Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

Highlanders being characteristically of a hardy, and enduring nature, an attempt is made to resemble them as much as possible in this particular.

A.

BRUTUS.

What! silent all! throughout that column'd space
A death-like horror broods on ev'ry face ;
And all is still as summer's ev'ning rest,
When breezeless ocean calins his rippling breast.

Thron'd in the midst, dark minister of fate,
Lo! where the consul holds his solemn state ;
His not the eye 'neath sorrow's pang to quail,
Nor his the hand, nor his the heart to fail ;
Whether in warrior's helm he face the foe,
Or own the sterner pow'r of silent woe.
Yet well might sorrow there assert her reign,
O'ercloud his brow, and rive his heart in twain,
For ʼmid yon traitor group that wait their doom,
The fairest sons of liberated Rome,
His own lov'd offspring stand! on them the maze
Of human faces bends its steadfast gaze :
Aye! these were traitor spirits, Romans! these
Had barter'd glory for voluptuous ease,
And sworn to bow before a Tyrant's throne,
Where their bold sire made Rome and Freedom one !

Ill-fated brothers ! had they burn'd to wield
Freedom's bright falchion o'er the embattled field,
It had not stain'd their cheeks, as now, to stand
With coward's blush of shame, and traitor's fetter'd hand.

Oh! think not he will spare, who dauntless stood
By pale Lucretia weltering in her blood,
And, on the reeking steel he waved on high,
Swore his immortal oath to Liberty.

Viewless as wind before his fancy glide
The hero phantoms that for Rome had died;
And, oh! sad contrast, 'mid the charnel's gloom
His own fair offspring withered ere their bloom ;
Yet nerves his soul to meet the fatal blow
With the calm dignity of manly woe:
Thus in the marble live the father's* pangs,
As writhe his sons beneath the serpent's fangs;
Himself untamed, till overwhelming fate
Shall crush each youthful form, and leave him desolate.

Thrice, but in vain, the wretched father strove
To quell the yearnings of parental love,
Till the high majesty of pale despair
Gave words their way; and all was Roman there !

“ Unworthy slaves at Freedom's holiest shrine, “Go, Tarquin's sons, I dare not call ye mine! “ Survey yon anxious crowds that wait your doom, And call for justice to the Gods of Rome ; " "Tis Justice cries; the Gods have heard the pray'r ; “ The Lictor waits, th' uplifted axe is bare ; “ Life's sun is set-go! let your tearless eye “ Show how a Roman spirit dares to die !"

As ceased his words, a murmur loud and long
Burst the chill silence of the spell-bound throng;
All on the father gaze; all meet his eye
With the mute eloquence of sympathy;

* Laocoon.

While he, unmov'd, the deadly stroke surveys
That leaves all childless his declining days,
Scans the pale trunk, the ghastly head, the gore
That rolls its sluggish tide-and all is o'er !
Then in his mantle shrouds whate'er of woe
So stern a heart might feel, a weaker deign to show.

ADVENTURES OF THE EDITOR'S BUREAU.

Olim truncus eram, ficulnus, inutile lignum.

Well do I remember the day on which I arrived at my first domicile, fresh from the plane and chisel of the carpenter, that Prometheus, who called forth my living energies from among the well-seasoned boards, which had long waited for vitality before his workshop. Two chairs, who went before me into my new apartment, seemed scarcely to have recovered, the one from a spinal complaint, the other from the wounds of a red-hot poker, We were ushered into a newly-whitewashed room, cold and comfortless; for the wet coals literally threw a damp on the shy advances of half a green faggot. I was innocent enough to be pleased with the neatness of the sanded floor; nor could I have expected, even in my dreams, the luxurious carpet on which I now rest my tottering feet. Oh! it was a proud moment for me, when I saw my predecessor, a superannuated veteran, unable to maintain his place in the corner between the fire-place and the window, leave the room. After some hours of suspense, I was delighted to hear “Moody's Original" rumble through the street, and stop before the gate of the Christopher. Scarcely had a saucy porter deposited on the floor a

с

trunk, a hamper of game, and a square box, redolent of Christmas cheer, when my new master entered the room. I surveyed him with eager curiosity, and was gratified by the polite attention with which he returned my gaze. No sooner was his apparel disposed of, than, with the confidence of youth, I flung wide my doors for the reception of his well-worn library. I noticed with pleasure, how carefully he arranged and re-arranged his books, how he assigned each to a higher or lower shelf according to its probable utility, that he might be able to summon his favourite authors to his aid, without losing time in rising from his chair. In short he was a sap." It was a grateful smile, with which, many months after, he regarded me, as he wrote over the last line of a “sent up” exercise, originally composed under my auspices. That smile will ever be laid up on the shelves of my memory. Often would he pore over a "locus conclamatus," or labour at an inharmonious verse, until the unsnuffed candle threatened to deluge my bright green baize with streams of no poetic liquid. This was my only source of apprehension; from all other risks the careful habits of my master were sufficient to preserve me; his fags dared not profane my penetralia; the boys' maid was too idle to disturb my repose. But the time of his departure was at hand; and I received with mingled sensations of pride and sorrow, the choice, but scanty collection of leaving books, presented to him by friends, who, like him, had adored the memory of Porson, and emulated the elegiac sweetness of the Musæ Etonenses. It may have been fancy, but methought he sighed as he consigned my treasures to the packing-cases, whose precious freight was doomed henceforth to sicken with the mathematical malaria ever hanging over the waters of the Cam.

I now became the property of his younger brother, an unfeeling boy, who knew not how to estimate my worth, I could not but consider myself insulted, when a mouse was imprisoned in my choicest recess, and taught to climb a ladder of string, where, in former times, an atlas had displayed its varied colours to the young geographer. A squirrel soon joined the impious invaders of my peace, and was in his turo exchanged for a colony of less injurious redpoles ; I succeeded in suffocating three of these new comers; the boys' maid kindly finished the rest. Picture to yourself, gentle reader, the feelings with which I saw a new favourite installed in the place of the deceased. Those who have never had a ferret in their insides, cannot estimate the depth of my despair. My spirit was broken. Sealing wax had imprinted burning kisses on my baize; gamboge and Prussian blue had left an indelible blot on my escutcheon; ink had trickled down my legs;-I looked for the worst. Daily at the hour of twelve, I was reminded by an old Dutch clock, my neighbour and fellow-sufferer, that I must prepare myself to meet my oppressor. For a full hour he would sit before me, engaged in transcribing passages from the poetæ ; but no sooner bad my friend struck one, than he flew away with a zealous precipitancy, for which at the time I could not account, I have since learned, that it was his custom to present these sheets daily at that particular hour to his tutor's servant. After having in this way almost transcribed the authors, whose works his brother had been content to read, he withdrew, or rather was withdrawn, from Eton, before he had entered the middle division,

The Easter holydays were all too short for me to forget my sorrows; and at their close, I found that I had

« ПредишнаНапред »