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Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere,
Not scorned in Heaven, though little noticed here.
Could Time, his flight reversed, restore the hours,
When playing with thy vesture's tissued flowers,
The violet, the pink, the jessamine,
I pricked them into paper with a pin,
And thou wast happier than myself the while,
Wouldst softly speak, and stroke my head, and smile.
Could those few pleasant days again appear,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here?
I would not trust my heart — the dear delight
Seems so to be desired, perhaps I might.
But no- what here we call our life is such,
So little to be loved, and thou so much,
That I should ill requite thee to constrain
Thy unbound spirit into bonds again.
Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast
(The storms all weathered and the ocean crossed)
Shoots into port at some well-havened isle,
Where spices breathe and brighter seasons smile,
There sits quiescent on the floods, that show
Her beauteous form reflected clear below,
While airs impregnated with incense play
Around her, fanning light her streamers gay,
So thou, with sails how swift! hast reached the shore,
“Where tempests never beat, nor billows roar;'
And thy loved consort on the dangerous tide
Of life long since has anchored by thy side.
But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest,
Always from port withheld, always distressed,
Me howling blasts drive devious, tempest-tossed,
Sails ripped, seams opening wide, and compass lost,
And day by day some current's thwarting force
Sets me more distant from a prosperous course.
Yet, O, the thought, that thou art safe, and he!
That thought is joy, arrive what may to me.
My boast is not that I deduce my birth
From loins enthroned and rulers of the earth;
But higher far my proud pretensions rise-
The son of parents passed into the skies.
And now, farewell — Time unrevoked has run
His wonted course; yet what I wished is done.
By contemplation's help, not sought in vain,
I seem thave lived my childhood o'er again,
To have renewed the joys that once were mine,
Without the sin of violating thine;
And, while the wings of fancy still are free,
And I can view this mimic show of thee,
Time has but half succeeded in his theft
Thyself removed, thy power to soothe me left.
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeezed
And bored with elbow-points through both his sides,
Outscolds the ranting actor on the stage;
Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb,
And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath
Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage,
Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles,
This folio of four pages, happy work!
Which not e'en critics criticise; that holds
Inquisitive attention, while I read,
Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair,
Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break;
What is it, but a map of busy life,
Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns ?
Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge,
That tempts Ambition. On the summit see
The seals of office glitter in his eyes;
He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels,
Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him down,
And wins them, but to lose them in his turn.
Here rills of oily eloquence, in soft
Meanders, lubricate the course they take;
The modest speaker is ashamed and grieved
To engross a moment's notice; and yet begs,
Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts,
However trivial all that he conceives.
Sweet bashfulness! it claims at least this praise :
The dearth of information and good sense,
That it foretells us, always comes to pass.
Cataracts of declamation thunder here;
There forests of no meaning spread the page,
In which all comprehension wanders lost;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there
With merry descants on a nation's woes,
The rest appears a wilderness of strange
But gay confusion; roses for the cheeks,
And lilies for the brows of faded age,
Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald,
Heaven, earth, and ocean, plundered of their sweets,
Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,
Sermons, and city feasts, and favorite airs,
Ethereal journeys, submarine exploits,
And Katterfelto, with his hair on end
At his own wonders, wondering for his bread.
'Tis pleasant, through the loopholes of retreat, To peep at such a world; to see the stir
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd;
To hear the roar she sends through all her gates
At a safe distance, where the dying sound
Falls a soft murmur on th' uninjured ear.
Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanced
To some secure and more than mortal height,
That liberates and exempts me from them all.
FROM THE “TIROCINIUM.” 239. THE PLAY-PLACE OF EARLY DAYS. Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise, We love the play-place of our early days; The scene is touching, and the heart is stone, That feels not at that sight, and feels at none. The wall on which we tried our graving skill, The very name we carved subsisting still; The bench on which we sat while deep employed, Though mangled, hacked, and hewed, not yet destroyed; The little ones, unbuttoned, glowing hot, Playing our games, and on the very spot; As happy as we once, to kneel and draw The chalky ring, and knuckle down at taw; To pitch the ball into the grounded hat, Or drive it devious with a dexterous pat; The pleasing spectacle at once excites Such recollection of our own delights, That, viewing it, we seem almost ť obtain Our innocent sweet simple years again.
240. THE DIVERTING HISTORY OF JOHN GILPIN.
John Gilpin was a citizen
Of credit and renown,
A train-band Captain eke was he
Of famous London town.
John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear
Though wedded we have been
These twice ten tedious years, yet we
No holiday have seen.
To-morrow is our wedding-day,
And we will then repair
Unto the Bell at Edmonton
All in a chaise and pair.
My sister and my sister's child,
Myself, and children three,
Will fill the chaise; so you must ride
On horseback after we.
He soon replied — I do admire
Of womankind but one,
And you are she, my dearest dear,
Therefore it shall be done.
I am a linen-draper bold,
As all the world doth know, And my good friend the calender
Will lend his horse to go.
Quoth Mistress Gilpin - That's well said;
And, for that wine is dear,
We will be furnished with our own,
Which is both bright and clear.
John Gilpin kissed his loving wife;
O’erjoyed was he to find
That, though on pleasure she was bent,
She had a frugal mind.
The morning came, the chaise was brought,
But yet was not allowed
To drive up to the door, lest all
Should say that she was proud.
So three doors off the chaise was stayed,
Where they did all get in;
Six precious souls, and all agog
To dash through thick and thin.
Smack went the whip, round went the wheels,
Were never folk so glad,
The stones did rattle underneath,
As if Cheapside we mad.
John Gilpin, at his horse's side,
Seized fast the flowing mane, And up he got, in haste to ride,
But soon came down again:
For saddle-tree scarce reached had he,
His journey to begin,
When, turning round his head, he saw
Three customers come in.