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Six gentlemen upon the road,
Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
With postboy scampering in the rear,
They raised the hue and cry,—
Stop thief! stop thief!-a highwayman!
Not one of them was mute;
And all and each that passed that way
Did join in the pursuit.
And now the turnpike gates again
Flew open in short space;
The toll-men thinking as before,
That Gilpin rode a race.
And so he did, and won it too,
For he got first to town;
Nor stopped till where he had got up
He did again get down.
Now let us sing, long live the king,
And Gilpin, long live he;
And, when he next doth ride abroad,
May I be there to see!
These flowing from the fount of grace above,
Those breathed from lips of everlasting love.
The flinty soil indeed their feet annoys;
Chill blasts of trouble nip their springing joys;
An envious world will interpose its frown,
To mar delights superior to its own;
And many a pang, experienced still within,
Reminds them of their hated inmate, Sin:
But ills of every shape and every name,
Transformed to blessings, miss their cruel aim;
And every moment's calm that soothes the breast,
Is given in earnest of eternal rest.
Ah, be not sad, although thy lot be cast
Far from the flock, and in a boundless waste!
No shepherd's tents within thy view appear,
But the chief Shepherd even there is near;
Thy tender sorrows and thy plaintive strain
Flow in a foreign land, but not in vain;
Thy tears all issue from a source divine,
And every drop bespeaks a Saviour thine-
So once in Gideon's fleece the dews were found,
And drought on all the drooping herbs around.
AFFLICTED PROTESTANT LADY IN FRANCE.
A STRANGER'S purpose in these lays
Is to congratulate and not to praise.
To give the creature the Creator's due
Were sin in me, and an offence to you.
From man to man, or e'en to woman paid,
Praise is the medium of a knavish trade,
A coin by craft for folly's use designed,
Spurious, and only current with the blind.
The path of sorrow and that path alone,
Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown;
No traveller ever reached that blest abode,
Who found not thorns and briers in his road,
The world may dance along the flowery plain,
Cheered as they go by many a sprightly strain,
Where Nature has her mossy velvet spread,
With unshod feet they yet securely tread,
Admonished, scorn the caution and the friend,
Bent all on pleasure, heedless of its end.
But he, who knew what human hearts would prove,
How slow to learn the dictates of his love,
That, hard by nature and of stubborn will,
A life of ease would make them harder still,
In pity to the souls his grace designed
To rescue from the ruins of mankind,
Called for a cloud to darken all their years,
And said, "Go, spend them in the vale of tears."
O balmy gales of soul-reviving air!
O salutary streams that murmur there!
REV. W. CAWTHORNE UNWIN.
UNWIN, I should but ill repay
The kindness of a friend,
Whose worth deserves as warm a lay,
As ever friendship penned,
Thy name omitted in a page,
That would reclaim a vicious age,
A union formed, as mine with thee,
Not rashly, nor in sport,
May be as fervent in degree,
And faithful in its sort,
And may as rich in comfort prove
As that of true fraternal love,
The bud inserted in the rind,
The bud of peach or rose,
Adorns, though differing in its kind,
The stock whereon it grows,
With flower as sweet, or fruit as fair
As if produced by nature there.
Not rich, I render what I may,
I seize thy name in haste, And place it in this first essay,
Lest this should prove the last.
'Tis where it should be-in a plan,
That holds in view the good of man.
The poet's lyre, to fix his fame,
Should be the poet's heart;
Affection lights a brighter flame
Than ever blazed by art.
No muses on these lines attend,
I sink the poet in the friend,
TO THE REVEREND MR. NEWTON.
An Invitation into the Country.
THE Swallows in their torpid state
Compose their useless wing,
And bees in hives as idly wait
The call of early Spring.
The keenest frost that binds the stream,
The wildest wind that blows,
Are neither felt nor feared by them,
Secure of their repose.
But man, all feeling and awake,
The gloomy scene surveys;
With present ills his heart must ache,
And pant for brighter days.
Old Winter, halting o'er the mead,
Bids me and Mary mourn:
But lovely Spring peeps o'er his head,
And whispers your return.
Then April, with her sister May,
Shall chase him from the bowers, And weave fresh garlands every day, To crown the smiling hours.
And if a tear, that speaks regret
Of happier times, appear,
A glimpse of joy, that we have met,
Shall shine and dry the tear.
TO MISS STAPLETON, (NOW MRS. COURTNAY.)
SHE came-she is gone-we have met--
And meet perhaps never again;
The sun of that moment is set,
And seems to have risen in vain.
