John Churton Collins.

A treasury of minor British poetry selected and arranged with notes .. online

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For Chance or Change of Peace or Pain ;

For Fortune's Favour or her Frown ;
For Lack or Glut, for Loss or Gain,

I never dodge, nor up nor down :
But swing what way the ship shall swim,
Or tack about, with equal Trim.

I suit not where I shall not speed,
Nor trace the Turn of ev'ry Tide ;

If simple Sense will not succeed,
I make no Bustling, but abide :

For shining Wealth, or scaring Woe,

I force no Friend, I fear no Foe.

I love my Neighbour as myself,

Myself like him too, by his Leave ;

Nor to his Pleasure, Pow'r, or Pelf,
Came I to crouch, as I conceive :

Dame Nature doubtless has design'd

A Man, the Monarch of his Mind.



Now taste and try this Temper, Sirs,
Mood it, and brood it in your Breast \

Or if ye ween, for worldly Stirs,

That Man does right to mar his Rest,

Let me be deft, and debonair,

I am Content, I do not care.

j. BYROM.



OF MINOR BRITISH POE TRY 1 89



CLXVIII

IN A HERMITAGE

THE man, whose days of youth and ease
In Nature's calm enjoyments pass'd,

Will want no monitors, like these,
To torture and alarm his last.

The gloomy grot, the cypress shade,
The zealot's list of rigid rules,

To him are merely dull parade,
The tragic pageantry of fools.

What life affords he freely tastes,

When Nature calls, resigns his breath ;

Nor age in weak repining wastes,
Nor acts alive the farce of death.

Not so the youths of Folly's train,
Impatient of each kind restraint

Which parent Nature fix'd, in vain,
To teach us man's true bliss, content.

For something still beyond enough,
With eager impotence they strive,

'Till appetite has learn'd to loathe
The very joys by which we live.



190 A TREASURY



Then, fill'd with all which sour disdain

To disappointed vice can add,
Tir'd of himself, man flies from man,

And hates the world he made so bad.

W. WHITEHEAD.



CLXIX

TO THE CUCKOO

HAIL, beauteous stranger of the grove !

Thou messenger of Spring !
Now Heaven repairs thy rural seat,

And woods thy welcome sing.

What time the daisy decks the green,

Thy certain voice we hear ;
Hast thou a star to guide thy path,

Or mark the rolling year ?

Delightful visitant ! with thee

I hail the time of flowers,
And hear the sound of music sweet

From birds among the bowers.

The school-boy, wandering through the wood

To pull the primrose gay,
Starts, the new voice of spring to hear,

And imitates thy lay.



OF MINOR BRITISH POE TRY 191

What time the pea puts on the bloom,

Thou fliest thy vocal vale,
An annual guest in other lands,

Another Spring to hail.

Sweet bird ! thy bower is ever green,

Thy sky is ever clear ;
Thou hast no sorrow in thy song,

No Winter in thy year !

Oh, could I fly, I'd fly with thee !

We'd make, with joyful wing,
Our annual visit o'er the globe,

Companions of the Spring.

j. LOGAN.



CLXX
NATURE'S CHARMS

OH, how canst thou renounce the boundless store

Of charms which Nature to her votary yields !

The warbling woodland, the resounding shore,

The pomp of groves, the garniture of fields ;

All that the genial ray of morning gilds,

And all that echoes to the song of even,

All that the mountain's sheltering bosom shields,

And all the dread magnificence of heaven,

Oh, how canst thou renounce, and hope to be forgiven ?

J. BEATTIE.



192 A TREASURY



CLXXI
THE HAYMAKER'S ROUNDELAY

DRIFTED snow no more is seen,
Blust'ring Winter passes by ;
Merry Spring comes clad in green,
While woodlands pour their melody :
I hear him ! hark !
The merry lark
Calls us to the new-mown hay,
Piping to our roundelay.

When the golden sun appears,

On the mountain's surly brow,
When his jolly beams he rears,
Darting joy, behold them now :
Then, then, oh hark !
The merry lark
Calls us to the new-mown hay,
Piping to our roundelay.

