And fill with Forget-me-nots countless neglected byways.
Why should the rough-barked Willow for ever lave
Her feet in my cooling wave;
When the tender and beautiful Beech
Faints with midsummer heat in the meadow just out of my reach?
Could I but rush with unchecked power,
The miller might grind a day’s corn in an hour.
And what are the ends
Of life, but to serve one’s friends?”
A day did dawn at last,
When the spirits of the storm and the blast,
Breaking the bands of the winter’s frost and snow,
Swept from the mountain source of the stream, and flooded the
Dams were broken and weirs came down;
Cottage and mill, country and town,
Shared in the general inundation,
And the following desolation.
Then the Mill Stream rose in its might,
And burst out of bounds to left and to right,
Rushed to the beautiful Beech,
In the meadow far out of reach.
But with such torrents the poor tree died,
Torn up by the roots, and laid on its side.
The cattle swam till they sank,
Trying to find a bank.
Never more shall the broken water-wheel
Grind the corn to make the meal,
To make the children’s bread.
The miller was dead.
When the setting sun
Looked to see what the Mill Stream had done
In its hour
Of unlimited power,
And what was left when that had passed by,
Behold the channel was stony and dry.
In uttermost ruin
The Mill Stream had been its own undoing.
Furthermore it had drowned its friend:
This was the end.
BOY AND SQUIRREL.
Oh boy, down there, I can’t believe that what they say is true!
We squirrels surely cannot have an enemy in you;
We have so much in common, my dear friend, it seems to me
That I can really feel for you, and you can feel for me.
Some human beings might not
understand the life we lead;
If we asked Dr. Birch to play, no doubt he’d rather read;
He hates all scrambling restlessness, and chattering, scuffling noise;
If he could catch us we should fare no better than you boys.
Fine ladies, too, whose flounces
catch and tear on every stump,
What joy have they in jagged pines, who neither skip nor jump?
Miss Mittens never saw my tree-top home—so unlike hers;
What wonder if her only thought of squirrels is of furs?
But you, dear boy, you know
so well the bliss of climbing trees,
Of scrambling up and sliding down, and rocking in the breeze,
Of cracking nuts and chewing cones, and keeping cunning hoards,
And all the games and all the sport and fun a wood affords.