LORD BYRON. 1. There is a pleasure in the pathless woods, There is a rapture on the lonely shore,

There is society, where none intrudes, By the deep sea, and music in its roar.

I love not man the less but nature more, From these our interviews, in which I steal

From all I may be, or have been before, To mingle with the universe, and feel

What I can ne'er express, yet can not all conceal.

2. Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean -roll! Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain.

Man marks the earth with ruin- his control Stops with the shore;- upon the watery plain

The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man's ravage, save his own,

When, for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan-

Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.

3. The armaments which thunderstrike the walls Of rock-built cities, bidding nations quake

And monarchs tremble in their capitals ; The oak leviathan, whose huge ribs make

Their clay creator the vain title take Of lord of thee, and arbiter of war,

These are thy toys, and, as the snowy flake, They melt into thy yeast of waves, which mar

Alike the Armada's pride, or spoils of Trafalgar.

4. Thy shores are empires, changed in all save thee; Assyria, Greece, Rome, Carthage, what are they?

Thy waters wasted them while they were free,

And many a tyrant since; their shores obey

The stranger, slave, or savage; their decay Has dried


realms to deserts : not so thou; Unchangeable save to thy wild waves' play, Time writes no wrinkle on thine azure brow :

Such as creation's dawn beheld, thou rollest now.

5. Thou glorious mirror, where the Almighty's form Glasses itself in tempests; in all time,

Calm or convulsed — in breeze, or gale, or stormIcing the pole, or in the torrid clime

Dark heaving ; boundless, endless, and sublime, The image of eternity, — the throne

Of the Invisible ; even from out thy slime The monsters of the deep are made; each zone

Obeys thee; thou goest forth, dread, fathomless, alone.

6. And I have loved thee, ocean! and my joy Of youthful sports was on thy breast to be

Borne, like thy bubbles, onward ; from a boy I wantoned with thy breakers,—they to me

Were a delight; and, if the freshening sea Made them a terror, 't was a pleasing fear;

For I was, as it were, a child of thee,
And trusted to thy billows far and near,
And laid


upon thy mane -as I do here.



This selection is a genial and humorous piece of irony. Let the pupil point out the true state of things at different points in the story.

1. The human species, according to the best theory I can form of it, is composed of two distinct races, the men who

our late

borrow, and the men who lend. To these two original diver. sities may be reduced all those impertinent classifications of Gothic and Celtic tribes, white men, black men, red men. All the dwellers upon earth, "Parthians and Medes and Elamites," flock hither, and do naturally fall in with one or other of these primary distinctions. The infinite superiorsity of the former, which I choose to designate as the great race, is discernible in their figure, port, and a certain instinctive sovereignty. The latter are born degraded." He shall serve his brethren.” There is something in the air of one of this cast, lean and suspicious; contrasting with the open, trusting, generous manners of the other.

2. Observe wh have been the greatest borrowers of all ages — Alcibiades — Falstaff —Sir Richard Steele incomparable Brinsley; what a family likeness in all four ! What a careless, even deportment hath your borrower! what rosy gills! What a beautiful reliance on Providence doth he manifest, — taking no more thought than lilies ! What contempt for money,—accounting it (yours and mine especially) no better than dross! What a liberal confounding of those pedantic distinctions of meum and tuum! or rather what a noble simplification of language (beyond Tooke), resolving these supposed opposites into one clear, intelligible pronoun adjective! What near approaches doth he make to the primitive community to the extent of one half of the principle, at least.

3. He is the true taxer, who “calleth all the world up to be taxed”; and the distance is as vast between him and one of us, as subsisted between the Augustan majesty and the poorest obolary Jew that paid it tribute-pittance at Jerusa iem! His exactions, too, have a cheerful, voluntary air! So far removed from your sour parochials or state-gatherers, – those inkhorn varlets, who carry their want of welcome in their faces! He cometh to you with a smile, and troubletk you with no receipt; confining himself to no set season. Every day is his Candlemas, or his Feast of Holy Michael. He applieth the lene tormentum of a pleasant look to your purse, which to that gentle warmth expands her silken leaves as naturally as the cloak of the traveler, for which sun and wind contended !

4. He is the true Propontic which never ebbeth! The sea which taketh handsomely at each man's hand. In vain the victim whom he delighteth to honor, struggles with destiny; he is in the net. Lend, therefore, cheerfully, 0 man ordained to lend, that thou lose not in the end, with thy worldly penny, the reversion promised. Combine not preposterously in thine own person the penalties of Lazarus and Dives! but when thou seest the proper authority coming, meet it smilingly, as it were half-way. Come, a handsome sacrifice! See how light he makes of it! Strain not courtesies with a noble enemy.

5. Reflections like the foregoing were forced upon my mind by the death of my old friend, Ralph Bigod, Esq., who parted this life on Wednesday evening; dying, as he had lived, without much trouble. He boasted himself a descendant from mighty ancestors of that name, who heretofore held ducal dignities in this realm. In his actions and sentiments he belied not the stock to which he pretended. Early in life he found himself invested with ample revenues; which, with that noble disinterestedness which I have noticed as inherent in men of the great race, he took almost immediate measures entirely to dissipate and bring to nothing; for there is something revolting in the idea of a king holding a private purse, and the thoughts of Bigod were all regal. Thus furnished by the very act of disfurnishment, getting

rid of the cumbersome luggage of riches, more apt (as one sings)

To slacken virtue, and abate her edge,

Than prompt her to do aught may merit praise, he set forth like some Alexander upon his great enterprise, "borrowing and to borrow”!

6. In his periegesis, or triumphant progress throughout this island, it has been calculated that he laid a tithe part of the inhabitants under contribution. I reject this estimate as greatly exaggerated; but, having had the honor of accompanying my friend divers times, in his perambulations about this vast city, I own I was greatly struck at first with the prodigious number of faces we met who claimed a sort of respectful acquaintance with us. He was one day so obliging as to explain the phenomenon. It seems these were his tributaries; feeders of his exchequer; gentlemen, his good friends (as he was pleased to express himself ), to whom he had occasionally been beholden for a loan. Their multitudes did no way disconcert him. He rather took a pride in numbering them; and with Comus, seemed pleased to be “stocked with so fair a herd.”

7. With such sources, it was a wonder how he contrived to keep his treasury always empty. He did it by force of an aphorism, which he had often in his mouth, that "money kept longer than three days, stinks." So he made use of it while it was fresh. A good part he drank away (for he was an excellent toss-pot); some he gave away; the rest he threw away, literally tossing and hurling it violently from himboys do burrs, or as if it had been infectious —into ponds or ditches or deep holes, inscrutable cavities of the earth; or he would bury it (where he would never seek it again) by a river's side under some bank, which (he would facetiously observe) paid no interest,— but out away from him it must


« ForrigeFortsett »