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To thy protecting shade sle runs,
Thy tender buds supply her food;
The deer that range the mountain free,
Their food of shelter seek from thee; ..
Sheds beauty o'er the lonely moor;
Nor yet with splendid tints allure, .
Adorns the dusky mountain's side,
Nor garden's artful, varied pride
Of peace and freedom seems to breathe ;
And deck his bonnet with the wreath,
Flower of his dear-loved, native land!
Alas, when distant, far more dear!
Looks homeward through the blinding tear,
That home and thee he sees no more !".* “ Now try me, papa.”
“ In the first place, then," said Mr. C., “ explain what is meant by
the heath-fowl shuns For thee the brake and tangled wood."" “ Brake signifies a sort of underwood, or fern leaves and brambles, papa," said Helen. “ The heath-fowl or moorfowl is a bird peculiar to the British islands, and it is remarkably shy and wild in its disposition, preferring the solitude of the heath-covered mountains to the more verdant valleys that lie between them. The erica vulgaris, or common heath, is a sturdy but elegant little plant, bearing a tuft of pink blossoms; and mamma tells me, that the
* A Collection of Poems, edited by Miss Baillie.
wild dreary moors of Scotland, as well as the summits of its hills and mountains, are sometimes nearly covered with it, and that its buds supply the little heath-fowl with a delicate food.”
“Very well: let us go on to the next stanza: • The bee thy earliest blossom greets
And draws from thee her choicest sweets.'”
" Oh, papa ! nothing, nothing can be more simple than this," exclaimed Helen. “ Who does not know that bees fly from flower to flower extracting sweets from every one of them and these lines mean that the bees, the busy, busy bees, are particularly fond of heath, because it yields such excellent honey."
“ So far so good. Now, how will you explain these lines ?. i .
* Both valour's crest and beauty's bower, • Oft hast thou decked, a favourite flower.'”
..“ Why, you know, papa, that Geoffrey Plantagenet, the father of Henry the Sccond, used to wear a sprig of broom upon the crest of his helmet, for the name of Plantagenet was derived from this very circumstance, planta being Latin for plant, and genista for broom; and as this was the case, I can easily imagine that many a brave Scottish hero' may have adorned his crest with the favourite flower of his native country.”
“ One more explanation and I will give you credit for perfectly understanding this elegant little poem:
Not the gay hues of Iris' bow.'" Fortunately for Helen she had carefully examined every line in this poem, and she was at no loss to answer her father's questions. .
“In the Heathen mythology, papa," said she, “ Iris is the goddess of the rainbow ; in poetical language, therefore, the rainbow is called the Iris; and this is what is meant by
• Not the gay hues of Iris' bow.'" ; “What is it? What is it you are saying about the Heathen mythology?" said Maurice, hastening across the room and repeating, in an heroic style and manner, "... • He added not: and Iris from the skies, Swift as a whirlwind on the message flies, Meteorous the face of ocean sweeps, Refulgent gliding o'er the sable deeps.'” .
“Oh, do not interrupt us with Homer this morning, Maurice," said Helen. “ I was only just giving papa an explanation of the term Iris, and telling him that the rainbow, with all its variegated and beautiful colours, is poetically termed the Iris. Do not interrupt us. Have you any more questions to ask, papa ?". : i
“ No: I think you understand this little poem, my dear; but are you quite sure that you never learned, by rote, any poetry which you did not understand?"