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A NobLE theme demands a noble verse,
In such I thank you for your fine oysters.
The barrel was magnificently large,
But, being sent to Olney at free charge,
Was not inserted in the driver's list,
And therefore overlook'd, forgot, or miss'd;
For, when the messenger whom we despatch'd
Inquired for oysters, #. his noddle scratch'd;
Denying that his waggon or his wain
Did any such commodity contain.
In consequence of which, your welcome boon
Did not arrive till yesterday at noon;
In consequence of which some chanced to die,
And some, though very sweet, were very dry.
Now Madam says (and what she says must still
Deserve attention, say she what she will),
That what we call the diligence, be-case
It goes to London with a swifter pace,
Would better suit the carriage of your gift,
Returning downward with a pace as swift;
And therefore recommends it with this aim—
To save at least three days, the price the same;
For though it will not carry or convey
For less than twelve pence, send whate'er you may,
For oysters bred upon the salt sea-shore,
Pack'd in a barrel, they will charge no more.
News have I none that I can deign to write, Save that it rain'd prodigiously last night; And that ourselves were, at the seventh hour, Caught in the first beginning of the shower; But walking, running, and with much ado, Got home—just time enough to be wet through, Yet both are well, and, wond’rous to be told, Soused as we were, we yet have caught no cold; And wishing just the same good hap to you, We say, good Madam, and good Sir, adieu !
VERSES PRINTED BY HIMSELF, ON A FLOOD AT OLNEY.
To watch the storms, and hear the sky
Give all our almanacks the lie;
To shake with cold, and see the plains
In autumn drown'd with ...}. rains;
'Tis thus I spend my moments here,
And wish myself a Dutch mynheer;
I then should have no need of wit:
For lumpish Hollander unfit!
Nor should I then repine at mud,
Or meadows deluged with a flood;
But in a bog live well content,
And find it just my element;
Should be a clod, and not a man;
Nor wish in vain for sister Ann,
With charitable aid to drag
My mind out of its proper quag;
Should have the genius of a boor,
And no ambition to have more.
On The receiPT OF A HAMPER,
(IN THE MANNER of HomeR.)
THE straw-stuff'd hamper with his ruthless steel He open'd, cutting sheer th’ inserted cords
*Which bound the lid and lip secure. Forth came
The rustling package first, bright straw of wheat,
Or oats, or barley; next a bottle green
Throat-full, clear spirits the contents, distill'd
Drop after drop odorous, by the art
Of the fair mother of his friend—the Rose.
Could Homer come himself, distress'd and poor,
And tune his harp at Rhedicina's door,
The rich old vixen would exclaim (I fear),
“Begonel no tramper gets a farthing here.”
ON THE HIGH PRICE OF FISH.
Fish too dear,
None must be bought
For us that are here:
No lobster on earth,
That ever I saw,
To me would be worth
Sixpence a claw.
So, dearmadam, wait
Till fish can be got
At a reas'nable rate,
Whether lobster or not;
Till the French and the Dutch
Have quitted the seas,
And then send as much
And as oft as you please.
on THE ICE ISLANDS SEEN FLOATING IN THE GERMAN OCEAN.
WHAT portents, from what distant region, ride,
Unseen till now in ours, the astonish'd tide?
In ages past, old Proteus, with his droves
Of sea-calves, sought the mountains and the groves.
But now, descending whence of late they stood,
Themselves the mountains seem to rove the flood.
Dire times were they, full charged with human woes;
And these, scarce less calamitous than those.
What view we now! More wondrous still Behold 1
Like burnish'd brass they shine, or beaten gold;
And all around the pearl's pure splendour show,
And all around the ruby's fiery glow.
Come they from India, where the burning earth,
All bounteous, gives her richest treasures birth;
And where the costly gems, that beam around
The brows of mightiest potentates, are found?
No. Never such a countless ing store
Had left unseen the Ganges' o shore.
Rapacious hands, and ever watc eyes,
Should sooner far have mark'd and seized the prize."
Whence sprang they then? Ejected have they come
From Wesuvius', or from AEtna's burning womb?
