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Anon from school the master's stripling crew,
With all the noise of youthful vigour flew ;
Round the gay green they wheel'd in sportive chase,
With chubby laughter smirking in each face.
One only came with sad depending brow,
And o'er the threshold ventur'd sour and slow;
He, set perhaps upon the dunce's stool,
Crown'd with the paper night-cap of the fool,
In pettish mood now saunter'd o'er the green,
Too sad to mingle with the jocund scene;
Home to his mother straight he seem'd to go,
To tell the indulging parent all his woe,
And ask that med'cine for a watery eye,-
A butter'd cake, till he forgot to cry.
Not so the rest, whose parents seem'd to approve
The master's admonition, rod, or love;
With them the task, and all its irksome care,
Was whirled with their bonnets in the air;
And as a plant, confin'd in some close room,
Nods o'er the flow'r-pot with a sickly bloom,
But placed abroad to imbibe the nursing dews,
Its blossoms glow with all their lovely hues;
So they, long pent within their silent seat,
Find health in play, and play itself more sweet...
Some shot the marble from the chalky ring,
While some, with wooden bit and plaited string,
Well pleas'd, with trotting pace, ran round the
In the strange fancy of a post-boy's horse;
With groping hands, by handkerchief made blind, One tried to catch the followers behind;'
With stones and turf some built the Trojan walls, While through the air some toss'd the bounding balls;
Some tried the sailor's, some the mason's trade, ... And some at pitch-and-toss with buttons play'd;— The master's frown, the strap with triple thong, ') Were banish'd in the whistle and the song';"
And the hard lesson that employ'd the day,...11 Was now exchang'd for salutary play.
Oh, lovely age! in careless passions blest,
Of man's few years the happiest and the best !:
No future thoughts disturb their youthful year-
Play all their hope, the master all their fear;
No wish have they for wealth's ambitious curse,
The fair-day penny fills their little purse;
No mad desire through glory's ranks to pass,
Their highest glory-general of the class!:
Say, do the splendid pleasures that engage
The wiser state of man's maturer age,
Bestow such real, such intrinsic bliss,
As flows from youthful innocence like this?
Alas! the sweets which many a fool pursues,
Like Israel's quails, oft curse him as he chews;
While these, not only luscious while they last,
Like Plato's feast, grow sweeter when they're past!
EDINBURGH MAG. 1823.
B. INCOMPARABLE gem! thy worth untold; Cheap tho' blood-bought, and thrown away when sold;
May no foes ravish thee, and no false friend
Betray thee, while professing to defend !
Prize it, ye ministers; ye monarchs, spare ;
Ye patriots, guard it with a miser's care.
A. Patriots, alas! the few that have been found,
Where most they flourish, upon English ground,
The country's need have scantily supplied,
And the last left the scene when Chatham died.
B. Not so the virtue still adorns our age,
Though the chief actor died upon the stage.
In him Demosthenes was heard again ;
Liberty taught him her Athenian strain;
She cloth'd him with authority and awe,
Spoke from his lips, and in his looks gave law.
His speech, his form, his action, full of grace,
And all his country beaming in his face,
He stood, as some inimitable hand
Would strive to make a Paul or Tully stand.
No sycophant or slave, that dar'd oppose
Her sacred cause, but trembl'd when he rose ;
And ev'ry venal stickler for the yoke
Felt himself crush'd at the first word he spoke.
Such men are rais'd to station and command,
When Providence means mercy to a land.
He speaks, and they appear; to him they owe
Skill to direct, and strength to strike the blow;
To manage with address, to seize with pow'r
The crisis of a dark decisive hour:
So Gideon earn'd a victory not his own;
Subserviency his praise, and that alone.
Ask not the boy, who, when the breeze of morn
First shakes the glitt'ring drops from ev'ry thorn,
Unfolds his flock, then under bank or bush.
Sits linking cherry-stones, or platting rush,
How fair is freedom?-he was always free:
To carve his rustic name upon a tree,
To snare the mole, or with ill-fashion'd hook
To draw th' incautious minnow from the brook,
Are life's prime pleasures in his simple view,
His flock the chief concern he ever knew ;
She shines but little in his heedless eyes,
The good we never miss we rarely prize:
But ask the noble drudge in state affairs,
Escap'd from office and its constant cares,
What charms he sees in Freedom's smile express'd,
In Freedom lost so long, now repossess'd;
The tongue, whose strains were cogent as commands,
Rever'd at home, and felt in foreign lands,
Shall own itself a stamm'rer in that cause,
Or plead its silence as its best applause.
STANZAS ADDRESSED TO A COMET."
THE following "Stanzas addressed to a Comet," are the emanations of a star sometimes visible among the constellations of the Northern Athens, we believe in that of the Ursa Major. They were originally published in the Edinburgh Magazine for July 1819, with a note of applause by its then Editor; and they have since, like a gem of the first water, had a tolerable round of the numerous "Beauties," "Scrap Books," and periodicals in the island. purpose now upon them to try the experiment of separating sense from sound-to weigh them in the balance of even-handed criticism-to blow away the froth which surrounds them, and to see what remains lurking within-even though we may be in this just as unprofitably employed as the barefooted urchin scampering upon the green sward, there blowing off certain spots of froth strewed upon weeds, and discovering within only a little suspicious insect, called in vulgar parlance a gowkspittle,
How lovely is this wilder'd scene,
As twilight from the vault so blue
Steals soft o'er Tiviot's mountains green,
To sleep embalm'd in midnight dew.
All hail, ye hills, whose towering height
Like shadows scoops the yielding sky!
And thou, mysterious guest of night,
Dread traveller of immensity!