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The Children's Garland from the Best Poets

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THE HOMES OF ENGLAND The stately homes of England!How beautiful they stand,Amidst their tall ancestral trees,O'er all the pleasant land!The deer across their greensward boundThrough shade and sunny gleam;And the swan glides by them with the soundOf some rejoicing stream. The merry homes of England!Around their hearths by night,What gladsome looks of household loveMeet in the ruddy light!The blessed homes of England!How softly on their bowersIs laid the holy quietnessThat breathes from sabbath hours! The cottage homes of England!By thousands on her plainsThey are smiling o'er the silvery brooks,And round the hamlet fanes.Through glowing orchards forth they peep,Each from its nook of leaves;And fearless there the lowly sleep,As the bird beneath their eaves. The free, fair homes of England!Long, long, in hut and hall,May hearts of native proof be rear'dTo guard each hallow'd wall!And green for ever be the groves,And bright the flowery sod,Where first the child's glad spirit lovesIts country and its God!

F. Hemans

CIV MARY THE MAID OF THE INN Who is yonder poor maniac, whose wildly fixed eyesSeem a heart overcharged to express?She weeps not, yet often and deeply she sighs;She never complains, but her silence impliesThe composure of settled distress. No pity she looks for, no alms doth she seek;Nor for raiment nor food doth she care:Through her tatters the winds of the winter blow bleakOn that wither'd breast, and her weather-worn cheekHath the hue of a mortal despair. Yet cheerful and happy, nor distant the day,Poor Mary the Maniac hath been;The traveller remembers who journey'd this wayNo damsel so lovely, no damsel so gay,As Mary, the Maid of the Inn. Her cheerful address fill'd the guests with delightAs she welcom'd them in with a smile;Her heart was a stranger to childish affright,And Mary would walk by the Abbey at nightWhen the wind whistled down the dark aisle. She loved, and young Richard had settled the day,And she hoped to be happy for life;But Richard was idle and worthless, and theyWho knew him would pity poor Mary and sayThat she was too good for his wife. Twas in autumn, and stormy and dark was the night,And fast were the windows and door;Two guests sat enjoying the fire that burnt bright,And, smoking in silence with tranquil delight,They listen'd to hear the wind roar. ''Tis pleasant,' cried one, 'seated by the firesideTo hear the wind whistle without.''What a night for the Abbey!' his comrade replied,'Methinks a man's courage would now be well tried,Who should wander the ruins about. 'I myself, like a schoolboy, should tremble to hearThe hoarse ivy shake over my head;And could fancy I saw, half persuaded by fear,Some ugly old abbot's grim spirit appear,For this wind might awaken the dead!' 'I'll wager a dinner,' the other one cried,'That Mary would venture there now.''Then wager and lose!' with a sneer he replied,'I'll warrant she'd fancy a ghost by her side,And faint if she saw a white cow.' 'Will Mary this charge on her courage allow?'His companion exclaimed with a smile;'I shall win—for I know she will venture there nowAnd earn a new bonnet by bringing a boughFrom the elder that grows in the aisle.' With fearless good-humour did Mary comply,And her way to the Abbey she bent;The night was dark, and the wind was high,And as hollowly howling it swept through the sky,She shiver'd with cold as she went....