Page images

speed, it is no matter of surprise that when he accomplished the feat of “running round to the Swan, the coach--the last coach—had


without him. It was somewhere about three o'clock in the morning, when Mr. Augustus Minns knocked feebly at the street door of his lodgings in Tavistock-street, cold, wet, cross, and miserable. He made his will next morning, and his professional man informs us, in that strict confidence in which we inform the public, that neither the name of Mr. Octavius Budden, nor of Mrs. Amelia Budden, nor of Master Alexander Augustus Budden,

appears therein.


I loved the Winter once with all my soul,

And longed for snow-storms, hail and mantled skies;
And sang their praises in as gay a troll

As Troubadours have poured to Beauty's eyes.
I deemed the hard, black frost a pleasant thing,

For logs blazed high, and horses' hoofs rung out;
And wild birds came with tame and gentle wing

To eat the bread my young hand flung about.
But I have walked into the world since then,

And seen the bitter work that cold can do
Where the grim Ice King levels babes and men

With bloodless spear, that pierces through and through.
I know now, there are those who sink and lie

Upon a stone bed at the dead of night,
I know the roofless and unfed must die,

When even lips at Plenty's feast turn white.
And now whene'er I hear the cuckoo's song

In budding woods, I bless the joyous comer;
While my heart runs a cadence in a throng

Of hopeful notes, that say—“Thank God for Summer!"

I've learnt that sunshine bringeth more than flowers,

And fruits, and forest leaves to cheer the earth;
For I have seen sad spirits, like dark bowers,

Light up beneath it with a grateful mirth.

The aged limbs that quiver in their task,

Of dragging life on, when the north winds goad-
Taste once again contentment, as they bask

In the straight beams that warm their churchyard road.

And Childhood-poor, pinched Childhood, half forgets

The starving pittance of our cottage homes, When he can leave the hearth, and chase the nets

Of gossamer that cross him as he roams. The moping idiot seemeth less distraught

When he can sit upon the grass all day, And laugh, and clutch the blades, as though he thought

The yellow sun-rays challenged him to play. Ah! dearly now I hail the nightingale,

And greet the bee—the merry-going hummerAnd when the lilies peep so sweet and pale,

I kiss their cheeks, and say—“Thank God for Summer!”. Feet that limp, blue and bleeding as they go

For dainty cresses in December's dawn,
Can wade and dabble in the brooklet's flow,

And woo the gurgles on a July morn.
The tired pilgrim, who would shrink with dread

If Winter's drowsy torpor lulled his brain;
Is free to choose his mossy summer bed,

And sleep his hour or two in some green lane. Oh! Ice-toothed King, I loved you once—but now

I never see you come without a pang Of hopeless pity shadowing my brow,

To think how naked flesh must feel your fang.
My eyes watch now to see the elms unfold,

And my ears listen to the callow rook;
I hunt the palm-trees for their first rich gold,

And pry for violets in the southern nook.
And when fair Flora sends the butterfly

Painted and spangled, as her herald mummer; “Now for warm holidays," my heart will cry,

“The poor will suffer less! Thank God for Summer!"


“Now, if I fall, will it be my lot
To be cast in some lone and lowly spot,
To melt, and to sink unseen, or forgot ?

And there will my course be ended ?"
'Twas this a feathery Snowflake said,
As down through measureless space it strayed,
Or as, half by dalliance, half afraid,

It seemed in mid air suspended

“Oh, no!" said the Earth, “thou shalt not lie
Neglected and lone on my lap to die,
Thou pure and delicate child of the sky!

For thou wilt be safe in my keeping.
But, then, I must give thee a lovelier form-
Thou wilt not be a part of the wintry storm,
But revive, when the sunbeams are yellow and warm,

And the flowers from my bosom are peeping!
* And then, thou shalt have thy choice, to be
Restored in the lily that decks the lea,
In the jessamine bloom, the anemone,

Or aught of thy spotless whiteness;
To melt, and be cast in a glittering bead
With the pearls that the night scatters over the mead,
In the cup where the bee and the firefly feed,

Regaining thy dazzling brightness.
“I'll let thee awake from thy transient sleep,
When Viola's mild blue eye shall weep,
In a tremulous tear; or, a diamond, leap

In a drop from the unlocked fountain;
Or, leaving the valley, the meadow, and heath,
The streamlet, the flowers, and all beneath,
Go up and be wove in the silvery wreath

Encircling the brow of the mountain.
" Or wouldst thou return to a home in the skies,
To shine in the Iris I'll let thee arise,
And appear in the many and glorious dyes

A pencil of sunbeams is blending!
But, true, fair thing, as my name is Earth,
I'll give thee a new and vernal birth,
When thou shalt recover thy primal worth,

