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The youth did ride, and soon did meet Dreading a negative, and overaw'd
Lest he should trespass, begg'd to go abroad.
“ Go, fellow !- whither?”-turning short aboutBy catching at his rein ;
“ Nay. Stay at home, you 're always going out."
“ 'T is but a step, sir, just at the street's end." But not performing what he meant,
« For what?"_" An please you, sir, to see a friend." And gladly would have done,
“ A friend !" Horatio cried, and seem'd to startThe frighted steed he frighted more,
“ Yea marry shalt thou, and with all my heart. — And made him faster run.
And fetch my cloak ; for, though the night be raw,
I'll see him too — the first I ever saw.”
I knew the man, and knew his nature mild,
And was his plaything often when a child;
But somewhat at that moment pinch'd him close,
Else he was seldom bitter or morose.
Perhaps his confidence just then betray'd,
His grief might prompt him with the speech he made;
Perhaps 't was mere good-humour gave it birth, With postboy scamp'ring in the rear,
The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth.
Howe'er it was, his language in my mind,
Bespoke at least a man that knew mankind. “ Stop thief! stop thief! -- a highwayman !" But not to moralize too much, and strain, Not one of them was mute;
To prove an evil, of which all complain,
(I hate long arguments verbosely spun,)
One story more, dear Hill, and I have done.
Once on a time an emp'ror, a wise man,
No matter where, in China, or Japan,
Decreed, that whosoever should offend
Against the well-known duties of a friend,
Convicted once should ever after wear
But half a coat, and show his bosom bare.
The punishment importing this, no doubt,
That all was naught within, and all found out. Nor stopp'd till where he had got up
0 happy Britain! we have not to fear He did again get down.
Such hard and arbitrary measure here;
Else, could a law, like that which I relate,
Once have the sanction of our triple state,
Some few, that I have known in days of old,
Would run most dreadful risk of catching cold;
While you, my friend, whatever wind should blow,
JOSEPH HILL, Esq.
Survivor sole, and hardly such, of all,
That once liv'd here, thy brethren, at my birth, Dear Joseph - five-and-twenty years ago
(Since which I number threescore winters past,) Alas, how time escapes ! - 't is even so
A shatter'd vet'ran, hollow-trunk'd perhaps, With frequent intercourse, and always sweet, As now, and with excoriate forks deform, And always friendly, we were wont to cheat Relics of ages! Could a mind, imbued A tedious hour — and now we never meet ! With truth from Heaven, created thing adore, As some grave gentleman in Terence says,
I might with rev'rence kneel, and worship thee. ('T was therefore much the same in ancient days,) Good lack, we know not what to-morrow brings - It seems idolatry with some excuse, Strange fluctuation of all human things!
When our forefather Druids in their oaks
Unpurified by an authentic act
Whence comes it then, that in the wane of life, Of thickest shades, like Adam after taste
Horatio's servant once, with bow and cringe, The auburn nut that held thee, swallowing down Swinging the parlour door upon it's hinge, | Thy yet close-folded latitude of boughs
And all thine embryo vastness at a gulp.
| Delight in agitation, yet sustain But Fate thy growth decreed; autumral rains The force that agitates, not unimpair'd; Beneath thy parent tree mellow'd the soil
But, worn by frequent impulse, to the cause
Of their best tone their dissolution owe.
Thought cannot spend itself, comparing still
From almost nullity into a state So Fancy dreams. Disprove it, if ye can, Of matchless grandeur, and declension thence, Ye reas'ners broad awake, whose busy search Slow, into such magnificent decay. Of argument, employ'd too oft amiss,
Time was, when, settling on thy leaf, a fly Sists half the pleasures of short life away! Could shake thee to the root — and time has been
When tempests could not. At thy firmest age Thou fell'st mature; and in the loamy clod | Thou hadst within thy bole solid contents, [dleck Swelling with vegetative force instinct
That might have ribb’d the sides and plank'd thie Didst burst thine egg, as theirs the fabled Twins, Of some flagg'd admiral ; and tortuous arms, Now stars; two lobes, protruding, pair'd exact ; The shipwright's darling treasure, didst present A leaf succeeded, and another leaf,
To the four-quarter'd winds, robust and bold, And, all the elements thy puny growth
Warp'd into tough knee-timber *, many a load! Fost'ring propitious, thou becam’st a twig.
