Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Yet knew not his country, that ominous hour,

Ere the loud matin-bell was rung,
That a trumpet of death on an English tower,

Had the dirge of her champion sung !
When his dungeon-light looked dim and red,

On the high-born blood of a martyr slain, No anthem was sung at his holy death-bed ; No weeping there was when his bosom bled

And his heart was rent in twain !

Oh, it was not thus when his oaken spear

Was true to that knight forlorn,
And hosts of a thousand were scattered like deer

At the blast of the hunter's horn;
When he strode on the wreck of each well-fought field

With the yellow-liaired chiefs of his native land; For his lance was not shivered on helmet or shieldAnd the sword that seemed fit for archangel to wield,

Was light in his terrible hand !
Yet bleeding and bound, though the Wallace wight

For his long-loved country die,
The bugle ne'er sang to a braver knight

Than William of Elderslie!
But the day of his glory shall never depart;

His head unentombed shall with glory be palmed; From its blood-streaming altar his spirit shall start ; Though the raven has fed on his mouldering heart,

A nobler was never embalmed !

THE INCONSTANT'S APOLOGY.

BY THE LATE M. G. LEWIS, ESQ.

Love, I've loved you passing well,

Loved you long, and loved sincerely ;
How I loved no tongue can tell,

'Twas so truly, 'twas so dearly;
But my fond delirium o'er,
Love, adieu ;-We'll meet no more..
When I owned your beauty's sway,

All my vows were gospel-true, love ;
That I'm changed, no doubt, you'll say ;

And believe me so are you, love;
Bloom departing, youth removed,
You're no more the love I loved !
Can I still the casket prize,

When the gem by Time is plundered ?
Can the stalk delight mine eyes,

Whence the rose for aye is sundered ?

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

'Twas eight o'clock, and near the fire

My ruddy little boy was seated, And with the titles of a sire

My ears expected to be greeted. But vain the thought! by sleep oppressed,

No father there the child descried; His head reclined upon his breast,

Or nodding rolled from side to side. Let this young rogue be sent to bed,'

More I had scarce had time to say, When the poor urchin raised his head,

To beg that he might longer stay. Refused; away his steps he bent

With tearful eye and aching heart, But claimed his playthings ere he went,

And took up stairs his horse and cart.

Still for delay, though oft denied,

He pleaded,-wildly craved the boon ;Though past his usual hour, he cried

At being sent to bed so soon!
If stern to him, his grief I shared,

(Unmoved who sees his offspring weep ?) Of soothing him I half despaired;

When all his cares were lost in sleep.

‘Alas, poor infant !' I exclaimed,

Thy father blushes now to scan,
In all that he so lately blamed,

The follies and the fears of man.
The vain regret—the anguish brief,

Which thou hast known, sent up to bed,
Pourtrayed of man the idle grief,

When doomed to slumber with the dead.

And more I thought, when up the stairs

With longing, lingering looks he crept,
To mark of man the childish cares,

His playthings carefully he kept.
Thus mortals on life's later stage,

When nature claims their perfect breath,
Still grasp at wealth, in pain and age,

And cling to golden toys in death.

'Tis morn, and see my smiling boy

Awakes to hail returning light;
To fearless laughter, boundless joy!

Forgot the tears of yesternight!
Thus shall not man forget his woe ;

Survive of age and death the gloom ?
Smile at the cares he knew below,

And, renovated, burst the tomb ?*

EPIGRAM

ON A MUSICIAN AND DANCING MASTER WHO DECAMPED WITH THE MONEY

SUBSCRIBED FOR A MUSICAL PUBLICATION.

His time was quick, his touch was fleet; our gold he nimbly fingered ;
Alike alert with hands and feet, his movements have not lingered.
Where lies the wonder of the case ?-a moment's thought detects it;
His practice has been thorough-bass,-a chord will be his exit!
Yet whilst we blame his hasty flights, our censure may be rash,
For sure in times like these 'tis right to change ones notes for cash!

* This beautiful little poem report ascribes to the pen of the accomplished author of the Lollards.'

REMINISCENCES OF CHILDHOOD.

The school's lone porch with reverend mosses grey,
Just tells the pensive pilgrim where it lay.
Mute is the bell that rung at peep of dawn,
Quickening my truant feet across the lawn :
Unheard the shout that rent the noontide air,
When the slow dial gave a pause to care.
Up springs at every step to claim a tear
Some little friendship formed and cherished here ;
And not the lightest leaf but trembling teems
With golden visions and romantic dreams.

ROGERS.

Few things excite in my mind stronger sensations of pleasure, not unmixed with pain, than the recollection of those days which were spent at school. In order to revel in all the luxury of that melancholy which arises from such a mixture of conflicting feelings, I walked over, about a week ago, to the village, where I was first introduced to the muses. Although it is situated within a very few miles of the metropolis, it is but little frequented by strangers; and is as retired, and in fact as dull, as any spot two hundred miles in the country.

