Sidebilder
PDF

I f he should chance to fall;
No, not a single thought like that
Employs his philosophic pate,

Or troubles it at all.

He sees that this great roundabout
The world, with all its motley rout,

Church, army, physic, law,
Its customs and its businesses
Are no concern at all of his,

And says,—what says he? Caw.

Thrice happy bird! I too have seen
Much of the vanities of men,

And sick of having seen 'em,
Would cheerfully these limbs resign
For such a pair of wings as thine,

And such a head between 'em.

III.—THE CRICKET.

Little inmate, full of mirth,
Chirping on my kitchen hearth;
Wheresoe'er be thine abode,
Always harbinger of good,
Pay me for thy warm retreat,
With a song more soft and sweet,
In return thou shalt receive
Such a strain as I can give.

Thus thy praise shall be exprest,
Inoffensive, welcome guest!
While the rat is on the scout,
And the mouse with curious snout,
With what vermin else infest
Every dish, and spoil the best;
Frisking thus before the fire,
Thou hast all thine heart's desire.

Though in voice and shape they be
Formed as if akin to thee,
Thou surpassest, happier far,
Happiest grasshoppers that are;
Theirs is but a summer's song,
Thine endures the winter long,
Unimpaired and shrill and clear,
Melody throughout the year.

Neither night nor dawn of day
Puts a period to thy play.
Sing then—and extend thy span
Far beyond the date of man;
Wretched man, whose years are spent
In repining discontent,
Lives not, aged though he be,
Half a span compared with thee.

IV. -THE PARROT.

In painted plumes superbly drest,
A native of the gorgeous east,

By many a billow tost,
Poll gains at length the British shore,
Part of the captain's precious store,

A present to his toast.

Belinda's maids are soon preferred
To teach him now and then a word,

As Poll can master it;
But 'tis her own important cnarge
To qualify him more at large,

And make him quite a wit.

"Sweet Poll! " his doting mistress cries, "Sweet Poll!" the mimic bird replies,

And calls aloud for sack;
She next instructs him in the kiss,
'Tis now a little one like Miss,

And now a hearty smack.

At first he aims at what he hears,
And listening close with both his ears,

Just catches at the sound;
But soon articulates aloud,
Much to the amusement of the crowd,

And stuns the neighbours round.

A querulous old woman's voice
His humorous talent next employs,

He scolds and gives the lie;
And now he sings, and now is sick,
Here, Sally, Susan, come, come quick,

Poor Poll is like to die.

Belinda and her bird! 'tis rare

To meet with such a well-matched pair,

The language and the tone, Each character in every part Sustained with so much grace and art,

And both in unison.

When children first begin to spell,
And stammer out a syllable,

We think them tedious creatures;
But difficulties soon abate,
When birds are to be taught to prate,

And women are the teachers.

TRANSLATIONS

FROM THE

FRENCH OF MADAME DE LA MOTHE GUION.

THE NATIVITY.

'Tis folly all !—let me no more be told
0*f Parian porticos, and roofs of gold;
Delightful views of nature, dressed by art,
Enchant no longer this indifferent heart;
The Lord of all things, in his humble birth,
Makes mean the proud magnificence of earth;
The straw, the manger, and the mouldering wall,
Eclipse its lustre; and I scorn it all.

Canals, and fountains, and delicious vales,
Green slopes and plains, whose plenty never fails;
Deep-rooted groves, whose heads sublimely rise,
Earth-born, and yet ambitious of the skies,
The abundant foliage of whose gloomy shades
Vainly the sun in all its power invades,
Where warbled airs of sprightly birds resound,
Whose verdure lives while Winter scowls around;
Rocks, lofty mountains, caverns dark and deep,
And torrents raving down the rugged steep,
Smooth downs, whose fragrant herbs the spirits cheer,
Meads crowned with ilowers, streams musical and clear,
Whose silver waters and whose murmurs join
Their artless charms, to make the scene divine;
The fruitful vineyard, and the furrowed plain,
That seems a rolling sea of golden grain,
All, all have lost the charms they once possessed;
An infant God reigns sovereign in my breast;
From Bethlehem's bosom I no more will rove;
There dwells the Saviour, and there rests my love.
Ye mightier rivers, that with sounding force,
Urge down the valleys your impetuous course!
Winds, clouds, and lightnings! and, ye waves, whose heads,
Curled into monstrous forms, the seaman dreads!
Horrid abyss, where all experience fails,
.Spread with the wreck of planks and shattered sails;
On whose broad back grim Death triumphant rides,
While havoc floats on all thy swelling tides,
Thy shores a scene of ruin, strewed around
With vessels bulged, and bodies of the drowned!
Ye fish that sport beneath the boundless waves,
And rest, secure from man, in rocky caves;
Swift-darting sharks, and whales of hideous size,
Whom all the aquatic world with terror eyes!

