페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub
[blocks in formation]

Old Arthur's board: on the capacious round
Some British pen has sketch'd the names renown'd,
In marks obscure, of his immortal peers.
Though join'd by magic skill with many a rhyme,
The Druid frame unhonour'd falls a prey
To the slow vengeance of the wizard time,
And fade the British characters away;
Yet Spenser's page, that chaunts in verse sublime
Those chiefs, shall live unconscious of decay.

IX.

TO THE RIVER LODON.

Ah! what a weary race my feet have run,
Since first I trod thy banks with alders crown'd,
And thought my way was all through fairy ground,
Beneath thy azure sky and golden sun:
Where first my Muse to lisp her notes begun!
While pensive memory traces back the round,
Which fills the varied interval between ;
Much pleasure, more of sorrow, marks the scene.
Sweet native stream! those skies and suns so pure
No more return, to cheer my evening road!
Yet still one joy remains, that not obscure,
Nor useless, all my vacant days have flow'd,
From youth's gay dawn to manhood's prime mature;
Nor with the Muse's laurel unbestow'd.

THE PROGRESS OF DISCONTENT. 1746.
When now mature in classic knowledge,
The joyful youth is sent to college,

His father comes, a vicar plain,
At Oxford bred-in Anna's reign,
And thus, in form of humble suitor,
Bowing accosts a reverend tutor.
"Sir, I'm a Glo'stershire divine,
And this my eldest son of nine;
My wife's ambition and my own
Was that this child should wear a gown;

I'll warrant that his good behaviour
Will justify your future favour;
And for his parts, to tell the truth,
My son's a very forward youth;

Has Horace all by heart-you'd wonder-
And mouths out Homer's Greek like thunder.
If you'd examine-and admit him,
A scholarship would nicely fit him:
That he succeeds 'tis ten to one;
Your vote and interest, Sir!"-'Tis done.
Our pupil's hopes, though twice defeated,
Are with a scholarship completed:
A scholarship but half maintains,
And college rules are heavy chains:
In garret dark he smokes and puns,
A prey to discipline and duns;
And now intent on new designs,
Sighs for a fellowship-and fines.

When nine full tedious winters past, That utmost wish is crown'd at last : But the rich prize no sooner got, Again he quarrels with his lot:

"These fellowships are pretty things,
We live indeed like petty kings:

But who can bear to waste his whole age
Amid the dullness of a college,
Debarr'd the common joys of life,
And that prime bliss-a loving wife!
O! what's a table richly spread
Without a woman at its head!
Would some snug benefice but fall,
Ye feasts, ye dinners! farewell all!
To officers I'd bid adieu,

Of Dean, Vice Pres.-of Bursar too;
Come joys, that rural quiet yields,

Come, tithes, and house, and fruitful fields!"
Too fond of freedom and of ease
A patron's vanity to please,

Long time he watches, and by stealth,
Each frail incumbent's doubtful health;
At length-and in his fortieth year,
A living drops-two hundred clear!
With breast elate beyond expression,
He hurries down to take possession,
With rapture views the sweet retreat—
"What a convenient house! how neat!
For fuel here's sufficient wood:
Pray God the cellars may be good!
The garden-that must be new plann`d—
Shall these old-fashion'd yew-trees stand?
O'er yonder vacant plot shall rise
The flow'ry shrub of thousand dyes:-
Yon wall, that feels the southern ray,
Shall blush with ruddy fruitage gay:
While thick beneath its aspect warm
O'er well-rang'd hives the bees shall swarm,
From which, ere long, of golden gleam
Metheglin's luscious juice shall stream:
This awkward hut, o'ergrown with ivy,
We'll alter to a modern privy:
Up yon green slope, of hazels trim,
An avenue so cool and dim,
Shall to an arbour, at the end,
In spite of gout, entice a friend.
My predecessor lov'd devotion-
But of a garden had no notion."

Continuing this fantastic farce on,
He now commences country parson.
To make his character entire,
He weds-a cousin of the 'squire;
Not over weighty in the purse,
But many doctors have done worse:
And though she boasts no charms divine,
Yet she can carve and make birch wine.

Thus fixt, content he taps his barrel, Exhorts his neighbours not to quarrel; Finds his church-wardens have discerning Both in good liquor and good learning; With tithes his barns replete he sees, And chuckles o'er his surplice fees; Studies to find out latent dues, And regulates the state of pews; Rides a sleek mare with purple housing, To share the monthly club's carousing;

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Of Oxford pranks facetious tells,
And-but on Sundays-hears no bells;
Sends presents of his choicest fruit,
And prunes himself each sapless shoot;
Plants cauliflow'rs, and boasts to rear
The earliest melons of the year;
Thinks alteration charming work is,
Keeps bantam cocks, and feeds his turkies;
Builds in his copse a fav'rite bench,
And stores the pond with carp and tench.
But ah! too soon his thoughtless breast
By cares domestic is opprest;
And a third butcher's bill, and brewing,
Threaten inevitable ruin:

[ocr errors]

Return, ye days! when endless pleasure

, I found in reading, or in leisure!

[blocks in formation]

When calm around the common room
I puff'd my daily pipe's perfume!
Rode for a stomach, and inspected,
At annual bottlings, corks selected:
And din'd untax'd, untroubled, under
The portrait of our pious founder!
When impositions were supply'd
To light my pipe-or soothe my pride-
No cares were then for forward peas,
A yearly-longing wife to please;
My thoughts no christ'ning dinners crost,
No children cry'd for butter'd toast;
And ev'ry night I went to bed,
Without a modus in my head!"

Oh! trifling head, and fickle heart!
Chagrin'd at whatsoe'er thou art;
A dupe to follies yet untry'd,
And sick of pleasures scarce enjoy'd!
Each prize possess'd, thy transport ceases,
And in pursuit alone it pleases.

