« ForrigeFortsett »
And, having dropp'd th' expected bag, pass on. He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch, Cold and yet cheerful: messenger of grief Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some ; To him indiff'rent whether grief or joy. Houses in alhes, and the fall of stocks, Births, deaths, and marriages, epistles wet With tears, that trickled down the writer's cheeks Fast as the periods from his fluent quill, Or charg’d with am'rous sighs of absent swains, Or nymphs responsive, equally affect His horse and him, unconscious of them all. But oh th' important budget ! usher'd in With such heart-shaking music, who can say What are its tidings ? have our troops awak'd? Or do they still, as if with opium drugg’d, Snore to the murmurs of th' atlantic wave ? Is India free? and does she wear her plum'd And jewell’d turban with a smile of peace, Or do we grind her still? The grand debate,
IV. THE WINTER EVENING.
The popular harangue, the tart reply,
The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit,
And the loud laugh-I long to know them all;
I burn to set th’imprison'd wranglers free;
And give them voice and utt'rance once again,
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful ev’ning in.
Not such his ev’ning, who with shining face
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeez’d
And bor'd with elbow-points through both his sides,
Out-scolds the ranting actor on the stage :
Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb,
And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath
Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage,'
Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles.
This folio of four pages, happy work! Which not ev'n critics criticise; that holds Inquisitive attention, while I read, Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair, Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break; What is it, but a map of busy life, Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns ? Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge That tempts ambition. On the summit see The feals of office glitter in his eyes ; He climbs,'he pants, he grasps them! At his heels, Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends, And with a dext'rous jerk soon twists hiin down, And wins them, but to lose them in his turn. Here rills of oily eloquence in soft Meanders lubricate the course they take; The modest speaker is asham'd and griev'd T'engross a moment's notice, and yet begs, Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts, However trivial all that he conceives.
Sweet bashfulness! it claims at least this praise;
The dearth of information and good sense
That it foretells us always comes to pafs.
Cat’racts of declamation thunder here ;
There forests of no meaning spread the page,
In which all comprehension wanders, loft;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there
With merry descants on a nation's woes.
The rest appears a wilderness of strange
But gay confusion; roses for the cheeks,
And lilies for the brows of faded age,
Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald,
Heav'n, earth, and ocean, plunder'd of their sweets,
Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,
Sermons, and city feasts, and fav’rite airs,
Æthereal journies, submarine exploits,
And Katterfelto, with his hair on end
At his own wonders, wond'ring for his bread.
'Tis pleasant through the loop-holes of retreat To peep at such a world; to see the stir
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd ;
To hear the roar she sends through all her gates
At a safe distance, where the dying found
Falls a soft murmur on th’ uninjur'd ear.
Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanc'd
To fome secure and more than mortal height,
That lib’rates and exempts me from them all.
It turns submitted to my view, turns round
With all its generations; I behold
The tumult, and am still. The sound of war
Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me;
Grieves, but alarms me not. I mourn the pride
And av'rice that make man a wolf to man;
Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats
By which he speaks the language of his heart,
And sigh, but never tremble at the sound.
He travels and expatiates, as the bee
From flow'r to flow'r, so he from land to land;
The manners, customs, policy, of all