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To Some Birds Flown Away
by [?]

Oh, certes! spirits, sylphs, there be,
And fays the wind blows often here;
The gnomes that squat the ceiling near,
In corners made by old books dim;
The long-backed dwarfs, those goblins grim
That seem at home ‘mong vases rare,
And chat to them with friendly air–
Oh, how the joyous demon throng
Must all have laughed with laughter long
To see you on my rough drafts fall,
My bald hexameters, and all
The mournful, miserable band,
And drag them with relentless hand
From out their box, with true delight
To set them each and all a-light,
And then with clapping hands to lean
Above the stove and watch the scene,
How to the mass deformed there came
A soul that showed itself in flame!

Bright tricksy children–oh, I pray
Come back and sing and dance away,
And chatter too–sometimes you may,
A giddy group, a big book seize–
Or sometimes, if it so you please,
With nimble step you’ll run to me
And push the arm that holds the pen,
Till on my finished verse will be
A stroke that’s like a steeple when
Seen suddenly upon a plain.
My soul longs for your breath again
To warm it. Oh, return–come here
With laugh and babble–and no fear
When with your shadow you obscure
The book I read, for I am sure,
Oh, madcaps terrible and dear,
That you were right and I was wrong.
But who has ne’er with scolding tongue
Blamed out of season. Pardon me!
You must forgive–for sad are we.

The young should not be hard and cold
And unforgiving to the old.
Children each morn your souls ope out
Like windows to the shining day,
Oh, miracle that comes about,
The miracle that children gay
Have happiness and goodness too,
Caressed by destiny are you,
Charming you are, if you but play.
But we with living overwrought,
And full of grave and sombre thought,
Are snappish oft: dear little men,
We have ill-tempered days, and then,
Are quite unjust and full of care;
It rained this morning and the air
Was chill; but clouds that dimm’d the sky
Have passed. Things spited me, and why?
But now my heart repents. Behold
What ’twas that made me cross, and scold!
All by-and-by you’ll understand,
When brows are mark’d by Time’s stern hand;
Then you will comprehend, be sure,
When older–that’s to say, less pure.

The fault I freely own was mine.
But oh, for pardon now I pine!
Enough my punishment to meet,
You must forgive, I do entreat
With clasped hands praying–oh, come back,
Make peace, and you shall nothing lack.
See now my pencils–paper–here,
And pointless compasses, and dear
Old lacquer-work; and stoneware clear
Through glass protecting; all man’s toys
So coveted by girls and boys.
Great China monsters–bodies much
Like cucumbers–you all shall touch.
I yield up all! my picture rare
Found beneath antique rubbish heap,
My great and tapestried oak chair
I will from you no longer keep.
You shall about my table climb,
And dance, or drag, without a cry
From me as if it were a crime.
Even I’ll look on patiently
If you your jagged toys all throw
Upon my carved bench, till it show
The wood is torn; and freely too,
I’ll leave in your own hands to view,
My pictured Bible–oft desired–
But which to touch your fear inspired–
With God in emperor’s robes attired.