Page images

Where, as he painted every blissful view,
And highly colour'd what he strongly drew,
The pensive damsel, prone to tender fears,
Dimm’d the false prospect with prophetic tears.
Thus pass'd th' allotted hours, till lingering late,
The lover loiter'd at the master's gate ;
There he pronounced adieu ! and yet would stay,
Till chidden—soothed -entreated-forced away ;
He would of coldness, though indulged, complain,
And oft retire and oft return again;
When, if his teasing vex'd her gentle mind,
The grief assumed, compell’d her to be kind !
For he would proof of plighted kindness crave,
That she resented first and then forgave,
And to his grief and penance yielded more
Than his presumption had required before.-

Ah! fly temptation, youth ; refrain ! refrain,
Each yielding maid and each presuming swain !

Lo ! now with red rent cloak and bonnet black, And torn green gown loose hanging at her back, One who an infant in her arms sustains, And seems in patience striving with her pains ; Pinch'd are her looks, as one who pines for bread, Whose cares are growing and whose hopes are

fled; Pale her parch'd lips, her heavy eyes sunk low, And tears unnoticed from their channels flow; Serene her manner, till some sudden pain Frets the meek soul, and then she's calm again :Her broken pitcher to the pool she takes, And every step with cautious terror makes ; For not alone that infant in her arms, But nearer cause, her anxious soul alarms

With water burthen'd, then she picks her way,
Slowly and cautious, in the clinging clay :
Till, in mid-green, she trusts a place unsound,
And deeply plunges in th' adhesive ground ;
Thence, but with pain, her slender foot she takes,
While hope the mind as strength the frame for-

sakes :
For when so full the cup of sorrow grows,
Add but a drop, it instantly o’erflows.
And now her path but not her peace she gains,
Safe from her task, but shivering with her pains ;
Her home she reaches, open leaves the door,
And placing first her infant on the floor,
She bares her bosom to the wind, and sits,
And sobbing struggles with the rising fits:
In vain, they come, she feels th' inflating grief,
That shuts the swelling bosom from relief ;
That speaks in feeble cries a soul distress'd,
Or the sad laugh that cannot be repress’d.
The neighbour-matron leaves her wheel and flies
With all the aid her poverty supplies ;
Unfee'd, the calls of Nature she obeys,
Not led by profit, not allured by praise ;
And waiting long, till these contentions cease,
She speaks of comfort, and departs in peace.

Friend of distress! the mourner feels thy aid, She cannot pay thee, but thou wilt be paid.

But who this child of weakness, want, and care ? 'Tis Phæbe Dawson, pride of Lammas Fair ; Who took her lover for his sparkling eyes, Expressions warm, and love-inspiring lies : Compassion first assail'd her gentle heart, For all his suffering, all his bosom's smart :

66 And then his prayers ! they would a savage

" And win the coldest of the sex to love :".
But ah ! too soon his looks success declared,
Too late her loss the marriage-rite repaired ;
The faithless flatterer then his vows forgot,
A captious tyrant or a noisy sot :
If present, railing, till he saw her paid'd ;
If absent, spending what their labours gain'd ;
Till that fair form in want and sickness pined,
And hope and comfort fled that gentle mind.

Then fly temptation, youth ; resist, refrain !
Nor let me preach for ever and in vain !



This was the ruler of the land,

When Athens was the land of fame;
This was the light that led the band,

When each was like a living flame;
The centre of earth's noblest ring,
Of more than men, the more than king.

Yet not by fetter, nor by spear,

His sovereignty was held or won : Feared—but alone as freemen fear ;

Loved-but as freemen love alone ;

He waved the sceptre o'er his kind
By nature's first great title-mind !

Resistless words were on his tongue,

Then Eloquence first flash'd below; Full arm'd to life the portent sprung,

Minerva from the thunderer's brow ! And his the sole, the sacred hand, That shook her Ægis o'er the land.

And throned immortal by his side,

A woman sits with eye sublime,
Aspasia,-all his spirit's bride ;-

But, if their solemn love were crime,
Pity the Beauty and the Sage,
Their crime was in their darken'd age.

He perished ;-but his wreath was won,

He perished in his height of fame : Then sunk the cloud on Athens' sun,

Yet still she conquer'd in his name. Fill'd with his soul, she could not die ; Her conquest was Posterity !

THE MINSTREL'S HOUR. WHEN day is done, and clouds are low,

And flowers are honey-dew, And Vesper's lamp begins to burn

Along the western blue, And homeward wing the turtle-doves, Then comes the hour the minstrel loves.

And still as shakes the sudden breeze,

The forest's deepening shade,
He hears on Tuscan evening seas

The silver serenade;
Or to the field of battle borne,
Swells at the sound of trump and horn,

The star that peeps the leaves between

To him is but a light,
That from some lady's bower of green

Shines to her pilgrim knight,
Who feels her spell around him twine,
And hastens home from Palestine.

Or if some wandering peasant's song

Come sweeten'd from the vale,
He hears the stately mitred throng

Around the altar's pale ;
Or sees the dark-eyed nuns of Spain,
Bewitching, blooming, young, in vain.

FROM SEBASTIAN, A SPANISH TALE. THE sound came from a large and lofty tent, Tissued with emblems of Spain's ancient wars ; Through the slight silk the myrtle breathed its

scent, And pour’d their beams, the blue and midnight

stars. Raised like an idol, on the slight ascent Of a low, central tripod sat a Moor, The young magician of those sounds: the floor,

« PreviousContinue »