Had I but faith immoveable and true,
I might defy the fiercest storm, like you.
The world, a more disturbed and boisterous sea,
When Jesus shows a smile, affrights not me;
He hides me, and in vain the billows roar,
Break harmless at my feet, and leave the shore.

Thou azure vault, where through the gloom of night,
Thick sown, we see such countless worlds of light!
Thou Moon, whose car encompassing the skies,
Restores lost nature to our wondering eyes,
Again retiring when the brighter Sun
Begins the course he seems in haste to run,
Behold him where he shines! His rapid rays,
Themselves unmeasured, measure all our days;
Nothing impedes the race he would pursue,
Nothing escapes his penetrating view,
A thousand lands confess his quickening heat,
And all he cheers are fruitful, fair, and sweet.

Far from enjoying what these scenes disclose,
I feel the thorn, alas! but miss the rose:
Too well I know this aching heart requires
More solid good to fill its vast desires:
In vain they represent His matchless might,
Who called them out of deep primeval night;
Their form and beauty but augment my woe:
I seek the Giver of those charms they show:
Nor, Him beside, throughout the world He made,
Lives there in whom I trust for cure or aid.

Infinite God, thou great unrivalled One!
Whose glory makes a blot of yonder sun;
Compared with thine, how dim his beauty seems,
How quenched the radiance of his golden beams!
Thou art my bliss, the light by which I move;
In Thee alone dwells all that I can love;
All darkness flies when Thou art pleased to appear,
A sudden spring renews the fading year;
Where'er I turn I see thy power and grace,
The watchful guardians of our heedless race;
Thy various creatures in one strain agree,
All, in all times and places, speak of Thee;
Even I, with trembling heart and stammering tongue,
Attempt thy praise, and join the general song.

Almighty Former of this wondrous plan,
Faintly reflected in thine image, Man !—
Holy and just, the greatness of whose name
Fills and supports this universal frame,
Diffused throughout the infinitude of space,
Who art Thyself thine own vast dwelling place;
Soul of our soul, whom yet no sense of outs
Discerns, eluding our most active powers;
Encircling shades attend thine awful throne,
That veil thy face, and keep thee still unknown,

Unknown, though dwelling in our inmost part, Lord of the thoughts, and Sovereign of the heart!

Repeat the charming truth that never tires, No God is like the God my soul desires! Me at whose voice Heaven trembles, even He, Great as he is, knows how to stoop to me. Lo! there he lies,—that smiling infant said, "Heaven, earth, and sea exist !"—and they obeyed. Even He, whose Being swells beyond the skies, Is born of woman, lives, and mourns, and dies; Eternal and Immortal, seems to cast That glory from his brows, and breathes his last. Trivial and vain the works that man has wrought, How do they shrink and vanish at the thought!

Sweet solitude, and scene of my repose! This rustic sight assuages all my woes.— That crib contains the Lord, whom I adore; And earth's a shade, that I pursue no more. He is my firm support, my rock, my tower, I dwell secure beneath his sheltering power, And hold this mean retreat for ever dear, For all I love, my soul's delight, is here. I sen the Almighty swathed in infant bands, Tied helpless down the thunder-bearer's hands, And, in this shed, that mystery discern, Which Faith and Love, and they alone, can learn.

Ye tempests, spare the slumbers of your Lord! Ye zephyrs, all your whispered sweets afford! Confess the God, that guides the rolling year; Heaven, do him homage; and thou, Earth, revere! Ye shepherds, monarchs, sages, hither bring Your hearts an offering, and adore your King! Pure be those hearts, and rich in faith and love; Join in his praise, the harmonious world above; To Bethlehem haste, rejoice in his repose, And praise him there for all that he bestows!

Man, busy Man, alas! can ill afford To obey the summons, and attend the Lord; Perverted reason revels and runs wild, By glittering shows of pomp and wealth beguiled, And blind to genuine excellence and grace, Finds not her author in so mean a place. Ye unbelieving! learn a wiser part, Distrust your erring sense, and search your heart; There, soon ye shall perceive a kindling flame Glow for that infant God, from whom it came; Resist not, quench not, that divine desire, Melt all your adamant in heavenly fire!

Not so will I requite thee, gentle Love! Yielding and soft this heart shall ever prove; And every heart beneath thy power shall fall, Glad to submit, could mine contain them all.

« ForrigeFortsett »