Page images
PDF

O'erturn'd his infant's bed, he found
The blood-stain'd covert rent;

And all around, the walls and ground
With recent blood besprent.

He call'd his child,—no voice replied;

He search'd with terror wild;
Blood! blood! he found on every side,

But nowhere found his child!

"Monster! by thee my child's devour'd!"

The frantic father cried,
And to the hilt his vengeful sword

He plung'd in Gelert's side!

Aroused by Gelert's dying yell,
Some slumb'rer waken'd nigh;

What words the parent's joy can tell,
To hear his infant cry!

Conceal'd beneath a mangled heap,
His hurried search had miss'd,

All glowing from his rosy sleep,
His cherub boy he kiss'd.

Nor scratch had he, nor harm, nor dread-
But the same couch beneath

Lay a great wolf, all torn and dead,—
Tremendous still in death!

Ah! what was then Llewellyn's pain!

For now the truth was clear;
The gallant hound the wolf had slain,

To save Llewellyn's heir!

Vain, vain was all Llewellyn's woe,

"Best of thy kind, adieu! "The frantic deed which laid thee Iowj

"This heart shall ever rue!"

And now a gallant tomb they raise,
With costly sculpture deck'd;

And marbles, storied with his praise,
Poor Gelert's bones protect.

Here never could the spearman pass,

Or forester, unmoved;
Here oft the tear besprinkled grass

Llewellyn's sorrow proved.

And here he hung his horn and spear;

And oft, as ev'ning fell,
In fancy's piercing sounds would hear

Poor Gelert's dying yell!

Spencer.

24.— THE CHAMELEON.

Oft has it been my lot to mark
A proud, conceited, talking spark,
With eyes that hardly served at most
To guard their master 'gainst a post;
Yet round the world the blade had been
To see whatever could be seen;—
Returning from his finish'd tour,
Grown ten times perter than before.
Whatever words you chance to drop,
The travell'd fool your mouth will stop—
"Sir, if my judgment you'll allow,
"I've seen, and sure I ought to know."
So begs you'll pay a due submission,
And acquiesce in his decision.

Two travellers of such a cast,

As o'er Arabian wilds they pass'd,

And on their way, in friendly chat,

Now talk'd of this, and then of that,

Discoursed awhile, 'mongst other matter,

Of the chameleon's form and nature.

"A stranger animal," cries one,

"Sure never lived heneath the sun!

"A lizard's hody, lean and long,

"A fish's head, a serpent's tongue,

"Its foot with tripled claw disjoin'd;

"And what a length of tail behind!

"How slow its pace! and then its hue—

"Who ever saw so fine a blue!"

"Hold there!" the other quick replies,

"' Tis green—I saw it with these eyes,

"As late with open mouth it lay,

"And warm'd it in the sunny ray;

"Stretch'd at its ease, the beast I view'd

'" And saw it eat the air for food."

"I've seen it, sir, as well as you,

"And must again affirm it blue;

"At leisure I the beast survey'd

"Extended in the cooling shade."

"' Tis green, 'tis green, sir, I assure ye."

"Green!" cries the other in a fury;

"Why, sir—d'ye think I've lost my eyes?"

'.' Twere no great loss," the friend replies,

"For, if they always serve you thus

"You'll find 'em but of little use!"

So high at last the contest rose,

From words they almost came to blows;

When luckily came by a third:

To him the question they referr'd;

And begged he'd tell 'em if he knew

Whether the thing was green or blue.

"Sirs," cries the umpire, "cease your pother;

"The creature's neither one nor t'other.

"I caught the animal last night,

"And view'd it o'er by candle-light;

"I mark'd it well—'twas black as jet—

"You stare—but sirs, I've got it yet,

"And can produce it,"—"Pray, sir, do:

"I'll lay my life the thing is blue."

"And I'll be sworn, that when you've seen

"The reptile, you'll pronounce it green."

"Well then, at once to end the doubt,"

Replies the man, '" I'll turn him out;

"And when before your eyes I've set him,

"If you dont find him black, I'll eat him."

He said; then full before their sight

Produced the beast, and lo!—'twas white!

Both stared—the man look'd wondrous wise

"My children," the Chameleon cried,

(Then first the creature found a tongue,)

"You all are right, and all are wrong!

"When next you speak of what you view.

"Think others see, as well as you:

"Nor wonder if you find that none

"Prefer your eyesight to their own!"

Merrick.

25.—THE SANDS O' DEE.

"0 Mabt, go and call the cattle home,
"And call the cattle home,
"And call the cattle home,
"Across the sands o' Dee!"
The western wind was wild and dank with foam,
And all alone went she.

The creeping tide came up along the sand,
And o'er and o'er the sand,
And round and round the sand.
As far as ye could see;
The blinding mist came down and hid the land.
And never home came she.

Oh, is it weed, or fish, or floating hair?
A tress o' golden hair,
O' drowned maiden's hair,
Above the nets at sea.
Was never salmon yet that shone so fair
Among the stakes on Dee.

They row'd her in across the rolling foam,
The cruel crawling foam,
The cruel hungry foam,
To her grave beside the sea:
But still the boatmen have heard her call the cattle home,
Across the sands o' Dee.

Kingsley.

26. —JOHN GILPIN.
John Gilpin was a citizen

Of credit and renown,
A train-band captain eke was he

Of famous London town.

John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear,
"Though wedded we have been

"These twice ten tedious years, yet we
"No holiday have seen.

"To-morrow is our wedding-day,

"And we will then repair
"Unto the Bell at Edmonton,

"All in a chaise and pair.

« PreviousContinue »