Sidebilder
PDF

To prove, alas ! my main intent,
Needs no great cost of argument,

No cutting and contriving;
Seeking a real friend, we seem
To adopt the chymist's golden dream

With still less hope of thriving.

Then judge, or ere you choose your man, As circumspectly as you can,

And, having made election, See that no disrespect of yours, Such as a friend but ill endures,

Enfeeble his affection.

It is not timber, lead and stone,
An architect requires alone,

To finish a great building;
The palace were but half complete,
Could he by any chance forget

The carving and the gilding.

As similarity of mind,

Or something not to be defined,

First rivets our attention;
So, manners, decent and polite,
The same we practised at first sight,

Must save it from declension.

The man who hails you Tom or Jack,
And proves by thumping on your back,

His sense of your great merit,
Is such a friend, that one had need
Be very much his friend, indeed,
. To pardon, or to bear it.

Some friends make this their prudent plan"Say little, and hear all you can ;"

Safe policy, but hateful;
So barren sands imbibe the shower,
But render neither fruit nor flower,

Unpleasant and ungrateful.

They whisper trivial things, and small:
But, to communicate at all

Things serious, deem improper;
Their feculence and froth they show,
But keep the best contents below,

Just like the simmering copper.

These samples (for alas! at last
These are but samples, and a taste

Of evils yet unmentioned ;)
May prove the task, a task indeed,
In which 'tis much, if we succeed,

However well-intentioned.

Pursue the theme, and you shall find
A disciplined and furnished mind

To be at least expedient,
And, after summing all the rest,
Religion ruling in the breast

A principal ingredient.

True friendship has, in short, a grace
More than terrestrial in its face,

That proves it heaven-descended;
Man's love of woman not so pure,
Nor, when sincerest, so secure

To last till life is ended.

TO AN AFFLICTED PROTESTANT LADY IN FRANCE.

Madam,—A stranger's purpose in these lays
Is to congratulate and not to praise;
To give the creature the Creator's due
Were sin in me, and an offence to you.
From man to man, or e'en to woman paid,
Praise is the medium of a knavish trade,
A coin by craft for folly's use designed,
Spurious, and only current with the blind.
The path of sorrow, and that path alone
Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown:
No traveller ever reached that blessed abode,
Who found not thorns and briers in his road.
The world may dance along the flowery plain,
Cheered as they go by many a sprightly strain;
Where nature has her mossy velvet spread,
With unshot feet they yet securely tread;
Admonished, scorn the caution and the friend,
Bent all on pleasure, heedless of its end.
But He, who knew what human hearts would prove,
How slow to learn the dictates of his love,
That, hard by nature and of stubborn will,
A life of ease would make them harder still,
In pity to the souls his grace designed
To rescue from the ruins of mankind,
Called for a cloud to darken all their years,
And said, " Go spend them in the vale of tears!"
O balmy gales of soul-reviving air!
O salutary streams that murmur there!
These flowing from the Fount of Grace above,
Those breathed from lips of everlasting love.
The flinty soil indeed their feet annoys,
Chill blasts of trouble nip their springing joys,
An envious world will interpose its frown
To mar delights superior to its own,
And many a pang experienced still within,
Reminds them of their hated inmate, Sin;

But ills of every shape and every name,
Transformed to blessings, miss their cruel aim;
And every moment's calm that soothes the breast
Is given in earnest of eternal rest.

Ah, be not sad, although thy lot be cast
Far from the flock, and in a boundless waste!
No shepherd's tents within thy view appear,
But the chief Shepherd even there is near;
Thy tender sorrows and thy plaintive strain
Flow in a foreign land, but not in vain;
Thy tears all issue from a source divine,
And every drop bespeaks a Saviour thine.
So once in Gideon's fleece the dews were found,
And drought on all the drooping herbs around.

THE YEARLY DISTRESS;

OR, TITHING-TIME AT STOCK IN ESSEX.

