ページの画像
PDF
ePub

Where all's so guarded and recluse,
That none his liberty can lose ;-
Here each may, as his means afford,
Dine like a pauper or a lord ;
And those who can't the cost defray
May live to dine another day.

Now let us ramble o'er the green,
To see and hear what's heard and seen;
To breathe the air, enjoy the light,
And hail yon sun, who shines as bright
Upon the dungeon and the gallows
As on York Minster or Kew Palace.
And here let us the scene review :
That's the old castle, this the new ;
Yonder the felons walk, and there
The lady prisoners take the air ;
Behind are solitary cells,
Where hermits live like snails in shells;
There stands the chapel for good people ;
That black balcony is the steeple ;
How gaily spins the weathercock !
How proudly shines the crazy clock !
A clock, whose wheels eccentric run
More like my head than like the sun;
And yet it shows us, right or wrong,
The days are only twelve hours long;
Though captives often reckon here
Each day a month, each month a year.
There honest William stands in state,
The porter, at the horrid gate ;
Yet no ill-natured soul is he,-
Entrance to all the world is free;
One thing, indeed, is rather hard,
Egress is frequently debarred :
Of all the joys within that reign,
There's none like-getting out again!
Across the green, behold the court,
Where jargon reigns and wigs resort ;
Where bloody, tongues fight bloodless battles,
For life and death, for straws and rattles ;
Where juries yawn their patience out,
And judges dream in spite of gout.
There, on the outside of the door,
(As sang a wicked wag of yore,)
Stands Mother Justice, tall and thin,
Who never yet hath ventured in.

The cause, my friend, may soon be shown:
The lady was a stepping-stone,
Till—though the metamorphose odd is-
A chisel made the block å goddess.
“Odd !” did I say?- I'm wrong this time ;
But I was hampered for a rhyme :
Justice at-I could tell you where-
Is just the same as justice there.

But lo! my frisking dog attends,
The kindest of four-footed friends ;
Brimful of giddiness and mirth,
He is the prettiest fool on earth.
The rogue is twice a squirrel's size,
With short snub nose and big black eyes ;
A cloud of brown adorns his tail,
That curls and serves him for a sail ;
The same deep auburn dyes his ears,
That never were abridged by shears ;
While white around, as Lapland snows,
His hair, in soft profusion, flows;
Waves on his breast and plumes his feet,
With glossy fringe, like feathers fleet.
A thousand antic tricks he plays,
And looks, at once, a thousand ways;
His wit, if he has any, lies
Somewhere between his tail and eyes ;
Sooner the light those eyes will fail,
Than Billy cease to wag that tail !

And yet the fellow ne'er is safe
From the tremendous beak of Ralph;
A raven grim, in black and blue,
As arch a knave as e'er you knew ;
Who hops about with broken pinions,
And thinks these walls his own dominions !
This wag a mortal foe to Bill is,-
They fight like Hector and Achilles ;
Bold Billy runs with all his might,
And conquers, Parthian-like, in flight;
While Ralph his own importance feels,
And wages endless war with heels :
Horses and dogs, and geese and deer,
He slily pinches in the rear ;
They start, surprised, with sudden pain,
While honest Ralph sheers off again.

A melancholy stag appears,
With rueful look and flagging ears;

A feeble, lean, consumptive elf,
The very picture of myself !
My ghostlike form and new-moon phiz
Are just the counterparts of his :
Blasted like me by Fortune's frown ;
Like me twice hunted, twice run down !
Like me pursued, almost to death,
He's come to jail to save his breath!
Still on his painful limbs are seen
The scars where worrying dogs have been ;
Still on his woe-imprinted face
I weep a broken heart to trace.
Daily the mournful wretch I feed
With crumbs of comfort and of bread ;
But man, false man! so well he knows,
He deems the species all his foes.
In vain I smile to soothe his fear,
He will not, dare not come too near ;
He lingers-looks-and fain he would
Then strains his neck to reach the food.
Oft as his plaintive looks I see,
A brother's bowels yearn in me.
What rocks and tempests yet await
Both him and me, we leave to fate :
We know, by past experience taught,
That innocence availeth nought :
I feel, and it is my proudest boast,
That conscience is itself a host;
While this inspires my swelling breast,
Let all forsake me, I'm at rest;
Ten thousand deaths, in every nerve,
I'd rather suffer than deserve.

