Copy of verses wrote by Sir Henry Knatchbull, Bart., 1760


[THE following unpublished poem by James Russell Lowell, the first editor of the Atlantic, was written in September or October, 1857, the year of the founding of the magazine. In sending the verses to Charles Eliot Norton, through whose kindness they are here printed, Lowell wrote : —

“ I enclose the autograph I half promised you. In reading the verses, you must not forget to remember the date at which they are supposed to have been written, though I have only succeeded in hitting the style here and there.”]

O, SHARE these flowers! thus Delia wrote,
And pinned upon a tree,
With her own hands, the dainty note
Addressed to you and me.
The trees were glad that saw her pass,
The turf embalmed her trace,
The brook flowed slow and smoothed a glass
To catch her fleeting face.
Nest day the letters fair were flown;
Who stole them ? Dryads, say ?
By chilling Auster were they blown,
By Zephyr lured away ?
Perhaps some bird the leaf conveyed
To line her happier nest;
O lucky eggs that shall be laid
On such a bed to rest!
Perhaps some squirrel was the thief
To grace his hollow tree,
As with inscription and relief
Our galleries do we.
But no, the truth was simply this:
Young Strephon, wandering by,
Saw from the stem, with sudden bliss,
Fair Delia’s ensign fly.
“And oh,” he cried, “ be mine the page
That Delia’s hand hath prest,
Forgive, ye Gods, his harmless rage
Whom she hath robbed of rest!
“The slender lines her crowquill traced
To warn rude hands away,
Shall ne’er in bleak exposure taste
The chance of night and day;
“But with the bud she once let fall,
The ribbon that she wore,
Shall add to Cupid’s chapel wall
One saintly relic more!”