But the axe spar'd thee. In those thriftier days
Oaks fell not, hewn by thousands, to supply Who liv'd, when thou wast such? Oh, couldst The bottomless demands of contest, wag'd thou speak,
For senatorial honours. Thus to Time As in Dodona once thy kindred trees
The task was left to whittle thee away Oracular, I would not curious ask
With his sly scythe, whose ever-nibbling edge, The future, best unknown, but at thy mouth Noiseless, an atom, and an atom more, Inquisitive, the less ambiguous past.
Disjoining from the rest, has, unobserv'd,
Achiev'd a labour, which had far and wide,
By man perform'd, made all the forest ring.
Embowell'd now, and of thy ancient self
Possessing nought, but the scoop'd rind, that seems Desp'rate attempt, till trees shall speak again! An huge throat, calling to the clouds for drink,
Which it would give in rivulets to thy root, Time made thee what thou wast, king of the Thou temptest none, but rather much forbidd'st woods;
The feller's toil, which thou couldst ill requite. And Time hath made thee what thou art — a cave Yet is thy root sincere, sound as the rock, For owls to roost in. Once thy spreading boughs | A quarry of stout spurs, and knotted fangs, O'erhung the champaign; and the num'rous flocks, / Which, crook'd into a thousand whimsies, clasp That graz'd it, stood beneath that ample cope The stubborn soil, and hold thee still erect. Uncrowded, yet safe-shelter'd from the storm. No flock frequents thee now. Thou hast outliv'd So stands a kingdom, whose foundation yet Thy popularity, and art become
Fails not, in virtue and in wisdom laid, (Unless verse rescue thee awhile) a thing
Though all the superstructure, by the tooth Forgotten, as the foliage of thy youth.
Pulveriz'd of venality, a shell
Stands now, and semblance only of itself!
Thine arms have left thee. Winds have rent Then twig; then sapling; and, as cent'ry rollid
them off Slow after century, a giant-bulk
Long since, and rovers of the forest wild [left Of girth enormous, with moss-cushion'd root With bow and shaft, have burnt them. Some have Upheav'd above the soil, and sides emboss'd A splinter'd stump, bleach'd to a snowy white; With prominent wens globose - till at the last And some, memorial none, where once they grew. The rottenness, which time is charged to inflict Yet life still lingers in thee, and puts forth On other mighty ones, found also thee.
Proof not contemptible of what she can,
Even where death predominates. The spring What exhibitions various hath the world
Finds thee not less alive to her sweet force, Witness'd of mutability in all,
Than yonder upstarts of the neighb'ring wood, That we account most durable below!
So much thy juniors, who their birth receiv'd
Half a millennium since the date of thine.,
To teach, no spirit dwells in thee, nor voice
* Knee-timber is found in the crooked arms of In all that live, plant, animal, and man,
oak, which, by reason of their distortion, are easily And in conclusion mar them. Nature's threads, adjusted to the angle formed where the deck and Fine passing thought, e'en in her coarsest works, the ship's sides meet.
On thy distorted root, with hearers none,
They left their outcast mate behind, And scudded still before the wind.
Some succour yet they could afford;
And, such as storms allow,
Delay'd not to bestow.
One man alone, the father of us all, Drew not his life from woman; never gaz'd, With mute unconsciousness of what he saw, On all around him; learn'd not by degrees, Nor ow'd articulation to his ear; But, moulded by his Maker into man At once, upstood intelligent, survey'd All creatures, with precision understood Their purport, uses, properties, assign'd To each his name significant, and, fill'd With love and wisdom, render'd back to Heaven In praise harmonious the first air he drew. He was excus'd the penalties of dull Minority. No tutor charg d his hand With the thought-tracing quill, or task'd his mind With problems. History, not wanted yet, Lean'd on her elbow, watching Time, whose course, Eventful, should supply her with a theme.
