Page images
PDF
EPUB

The love-sick cowslip, which her head inclines
To hide a bleeding heart. And here's the meek
And soft-ey'd primrose. Dandelion this,
A college youth who flashes for a day
All gold; anon he doffs his gaudy suit,
Touch'd by the magic hand of some grave Bishop,
And all at once, by commutation strange,
Becomes a Reverend Divine. How sleek!
How full of grace! and in that globous wig,
So nicely trimm'd, unfathomable stores,
No doubt, of erudition most profound.
Each hair is learned, and his awful phiz,
A well-drawn title-page, gives large account
Of matters strangely complicate within.
Place the two doctors each by each, my friends,
Which is the better ? say. I blame not you,
Ye powder'd periwigs, which hardly hide,
With glossy suit and well-fed paunch to boot,
The understanding lean and beggarly.
But let me tell you, in the pompous globe,
Which rounds the dandelion's head, is couch'd
Divinity most rare.

I never pass
But he instructs me with a still discourse,
That more persuades than all the vacant noise
Of pulpit rhetoric; for vacant 'tis,
And vacant must it be, by vacant heads
Supported.

Leave we them to mend, and mark
The melancholy hyacinth, that weeps
All night, and never lifts an eye all day.
How
gay

this meadow !-like a gamesome boy
New cloth'd, his locks fresh comb'd and powder'd, he
All health and spirits. Scarce so many stars
Shine in the azure canopy of heav'n,
As king.cups here are scatter'd, interspers'd
With silver daisies.

See, the toiling hind With many a sturdy stroke cuts up at last The tough and sinewy furze. How hard he fought To fell the glory of the barren waste! For what more noble than the vernal furze With golden baskets hung? Approach it not, For ev'ry blossom has a troop of swords Drawn to defend it. 'Tis the treasury

Of Fays and Fairies. Here they nightly meet,
Each with a burnish'd king-cup in his hand,
And quaff the subtil ether. Here they dance
Or to the village chimes, or moody song
Of midnight Philomel. The ringlet see
Fantastically trod. There Oberon
His gallant train leads out, the while his torch
The glow-worm lights, and dusky night illumes :
And there they foot it featly round and laugh.
The sacred spot the superstitious ewe
Regards, and bites it not in reverence.
Anon the drowsy clock tolls one—the cock
His clarion sounds, the dance breaks off, the lights
Are quench'd, the music hush'd, they speed away
Swifter than thought, and still the break of morn
Outrun, and chasing midnight as she flies
Pursue her round the globe.

[ocr errors]

*

*

But mark with how peculiar grace yon wood,
That clothes the weary steep, waves in the breeze
Her sea of leaves : thither we turn our steps,
And as we pass attend the cheerful sound
Of woodland harmony, which ever fills
The merry vale between.

How sweet the song
Day's harbinger performs! I have not heard
Such elegant divisions drawn from art.
And what is he that wins our admiration ?
A little speck which floats upon the sun-beam.
What vast perfection cannot nature crowd
Into a puny point! The nightingale,
Her solo anthem sung, and all who heard
Content, joins in the chorus of the day.
She, gentle heart, thinks it no pain to please,
Nor, like the moody songsters of the world,
Displays her talent, pleases, takes affront,
And locks it up in envy.

I love to see the little goldfinch pluck
The groundsel's feather'd seed, and twit and twit,
And soon in bower of apple blossoms perch'd,
Trim his gay suit, and pay us with a song.
I would not hold him pris'ner for the world.

The chimney-haunting swallow too, my eye

*

*

*

How suddenly he skims the glassy pool,
How quaintly dips, and with a bullet's speed
Whisks by. I love to be awake, and hear
His morning song twitter'd to dawning day.
But most of all it wins my admiration,
To view the structure of this little work,
A bird's nest. Mark it well, within, without:
No tool had he that wrought, no knife to cut,
No nail to fix, no bodkin to insert,
No glue to join ; his little beak was all.
And yet how neatly finish'd! What nice hand,
With ev'ry implement and means of art,
And twenty years' apprenticeship to boot,
Could make me such another? Fondly then
We boast of excellence, whose noblest skill
Instinctive genius foils.

