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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

On Listening to a Cricket

By Andrews Norton (1786–1853)

[Born in Hingham, Mass., 1786. Died at Newport, R. I., 1853. Selected from Contributions to “The Christian Examiner,” etc.]

I LOVE, thou little chirping thing,

To hear thy melancholy noise;

Though thou to Fancy’s ear may sing

Of summer past and fading joys.

Thou canst not now drink dew from flowers,

Nor sport along the traveller’s path,

But, through the winter’s weary hours,

Shalt warm thee at my lonely hearth.

And when my lamp’s decaying beam

But dimly shows the lettered page,

Rich with some ancient poet’s dream,

Or wisdom of a purer age,—

Then will I listen to thy sound,

And, musing o’er the embers pale

With whitening ashes strewed around,

The forms of memory unveil;

Recall the many-colored dreams,

That Fancy fondly weaves for youth,

When all the bright illusion seems

The pictured promises of truth;

Perchance observe the fitful light,

And its faint flashes round the room,

And think some pleasures, feebly bright,

May lighten thus life’s varied gloom.

I love the quiet midnight hour,

When Care, and Hope, and Passion sleep,

And Reason, with untroubled power,

Can her late vigils duly keep;—

I love the night: and, sooth to say,

Before the merry birds, that sing

In all the glare and noise of day,

Prefer the cricket’s grating wing.

But, see! pale Autumn strews her leaves,

Her withered leave, o’er Nature’s grave,

While giant Winter she perceives

Dark rushing from his icy cave,

And in his train the sleety showers,

That beat upon the barren earth;—

Thou, cricket, through these weary hours,

Shalt warm thee at my lonely hearth.