Nor, cruel as it seem'd, could he
Their haste himself condemn, Aware that flight, in such a sea,
Alone could rescue them; Yet bitter felt it still to die Deserted, and his friends so nigh.
He long survives, who lives an hour
In ocean, self-upheld : And so long he, with unspent pow',
His destiny repellid : And ever as the minutes flew, Entreated help, or cried -“ Adieu !"
JAMES BEATTIE, an admired poet and a moralist, priety applied to such a person as he represents, was born about 1735, in the county of Kincardine, and the “ Gothic days” in which he is placed are in Scotland. His father was a small farmer, who, not historically to be recognised, yet there is great though living in indigence, had imbibed so much of beauty, both moral and descriptive, in the delineathe spirit of his country, that he procured for his tion, and perhaps no writer has managed the Spenson a literary education, first at a parochial school, serian stanza with more dexterity and harmony. and then at the college of New Aberdeen, in The second part of this poem, which contains the which he entered as a bursar or exhibitioner. In maturer part of the education of the young bard, the intervals of the sessions, James is supposed to did not appear till 1774, and then left the work a have added to his scanty pittance by teaching at a fragment. But whatever may be the defects of the country-school. Returning to Aberdeen, he ob- Minstrel, it possesses beauties which will secure it tained the situation of assistant to the master of the a place among the approved productions of the Briprincipal grammar-school, whose daughter he mar- tish muse. ried. From youth he had cultivated a talent for Beattie visited London for the first time in 1771, poetry; and in 1760 he ventured to submit the where he was received with much cordiality by the fruit of his studies in this walk to the public, by a admirers of his writings, who found equal cause to volume of “ Original Poems and Translations.” | love and esteem the author. Not long afterwards, They were followed, in 1765, by “ The Judgment of the degree of LL. D. was conferred on him by his Paris;" and these performances, which displayed a college at Aberdeen. In 1777 a new edition, by subfamiliarity with poetic diction, and harmony of ver- scription, was published of his “ Essay on Truth,” sification, seem to have made him favourably known to which were added three Essays on subjects of in his neighbourhood.
| polite literature. In 1783 he published “ DisserThe interest of the Earl of Errol acquired for tations Moral and Critical,” consisting of detached him the post of professor of moral philosophy and essays, which had formed part of a course of leclogic in the Marischal College of Aberdeen; in tures delivered by the author as professor. His which capacity he published a work, entitled “ An last work was " Evidences of the Christian Reli.
Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, in gion, briefly and plainly stated,” 2 vols. 1786. opposition to Sophistry and Scepticism," 1770. His time was now much occupied with the duties Being written in a popular manner, it was much of his station, and particularly with the education read, and gained the author many admirers, espe- of his eldest son, a youth of uncommon promise. cially among the most distinguished members of the His death of a decline was a very severe trial of the Church of England; and, at the suggestion of Lord father's fortitude and resignation; and it was folMansfield, he was rewarded with a pension of 2001. lowed some years after by that of his younger son. from the King's privy purse.
These afflictions, with other domestic misfortunes, In 1771 his fame was largely extended by the entirely broke his spirits, and brought him to his first part of his “ Minstrel,” a piece the subject of grave at Aberdeen, in August, 1803, in the 68th which is the imagined birth and education of a poet. year of his age. Although the word Minarel is not with much pro
| While from his bending shoulder, decent hung
His harp, the sole companion of his way,
Which to the whistling wind responsive rung:
And ever as he went some merry lay he sung. OR,
Fret not thyself, thou glittering child of pride,
With thee let Pageantry and Power abide:
The gentle Muses haunt the sylvan reign;
Where through wild groves at eve the lonely swain The design was, to trace the progress of a poeti- Enraptured roams, to gaze on Nature's charms.
