Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
And his last faltering accents whispered praise.

At church, with meek and unaffected grace, His looks adorned the venerable place; Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway, And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray. The service past, around the pious man, With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran; Even children followed with endearing wile, And plucked his gown, to share the good man's smile. His ready smile a parent's warmth exprest, Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distrest; To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given, But all his serious thoughts had rest in heaven, As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form, Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm, Though round its breast the rolling clouds are spread, Eternal sunshine settles on its head.

Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skilled to rule,
The village master taught his little school;
A man severe he was,

and stern to view,
I knew him well, and every truant knew;
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace
The day's disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laughed with counterfeited glee
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he;
Full well the busy whisper circling round,
Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned;
Yet he was kind, or, if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault;
The village all declared how much he knew;
'Twas certain he could write and cypher too;

Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And even the story ran

that he could gauge;
In arguing too, the parson owned his skill,
For even though vanquished, he could argue still;
While words of learned length and thundering sound
Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around,
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.

But past is all his fame. The very spot Where many a time he triumphed, is forgot. Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high, Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye, Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspired, Where grey-beard mirth, and smiling toil retired, Where village statesmen talked with looks profound, And news much older than their ale went round. *Imagination fondly stoops to trace The parlour splendours of that festive place; The white-washed wall, the nicely sanded floor, The varnished clock that clicked behind the door; The chest contrived a double debt to pay, A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day; The pictures placed for ornament and use, The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose; The hearth, except when winter chilled the day, With aspen boughs, and flowers and fennel gay; While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show, Ranged o'er the chimney, glistened in a row.

Vain transitory splendour! could not all
Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall?
Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart
An hour's importance to the poor man's heart;
Thither no more the peasant shall repair
To sweet oblivion of his daily care;
No more the farmer's news, the barber's tale,

No more the woodman's ballad shall prevail;
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to hear;
The host himself no longer shall be found
Careful to see the mantling bliss go round;
Nor the coy maid, half willing to be prest,
Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

It is a place where poets crowned may feel the heart's decaying; It is a place where happy saints may weep amid their praying; Yet let the grief and humbleness as low as silence languish: Earth surely now may give her calm to whom she gave her anguish.

II.

O poets, from a maniac's tongue was poured the deathless singing! O Christians, at your cross of hope a hopeless hand was clinging! 0 men, this man in brotherhood your weary paths beguiling, Groaned inly while he taught you peace, and died while ye were smiling!

III.

And now, what time ye all may read through dimming tears

his story,

How discord on the music fell and darkness on the glory, And how when, one by one, sweet sounds and wandering lights departed, no less

a loving face because so brokenhearted

He wore

IV.

He shall be strong to sanctify the poet's high vocation,
And bow the meekest Christian down in meeker adoration;
Nor ever shall he be, in praise, by wise or good forsaken,
Named softly as the household name of one whom God hath taken.

ON THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL GEORGE.

WRITTEN WHEN THE NEWS ARRIVED.

Toll for the brave!

The brave that are no more!
All sunk beneath the wave,

Fast by their native shore !

Eight hundred of the brave,

Whose courage well was tried,
Had made the vessel heel,

And laid her on her side.

A land-breeze shook the shrouds,

And she was overset;
Down went the Royal George,

With all her crew complete.

Toll for the brave!

Brave Kempenfelt is gone;
His last sea-fight is fought;

His work of glory done.

It was not in the battle;

No tempest gave the shock;
She sprang no fatal leak;

She ran upon no rock.

His sword was in its sheath;

His fingers held the pen,
When Kempenfelt went down

With twice four hundred men.

Weigh the vessel up,

Once dreaded by our foes!
And mingle with our cup

The tears that England owes.

Her timbers yet, are sound,

And she may float again
Full charged with England's thunder,

And plough the distant main.

But Kempenfelt is gone,

His victories are o'er;
And he and his eight hundred

Shall plough the wave no more.

VERSES

SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER SELKIRK DURING HIS

SOLITARY ABODE ON THE ISLAND OF JUAN FERNANDEZ,

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.

« ForrigeFortsæt »