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(The following lines are extracted from the “ Town Eclogue," a poema
published in Edinburgh upwards of twenty years ago. Distinguished alike for sterling poetry and for brutal satire, its appearance excited a hubbub not short of that more recently occasioned by the Chaldee Manuscript. It is now become exceedingly rare. The Editor of this volume might have given it entire, had he not been swayed by just feelings of respect for individuals yet alive, venerable in talents as in years, and for the survivors of others now no more, the objects of its satire. Again to point the finger of malice at such characters, might to them be perfectly innocuous. It is, however, but an unworthy purpose to pander to those who are more prone to indulge their appetite for slander, than to appreciate talents and virtues exalted above the level of their own.]
D. Hast thou not learned poor hapless Anna's fate !
Too sad to hear, too cruel to relate.
0, will not heaven its arm of vengeance bare !
Smite the assassin of the pregnant fair,
Who first entrapt, then left her in the snare !
She bloom'd in *****'s sweet sequestered dale,
A pure and fragrant lily of the vale,
Her parents * darling, till a spoiler came,
Robb’d him of happiness and her of fame;
Brought her in triumph to this godly town,
Reflection's pangs in folly's stream to drown;
In four short months betrayed the sacred trust,
And left her to a hireling's brutal lust.
Soon as her destiny appear'd too clear,
Abandon’d by the man she held most dear,
In abject want, and plunder'd by the knave
To whom the wretch the base commission gave;
With lifted eyes, clasp'd hands, dishevell’d hair,
She sat a monument of dumb despair;
Till in the poppy's juice she sought repose,
And drank a long oblivion to her woes.
R. Did not the neighbours, knowing what was done,
Swift to her life's relief impatient run;
Expel the poison she had rashly quaff'd,
And save her from distraction's fatal draught;
Pour down some antidote to th' horrid bowl,
And give a respite to her injur'd soul ?
D. In stupid apathy they staring stood, No head conceiv'd, no hand attempted good; Unmoved they heard these words-" I must depart, “ For I have broke a tender father's heart; " Ah! why on earth one moment should I stay, “ When all I love thereon is fled away? " Ah ! little thought I WILLIAM could betray.” She ceas’d-a torpor seized each polish'd limb, Her eyes, once brilliant, waxing dull and dim, The potent drug congealing ev'ry grace, Blasting the roses of her lovely face, Till stretch'd she lay, when fled her latest breath, A beauteous statue for the fane of death.
R. Did not the rigid censurers of vice,
Who in their social circles are so nice;
The prim, the pure, the pious, and precise,
Consign to infamy's remotest den,
And hoot the monster from the haunts of men ?
D. Ah, no! he boldly drives his mad career, Struts arm in arm with commoner and peer; Whilst he can drink, and dance, and dice, and whore, He's still “ a damn'd good fellow,” as before.
R. If rich, ne'er mind what conscience saith within,
Here poverty alone is all the sin;
If at a tavern you can pay your stake,
What if each day you each commandment break.
O! did fond mothers rightly understand,
They train their offspring for a villain's hand;
When for external charms, and tinsel grace,
They slight the mental beauties of their race;
Few with bold mien, and limbs expos’d, would
From modest delicacy's chaste reserve.
But mark the lounge of fashionable fools,
The public dancings of our boarding-schools;
Their praise matures affected impudence,
And vanity runs riot with expense:
There coxcombs, hir'd to teach the tender fair
The wanton attitude, the wanton air,
Brush the fresh bloom from off the rip'ning plumbs
And leave it mellow for the time to come.
STANZAS WRITTEN AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR.
And it hath gone into the grave of time-
The past-the mighty sepulchre of all !
That solemn sound—the midnight's mournful chime,
Was its deep dead-bell !—but, within the hall,
The old and young held gladsome festival.-
What hath it left them, thus to cause such joy?-
Gray hairs to some-and hearts less green to all,
And fewer steps to where their fathers lie
Low in the church-yard cell-cold---dark-and
Strange time for mirth-when round the leafless
tree The wild winds of the winter moan and sigh, And while the twilight saddens o'er the lea, Mute every woodland's evening melody- , Mute the wide landscape-save where, hurrying by, Roars the dark torrent on its headlong flight, Or, slowly sailing through the blackening sky, Hoots unto solitude the bird of night, Seeking the domeless wall - the turret's hoary
And yet with Nature, sooth, we need not grieve;
She does not heed the woes of human kind :
No; for the tempests howl, the waters heave
Their hoary hills unto the raging wind,
And the poor bark no resting-place can find ;
And friends on shore shall weep-and weep in vain,
For, to the ruthless elements consign’d,
The seaman's corpse is drifting through the main,
Ne'er to be seen by them-nor heard of e'er again!
Now o'er the skies the orbs of light are spread,
And through yon shoreless sea they wander on :-
Where is the place of your abode, ye dead?
To what far regions have your spirits gone ?
But ye are silent_silent as the stone
That gathers moss above your bed of rest,
And from the land of souls returneth none
To tell us of the place to which we haste :
But time will tell us all and time will tell us best.
How still-how soft and yet how dread is all
The scene around !--the silent earth and air !
What glorious lamps are hung in Night's high hall-
Hér domeso vast, magnificent, and fair !
Oh! for an angel's wing, to waft me there !
How sweet, methinks, e'en for one little day,
To leave this cold, dull sphere of cloud and care,
And midst the immortal bowers above, to stray
In lands of light and love—unblighted by decay !
Surely there is a language in the sky
A voice that speaketh of a world to come;
It swells from out thy depths, Immensity !
And tells us this is not our final home.-