The Kitten and the Falling Leaves

That way look, my Infant, lo!
What a pretty baby show!
See the Kitten on the Wall,
Sporting with the leaves that fall,
Wither’d leaves, one, two, and three,
From the lofty Elder-tree!
Through the calm and frosty air
Of this morning bright and fair,
Eddying round and round they sink
Softly, slowly: one might think,
From the motions that are made,
Every little leaf convey’d
Sylph or Faery hither tending,
To this lower world descending,
Each invisible and mute,
In his wavering parachute.
–But the Kitten, how she starts,
Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts;
First at one and then it’s fellow
Just as light and just as yellow;
There are many now–now one–
Now they stop; and there are none–
What intenseness of desire
In her upward eye of fire!
With a tiger-leap half way
Now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then
Has it in her power again:
Now she works with three or four,
Like an Indian Conjuror;
Quick as he in feats of art,
Far beyond in joy of heart.
Were her antics play’d in the eye
Of a thousand Standers-by,
Clapping hands with shout and stare,
What would little Tabby care
For the plaudits of the Crowd?
Over happy to be proud,
Over wealthy in the treasure
Of her own exceeding pleasure!

‘Tis a pretty Baby-treat;
Nor, I deem, for me unmeet:
Here, for neither Babe or me,
Other Play-mate can I see.
Of the countless living things,
That with stir of feet and wings,
(In the sun or under shade
Upon bough or grassy blade)
And with busy revellings,
Chirp and song, and murmurings,
Made this Orchard’s narrow space,
And this Vale so blithe a place;
Multitudes are swept away
Never more to breathe the day:
Some are sleeping; some in Bands
Travell’d into distant Lands;
Others slunk to moor and wood,
Far from human neighbourhood,
And, among the Kinds that keep
With us closer fellowship,
With us openly abide,
All have laid their mirth aside,
–Where is he that giddy Sprite,
Blue-cap, with his colours bright,
Who was blest as bird could be,
Feeding in the apple-tree,
Made such wanton spoil and rout,
Turning blossoms inside out,
Hung with head towards the ground,
Flutter’d, perch’d; into a round
Bound himself, and then unbound;
Lithest, gaudiest Harlequin,
Prettiest Tumbler ever seen,
Light of heart, and light of limb,
What is now become of Him?
Lambs, that through the mountains went
Frisking, bleating merriment,
When the year was in it’s prime,
They are sober’d by this time.
If you look to vale or hill,
If you listen, all is still,
Save a little neighbouring Rill;
That from out the rocky ground
Strikes a solitary sound.
Vainly glitters hill and plain,
And the air is calm in vain;
Vainly Morning spreads the lure
Of a sky serene and pure;
Creature none can she decoy
Into open sign of joy:
Is it that they have a fear
Of the dreary season near?
Or that other pleasures be
Sweeter even than gaiety?

Yet, whate’er enjoyments dwell
In the impenetrable cell
Of the silent heart which Nature
Furnishes to every Creature,
Whatsoe’er we feel and know
Too sedate for outward show,
Such a light of gladness breaks,
Pretty Kitten! from thy freaks,
Spreads with such a living grace
O’er my little Laura’s face;
Yes, the sight so stirs and charms
Thee, Baby, laughing in my arms,
That almost I could repine
That your transports are not mine,
That I do not wholly fare
Even as ye do, thoughtless Pair!
And I will have my careless season
Spite of melancholy reason,
Will walk through life in such a way
That, when time brings on decay,
Now and then I may possess
Hours of perfect gladsomeness.
–Pleas’d by any random toy;
By a Kitten’s busy joy,
Or an infant’s laughing eye
Sharing in the extacy;
I would fare like that or this,
Find my wisdom in my bliss;
Keep the sprightly soul awake,
And have faculties to take
Even from things by sorrow wrought
Matter for a jocund thought;
Spite of care, and spite of grief,
To gambol with Life’s falling Leaf.

by William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: