« PreviousContinue »
True to his charge, the close-packed load behind,
Yet careless what he brings, his one concern
Is to conduct it to the destined inn;
And, having dropped the expected bag, pass on.
He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch,
Cold and yet cheerful; messenger of grief
Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some;
To him indifferent whether grief or joy.
Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks,
Births, deaths, and marriages, epistles wet.
With tears, that trickled down the writer's cheeks.
Fast as the periods from his fluent quilt,, :
Or charged with amorous sighs, of absent swains,
Or nymphs responsive, equally affect
His horse and him, unconscious of them all.
But ob the important budget! ushered in
With such heart-shaking music, who can say
What are its tidings? have our troops áwaked?
Or do they still, as if with opium drugged,
Snore to the murmurs of the Atlantic wave?
Is India free? and does she wear her plained
And jewelled turban with a smile of peace,
Or do we grind her still? The grand debate,
The popular harangue, the tart reply,
The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit,
And the loud laugh-1 long to know them alt;
I burn to set the imprisoned wranglers free,
And give them voice and utterance once again.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And while the bubbling and loud hissing urn Throws up a steamy column, and the cups, That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each, So let us welcome peaceful evening in. Not such his evening, who with shining face Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeezed And bored with elbow-points through both his sides, Out-scolds the ranting actor on the stage: Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb, And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath Of patriots, bursting with beroic rage ; Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles. This folio of four pages, happy work). Which not e'en critics criticise; that holds Inquisitive attention, while I read, Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair, Though eloquent tbemselves, yet fear to break; What is it, but a map of busy life, Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge That tempts ambition. On the summit see The seals of office glitter in bis eyes ; He climbs, he pants, he grasps tben! at his heels, Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends, And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him down, And wins them, but to lose them in his turn. Here rills of oily eloquence in soft Meanders lubricate the course they take; The modest speaker is ashamed and grieved To engross a moment's notice, and yet begs,
Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts,
However trivial all that he conceives.
Sweet bashfulness! it claims at least this praise;
The dearth of information and good serise,
Tbat it foretells us always comes to pass,
Cataracts of declamation thunder here;
Their forests of no meaning spread the page,
In which all comprehension wanders lost;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there
With merry descants on a nation's woes.
The rest appears a wilderness of strange
But gay confusion; roses for the cheeks,
And lilies for the brows of faded age,
Teeth for the toothless, rioglets for the bald,
Heaven, earth, and ocean, plundered of their sweets,
Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,
Sermons, and city feasts, and favourite airs,
Ætheral journies, subinarine exploits,
And Katterfelto, with his hair on end
At his own wonders, wondering for his bread. -
'Tis pleasant through the loop-holes of retreat
To peep at such a world; to see the stir
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd;
To hear the roar she sends through all her gates
At a safe distance, where the dying sound
Falls a soft inurmur on the uninjured ear.
Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease
The globe and its concerus, I seem advanced
To some secure and more than mortal height,
That liberates ayd exempts me from them all.
It turns submitted to my view, turns round
With all its generations; I behold
The tumult, and am still. The sound of war
Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me;
Grieves, but alarms me not. I mourn the pride
And avarice, that make man a wolf io man;
Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats,
By which he speaks the language of his heart,
And sigh, but never tremble at the sound.
He travels and expatiates, as the bee
From flower to flower, so he froin land to land;
The manners, customs, policy, of all
Pay contribution to the store he gleads;
He sucks intelligence in every clime,
And spreads the honey of his deep research
At his return-a rich repast for me.
He travels, and I too. I tread his deck,
Ascend his topmast, through his peering eyes
Discover countries, with a kindred heart
Suffer bis woes, and share in his escapes;
While fancy, like the finger of a clock,
Runs the great circuit, and is still at home.
Oh Winter, ruler of the inverted year,
Thy scattered hair with sleet-like ashes filled,
Thy breath congealed upon thy lips, thy checks
Fringed with a beard made white with other snows
Than those of age, thy forehead wrapt in clouds,
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
A sliding car, indebted to no wheels,
But urged by storms along its slippery way,
I love thee, all unlovely as thou seemest,
And dreaded as thou art! Thou holdest the sun
A prisoner in the yet undawning cast,
Shortening his journey between morn and noon,
And hurrying him, impatient of his stay,
Down to the rosy west; 'but kindly still
Compensating bis loss with added hours
Of social converse and instructive ease,
And gathering, at short notice, in one group
The family dispersed, and fixing thought,
Not less dispersed by day-light and its cares.
I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fire-side enjoyments, home-born happiness,
And all the comforts, that the lowly roof
Of undisturbed retirement, and the hours
Of long uninterrupted evening, know.
No rattling wheels stop short before these gates;
No powdered pert proficient in the art
Of sounding an alarm assaults these doors.
Till the street rings; no stationary steeds
Cough their ownknell, while, heedless of the sound,
The silent circle fan themselves, and quake:
But here the needle plies its busy task,
The pattern grows, the well-depicted flower,
Wrought patiently into the snowy law,
Unfolds its basom; buds, and leaves, and sprigs,
And curling tendrils, gracefully disposed,
Follow the nimble finger of the fair;
A wreath, that cannot fade, or flowers, that blow
With most success when all besides decay.