Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Speak! for thou long enough hast acted dummy;

Thou hast a tongue, come, let us hear its tune; Thou'rt standing on thy legs, above ground, Mummy,

Revisiting the glimpses of the moon,Not like thin ghosts, or disembodied creatures, But with thy bones and flesh, and limbs and features. Tell us,

for doubtless thou canst recollect,
To whom should we assign the Sphinx's fame?
Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect

Of either pyramid that bears his name?
Is Pompey's pillar really a misnomer?
Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer?
Perhaps thou wert a mason,

and forbidden By oath to tell the mysteries of thy trade, Then say what secret melody was hidden

In Memnon's statue, which at sunrise played ? Perhaps thou wert a priest—if so, my struggles Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles. Perchance that very hand, now pinioned flat,

Has hob-a-nobbed with Pharaoh, glass to glass ;
Or dropped a halfpenny in Homer's hat,

Or doffed thine own to let Queen Dido pass;
Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
A torch at the great Temple's dedication.
I need not ask thee if that hand, when armed,
Has
any

Roman soldier mauled and knuckled,
For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalmed,

Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled;
Antiquity appears to have begun
Long after thy primeval race was run.
Thou couldst develop, if that withered tongue

Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen, How the world looked when it was fresh and young,

And the great deluge still had left it green; Or was it then so old, that history's pages Contained no record of its early ages ?

Still silent ! incommunicative elf!

Art sworn to secrecy ? then keep thy vows; But prithee tell us something of thyself,

Reveal the secrets of thy prison-house; Since in the world of spirits thou hast slumbered, What hast thou seen ? what strange adventures num

bered ?

Since first thy form was in this box extended,
We have, above ground, seen some strange muta-

tions,
The Roman Empire has begun and ended,

New worlds have risen, we have lost old nations, And countless kings have into dust been humbled, Whilst not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.

Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head,

When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses, Marched armies o'er thy tomb with thundering

tread,
O’erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis ?
And shook the pyramids with fear and wonder,
When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder ?

If the tomb's secrets may not be confessed,

The nature of thy private life unfold;
A heart has throbbed beneath that leathern breast,

And tears adown that dusky cheek have rolled.
Have children climbed those knees, and kissed that

face? What was thy name and station, age, and race ?

Statue of flesh, immortal of the dead !

Imperishable type of evanescence, Posthumous man, who quitt'st thy narrow bed,

And standest undecayed within our presence, Thou wilt hear nothing till the judgment morning, When the great trump shall thrill thee with its Why should this worthless tegument endure,

warning

If its undying guest be lost for ever ? Oh! let us keep the soul embalmed and pure

In living virtue, that, when both must sever, Although corruption may our frame consume, The immortal spirit in the skies may bloom !

ON THE DEATH OF A FAVOURITE CAT.

T. GRAY.

'Twas on a lofty vase's side,
Where China's gayest art had dyed

The azure flowers that blow,
Demurest of the tabby kind,
The pensive Selima, reclined,

Gazed on the lake below.

Her conscious tail her joy declared ;
The fair round face, the snowy beard,

The velvet of her paws,
Her coat that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes,

She saw, and purred applause.

Still had she gazed, but ʼmidst the tide,
Two angel forms were seen to glide,

The genii of the stream:
Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue,
Through richest purple, to the view

Betrayed a golden gleam.

The hapless nymph with wonder saw;
A whisker first, and then a claw,

With many an ardent wish,
She stretched in vain to reach the prize;
What female heart can gold despise ?

What cat's averse to fish?

[ocr errors]

Presumptuous maid! with looks intent,
Again she stretched, again she bent,

Nor knew the gulf between
(Malignant fate sat by and smiled):
The slippery verye her feet beguiled;

She tumbled headlong in.
Eight times emerging from the flood,
She mewed to every watery god,

Some speedy aid to send.
No dolphin came, no Naïad stirred,
Nor cruel Tom or Susan heard :

A fav'rite has no friend.
From hence, ye beauties, undeceived,
Know one false step is ne'er retrieved,

And be with caution told :
Not all that tempts your wondering eyes,
And heedless hearts is lawful prize ;

Nor all that glistens, gold.

THE BASHFUL MAN.

HENRY MACKENZIE.

Among the various good and bad qualities incident to our nature, I have unfortunately that of being overstocked with the one called bashfulness; for you must know, I inherit such an extreme susceptibility of shame, that on the smallest subject of confusion, my blood rushes into my cheeks, and I appear a perfect full-blown rose; in short, I am commonly known by the appellation of «« The Bashful Man." The consciousness of this unhappy failing made me formerly avoid that social company

I should otherwise have been ambitious to appear in; till at length becoming possessed of an ample fortune by the death of an old rich uncle, and vainly supposing “ that money makes the man,” I was now determined to shake off my natural timidity, and join the gay throng. With this view I accepted of an invitation to dine with one whose open, easy manner left me no room to doubt of a cordial welcome;—Sir Thomas Friendly, an intimate acquaintance of my late uncle's, with two sons and five daughters, all grown up, and living with their mother and a maiden sister of Sir Thomas's. Conscious of my unpolished gait, I for some time took private lessons of a professor who teaches

grown gentlemen to dance." Having by this means acquired the art of walking without tottering, and learned to make a bow, I boldly ventured to obey the baronet's invitation to a family dinner, not doubting but my new acquirements would enable me to see the ladies with tolerable intrepidity; but, alas ! how vain are all the hopes of theory when unsupported by habitual practice. As I approached the house a dinner-bell alarmed

my fears lest I had spoiled the dinner by want of punctuality; impressed with this idea, I blushed the deepest crimson, as my name was repeatedly ar

announced by the several livery servants who ushered me into the library, hardly knowing what or whom I saw. first entrance I summoned all my fortitude, and made my new-learned bow to Lady Friendly; but unfortunately, in bring my left foot to the third position, I trod upon the gouty toe of poor Sir Thomas, who had followed close to my heels, to be the nomenclator of the family. The confusion this occasioned in me is hardly to be conceived, since none but bashful men can judge of my distress; and of that description I believe the number is very small. The baronet's politeness by degrees dissipated my concern, and I was astonished to see how far good breeding could enable him to support his feelings, and to appear with perfect ease after so painful an accident.

The cheerfulness of her ladyship, and the familiar chat of the young ladies, insensibly led me to throw off my reserve and sheepishness, till at length I ventured to join in conversation, and even to start fresh subjects. The library being richly furnished with books in elegant bindings, and observing an edition of “ Xenophon,"

At my

« ПредишнаНапред »