Where ivy embraceth the tree very sore, Kill ivy, or else tree will addle no more. Keep threshing for thresher till May be come in, To have, to be suer, fresh chaff in thy bin ; And somewhat to scamble, for hog and for hen, And work, when it raineth, for loitering men. Be suer of hay, and of provender some, For laboring cattle, till pasture be come. And if ye do mind, to have nothing to sterve, Have one thing or other, for all things to serve. In May get a weed-hook, a crotch, and a glove, And weed out such weeds as the corn doth not love. For weeding of winter corn, now it is best ; But June is the better for weeding the rest. The May-weed doth burn, and the thistle doth fret ; The fitches pull downward both rye and the wheat : The brake and the cockle be noisome too much ; Yet like unto boodle no weed there is such. In May is good sowing thy buck or thy brank, That black is as pepper, and smelleth as rank : It is to thy land as a comfort, or muck, * * Sow buck after barley, or after thy wheat, A peck to the rood (if the measure be great), Three earths see ye give it, and sow it above; And harrow it finely, if buck ye do love. * *

Good flax and good hemp to have of her own,
In May a good huswife will see it be sown ;
And afterwards trim it, to serve at a need,
The fimble to spin, and the carl for ber seed.
Get into thy hop-yard, for now it is time
To teach Robin Hop on his pole how to climb :
To follow the sun as his property is,
And weed him and trim him, if aught go amiss.
Grass, thistle, and mustard-soed, hemlock, and bur,
Tine, mallow, and nettle that keep such a stur ;
With peacock and turkey that nibble off top,
Are very ill neighbors to seely, poor hop. * *
Take heed to thy bees, that are ready to swarm,
The loss thereof now is a crown's worth of harm;
Let skilful be ready, and diligence seen,
Lest, being too careless, thou losest thy been.
In May, at the furthest, twifallow thy land ;
Much drought may else after cause plough for to

stand. * *
Twifallow once ended, get tumbrell and man,
And compas that fallow, as soon as ye can. * *
Let children be hired to lay out their bones,
From fallow as needeth to gather up stones. * *
To grass with thy calves in some meadow-plot near,
Where neither their mothers may see them, nor hear:
Where water is plenty and barth to sit warm,
And look well unto them, for taking of harm.
Pinch never thy wennels of water or meat,
If ever ye hope for to have them good neat. *

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What conscience dictates to be done,

Or warns me not to do, This teach me more than hell to shun,

That more than heaven pursue. What blessings thy free bounty gives

Let me not cast away ;
For God is paid when man receives,

To enjoy is to obey.
Yet not to earth's contracted span

Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think Thee Lord alone of man,

When thousand worlds are round. Let not this weak, unknowing hand

Presume thy bolts to throw,
And deal damnation round the land

On each I judge thy foe.
If I am right, thy grace impart

Still in the right to stay ;
If I am wrong, 0 teach my heart

To find that better way.
Save me alike from foolish pride,

Or impious discontent
At aught thy wisdom has denied,

Or aught thy goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe;

To hide the fault I see ; That mercy I to others show,

That mercy show to me.

Soon as the evening shades prevail,
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth :
While all the stars that round her burn,
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though, in solemn silence, all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball ?
What though nor real voice, nor sound,
Amid their radiant orbs be found?
In reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing, as they shine,
• The hánd that made us is Divine !'

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Where scarce a sunbeam wanders through the gloom;
And on the dark-green grass, beside the brink
Of haunted stream, that by the roots of oak
Rolls o'er the rocky channel, lie at large,
And sing the glories of the circling year.

Come, Inspiration ! from thy hermit seat,
By mortal seldom found ; may Fancy dare,
From thy fixed serious eye, and raptured glance
Shot on surrounding heaven, to steal one look
Creative of the poet, every power
Exalting to an ecstasy of soul.


The subject proposed. Invocation. Address to Mr. Dod

ington. An introductory reflection on the motion of the heavenly bodies : whence the succession of the seasons. As the face of nature in this season is almost uniform, the progress of the poem is a description of a summer's day. The dawn. Sun-rising. Hymn to the sun. Forenoon. Summer insects described. Hay-making. Sheepshearing. Noon-day. A woodland retreat. Group of herds and flocks. A solemn grove ; how it affects a contemplative mind. A cataract, and rude scene. View of summer in the torrid zone. Storm of thunder and lightning. A tale. The storm over, a serene afternoon. Bathing. Hour of walking. Transition to the prospect of a rich, well-cultivated country ; which introduces a panegyric on Great Britain. Sunset. Evening. Night. Summer meteors. A comet. The whole concluding with the praise of philosophy. THE APPROACH OF SUMMER. - HEAT. - A SIADY RETREAT.

From brightening fields of ether fair disclosed, Child of the Sun, refulgent Summer comes, In pride of youth, and felt through Nature's depth : He comes attended by the sultry hours, And ever-fanning breezes, on his way ; While from his ardent look, the turning Spring Averts her blushful face ; and earth, and skies, All smiling, to his hot dominion leaves.

Hence, let me haste into the mid-wood shade,

And thou, my youthful Muse's early friend, In whom the human graces all unite : Pure light of mind, and tenderness of heart ; Genius, and wisdom : the gay social sense, By decency chastised ; goodness and wit, In seldom-meeting harmony combined ; Unblemished honor, and an active zeal For Britain's glory, liberty, and man: 0 Dodington !1 attend my rural song,

1 The celebrated Bubb Dodington, Lord Melcombe, a man of consummate taste.

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