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In the larder, stealing meat, Patter, patter, little feet,
After ball, reel, or string, Wild as any living thing,
Round and round, after tail, Fast as any postal mail,
Curled up, like a ball,
On the door-mat in the hall,
Purring loud on missis' lap, Having toast, then a nap,
Black as night, with talons long, Scratching, which is very wrong,
From a saucer lapping milk, Soft, as soft as washing silk,
Eddying round and round they sink
Softly, slowly : one might think,
From the motions that are made,
Every little leaf conveyed
Sylph or faery hither tending, —
To this lower world descending,
Each invisible and mute,
In his wavering parachute.
- But the Kitten, how she starts,
Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts !
First at one, and then its fellow
Just as light and just as yellow;
There are many now --- now one -
Now they stop, and there are none :
What intenseness of desire
In her upward eye of fire !
With a tiger-leap half-way
Now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then
Has it in her power again :
Now she works with three or four,
Like an Indian conjurer;
Quick as he in feats of art,
Far beyond in joy of heart.
Were her antics played in th' eye
Of a thousand standers-by,
Clapping hands with shout and stare,
What would little Tabby care
For the plaudits of the crowd ?
Over happy to be proud,
Over wealthy in the treasure
Of her own exceeding pleasure !
'Tis a pretty baby-treat;
Nor, I deem, for me unmeet;
Here, for neither Babe nor me,
Other playmate can I see.
Of the countless living things,
That with stir of feet and wings
(In the sun or under shade,
Upon bough or grassy blade)
And with busy revelings,
Chirp and song, and murmurings,
Made this orchard's narrow space
And this vale so blithe a place, —
Multitudes are swept away
Nevermore to breathe the day:
Some are sleeping ; some in bands
Traveled into distant lands;
Others slunk to moor and wood,
Far from human neighborhood ;
And, among the kinds that keep
With us closer fellowship,
With us openly abide,
All have laid their mirth aside.
Where is he, that giddy sprite,
Blue-cap, with his colors bright,
Who was blest as bird could be,
Feeding in the apple-tree ;
Rolling on the dewy grass, Getting wet, all in a mass,
Climbing tree, and catching bird, Little twitter nevermore heard,
Killing fly, rat, or mouse, As it runs about the house,
Pet of missis, “Itte mite," Never must be out of sight,
THE KITTEN AND FALLING LEAVES.
THAT way look, my Infant, lo!
What a pretty baby-show!
See the Kitten on the wall,
Sporting with the leaves that fall,
Withered leaves ---one-two-and three-
From the lofty elder-tree !
Through the calm and frosty air
Of this morning bright and fair,
Made such wanton spoil and rout, Turning blossoms inside out;
Even from things by sorrow wrought,
Matter for a jocund thought;
Spite of care, and spite of grief,
To gambol with Life's falling Leaf.
“COMPLIMENTS OF THE SEASON."
Fluttered, perched, into a round
Bound himself, and then unbound;
Lithest, gaudiest Harlequin ;
Prettiest Tumbler ever seen ;
Light of heart and light of limb;
What is now become of him?
Lambs, that through the mountains went
Frisking, bleating merriment,
When the year was in its prime,
They are sobered by this time.
If you look to vale or hill,
If you listen, all is still,
Save a little neighboring rill,
That from out the rocky ground
Strikes a solitary sound.
Vainly glitter hill and plain,
And the air is calm in vain ;
Vainly Morning spreads the lure
Of a sky serene and pure ;
LITTLE Four Years, little Two Years,
Merry Christmas ! Happy New Year's !
That is what I wish for you ; .
Shall I tell you what to do
That will make my wish come true ?
Cheerful looks and words are very Sure to make the Christmas merry : Tongues that speak the truth sincere, Hearts that hold each other dear, These will make a happy year.
Four Years is of Two the double, Should be twice as brave in trouble, Twice as gentle, twice as kind, Always twice as much inclined Mother's words to keep in mind ;
Into open sign of joy:
Is it that they have a fear
Of the dreary season near ?
Or that other pleasures be
Sweeter e'en than gayety ?
Yet, whate'er enjoyments dwell
In the impenetrable cell
Of the silent heart which Nature
Furnishes to every creature ; .
Whatsoe'er we feel and know
Too sedate for outward show, —
Such a light of gladness breaks,
Pretty Kitten ! from thy freaks, ----
Spreads with such a living grace
('er my little Dora's face ;
Yes, the sight so stirs and charms
So that Two Years, when she 's older,
May remember what is told her,
Just as Four Years did before, --
Only think ! in two years more
Little Two Years will be Four !
ROSSITER W. RAYMOND.
NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP.
GOLDEN head so lowly bending,
Little feet so white and bare, Dewy eyes, half shut, half opened,
Lisping out her evening prayer. "Now I lay," -- repeat it, darling
"Lay me,” lisped the tiny lips Of my daughter, kneeling, bending
O'er the folded finger-tips. “Down to sleep,” - “ To sleep,” she murmured,
And the curly head bent low; “I pray the Lord,” I gently added,
“You can say it all, I know.”
That almost I could repine
That your transports are not mine,
That I do not wholly fare
Even as ye do, thoughtless pair !
And I will have my careless season,
Spite of melancholy reason ;
Will walk through life in such a way
That, when time brings on decay,
Now and then I may possess
Hours of perfect gladsomeness.
-- Pleased by any random toy ;
By a kitten's busy joy,
Or an infant's laughing eye
Sharing in the ecstasy ;
I would fare like that or this,
Find my wisdom in my bliss ;
Keep the sprightly soul awake ;
And have faculties to take,
“Pray the Lord,”— the sound came faintly,
Fainter still, — “my soul to keep”; Then the tired head fairly nodded,
And the child was fast asleep.
But the dewy eyes half opened | When I clasped her to my breast,
Of Greedy Bear ; of Santa Claus the good ;
We are but children ; things that we do
And how the little children met the Months
Are as sports of a babe to the Infinite view
Within the wood.
| That marks all our weakness, and pities it too.
God grant that when night overshadows our way, “Tell it again !” and though the sand-man came,
"? And we shall be called to account for our day, Dropping his drowsy grains in each blue eye, “Tell it again ! 0, just once more !” was still
He shall find us as guileless as Goldenhair's lay! The sleepy cry.
And 0, when aweary, may we be so blest,
And sink like the innocent child to our rest, My spring-time violet ! early snatched away
And feel ourselves clasped to the Infinite breast ! To fairer gardens all unknown to me, -
ANONYMOUS. Gardens of whose invisible, guarded gates
I have no key, --
I weave my fancies now for other ears, -
Thy sister-blossom's, who beside me sits,
Rosy, imperative, and quick to mark
My lagging wits.
But still the stories bear thy name, are thine,
Part of the sunshine of thy brief, sweet day,
Though in her little warm and living hands
This book I lay.
I HAD told him, Christmas morning,
As he sat upon my knee,
Holding fast his little stockings,
Stuffed as full as full could be,
And attentive, listening to me,
With a face demure and mild,
That old Santa Claus, who filled them,
Did not love a naughty child.