What are honours ? What's a court ?
Calm Content is worth them all ;
Our honour is to drive the cart,

Our brightest court the harvest-hall :
But now oh hark !
The merry lark
Calls us to the new-mown hay,

Piping to our roundelay.

ANON.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETR Y 193

CLXXII

SNOWDROPS

WAN Heralds of the Sun and Summer gale,

That seem just fall'n from infant Zephyr's wing ;

Not now, as once, with heart reviv'd I hail

Your modest buds, that for the brow of Spring

Form the first simple garland now no more,

Escaping for a moment all my cares,
Shall I, with pensive, silent step explore

The woods yet leafless ; where to chilling airs

Your green and pencill'd blossoms, trembling, wave.

Ah ! ye soft, transient children of the ground,
More fair was she on whose untimely grave

Flow my unceasing tears ! Their varied round

The seasons go ; while I through all repine,
For fix'd regret, and hopeless grief are mine.

CHARLOTTE SMITH.
CLXXIII

THE HAMLET

THE hinds how blest, who ne'er beguil'd
To quit their hamlet's hawthorn wild,
Nor haunt the crowd, nor tempt the main,
For splendid care, and guilty gain !
o



194 A TREASURY



When morning's twilight-tinctur'd beam
Strikes their low thatch with slanting gleam,
They rove abroad in ether blue,
To dip the scythe in fragrant dew ;
The sheaf to bind, the beech to fell,
That nodding shades a craggy dell.

'Midst gloomy glades, in warbles clear,
Wild nature's sweetest notes they hear :
On green untrodden banks they view
The hyacinth's neglected hue :
In their low haunts, and woodland rounds.
They spy the squirrel's airy bounds ;
And startle from her ashen spray,
Across the glen, the screaming jay;
Each native charm their steps explore
Of Solitude's sequester'd store.

For them the moon with cloudless ray

Mounts, to illume their homeward way :

Their weary spirits to relieve,

The meadows incense breathe at eve.

No riot mars the simple fare,

That o'er a glimmering hearth they share :

But when the curfew's measur'd roar

Duly, the darkening valleys o'er,

Has echoed from the distant town,

They wish no beds of cygnet-down,

No trophied canopies, to close

Their drooping eyes in quick repose.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 195

Their little sons, who spread the bloom
Of health around the clay-built room,
Or through the primros'd coppice stray,
Or gambol in the new-mown hay ;
Or quaintly braid the cowslip-twine,
Or drive afield the tardy kine ;
Or hasten from the sultry hill,
To loiter at the shady rill ;
Or climb the tall pine's gloomy crest,
To rob the raven's ancient nest.

Their humble porch with honied flow'rs
The curling woodbine's shade imbow'rs :
From the small garden's thymy mound
Their bees in busy swarms resound :
Nor fell Disease, before his time,
Hastes to consume life's golden prime :
But when their temples long have wore
The silver crown of tresses hoar ;
As studious still calm peace to keep,
Beneath a flowery turf they sleep.

T. WARTON.
CLXXIV

TO NIGHT

I LOVE thee, mournful, sober-suited Night !

When the faint moon, yet lingering in her wane,
And veil'd in clouds, with pale uncertain light,

Hangs o'er the waters of the restless main.



196 A TREASURY



In deep depression sunk, the enfeebled mind
Will to the deaf cold elements complain,

And tell the embosom'd grief, however vain,
To sullen surges and the viewless wind.

Tho' no repose on thy dark breast I find,
I still enjoy thee cheerless as thou art ;

For in thy quiet gloom the exhausted heart

Is calm, though wretched ; hopeless, yet resign'd.

While to the winds and waves its sorrows given,

May reach though lost on earth the ear of Heaven !

CHARLOTTE SMITH.



CLXXV

LAST WORDS

KIND companion of my youth,
Lov'd for genius, worth, and truth !

Take what friendship can impart,

Tribute of a feeling heart ;

Take the Muse's latest spark,

Ere we drop into the dark.

