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CHE VOBIN'S CHRISTMAS (JVE.By C. E. B.'TWAS Christmas-time: a dreary night: It was the Judge's stately home-The snow fell thick and fast, A rare, upright Judge he,And o'er the country swept the wind, As brave and true a gentlemanA keen and wintry blast. As any one could see.The little ones were all in bed, The Judge's lady and himselfCrouching beneath the clothes, Sat cosily together,Half-trembling at the angry wind, When suddenly he roused himself,Which wildly fell and rose. To see the kind of weather.Old Jem the Sexton rubbed his leg, Lifting the shutters' ponderous bar.For he had got the gout: He threw them open wide,He said he thought it wondrous hard And very dark, and cold, and drear,That he must sally out. He thought it looked outside.Not far from Jem's, another house, Ah, Judge! little do you thinkOf different size and form, A trembling beggar's near,Rose high its head, defying well Although his form you do not see,The fierce and pelting storm. His voice you do not hear.
The Robin's Christmas Eve.Yes, there he stands,-so very close, For food grew scarce; so having spiedHe taps the window-pane; Some holly-berries redAnd when he sees you turn away, Within the Rectory garden grounds,He feebly taps again. Thither our hero fled.But all in vain; the heavy bar One evening everything was dull,Was fastened as before; The clouds looked very black,The Judge's portly form retraced The wind ran howling through the sky.His highly polished floor. And then came grumbling back.Now, is there any one who thinks The Robin early went to bed,It cannot be worth while Puffed out just like a ball;To write about a Robin's fate, He slept all night on one small leg,And treat it with a smile? Yet managed not to fall.If so, I bid them to their mind When morning came he left the tree,Those words of Scripture call, But stared in great surpriseWhich say that not without God's will Upon the strange unusual sceneE'en little birds can fall. That lay before his eyes.Our Robin's history simple was, It seemed as if a great white sheetThere is not much to tell,- Were flung all o'er the lawn;A little happy singing bird, The flower-beds, the paths, the trees,Born in a neighboring dell. And all the shrubs were gone!And through the summer, in the wood, His little feet grew sadly cold.Life went on merrily; And felt all slippery too;But winter came, and then he fouid He stumbled when he hopped alongMore full of care was he. As folks on ice will do.2
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The Robin's Christmas Eve.And yet he had not learnt the worst But being Christmas Eve, perhapsOf this new state of things; His sermons filled his mind,He'd still to feel the gnawing pangs For on he walked, and never heardThat cruel hunger brings. The little chirp behind.No food to-day had touched his beak, Half-blinded, on and on he roamed,And not a chance had he Quite through the Judge's park;Of ever touching it again, At last he stood before the house,As far as he could see. But all was cold and dark.At length, by way of passing time, Now suddenly his heart beats high!He tried to take a nap, He sees a brilliant glare,But started up when on his head Shutters unfurl before his eyes-He felt a gentle tap. A sturdy form stands there!'Twas but a snow-flake, after all! He almost frantic grew, poor bird!Yet, in his wretched plight, Fluttered, and tapped the pane,The smallest thing could frighten him, Pressed hard his breast against the glass,And make him take his flight And chirped,-but all in vain!But soon he found he must not hope So on he went, and as it chanced,From these soft flakes to fly: He passed into a lane,Down they came feathering on his head, And once again he saw a lightHis back, his tail, his eyeq Inside a window-pane.No gardeners appeared that day Chanced, did we say ? let no such wordThe Rector's step came by, Upon our page appear:And Robin fluttered o'er the snow Not chance, but watchful Providence,To try and catch his eye. Has led poor Robin here.3
The Robin's Czhristmas Eve."Twas Jem the Sexton's house from which Now Robin from a corner hopped,Shone forth that cheering light- Within the fire's light;For Jem had drawn the curtain back Shivering and cold, it was to himTo gaze upon the night. A most enchanting sight.And now, with lantern in his hand, But he is almost starved, poor bird!He hobbles down the lane, Food he must have, or die:Mutt'ring and grumbling to himself, Useless it seems, alas for thatBecause his foot's in pain. Within these walls to try.He gains the church; then for the key Yet, see! he makes a sudden dart;Within his pocket feels, His searching eye has foundAnd as he puts it in the door, The greatest treasure he could have,-Robin is at his heels. Some bread-crumbs on the ground!Jem thought, when entering the church, Perhaps 'tis thought by those who read,That he was all alone, Too doubtful to be true,Nor dreamed a little stranger bird That just when they were wanted so,Had to its refuge flown. Some hand should bread-crumbs strew.The stove had not burnt very low, But this is how it came to pass:But still was warm and bright, An ancient dame had saidAnd round the spot whereon it stood Her legacy unto the poorThrew forth a cheerful light. Should tll be spent in bread.Jem lost no time; he flung on coals, So every week twelve wheaten loavesAnd raked the ashes out, The Sexton brought himself;Then hurried off to go to bed, And crumbs had doubtless fallen whenStill grumbling at his gout. He placed them on the shelf.4