The bee observe;
She too an artist is, and laughs at man,
Who calls on rules the sightly hexagon
With truth to form ; a cunning architect,
Who at the roof begins her golden work,
And builds without foundation. How she toils,
And still from bud to bud, from flow'r to flow'r,
Travels the live-long day. Ye idle drones,
Who rather pilfer than your bread obtain
By honest means like these, behold and learn
How good, how fair, how honourable 'tis
To live by industry.

How peaceable and solemn a retreat
This wood affords! I love to quit the glare
Of sultry day for shadows cool as these :
The sober twilight of this winding way
Lets fall a serious gloom upon the mind,
Which checks, but not appals. Such is the haunt
Religion loves, a meek and humble maid,
Whose tender eye bears not the blaze of day.
And here with Meditation hand in hand.
She walks, and feels her often-wounded heart,
Renew'd and heal'd. Speak softly. We presume..
A whisper is too loud for solitude

FROM ADRIANO, OR THE FIRST OF JUNE.

He said, and led her to the cottage door,
Dispos'd the basket, comforted and kiss'd her.
Then to the garden bow'r together both,
Link'd arm in arm, proceeded. There they sat,
And he his melancholy tale rehears'd,
And she was all attention. He began,
And told her of his youth and boyish days
Till manhood came, his aged parents died,
And he, a sighing lover, sought a wife.
Twice was he wedded, and his former love
Bore him a son, the cause of all his woe.
He train d him, as he thought, to deeds of praise;
He taught him virtue, and he taught him truth,
And sent him early to a public school.
Here, as it seem'd, (but he had none to blame,)
Virtue forsook him, and habitual vice
Grew in her stead. He laugh'd at honesty,
Became a sceptic, and could raise a doubt
E'en of his father's truth. 'Twas idly done
To tell him of another world, for wits
Knew better; and the only good on earth
Was pleasure ; not to follow that was sin.
• Sure he that made us, made us to enjoy ;
And why,' said he, should my fond father prate
Of virtue and religion? They afford
No joys, and would abridge the scanty few
Of nature. Nature be my deity,
Her let me worship, as herself enjoins,
At the full board of plenty. Thoughtless boy !
So to a libertine he grew, a wit,
A man of honour; boastful empty names
That dignify the villain.

Seldom seen,
And when at home, under a cautious mask
Concealing the lewd soul, his father thought
He grew

in wisdom-as he grew in years.
He fondly deem'd he could perceive the growth
Of goodness and of learning shooting up,
Like the young offspring of the shelter'd hop,
Unusual progress in a summer's night.
He call'd him home, with great applause dismiss'd
Bless'd him, and bade him prosper. With warm heart
He drew his purse-strings, and the utmost doit
Pour'd in the youngster's palm. 'Away,' he cries,
. Go to the seat of learning, boy. Be good,
Be wise, be frugal, for 'tis all I can.'
• I will,' said Toby, as he bang’d the door,
And wink'd, and snapp'd his finger, Sir, I will.'

So joyful he to Alma Mater went
A sturdy fresh-man. See him just arriv'd,
Receiv'd, matriculated, and resolv'd
To drown his freshness in a pipe of port.
• Quick, Mr. Vintner, twenty dozen more;
Some claret too. Here's to our friends at home.
There let 'em doze. Be it our nobler aim
To live—where stands the bottle !' Then to town
Hies the gay spark for futile purposes,
And deeds my bashful muse disdains to name.
From town to college, till a fresh supply
Sends him again from college up to town.
The tedious interval the mace and cue,
The tennis-court and racket, the slow lounge
From street to street, the badger-hunt, the race,
* The raffle, the excursion, and the dance,
Ices and soups, dice, and the bet at whist,
Serve well enough to fill.

So Toby fares, nor heeds, Till terms are wasted, and the proud degree, Soon purchas'd, comes his learned toils to crown. He swears, and swears he knows not what, nor cares ; Becomes a perjur'd graduate, and thinks soon To be a candidate for Orders. Ah! Vain was the hope. Though many a wolf as fell Deceive the shepherd and devour the flock, Thou none shalt injure. On a luckless day, Withdrawn ta taste the pleasures of the town, Heated with wine, a yehement dispute With a detested rival shook the roof. He penn'd a challenge, sent it, fought, and fell; And, if there be for such delinquents room

« PreviousContinue »