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To build our altar, confident and bold,
And say as stern Elijah said of old,
The strife now stands upon a fair award,

If Israel's Lord be God, then serve the Lord :
If he be silent, faith is all a whim,

SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER SELKIRK, Then Baal is the God, and worship him.

DURING HIS SOLITARY ABODE IN THE ISLAND OF Digression is so much in modern use, Thought is so rare, and fancy so profuse, Some never seem so wide of their intent,

I am monarch of all I survey, As when returning to the theme they meant;

My right there is none to dispute ; As mendicants, whose business is to roam,

From the centre all round to the sea, Make ev'ry parish but their own their home.

I am lord of the fowl and the brute. Though such continual zig-zags in a book,

O Solitude! where are the charms, Such drunken reelings have an awkward look,

That sages have seen in thy face? And I had rather creep to what is true,

Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
Than rove and stagger with no mark in view;

Than reign in this horrible place.
Yet to consult a little, seem'd no crime,
The freakish humour of the present time :

I am out of humanity's reach,
But now to gather up what seems dispers'd,

I must finish my journey alone, And touch the subject I design'd at first,

Never hear the sweet music of speech, May prove, though much beside the rules of art,

I start at the sound of my own. Best for the public, and my wisest part.

The beasts, that roam over the plain, And first let no man charge me, that I mean

My form with indifference see; To close in sable ev'ry social scene,

They are so unacquainted with man,
And give good company a face severe,

Their tameness is shocking to me.
As if they met around a father's bier ;
For tell some men, that pleasure all their bent,

Society, friendship, and love,
And laughter all their work, is life mis-spent,

Divinely bestow'd upon man, Their wisdom bursts into this sage reply,

O, had I the wings of a dove, “ Then mirth is sin, and we should always cry."

How soon would I taste you again! To find the medium asks some share of wit,

My sorrows I then might assuage And therefore 't is a mark fools never hit :

In the ways of religion and truth, But though life's valley be a vale of tears,

Might learn from the wisdom of age, A brighter scene beyond that vale appears,

And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth. Whose glory with a light, that never fades, Shoots between scatter'd rocks and op’ning shades, Religion ! what treasure untold And, while it shows the land the soul desires,

Resides in that heavenly word! The language of the land she seeks inspires.

More precious than silver and gold, Thus touch'd, the tongue receives a sacred cure

Or all that this Earth can afford. Of all that was absurd, profane, impure;

But the sound of the church-going bell Held within modest bounds, the tide of speech

These valleys and rocks never heard,
Pursues the course, that Truth and Nature teach; Never sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
No longer labours merely to produce

Or smil'd when a sabbath appear'd.
The pomp of sound, or tinkle without use :
Where'er it winds, the salutary stream,

Ye winds, that have made me your sport, Sprightly and fresh, enriches ev'ry theme,

Convey to this desolate shore While all the happy man possess'd before,

Some cordial endearing report The gift of Nature, or the classic store,

Of a land, I shall visit no more. Is made subservient to the grand design,

My friends, do they now and then send For which Heav'n form’d the faculty divine.

A wish or a thought after me? So should an idiot, while at large he strays,

O tell me I yet have a friend,
Find the sweet lyre, on which an artist plays,

Though a friend I am never to see.
With rash and awkward force the chord he shakes,
And grins with wonder at the jar he makes ;

How fleet is a glance of the mind !
But let the wise and well-instructed hand

Compar'd with the speed of its flight, Once take the shell beneath his just command,

The tempest itself lags behind, In gentle sounds it seems as it complain'd

And the swift-winged arrows of light. Of the rude injuries it late sustain’d,

When I think of my own native land, Till tun'd at length to some immortal song,

In a moment I seem to be there ; It sounds Jehovah's name, and pours his praise along.

But alas! recollection at hand

Soon hurries me back to despair.

But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,

The beast is laid down in his lair;
Even here is a season of rest,

And I to my cabin repair.
There's mercy in every place,

And mercy, encouraging thought!
Gives even affliction a grace,

And reconciles man to his lot.


So down he came ; for loss of time,

Although it griev'd him sore ; HISTORY OF JOHN GILPIN;

Yet loss of pence, full well he knew,

Would trouble him much more.

'T was long before the customers John GILPIN was a citizen

Were suited to their mind,
Of credit and renown,

When Betty screaming came down stairs, A train-band captain eke was he

“ The wine is left behind !" Of famous London town.