And never regret descending !"
“Then I will drop,” said the trusting flake;
“But, bear it in mind, that the choice I make
Is not in the flowers nor the dew to wake;

Nor the mist, that shall pass with the morning.
For, things of thyself, they will die with thee;
But those that are lent from on high, like me,
Must rise, and will live, from thy dust set free,

To the regions above returning.
"And if true to thy word and just thou art,
Like the spirit that dwells in the holiest heart,
Unsullied by thee, thou wilt let me depart,

And return to my native heaven.
For I would be placed in the beautiful bow,
From time to time, in thy sight to glow;
So thou mayst remember the Flake of Snow

By the promise that God hath given!”


IMOGEN, in boy's clothes.
Imo. I see a man's life is a tedious one:
I have tir'd myself; and for two nights together
Have made the ground my bed. I should be sick,
But that my resolution helps me.—Milford,
When from the mountain-top Pisanio shew'd thee,
Thou wast within a ken: 0 Jove! I think,
Foundations fly the wretched : such, I mean,
Where they should be reliev'd. Two beggars told me
I could not miss my way: will poor folks lie,
That have afflictions on them ; knowing 'tis
A punishment, or trial? Yes; no wonder,
When rich ones scarce tell true: To lapse in fulness,
Is sorer, than to lie for need: and falsehood
Is worse in kings than beggars.--My dear lord !
Thou art one o' the false ones: now I think on thee,
My hunger's gone; but even before, I was
At point to sink for food. - But what is this?
Here is a path to it; 't is some savage hold:
I were best not call; I dare not call: yet famine,
Ere clean it o'erthrow nature, makes it valiant.
Plenty, and peace, breeds cowards; hardness ever
Of hardiness is mother.—Ho! who's here?
If anything that's civil, speak; if savage,
Take, or lend.-Ho! no answer? then I'll enter.
Best draw my sword; and if mine enemy
But fear the sword like me, he'll scarcely look on't.
Such a foe, good heaven!

[She goes into the cave.
Bel. You, Polydore, have proved best woodman, and
Are master of the feast: Cadwal and I,
Will play the cook and servant: 't is our match:
The sweat of industry would dry and die,
But for the end it works to. Come ; our stomachs
Will make what's homely savory: Weariness
Can snore upon the flint, when restive sloth
Finds the down pillow hard.-Now, peace be here,
Poor house, that keep'st thyself !

I am thoroughly weary. Arv. I am weak with toil, yet strong in appetite.

Gui. There is cold meat i' the cave; we'll browze on that Whilst what we have kill'd be cook'd. Bel. Stay; come not in :

[Looking in cave. But that it eats our victuals, I should think Here were a fairy. Gui.

What's the matter, sir?

Bel. By Jupiter, an angel! or, if not, An earthly paragon!—Behold divineness No elder than a boy!

Imo. Good masters, harm me not;
Before I enter'd here, I call’d; and thought
To have begg'd or bought what I have took : Good troth,
I have stolen nought; nor would not, though I had found
Gold strew'd o'er the floor. Here's money for my meat;
I would have left it on the board, so soon
As I had made my meal; and parted
With prayers for the provider.

Money, youth?
Arv. All gold and silver rather turn to dirt !
As 'tis no better reckon'd, but of those
Who worship dirty gods.

I see you are angry;
Know, if


kill me for my fault, I should
Have died, had I not made it.

Whither bound?
Imo. To Milford-Haven, sir.

What is your name?
Imo. Fidele, sir: I have a kinsman, who
Is bound for Italy; he embark'd at Milford,
To whom being gone, almost spent with hunger,
I am fallen in this offence.

Prythee, fair youth,
Think us no churls; nor measure our good minds
By this rude place we live in. Well encounter'd I
'Tis almost night; you shall have better cheer
Ere you depart; and thanks, to stay and eat it.-
Boys, bid him welcome.

Were you a woman, youth,
I should woo hard, but be your groom-In honesty,
I bid for you, as I'd buy.

I'll make't my comfort
He is a man; I'll love him as my brother:-
And such a welcome as I'd give to him,
After long absence, such as yours:—Most welcome!
Be sprightly, for you fall 'mongst friends.

'Mongst friends!
If brothers ?-Would it had been so, that they [Aside.
Had been my father's sons, then had my prize
Been less; and so more equal ballasting
To thee, Posthumus.

He wrings at some distress.
Gui. 'Would, I could free't !

Or I; whate'er it be,
What pain it costwhat danger! Gods!
Bel. Hark, boys.

[Whispering Imo. Great men, That had a court no bigger than this cave,

« PreviousContinue »