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For after all, the best thing one can do
When it is raining, is to let it rain.
Then they repealed the law, although they knew
It would not call the dead to life again ;
As school-boys, finding their mistake too late,
Draw a wet sponge across the accusing slate.
That year in Killingworth the Autumn came
Without the light of his majestic look, The wonder of the falling tongues of flame,
The illumined pages of his Doom's Day book. A few lost leaves blushed crimson with their
shame, And drowned themselves despairing in the brook, While the wild wind went moaning everywhere, Lamenting the dead children of the air !
But the next Spring a stranger sight was seen,
A sight that never yet by bard was sung, As great a wonder as it would have been
If some dumb animal had found a tongue ! A wagon, overarched with evergreen,
Upon whose boughs were wicker cages hung, All full of singing birds, came down the street, Filling the air with music wild and sweet.
From all the country round these birds were
brought, By order of the town, with anxious quest, And, loosened from their wicker prisons, sought
In woods and fields the places they loved best, Singing loud canticles, which many thought
Were satires to the authorities addressed,
While others, listening in green lanes, averred Such lovely music never had been heard!
But blither still and louder carolled they
Upon the morrow, for they seemed to know It was the fair Almira's wedding-day,
And everywhere, around, above, below, When the Preceptor bore his bride away,
Their songs burst forth in joyous overflow, And a new heaven bent over a new earth Amid the sunny farms of Killingworth.
THE hour was late ; the fire burned low,
The Landlord's eyes were closed in sleep
And near the story's end a deep
Sonorous sound at times was heard,
As when the distant bagpipes blow.
At this all laughed ; the Landlord stirred,
As one awaking from a swound,
And, gazing anxiously around,
Protested that he had not slept,
But only shut his eyes, and kept
His ears attentive to each word.
Then all arose, and said “Good Night.”
Alone remained the drowsy Squire
To rake the embers of the fire,
And quench the waning parlor light;
While from the windows, here and there,
The scattered lamps a moment gleamed,
And the illumined hostel seemed
The constellation of the Bear, Downward, athwart the misty air, Sinking and setting toward the sun. Far off the village clock struck one.
A COLD, uninterrupted rain,
That washed each southern window-pane,
And made a river of the road;
A sea of mist that overflowed
The house, the barns, the gilded vane,
And drowned the upland and the plain,
Through which the oak-trees, broad and high,
Like phantom ships went drifting by ;
And, hidden behind a watery screen,
The sun unseen, or only seen
As a faint pallor in the sky; -
Thus cold and colorless and gray,
The morn of that autumnal day,
As if reluctant to begin,
Dawned on the silent Sudbury Inn,
And all the guests that in it lay.
Full late they slept. They did not hear
The challenge of Sir Chanticleer,
Who on the empty threshing-floor,
Disdainful of the rain outside,
Was strutting with a martial stride,
upon his thigh he wore
The famous broadsword of the Squire,
And said, “Behold me, and admire !"
Only the Poet seemed to hear,
In drowse or dream, more near and near
Across the border-land of sleep
The blowing of a blithesome horn,
That laughed the dismal day to scorn;
A splash of hoofs and rush of wheels
Through sand and mire like stranding keels,
As from the road with sudden sweep
The Mail drove up the little steep,
And stopped beside the tavern door;
A moment stopped, and then again
With crack of whip and bark of dog
Plunged forward through the sea of fog,
And all was silent as before,
All silent save the dripping rain.
Then one by one the guests came down,
And greeted with a smile the Squire,
Who sat before the parlor fire,
Reading the paper fresh from town.
First the Sicilian, like a bird,
Before his form appeared, was heard
Whistling and singing down the stair;
Then came the Student, with a look
As placid as a meadow-brook ;
The Theologian, still perplexed
With thoughts of this world and the next;
The Poet then, as one who seems
Walking in visions and in dreams;
Then the Musician, like a fair
Hyperion from whose golden hair
The radiance of the morning streams;
And last the aromatic Jew
Of Alicant, who, as he threw