Menella Bute Smedley

Puck

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She is sleeping on the grass,
Where her daily footsteps pass;
All her errands left undone
At the bidding of the sun;
From the glory of whose ray
Shining eyes are hid away.
And, for aught that we can tell,
Little shining eyes were made,

Like the glowworm in the dell,
Only to illumine shade!
Pretty Puck, the farmyard's pride,
Grazeth calmly at her side;
Fat wee Puck, who harsher word
Than “Gee up” has never heard!
Nice white bread and apples good
May be call'd his daily food.
Pleasant pats instead of blows,
Recompense him if he trips;
And on his expectant nose,
Kisses from her rosy lips.
Happily the maiden sleeps
Nearer and nearer danger creeps;
Placidly the pony eats
Dewy moss and grassy sweets;

Loathsome thing of craft and fear
Creepeth nearer and more near,—
Crafty, faithless, slimy, slim,
Slipping on with noiseless stir;
Wilily it passeth him,
Swiftly it approacheth her!
Its vile head is raised on high,
Cunning triumph in its eye;
Open jaws that long to shed
All their poison on her head;
Happy hearts would bleed and break
At thy deed, detested snake.
But with gesture wild and proud,
Oh, wise Puck! oh, trusty Puck!
Stamps his foot and neighs aloud,
Ere the venom'd tongue can suck!

Lightly through the trembling grass
Doth the baffled creature pass,
Baffled in its vile intent,
Hungry spite its punishment!
Back to life and all its joys
Comes the maiden at the noise,
Blaming naughty Puck for this.
Ah! she little, little knows,
Life itself, with all its bliss,
Unto naughty Puck she owes!
So it is, we cannot know
All to that dumb world we owe.
What we do for them they see,
Blind and less enlighten'd, we!
We may punish or caress,
But the truth we cannot guess.

Silent hearts may every day,
By the instinct of their love,
Scatter blessings on our way,
Countless dangers may remove.
Will such acts in life unknown
Ever to our eyes be shown,
Till at last we see how far
They our benefactors are,
And that we must abdicate
Something of our fancied state?
And if this indeed could be
(Somewhere else than in my dreams),
We should learn humility,
Which so hard a lesson seems.

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Menella Bute Smedley