Fly Leaves eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 55 pages of information about Fly Leaves.


’Tis the hour when white-horsed Day
Chases Night her mares away;
When the Gates of Dawn (they say)
   Phobus opes: 
And I gather that the Queen
May be uniformly seen,
Should the weather be serene,
   On the slopes.

When the ploughman, as he goes
Leathern-gaitered o’er the snows,
From his hat and from his nose
   Knocks the ice;
And the panes are frosted o’er,
And the lawn is crisp and hoar,
As has been observed before
   Once or twice.

When arrayed in breastplate red
Sings the robin, for his bread,
On the elmtree that hath shed
   Every leaf;
While, within, the frost benumbs
The still sleepy schoolboy’s thumbs,
And in consequence his sums
   Come to grief.

But when breakfast-time hath come,
And he’s crunching crust and crumb,
He’ll no longer look a glum
   Little dunce;
But be brisk as bees that settle
On a summer rose’s petal: 
Wherefore, Polly, put the kettle
   On at once.


Kate! if e’er thy light foot lingers
   On the lawn, when up the fells
Steals the Dark, and fairy fingers
   Close unseen the pimpernels: 
When, his thighs with sweetness laden,
   From the meadow comes the bee,
And the lover and the maiden
   Stand beneath the trysting tree:-

Lingers on, till stars unnumber’d
   Tremble in the breeze-swept tarn,
And the bat that all day slumber’d
   Flits about the lonely barn;
And the shapes that shrink from garish
   Noon are peopling cairn and lea;
And thy sire is almost bearish
   If kept waiting for his tea:-

And the screech-owl scares the peasant
   As he skirts some churchyard drear;
And the goblins whisper pleasant
   Tales in Miss Rossetti’s ear;
Importuning her in strangest,
   Sweetest tones to buy their fruits:-
O be careful that thou changest,
   On returning home, thy boots.


By the wide lake’s margin I mark’d her lie —
   The wide, weird lake where the alders sigh —
A young fair thing, with a shy, soft eye;
   And I deem’d that her thoughts had flown
To her home, and her brethren, and sisters dear,
As she lay there watching the dark, deep mere,
   All motionless, all alone.

Then I heard a noise, as of men and boys,
   And a boisterous troop drew nigh. 
Whither now will retreat those fairy feet? 
   Where hide till the storm pass by? 
One glance—­the wild glance of a hunted thing —
She cast behind her; she gave one spring;
And there follow’d a splash and a broadening ring
   On the lake where the alders sigh.

She had gone from the ken of ungentle men! 
   Yet scarce did I mourn for that;
For I knew she was safe in her own home then,
And, the danger past, would appear again,
   For she was a water-rat.

Project Gutenberg
Fly Leaves from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook