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As dew and rain, as light and air,
From heaven Instruction came,
Kindle a sacred flame;
Exalt her sons on high,
Their birth beyond the sky,
Albion ! on every human soul
By thee be knowledge shed,
Wide as the shores are spread :
Oh that thy flag, unfurled,
Truth's banner round the world.
ON THE ROYAL INFANT,*
STILLBORN, NOV. 5, 1817.
A THRONE on earth awaited thec;
Vain hope that throne thou must not fill;
Yet while we mourn thy flight from earth,
* The child of the Princess Charlotte.
The Mother knew her offspring dead :
Led by his natal star, she trod
A TALE TOO TRUE.
This poem, literally a summer-day's labour, was written on the 23rd July, 1796, at
Scarborough, just after the Author had been 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,
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,
Ducks, hens, doves, and crickets, and all.
At the door sat a damsel, a sweet little girl,
Arrayed in a petticoat green;
And milder than moonlight her mien.
She sang as she knotted a garland of flowers,
Right mellowly warbled her tongue;
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,
Would have called it a bow made of wood.
No matter, the dimple-cheeked damsel was pleased,
And modestly gave him her wrist;
As if 't were a wasp in his fist.
Then into the cottage she led the young fool,
Who stood all aghast to behold
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;
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;
Thus, far in a wilderness, bleak and forlorn,
When winter deflowers the year,
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 ;
The maid at his elbow did sit.
But when she perceived him alive once again,
She carolled a sonnet so sweet,
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,
Our true lovers lived-f he fable saith true
As merry as larks in their nest,
- The ignorant always are blest.
Through valleys and meadows they wandered by day,
And warbled and whistled along;
Their life was a galloping song.
When they twittered their notes from the top of a hill,
If November did not look like May,
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;
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;
Quite up to the beard of her rules.
Her school, by-the-bye, was the noblest on earth
For mortals to study themselves;
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 lier wand Could crumble to primitive dust.