The Brook And The Sparrow

 OH, whither so fast, my Lady Brook, 

 Oh, whither so fast to-day? 

Tarry awhile from your onward dance, 

And peep out here with your men-y glance, 

 To chat with a friend, I pray." 

And the Brook made answer," I cannot stay,

Sweet Sparrow, to prate with you, 

For the morning hours are flitting away, 

And I have my task to do."

"And what may your work be, Lady Brook,

That you cannot stop to-day? 

Babbling over the stones you go, 

And a noisy tongue you have, I trow,

But what your tasks, I pray? 

Nothing, I wean, but an idle song

To sing as you wander by 

Nothing, I wean, but to catch the gleam

Of the sun in the deep blue sky; 

Nothing but dimple and flirt with the bee

Or the yellow butterfly."

"Friend Sparrow," replied the little Brook, 

"Mine are but humble tasks; 

Yet a willing step and a cheerful look

My great Employer asks, 

And gladly I fulfill them all,

Simple although they be, 

And I sing, for the very joy of my heart, 

To the butterfly and the bee."

"And what are these wondrous tasks, I pray? "

Quoth the Sparrow, in disdain; 

And she laughed outright, while the little Brook,

Made answer yet again: 

"I bathe the roots of the willow trees

Beneath whose boughs I pass, 

And the hazel-bush and the alders low, 

And freshen the meadows through which I flow,

And strengthen the tender grass; 

The sweet wild-flowers would droop and die

If not for my nursing care, 

And on my marge is the greenest moss

That groweth anywhere.

"The birds alight at the morning's prime

To splash in my cooling breast, 

And the weary oxen come down to drink

At the noonday hour of rest, 

And the lowing kine from the meadows come,

And I give them a draught so clear, 

You may believe they are loath to leave

A fount of such dainty cheer; 

Simple, indeed, friend Sparrow, I know,

Are the tasks that I fulfill;

Yet methinks the humblest work should be

Performed with an earnest will; 

It giveth a feeling of such content

To do in all things our best. 

But now I must bid you a kind good-day." 

Then the Rivulet hastened on its way, 

And the Sparrow, with nothing else to say,

Flew back again to her nest.

S. S. Visitor.