" Good lack !" quoth he -"yet bring it me, John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear,

My leathern belt likewise, “ Though wedded we have been

In which I bear my trusty sword,
These twice ten tedious years, yet we

When I do exercise."
No holiday have seen.

Now Mistress Gilpin (careful soul!) * To-morrow is our wedding-day,

Had two stone bottles found,
And we will then repair

To hold the liquor that she lov'd,
Unto the Bell at Edmonton

And keep it safe and sound.
All in a chaise and pair.

Each bottle had a curling ear, “ My sister, and my sister's child,

Through which the belt he drew,
Myself, and children three,

And hung a bottle on each side,
Will fill the chaise ; so you must ride

To make his balance true.
On horseback after we."

Then over all, that he might be
He soon replied, “ I do admire

Equipp'd from top to toe,
Of woman-kind but one,

His long red cloak, well brush'd and neat, And you are she, my dearest dear,

He manfully did throw.
Therefore it shall be done,

Now see him mounted once again “ I am a linen-draper bold,

Upon his nimble steed,
As all the world doth know,

Full slowly pacing o'er the stones,
And my good friend the calender

With caution and good heed.
Will lend his horse to go."

But finding soon a smoother road
Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, “ That 's well said ;

Beneath his well-shod feet,
And, for that wine is dear,

The snorting beast began to trot,
We will be furnish'd with our own,

Which gall’d him in his seat.
Which is both bright and clear.”

So, “ Fair and softly," John he cried, John Gilpin kiss'd his loving wife;

But John he cried in vain;
O’erjoy'd was he to find,

That trot became a gallop soon,
That, though on pleasure she was bent,

In spite of curb and rein.
She had a frugal mind.

So stooping down, as needs he must
The morning came, the chaise was brought,

Who cannot sit upright,
But yet was not allow'd

He grasp'd the mane with both his hands, To drive up to the door, lest all

And eke with all his might.
Should say that she was proud.

His horse, who never in that sort
So three doors off the chaise was stay'd,

Had handled been before,
Where they did all get in;

What thing upon his back had got
Six precious souls, and all agog

Did wonder more and more.
To dash through thick and thin.

Away went Gilpin, neck or nought ;
Smack went the whip, round went the wheels, Away went hat and wig;
Were never folk so glad,

He little dreamt, when he set out,
The stones did rattle underneath,

Of running such a rig.
As if Cheapside were mad.

The wind did blow, the cloak did dy,
John Gilpin at his horse's side

Like streamer long and gay,
Seiz'd fast the flowing mane,

Till, loop and button failing both,
And up he got, in haste to ride,

At last it flew away.
But soon came down again ;

Then might all people well discern
For saddle-tree scarce reach'd had he,

The bottles be had slung;
His journey to begin,

A bottle swinging at each side,
When, turning round his head, he saw

As hath been said or sung.
Three customers come in.

The dogs did bark, the children scream'd,

• What news? what news ? your tidings tell ; Up flew the windows all ;

Tell me you must and shall And ev'ry soul cried out, “ Well done!"

Say why, bareheaded you are come, As loud as he could bawl.

Or why you come at all ?" Away went Gilpin - who but he ?

Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit, His fame soon spread around,

And lov'd a timely joke; “ He carries weight! he rides a race !

And thus unto the calender 'Tis for a thousand pound !”

In merry guise he spoke: And still as fast as he drew near,

“ I came because your horse would come; 'T was wonderful to view,

And, if I well forbode, How in a trice the turnpike men

My hat and wig will soon be here, Their gates wide open threw.

They are upon the road.” And now, as he went bowing down

The calender, right glad to find His reeking head full low,

His friend in merry pin, The bottles twain behind his back

Return'd him not a single word, Were shatter'd at a blow,

But to the house went in:

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The youth did ride, and soon did meet Dreading a negative, and overaw'd
John coming back amain;

Lest he should trespass, begg'd to go abroad. Whom in a trice he tried to stop,

“ Go, fellow !-whither?”-turning short about By catching at his rein;

“ Nay. Stay at home-you 're always going out."

“ 'T is but a step, sir, just at the street's end.” But not performing what he meant,

“ For what?"-“ An please you, sir, to see a friend." And gladly would have done,

“ A friend !" Horatio cried, and seem'd to startThe frighted steed he frighted more,

“ Yea marry shalt thou, and with all my heart. – And made him faster run.

