Page images
PDF
EPUB

The ship hath melted quite away,
Like a struggling dream at break of day.
No image meets my wandering eye,
But the new-risen sun and the sunny sky.
Though the night-shades are gone, yet a vapour dull,
Bedims the waves so beautiful ;
While a low and melancholy moan
Mourns for the glory that hath flown.

WILson.

ALEXANDER SELKIRK.

I am monarch of all I survey,

My right there is none to dispute,
From the centre all round to the sea,

I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
O solitude ! where are the charms

That sages have seen in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,

Than reign in this horrible place.

Society, friendship, and love,

Divinely bestow'd upon man,
Oh had I the wings of a dove,

How soon would I taste these again!
My sorrows I then might assuage

In the ways of religion and truth;
Might learn from the wisdom of age,

And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth.

How fleet is a glance of the mind !

Compared with the speed of its flight,
The tempest itself lags behind,

And the swift-winged arrows of light.
When I think of my own native land,

In a moment I seem to be there;
But alas ! recollection at hand

Soon hurries me hack to despair.

Now the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,

The beast is laid down in his lair ;
Even here is a season of rest,

And I to my cabin repair.
Still my God is in every place :

All His acts are with goodness fraught :
He gives each affliction a grace,
And reconciles me to my lot.

Adapted from COWPER. THE EXILE OF ERIN.

There came to the beach a poor exile of Erin:

The dew on his thin robe was heavy and chill :
For his country he sigh’d, when at twilight repairing

To wander alone by the wind-beaten hill.
But the day-star attracted his eyes' sad devotion;
For it rose o'er his own native isle of the ocean :
Where once, in the fire of his youthful emotion,

He sang the bold anthem of Erin go bragh.
Sad is my fate: said the heart-broken stranger,

The wild deer and wolf to a covert can flee: But I have no refuge from famine and danger;

A home and a country remain not to me. Never again, in the green sunny bow'rs Where my forefathers lived, shall I spend the sweet hours, Or cover my harp with the wild-woven flow'rs,

Or strike to the numbers of Erin go bragh. Erin, my country; though sad and forsaken

In dreams I revisit thy sea-beaten shore : But alas, in a far foreign land I awaken,

And sigh for the friends who can meet me no more.
Where is my cabin-door, near to the wild wood ?

Sisters and sire, did ye weep for its fall ?
Where is the mother that look'd on my childhood ?

And where is the bosom-friend dearer than all ?

Yet, all its sad recollections suppressing,

One dying wish my lone bosom can draw :
Erin! an exile bequeaths thee his blessing :

Land of my forefathers! Erin go bragh!
Buried and cold, when my heart stills her motion,
Green be thy fields, sweetest isle of the Ocean:
And thy harp-striking bards sing aloud with devotion

Erin mavournin! Erin go bragh. CAMPBELL.

THE GRAVE OF MACAURA.

And this is thy grave, Macaura,

Here by the pathway lone,
Where the thorn blossoms are bending

Over thy moulder'd stone.
Alas! for the sons of glory;

Oh! thou of the darken'd brow,
And the eagle plume, and the belted clans,

Is it here thou art sleeping now?

Oh! wild is the spot, Macaura,

In which they have laid thee low,-
The field where thy people triumph'd

Over the slaughter'd foe;
And loud was the Banshee's wailing,

And deep was the clansman's sorrow,
When, with bloody hands and burning tears,

They buried thee here, Macaura !

And now thy dwelling is lonely,

King of the rushing horde ; And now thy battles are over,

Chief of the shining sword; And the rolling thunder echoes,

O’er torrent and mountain free, But alas ! alas ! Macaura,

It will not awaken thee.

Farewell to thy grave, Macaura,

Where the slanting sunbeams shine, And briar and waving fern

Over thy slumbers twine ; Thou whose gathering summons

Could waken the sleeping glen; Macaura, alas for thee and thine,

'Twill never be heard again !-MRS. DOWNING.

THE WELL OF ST. KEYNE.

A well there is in the west country,

And a clearer one never was seen ; There is not a wife in the west country

But has heard of the Well of St. Keyne.

An oak and an elm tree stand beside,

And behind does an ash tree grow; And a willow from the bank above

Droops to the water below.

A traveller came to the Well of St. Keyne;

Joyfully he drew nigh;
For from cock-crow he had been travelling,

And there was not a cloud in the sky.

He drank of the water so cool and clear,

For thirsty and hot was he,
And then he sat down upon the bank,

Under the willow tree.

There came a man from the neighbouring town,

At the well to fill his pail;
On the side of the well he rested it,

And he bade the stranger hail.

Now art thou a bachelor, stranger ? quoth he,

For, an if thou hast a wife,
The happiest draught thou hast drunk this day

That ever thou didst in thy life.

Or has thy good woman, if one thou hast,

Ever here in Cornwall been ?
For an if she have, I'll venture my life

She has drunk of the Well of St. Keyne.

I have left a good woman who never was here,

The stranger soon made reply;
But that my draught should be better for that,

I pray you answer me why?

St. Keyne, quoth the countryman, many a time

Drank of this crystal well,
And before the Angel summoned her

She laid on the water a spell.

If the husband, of this gifted well,

Should drink before his wife, A happy man thenceforth is hé,

For he shall be master for life.

But if the wife should drink of it first,

God help the husband then !
The stranger stoopt to the Well of St. Keyne,

And drank of the water again.

You drank of the well I warrant betimes ?

He to the countryman said :
But the countryman smild as the stranger spake,

And sheepishly shook his head.

I hasten'd as soon as the wedding was done,

And left my wife in the porch;
But i' faith she had been wiser than I,
For she took a bottle to church.

SOUTHEY. TIT FOR TAT.

A mighty Elephant that swell'd the state

Of Aurengzebe the Great,
One day was taken by his driver

To drink and cool him in the river ;
The driver on his neck was seated,

And as he rode along,
By some acquaintance in the throng,
With a ripe cocoa-nut was treated.
A cocoa nut's a pretty fruit enough,
But guarded by a shell both hard and tough :
The fellow tried, and tried, and tried,

Working and sweating,

Frowning and fretting,
To find out its inside,
And pick the kernel for his eating.
At length quite out of patience grown,
“Who'll reach me up (he cries) a stone

To break this plaguy shell ?
But stay, I've here a solid bone,

May do perhaps as well.”
So half in earnest, half in jest,
He bang'd it on the forehead of his beast.
“To make my head an anvil (thought the creature)
Was never, certainly, the will of Nature;

So, master mine, you may repent:"
Then, shaking his broad ears, away he went;

Thé driver took him to the water,

And thought no more about the matter;
But Elephant within his memory hid it;
He felt the wrong—the other only did it.
A week or two elaps’d, one market-day
Again the beast and driver took their way
Thro' rows of shops and booths they pass'd,

With eatables and trinkets stor’d,
Till to a gard'ner's stall they came at last,

Where cocoa-nuts lay pil'd upon the board :
“Ha!” thought the Elephant, "'tis now my turn

To try this method of nut-breaking; My friend above will have to learn,

Though at the cost of a head-aching."
Then in his curling trunk he took a heap,
Waving it o'er his neck with sudden sweep,
And on the hapless driver's sconce,

He laid a blow so hard and full,
That cracked the nuts at once,
But with them-cracked his skull !

AIKIN

« PreviousContinue »