He, who parts and virtue gave,

Bade thee look beyond the grave ;



OF MINOR BRITISH FOE TRY 197



Genius soars, and virtue guides,
Where the love of God presides.
There's a gulf 'twixt us and God ;
Let the gloomy path be trod :
Why stand shivering on the shore ?
Why not boldly venture o'er ?
Where unerring virtue guides
Let us brave the winds and tides ;
Safe, thro' seas of doubts and fears,
Rides the bark which virtue steers.
Love thy country, wish it well,

Not with too intense a care,
'Tis enough, that, when it fell,

Thou its ruin didst not share.
Envy's censure, Flattery's praise,

With unmov'd indifference view ;
Learn to tread Life's dangerous maze

With unerring Virtue's clue.
Void of strong desire and fear,

Life's wide ocean trust no more ;
Strive thy little bark to steer

With the tide, but near the shore.
Thus prepar'd, thy shorten'd sail

Shall, whene'er the winds increase,
Seizing each propitious gale,

Waft thee to the Port of Peace.
Keep thy conscience from offence

And tempestuous passions free,
So, when thou art call'd from hence,

Easy shall thy passage be ;



198 A TREASURY



Easy shall thy passage be,

Cheerful thy allotted stay,
Short the account 'twixt God and thee,

Hope shall meet thee on the way.

BUBB DODINGTON, LORD MELCOMBE.



CLXXVI

AN EPISTLE TO A FRIEND IN TOWN

HAVE my friends in the Town, in the gay busy Town,

Forgot such a man as John Dyer ?
Or heedless despise they, or pity the clown,

Whose bosom no pageantries fire ?

No matter, no matter, content in the shades,
Contented ? why everything charms me ;

Fall in tunes all adown the green steep, ye cascades,
Till the trumpet of Virtue alarms me.

Till Outrage arises, or Misery needs

The swift, the intrepid avenger ;
Till sacred Religion or Liberty bleeds

Then mine be the deed and the danger.

Alas ! what a folly, that wealth and domain

We heap up in sin and in sorrow !
Immense is the toil, yet the labour how vain !

Is not life to be over to-morrow ?



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 199

Then glide on my moments, the few that I have,

Sweet-shaded, and quiet, and even ;
While gently the body descends to the grave,

And the spirit arises to heaven. .

j. DYER.

CLXXVII

THE DILEMMA

THAT Jenny's my friend, my delight, and my pride,

I always have boasted, and seek not to hide ;

I dwell on her praises wherever I go,

They say I'm in love, but I answer " No, no."

At evening oft times with what pleasure I see
A note from her hand, " I'll be with you at tea ! "
My heart how it bounds, when I hear her below !
But say not 'tis love, for I answer " No, no."

She sings me a song, and I echo each strain.
" Again," I cry, " Jenny, sweet Jenny, again ! "
I kiss her soft lips, as if there I could grow,
And fear I'm in love, though I answer " No, no."

She tells me her faults, as she sits on my knee,

I chide her, and swear she's an angel to me :

My shoulder she taps, and still bids me think so ;

Who knows but she loves, though she tells me " No, no."



200 A TREASURY



From beauty, and wit, and good humour, ah ! why
Should prudence advise, and compel me to fly ?
Thy bounties, O fortune ! make haste to bestow,
And let me deserve her, or still I say " No ! "

E. MOORE.



CLXXVIII

A USEFUL HINT

TENDER-HANDED stroke a nettle,
And it stings you for your pains ;

Grasp it like a man of -mettle,
And it soft as silk remains.

'Tis the same with common natures,

Use them kindly they rebel
But be rough as nutmeg graters,

And the rogues obey you well.

A. HILL.



CLXXIX

LUCY'S FLITTIN'

'TWAS when the wan leaf frae the birk-tree was fa'in',
And Martinmas dowie had wound up the year,
That Lucy row'd up her wee kist wi' her a' in't,
And left her auld maister and neebours sae dear :



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 201

For Lucy had served in the Glen a' the simmer ;
She cam there afore the flower blumed on the pea ;
An orphan was she, and they had been kind till her,
Sure that was the thing brocht the tear to her ee.

She gaed by the stable where Jamie was stannin',
Richt sair was his kind heart, the flittin' to see :
" Fare ye weel, Lucy ! " quo' Jamie, and ran in,
The gatherin' tears trickled fast frae his ee.
As down the burn-side she gaed slow wi' the flittin',
" Fare ye weel, Lucy ! " was ilka bird's sang ;
She heard the craw sayin't, high on the tree sittin',
And Robin was chirpin't the brown leaves amang.

