« PreviousContinue »
making friends among the rising generation, with whom he soon grew into great favour.
Having nothing to do at home, and being arrived at that happy age when a man can be idle with impunity, he took his place once more on the bench at the inn door, and was reverenced as one of the patriarchs of the village, and a chronicle of the old times“ before the
It was some time before he could get into the regular track of gossip, or could be made to comprehend the strange events that had taken place during his torpor. How that there had been a revolutionary war—that the country had thrown off the yoke of old England
and that instead of being a subject of his Majesty George III., he was now a free citizen of the United · States. Rip, in fact, was no politician; the changes of states and empires made but little impression on him; but there was one species of despotism under which he had long groaned, and that was—petticoat government. Happily that was at an end; he had got his neck out of the yoke of matrimony, and could go in and out whenever he pleased without dreading the tyranny of Dame Van Winkle. Whenever her name was mentioned, however, he shook his head, shrugged his shoulders, and cast up his eyes; which might pass either for an expression of resignation to his fate, or joy at his deliverance.
He used to tell his story to every stranger that arrived at Mr. Doolittle's hotel. He was observed at first to vary on some points every time he told it, which was, doubtless, owing to his having so recently awaked. It at last settled down precisely to the tale I have related, and not a man, woman, or child in the neighbourhood but knew it by heart. Some always pretended to doubt the reality of it, and insisted that Rip had been out of his head, and that this was one point on which he always remained flighty. The old Dutch inhabitants, however, almost universally gave it full credit. Even to this day they never hear a thunder-storm of a summer afternoon about the Kaatskill, but they say Hendrick Hudson and his crew are at their game
of ninepins; and it is a common wish of all henpecked husbands in the neighbourhood, when life hangs heavy on their hands, that they might have a quieting draught out of Rip Van Winkle's flagon,
W. C. BENNETT.
"O COME you from the Indies, and, soldier, can
tell Aught of the gallant 90th, and who are safe and well ? O soldier, say my son is safe—for nothing else I care, And you shall have a mother's thanks-shall have a
widow's prayer." “O I've come from the Indies—I've just come from the
war; And well I know the 90th, and gallant lads they are; From colonel down to rank and file, I know my comrades
well, And news I've brought for you, mother, your Robert
bade me tell." And do
you know my Robert, now? O tell me, tell me true, O soldier, tell me word for word all that he said to
His very words—my own boy's words—0 tell me every
one! You little know how dear to his old mother is
my “ Through Havelock's fights and marches the 90th were
there; In all the gallant 90th did, your Robert did his share; Twice he went into Lucknow, untouch'd by steel or
ball, And you may bless your God, old dame, that brought him safe through all."
“O thanks unto the living God that heard his mother's
prayer, The widow's cry that rose on high her only son to
spare ! O bless'd be God, that turned from him the sword and
shot away! And what to his old mother did my darling bid you
“Mother, he saved his colonel's life, and bravely it was
done ; In the despatch they told it all, and named and praised
your son ; A medal and a pension's his; good luck to him, I say, And he has not a comrade but will wish him well to
“Now, soldier, blessings on your tongue. O husband,
that you knew How well our boy pays me this day for all that I've
gone through, All I have done and borne for him the long years since
you're dead! But, soldier, tell me how he look'd, and all my Robert
“He's bronzed, and tann'd, and bearded, and you'd
hardly know him, dame, We've made your boy into a man, but still his heart's
For often, dame, his talk's of you, and always to one
tune, But there, his ship is nearly home, and he'll be with
“O is he really coming home, and shall I really see My boy again, my own boy, home? and when, when
will it be ?
Did you say soon ?”—“Well, he is home; keep cool, old
he's here." “ O Robert, my own blessèd boy !”—“O mothermother dear!"
(By permission of the Author.)
THE WIND ON A WINTER NIGHT.
does he go? He rides over the water, and over the snow, Through wood, and through vale; and o'er rocky
height, Which the goat cannot climb, takes his sounding
flight; He tosses about in
bare tree, As, if you look up, you plainly may see; But how he will come, and whither he goes, There's never a scholar in England knows. He will suddenly stop in a cunning nook, And rings a sharp 'larum ;—but, if you should look, There's nothing to see but a cushion of snow Round as a pillow, and whiter than milk, And softer than if it were covered with silk. Sometimes he'll hide in the cave of a rock, Then whistle as shrill as the buzzard cock; • —Yet seek him,—and what shall you find in the place ? Nothing but silence and empty space; Save, in a corner, a heap of dry leaves, That he's left, for a bed, to beggars or thieves ! As soon as 'tis daylight, to-morrow, with me You shall go to the orchard, and then you
will see That he has been there, and made a great rout, And cracked the branches, and strewn them about;
Heaven grant that he spare but that one upright twig
may work his own will, and what shall we care? He
may knock at the door,—we'll not let him in ; May drive at the windows, -we'll laugh at his din; Let him seek his own home wherever it be; Here's a cozie warm house for Edward and me.
A PARENTAL ODE TO MY SON.
Thou happy, happy elf! (But stop,--first let me kiss away that tear)
Thou tiny image of myself! (My love, he's poking peas into his ear!)
Thou merry, laughing sprite !
With spirits feather light, Untouch'd by sorrow, and unsoild by sin(Good heavens! the child is swallowing a pin!)
Thou little tricksy Puck! With antic toys so funnily bestuck, Light as the singing-bird that wings the air(The door! the door! he'll tumble down the stair !)