With Paphian myrtle, or with bays

Parnassian, on my brow.
But I, or ere that season come,

Escaped from every care,
Shall reach my refuge in the tomb,

And sleep securely there.*

So sang, in Roman tone and style,

The youthful bard ere long, Ordained to grace his native isle

With her sublimest song.

Who, then, but must conceive disdain,

Hearing the deed unblest
Of wretches who have dared prophane

His dread sepulchral rest?

Ill fare the hands that heaved the stones

Where Milton's ashes lay,
That trembled not to grasp his bones,

And steal his dust away.

Oh ill requited bard! neglect

Thy living worth repayed, And blind idolatrous respect

As much affronts the dead.

* Forsitan et nostros ducat de marmore vultus_ Nectens aut Paphia myrti aut Parnasside lauri Fronde comas—At ego secura pace quiescam.



Founded on a Fact which happened in January, 1779.

Where Humber pours his rich commercial stream, There dwelt a wretch, who breathed but to blaspheme.

In subterraneous caves his life he led,
Black as the mine, in which he wrought for bread.
When on a day, emerging from the deep,
A sabbath-day, (such sabbaths thousands keep)
The wages of his weekly toil he bore
To buy a cock, whose blood might win him more;
As if the noblest of the feathered kind
Were but for battle, and for death designed;
As if the consecrated hours were meant
For sport, to minds on cruelty intent:
It chanced (such chances Providence obey)
He met a fellow-labourer on the way,
Whose heart the same desires had once inflamed—
But now the savage temper was reclaimed.
Persuasion on his lips had taken place;
For all plead well who plead the cause of grace!
His iron-heart with scripture he assailed,
Wooed him to hear a sermon, and prevailed.
His faithful bow the mighty preacher drew,
Swift, as the lightning-glimpse, the arrow flew;

He wept, he trembled; cast his eyes around,
To find a worse than he: But none he found.
He felt his sins, and wondered he should feel.
Grace made the wound, and grace alone could heal.
Now, farewell oaths, and blasphemies, and lies!
He quits the sinner's, for the martyr's prize.
That holy day was washed with many a tear,
Gilded with hope, yet shaded too by fear.
The next, his swarthy brethren of the mine
Learned by his altered speech—the change divine!
Laughed when they should have wept, and swore the


Was nigh, when he would swear as fast as they.
"No," said the penitent, " such words shall share
"This breath no more, devoted now to prayer.
"Oh! if thou seest, (thine eye the future sees)
"That I shall yet again blaspheme, like these;
"Now strike me to the ground, on which I kneel,
"Ere yet this heart relapses into steel;
"Now take me to that Heaven I once defied,
"Thy presence, thy embrace!"—He spoke, and



In Scotland's realm, where trees are few,

Nor even shrubs abound;
But where, however bleak the view,

Some better things are found;

For husband there and wife may boast

Their union undefined;
And false ones are as rare almost

As hedge-rows in the wild:
In Scotland's realm, forlorn and bare,

This history chanced of late—
This history of a wedded pair,

A chaffinch and his mate.
The spring drew near, each felt a breast

With genial instinct filled;
They paired, and only wished a nest,

But found not where to build.
The heaths uncovered, and the moors,

Except with snow and sleet;

* This tale is founded on an anecdote which the author found in the Buckinghamshire Herald, for Saturday, June 1, 1793, in the following words.

Glasgow, May?3d.

In a block or pully, near the head of the mast of a gabertj now lying at the Brcomielaw, there is a chafSea-beaten rocks and naked shores

Could yield them no retreat.
Long time a breeding place they sought,

'Till both grew vexed and tired;
At length a ship arriving, brought

The good so long desired.

A ship !—could such a restless thing

Afford them place to rest?
Or was the merchant charged to bring

The homeless birds a nest?
Hush !—silent hearers profit most!

This racer of the sea
Proved kinder to them than the coast—

It served them with a tree.

But such a tree! 'twas shaven deal;

The tree they call a mast,
And had a hollow with a wheel,

Through which the tackle passed.
Within that cavity aloft

Their roofless home they fixt;

finch's nest and four eggs. The nest was built while the vessel lay at Greenock, and was followed hither by both birds. Though the block is occasionally lowered for the inspection of the curious, the birds have not forsaken the nest. The cock, however, visits the nest but seldom, while the hen never leaves it but when she descends to the hulk for food.

« ForrigeFortsett »