Catharina has fled like a dream-
(So vanishes pleasure, alas!) But has left a regret and esteem, That will not so suddenly pass.
The last evening ramble we made,
Catharina, Maria, and I,
Our progress was often delayed
By the nightingale warbling nigh.
We paused under many a tree,
And much she was charmed with a tone Less sweet to Maria and me,
Who so lately had witnessed her own.
My numbers that day she had sung,
And gave them a grace so divine, As only her musical tongue
Could infuse into numbers of mine.
The longer I heard, I esteemed
The work of my fancy the more,
And e'en to myself never seemed
So tuneful a poet before.
Though the pleasures of London exceed
In number the days of the year,
Catharina, did nothing impede,
Would feel herself happier here;
For the close-woven arches of limes
On the banks of our river, I know,
Are sweeter to her many times
Than aught that the city can show.
So it is, when the mind is endued
With a well-judging taste from above;
Then, whether embellished or rude,
'Tis nature alone that we love.
The achievements of art may amuse,
May even our wonder excite,
But groves, hills, and valleys, diffuse
A lasting, a sacred delight.
Since then in the rural recess
Catharina alone can rejoice, May it still be her lot to possess
The scene of her sensible choice! To inhabit a mansion remote
From the clatter of street-pacing steeds, And by Philomel's annual note
To measure the life that she leads.
With her book, and her voice, and her lyre,
To wing all her moments at home;
And with scenes that new rapture inspire,
As oft as it suits her to roam;
She will have just the life she prefers,
With little to hope or to fear,
And ours would be pleasant as hers,
Might we view her enjoying it here.
A HERMIT, (or if 'chance you hold
That title now too trite and old)
A man, once young, who lived retired,
As hermit could have well desired,
His hours of study closed at last,
And finished his concise repast,
Stoppled his cruise, replaced his book
Within its customary nook,
And, staff in hand, set forth to share
The sober cordial of sweet air,
Like Isaac, with a mind applied
To serious thought at evening tide.
Autumnal rains had made it chill,
And from the trees, that fringed his hill,
Shades slanting at the close of day
Chilled more his else delightful way.
Distant a little mile he spied
A western bank's still sunny side,
And right toward the favoured place
Proceeding with his nimblest pace,
In hope to bask a little yet,
Just reached it when the sun was set.
Your hermit, young and jovial sirs!
Learns something from whate'er occurs—
And hence, he said, my mind computes
The real worth of man's pursuits.
His object chosen, wealth or fame,
Or other sublunary game,
Imagination to his view
Presents it decked with every hue
That can seduce him not to spare
His powers of best exertion there,
But youth, health, vigour to expend
On so desirable an end.
Ere long approach life's evening shades,
The glow that fancy gave it fades;
And, earned, too late, it wants the grace
That first engaged him in the chase.
True, answered an angelic guide,
Attendant at the senior's side-
But whether all the time it cost,
To urge the fruitless chase be lost,
Must be decided by the worth
Of that, which called his ardour forth.
Trifles pursued, whate'er th' event,
Must cause him shame or discontent;
A vicious object still is worse,
Successful there he wins a curse;
But he, who e'en in life's last stage
Endeavours laudable engage,
Is paid at least in peace of mind,
And sense of having well designed;
And if, ere he attain his end,
His sun precipitate descend,
A brighter prize than that he meant
Shall recompense his mere intent.
No virtuous wish can bear a date
Either too early or too late.
THE greenhouse is my summer seat; My shrubs displaced from that retreat
Enjoyed the open air;
Two goldfinches, whose sprightly song Had been their mutual solace long,
Lived happy prisoners there. They sang, as blithe as finches sing, That flutter loose on golden wing, And frolic where they list;
Strangers to liberty, 'tis true,
But that delight they never knew,
And therefore never missed.
But nature works in every breast,
With force not easily suppressed;
And Dick felt some desires,
That after many an effort vain,
Instructed him at length to gain
A pass between his wires.
The open windows seemed t' invite
The freeman to a farewell flight;
But Tom was still confined;
And Dick, although his way was clear,
Was much too generous and sincere,
Te leave his friend behind.
So settling on his cage, by play,
And chirp, and kiss, he seemed to say,
You must not live alone
Nor would he quit that chosen stand
Till I, with slow and cautious hand,
Returned him to his own.
O ye, who never taste the joys
Of Friendship, satisfied with noise,
Fandango, ball, and rout!
Blush, when I tell you how a bird,
A prison with a friend preferred
To liberty without.
