« PreviousContinue »
There was mounting 'mong Grasmes of the Netherby clan;
Fosters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran;
There was racing and chasing on Oannobie Lea,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see !—
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar!
Sir Walter Scott.
GEMS FROM SHAKSPEARE.
I.—A Mother's Grief.
There was not such a gracious creature born.
But now will canker-sorrow eat my bud,
And chase the native beauty from his cheek,
And he will look as hollow as a ghost,
As dim and meagre as an ague's fit,
And so he'll die; and, rising so again,
When I shall meet him in the court of heaven
I shall not know him: therefore never, never
Must I behold my pretty Arthur more.
Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form:
Then have I reason to be fond of grief?
II.—Fear Of Death.
Cowards die many times before their deaths:
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
But 'tis a common proof,
That lowliness is young Ambition's ladder,
Whereto the climber upward turns his face:
But when he once attains the upmost round,
He then unto the ladder turns his back,
Looks in the clouds, scorning the base degrees
By which he did ascend.
iv.—Reflections On Life.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more; it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Think you, a little din can daunt mine ears?
Have I not in my time heard lions roar?
Have I not heard the sea, puffed up with winds,
Rage like an angry boar, chafed with sweat?
Have I not heard great ordnance in the field,
And Heaven's artillery thunder in the skies?
Have I not in a pitched battle heard
Loud 'larums, neighing steeds, and trumpets' clang?
And do you tell me of a woman's tongue,
That gives not half so great a blow to the ear
As will a chestnut in a farmer's fire?
Honour travels in a strait so narrow,
Where one but goes abreast: keep then the path;
For Emulation hath a thousand sons,
That one by one pursue: if you give way,
Or hedge aside from the direct forthright, Like to an entered tide they all rush by, And leave you hindmost.
Let's take the instant by the forward top; For we are old, and on our quickest decrees The inaudible and noiseless foot of Time Steals ere we can effect them.
THE CHRISTIAN PAUPER'S DEATH-BED.
Tread softly—bow the head—
In rev'rent silence bow;
No passing-bell doth toll,
Yet an immortal soul
Is passing now.
Stranger! however great,
With lowly rev'rence bow;
There's one in that poor shed—
One by that paltry bed—
Greater than thou.
Beneath that beggar's roof,
Lo ! Death doth keep his state:
Enter—no crowds attend;
Enter—no guards defend
This palace gate.
That pavement, damp and cold,
No smiling courtiers tread;
One silent woman stands,
Lifting with meagre hands
A dying head.
No mingling voices sound—
An infant wail alone;
A sob suppressed—again
That short deep gasp, and then—
The parting groan.
O change !—O wondrous change!
Burst are the prison bars —
This moment there so low,
So agonized—and now
Beyond the stars!
O change !—stupendous change!
There lies the soulless clod;
The sun eternal breaks—
The new immortal wakes—
Wakes with his God!
FLATTERY AND FRIENDSHIP.
Every one that flatters thee
Is no friend in misery:
Words are easy, like the wind;
Faithful friends 'tis hard to find.
Every man will be thy friend,
While thou hast wherewith to spend;
But if store of crowns be scant,
No man will supply thy want.
If that one be prodigal,
Bountiful they will him call;
If he be addict to vice,
Quickly him they will entice.
But if Fortune once do frown,
Then farewell his great renown;
They that fawned on him before,
Use his company no more.
He that is thy friend indeed,
He will keep thee in thy need.
If thou sorrow, he will weep;
If thou wake, he cannot sleep.
Thus of every grief in heart
He with thee doth bear a part.
These are certain signs to know
Faithful Friend from flattering Foe.
Hear the sledges with the bells—
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight,
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To. the tintinabulation that so musically swells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells—
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.
Hear the mellow wedding bells—
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And all in tune!
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing