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THE BLACKBIRD.

O BLACKBIRD! sing me something well :

While all the neighbours shoot thee round,

I keep smooth plats of fruitful ground, Where thou may'st warble, eat and dwell.

The espaliers and the standards all

Are thine ; the range of lawn and park :

The unnetted black-hearts ripen dark, All thine, against the garden wall.

Yet, though I spared thee kith and kin,

Thy sole delight is, sitting still,

With that gold dagger of thy bill To fret the summer jennetin.

A golden bill! the silver tongue,

Cold February loved, is dry :

Plenty corrupts the melody That made thee famous once, when young.

I better brook the drawling stares,

Now thy flute-notes are changed to coarse

Not hearing thee at all, or hoarse As when a hawker hawks his wares.

Take warning ! he that will not sing
While yon sun prospers in the blue,

Shall sing for want, ere leaves are new,
Caught in the frozen palms of Spring.

VOL. I.

THE

DEATH OF THE OLD YEAR.

Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,
And the winter winds are wearily sighing :
Toll ye the church-bell sad and slow,
And tread softly and speak low,
For the old year lies a-dying.

Old year, you must not die ;
You came to us so readily,
You lived with us so steadily,
Old year, you shall not die.

II.

He lieth still : he doth not move :
He will not see the dawn of day.
He hath no other life above.
He gave me a friend, and a true true-love,
And the New-year will take 'em away.

Old year, you must not go ;
So long as you have been with us,
Such joy as you have seen with us,
Old year, you shall not go.

III.

He froth'd his bumpers to the brim ;
A jollier year we shall not see.
But though his eyes are waxing dim,
And though his foes speak ill of him,
He was a friend to me.

Old year, you shall not die ;
We did so laugh and cry with you,
I've half a mind to die with you,
Old year, if you must die.

He was full of joke and jest,
But all his merry quips are o’er.
To see him die, across the waste
His son and heir doth ride post-haste,
But he'll be dead before,

Every one for his own.
The night is starry and cold, my friend,
And the New-year blithe and bold, my friend,
Comes up to take his own.

How hard he breathes! over the snow
I heard just now the crowing cock.
The shadows flicker to and fro :
The cricket chirps : the light burns low :
'Tis nearly twelve o'clock.

Shake hands, before you die.
Old year, we'll dearly rue for you :
What is it we can do for you?
Speak out before you die.

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