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The Angel smiled, and from his radiant face
A holy light illumined all the place,
And through the open window, loud and clear,
They heard the monks chant in the chapel near,
Above the stir and tumult of the street:
“ He has put down the mighty from their seat,
And has exalted them of low degree!”
And through the chant a second melody
Rose like the throbbing of a single string :

“I am an Angel, and thou art the King !”
King Robert, who was standing near the throne,
Lifted his eyes, and lo! he was alone !
But all apparelled as in days of old,
With ermine mantle and with cloth of gold ;
And when his courtiers came, they found him there
Kneeling upon the floor, absorbed in silent prayer.



It was the season, when through all the land

The merle and mavis build, and building sing Those lovely lyrics, written by His hand,

Whom Saxon Cædmon calls the Blithe-heart King; When on the boughs the purple buds expand,

The banners of the vanguard of the Spring,
And rivulets, rejoicing, rush and leap,
And wave their fluttering signals from the steep.

The robin and the bluebird, piping loud,

Filled all the blossoming orchards with their glee ;

The sparrows chirped as if they still were proud

Their race in Holy Writ should mentioned be; And hungry crows assembled in a cr

crowd, Clamored their piteous prayer incessantly, Knowing who hears the ravens cry, and said : “Give us, O Lord, this day our daily bread !”

Across the Sound the birds of passage sailed,

Speaking some unknown language strange and sweet Of tropic isle remote, and passing hailed

The village with the cheers of all their feet;
Or quarrelling together, laughed and railed

Like foreign sailors, landed in the street
Of seaport town, and with outlandish noise
Of oaths and gibberish frightening girls and boys.

Thus came the jocund Spring in Killingworth,

In fabulous days, some hundred years ago ; And thrifty farmers, as they tilled the earth,

Heard with alarm the cawing of the crow, That mingled with the universal mirth,

Cassandra-like, prognosticating woe; They shook their heads, and doomed with dreadful words To swift destruction the whole race of birds.

And a town meeting was convened straightway

To set a price upon the guilty heads Of these mara

arauders, who, in lieu of pay, Levied black-mail upon the garden beds And cornfields, and beheld without dismay

The awful scarecrow, with his fluttering shreds ; The skeleton that waited at their feast, Whereby their sinful pleasure was increased.

Then from his house, a temple painted white,

With fluted columns, and a roof of red,
The Squire came forth, august and splendid sight!

Slowly descending, with majestic tread,
Three flights of steps, nor looking left nor right,

Down the long street he walked, as one who said, “ A town that boasts inhabitants like me Can have no lack of good society!"


The Parson, too, appeared, a man austere,

The instinct of whose nature was to kill : The wrath of God he preached from year to year,

And read, with fervor, Edwards on the Will ;
His favorite pastime was to slay the deer

In Summer on some Adirondac hill ;
E'en now, while walking down the rural lane,
He lopped the wayside lilies with his cane.

From the Academy, whose belfry crowned

The hill of Science with its vane of brass,
Came the Preceptor, gazing idly round,
Now at the clouds, and now at the green grass,
And all absorbed in reveries profound
Of fair Almira in the upper class,
Who was, as in a sonnet he had said,
As pure as water, and as good as bread.

And next the Deacon issued from his door,

In his voluminous neck-cloth, white as snow; A suit of sable bombazine he wore;

His form was ponderous, and his step was slow; There never was so wise a man before;

He seemed the incarnate “Well, I told you so !”

And to perpetuate his great renown
There was a street named after him in town.

These came together in the new town-hall,

With sundry farmers from the region round.
The Squire presided, dignified and tall,

His air impressive and his reasoning sound ;
Ill fared it with the birds, both great and small ;

Hardly a friend in all that crowd they found,
But enemies enough, who every one
Charged them with all the crimes beneath the sun.

When they had ended, from his place apart,

Rose the Preceptor, to redress the wrong, And, trembling like a steed before the start,

Looked round bewildered on the expectant throng ; Then thought of fair Almira, and took heart

To speak out what was in him, clear and strong, Alike regardless of their smile or frown, And quite determined not to be laughed down.

You put

“ Plato, anticipating the Reviewers,

From his Republic banished without pity The Poets ; in this little town of yours,

death, by means of a Committee, The ballad-singers and the Troubadours,

The street-musicians of the heavenly city, The birds, who make sweet music for us all In our dark hours, as David did for Saul.

“ The thrush that carols at the dawn of day

From the green steeples of the piny wood;

The oriole in the elm; the noisy jay,

Jargoning like a foreigner at his food;
The bluebird balanced on some topmost spray,

Flooding with melody the neighborhood ;
Linnet and meadow-lark, and all the throng
That dwell in nests, and have the gift of song.

“You slay them all! and wherefore ? for the gain

Of a scant handful more or less of wheat, Or rye, or barley, or some other grain,

Scratched up at random by industrious feet,
Searching for worm or weevil after rain!

Or a few cherries, that are not so sweet
As are the songs these uninvited guests
Sing at their feast with comfortable breasts.

“Do you ne'er think what wondrous beings these?

Do you ne'er think who made them, and who taught The dialect they speak, where melodies

Alone are the interpreters of thought ?
Whose household words are songs in many keys,

Sweeter than instrument of man e'er caught !
Whose habitations in the tree-tops even
Are half-way houses on the road to heaven!

“ Think, every morning when the sun peeps through

The dim, leaf-latticed windows of the grove, How jubilant the happy birds renew

Their old, melodious madrigals of love ! And when you think of this, remember too

'T is always morning somewhere, and above The awakening continents, from shore to shore, Somewhere the birds are singing evermore.

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