Page images
PDF

His diet was of wheaten bread,

And milk, and oats, and straw;
Thistles, or lettuces instead,

With sand to scour his maw.
On twigs of hawthorn he regaled,

On pippins' russet peel,
And, when his juicy salads fail'd,

Sliced carrot pleased him well.
A Turkey carpet was his lawn,

Whereon he loved to bound,
To skip and gambol like a fawn,

And swing his rump around.
His frisking was at evening hours,

For then he lost his fear,
But most before approaching showers,

Or when a storm drew near.
Eight years and five round-rolling moons

He thus saw steal away,
Dozing out all his idle noons,

And every night at play.
I kept him for his humour's sake.

For he would oft beguile
My heart of thoughts, that made it ache,

And force me to a smile.
But now beneath his walnut shade

He finds his long last home,
And waits, in snug concealment laid,

Till gentler Puss shall come.
He, still more aged, feels the shocks

From which no care can save,
And, partner once of Tiney's box,

Must soon partake his grave.

Cowper.

40. — THE SOLDIER'S DREAM. OUR bugles sang truce—for the night-cloud had lower'd,

And the sentinel stars set their watch in the sky; And thousands had sunk on the ground overpower'd,

The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die. When, reposing that night on my pallet of straw,

By the wolf-scaring faggot that guarded the slain, At the dead of the night, a sweet vision I saw,

And thrice ere the morning I dream'd it again. Methought from the battle-field's dreadful array,

Far, far I had roam'd on a desolate track; 'Twas autumn—and sunshine arose on the way

To the home of my fathers, that welcomed me back. I flew to the pleasant fields, traversed so oft

In life's morning march, when my bosom was young; I heard my own mountain-goats bleating aloft,

And knew the sweet strain that the corn-reapers sung. Then pledged we the wine cup, and fondly I swore,

From my home and my weeping friends never to part; My little ones kiss'd me a thousand times o'er,

And my wife sobb'd aloud in her fulness of heart.
“ Stay, stay with us! rest! thou art weary and worn!”

And fain was their war-broken soldier to stay;
But sorrow return'd with the dawning of morn,
And the voice in my dreaming ear-melted away!

Campbell.

41. — THE LORD OF BURLEIGH.

In her ear he whispers gaily,
.“ If my heart by signs can tell,
“ Maiden, I have watched thee daily,

" And I think thou lov'st me well.” She replies, in accents fainter, “ There is none I love like thee.” He is but a landscape painter, And a village maiden she. He to lips that fondly falter, Presses his without reproof; Leads her to the village altar, And they leave her father's roof. “ I can make no marriage present; “ Little can I give my wife: “Love will make our cottage pleasant, “And I love thee more than life.” They by parks and lodges going, See the lordly castles stand: Summer woods about them blowing, Made a murmur in the land. From deep thought himself he rouses, Says to her that loves him well, “ Let us see these handsome houses “ Where the wealthy nobles dwell.” So she goes, by him attended, Hears him lovingly converse, Sees whatever fair and splendid Lay betwixt his home and hers; Parks with oak and chestnut shady, Parks and ordered gardens great, Ancient homes of lord and lady, Built for pleasure and for state, All he shows her makes him dearer: Evermore she seems to gaze On that cottage growing nearer, Where they twain will spend their days. 0, but she will love him truly !

He shall have a cheerful home ; She will order all things duly, When beneath his roof they come. Thus her heart rejoices greatly, Till a gateway she discerns, With armorial bearings stately, And beneath the gate she turns; Sees a mansion more majestic Than all those she saw before ; Many a gallant gay domestic, Bows before him at the door. And they speak in gentle murmur, When they answer to his call, While he treads with footsteps firmer, Leading on from hall to hall. And while now she wonders blindly, Nor the meaning can divine, Proudly turns he round and kindly, “ All of this is mine and thine," Here he lives in state and bounty, Lord of Burleigh, fair and free, Not a lord in all the county Is so great a lord as he. All at once the colour flushes Her sweet face from brow to chin: As it were with shame the blushes, And her spirit changed within. Then her countenance all over, Pale again as death did prove: But he clasped her like a lover, And he cheered her soul with love. So she strove against her weakness, Though at times her spirits sank; Shaped her heart with woman's meekness,

To all duties of her rank:
And a gentle consort made he,
And her gentle mind was such,
That she grew a noble lady,
And the people loved her much.
But a trouble weighed upon her,
And perplexed her night and morn,
With the burden of an honour
Unto which she was not born.
Faint she grew, and ever fainter,
As she murmur'd, “O, that he
“ Were once more that landscape painter
" Which did win my heart from me!”
So she drooped and drooped before him,
Fading slowly from his side:
Three fair children first she bore him,
Then before her time she died.
Weeping, weeping late and early,
Walking up and pacing down,
Deeply mourned the Lord of Burleigh,
Burleigh House by Stamford town.
And he came to look upon her,
And he looked at her, and said,
“ Bring the dress, and put it on her,
“ That she wore when she was wed.”
Then her people, softly treading,
Bore to earth her body drest
In the dress that she was wed in,
That her spirit might have rest.

Tennyson.

« PreviousContinue »