The Cricket

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1 The humming bee purrs softly o'er his flower,
2 From lawn and thicket
3 The dogday locust singeth in the sun,
4 From hour to hour;
5 Each has his bard, and thou, ere day be done
6 Shalt have no wrong;
7 So bright that murmur mid the insect crowd
8 Muffled and lost in bottom grass, or loud
9 By pale and picket:
10 Shall I not take to help me in my song
11 A little cooing cricket?


12 The afternoon is sleepy!, let us lie
13 Beneath these branches, whilst the burdened brook
14 Muttering and moaning to himself goes by,
15 And mark our minstrel's carol, whilst we look
16 Toward the faint horizon, swooning-blue.
17 Or in a garden bower
18 Trellised and trammeled with deep drapery
19 Of hanging green;
20 Light glimmering through:---
21 There let the dull hop be
22 Let bloom, with poppy's dark refreshing flower;
23 Let the dead fragrance round our temples beat,
24 Stunning the sense to slumber; whilst between
25 The falling water and fluttering wind
26 Mingle and meet
27 Murmur and mix,
28 No few faint pipings from the glades behind,
29 Or alder-thicks;
30 But louder as the day declines,
31 From tingling tassel blade and sheath,
32 Rising from nets of river-vines
33 Winrows and ricks,
34 Above, beneath,
35 At every breath:---
36 At hand, around, illimitably
37 Rising and falling like the sea,
38 Acres of cricks!


39 Dear to the child who hears thy rustling voice
40 Cease at his footstep, though he hears thee still,
41 Cease and resume, with vibrance crisp and shrill,
42 Thou sittest in the sunshine to rejoice!;
43 Night lover too; bringer of all things dark,
44 And rest and silence; yet thou bringest to me
45 Always that burthen of the unresting sea
46 The moaning cliffs, the low rocks blackly stark;
47 These upland inland fields no more I view,
48 But the long flat seaside beach, the wild seamew,
49 And the overturning wave!
50 Thou bringest too, dim accents from the grave
51 To him who walketh when the day is dim,
52 Dreaming of those who dream no more of him---
53 With edg'd remembrances of joy and pain:
54 And heyday looks and laughter come again;
55 Forms that in happy sunshine lie and leap,
56 With faces where but now a gap must be
57 Renunciations, and partitions deep,
58 And perfect tears, and crowning vacancy!
59 And to thy poet at the twilights hush
60 No chirping touch of lips with tittering blush,
61 But wringing arms, hearts wild with love and wo
62 Closed eyes, and kisses that would not let go.


63 So wert thou loved in that old graceful time
64 When Greece was fair,
65 While god and hero hearkened to thy chime
66 Softly astir
67 Where the long grasses fringed Caÿster's lip---
68 Long-drawn, with shimmering sails of swan and ship
69 And ship and swan---
70 Or where
71 Reedy Eurotas ran.
72 Did that low warble teach they tender flute,
73 Xenaphyle?
74 Its breathings mild? say! did the grasshopper
75 Sit golden in thy purple hair
76 O Psammathe?
77 Or wert thou mute
78 Grieving for Pan amid the alders there?
79 And by the water and along the hill
80 That thirsty tinkle in the herbage still,
81 Though the lost forest wailed to horns of Arcady?
82 Like the Enchanter old---


83 Who sought mid the dead water's weeds and scum
84 For evil growths beneath the moonbeam cold,
85 Or mandrake, or dorcynium;
86 And touched the leaf that opened both his ears
87 So that articulate voices now he hears
88 In cry of beast or bird or insect's hum---
89 Might I but find thy knowledge in thy song!
90 That twittering tongue
91 Ancient as light, returning like the years.
92 So might I be
93 Unwise to sing, thy true interpreter
94 Thro denser stillness and in sounder dark
95 Than ere thy notes have pierced to harrow me,
96 So might I stir
97 The world to hark
98 To thee my lord and lawgiver
99 And cease my quest,
100 Content to bring thy wisdom to the world
101 Content to gain at last some low applause
102 Now low, now lost
103 Like thine from mossy stone amid the stems and straws
104 Or garden-grave mound tricked and drest---
105 Powdered and pearled
106 By stealing frost---
107 In dusky rainbow-beauty of euphorbias!
108 For larger would be less indeed, and like
109 The ceaseless simmer in the summer grass
110 To him who toileth in the windy field,
111 Or where the sunbeams strike
112 Naught in innumerable numerousness.
113 So might I much possess
114 So much must yield.
115 But failing this, the dell and grassy dike
116 The water and the waste shall still be dear
117 And all the pleasant plots and places
118 Where thou hast sung and I have hung
119 To ignorantly hear.---
120 Then cricket sing thy song, or answer mine
121 Thine whispers blame, but mine has naught but praises
122 It matters not.---Behold the autumn goes,
123 The Shadow grows,
124 The moments take hold of eternity;
125 Even while we stop to wrangle or repine
126 Our lives are gone
127 Like thinnest mist,
128 Like yon escaping colour in the tree:---
129 Rejoice! rejoice! whilst yet the hours exist
130 Rejoice or mourn, and let the world swing on
131 Unmoved by Cricket-song of thee or me.