“Look, feast thy greedy eye with gold
Long kept for sorest need:
Take it—thou askest sums untold,
And say that I am freed.
Take it—my wife, the long, long day,
Weeps by the cocoa-tree,
And my young children leave their play,
And ask in vain for me.”
“I take thy gold—but I have made
Thy fetters fast and strong,
And ween that by the cocoa shade
Thy wife will wait thee long.”
Strong was the agony that shook
The captive’s frame to hear,
And the proud meaning of his look
Was changed to mortal fear.
His heart was broken—crazed his brain:
At once his eye grew wild;
He struggled fiercely with his chain,
Whispered, and wept, and smiled;
Yet wore not long those fatal bands,
And once, at shut of day,
They drew him forth upon the sands,
The foul hyena’s prey.
The country ever has a lagging Spring,
Waiting for May to call its violets forth,
And June its roses—showers and sunshine bring,
Slowly, the deepening verdure o’er the earth;
To put their foliage out, the woods are slack,
And one by one the singing-birds come back.
Within the city’s bounds the time of flowers
Comes earlier. Let a mild and sunny day,
Such as full often, for a few bright hours,
Breathes through the sky of March the airs of May,
Shine on our roofs and chase the wintry gloom—
And lo! our borders glow with sudden bloom.
For the wide sidewalks of Broadway are then
Gorgeous as are a rivulet’s banks in June,
That overhung with blossoms, through its glen,
Slides soft away beneath the sunny noon,
And they who search the untrodden wood for flowers
Meet in its depths no lovelier ones than ours.
For here are eyes that shame the violet,
Or the dark drop that on the pansy lies,
And foreheads, white, as when in clusters set,
The anemones by forest fountains rise;
And the spring-beauty boasts no tenderer streak
Than the soft red on many a youthful cheek.
And thick about those lovely temples lie
Locks that the lucky Vignardonne has curled,
Thrice happy man! whose trade it is to buy,
And bake, and braid those love-knots of the world;
Who curls of every glossy colour keepest,
And sellest, it is said, the blackest cheapest.
And well thou mayst—for Italy’s brown
Send the dark locks with which their brows are dressed,
And Gascon lasses, from their jetty braids,
Crop half, to buy a riband for the rest;
But the fresh Norman girls their tresses spare,
And the Dutch damsel keeps her flaxen hair.
Then, henceforth, let no maid nor matron grieve,
To see her locks of an unlovely hue,
Frouzy or thin, for liberal art shall give
Such piles of curls as nature never knew.
Eve, with her veil of tresses, at the sight
Had blushed, outdone, and owned herself a fright.