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him the following story :-Some years ago, I happened to be in York at the time of the assizes. Dining one day in a tavern with some gentlemen of that city and its neighbourhood, we were violently disturbed by the noise of somebody below, who hooted and hallooed, smacked his whip, and made his servants sound their French horns; in short, rehearsed, during the whole time of our din. ner, all the glorious tumult of the chase.' Some of the company, after several ineffectual messages by the waiter, began to be angry, and to think of a very serious remonstrance with the sportsman below. But an elderly person, who sat opposite to me, pacified their resentment: “I know the gentleman who disturbs you,' said he; ' his head piece was never one of the best; but now, poor man! I believe we must let him alone. Since he is past running down the fox in the field, he must e'en be allowed to hunt him in the parlour.'
No. 85. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 1780.
Possum oblivisci qui fuerim ? Non sentire qui sim ? Quo caream
honore ? Quâ gloriâ ? Quibus liberis ? Quibus fortunis ?
CIC. AD ATT.
A PERIODICAL publication, such as the MIRROR, is, from its nature, confined chiefly to prose compositions. My illustrious predecessor, the Spectator, has however, sometimes inserted a little poem among his other
essays; and his example has been imitated by most of his successors. Perhaps it may
be from this cause, that among the variety of communications I have lately received, many of them consist of poetical compositions. I must observe in general to these correspondents, that, though the insertion of a poem now and then may not be altogether improper for a work of this kind, yet it is not every poetical composition that is fit for it. A poem may be possessed of very considerable merit, and may be entitled to applause, when published in a poetical collection, though, from its subject, its length, or the manner in which it is written, it may not be suited to the MIRROR. I hope my poetical correspondents, therefore, will receive this as an apology for their poems not being inserted, and will by no means consider their exclusion as proceeding from their being thought destitute of merit.
Among the poetical presents I have received, there is, however, one, which seems very well suited to a work of this kind. The gentleman from whom I received it, says, he has been informed that it was founded on the following inscription, probably written from real feeling, on the window of an inn, situated in the Highlands of Scotland :
“Of all the ills unhappy mortals know,
A life of wandering is the greatest woe;
This poem contains a description of the situation of a Scotch gentleman who had been obliged to leave his country for rebellion against our present happy government. It points out the fatal consequences of such treasonable attempts, and represents the distress of the person described, in a very interesting and pathetic manner.
THE EXILE.-An Elegy.
WHERE, ʼmidst the ruins of a fallen state,
The once-famed Tiber rolls his scanty wave, Where half a column now derides the great,
Where half a statue yet records the brave :
With trembling steps an Exile wander'd near,
In Scottish weeds his shrivell’d limbs array'd; His furrow'd cheek was cross'd with many a tear,
And frequent sighs his wounded soul betray’d.
Oh, wretch! he cried, that, like some troubled ghost,
Art doom'd to wander round this world of woe, While memory speaks of joy for ever lost,
Of peace, of comfort, thou hast ceased to know !
These are the scenes, with fancied charms endow'd,
Where happier Britons, casting pearls away, The fools of sound, of empty trifles proud,
Far from the land of bliss and freedom stray.
Would that, for yonder dome, these eyes could see
The wither’d oak that crowns my native hill! These urns let ruin waste; but give to me
The tuft that trembles o'er its lonely rill.
O sacred haunts! and is the hillock green,
That saw our infant-sports beguile the day ? Still are our seats of fairy fashion seen?
Or is my little throne of moss away ?
Had but Ambition, in this tortur'd breast,
Ne'er sought to rule beyond the humble plain, Where mild Dependance holds the vassal blest,
Where faith and friendship fix the chieftain's reign : Thus had I lived the life my fathers led;
Their name, their family had not ceased to be; And thou, Monimia, on thy earthly bed !
My name, my family, what were these to thee !
Three little moons had seen our growing love,
Since first Monimia joined her hand to mine; Three little moons had seen us blest above
All that enthusiast hope could e'er divine.
Urged by the brave, by fancied glory warm’d,
In treason honest, if 'twas treason here; For rights supposed, my native band I arm’d,
And join'd the standard Charles had dared to rear.
Fated we fought, my gallant vassals fell,
But saved their master in the bloody strife; Their coward master, who could live to tell
He saw them fall, yet tamely suffer'd life.
Let me not think ;—but, ah! the thought will rise,
Still in my whirling brain its horrors dwell, When, pale and trembling, with uplifted eyes,
Monimia faintly breathed-a last farewell ! • They come!' she said — Fly, fly these ruthless foes,
And save a life in which Monimia lives; Believe me, Henry, light are all her woes,
Except what Henry's dreaded purpose gives !
* And wouldst thou die, and leave me thus forlorn,
And blast a life the most inhuman spare? Oh! live in pity to the babe unborn
That stirs within me to assist my prayer!'
What could I do! Contending passions strove,
And press'd my bosom with alternate weight, Unyielding honour, soft persuasive love
I fled and left her-left her to her fate!
Fast came the ruffian band; no melting charm,
That e'er to suffering beauty nature gave,
She, and the remnant of her weeping train,
Whose faithful love still link'd them to her side, Torn from their dwelling, trode the desert plain,
No hut to shelter, and no hand to guide.
Thick drove its snow before the wintry wind,
And midnight darkness wrapp'd the heath they past, Save one sad gleam, that, blazing far behind,
The ancient mansion of my fathers cast.
Calmly she saw the smouldering ruins glare ;
• 'Tis past, all-righteous God ! 'tis past !' she cried ; • But for my Henry hear my latest prayer !'
Big was her bursting heart ;-she groan'd and died !
Still, in my dreams, I see her form confess'd,
Sailing, in robes of light, the troubled sky!• And soon,' she whispers, shall my Henry rest'
And, dimly smiling, points my place to die !
I hear that voice, I see that pale hand wave;
I come once more to view my native shore; Stretch'd on Monimia's long-neglected grave, To clasp the sod, and feel my woes no more!