" Oh, what is't that pits my puir heart in a flutter?
And what gars the tears come sae fast to my ee ?
If I wasna ettled to be ony better,
Then what gars me wish ony better to be ?
I'm just like a lammie that loses its mither ;
Nae mither or friend the puir lammie can see ;
I fear I hae tint my poor heart a'thegither,
Nae wonder the tear fa's sae fast frae my ee.

" Wi' the rest o' my claes I hae row'd up the ribbon,
The bonnie blue ribbon that Jamie gae me ;
Yestreen when he gae me't, and saw I was sabbin',
I'll never forget the wae blink o' his ee.
Though now he said naething but Fare ye weel, Lucy,
It made me I neither could speak, hear, nor see ;
He could nae say mair but just, Fare ye weel, Lucy !
Yet that I will mind till the day that I dee.



A TREASURY



" The lamb likes the gowan wi' dew when it's droukit ;
The hare likes the brake and the braird on the lea :
But Lucy likes Jamie," she turn'd and she lookit,
She thocht the dear place she wad never mair see.
Ah, weel may young Jamie gang dowie and cheerless !
And weel may he greet on the bank o' the burn !
For bonnie sweet Lucy, sae gentle and peerless,
Lies cauld in her grave, and will never return !

W. LAIDLAW.



CLXXX

THE BRAES OF YARROW

"THY braes were bonnie, Yarrow stream,

When first on them I met my lover ;
Thy braes how dreary, Yarrow stream,

When now thy waves his body cover !
For ever now, O Yarrow stream,

Thou art to me a stream of sorrow !
For never on thy banks shall I

Behold my love, the flower of Yarrow.

" He promised me a milk white steed,
To bear me to his father's bowers ;

He promised me a little page,

To squire me to his father's towers ;



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 203



He promised me a wedding ring

The wedding-day was fix'd to-morrow ;

Now he is wedded to his grave,
Alas, his watery grave, in Yarrow !

" Sweet were his words when last we met ;

My passion I as freely told him ;
Clasp'd in his arms, I little thought

That I should never more behold him !
Scarce was he gone, I saw his ghost ;

It vanish'd with a shriek of sorrow ;
Thrice did the water-wraith ascend,

And gave a doleful groan through Yarrow.

" His mother from the window look'd,

With all the longing of a mother ;
His little sister weeping walk'd

The greenwood path to meet her brother.
They sought him east, they sought him west,

They sought him all the forest thorough ;
They only saw the cloud of night,

They only heard the roar of Yarrow !

" No longer from thy window look,

Thou hast no son, thou tender mother !
No longer walk, thou lovely maid,

Alas, thou hast no more a brother !
No longer seek him east or west,

And search no more the forest thorough ;
For, wandering in the night so dark,

He fell, a lifeless corpse, in Yarrow.



204 A TREASURY



" The tear shall never leave my cheek,

No other youth shall be my marrow ;
I'll seek thy body in the stream,

And then with thee I'll sleep in Yarrow."
The tear did never leave her cheek,

No other youth became her marrow ;
She found his body in the stream,

And now with him she sleeps in Yarrow.

j. LOGAN.



CLXXXI

FRIENDSHIP

DISTILL'D amidst the gloom of night,
Dark hangs the dew-drop on the thorn

Till, notic'd by approaching light,
It glitters in the smile of morn.

Morn soon retires, her feeble pow'r
The sun out-beams with genial day,

And gently, in benignant hour,
Exhales the liquid pearl away.

Thus on affliction's sable bed

Deep sorrows rise of saddest hue ;

Condensing round the mourner's head
They bathe the cheek with chilly dew.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 205

Though pity shows her dawn from heaven,
When kind she points assistance near,

To friendship's sun alone 'tis given

To soothe and dry the mourner's tear.

T. PENROSE.



CLXXXII

SONG TO DAVID

TELL them, I AM, Jehovah said

To Moses ; while earth heard in dread,

And, smitten to the heart,
At once above, beneath, around,
All Nature, without voice or sound,

Replied, O Lord, Thou ART.

