Sidebilder
PDF

For one slight trespass all this stir?
What if he did ride, whip and spur,
'Twas but a mile,—your favourite horse
Will never look one hair the worse.
Well, I protest 'tis past all bearing !—
Child! I am rather hard of hearing.—
Yes, truly—one must scream and bawl,
I tell you you can't hear at all.
Then with a voice exceeding low,
No matter if you hear or no.

Alas I and is domestic strife,
That sorest ill of human life,
A plague so little to be feared,
As to be wantonly incurred;
To gratify a fretful passion,
On every trivial provocation?
The kindest and the happiest pair
Will find occasion to forbear,
And something every day they live,
To pity, and perhaps, forgivg.
But if infirmities that fall
In common to the lot of all,
A blemish, or a sense impaired,
Are crimes so little to be spared,
Then farewell all that must create
The comfort of the wedded state:
Instead of harmony, 'tis jar
And tumult and intestine war.

The love that cheers life's latest stage,
Proof against sickness and old age,
Preserved by virtue from declension,
Becomes not weary of attention,
But lives, when that exterior grace
Which first inspired the flame, decays.
'Tis gentle, delicate, and kind,
To faults compassionate or blind,
And will with sympathy endure
Those evils it would gladly cure.
But angry, coarse, and harsh expression
Shows love to be a mere profession,
Proves that the heart is none of his,
Or soon expels him if it is.

TO THE REV. MR. NEWTON.

AN INVITATION INTO THE COUNTRY.

The swallows in their torpid state
Compose their useless wing,

And bees in hives as idly wait
The call of early spring.

[table]

Sage beneath a spreading oak

Sat the Druid, hoary chief,
Every burning word he spoke

Full of rage and full of grief.

Princess! if our aged eyes

Weep upon thy matchless wrongs, 'Tis because resentment ties

All the terrors of our tongues.

Rome shall perish,—write that word

In the blood that she has spilt;
Perish hopeless and abhorred,

Deep in ruin as in guilt.

Rome for empire far renowned,

Tramples on a thousand states,
Soon her pride shall kiss the ground,—

Hark! the Gaul is at her gates.

Other Romans shall arise,

Heedless of a soldier's name, Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize,

Harmony the path to fame.

Then the progeny that springs

From the forests of our land,
Armed with thunder, clad with wings,

Shall a wider world command.

Regions Caesar never knew,

Thy posterity shall sway,
Where his eagles never flew,

None invincible as they.

Such the bard's prophetic words,

Pregnant with celestial fire,
Bending as he swept the chords

Of his sweet but awful lyre.

She with all a monarch's pride,

Felt them in her bosom glow,
Rushed to battle, fought and died,

Dying, hurled them at the foe.

Ruffians ! pitiless as proud,

Heaven awards the vengeance due; Empire is on us bestowed,

Shame and ruin wait for you!

HEROISM.

There was a time when ^Etna's silent fire Slept nnperceived, the mountain yet entire, When conscious of no danger from below, She towered a cloud-capt pyramid of snow.

No thunders shook with deep intestine sound
The blooming groves that girdled her around;
Her unctuous olives and her purple vines,
(Unfelt the fury of those bursting mines,)
The peasant's hopes, and not in vain, assured,
In peace upon her sloping sides matured.
When on a day, like that of the last doom,
A conflagration labouring in her womb,
She teemed and heaved with an infernal birth,
That shook the circling seas and solid earth.
Dark and voluminous the vapours rise,
And hang their horrors in the neighbouring skies,
While through the Stygian veil that blots the day,
In dazzling streaks the vivid lightnings play.
But oh! what muse, and in what powers of song,
Can trace the torrent as it burns along?
Havoc and devastation in the van,
It marches o'er the prostrate works of man,
Vines, olives, herbage, forests disappear,
And all the charms of a Sicilian year.

Revolving seasons, fruitless as they pass,
See it an uninformed and idle mass,
Without a soil to invite the tiller's care,
Or blade that might redeem it from despair.
Yet time at length (what will not time achieve ?)
Clothes it with earth, and bids the produce live.
Once more the spiry myrtle crowns the glade,
And ruminating flocks enjoy the shade.
Oh bliss precarious, and unsafe retreats,
Oh charming paradise of short-lived sweets!
The self-same gale that wafts the fragrance round
Brings to the distant ear a sullen sound,
Again the mountain feels the imprisoned foe,
Again pours ruin on the vale below,
Ten thousand swains the wasted scene deplore,
That only future ages can restore.

Ye monarchs, whom the lure of honour draws, Who write in blood the merits of your cause, Who strike the blow, then plead your own defence, Glory your aim, but justice your pretence, Behold in Etna's emblematic fires The mischiefs your ambitious pride inspires!

Fast by the stream that bounds your just domain, And tells you where ye have a right to reign, A nation dwells, not envious of your throne, Studious of peace, their neighbours' and their own. Ill-fated race! how deeply must they rue Their only crime, vicinity to you! The trumpet sounds, your legions swarm abroad, Through the ripe harvest lies their destined road, At every step beneath their feet they tread The life of multitudes, a nation's bread;

Earth seems a garden in its loveliest dress
Before them, and behind a wilderness;
Famine and Pestilence, her first-born son,
Attend to finish what the sword begun,
And echoing praises such as fiends might earn,
And folly pays, resound at your return.
A calm succeeds ;—but plenty with her train
Of heartfelt joys, succeeds not soon again,
And years of pining indigence must show
What scourges are the gods that rule below.

Yet man, laborious man, by slow degrees,
(Such is his thirst of opulence and ease,)
Plies all the sinews of industrious toil,
Gleans up the refuse of the general spoil,
Rebuilds the towers that smoked upon the plain,
And the sun gilds the shining spires again.

Increasing commerce and reviving art
Renew the quarrel on the conqueror's part,
And the sad lesson must be learned once mere,
That wealth within is ruin at the door.

What are ye monarchs, laurelled heroes, say,
But ^Etnas of the suffering world ye sway?
Sweet nature stripped of her embroidered robe,
Deplores the wasted regions of her globe,
And stands a witness at Truth's awful bar,
To prove you there, destroyers as ye are.

Oh place me in some heaven-protected isle,
Where peace and equity and freedom smile,
Where no volcano pours his fiery flood,
No crested warrior dips his plume in blood,
Where power secures what industry has won,
Where to succeed is not to be undone,
A land that distant tyrants hate in vain,
In Britain's isle, beneath a George's reign.

THE POET, THE OYSTER, AND SENSITIVE PLANT.

An oyster cast upon the shore
Was heard, though never heard before,
Complaining in a speech well worded,
And worthy thus to be recorded:

Ah hapless wretch! condemned to dwell
For ever in my native shell,
Ordained to move when others please,
Not for my own content or ease,
But tossed and buffeted about,
Now in the water, and now out.
'Twere better to be born a stone
Of ruder shape and feeling none,
Than with a tenderness like mine,
And sensibilities so fine I

« ForrigeFortsett »