It is now twenty years' since my last breaking up day' there; a period sufficient for affecting considerable change in my circle of acquaintance, without bringing me to that advanced stage of life in which a kind Providence, preparing us for a departure to another world, blunts our feelings to the joys and sorrows of this.

I struck from the high road as directly as possible across some luxuriant meadows, which brought me to a full view at once of the old house, school. room, and play-ground. At one time there was not a crab-tree or blackberry-bush in any of the hedges surrounding these meadows, to which I could not have found my way in the dark; but 'twenty years' will lessen the value of crab-apples and blackberries, and perhaps teach us to toil after things of no greater value.

In one corner of the ground, a boy of my own age and myself had 'twenty years' ago formed a garden, in size nearly twenty feet square. It was tastefully laid out, and well stocked with London-pride, sun-flowers, double daisies, thrift, and such gay plants; part of it was devoted to the cultivation of lettuces, onions, radishes, and mustard and cress. The whole was fenced with green pales, furnished with a well-fitting gate, bearing a stout padlock, for the exclusion of the oι πολλοι. And from this may be inferred that my partner and myself were persons of no small consideration' in the school. Our joint stock of money and ingenuity enabled us moreover to provide a rural table and benches; about these we planted four young fruit trees, which, when interwoven at the top, formed a kind of arbour. We also contrived to have what we called a fish-pond, and on either side of our garden gate we planted a young and slender poplar. To our arbour on half-holidays we retired, to treat our friends with bread and butter, and sallad of our own growing. In order to do things handsomely, we occasionally added a little ale, smuggled into our magisterial territory from our neighbour's of the · Bear,'-ale bad enough, in fact, but to us nectar, perhaps because contraband. There we played flute duets : our instruments, to be sure, were not always exactly in tune, and we cared almost as little for time in music as in other things; but we were the Nicholsons of the school. How

sweetly were our afternoons thus passed! without care, and full of health, our pleasures were perfectly unalloyed.

The first object that struck me at this end of the twenty years,' was my group of fruit-trees, ragged, deformed, and so increased in dimensions, that were my table and benches still in existence, they could not occupy their ancient place. My poplars (for I cannot help calling them mine even now) are, as my good grandmamma used, at each succeeding vacation, to say of me,' grown out of all knowledge.' My palisades, gate, parterres, and fish-pond, have ceased to be ; and I was half inclined to quarrel with one or two urchins who were playing within my bounds.

On casting round my eye, I saw every where something to revive the recollection of some formerly important occurrence. There was the window, for jumping out of which, I received my last caning ;-there were the yew trees, into which I have often climbed for their berries, (sweet, because forbidden fruit) ;—there, the paling beneath them, on which I once suspended myself, through too much hurry in descending, to avoid the birchthreatening eye of our pedagogue ;-there was the furrow worn in the turf by our cricket matches ;- there the ditch which afforded us in winter a good slide, and, indeed, many a tumble too;—there was the narrow pass, (named by us Thermopylæ) between the house and the school-room, which I have often defended with a handful of Greeks against all the rest of the school under a mimic Xerxes ;—there was the garden, where I used to assist, in his horticultural labours, the good Emigre, who, at the same time, taught us French, and afforded us a bright example of patience and kindly feeling. In that school-room I first made pot-hooks and hangers ; and I yet remember (as I presume was intended) the strapping which was bestowed on me for laughing at my master's (to me novel) observation, that I had dog's-eared my book. In one corner we made our Guy Fawkes' fire;and behind the hedge we settled our differences by single combat, but, Heaven be praised! with less mischievous weapons than those employed by persons of maturer years.

If I could but have forgotten what I have lost since those halcyon days, my musings would have been indeed delicious, but it has been my lot to become the survivor of almost all my youthful friends. My brother gardener, my chief antagonistin war, my solitary class-fellow in Greek, my bedfellow,—all are gone. The school-room is now set to the parish-officers, for the use of paupers ;-the great garden is a waste;—and the house scarcely habitable. Never, without necessity, will I again revisit that spot!

It was impossible for me, however, though with a swelling heart, to avoid taking a farewell of the village church. I have seen its gray tower I hope for the last time. The first grave-board on which my eyes rested bore the name of the old one-eyed parish-clerk, whose blind side bore the brunt of many a harmless prank from us. A little farther on lie the iron-fenced remains of the squire of the parish, who always took the curate home to dine with him, on Sundays, in his carriage, and who often showered gingerbread-nuts among us. Close by lies farmer Jones; and honoured be his memory! for he once bestowed on us twelve large faggots to add to our bonfire, beside a famous pole for the more signal suspension of the great incendiary. Near farmer Jones lies Gabriel, the barber; I remember him from having slipped a lighted squib into his gaping boot on the same occasion. And there lies Mr. Dickenson, the half-cracked surgeon, who, to our unvarying question- what's the best thing for the stomach-ache,

« ПредишнаНапред »