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THE KITTEN AND THE FALLING LEAVES.

41

Withered leaves-one-two-and three-
From the lofty elder-tree!

Through the calm and frosty air
Of this morning bright and fair,
Eddying round and round, they sink
Softly, slowly one might think,
From the motions that are made,
Every little leaf conveyed

Sylph or fairy hither tending-
To his lower world descending,
Each invisible and mute,

In this 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 conjuror ;

Quick as he in feats of art.

Far beyond in joy of heart,

Were her antics played in the eye

F

42

THE KITTEN AND THE FALLING LEAVES.

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.

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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
O'er my little Laura's face;
Yes, the sight so stirs and charms
Thee, baby, laughing in my arms,
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

THE KITTEN AND THE FALLING LEAVES.

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,

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.

WORDSWORTH.

43

[graphic]

Song.

2005

LOW, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind

As man's ingratitude;

Thy tooth is not so keen,

Because thou art not seen,

Although thy breath be rude.

Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly:

Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly :

Then, heigh ho, the holly!

This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,

That dost not bite so nigh

As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,

Thy sting is not so sharp

As friend remember'd not.

Heigh ho! sing heigh ho! unto the green holly: Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly :

Then, heigh ho, the holly!

This life is most jolly.

SHAKESPEARE. [From "As You Like It."]

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