VERSES ADDRESSED TO A COUNTRY CLERGYMAN, COMPLAINING OF THE DISAGREEADLENESS OF THE DAY ANNUALLY APPOINTED FOR RECEIVING THE DUES AT THE PARSONAGE.

Come, ponder well, for 'tis no jest,

To laugh it would be wrong;
The troubles of a worthy priest

The burden of my song.

This priest he merry is and blithe

Three quarters of the year,
But oh! it cuts him like a scythe

When tithing time draws near.

He then is full of frights and fears,

As one at point to die,
And long before the day appears

He heaves up many a sigh.

For then the farmers come, jog, jog,

Along the miry road,
Each heart as heavy as a log,

To make their payments good.

In sooth the sorrow of such days

Is not to be expressed,
When he that takes and he that pays

Are both alike distressed.

Now all unwelcome at his gates

The clumsy swains alight,
With rueful faces and bald pates :—

He trembles at the sight.

And well he may, for well he knows
Each bumpkin of the clan,

Instead of paying what he owes,
Will cheat him if he can.

So in they come—each makes his leg,

And flings his head before, And looks as if he came to beg,

And not to quit a score.

"And how does miss and madam do,

The little boy and all?" "All tight and welL And how do you,

Good Mr. What-d'ye-call?"

The dinner comes, and down they sit:

Were e'er such hungry folk? There's little talking, and no wit;

It is no time to joke.

One wipes his nose upon his sleeve,

One spits upon the floor,
Yet not to give offence or grieve,

Holds up the cloth before.

The punch goes round, and they are dull

And lumpish still as ever;
Like barrels with their bellies full,

They only weigh the heavier.

At length the busy time begins,

"Come, neighbours, we must wag."

The money chinks, down drop their chins, Each lugging out his bag.

One talks of mildew and of frost,

And one of storms and hail, And one of pigs that he has lost

By maggots at the tail.

Quoth one, "A rarer man than you

In pulpit none shall hear;
But yet, methinks, to tell you true,

You sell it plaguey dear."

Oh, why were farmers made so coarse,

Or clergy made so fine? A kick that scarce would move a horse,

May kill a sound divine.

Then let the boobies stay at home;

'Twould cost him I dare say, Less trouble taking twice the sum,

Without the clowns that pay.

SONNET TO HENRY COWPER, ESQ.,

ON HIS EMPHATICAL AND INTERESTING DELIVERY OF THE DEFENCE OF
WARREN HASTINGS., ESQ., IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS.

COWPER, whose silver voice, tasked sometimes hard,
Legends prolix delivers in the ears
(Attentive when thou read'st) of England's peers,

Let verse at length yield thee thy just reward.

Thou wast not heard with drowsy disregard,
Expending late on all that length of plea
Thy generous powers, but silence honoured thee,

Mute as e'er gazed on orator or bard.

Thou art not voice alone, but hast beside

Both heart and head ; and couldst with music sweet
Of attic phrase and senatorial tone,
Like thy renowned forefathers, far and wide
Thy fame diffuse, praised not for utterance meet
Of others' speech, but magic of thy own.

LINES ADDRESSED TO DR. DARWIN,

AUTHOR OF THE "BOTANIC GARDEN."

Two Poets,1 (poets, by report,

Not oft so well agree,)
Sweet harmonist of Flora's court!

Conspire to honour thee.

They best can judge a poet's worth,
Who oft themselves have known

The pangs of a poetic birth
By labours of their own.

We therefore pleased extol thy song,

Though various yet complete,
Rich in embellishment as strong,

And learned as 'tis sweet.

No envy mingles with our praise;

Though, could our hearts repine
At any poet's happier lays,

They would—they must at thine.

But we, in mutual bondage knit

Of friendship's closest tie,
Can gaze on even Darwin's wit

With an unjaundiced eye;

And deem the Bard, whoe'er he be,

And howsoever known,
Who would not twine a wreath for thee,

Unworthy of his own.

1 Alluding to the poem by Mr. Hayley, which accompanied these lines.

« ForrigeFortsett »