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Oh! scorn not the poor with the scorner's jest,
Who seek in the shade of our hall to rest;
For He who hath made them poor may soon
Darken the sky of our glowing noon,
And leave us with woe in the world's bleak wild!
Oh! soften the griefs of the poor, my child!"
AND thou hast walk'd about (how strange a story!)
In Thebe's streets three thousand years ago,
When the Memnonium was in all its glory,
And time had not begun to overthrow
Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous,
Of which the very ruins are tremendous!
Speak! for thou long enough hast acted Dumby;
Thou hast a tongue, come, let us hear its tune;
Thou'rt standing on thy legs above ground, Mummy!
Revisiting the glimpses of the moon;
Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures,
But with thy bones and flesh, and limbs and features.
Tell us for doubtless thou canst recollect,
To whom should we assign the Sphinx's fame; Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect
Of either pyramid that bears his name? Is Pompey's Pillar really a misnomer?
Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer? Perhaps thou wert a mason, and forbidden
By oath to tell the secrets of thy tradeThen say, what secret melody was hidden
In Memnon's statue, which at sun-rise play'd? Perhaps thou wert a priest-if so, my struggles Are vain; for priestcraft never owns its juggles.
Perchance that very hand, now pinion'd flat,
Has hob-a-nobb'd with Pharaoh, glass to glass;
Or dropp'd a halfpenny in Homer's hat,
Or doff'd thine own, to let Queen Dido pass;
Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
A torch at the great temple's dedication.
I need not ask thee if that hand, when arm'd,
Has any Roman soldier maul'd and knuckled;
For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalm'd,
Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled :-
Antiquity appears to have begun
Long after thy primeval race was run.
Thou couldst develope, if that wither'd tongue
Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen,
How the world look'd when it was fresh and young,
And the great Deluge still had left its green-
Or was it then so old, that Hist'ry pages
Contain❜d no record of its early ages?
Still silent, incommunicative elf?
Art sworn to secrecy? then keep thy vows; But pr'ythee tell us something of thyself, Reveal the secrets of thy prison-house;
Since in the world of spirits thou hast slumber'd, What hast thou seen?-what strange adventures number'd?
Since first thy form was in this box extended, We have, above ground, seen some strange mutations:
The Roman empire has begun and ended,
New worlds have risen-we have lost old nations, And countless kings have into dust been humbled, Whilst not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled.
Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head,
When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses,
March'd armies o'er thy tomb with thund'ring tread,
O'erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis,
And shook the Pyramids with fear and wonder,
When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder?
If the tomb's secrets may not be confess'd,
The nature of thy private life unfold:-
A heart has throbb'd beneath that leathern breast,
And tears adown that dusky cheek have roll'd :-
Have children climb'd those knees, and kiss'd that
What was thy name and station, age and race?
Statue of flesh-Immortal of the dead!
Imperishable type of evanescence!
Posthumous man, who quitt'st thy narrow bed,
And standest undecay'd within our presence,
Thou wilt hear nothing till the Judgment morning,
When the great Trump shall thrill thee with its
Why should this worthless tegument endure,
If its undying guest be lost for ever?
O let us keep the soul embalm'd, and pure
In living virtue, that, when both must sever,
Although corruption may our frame consume,
Th' immortal spirit in the skies may bloom.
LITTLE gaudy playful thing,
With thy velvet-spotted wing,
Sporting in the sunny ray,
Spending all thy life in play.
Thou dost flit from flower to flower,
Heedless creature of an hour;
Or dost fold thy beauties up,
In the lily's fragrant cup.
Soon thy short existence o'er,
Thou wilt sport and play no more:
Careless insect! I will be
Wiser now for viewing thee.
I for higher ends am born,
Than to play through life's bright morn;
I have an immortal mind,
For a nobler life design'd.
Yes, this soul of mine is given,
To be train'd and form'd for heaven;
And in days of health and prime,
I should well improve my time.
Little silly sportive thing,
With thy velvet-spotted wing;
I will not, then, useless be,
Gaudy insect! like to thee!
THE NEGRO'S COMPLAINT.
FORC'D from home and all its pleasures,
Afric's coast I left forlorn;
To increase a stranger's treasures,
O'er the raging billows borne.
Men from England bought and sold me,
Paid my price in paltry gold;
But, though slave they have enroll'd me,
Minds are never to be sold.
Still in thought as free as ever,
What are England's rights, I ask,
Me from my delights to sever,
Me to torture, me to task?
Fleecy locks and black complexion
Cannot forfeit nature's claim;
Skins may differ, but affection
Dwells in white and black the same.
Why did all-creating nature
Make the plant for which we toil?
Sighs must fan it, tears must water,
Sweat of ours must dress the soil.
Think, ye masters iron-hearted,
Lolling at your jovial boards;
Think, how many backs have smarted
For the sweets your cane affords.
Is there, as ye sometimes tell us,
Is there One, who reigns on high?
Has He bid you buy and sell us,
Speaking from his throne, the sky?
Ask him, if your knotted scourges,
Matches, blood-extorting screws,
Are the means that duty urges
Agents of his will to use?
Hark! he answers-wild tornadoes,
Strewing yonder sea with wrecks;
Wasting towns, plantations, meadows,
Are the voice with which he speaks.
He, foreseeing what vexations
Afric's sons should undergo, Fix'd their tyrants' habitations
Where his whirlwinds answer-No.