THERE is a field through which I often pass,
Thick overspread with moss and silky grass,
Adjoining close to Kilwick's echoing wood,
Where oft the bitch-fox hides her hapless brood,
Reserved to solace many a neighbouring squire,
That he may follow them through brake and brier,
Contusion hazarding of neck or spine,
Which rural gentlemen call sport divine.
A narrow brook, by rushy banks concealed,
Runs in a bottom, and divides the field;
Oaks intersperse it, that had once a head,
But now wear crests of oven-wood instead;
And where the land slopes to its watery bourn,
Wide yawns a gulf beside a ragged thorn;
Bricks line the sides, but shivered long ago
And horrid brambles intertwine below;
A hollow scooped, I judge, in ancient time,
For baking earth, or burning rock to lime.
Not yet the hawthorn bore her berries red,
With which the fieldfare, wintry guest, is fed;
Nor autumn yet had brushed from every spray
With her chill hand, the mellow leaves away;
But corn was housed, and beans were in the stack,
Now therefore issued forth the spotted pack,
With tails high mounted, ears hung low, and That sage they seemed, as lawyers o'er a doubt,
With a whole gamut filled of heavenly notes,
For which, alas! my destiny severe,
Though ears she gave me two, gave me no ear.
The sun, accomplishing his early march,
His lamp now planted on Heaven's topmast arch,
When, exercise and air my only aim,
And heedless whither, to that field I came,
Ere yet with ruthless joy the happy hound
Told hill and dale that Reynard's track was found,
Or with the high-raised horn's melodious clang
All Killwick* and all Dinglederry* rang.
Sheep grazed the field: some with soft bosom pressed
The herb as soft, while nibbling strayed the rest;
Nor noise was heard but of the hasty brook,
Struggling, detained in many a petty nook.
All seemed so peaceful, that, from them conveyed,
To me their peace by kind contagion spread.
But when the huntsman with distended cheek,
'Gan make his instrument of music speak,
And from within the wood that crash was heard,
Though not a hound from whom it burst appeared,
The sheep recumbent, and the sheep that grazed;
All huddling into phalanx, stood and gazed,
Admiring, terrified, the novel strain,
Then coursed the field around, and coursed it round again;
But, recollecting, with a sudden thought,
That flight in circles urged advanced them nought,
They gathered close round the old pit's brink,
And thought again--but knew not what to think.
The man to solitude accustomed long,
Perceives in every thing that lives a tongue;
Not animals alone, but shrubs and trees
Have speech for him, and understood with ease;
After long drought, when rains abundant fall,
He hears the herbs and flowers rejoicing all;
Knows what the freshness of their hue implies,
How glad they catch the largess of the skies;
But, with precision nicer still, the mind
He scans of every locomotive kind;
Birds of all feather, beasts of every name,
That serve mankind, or shun them, wild or tame;
The looks and gestures of their griefs and fears
Have all articulation in his cars;
He spells them true by intuition's light,
And needs no glossary to set him right.
This truth premised was needful as a text, To win due credence to what follows next. Awhile they mused; surveying every face, Thou hadst supposed them of superior race; Their periwigs of wool, and fears combined, Stamped on each countenance such marks of mind,
• Two woods belonging to John Throckmorton, Esq.
Which, puzzling long, at last they puzzle out;
Or academic tutors, teaching youths,
Sure ne'er to want them, mathematic truths;
When thus a mutton, statelier than the rest,
A ram, the ewes and wethers sad addressed-
Friends! we have lived too long. I never heard
Sounds such as these, so worthy to be feared.
Could I believe, that winds for ages pent
In earth's dark womb have found at last a vent.
And from their prison-house below arise,
With all these hideous howlings to the skies,
I could be much composed, nor should appear,
For such a cause, to feel the slightest fear.
Yourselves have seen, what time the thunders rolled,
All night, me resting quiet in the fold.
Or heard we that tremendous bray alone,
I could expound the melancholy tone;
Should deem it by our old companion made,
The ass; for he, we know, has lately strayed,
And being lost, perhaps, and wandering wide
Might be supposed to clamour for a guide.
But ah! those dreaded yells what soul can hear
That owns a carcase, and not quake for fear?
Demons produce them doubtless; brazen-clawed
And fanged with brass the demons are abroad;
I hold it therefore wisest and most fit,
That, life to save, we leap into the pit.
Him answered then his loving mate and true
But more discreet than he, a Cambrian ewe
How! leap into the pit our life to save?
To save our life leap all into the grave?
For can we find it less? Contemplate first
The depth, how awful! falling there, we burst;
Or should the brambles, interposed, our fall
In part abate, that happiness were small;
For with a race like theirs no chance I see
Of peace or ease to creatures clad as we.
