Sidebilder
PDF

Can make a wintry sky

Seem bright as smiling May,

And evening's closing eye
As peep of early day.

The vast majestic globe,

So beauteously arrayed
In nature's various robe,

With wondrous skill displayed,
Is to a mourner's heart

A dreary wild at best;
It flutters to depart,

And longs to be at rest.

EPITAPH ON JOHNSON.
January 1785.

Here Johnson lies, a sage by all allowed,

Whom to have bred, may well make England proud;

Whose prose was eloquence, by wisdom taught,

The graceful vehicle of virtuous thought;

Whose verse may claim, grave, masculine and strong,

Superior praise to the mere poet's song;

Who many a noble gift from Heaven possessed,

And faith at last, alone worth all the rest.

O man, immortal by a double prize,

By fame on earth, by glory in the skies I

TO MISS C , ON HER BIRTHDAY.

17S6.

How many between east and west,

Disgrace their parent earth,
Whose deeds constrain us to detest

The day that gave them birth!
Not so when Stella's natal morn

Revolving months restore,
We can rejoice that she was born

And wish her bom once more!

THE FLATTING-MILL.

AN ILLUSTRATION.

When a bar of pure silver or ingot of gold
Is sent to be flatted or wrought into length,

It is passed between cylinders often, and rolled
In an engine of utmost mechanical strength.

Thus tortured and squeezed, at last it appears
Like a loose heap of ribbon, a glittering show.

Like music it tinkles and rings in your ears,
And warmed by the pressure is all in a glow.

This process achieved, it is doomed to sustain
The thump after thump of a gold-beater's mallet,

And at last is of service in sickness or pain
To cover a pill from a delicate palate.

Alas for the poet, who dares undertake

To urge reformation of national ill!
His head and his heart are both likely to ache

With the double employment of mallet and mill!

If he wish to instruct, he must learn to delight,
Smooth, ductile, and even, his fancy must flow,

Must tinkle and glitter like gold to the sight,
And catch in its progress a sensible glow.

After all, he must beat it as thin and as fine
As the leaf that enfolds what an invalid swallows

For truth is unwelcome, however divine,
And unless you adorn it, a nausea follows.

EPITAPH ON A HARE.
Here lies, whom hound did ne'er pursue,

Nor swifter greyhound follow,
Whose foot ne'er tainted morning dew,

Nor ear heard huntsman's halloo;

Old Tiney, surliest of his kind,
Who, nursed with tender care,

And to domestic bounds confined,
Was still a wild Jack hare.

Though duly from my hand he took

His pittance every night,
He did it with a jealous look,

And, when he could, would bite.

His diet was of wheaten bread,
And milk, and oats, and straw;

Thistles, or lettuces instead,
With sand to scour his maw.

On twigs of hawthorn he regaled,

On pippins' russet peel,
And, when his juicy salads failed,

Sliced carrot plea^ed him well.

A Turkey carpet was his lawn,

Whereon he loved to bound,
To skip and gambol like a fawn,

And swing his rump around.

His frisking was at evening hours,
For then he lost his fear,

[ocr errors]

368 ON THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL GEORGE.

But most before.approaching showers,
Or when a storm drew near.

Eight years and five round rolling moons

He thus saw steal away,
Dozing out all his idle noons,

And every night at play.

I kept him for his humour's sake,

For he would oft beguile
My heart of thoughts that made it ache,

And force me to a smile.

But now beneath his walnut shade
He finds his long last home,

And waits, in snug concealment laid,
Till gentler Puss shall come.

He, still more aged, feels the shocks
From which no care can save,

And, partner once of Tiney's box,
Must soon partake his grave.

EPITAPHIUM ALTERUM.

Hie etiam jacet,

Qui totum novennium vixit,

Puss.

Siste paulisper,

Qui praeteriturus es,

Et tecum sic reputa—

Hunc neque can is venaticus,

Nee plumbum missile,

Nee laqueus,

Nee imbres nimii,

Confecere:

Tamen mortuus esc—

Et moriar ego.

ON THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL GEORGE.

(to The March In Scipio.) Written When The News Arrived.

Toll for the brave!

The brave that are no more!
All sunk beneath the wave,

Fast by their native shore!

Eight hundred of the brave,
Whose courage well was tried,

Had made the vessel heel,
And laid her on her side;

A land breeze shook the shrouds,

And she was overset;
Down went the Royal George,

With all her crew complete.

Toll for the brave!

Brave Kempenfelt is gone;
His last sea-fight is fought;

His work of glory done.

It was not in the battle;

No tempest gave the shock;
She sprang no fatal leak;

She ran upon no rock:

His sword was in its sheath;

His fingers held the pen,
When Kempenfelt went down,

With twice four hundred men.

Weigh the vessel up,

Once dreaded by our foes!
And mingle with our cup

The tear that England owes.

Her timbers yet are sound,

And she may float again,
Full-charged with England's thunder,

And plough the distant main.

But Kempenfelt is gone;

His victories are o'er;
And he and his eight hundred

Shall plough the wave no more.

THE NEGRO'S COMPLAINT.

Forced from home and all its pleasures,

Afric's coast I left forlorn,
To increase the stranger's treasures,

O'er the raging billows borne.
Men from England bought and sold me,

Paid my price in paltry gold:
But, though slave they have enrolled me,

Minds are never to be sold.

Still in thought as free as ever,

What are England's rights, I ask? Me from my delights to sever,

Me to torture, me to task? Fleecy locks and black complexion

Cannot forfeit Nature's claim; Skins may differ, but affection

Dwells in white and black the same.

'1 I>i 1" .1^1 11. 1 "mi ■MrffHp~"T^!Tfrr

Why did all-creating Nature

Make the plant for which we toil?
Sighs must fan it, tears must water,

Sweat of ours must dress the soil.
Think, ye masters, iron-hearted,

Lolling at your jovial boards,
Think how many backs have smarted

For the sweets your cane affords.

Is there, as ye sometimes tell us,

Is there One who reigns on high?
Has He bid you buy and sell us,

Speaking from his throne, the sky?
Ask him, if your knotted scourges,

Matches, blood-extorting screws
Are the means that duty urges

Agents of his will to use?

Hark! He answers !—Wild tornadoes

Strewing yonder sea with wrecks,
Wasting towns, plantations, meadows,

Are the voice with which he speaks.
He, foreseeing what vexations

Afric's sons should undergo,
Fixed their tyrants' habitations

Where his whirlwinds answer—No.

By our blood in Afrir wasted,

Ere our necks received the chain;
By the miseries that we tasted,

Crossing in your barks the main;
By our sufferings, since ye brought us

To the man-degrading mart,
All sustained by patience, taught us

Only by a broken heart!

Deem our nation brutes no longer,

Till some reason ye shall find
Worthier of regard and stronger

Than the colour of our kind.
Slaves of gold, whose sordid dealings

Tarnish all your boasted powers,
Prove that you have human feelings

Ere you proudly question ours I

PITY FOR POOR AFRICANS.

Video meliora proboque,
Deteriora sequor .

I Own I am shocked at the purchase of slaves,
And fear those who buy them and sell them are knaves;
What I hear of their hardships, their tortures, and groans
Is almost enough to draw pity from stones.

« ForrigeFortsett »