[ocr errors]

The court was sat, the culprit there;
Forth from their gloomy mansions creeping,
The lady Janes and Joans repair
And from the gallery stand peeping:

Such as in silence of the night
Come (sweep) along some winding entry,
(Styack * has often seen the sight)
Or at the chapel-door stand sentry;

In peaked hoods and mantles tarnish'd
Sour visages enough to scare ye,
High dames of honour once that garnish'd
The drawing-room of fierce Queen Mary!

The peeress comes: the audience stare,
And doff their hats with due submission;
She courtsies, as she takes her chair,
To all the people of condition.

The bard with many an artful fib
Had in imagination fenc'd him,
Disprov'd the arguments of Squibt,
And all that Groomț could urge against him.

But soon his rhetoric forsook him,
When he the solemn hall had seen;
A sudden fit of ague shook him;
He stood as mute as poor Macleanell.

Yet something he was heard to mutter,
“ How in the park beneath an old tree,
(Without design to hurt the butter,
" Or any malice to the poultry,)

“ He once or twice had penn'd a sonnet,

Yet hop'd that he might save his bacon; “ Numbers would give their oaths upon it, “ He ne'er was for a conj’rer taken."

• The housekeeper. + The Steward. # Grooin of the chamber. H A famous highwayman, hanged the week before,



The ghostly prudes, with hagged * face,
Already had condemn'd the sinner:
My Lady rose, and with a grace--
She smild, and bid him corne to dinnert.

Jesu-Maria! Madam Bridget,
" Why, what can the Viscountess mean!"
Cry'd the square houds, in woeful fidget;
“ The times are alter'd quite and clean!

“ Decorum's turn'd to mere civility!
" Her air and all her manners shew it:
" Commend me to her affability;
“ Speak to a Commoner and Poet!"

[Here 500 stanzas are lost.]
And so God save our noble king,
And guard us from long-winded lubbers,
That to eternity would sing,
And keep my lady from her rubbers.



F 0 N C

Written in a Country Church-Yard.
THE curfew tollsf the knell of parting day,

The lowing herds wind slowly o'er the lea,
The ploughman homeward plods his weary way,
And leaves the world to darkness and to me.

* Hagged, i. e, the face of a witch or bag. The epithet hagard has been sometimes mistaken as conveying the same idea, but it means a very different thing, viz. wild and farouche, and is taken from an unreclaimed hawk, called an Hagard. which follows, is characteristic of the Spanish manners of

+ Here the story finishes, the exclamation of the ghosts, the age when they are supposed to have lived ; and the 500 stanzas said to be lost, may be imagined to contain the remainder of their long-winded expostulation.

# -----squilla di lontano
Che paila'l giorno pianger, che si muore.

Dante Purgat. 1. 9.

Now fades the glimm'ring landscape on the sight,
And all the air a solemn stillness holds,
Save where the beetle wheels his droning flight,
And drowsy tinklings lull the distant folds i
Save that from yonder ivy-mantled tow'r,
The moping owl does to the inoon complain
Of such as, wand'ring near her secret bow'r,
Molest her ancient solitary reign.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-trees shade,
Where heaves, the turf in many a mould'ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The breezy call of incense-breathing morn,
The swallow twitt'ring from the straw-built shed,
The cock's shrill clarion, or the echoing horn,
No more shall rouse them from their lowly bed.
For them no more the blazing hearth shall burn,
Or busy housewife ply her ev'ning care;
No children run to lisp their sire's return,
Or climb his knees the envy'd kiss to share.
Oft did the harvest to their sickle yield,
Their furrow oft the stubborn glebe has broke;
How jocund did they drive their team afield!
How bow'd the woods beneath their sturdy stroke!
Let not Ambition mock their useful toil,
Their homely joys and destiny obscure;
Nor Grandeur hear with a disdainful smile
The short and simple annals of the pocr.
The boast of heraldry, the pomp of pow'r,
And all that beauty, all that wealth e'er gave,
Await alike th' inevitable hour:
The paths of glory lead but to the grave.
Nor you, ye Proud! impute to these the fault,
If Mem'ry o'er their tomb no trophies raise,
Where, thro' the long-drawn aisle and fretted vault,
The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.

Can storied urn or animated bust Back to its mansion call the fleeting breath? Can Honour's voice provoke the silent dust, Or Flatt'ry soothe the dull cold ear of death? Perhaps in this neglected spot is laid Some heart once pregnant with celestial fire; Hands that the rod of empire might have sway'd, Or wak'd to ecstasy the living lyre. But Knowledge to their eyes her ample page, Rich with the spoils of Time, did ne'er unroll; Chill penury repress’d their noble rage, And froze the genial current of the soul. Full many a gem of purest ray serene The dark unfathom'd caves of ocean bear; Full many a Aower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air. Some village Hainpden, that with dauntless breast The little tyrant of his fields withstood, Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest, Some Cromwell, guiltless of his country's blood. Th' applause of list’using senates to command, The threats of pain and ruin to despise, To scatter plenty o'er a smiling land, And read their hist'ry in a nation's eyes, Their lot forbad; nor circumscrib'd alone Their growing virtues, but their crimes confin'd; Forbad to wade thro''slaughter to a throne, And shut the gates of mercy on mankind; The struggling pangs of conscious Trutli to hide, To quench the blushes of ingenuous Shame, Or heap the shrine of Luxury and Pride With incense kindled at the Muse's fame. Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife", Their sober wishes never learn'd to stray; Along the cool sequester'd vale of life They kept the noiseless tenor of their way.

1. This part of the Elegy differs from the first cop! following stanza was excluded with the other alteration.


Yet c'en these bones from insult to protect,
Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncoath rhymes and shapeless sculpture deck’d,
Implores the passing tribute of a sigh.
Their name, their years, spelt by th' unletter'd Muse,
The place of fame and elegy supply,
And many a holy text around she strews,
That teach the rustic moralist to die.

For who to dumb Forgetfulness a prey
This pleasing anxious being e'er resign'd,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing ling'ring look behind?
On some fond breast the parting soul relies,
Some pious drops the closing eye requires;
E'en from the tomb the voice of nature cries,
E'en in our ashes * live their wonted fires.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

For thee, who mindful of th' unhonour'd dead,
Dost in these lines their artless tale relate,
If chance, by lonely Contemplation led,
Some kindred spirit shall inquire thy fate,
Haply, some hoary-headed swain may say,
“Oft have we seen him, at the peep of dawn,

Brushing with hasty steps the dews away,
" To ineet the sun upon the upland lawn.
“ There at the foot of yonder nodding beech,
“ That wreathes its old fantastic roots so high,
“ His listless length at noon-tide would he stretch,
" And pore upon the brook that babbles by.

Hark! how the sacred calm, that breathes around,
Bids every fierce tumultuous passion cease,
In still small accents whisp'ring from the ground,

A grateful earnest of eternal peace.
· Ch'i veggio nel pensier, dolce mio fuoco,
Fredda una lingua, et due begli occhi chiusi
Rimaner droppo noi pien di faville.

Petrarch, Son, 160.

« VorigeDoorgaan »