The Robi's Christmas Eve.Enough there were for quite a feast, But what an unexpected sightRobin was glad to find; Is this that meets his eyes!The hungry fellow ate them all, The church is dressed with holly green,Nor left one crumb behind. To him so great a prize.He soon was quite himself again, For 'mongst the leaves the berries hung,And it must be confessed Inviting him to eat-His first thought, being warmed and fed, On every side were hundreds more,-Was all about his breast. A rich and endless treat.To smooth its scarlet feathers down, He could not know that Christian folksOur hero did not fail, Had brought the holly green,And when he'd made it smart, he then That so their joy for Jesu's birthAttended to his tail! Might in this way be seen.Worn though he was with sheer fatigue, Now, very soon a little troopAnd being up so late, Of children entered in:He did not like to go to bed They came to practice Christmas songsIn such a rumpled state. Ere service should begin.His toilet done, he went to sleep, The Rector followed them himself.And never once awoke, To help the young ones on,"Till, coming in on Christmas morn, And leach their voices how to singJem gave the stove a poke. In tune their Christmas song.Then in alarm he flew away And first he charged them all to tryAlong the middle aisle, And feel the words they sang;And perching on the pulpit-top, Then reading from his open book,He rested there awhile. He thus the hymn began:5
The Robin's Christmas Eve."Glory to God from all The Rector's finger lifted up,To whom He's given breath; Kept all the children still,Glory to God from all Their eyes uplifted to the birdWhom He has saved from death." Singing with open bill.Now, when the Rector's voice had ceased, They scarcely breathed, lest they shouldThe children, led by him, One note of that sweet strain; (loseWere just about, with earnest voice, And Robin scarcely paused beforeThe verse of praise to sing, He took it up again.When suddenly, from high above, Now, when he ceased, the Rector thoughtAnother song they hear, That he would say a word;And all look up in hushed amaze, For Robin's tale had in his breastAt notes so sweet and clear. A strong emotion stirred.'Twas Robin, sitting on a spray "Children," said he, "that little voiceOf twisted holly bright; A lesson should have taught:His light weight swayed it, as he sang It seems to me the Robin's songHis song with all his might. Is with instruction fraught.His heart was full of happiness, "He was, no doubt, in great distress;And this it was that drew Deep snow was all around;Praise to his Maker, in the way, He might have starved, but coming hereThe only way, he knew. Both food and shelter found.It seemed as though he understood "Seek God, my children, and when timesThe words he just had heard, Of storm and trouble come,As if he felt they suited him, He'll guide you as He did the bird,Though but a little bird. And safely lead you home.6
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Lucy Gray; or, Soli/ude."Another lesson we may learn The Rector paused, for now rang forthFrom those sweet notes we heard, The merry Christmas chime,That God has given voice of praise And warned them all that it was nearTo that unconscious bird; The usual service-time."But unto us His love bestows And we must close the Robin's tale:A far more glorious gift, 'Twill be a blessed thingFor we have reason, and our souls, Should it have taught but one young[voice.As well as voice, can lift." To praise as well as sing.LUCY GRAY; OR, SOLITUDE.OFT have I heard of Lucy Gray; "That, father, will I gladly do;And, when I crossed the wild, 'Tis scarcely afternoon-I chanced to see, at break of day, The Minster clock has just struck two,The solitary child. And yonder is the moon."No mate, no comrade Lucy knew; At this the father raised his hookShe dwelt on a wide moor, And snapped a faggot band;The sweetest thing that ever grew He plied his work; and Lucy tookBeside a human door! The lantern in her hand." To-night will be a stormy night- Not blither is the mountain roe:You to the town must go; With many a wanton strokeAnd take a lantern, child, to light Her feet disperse the powdery snow,Your mother through the snow." That rises up like smoke.7
Lucy Gray, or, Solitude.The storm came on before its time: Then downward from the steep hill's edgeShe wandered up and down, They tracked the foot-marks small,And many a hill did Lucy climb, And through the broken hawthorn hedge,But never reached the town. And by the long stone wall;The wretched parents all that night And then an open field they crossed:Went shouting far and wide; The marks were still the same;But there was neither sound nor sight They tracked them on, nor ever lost;To serve them for a guide. And to the bridge they came.At daybreak on a hill they stood They followed from the snowy bankThat overlooked the moor, The foot-marks, one by one,"And thence they saw the bridge of wood, Into the middle of the plank;A furlong from their door. And farther there were none!You yet may spy the fawn at play, Yet some maintain that to this dayThe hare upon the green; She is a living child,-But the sweet face of Lucy Gray That you may see sweet Lucy GrayWill never more be seen. Upon the lonesome wild.And, turning homeward, now they cried, O'er rough and smooth she trips along,"In heaven we all shall meet!" And never looks behind;When in the snow the mother spied And sings a solitary songThe print of Lucy's feet. That whistles in the wind.
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