ページの画像
PDF
ePub

As dew and rain, as light and air,

From heaven Instruction came,
The waste of Nature to repair,

Kindle a sacred flame;
A flame to purify the earth,

Exalt her sons on high,
And train them for their second birth,-

Their birth beyond the sky,

Albion ! on every human soul

By thee be knowledge shed,
Far as the ocean-waters roll,

Wide as the shores are spread :
Truth makes thy children free at home;

Oh that thy flag, unfurled,
Might shine, where'er thy children roam,

Truth's banner round the world.

ON THE ROYAL INFANT,*

STILLBORN, NOV. 5, 1817.

A THRONE on earth awaited thee;
A nation longed to see thy face,
Heir to a glorious ancestry,
And father of a mightier race.

Vain hope! that throne thou must not fill;
Thee may that nation ne'er behold;
Thine ancient house is heirless still,
Thy line shall never be unrolled.

Yet while we mourn thy flight from earth,
Thine was a destiny sublime;
Caught up to Paradise in birth,
Plucked by Eternity from Time.

* The child of the Princess Charlotte.

The Mother knew her offspring dead :
Oh! was it grief, or was it love
That broke her heart ?-the spirit fled
To seek her nameless child above.

Led by his natal star, she trod
The path to heaven :--the meeting there,
And how they stood before their GOD,
The day of judgment shall declare.

A TALE TOO TRUE.

This poem, literally a summer-day's labour, was written on the 23rd July, 1796, at

Scarborough, just after the uthor had be liberated from York Castle, and forms a supplement to his “ Prison Amusements," originally published under the assumed name of Paul Positive.

ONE beautiful morning, when Paul was a child,

And went with a satchel to school,
The rogue played the truant, which shows he was wild,

And, though little, a very great fool.

He came to a cottage that grew on the moor,

No mushroom was ever so strong; 'T was snug as a mouse-trap; and close by the door

A river ran rippling along.

The cot was embosomed in rook-nested trees,

Like grenadiers gracefully tall,
Geese gabbled in concert with bagpiping bees,

Ducks, hens, doves, and crickets, and all.

At the door sat a damsel, a sweet little girl,

Arrayed in a petticoat green;
Her skin was lovely as mother-of-pearl,

And milder than moonlight her mien.

She sang as she knotted a garland of flowers,

Right mellowly warbled her tongue;
Such strains in Elysium's romantical bowers,
To soothe the departed, are sung.

Paul stood like a gander, he stood like himself,

Eyes, ears, nose, and mouth opened wide; When, suddenly rising, the pretty young elf

The wonder-struck wanderer spied.

She started and trembled, she blushed and she smiled,

Then dropping a courtesy, she said,
"Pray, what brought you hither, my dear little child ?
Did your legs run away

with
your

head ?"

Yes, yes!” stammered Paul, and he made a fine bow,

At least 't was the finest he could,
Though the lofty-bred belles of St. James's, I trow,

Would have called it a bow made of wood.

No matter, the dimple-cheeked damsel was pleased,

And modestly gave him her wrist;
Paul took the fine present, and tenderly squeezed,

As if 't were a wasp in his fist.

Then into the cottage she led the young fool,

Who stood all aghast to behold
The lass's grim mother, who managed a school,

A beldame, a witch, and a scold.

Her eyes were as red as two lobsters when boiled,

Her complexion the colour of straw;
Though she grinned like a death's head whenever she smiled,

She showed not a tooth in her jaw.

Her body was shrivelled and dried like a kecks,

Her arms were all veins, bone, and skin;
And then she'd a beard, sir, in spite of her sex,

I don't know how long, on her chin.

Her dress was as mournful as mourning could be,

Black sackcloth, bleached white with her tears; For a widow, fair ladies! a widow was she,

Most dismally stricken in years.

The charms of her youth, if she ever had any,

Were all under total eclipse;
While the charms of her daughter, who truly had many,
Were only unfolding their lips.

Thus, far in a wilderness, bleak and forlorn,

When winter deflowers the year,
All hoary and horrid, I've seen an old thorn,

In icicle trappings appear:

While a sweet-smiling snowdrop enamels its root,

Like the morning star gilding the sky; Or an elegant crocus peeps out at its foot,

As blue as Miss Who-ye-will's eye.

“Dear mother!” the damsel exclaimed with a sigh,

“I have brought you a poor little wretch, Your victim and mine,”—but a tear from her eye

Washed away all the rest of her speech.

The beldame then mounting her spectacles on,

Like an arch o'er the bridge of her nose, Examined the captive, then crying “Well done!”

Bade him welcome-with twenty dry blows.

Paul fell down astounded, and only not dead,

For death was not quite within call; Recovering, he found himself in a warm bed,

And in a warm fever and all.

Like piping hot gingerbread outstretched he lay,

Perspiring like duck on the spit ;
While weeping her soul from her eyelids away,

The maid at his elbow did sit.

But when she perceived him alive once again,

She carolled a sonnet so sweet,
The captive, transported, forgot all his pain,

And presently fell at her feet.

All rapture and fondness, all folly and joy,

“Dear damsel ! for your sake," he cried, “I'll be your cross mother's own dutiful boy,

And you shall one day be my bride.”

“For shame !" quoth the nymph, though she looked the reverse,

“ Such nonsense I cannot approve; Too young we're to wed.”—Paul said, “So much the worse; But are we too young, then, to love?”

The lady replied in the language that speaks

Not unto the ear, but the eye,
The language that blushes through eloquent cheeks,

When modesty looks very sly.

Our true lovers lived for the fable saith true

As merry as larks in their nest,
Who are learning to sing while the hawk is in view,

--The ignorant always are blest.

Through valleys and meadows they wandered by day,

And warbled and whistled along ;
So liquidly glided their moments away,

Their life was a galloping song.

When they twittered their notes from the top of a hill,

If November did not look like May,
If rocks did not caper, nor rivers stand still,

The asses at least did not bray.

If the trees did not leap, nor the mountains advance,

They were deafer than bailiffs, 't is clear;
If sun, moon, and stars did not lead up a dance,

They wanted a musical eai.

But sometimes the beldame, cross, crazy, and old,

Would thunder, and threaten, and swear; Expose them to tempests, to heat, and to cold,

To danger, fatigue, and despair.

For wisdom, she argued, could only be taught

By bitter experience to fools;
And she acted, as every good schoolmistress ought,

Quite up to the beard of her rules.

Her school, by-the-bye, was the noblest on earth

For mortals to study themselves;
There many great folks, who were folios by birth,

She cut down to pitiful twelves.

Her rod, like Death's scythe, in her levelling hand

Bowed down rich, poor, wicked, and just; Kings, queens, popes, and heroes, the touch of hier wand Could crumble to primitive dust.

« 前へ次へ »