Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
 
Poems of Home: II. For Children
The Wind in a Frolic
William Howitt (1792–1879)
 
THE WIND one morning sprang up from sleep,
Saying, “Now for a frolic! now for a leap!
Now for a mad-cap galloping chase!
I ’ll make a commotion in every place!”
So it swept with a bustle right through a great town,        5
Creaking the signs, and scattering down
Shutters; and whisking, with merciless squalls,
Old women’s bonnets and gingerbread stalls:
There never was heard a much lustier shout,
As the apples and oranges tumbled about;        10
And the urchins, that stand with their thievish eyes
Forever on watch, ran off each with a prize.
  Then away to the field it went blustering and humming,
And the cattle all wondered whatever was coming;
It plucked by the tails the grave matronly cows,        15
And tossed the colts’ manes all over their brows,
Till, offended at such a familiar salute,
They all turned their backs and stood sulkily mute.
  So on it went, capering, and playing its pranks,
Whistling with reeds on the broad river’s banks,        20
Puffing the birds as they sat on the spray,
Or the traveller grave on the king’s highway.
  It was not too nice to hustle the bags
Of the beggar, and flutter his dirty rags:
’T was so bold, that it feared not to play its joke        25
With the doctor’s wig or the gentleman’s cloak.
Through the forest it roared, and cried, gayly, “Now,
You sturdy old oaks, I ’ll make you bow!”
And it made them bow without more ado,
Or cracked their great branches through and through.        30
  Then it rushed, like a monster, on cottage and farm,
Striking their dwellers with sudden alarm,
So they ran out like bees when threatened with harm.
There were dames with their kerchiefs tied over their caps,
To see if their poultry were free from mishaps;        35
The turkeys they gobbled, the geese screamed aloud,
And the hens crept to roost in a terrified crowd;
There was rearing of ladders, and logs laying on,
Where the thatch from the roof threatened soon to be gone.
  But the wind had swept on, and met in a lane        40
With a school-boy, who panted and struggled in vain:
For it tossed him, and twirled him, then passed, and he stood
With his hat in a pool, and his shoe in the mud.
  Then away went the wind in its holiday glee!
And now it was far on the billowy sea;        45
And the lordly ships felt its staggering blow,
And the little boats darted to and fro:—
But lo! night came, and it sank to rest
On the sea-bird’s rock in the gleaming west,
Laughing to think, in its fearful fun,        50
How little of mischief it had done!
 
 
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