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This is marred by the misuse of the term "insects for such organisms as the corals. The same image is found in one of his sonnets, where, putting in a plea like M. Arnold for steady, tranquil work as against spasmodic bursts, he says :—

Give me that growth which some perchance deem sleep,
Wherewith the steadfast coral stems uprise,

Which, by the toil of gathering energies,
Their upward way into clear sunshine keep,
Until, by heaven's sweetest influences,
Slowly and slowly spreads a speck of green
Into a pleasant island in the seas,

Where, 'mid tall palms, the cane-roofed home is seen,
And wearied men shall sit at sunset's hour,
Hearing the leaves and loving God's dear power.

A masterly picture this, of the growth of a coral island, and a highly appropriate analogy as well.

We need not continue this kind of illustration; the passages quoted are enough to show how thoroughly Nature has marked out this poet for her own. We conclude by citing one or two passages in which the atmosphere of country life, its sights and sounds, is strikingly brought home to the reader. The first is from the Prelude to The Vision of Sir Launfal.

And what is so rare as a day in June ?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;

Then heaven tries earth if it be in tune,

And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur or see it glisten;
Every clod feels a stir of might—

An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
And, groping blindly above it for light,
Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers;
The flush of life may well be seen,

Thrilling back over hills and valleys;
The cowslip startles in meadows green,

The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice,
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean
To be some happy creature's palace ;
The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
And lets his illumined being o'errun

With the deluge of summer it receives;
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings,

And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings :
He sings to the wide world and she to her nest-
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best?

We sit in the warm shade and feel right well
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell;
We may shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing
That skies are clear and grass is growing;

The breeze comes whispering in our ear
That dandelions are blossoming near,

That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,

That the river is bluer than the sky,

That the robin is plastering his house hard by ;

And if the breeze kept the good news back,

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We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing;
And hark! how clear bold chanticleer,
Warmed with the new wine of the year,

Tells all in his lusty crowing!

There is the ecstasy, the rapture that fills the heart of man who is in tune with Nature. Here is the same sentiment, perhaps more happily expressed

Truly this life is precious to the root,

And good the feel of grass beneath the foot;

To lie in buttercups and clover-bloom

Tenants in common with the bees

And watch the white clouds drift through gulfs of trees,

Is better than long wasting in the tomb;

Only once more to feel the coming spring,
As the birds feel it when it bids them sing;
Only once more to see the moon

Through leaf-fringed abbey-arches of the elms
Curve her mild sickle in the west,

Sweet with the breath of laylocks, were a boon
Worth any promise of soothsayer realms

Or casual hope of being elsewhere blest.

"Truly life is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is to behold the sun;" such is the very simple creed of Lowell. He sees no virtue in death as long as the senses are unimpaired for the full enjoyment of all that this beautiful earth has to show to her children.

Our last quotation shall be from The Biglow Papers in the characteristic Yankee dialect, which adds a piquancy of its own.

Our spring gits everythin' in tune

An' gives one leap from April into June ;

Then all comes crowdin' in ; afore you think,
Young oak-leaves mist the side-hill woods with pink;
The cat-bird in the laylock bush is loud;

The orchards turn to heaps o' rosy cloud

;

Red cedars blossom tu, though few folks know it,
An' look all dipt in sunshine like a poet;

The lime trees pile their solid stacks o' shade
An' drows❜ly simmer with the bees' sweet trade;
In ellum-shrouds the flashin' hangbird clings,
An' for the summer v'y'ge his hammock slings;
All down the loose-walled lanes in archin' bowers
The barb'ry droops its strings o' golden flowers,
Whose shrinkin' hearts the school gals love to try
With pins. They'll worry yourn so, boys, bimeby!

'Nuff sed. June's bridesman, poet o' the year,
Gladness on wings, the bobolink is here;

Half hid in tip-top apple blooms he swings,

Or climbs against the breeze with quivering wings,
Or givin' way to't in a mock despair,

Runs down, a brook o' laughter, thru the air.

This superb description of the bobolink reminds us that we have avoided saying anything of Lowell's birds. These figure very prominently in his poetry, but we reserve them for our last chapter.

CHAPTER X

LOWELL'S BIRDS

LOWELL, as we saw, was a soul in happy touch with Nature. The open air and the sight of trees and flowers acted upon his nervous system like an intoxicant. In the presence of Nature he felt stimulated, elevated, ecstatic. Nothing affected him so much in this way as the birds-the birds of America, which are unfamiliar to us-the bobolink, the oriole, the medrick, the loon, the phoebe, and so on. These are much in evidence in his verse; he has full knowledge of their ways, and he paints them with great vividness and with, for him, unusual brevity. Take first his portrait of the owl as depicted in his little poem, On Planting a Tree at Inverara. The poet had been asked to plant a memorial tree at the Duke of Argyll's mansion-house. He signalised the occasion by some verses, in which one of his reflections is that a tree will live long after the planter is epitaphed

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