« VorigeDoorgaan »
THE FOURTH OF JUNE-WRITTEN IN THE
[This piece seems pretty near a-kin to that species of literary composition commonly called, “Prose run mad." The writer, no doubt, imagines it as truly "poetical prose," as the critics pronounced Mr. Southey's Vision of Judgment to be "prosaic verse." It is the sentiment which pervades it that has secured it a place in this volume.]
THE Fourth of June! What a crowd of associations of times long past arise at the bare mention of that day! How many thousand young hearts have bounded in transport at its near approach! How many have passed their sleepless nights watching its first peep of dawn, till the clamours of their little artillery made the walls of our chambers to echo, Sleep no more to all the house." And how does its now altered scene offer matter of reflection to every thinking mind. So lately known but as a day of tumult and rejoicing, of festivity and revellinga day on which the cares and anxieties of life were overawed by the splendour of its parade and pageantry. Now, like Hamlet over the skull of Yorick, we may say of it, where be now your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? quite chop-fallen—and to this complexion all worldly grandeur must come.
How many of our kindred rose from infancy to manhood-started in and "won the race that led to "glory's goal"-conferred honours upon their country and themselves-and now no more, who still knew
the Fourth of June as no other than a day singled from the annual round, and rendered sacred to and inseparable from public rejoicing. As such, Fergusson and Burns have celebrated it in imperishable lays; but, now for it, is hushed alike the laureat's lay, and the cannon's roar. For it the sempstress no more plies her needle-no more for it the court butterfly trims his airy trappings, and longs in breathless expectation to mingle in the fluttering crowd; and heedless now is the man of office to prepare the civic feast, and preface bumpers to the monarch, the statesman, and the hero. The Fourth of June, now only in name, presents a sullen monument that such things were. It is as the pale cold marble over the tomb of him who once swayed the domains of the empire and the palace. Now the busy hum of every-day life is uninterrupted by its maddening noise, and the sober path of industry pursued, as if such a day had been heretofore unnoticed and unhonoured. The Fourth of June now reminds us of the transitory nature of all sublunary concerns that the highest honours of human attainment, and life, and honours, prolonged to the latest period, exhibit only "Man dressed in a little brief authority." It now enforces the solemn truth, that the longest life will have an end; and, over the grave of an aged and a beloved monarch, proclaims that the highest pitch of worldly grandeur bars not against its wearer the portals of the tomb, where king and peasant repose on equal terms.
The Fourth of June this year passed over us in the tranquillity of a Sabbath-day, betokening as it were an earnest of a day of rest henceforth, after its bustle and turmoil during the lapse of threescore years. ORIGINAL.
DEATH ON THE FIELD OF BATTLE.
Day glimmers on the dying and the dead,
Their limbs along the crimson'd turf have crept;
VICTIM OF SEDUCTION.
[THE following lines are extracted from the "Town ECLOGUE," a poem 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!
O, will not heaven its arm of vengeance bare!
Who first entrapt, then left her in the snare!
Her parent's* darling, till a spoiler came,
*He held a small farm under the seducer of his only child.
Soon as her destiny appear'd too clear,
R. Did not the neighbours, knowing what was done,
Expel the poison she had rashly quaff'd,
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.