And fetch my cloak; for, though the night be ras,

I'll see him too — the first I ever saw." Away went Gilpin, and away

I knew the man, and knew his nature mild, Went postboy at bis heels,

And was his plaything often when a child ; The postboy's horse right glad to miss But somewhat at that moment pinch'd hiin elose, The lumb'ring of the wheels.

Else he was seldom bitter or morose.

Perhaps his confidence just then betray'd, Six gentlemen upon the road,

His grief might prompt him with the speech he made; Thus seeing Gilpin fly,

Perhaps 't was mere good-humour gave it birth, With postboy scamp'ring in the rear,

The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth.
They rais'd the hue and cry: -

Howe'er it was, his language in my mind,

Bespoke at least a man that knew mankind. “ Stop thief! stop thief!- a highwayman !" But not to moralize too much, and strain, Not one of them was mute;

To prove an evil, of which all complain, And all and each that pass'd that way

(I hate long arguments verbosely spun,) Did join in the pursuit.

One story more, dear Hill, and I have done.

Once on a time an emp'ror, a wise man,
And now the turnpike gates again

No matter where, in China, or Japan,
Flew open in short space;

Decreed, that whosoever should offend
The toll-men thinking as before,

Against the well-known duties of a friend,
That Gilpin rode a race.

Convicted once should ever after wear

But half a coat, and show his bosom bare.
And so he did, and won it too,

The punishment importing this, no doubt,
For he got first to town;

That all was naught within, and all found out Nor stopp'd till where he had got up

O happy Britain! we have not to fear
He did again get down.

Such hard and arbitrary measure here;

Else, could a law, like that which I relate, Now let us sing, Long live the King, Once have the sanction of our triple state, And Gilpin long live he;

Some few, that I have known in days of old, And, when he next doth ride abroad,

Would run most dreadful risk of catching cold;
May I be there to see!

While you, my friend, whatever wind should blow,
Might traverse England safely to and fro,
An honest man, elose-button'd to the chin,
Broad cloth without, and a warm heart within.





SURVIVOR sole, and hardly such, of all,

That once liv'd here, thy brethren, at my birth, DEAR JOSEPH - five-and-twenty years ago - (Since which I number threescore winters past, Alas, how time escapes ! -'t is even so

À shatter'd vet'ran, hollow-trunk'd perhaps,
With frequent intercourse, and always sweet, As now, and with excoriate forks deform,
And always friendly, we were wont to cheat Relics of ages ! Could a mind, imbued
A tedious hour — and now we never meet ! With truth from Heaven, created thing adore,
As some grave gentleman in Terence says, I might with rev’rence kneel, and worship thee.
('T was therefore much the same in ancient days)
Good lack, we know not what to-morrow brings - It seems idolatry with some excuse,
Strange fluctuation of all human things!

When our forefather Druids in their oaks
True. Changes will befall, and friends may part, Imagined sanctity. The conscience, yet
But distance only cannot change the heart : Unpurified by an authentic act
And, were I call’d to prove th' assertion true, Of amnesty, the meed of blood divine,
One proof should serve - a reference to you.

Lov'd not the light, but, gloomy, into gloom
Whence comes it then, that in the wane of life, Of thickest shades, like Adam after taste
Trugh nothing have occurr'd to kindle strife, Of fruit proscrib'd, as to a refuge, fled.
We find the friends we fancied we had won,
Though num'rous once, reduc'd to few or none ? Thou wast a bauble once; a cup and ball,
Can gold grow worthless, that has stood the touch? Which babes might play with ; and the thievish jay,
No; gold they seem'd, but they were never such. Seeking her food, with ease might have purloin'd
Horatio's servant once, with bow and cringe,

The auburn nut that held thee, swallowing lowo Swinging the parlour door upon it's hinge, Thy yet close-folded latitude of boughs

And all thine einbryo vastness at a gulp.

Delight in agitation, yet sustain
But Fate thy growth decreed; autumral rains The force that agitates, not unimpair'd;
Beneath thy parent tree mellow'd the soil

But, worn by frequent impulse, to the cause
Design'd thy cradle ; and a skipping deer,

Of their best tone their dissolution owe.
With pointed hoof dibbling the glebe prepar'd
The soft receptacle, in which, secure,

Thought cannot spend itself, comparing still Thy rudiments should sleep the winter through The great and little of thy lot, thy growth

From almost nullity into a state So Fancy dreams. Disprove it, if ye can, Of matchless grandeur, and declension thence, Ye reas'ners broad awake, whose busy search Slow, into such magnificent decay. Of argument, employ'd too oft amiss,

Time was, when, settling on thy leaf, a fly Sists half the pleasures of short life away!