But yonder comes the victim's wife,
A dappled doe, all fire and life :
She trips along with gallant pace,
Her limbs alert, her motion grace ;
Soft as the moonlight fairies bound,
Her footsteps scarcely kiss the ground;
Gently she lifts her fair brown head,
And licks my hand, and begs for bread:
I pat her forehead, stroke her neck,-
She starts and gives a timid squeak;
Then, while her eye with brilliance burns,
The fawning animal returns ;
Pricks her bob-tail, and waves her ears,
And happier than a queen appears !

-Poor beast! from fell ambition free,
And all the woes of Liberty ;
Born in a gaol, a prisoner bred,
No dreams of hunting rack thine head ;
Ah! mayest thou never pass these bounds,
To see the world-and feel the hounds !
Still all her beauty, all her art,
Have failed to win her husband's heart;
Her lambent eyes and lovely chest,
Her swan-white neck and ermine breast,
Her taper legs and spotty hide,
So softly, delicately pied,
In vain their fond' allurements spread,
To love and joy her spouse is dead.
But, lo! the evening shadows fall
Broader and browner from the wall ;
A warning voice, like curfew bell,
Commands each captive to his cell ;
My faithful dog and I retire,
To play and chatter by the fire :
Soon comes a turnkey with “Good night, sir !”
And bolts the door with all his might, sir.
Then leisurely to bed I creep,
And sometimes wake—and sometimes sleep.
These are the joys that reign in prison,
And if I'm happy 't is with reason :
Yet still this prospect o'er the rest
Makes every blessing doubly blest;
That soon these pleasures will be vanished,
And I from all these comforts banished !

THE BRAHMIN.

EXTRACT FROM CANTO I.

ONCE on the mountain's balmy lap reclined,
The sage unlocked the treasures of his mind;
Pure from his lips sublime instruction came,
As the blest altar breathes celestial flame;
A band of youths and virgins round him pressed,
Whom thus the prophet and the sage addressed :-

“Through the wide universe's boundless range, All that exist, decay, revive, and change ; No atom torpid or inactive lies; A being once created never dies. The waning moon, when quenched in shades of night, Renews her youth with all the charms of light; The flowery beauties of the blooming year Shrink from the shivering blast, and disappear; Yet warmed with quickening showers of genial rain, Spring from their graves, and purple all the plain. As day the night, and night succeeds the day, So death reanimates, so lives decay: Like billows on the undulating main, The swelling fall, the falling swell again : Thus on the tide of time, inconstant, roll The dying body and the living soul. In every animal inspired with breath, The flowers of life produce the seeds of death ;The seeds of death, though scattered in the tomb, Spring with new vigour, vegetate and bloom.

When wasted down to dust, the creature dies,
Quick from its cell the enfranchised spirit flies ;
Fills, with fresh energy, another form,
And towers an elephant, or glides a worm;
The awful lion's royal shape assumes ;
The fox's subtlety, or peacock's plumes ;
Swims, like an eagle, in the eye of noon,
Or wails, a screech-owl, to the deaf, cold moon;
Haunts the dead brakes where serpents hiss and glare,
Or hums, a glittering insect, in the air,
The illustrious souls of great and virtuous men,
In noble animals revive again;
But base and vicious spirits wind their way,
In scorpions, vultures, sharks, and beasts of prey.
The fair, the gay, the witty, and the brave,
The fool, the coward, courtier, tyrant, slave,
Each, in congenial animals, shall find
A home and kindred for his wandering mind.

“Even the cold body, when enshrined in earth,
Rises again in vegetable birth :
From the vile ashes of the bad proceeds
A baneful harvest of pernicious weeds;
The relics of the good, awaked by showers,
Peep from the lap of death, and live in flowers;
Sweet modest flowers, that blush along the vale,
Whose fragrant lips embalm the passing gale."

« 前へ次へ »