Mean-time, noise kills not. Be it Dapple's bray,
Or be it not, or be it whose it may,
And rush those other sounds, that seem by tongues
Of demons uttered, from whatever lungs,
Sounds are but sounds; and, till the cause appear,
We have at least commodious standing here.
Come fiend, come fury, giant, monster, blast
From earth or hell, we can but plunge at last.
While thus she spake, I fainter heard the peals,
For Reynard, close attended at his heels
By panting dog, tired man, and spattered horse,
Through mere good fortune took a different course.
The flock grew calm again; and I, the road
Following, that led me to my own abode,
Much wondered that the silly sheep had found
Such cause of terror in an empty sound,
So sweet to huntsman, gentleman, and hound.
Beware of desperate steps. The darkest day, Live till to-morrow, will have passed away.
WHEN the British warrior queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Sought, with an indignant mien,
Counsel of her country's gods;
Sage beneath the spreading oak
Sat the Druid, hoary chief;
Every burning word he spoke
Full of rage, and full of grief.
Princess! if our aged eyes
Weep upon thy matchless wrongs, "Tis because resentment ties
All the terrors of our tongues.
Rome shall perish-write that word
In the blood that she has spilt;
Perish, hopeless and abhorred,
Deep in ruin as in guilt.
Rome, for empire far renowned,
Tramples on a thousand states, Soon her pride shall kiss the groundHark! the Gaul is at her gates!
Other Romans shall arise,
Heedless of a soldier's name; Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize, Harmony the path to fame.
Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land, Armed with thunder, clad with wings, Shall a wider world command.
Regions Cæsar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway;
Where his eagles never flew,
None invincible as they.
Such the bard's prophetic words,
Pregnant with celestial fire,
Bending as he swept the chords
Of his sweet but awful lyre.
She with all a monarch's pride,
Felt them in her bosom glow:
Rushed to battle, fought and died;
Dying hurled them at the foe.
Ruffians, pitiless as proud,
Heaven awards the vengeance due; Empire is on us bestowed,
Shame and ruin wait for you.
THERE was a time when Etna's silent fire Slept unperceived, the mountain yet entire;
When, conscious of no danger from below,
She towered a cloud-capt pyramid of snow.
No thunders shook with deep intestine sound
The blooming groves, that girdled her around.
Her unctuous olives, and her purple vines
(Unfelt the fury of those bursting mines)
The peasant's hopes, and not in vain, assured,
In peace upon her sloping sides matured.
When on a day, like that of the last doom,
A conflagration labouring in her womb,
She teemed and heaved with an infernal birth,
That shook the circling seas and solid earth.
Dark and voluminous the vapours rise,
And hang their horrors in the neighbouring skies,
While through the Stygian veil, that blots the day,
In dazzling streaks the vivid lightnings play.
But oh! what muse, and in what powers of song,
Can trace the torrent as it burns along;
Havoc and devastation in the van,
It marches o'er the prostrate works of man;
Vines, olives, herbage, forests disappear,
And all the charms of a Sicilian year.
Revolving seasons, fruitless as they pass,
See it an uninformed and idle mass;
Without a soil t' invite the tiller's care,
Or blade, that might redeem it from despair.
Yet time at length (what will not time achieve?)
Clothes it with earth, and bids the produce live.
Once more the spiry myrtle crowns the glade,
And ruminating flocks enjoy the shade.
O bliss precarious, and unsafe retreats,
O charming Paradise of short-lived sweets!
The selfsame gale, that wafts the fragrance round,
Brings to the distant ear a sullen sound:
Again the mountain feels th' imprisoned foe,
Again pours ruin on the vale below.
Ten thousand swains the wasted scene deplore,
That only future ages can restore.
Ye monarchs, whom the lure of honour draws, Who write in blood the merits of your cause, Who strike the blow, then plead your own defence, Glory your aim, but justice your pretence; Behold in Etna's emblematic fires,
The mischiefs your ambitious pride inspires!
Fast by the stream, that bounds your just domain,
And tells you where you have a right to reign,
A nation dwells, not envious of your throne,
Studious of peace, their neighbours', and their own.
Ill-fated race! how deeply must they rue
Their only crime, vicinity to you!
The trumpet sounds, your legions swarm abroad,
Through the ripe harvest lies their destined road;
At every step beneath their feet they tread
The life of multitudes, a nation's bread!
Earth seems a garden in its loveliest dress
Before them, and behind a wilderness.
Famine, and Pestilence, her first-born son,
Attend to finish what the sword begun;