Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

1796.

And is this all that you can do
For him, who did so much for you?
Ninety months he, by my troth!
Hath richly catered for you both;
And in an hour would you repay
An eight years' work?-Away! Away!
I alone am faithful! I

Cling to him everlastingly.

RECANTATION.

ILLUSTRATED BY THE STORY OF THE MAD OX.

AN Ox, long fed with musty hay,

And work'd with yoke and chain,

Was turn'd out on an April day,
When fields are in their best array,
And growing grasses sparkle gay,
At once with sun and rain.

The grass was fine, the sun was bright,
With truth I may aver it,

The Ox was glad, as well he might,
Thought a green meadow no bad sight,
And frisk'd to show his huge delight,
Much like a beast of spirit.

Stop, neighbours! stop! why these alarms?
The Ox is only glad-

But still they pour from cots and farms,
Halloo! the parish is up in arms,
(A hoaxing hunt has always charms)
Halloo! the Ox is mad!

The frighted beast scamper'd about,

Plunge! through the hedge he droveThe mob pursue with hideous rout,

A bull-dog fastens on his snout,

He gores the dog, his tongue hangs out-
He's mad, he's mad, by Jove!

[blocks in formation]

You fiend!" The sage his warnings ceased,
And north and south and west and east,
Halloo! they follow the poor beast-

Mat, Dick, Tom, Bob, and Walter.

The frighted beast ran through the town
All followed, boy and dad,
Bull-dog, parson, shopman, clown,
The publican rushed from the " Crown,"
Halloo! hamstring him! cut him down!
They drove the poor Ox mad.

Should you a rat to madness teaze,

Why, even a rat would plague you :

There's no philosopher but sees

That rage and fear are one disease-
Though that may burn and this may freeze,
They're both alike the ague.

And so, this Ox, in frantic mood,

Faced round like any Bull

The mob turn'd tail and he pursued

Till they with fright and fear were stew'd,
And not a chick of all this brood

But had his belly-full.

Old Nick's astride the beast, 'tis clear-
Old Nicholas to a tittle!

But all agree, he'd disappear,

Would but the parson venture near,
And through his teeth right o'er the steer,
Squirt out some fasting spittle. *

Through gardens, lanes, and fields new-plough'd,
Through his hedge and through her hedge,

He plung'd and toss'd and bellow'd loud,

Till in his madness he grew proud,

To see this helter-skelter crowd

That had more wrath than courage.

But here once more to view did pop
The man that kept his senses,

66

And now he cried, Stop, neighbours, stop!
The Ox is mad, I would not swop,

No, not a school-boy's farthing top

For all the parish fences.

"The Ox is mad! Ho! Dick, Bob, Mat!

What means this coward fuss?

According to a superstition of the West Countries, if you meet the Devil, you may either cut him in half with a straw, or you may cause him instantly to dis appear by spitting over his horns.

[blocks in formation]

"A lying dog! Just now he said
The Ox was only glad,

Let's break his presbyterian head!”—
Hush!" quoth the sage,

[ocr errors]

"you've been misled,

No quarrels now, let's all make head-
You drove the poor Ox mad!"

As thus I sat in careless chat,

With the morning's wet newspaper,

In eager haste, without his hat,

As blind and blundering as a bat,
In came that fierce aristocrat,
Our pursy woollen-draper.

And so my Muse perforce drew bit,
As in he rushed and panted ;-

"Well, have you heard?

66

"No, not a whit."

'What, han't you heard?"- -"Come, out with it!" "That Tierney votes for Mister Pitt,

And Sheridan's recanted!"

II.-LOVE POEMS.

Quas humilis tenero stylus olim effudit in ævo.
Perlegis hic lacrymas, et quod pharetratus acutâ
Ille puer puero fecit mihi cuspide vulnus,
Omnia paulatim consumit longior ætas,
Vivendoque simul morimur, rapimurque manendo.
Ipse mihi collatus enim non ille videbor:

Frons alia est, moresque alii, nova mentis imago,
Voxque aliud sonat-

Pectore nunc gelido calidos miseremur amantes,
Jamque arsisse pudet. Veteres tranquilla tumultus
Mens horret reiegensque alium putat ista locutum.

PETRARCH.

INTRODUCTION TO THE TALE OF THE

DARK LADIE.

IN Coleridge's early publication, and in the French edition copied from it, these verses were united with those now printed separately called "Love," beginning "All thoughts, all passions, all delights," and the whole was called as above, with the following note prefixed.

(The following poem is intended as the introduction to a somewhat longer one. The use of the old ballad word Ladie for Lady is the only piece of obsoleteness in it; and as it is professedly a tale of ancient times, I trust that the affectionate lovers of venerable antiquity (as Camden says) will grant me their pardon, and perhaps be induced to admit a force and propriety in it, A heavier objection

may be adduced against the author, that in these times of fear and expectation, when novelties explode around us in all directions, he should presume to offer to the public a silly tale of old-fashioned love; and five years ago, I own I should have felt the force of this objection. But alas, explosion has succeeded explosion so rapidly, that novelty itself ceases to appear new, and it is possible that now even a simple story, wholly uninspired with politics or personality, may find some attention amid the hubbub of revolutions, as to those who have remained a long time by the falls of Niagara, the lowest whispering becomes distinctly audible.)

[blocks in formation]

The Moon was high, the moonlight gleam
And the shadow of a star
Heaved upon Tamaha's stream;

But the rock shone brighter far,
The rock half sheltered from my view
By pendent boughs of tressy yew-
So shines my Lewti's forehead fair,
Gleaming through her sable hair.
Image of Lewti! from my mind
Depart, for Lewti is not kind.

I saw a cloud of palest hue,
Onward to the Moon it passed;
Still brighter and more bright it grew,
With floating colours not a few,

Till it reached the Moon at last :
Then the cloud was wholly bright,
With a rich and amber light!
And so with many a hope I seek
And with such joy I find my Lewti;

And even so my pale wan cheek

Drinks in as deep a flush of beauty! Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind, If Lewti never will be kind.

The little cloud-it floats away,
Away it goes; away so soon?
Alas! it has no power to stay:
Its hues are dim, its hues are grey-
Away it passes from the Moon!
How mournfully it seems to fly,
Ever fading more and more,
To joyless regions of the sky-
And now 'tis whiter than before!
As white as my poor cheek will be,
When, Lewti! on my couch I lie,
A dying man for love of thee.

Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind
And yet, thou did'st not look unkind.

I saw a vapour in the sky,
Thin, and white, and very high;
I ne'er beheld so thin a cloud :
Perhaps the breezes that can fly
Now below and now above,
Have snatched aloft the lawny shroud

Of Lady fair-that died for love.
For maids, as well as youths, have perished
From fruitless love too fondly cherished.
Nay, treacherous image! leave my mind-
For Lewti never will be kind.

« VorigeDoorgaan »