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- Canadian Wild Flowers - 10/36 -


There is the orchard which I helped to rear, It well repays my labor year by year: One apple tree towers high above the rest Where every spring a blackbird has its nest. Sweet Lily used to stand beneath the bough And smiling listen--but she comes not now. A fairer bird ne'er charmed the rising day Than she we loved thus early called away; But she is gone to sing her holy strains In lovelier gardens and on greener plains.

There are the fields that I myself have cleared Of trees and brush, and where a waste appeared The corn just ready for the sickle stands, And golden pumpkins dot my fertile lands. There are the pastures where my cattle feed, My gentle kind supply the milk we need; Sweet cream and cheese are daily on our board, And clothing warm my snowy sheep afford. There are the flowers my Annie loves to tend,-- How often do I see her smiling bend To pluck the weeds, or teach the graceful vine Around the string or slender pole to twine. How often when the toils of day are done, And I return just at the set of sun, She comes to meet me down the verdant lane-- Sweet partner of my pleasures and my pain-- With snow-white buds amid her sunny hair, To win my favor all her joy and care. How often does she wander forth with me And share my seat beneath the maple tree, And smile and blush to hear my ardent lays Recount her virtues and pour forth her praise.

Hark! 'tis her voice, sweet as the wildbird's song; She comes to tell me I have tarried long: I hear her now an old love ditty hum, And now she calls--I come, dear love, I come.

THE RETURN.

Grateful to our sleepless eyes, Lo, the beams of morn arise, And the mountain-tops are gray With the light of coming day,-- And the birds are on the wing. With the happy birds we'll sing Bidding doubt and gloom be gone, Like the shadows at the dawn.

Yes, for eyes as bright as day Glance adown the shady way; Gentle voices with delight Whisper, "They will come to-night"; Hearts as fond and true as ours Wait for us in lovely bowers: Nor shall wait for us in vain, Faithful ones, we come again.

Where the bending willows weep, And the mosses slowly creep, We our harps neglected hung. Soon again they will be strung,-- Forest, dell, and mountain stream Will take up the blissful theme When no longer doomed to roam We can chant the praise of home.

Lo, in yonder sky the sun Half his daily task has done; We will rest beside the spring, While the bird with folded wing Sits within his cool retreat, Shaded from the noontide heat, And the bees, with drowsy hum, Homeward, honey-laden come.

Homeward too our way we hold, Laden, not with paltry gold, But with treasures better far Than the richest jewels are: Simple, trusting hearts, content With the blessings Heaven has lent. Once within our love-lit cot, Rich and great we envy not.

Lo, the shadows lengthen fast; Now the well-known hills are past; Now the forest, dark and tall-- Oh, how we remember all! Now the pastures strewn with rocks, Where we used to watch our flocks,-- Farther down the winding road, See! it is our own abode.

Where the slanting sunbeams fall On the lowly cottage wall, Fancy can already trace Each belov'd, familiar face: One by one each form appears Till our eyes are dim with tears; If the foretaste be so sweet Soon our joy will be complete!

Here we are! But all is still Save the ever-murmuring rill,-- Save the hooting of the owl, And the village watch-dog's howl, Slowly swings the cottage door-- Shall we cross the threshold o'er? Empty and deserted all-- Echo answers to our call!

Where the bending willow tree Oft has sheltered thee and me, Lo, the turf has been uptorn: We have come,--but come to mourn! Eyes are dim and lips are cold, And our arms we sadly fold Over hearts, till hushed and dead, Never to be comforted!

No; our hearts shall still be strong, For the journey is not long; In a holy, deathless land We shall meet our household band: In the fairer bowers above, They await the friends they love, Oh, what joy with them to dwell, _Never more to say farewell!_

THE OLD SUGAR CAMP.

[Whoever has attended a "sugaring off" in the woods will enjoy the reading of this poem--the description is so life-like and exhilarating. It is a home scene.]

Come let us away to the old Sugar Camp; The sky is serene though the ground may be damp,-- And the little bright streams, as they frolic and run, Turn a look full of thanks to the ice-melting sun; While the warm southern winds, wherever they go, Leave patches of brown 'mid the glittering snow.

The oxen are ready, and Carlo and Tray Are watching us, ready to be on the way, While a group of gay children, with platter and spoon, And faces as bright as the roses of June, O'er fences and ditches exultingly spring, Light-hearted and careless as birds on the wing.

Where's Edwin? Oh, here he comes, loading his gun; Look out for the partridges--hush! there is one! Poor victim! a bang, and a flutter--'tis o'er,-- And those fair dappled wings shall expand nevermore; It was shot for our invalid sister at home, Yet we sigh as beneath the tall branches we roam.

Our cheeks all aglow with the long morning tramp, We soon come in sight of the old Sugar Camp; The syrup already is placed in the pan, And we gather around it as many as can,-- We try it on snow; when we find it is done We fill up a mold for a dear absent one.

Oh, gayest and best of all parties are these, That meet in the Camp 'neath the old maple trees, Renewing the love and the friendship of years,-- They are scenes to be thought of with smiles and with tears When age shall have furrowed each beautiful cheek, And left in dark tresses a silvery streak.

Here brothers and sisters and lovers have met, And cousins and friends we can never forget; The prairie, the ocean, divide us from some, Yet oft as the seasons for sugaring come, The cup of bright syrup to friendship we'll drain, And gather them home to our bosom again.

Dear Maple, that yieldeth a nectar so rare, So useful in spring, and in summer so fair,-- Of autumn acknowledged the glory and queen, Attendant on every Canadian scene, Enshrined in our homes it is meet thou shouldst be Of our country the emblem, O beautiful Tree!

TO A RABBIT.


Canadian Wild Flowers - 10/36

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