« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Oh Love! O Glory! what are ye who fly
Around us ever, rarely to alight? There's not a meteor in the Polar sky
Of such transcendent and more fleeting flight. Chill, and chained to cold earth, we lift on high
Our eyes in search of either lovely light;
A thousand and a thousand colours they
Assume, then leave us on our freezing way.
· And such as they are, such my present tale is,
A non-descript and ever varying rhyme, A versified Aurora Borealis,
Which flashes o'er a waste and icy clime. When we know what all are, we must bewail us,
But, ne'ertheless, I hope it is no crime
To laugh at all things--for I wish to know
What after all, are all things but a Show?
They accuse me-Metbe present writer of
The present poem--of-I know not what,
A tendency to under-rate and scoff
At human power and virtue, and all that;
And this they say in language rather rough.
Good God! I wonder what they would be at!
I say no more than has been said in Dante's
Verse, and by Solomon, and by Cervantes;
By Swift, by Machiavel, by Rochefoucault,
By Fenelon, by Luther, and by Plato;
By Tillotson, and Wesley, and Rousseau,
Who knew this life was not worth a potato.
'Tis not their fault, nor mine, if this be so-
For my part, I pretend not to be Cato,
Nor even Diogenes.--We live and die,
But which is best, you know no more than I.
Ecclesiastes said, that all is vanity-
Most modern preachers say the same, or show it
By their examples of true Christianity;
In short, all know, or very soon may know it;
And in this scene of all-confessed inanity,
By saint, by sage, by preacher, and by poet,
Must I restrain me, through the fear of strife,
From holding up the Nothingness of life?
Dogs, or Men! (for Ifatter you in saying
That ye are dogs-your betters far) ye may
Read, or read not, what I am now essaying
To show ye what ye are in every way.
As little as the Moon stops for the baying
Of wolves, will the bright Muse withdraw one ray
From out her skies- then howl your idle wrath!
While she still silvers o'er your gloomy path.
“Fierce loves and faithless wars"-I am not sure
If this be the right reading_-'tis no matter;
The fact's about the same, I am secure;
I sing them both, and am about to batter
A town wbich did a famous seige endure,
And was beleaguer'd both by land and water
By Suvaroff, or anglicé Suwarrow,
Who loved blood as an alderman loves marrow.
The Fortress is called Ismail, and is placed
Upon the Danube's left branch and left bank,
With buildings in the Oriental taste,
But still a fortress of the foremost rank,
Or was at least, unless 'tis since defaced,
Wbicb with your conquerors is a common prank:
It stands some eighty versts from the high-sea,
And measures round of toises thousands three.
Within the extent of this fortification
A Borough is comprised along tbe height
Upon the left, wbich from its loftier station
Commands the city, and upon its site
A Greek had raised around this elevation
A quantity of palisades upright,
So placed as to impede the fire of those
Who held the place, and to assist the foe's.
This circumstance may serve to give a notion
Of the high talents of this new Vauban:
But the town ditch below was deep as Ocean,
The rampart higher than you'd wish to hang:
But then there was a great want of precaution,
(Prithee, excuse this engineering slang)
Nor work advanced, nor covered way was there,
To hint as least “ Here is no thoroughfare.”
But a stone bastion, with a narrow gorge,
And walls as thick as most sculls born as yet;
Two batteries, cap-a-pee, as our St. George,
Case-mated one, and tother“ a barbette,"
Of Danube's bank took formidable charge;
While two-and-twenty cannon duly set
Rose over the town's right side, in bristling tier,
Forty feet high, upon a cavalier.
But from the river the town's open quite,
Because the Turks could never be persuaded
A Russian vessel e'er would heave in sight;
And such their creed was, till they were invaded,
When it grew rather late to set things right.
But as the Danube could not well be waded,
They looked upon the Muscovite flotilla,
And only shouted, “ Allah!” and “ Bis Milah!"
Still I'll record a few, if but to increase
Our euphony--there was Strongepoff, and Strokonoff,
Meknop, Serge Lwdw, Arseniew of modern Greece,
And Tscbitsshakoff, and Roguenoff, and Chokenoff,
And others of twelve consonants a-piece;
And more might be found out, if I could poke enough
Into gazettes; but Fame (capricious strumpet)
It seems, bas got an ear as well as trumpet,
And cannot tune those discords of narration,
Which may be names at Moscow, into rhyme;
Yet there were several worth commemoration,
As ere was virgin of a nuptial chime;
Soft words too fitted for the peroration
Of Londonderry, drawling against time,
Ending io“ ischskin,” “ousckin,” « iffskopy," "ouski,”
Of whom we can insert but Rousamouski.
Scherematoff and Chrematoff, Koklophti,
Koclobski, Kourain, and Mouskkin Pouskin,
All proper men of weapons, as e'er scoffed high