[blocks in formation]

I am out of humanity's reach,

I must finish my journey alone, Never hear the sweet music of speech,

I start at the sound of my own, The beasts, that roam over the plain,

My form with indifference see; They are so unacquainted with man,

Their tameness is shocking to me.

a

Society, friendship, and love,

Divinely bestowed upon man, Oh, had I the wings of a dove,

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

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

And be cheered by the sallies of youth.

Religion! what treasure untold

Resides in that heavenly word! More precious than silver and gold,

Or all that this earth can afford. But the sound of the church-going bell

These vallies and rocks never heard, Never sighed at the sound of a knell,

Or smiled when a sabbath appeared.

Ye nymphs! if e'er your eyes were red
With tears o'er hapless favourites shed,

O share Maria's grief!
Her favourite, even in his cage,
(What will not hunger's cruel rage?)

Assassined by a thief.
Where Rhenus strays his vines among,
The egg was laid from which he sprung,

And though by nature mute,
Or only with a whistle blest,
Well-taught he all the sounds exprest

Of flagelet or flute.
The honours of his ebon poll
Were brighter than the sleekest mole;

His bosom of the hue,
With which Aurora decks the skies,
When piping winds shall soon arise

To sweep up all the dew.
Above, below, in all the house,
Dire foe alike to bird and mouse,

No cat had leave to dwell;
And Bully's cage supported stood
On props of smoothest-shaven wood,

Large-built and latticed well.
Well-latticed—but the grate, alas!
Not rough with wire of steel or brass,

For Bully's plumage sake, But smooth with wands from Ouse's side, With which, when neatly peeled and dried,

The swains their baskets make.

a

Ye winds, that have made me your sport,

Convey to this desolate shore
Some cordial endearing report

Of a land, I shall visit no more.
My friends, do they now and then send

A wish or a thought after me?
O tell me I yet have a friend,

Though a friend I am never to see.

Ilow 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.

Night veiled the pole. All seemed secure. When led by instinct sharp and sure,

Subsistence to provide,

A FABLE.

A beast forth-sallied on the scout,

THE POET'S NEW-YEAR'S GIFT Long-backed, long-tailed, with whisker'd snout, And badger-coloured bide.

TO MRS. (NOW LADY) THROCKMORTON. He, entering at the study-door,

Maria! I have every good
Its ample area 'gan explore;

For thee wished many a time,
And something in the wind

Both sad, and in a cheerful mood,
Conjectured, sniffing round and round,

But never yet in rhyme.
Better than all the books he found,

To wish thee fairer is no need,
Food chiefly for the mind.

More prudent, or more sprightly,
Just then, by adverse fate imprest,

Or more ingenious, or more freed
A dream disturbed poor Bully's rest;

From temper-flaws unsightly.
In sleep he seemed to view

What favour then not yet possest
A rat, fast-clinging to the cage,

Can I for thee require,
And screaming at the sad presage,

In wedded love already blest,
Awoke and found it true.

To thy whole heart's desire?
For, aided both by ear and scent,

None here is happy but in part:
Right to his mark the monster went-

Full bliss is bliss divine;
Ah, Muse! forbear to speak

There dwells some wish in every heart, Minute the horrors that ensued;

And doubtless one in thine.
His teeth were strong, the cage was wood-
He left poor Bully's beak.

That wish on some fair future day,

Which fate shall brightly gild,
He left it-but he should have ta'en;
That beak, whence issued many a strain

('Tis blameless, be it what it may)

I wish it all fulfilled.
Of such mellifluous tone,
Might have repaid him well, I wote,
For silencing so sweet a throat,

PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATED.
Fast set within his own.'
Maria weeps—the Muses mourn-

I shall not ask Jean Jacques Rousseau,
So, when by Bacchanalians torn,

If birds confabulate or no;
On Thracian Hebrus' side
The tree-enchanter Orpheus fell;

'Tis clear that they were always able His head alone remained to tell

To hold discourse, at least in fable;
The cruel death he died.

And e'en the child who knows no better,
Than to interpret by the letter
A story of a cock and bull,

Must have a most uncommon skull.
THE ROSE.

It chanced then on a winter's day,
The rose had been washed, just washed in a shower,

But warm, and bright, and calm as May, Which Mary to Anna conveyed,

The birds, conceiving a design

To forestall sweet St. Valentine, The plentiful moisture incumbered the flower,

In many an orchard, copse, and grove, And weighed down its beautiful head.

Assembled on affairs of love, The cup was all filled, and the leaves were all wet; And with much twitter and much chatter, And it seemed, to a fanciful view,

Began to agitate the matter. To weep for the buds it had left with regret,

At length a Bulfinch, who could boast On the flourishing bush where it grew.

More years and wisdom than the most,

Entreated, opening wide his beak, I hastily seized it, unfit as it was

A moment's liberty to speak; For a nosegay, so dripping and drown'd,

And, silence publicly enjoined, And swinging it rudely, too rudely, alas!

Delivered briefly thus his mind. I snapped it, it fell to the ground.

My friends! be cautious how ye treat

The subject upon which we meet; And such, I exclaimed, is the pitiless part

I fear we shall have winter yet. Some act by the delicate mind,

A Finch, whose tongue knew no control, Regardless of wringing and breaking a heart Already to sorrow resigned.

With golden wing, and satin pole,

A last year's bird, who ne'er had tried This elegant rose, had I shaken it less,

What marriage ineans, thus pert replied. Might have bloomed with its owner a while, Methinks the gentleman, quoth she, And the tear, that is wiped with a little address, Opposite in the apple-tree, May be followed perhaps by a smile.

By his good will would keep us single,

« 이전계속 »