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Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air;
His watchword at the gates of death,-
He enters heaven by prayer.
Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice,
Returning from his ways;
While angels in their songs rejoice,
And say, "Behold, he prays!"
The saints, in prayer, appear as one,
In word, and deed, and mind,
When with the Father and his Son
Their fellowship they find.
Nor prayer is made on earth alone:
The Holy Spirit pleads;
And Jesus, on the eternal throne,
For sinners intercedes.
O Thou, by whom we come to God,
The Life, the Truth, the Way;
The path of prayer Thyself hast trod;
Lord, teach us how to pray.
FAIRIES! guard the baby's bonnet!
Set a special watch upon it;
Elfin people! to your care
I commit it, fresh and fair;
Neat as neatness, white as snow,-
See ye keep it ever so.
Watch and ward set all about,-
Some within, and some without;
Over it, with dainty hand,
One her kirtle green expand;
Two or three about the bow,
Vigilant concern bestow.
A score, at least, on either side,
'Gainst evil accident provide ;-
Fall, or jar, or overlay ;
And so the precious charge convey
Through all the dangers of the way.
But when those are battled through,
Fairies! more remains to do;
Ye must gift, before ye go,
The bonnet and the babe also.
Gift it to protect her well,
Fays! from all malignant spell;
Charms and seasons to defy,
Blighting wind and evil eye.
And the bonny babe! on her
All your choicest gifts confer.
Just as much of wit and sense
As may be hers, without pretence;
Just as much of grace and beauty
As shall not interfere with duty;
Just as much of sprightliness
As shall companion gentleness;
Just as much light-hearted cheer
As may be melted to a tear,
By a word, a tone, a look
Pity's touch, or love's rebuke.
As much of frankness, bland and free,
As may consort with modesty ;
As much of feeling as will bear
Of after-life the wear and tear;
As much of life-but Fairies! there
Ye vanish into thinnest air!
And with you parts the playful vein,
That lov'd a light and trivial strain.
Befits me better, babe! for thee
T 'invoke Almighty agency,-
Almighty love-Almighty power,
To nurture up the human flower;
To cherish it with heavenly dew,
Sustain with earthly blessings too;
And when the ripe, full time shall be,
Engraft it on eternity.
In the hollow tree, in the old grey tower,
The spectral owl doth dwell;
Dull, hated, despis'd in the sunshine hour,
But at dusk he's abroad and well.
Not a bird of the forest e'er mates with him;
All mock him outright by day;
But at night, when the woods grow still and dim,
The boldest will shrink away.
O when the night falls, and roosts the fowl,
Then, then is the reign of the horned owl!
And the owl hath a bride who is fond and bold,
And loveth the wood's deep gloom;
And, with eyes like the shine of the moon, stone cold,
She awaiteth her ghastly groom.
Not a feather she moves, nor a carol she sings,
As she wails in her tree so still;
But when her heart heareth his flapping wings,
She hoots out her welcome shrill!
O when the moon shines, and dogs do howl,
Then, then is the joy of the horned owl!
Mourn not for the owl, nor his gloomy plight!
The owl hath his share of good;
If a prisoner he be in the broad daylight,
He is lord in the dark green wood.
Nor lonely the bird, nor his ghastly mate,
They are each unto each a pride;
Thrice fonder, perhaps, since a strange dark fate
Hath rent them from all beside!
So when the night falls, and dogs do howl,
O then for the reign of the horned owl!
We know not alway
Who are kings by day,
But the king of the night is the bold brown owl!
Now in my walk, with sweet surprise,
I saw the first spring cowslip rise;
The plant whose pensile flowers
Bend to the earth their beauteous eyes,
In sunshine as in showers.
Lone on a mossy bank it grew,
Where lichens purple, white, and blue,
Among the verdure crept;
Its yellow ringlets, dropping dew,
The breezes lightly swept.
A bee had nestled in its blooms,
He shook abroad their rich perfumes,
Then fled in airy rings;
His place a butterfly assumes,
Glancing his glorious wings.
O, welcome, as a friend! I cried;
A friend through many a season tried,
Nor ever sought in vain
When May, with Flora at her side,
Is dancing on the plain.
Sure as the Pleiades adorn
The glittering coronet of morn,
In calm delicious hours,
Beneath their beams thy buds are born,
'Midst love-awakening showers.
Scatter'd by Nature's graceful hand,
In briary glens, o'er pasture land,
Thy fairy tribes we meet;
Gay in the milk-maid's path they stand,
They kiss her tripping feet.
From winter's farm-yard bondage freed,
The cattle bounding o'er the mead,
Where green the herbage grows,
Among thy fragrant blossoms feed,
Upon thy tufts repose.
Tossing his forelock o'er his mane,
The foal, at rest upon the plain,
Sports with thy flexile stalk,
But stoops his little neck in vain
Το crop it in his walk.
Where thick thy primrose blossoms play,
Lovely and innocent as they,
O'er coppice, lawns, and dells,
In bands the rural children stray,
To pluck thy nectar'd bells;
Whose simple sweets, with curious skill,
The frugal cottage-dames distil,
Nor envy France the vine,
While many a festal cup they fill
With Britain's homely wine.