Could shake thee to the root and time has been

When tempests could not. At thy firmest age Thou fell'st mature; and in the loamy clod Thou hadst within thy bole solid contents, (deck Swelling with vegetative force instinct

That might have ribb'd the sides and plank'd the Didst burst thine egg, as theirs the fabled Twins, Of some flagg'd admiral; and tortuous arms, Now stars ; two lobes, protruding, pair'd exact ; The shipwright's darling treasure, didst present A leaf succeeded, and another leaf,

To the four-quarter'd winds, robust and bold, And, all the elements thy puny growth

Warp'd into tough knee-timber *, many a load! Fost'ring propitious, thou becam'st a twig.

But the axe spar'd thee. In those thriftier days

"Oaks fell not, hewn by thousands, to supply Who liv'd, when thou wast such? Oh, couldst The bottomless demands of contest, wag'd thou speak,

For senatorial honours. Thus to Time As in Dodona once thy kindred trees

The task was left to whittle thee away Oracular, I would not curious ask

With his sly scythe, whose ever-nibbling edge, The future, best unknown, but at thy mouth Noiseless, an atom, and an atom more, Inquisitive, the less ambiguous past.

Disjoining from the rest, has, unobserv'd,

Achiev'd a labour, which had far and wide,
By thee I might correct, erroneous oft,

By man perform’d, made all the forest ring.
The clock of history, facts and events
Timing more punctual, unrecorded facts

Embowell’d now, and of thy ancient self
Recov'ring, and mis-stated setting right-

Possessing nought, but the scoop'd rind, that seems Desp'rate attempt, till trees shall speak again! An huge throat, calling to the clouds for drink,

Which it would give in rivulets to thy root, Time made thee what thou wast, king of the Thou temptest none, but rather much forbidd'st woods;

The feller's toil, which thou couldst ill requite. And Time hath made thee what thou art — a cave Yet is thy root sincere, sound as the rock, For owls to roost in. Once thy spreading boughs A quarry of stout spurs, and knotted fangs, O'erhung the champaign; and the num'rous flocks, which, crook'd into a thousand whimsics, clasp That graz'd it, stood beneath that ample cope The stubborn soil, and hold thee still erect. Uncrowded, yet safe-shelter'd from the storm. No flock frequents thee now. Thou hast outliv'd So stands a kingdom, whose foundation yct Thy popularity, and art become

Fails not, in virtue and in wisdom laid, (Unless verse rescue thee awhile) a thing

Though all the superstructure, by the tooth Forgotten, as the foliage of thy youth.

Pulveriz'd of venality, a shell

Stands now, and semblance only of itself!
While thus through all the stages thou hast push'd
Of treeship first a seedling, hid in grass ;

Thine arms have left thee. Winds have rent Tlien twig ; then sapling; and, as cent'ry roll'd

them off Slow after century, a giant-bulk

Long since, and rovers of the forest wild [left Of girth enormous, with moss-cushion'd root With bow and shaft, have burnt them. Some have Upheav'd above the soil, and sides emboss'd

A splinter'd stump, bleach'd to a snowy white; With prominent wens globose - till at the last And some, memorial 'none, where once they grew. The rottenness, which time is charged to inflict Yet life still lingers in thee, and puts forth On other mighty ones, found also thee.

Proof not contemptible of what she can,

Even where death predominates. The spring What exhibitions various hath the world

Finds thee not less alive to her sweet force, Witness'd of mutability in all,

Than yonder upstarts of the neighb'ring wood, That we account most durable below!

So much thy juniors, who their birth receiv'd
Change is the diet on which all subsist,

Half a millennium since the date of thine.
Created changeable, and change at last
Destroys them. Skies uncertain now the heat But since, although well qualified by age
Transmitting cloudless, and the solar beam To teach, no spirit dwells in thee, nor voice
Now quenching in a boundless sea of clouds May be expected from thee, seated here
Calm and alternate storm, moisture and drought,
Invigorate by turns the springs of life

* Knee-timber is found in the crooked arms of In all that live, plant, animal, and man,

oak, which, by reason of their distortion, are easily And in conclusion mar them. Nature's threads, adjusted to the angle formed where the deck and Fine passing thought, e'en in her coarsest works, the ship's sides meet.

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