Thou art to give and to confirm
For each his talent and his term ;

All flesh thy bounties share :
Thou shalt not call thy brother fool ;
The porches of the Christian school

Are meekness, peace, and pray'r.

Sweet is the dew that falls betimes,
And drops upon the leafy limes ;

Sweet Hermon's fragrant air :
Sweet is the lily's silver bell,
And sweet the wakeful tapers smell,

That watch for early pray'r.



206 A TREASURY



Sweet the young nurse with love intense,
Which smiles o'er sleeping innocence ;

Sweet when the lost arrive :
Sweet the musician's ardour beats,
While his vague mind's in quest of sweets,

The choicest flow'rs to hive.



Sweeter in all the strains of love,
The language of thy turtle dove,

Pair'd to thy swelling chord ;
Sweeter with ev'ry grace endued,
The glory of thy gratitude,

Respir'd unto the Lord.



Strong is the lion like a coal
His eye-ball like a bastion's mole

His chest against the foes :
Strong the gier-eagle on his sail,
Strong against tide, th' enormous whale

Emerges, as he goes.



But stronger still, in earth and air,
And in the sea, the man of pray'r ;

And far beneath the tide ;
And in the seat to faith assign'd,
Where ask is have, where seek is find,

Where knock is open wide.



OF MINOR BRITISH POE TRY 207

Beauteous the fleet before the gale j
Beauteous the multitudes in mail,

Rank'd arms and crested heads :
Beauteous the garden's umbrage mild-
Walk, water, meditated wild,

And all the bloomy beds.



Beauteous the moon full on the lawn ;
And beauteous, when the veil's withdrawn,

The virgin to her spouse :
Beauteous the temple deck'd and fill'd,
When to the heav'n of heav'ns they build

Their heart-directed vows.



Precious the penitential tear ;
And precious is the sigh sincere,

Acceptable to God :
And precious are the winning flow'rs,
In gladsome Israel's feast of bow'rs

Bound on the hallow'd sod.



More precious that diviner part

Of David, ev'n the Lord's own heart,

Great, beautiful, and new :
In all things where it was intent,
In all extreams, in each event,

Proof answ'ring true to true.



208 A TREASURY



Glorious the sun in mid career,
Glorious th' assembled fires appear,

Glorious the comet's train :
Glorious the trumpet and alarm,
Glorious th' Almighty stretch'd-out arm,

Glorious th' enraptur'd main :

Glorious the northern lights astream,
Glorious the song, when God's the theme,

Glorious the thunder's roar :
Glorious hosanna from the den,
Glorious the Catholic amen,

Glorious the martyr's gore :

Glorious, more glorious is the crown
Of Him, that brought salvation down

By meekness, call'd Thy Son ;
Thou at stupendous truth believ'd,
And now the matchless deed's achiev'd,

Determin'd, Dar'd, and Done.

c. SMART.



CLXXXIII

HOLY THURSDAY

'TWAS on a Holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
Came children walking two and two, in red, and blue, and
green :



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 209



Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white

as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul's they like Thames

waters flow.

Oh what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of

London town !

Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own ;
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of

lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent

hands.

Now, like a mighty wind, they raise to heaven the voice

of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven

among ;
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the

poor,
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your

door. w. BLAKE.



CLXXXIV

THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT

WHEN the fierce northwind with his airy forces

Rears up the Baltic to a foaming fury;

And the red lightning, with a storm of hail comes

Rushing amain down,
p



210 A TREASURY



How the poor sailors stand amaz'd and tremble !
While the hoarse thunder, like a bloody trumpet,
Roars a loud onset to the gaping waters

Quick to devour them.

Such shall the noise be, and the wild disorder,
(If things eternal may be like these earthly)
Such the dire terror when the great Archangel
Shakes the creation ;

Tears the strong pillars of the vault of Heaven,
Breaks up old marble, the repose of princes ;
See the graves open, and the bones arising,

Flames all around them.

Hark, the shrill outcries of the guilty wretches !
Lively bright horror, and amazing anguish,
Stare through their eyelids, while the living worm lies
Gnawing within them.

Thoughts, like old vultures, prey upon their heart-strings,
And the smart twinges, when the eye beholds the
Lofty Judge frowning, and a flood of vengeance
Rolling afore him.

