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The History of the Butterfly
Henry Parker
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(I have to admit that I don't "get" some of H.W. Parker's poetry. This poem was written in response to the discovery of the planet Neptune in 1846. I thought it was interesting to hear about the planet Herschel. But why such a corny poem about a scientific discovery? Then there is the other thing about ending a line with "etc." What is that all about? )




   Hail!--thou distant starry stranger!

Thou art a planet newly born,

As once a star above the manger,

Unnumbered in creation's morn,

The Eastern wise-men saw at night,

O'erhanging bright the Holy Child,

And fading when the dawning light

Outshone the day-star's glory mild.

So welcome to our shining number,

All hymning as we dance along;

We watch and fan thy infant slumber,

And lull thee with our aery song.




Hail!--hail thou twinkling fearful stranger!

Fear not my fierce and ruddy eye,

And I will ward off every danger,

When bearded comets, rushing by,

Trouble thy young and tender heart.

A warrior I, with spear and shield,

Will teach thy hand to hurl the dart,

The bow to spring, the sword to wield,

Then welcome, etc.




Lo! Ceres, Pallas, Juno, Vesta,

Thy maids of honor stars ordain;

And we will guard thy noon's siesta,

And wrap thee in swathing train.

The first bold ranger that appears,

We'll clip its rays and weave thy robe,

For, like the Fates, the thread and shears

We hold, and clothe each new-born globe.

Then welcome, etc.




Hail!--hail, our fair-haired cherub-brother!

Three giant brethren gray are we,

Who think no ill if still another

Has joined our starry company;

And if thy tender cheek and eye

Have found too bright the fiery sun,

Give us thy little hand and fly

Where wide wintry circles run.

Then welcome, etc.




Come!--I will be thy loving mother,

Thou wild and rosy infant-sphere!

Ah, once I had just such another--

Nay, blush not, Mars, my cavalier!

They called him Love, while on the Earth;

He winged thro' all the worlds eleven,

But when they ill repaid his mirth,

He fled, affrighted child, to Heaven,

Then welcome, etc.




Again-again, sweet planet, hail!

Come, warm thee in the sun's great eye,

And I will hush thy infant wail;

For, thou wilt chill and fade and die,

If thou art cradled in a clime

So far from light and heat and life;

Then heed no more their idle rhyme,

And I will end the gentle strife,

Then welcome, etc.




Then hail ye all the new-born planet!

Hail ye its fresh and laughing gleam!

Oh, chase it--toss it--kiss it--fan it,

Until it glows with full-orbed beam!

Another prime of royal line--

A new apostle with us eleven,

Among our ranks will henceforth shine,

And teach to man the ways of heaven,

So welcome to our shining number, etc.

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