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4 But the Deacon swore, (as deacons do,
He would build one shay to beat the taown
It should be so built that it could n' break daown;
T" make that place uz strong uz the rest.”
5 So the Deacon inquired of the village folk Where he could find the strongest oak,
That could n't be split, nor bent, nor broke,
6 Do! I tell I rather guess
She was a wonder, and nothing less!
Colts grew horses, beards turned gray,
7 Eighteen hundred; it came and found
8 Little of all we value here
Wakes on the morn of its hundredth year,
First of November, the Earthquake-day, -
But nothing local, as one may say.
There could n't be, for the Deacon's art
Had made it so like in every part
That there was n't a chance for one to start.
And yet, as a whole, it is past a doubt
10 First of November, fifty-five!
This morning the parson takes a drive.
11 The parson was working his Sunday's text,
First a shiver, and then a thrill,
What do you think the parson found,
12 End of the wonderful one-hoss shay: Logic is logic. That's all I say.
XXIV. — THE PRAIRIES.
THE attraction of the prairie consists in its extent, its carpet of verdure and flowers, its undulating surface, its groves, and the fringe of timber by which it is surrounded. Of all these, the latter is the most expressive feature; it 5 is that which gives character to the landscape, which imparts the shape and marks the boundary of the plain. If the prairie be small, its greatest beauty consists in the vicinity of the surrounding margin of woodland, which resembles the shore of a lake, indented with deep vistas, 10 like bays and inlets, and throwing out long points, like capes and headlands; while occasionally these points approach so closely on either hand, that the traveller passes through a narrow avenue or strait, where the shadows of the woodland fall upon his path, and then 15 emerges again into another prairie.
Where the plain is large, the forest outline is seen in the far perspective, like the dim shore, when beheld at a distance from the ocean. The eye sometimes roams over the green meadow, without discovering a tree, a shrub, or any 20 object in the immense expanse, but the wilderness of grass and flowers; while at another time, the prospect is enlivened by the groves, which are seen interspersed like islands, or the solitary tree which stands alone in the blooming desert.
If it be in the spring of the year, and the young grass has just covered the ground with a carpet of delicate green, and especially if the sun is rising from behind a distant swell of the plain, and glittering upon the dewdrops, no scene can be more lovely to the eye. The deer 30 is seen grazing quietly upon the plain; the bee is on the wing; the wolf, with his tail dropped, is sneaking away to his covert, with the felon tread of one who is conscious that he has disturbed the peace of nature; and the grouse,
feeding in flocks, or in pairs, like the domestic fowl, cover the whole surface the males strutting and erecting their plumage like the peacock, and uttering a long, loud, mournful note, something like the cooing of the dove, but 5 resembling still more the sound produced by passing a rough finger boldly over the surface of a tambourine.
When the eye roves off from the green plain to the groves or points of timber, these are also found to be at this season robed in the most attractive hues. The rich 10 undergrowth is in full bloom. The red-bud, the dogwood, the crab-apple. the wild plum, the cherry, the wild rose, are abundant in all the rich lands; and the grapevine, although its blossom is unseen, fills the air with fragrance. The variety of the wild fruit and flowering shrubs 15 is so great, and such the profusion of the blossoms with which they are bowed down, that the eye is regaled almost to satiety.
The gayety of the prairie, its embellishments, and the absence of the gloom and savage wildness of the forest, 20 all contribute to dispel the feeling of lonesomeness, which usually creeps over the mind of the solitary traveller in the wilderness. Though one may see neither a house nor a human being, and is conscious that he is far from the habitations of man, he can scarcely divest himself of the 25 idea that he is travelling through scenes embellished by the hand of art. The flowers- so fragile, so delicate, and so ornamental-seem to have been tastefully disposed to adorn the scene. The groves and clumps of trees seem to have been scattered over the lawn to beautify the land30 scape, and it is not easy to avoid the illusion of the fancy which persuades the beholder that such scenery has been created to gratify the refined taste of civilized man. Europeans are often reminded of the resemblance of this scenery to that of the extensive parks of noblemen, which 35 they have been accustomed to admire in the old world. The lawn, the avenue, the grove, the copse, which are