« PreviousContinue »
To school the little exile goes,
Torn from his mother's arms,
What then shall soothe his earliest woes,
When novelty hath lost its charms ?
Condemn’d to suffer through the day
Restraints which no rewards repay,
And cares where love has no concern,
Hope lengthens as she counts the hours,
Before his wish'd return.
From hard controul and tyrant rules,
The unfeeling discipline of schools,
In thought he loves to roam ;
And tears will struggle in his eye
While he remembers with a sigh
The comforts of his home.
Youth comes ; the toils and cares of life
Torment the restless mind;
Where shall the tired and harass'd heart
Its consolation find ?
Then is not youth, as fancy tells,
Life's summer prime of joy ?
Ah no! for hopes too long delay'd,
And feelings blasted or betray'd,
The fabled bliss destroy ;
And youth remembers with a sigh
The careless days of infancy.
Maturer manhood now arrives,
And other thoughts come on;
But with the baseless hopes of Youth
Its generous warmth is gone ;
Cold calculating cares succeed,
The timid thought the wary deed,
The dull realities of truth;
Back on the past he turns his eye,
Remembering with an envious sigh
The happy dreams of youth.
So reaches he the latter stage
Of this our mortal pilgrimage,
With feeble step and slow ;
New ills that latter stage await,
And old experience learns too late
That all is vanity below.
Life's vain delusions are gone by,
Its idle hopes are o’er,
Yet age remembers with a sigh
The days that are no more.
ERE on my bed my limbs I lay,
It hath not been my use to pray
With moving lips or bended knees ;,
But silently, by slow degrees,
My spirit I to love compose,
In humble trust mine eye-lids close,
With reverential resignation.
No wish conceived, no thought expressed !
Only a sense of supplication,
A sense o'er all my soul imprest
That I am weak yet not unblest,
Since in me, round me, every where,
Eternal Strength and Wisdom are.
But yester-night I pray'd aloud
In anguish and in agony,
Upstarting from the fiendish crowd
Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me;
A lurid light, a trampling throng,
Sense of intolerable wrong,
And whom I scorn'd, those only strong !
Thirst of revenge, the powerless will
Still baffled, and yet burning still !
Desire with loathing strangely mixed
On wild or hateful objects fixed.
Fantastic passions ! mad'ning brawl !
And shame and terror over all !
Deeds to be hid which were not hid,
Which, all confused, I could not know,
Whether I suffered, or I did :
For all seemed guilt, remorse, or
My own or other's still the same woe.
Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame!
So two nights passed : the night's dismay
Sadden'd and stunn'd the coming day.
Sleep, the wide blessing, seemed to me
Distemper's worst calamity.
The third night, when my own loud scream
Had waked me from the fiendish dream,
O’ercome with sufferings strange and wild,
I wept as I had been a child :
And having thus by tears subdued
My anguish to a milder mood,
Such punishments, I said, were due
To natures deepliest stain’d with sin :
For aye entempesting anew
Th’unfathomable hell within,
The horror of their deeds to view,
To know and loathe, yet wish and do !
Such griefs with such men well agree,
But wherefore, wherefore fall on me!
To be beloved is all I need,
And whom I love, I love indeed.
ART thou a Statesman, in the van
Of public business trained and bred ?
-First learn to love one living man ;
Then may'st thou think upon the dead.
A Lawyer art thou ?-draw not nigh ;
Go carry to some fitter place
The keenness of that practised eye,
The hardness of that sallow face.
Art thou a Man of purple cheer ?
A rosy Man right plump to see ?
Approach ; yet, Doctor, not too near:
This grave no cushion is for thee.
Or art thou One of gallant pride,
A Soldier and no man of chaff ?
Welcome,—but lay thy sword aside,
And lean upon a Peasant's staff.
Physician art thou ? One all eyes ;
Philosopher ! a fingering slave,
One that would peep and botanize
Upon his mother's grave ?
Wrapt closely in thy sensual fleece,
O turn aside, and take, I pray,
That he below may rest in peace,
That abject thing, thy soul, away!
A Moralist, perchance, appears,
Led, Heaven knows how ! to this poor sod :
And He has neither eyes nor ears ;
Himself his world and his own God :
One to whose smooth-rubbed soul can cling
Nor form, nor feeling, great nor small;
A reasoning, self-sufficing thing,
An intellectual All in All!
Shut close the door, press down the latch ;
Sleep in thy intellectual crust;
Nor lose ten tickings of thy watch
Near this unprofitable dust.
But who is He with modest looks,
And clad in homely russet brown ?
He murmurs near the running brooks
A music sweeter than their own.
He is retired as noon-tide dew,
Or fountain in a noon-day grove :
must love him, ere to you
He will seem worthy of your love.
The outward shows of sky and earth,
Of hill and valley, he has viewed ;
And impulses of deeper birth
Have come to him in solitude.
In common things that round us lie
Some random truths he can impart,
-The harvest of a quiet eye
That broods and sleeps on his own heart.
But he is weak, both Man and Boy,
Hath been an idler in the land ;
Contented if he might enjoy
The things which others understand.
-Come hither in thy hour of strength ;
Come, weak as is a breaking wave !
Here stretch thy body at full length
Or build thy house upon this grave.
From “ Bracebridge Hall, or the Humourists."
“ I'll cross it, though it blast me!”
IT was a rainy Sunday, in the gloomy month of November. I had been detained, in the course of a journey, by a slight indisposition, from which I was recovering ; but I was still feverish, and was obliged to keep within doors all day, in an inn of the small town of Derby. A wet Sunday in a country inn! whoever has had the luck to experience one, can alone judge of my situation. The rain pattered against the casements ; the bells tolled for church with a melancholy sound. I went to the windows in quest of something to amuse the eye ;, but it seem. ed as if I had been placed completely out of the reach of all amusement. The windows of my bed-room looked out among tiled roofs and stacks of chimneys, while those of my sitting-room commanded a full view of the stable-yard. I know of nothing more calculated to make a man sick of this world than a stable-yard on a rainy day. The place was littered with wet straw that had been kicked about by travellers and stable-boys. In one corner was a stagnant pool of water, surrounding an island of muck ; there were several half-drowned fowls crowded together under a cart, among which was a miserable, crest fallen cock, drenched out of all life and spirit ; his drooping tail, matted as it were, into a single feather, along which the water trickled from his back; near the cart was a half-dozing cow, chewing the cud, and standing patiently to be rained on, with wreaths of vapour rising from her reeking hide ; a wall-eyed horse, tired of the loneliness of the stable, was poking his spectral head out of a window, with the rain dripping on it from the eaves ; an unhappy cur, chained to a doghouse hard by, uttered something every now and then, between a bark and a yelp; a drab of a kitchen wench tramped backwards and forwards through the yard in pattens, looking as sulky as the weather itself ; every thing in short, was comfortless and forlorn, excepting a crew of hard-drinking ducks, assembled like boon companions round a puddle, and making a riotous noise over their liquor.