Page images
PDF
EPUB

Herself as weak as her support is strong,
She feels that frailty she denied so long,
And from a knowledge of her own disease,
Learns to compassionate the sick she sees.
Here see, acquitted of all vain pretence,
The reign of genuine Charity commence ;
Though scorn repay her sympathetic tears,
She still is kind, and still she perseveres ;
The truth she loves, a sightless world blaspheme,
'Tis childish dotage, a delirious dream,
The danger they discern not, they deny,
Laugh at their only remedy, and die :
But still a soul, thus touch'd, can never cease
Whoever threatens war, to speak of peace,
Pure in her aim and in her temper mild,
Her wisdom seems the weakness of a child,
She makes excuses where she might condemn,
Reviled by those that hate her, prays for them ;
Suspicion lurks not in her artless breast,
The worst suggested, she believes the best ;
Not soon provoked, however stung and teased,
And, if perhaps made angry, soon appeased,
She rather waives than will dispute her right,
And, injured, makes forgiveness her delight.

Such was the portrait an apostle drew,
The bright original was one he knew,
Heav'n held his hand, the likeness must be true.

When one, that holds communion with the skies,
Has filled his urn where these pure waters rise,
And once more mingles with us weaner things,
'Tis ev'n as if an angel shook his wings :
Immortal fragrance fills the circuit wide,
That tells us whence his treasures are supplied.
So when a ship, well freighted with the stores
The sun matures on India's spicy shores,

Has dropp'd her anchor and her canvas furl'd,
In some safe haven of our western world,
'Twere vain inquiry to what port she went,
The gale informs us, laden with the scent.
True Charity, a plant divinely nursed,
Fed by the love from which it rose at first,
Thrives against hope and in the rudest scene,
Storms but enliven its unfading green ;
Exub'rant is the shadow it supplies,
Its fruit on earth, its growth above the skies.

Where love in these the world's last doting years
As frequent, as the want of it appears,
The churches warm'd, they would no longer hold
Such frozen figures, stiff as they are cold ;
Relenting forms would lose their pow'r or cease,
And e'en the dipt and sprinkled live in peace ;
Each heart would quit its prison in the breast,
And flow in free communion with the rest.
The statesman, skill'd in projects dark and deep,
Might burn his useless Machiavel, and sleep;
His budget, often fill'd yet always poor,
Might swing at ease behind his study-door,
No longer prey upon our annual rents,
Nor scare the nation with its big contents ;
Disbanded legions freely might depart,
And slaying man would cease to be an art.
No learned disputants would take the field,
Sure not to conquer, and sure not to yield,
Both sides deceived if rightly understood,
Pelting each other for the public good.
Did Charity prevail, the press would prove
A vehicle of virtue, truth, and love,
And I might spare myself the pains to show
What few

can learn, and all suppose they know. Thus have I sought to grace a serious lay

With many a wild, indeed, but flow'ry spray,
In hopes to gain what else I must have lost,
Th' attention pleasure has so much engross'd.
But if unhappily deceived I dream,
And prove too weak for so divine a theme,
Let Charity forgive me a mistake
That zeal, not vanity, has chanced to make,
And spare the poet for his subject sake.

CONVERSATION.

“Nam neque me tantum venientis sibilus austri,
Nec percussa juvant fluctu tam litora, nec quæ
Saxosas inter decurrunt flumina valles.”

-VIRGIL, Ecl, v.
HOUGH nature weigh our talents, and dispense

And Conversation in its better part
May be esteem'd a gift, and not an art,
Yet much depends, as in the tiller's toil,
On culture and the sowing of the soil.
Words learn'd by rote a parrot may rehearse.
But talking is not always to converse,
Not more distinct from harmony divine
The constant creaking of a country sign.
As alphabets in ivory employ
Hour after hour the yet unletter'd boy,
Sorting and puzzling with a deal of glee
Those seeds of science called his A B C,
So language in the mouths of the adult,
Witness its insignificant result,
Too often proves an implement of play,
A toy to sport with, and pass time away.
Collect at evening what the day brought forth,

Compress the sum into its solid worth,
And if it weigh th' importance of a fly,
The scales are false, or algebra a lie.
Sacred interpreter of human thought,
How few respect or use thee as they ought!
But all shall give account of every wrong
Who dare dishonour or defile the tongue,
Who prostitute it in the cause of vice,
Or sell their glory at a market-price,
Who vote for hire, or point it with lam poon,
The dear-bought placeman, and the cheap buffoon.

Ye pow'rs who rule the tongue, if such there are,
And make colloquial happiness your care,
Preserve me from the thing I dread and late,
A duel in the form of a debate :
The clash of arguments and jar of words,
Worse than the mortal brunt of rival swords,
Decide no question with their tedious length,
For opposition gives opinion strength.
Divert the champions prodigal of breath,
And put the peaceably-disposed to death.
Oh thwart me not, Sir Soph, at ev'ry turn,
Nor carp at ev'ry flaw you may discern,
Though syllogisms hang not on my tongue.
I am not, surely, always in the wrong ;
'Tis hard if all is false that I advance,
A fool must now and then be right, by chance,
Not that all freedom of dissent I blame,
No—there I grant the privilege I claim.
A disputable point is no man's ground,
Rove where you please, 'tis common all around,
Discourse may want an animated-No-
To brush the surface and to make it flow,
But still remember, if you mean to please,
To press your point with modesty and ease.

The mark at which my jester aim I take,
Is contradiction for its own dear sake ;
Set your opinion at whatever pitch,
Knots and impediments make something hitch,
Adopt his own, 'tis equally in vain,
Your thread of argument is snapp'd again ;
The wrangler, rather than accord with you,
Will judge himself deceived, and prove it too.
Vociferated logic kills me quite,
A noisy man is always in the right,
I twirl my thumbs, fall back into my chair,
Fix on the wainscot a distressful stare,
And, when I hope his blunders are all out,
Reply discreetly—To be sure—no doubt.

Th' emphatic speaker dearly loves t'oppose
In contact inconvenient, nose to nose,
As if the gnomon on his neighbour's phiz,
Touch'd with a magnet had attracted his.
His whisper'd theme, dilated and at large,
Proves after all a wind-gun's airy charge,
An extract of his diary-no more,
A tasteless journal of the day before.
He walk'd abroad, o'ertaken in the rain,
Callid on a friend, drank tea, stept home again,
Resumed his purpose, had a world of talk
With one he stuinbled on, and lost his walk.
I interrupt him with a sudden bow,
Adieu, dear sir ! lest you should lose it pow.

Some men employ their health, an ugly trick, In making known how oft they have been sick, And give us in recitals of disease A doctor's trouble, but without the fees : Relate how many weeks they kept their bed, How an emetic or cathartic sped, Nothing is slightly touch'd, much less forgot,

a

« PreviousContinue »