Hopeless immortals ! how they scream and shiver
While devils push them to the pit wide-yawning,
Hideous and gloomy, to receive them headlong
Down to the centre.



OF MINOR BRITISH POE TRY 211

Stop here, my fancy : (all away, ye horrid
Doleful ideas !) come, arise to Jesus,
How he sits God-like ! and the saints around him
Thron'd, yet adoring !

O may I sit there when He comes triumphant,
Dooming the nations ! then ascend to glory,
While our hosannas all along the passage

Shout the Redeemer.

DR. I. WATTS.



CLXXXV

HOPE

SUN of the Soul ! whose cheerful ray
Darts o'er this gloom of life a smile ;

Sweet Hope, yet further gild my way,
Yet light my weary steps awhile,

Till thy fair lamp dissolve in endless day,

DR. J. LANGHORNE.



CLXXXVI

THE WORM

TURN, turn thy hasty foot aside,
Nor crush that helpless worm !

The frame thy scornful looks deride
Requir'd a God to form.



212 A TREASURY



The common Lord of all that move,

From whom thy being flow'd,
A portion of His boundless love

On that poor worm bestow' d.

The sun, the moon, the stars He made

To all His creatures free :
And spreads o'er earth the grassy blade

For worms as well as thee.

Let them enjoy their little day,

Their lowly bliss receive ;
O do not lightly take away

The life thou canst not give !

T. GISBORNE.



CLXXXVII

FATI VALET HORA BENIGNI

IN myriad swarms, each summer sun

An insect nation shows ;
Whose being, since he rose begun,

And e'er he sets will close.

Brief is their date, confin'd their powers,

The fluttering of a day ;
Yet life's worth living, e'en for hours,

When all those hours are play.

s. BISHOP.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETRY 213

CLXXXVIII
INSCRIPTION ON A FOUNTAIN

O YOU, who mark what flowrets gay,

What gales, what odours breathing near,

What sheltering shades from summer's ray
Allure my spring to linger here :

Yet see me quit this margin green,

Yet see me deaf to pleasure's call,
Explore the thirsty haunts of men,

Yet see my bounty flow for all.

O learn of me no partial rill,

No slumbering selfish pool be you ;

But social laws alike fulfil ;
O flow for all creation too !

E. LOVIBOND.

CLXXXIX

WRITTEN AT AN INN AT HENLEY

To thee, fair freedom ! I retire

From flattery, cards, and dice, and din ;

Nor art thou found in mansions higher
Than the low cot, or humble inn.



2i 4 A TREASURY



Tis here with boundless power, I reign ;

And every health which I begin,
Converts dull port to bright champagne ;

Such freedom crowns it, at an inn.

I fly from pomp, I fly from plate !

I fly from falsehood's specious grin !
Freedom I love, and form I hate,

And choose my lodgings at an inn.

Here, waiter ! take my sordid ore,

Which lacqueys else might hope to win ;

It buys, what courts have not in store,
It buys me freedom at an inn.

Whoe'er has travell'd life's dull round,
Where'er his stages may have been,

May sigh to think he still has found
The warmest welcome at an inn.

W. SHENSTONE.



cxc
HYMN TO SCIENCE

SCIENCE ! thou fair effusive ray
From the great source of mental day,

Free, generous, and refin'd !
Descend with all thy treasures fraught,
Illumine each bewilder'd thought,

And bless my labouring mind.



OF MINOR BRITISH POETR Y 215

But first with thy resistless light,
Disperse those phantoms from my sight,

Those mimic shades of thee ;
The scholiast's learning, sophist's cant,
The visionary bigot's rant,

The monk's philosophy.



O ! let thy powerful charms impart
The patient head, the candid heart

Devoted to thy sway ;
Which no weak passions e'er mislead,
Which still with dauntless steps proceed

Where Reason points the way.



Then launch through Being's wide extent ;
Let the fair scale, with just ascent

And cautious steps, be trod ;
And from the dead, corporeal mass,
Through each progressive order pass


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Online LibraryJohn Churton CollinsA treasury of minor British poetry selected and arranged with notes .. → online text (page 8 of 19)