Thus shine they self-illumed, or but o
The borrow'd splendours of a cloudless !
With borrow'd beams they shine. The ; esthat breathe
Now landward, and the current's force beneath,
Have borne them nearer: and the nearer sight,
Advantaged more, contemplates them aright.
Their . summits creste dhigh they show,
With mingled sleet, and long-incumbent snow.
The rest is ice. Far hence, where, most severe,
Bleak winter well nigh saddens all the year,
Their infant fo egan. He bade arise
Their uncouth forms, portentous in our eyes.
Oft as dissolved by transient suns, the snow
Left the tall cliff, to join the flood below;
He caught, and curdled with a freezing blast
The current, ere it reach'd the boundless waste,
By slow degrees uprose the wondrous pile,
And long successive ages roll'd the while;
Till, ceaseless in its growth, it claim'd to stand
Tall as its rival mountains on the land.
Thus stood, and, unremovable by skill
Or force of man, had stood the structure still,
But that, though firmly fix'd, supplanted yet
By pressure of its own enormous weight,
It left the shelving beach—and, with a sound
That shook the bellowing waves and rocks around,
Self-launch'd, and swiftly, to the briny wave,
As if instinct with strong desire to lave,
Down went the ponderous mass. So bards of old
How Delos swam the AEgean deep have told.
But not of ice was Delos. Delos bore
Herb, fruit, and flower. She, crown'd with laurel, wore,
E’en under wintry skies, a summer smile;
And Delos was Apollo's favourite isle.
But, horrid wanderers of the deep, to you
He deems Cimmerian darkness only due.
Your hated birth he deign'd not to survey,
But, scornful, turn'd his glorious eyes away.
Hence, seek your home, nor longer rashly dare
The darts of Phoebus and a softer air;
Lest ye regret, too late, your native coast,
In no congenial gulf for ever lost I
March 19, 1799.
VERSES TO THE MEMORY OF DR LLOYD.
SPOKEN AT THE WESTMINSTER ELECTIon next AFTER
OUR good old friend is gone; gone to his rest,
Whose social converse was itself a feast.
O ye of riper years, who recollect
How onceye loved, and eyed him with respect,
Both in the firmness of his better day,
While yet he ruled you with a father's sway,
And when, impair’d by time, and glad to rest,
Yet still with looks in mild complacence drest,
He took his annual seat, and mingled here
His sprightly vein with yours—now drop a tear!
In morals blameless, as in manners meek,
He knew no wish that he might blush to speak,
But, happy in whatever state below,
And ; than the rich in being so,
Obtain'd the hearts of all, and such a meed
At length from one” as made him rich indeed.
Hence then, ye titles, hence, not wanted here !
Go! garnish merit in a higher sphere,
The brows of those, whose more exalted lot
He could congratulate, but envied not
Light lie the turf, good senior, on thy breast;
And tranquil, as thy mind was, be thy rest.
Though, living, thou hadst more desert than fame,
And not a stone now chronicles thy name!
THE poplars are fell'd, farewell to the shade,
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade;
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.
Twelve years had elapsed since I last took a view
Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew;
And now in the grass behold they are laid,
And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade.
The blackbird has fled to another retreat,
Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat,
And the scene where his melody charm'd me before
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.
My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast, and a stone at my head,
Ere auother such grove shall arise in its stead.
'Tis a sight to engageme, if anything can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Though his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see,
Have a being less durable even than he.”
THE nymph must lose her female friend,
If more admired than she—
But where will fierce contention end,
If flowers can disagree?
The Lily's height bespoke command,
A fair imperial flower;
She seem’d design'd for Flora's hand,
The sceptre of her power.
This civil bickering and debate
The goddess chanced to hear,
And flew to save, ere yet too late,
The pride of the parterre.
Yours is, she said, the nobler hue,
And yours the statelier mien ;
And, till a third s es you,
Let each be deem'd a queen.
• vowper arterwards altered this last stanza in the following manner tThe change both my heart and my fancy employs, I reflect on the frailty of man, and his Joys: Ehort-lived as we are, yet our pleasures, we see, have a still shorter date, and die sooner than wa