cal genius, born in a rude age, from the first They hate the sensual, and scorn the vain, dawning of fancy and reason, till that period at The parasite their influence never warms, which he may be supposed capable of appearing Nor him whose sordid soul the love of gold alarms. in the world as a Minstrel, that is, as an itinerant poet and musician;- a character which, accord- Though richest hues the peacock's plumes ador, ing to the notions of our forefathers, was not only Yet horrour screams from his discordant throat. respectable but sacred.
| Rise, sons of harmony, and hail the morn, I have endeavoured to imitate Spenser in the mea- While warbling larks on russet pinions float:
sure of his verse, and in the harmony, simplicity, Or seek at noon the woodland scene remote, and variety of his composition. Antique expres- Where the grey linnets carol from the hill. sions I have avoided ; admitting, however, some o let them ne'er, with artificial note, old words, where they seemed to suit the sub- To please a tyrant, strain the little bill, ject : but I hope none will be found that are now But sing what Heaven inspires, and wander where obsolete, or in any degree not intelligible to a
they will. reader of English poetry. To those who may be disposed to ask, what could Liberal, not lavish, is kind Nature's hand;
induce me to write in so difficult a measure, I Nor was perfection made for man below. can only answer, that it pleases my ear, and Yet all her schemes with nicest art are plann'd, seems, from its Gothic structure and original, to Good counteracting ill, and gladness woe. bear some relation to the subject and spirit of the With gold and gems if Chilian mountains glow; poem. It admits both simplicity and magnifi. If bleak and barren Scotia's hills arise ; cence of sound and of language, beyond any other There plague and poison, lust and rapine grow; stanza that I am acquainted with. It allows the Here peaceful are the vales, and pure the skies, sententiousness of the couplet, as well as the more And freedom fires the soul, and sparkles in the eyes. complex modulation of blank verse. What some critics have remarked, of its uniformity growing Then grieve not, thou, to whom th' indulgent Muse at last tiresome to the ear, will be found to hold Vouchsafes a portion of celestial fire : true, only when the poetry is faulty in other re. Nor blame the partial Fates, if they refuse spects.
Th' imperial banquet, and the rich attire.
Know thine own worth, and reverence the lyre. Book I.
Wilt thou debase the heart which God refio'd ?
No; let thy heaven-taught soul to Heaven aspire, Au! who can tell how hard it is to climb | To fancy, freedom, harmony, resign'd; The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar ; Ambition's grovelling crew for ever left behind. Ah! who can tell how many a soul sublime Has felt the influence of malignant star,
Canst thou forego the pure ethereal soul And waged with Fortune an eternal war ;
In each fine sense so exquisitely keen, Check'd by the scoff of Pride, by Envy's frown, On the dull couch of Luxury to loll, And Poverty's unconquerable bar,
Stung with disease, and stupefied with spleen ; In life's low vale remote has pined alone,
Fain to implore the aid of Flattery's screen, Then dropt into the grave, unpitied and unknown ! Even from thyself thy loathsome heart to hide,
(The mansion then no more of joy serene,) And yet the languor of inglorious days,
Where fear, distrust, malevolence, abide, Not equally oppressive is to all ;
And impotent desire, and disappointed pride ? Him, who ne'er listen'd to the voice of praise, The silence of neglect can ne'er appal.
O how canst thou renounce the boundless store There are, who, deaf to mad Ambition's call, Of charms which Nature to her votary yields ! Would shrink to hear th' obstreperous trump of The warbling woodland, the resounding shore, Fame;
The pomp of groves, and garniture of fields; Supremely blest, if to their portion fall
All that the genial ray of morning gilds, Health, competence, and peace. Nor higher aim And all that echoes to the song of even, Had he, whose simple tale these artless lines pro- | All that the mountain's sheltering bosom shields, claim.
And all the dread magnificence of Heaven,
O how canst thou renounce, and hope to be forgiven? The rolls of fame I will not now explore; Nor need I here describe in learned lay,
These charms shall work thy soul's eternal health, How forth the Minstrel far'd in days of yore, And love, and gentleness, and joy, impart. Right glad of heart, though homely in array; But these thou must renounce, if lust of wealth His waving locks and beard all hoary grey : E'er win it's way to thy corrupted heart :