Page images
PDF
EPUB

Those who maintain themselves by still maintaining it,
And those who live by scourging and restraining it ?

Again, if we should never die, nor dress,
But walk immortally in nakedness,
'Twould be a very losing game for those
Who furnish us with funerals and clothes.

2. MODEST MEN.
On their own merits modest men are dumb.

CCLXIII. SAMUEL ROGERS, 1762—1856.

1. THE BOY OF EGREMOND.*
Say, what remains when hope is fled ?”
She answer’d, “ Endless weeping !”
For in the herdsman's eye she read
Who in his shroud lay sleeping.

At Embsay rung the matin-bell,
The stag was roused on Barden-fell ;
The mingled sounds were swelling, dying,
And down the Wharfe a hern was flying ;
When near the cabin in the wood,
In tartan clad and forest green,
With hound in leash, and hawk in hood,
The Boy of Egremond was seen.
Blithe was his song, a song of yore;
But where the rock is rent in two,
And the river rushes through,
His voice was heard no more!
'Twas but a step ! the gulf he pass'd;
But that step-it was his last !
As through the mist he winged his way,
(A cloud that hovers night and day)
The hound hung back, and back he drew
The master and his merlin too.
That narrow place of noise and strife

Received their little all of life! * In the twelfth century William Fitz-Duncan laid waste the valleys of Craveu with fire and sword; and was afterwards established there by his uncle, David, king of Scotland. He was the last of his race, his son commonly called the Boy of Egremond, dying before him in the manner here related; when a priory was removed from Embsay to Bolton, that it might be as near as possible to the place where the accident happened. That place is still known by the name of the Strid; and the mother's answer, as given in the last stanza, is to this day often repeated in Wharfedale. -See Whitaker's Hist. of Craven.

AIX

There now the matin-bell is rung;
The “ Miserere !” duly sung;
And holy men in cowl and hood
Are wandering up and down the wood.
But what avail they ? Kutless lord,
Thou didst not shudder when the sword
Here on the young its fury spent,
The helpless and the innocent.
Sit now and answer groan

for

groan,
The child before thee is thy own.
And she who wildly wanders there,
The mother in her long despair,
Shall oft remind thee, waking, sleeping,
Of those who by the Wharfe were weeping ;
Of those who would not be consoled,
When red with blood the river rolled.

a

2. CHILDHOOD. The hour arrives, the moment wish'd and fear'd; The child is born, by many a pang endear'd. And now the mother's ear has caught his cry; Oh, grant the cherub to her asking eye! He comes—she clasps him. To her bosom pressid, He drinks the balm of life, and drops to rest.

Her by her smile how soon the stranger knows; How soon by his the glad discovery shows ! As to her lips she lifts the lovely boy, What answering looks of sympathy and joy! He walks, he speaks. In many a broken word His wants, his wishes, and his griefs are heard. And ever, ever to her lap he flies, When rosy sleep comes on with sweet surprise. Lock'd in her arms, his arms across her flung, (That name most dear for ever on his tongue) Às with soft accents round her neck he clings, A.nd cheek to cheek, her lulling song she sings, How blest to feel the beatings of his heart, Breathe his sweet breath, and kiss for kiss impart; Watch o'er his slumbers like the brooding dove, And, if she can, exhaust a mother's love!

[ocr errors]

But soon a nobler task demands her care. Apart she joins his little hands in prayer, Telling of Him who sees in secret there!-And now the volume on her knee has caught His wandering eye—now many a written thought Never to die, with many a lisping sweet His moving, murmuring lips endeavour to repeat.

Released, he chases the bright butterfly; Oh, he would follow-follow through the sky ! Climbs the gaunt mastiff, slumbering in his chain, And chides and buffets, clinging by the mane ; Then runs, and, kneeling by the fountain-side, Sends his brave ship in triumph down the tide, A dangerous voyage; or, if now he can, If now he wears the habit of a man, Flings off his coat, so long his pride and pleasure, And, like a miser digging for his treasure, His tiny spade in his own garden plies, And in green letters sees his name arise ! Where'er he goes, for ever in her sight, She looks, and looks, and still with new delight !

Ah who, when fading of itself away, Would cloud the sunshine of his little day! Now is the May of life. Careering round, Joy wings his feet, joy lifts him from the ground Pointing to such, well might Cornelia say, When the rich casket shone in bright array, “ These are my jewels!” Well, of such as he, When JESUS spake, well might his language be, “ Suffer these little ones to come to me !"

3. TO THE BUITERFLY. Child of the sun! pursue thy rapturous flight, Mingling with her thou lov'st in fields of light; And, where the flowers of Paradise unfold, Quaff fragrant nectar from their cups of gold. There shall thy wings, rich as an evening sky, Expand and shut with silent ecstacy ! -Ỳet wert thou once a worm, a thing that crept, On the bare earth, then wrought a tomb and slept, And such is man ; soon from his cell of clay To burst a seraph in the blaze of day!

CCLXIV. JOANNA BAILLIE, 1762-1851.

1. THE CAT.

Your witless puss,
While many a stroke of fondness glides
Along her back and tabby sides,
Dilated swells her glossy fur,
And softly sings her busy purr;
As timing well the equal sound,
Her clutching feet bepat the ground,
And all their harmless claws disclose
Like prickles of an early rose,
While softly from her whisker'd cheek
The half-closed eyes peer mild and meek.

2. THE FIELD OF VICTOBY.
So thus ye lie, who with the morning sun
Rose cheerily, and girt your armour on
With all the vigour, and capacity,
And comeliness, of strong and youthful men :
Ye also, taken in your manhood's wane,
With grizzled pates, from mates whose wither'd hands
For some good thirty years

had smooth'd

your

couch: Alas! and ye whose fair and early growth Did give you the similitude of men Ere your

fond mothers ceased to tend you still, As nurselings of their care, ye lie together.

3.' PRINCE EDWARD AND HIS KEEPER. Ed. What brings thee now ? it surely cannot be The time of food : my prison hours are wont To fly more heavily

Keep. It is not food: I bring wherewith, my lord,
To stop a rent in these old walls, that oft
Hath grieved me, when I've thought of you o' nights ;
Thro' it the cold wind visits you.

Ed. And let it enter! it shall not be stopp'd.
Wbo visits me besides the winds of heaven?
Who mourns with me but the sad-sighing wind ?
Who bringeth to mine ear the mimick’d tones
Of voices once beloved and sounds long past
But the light-wing'd and many-voicèd wind i

Who fans the prisoner's lean and fever'd cheek
As kindly as the monarch’s wreathèd brows,
But the free piteous wind ?
I will not have it stopp'd.

Keep. My lord, the winter now creeps on apace :
Hoar frost this morning on our shelter'd fields
Lay thick, and glanced to the up-risen sun,
Which scarce had pow'r to melt it.

Ed. Glanced to the up-risen sun! Ay, such fair morns,
When ev'ry bush doth put its glory on,
Like a gemm'd bride! your rustics now
And early hinds will set their clouted feet
Thro’ silver webs, so bright and finely wrought
As royal dames ne'er fashion’d, yet plod on
Their careless way, unheeding.
Alas, how many glorious things there be
To look upon!

Wear not the forests, now, Their latest coat of richly varied dyes ?

Keep. Yes, good my lord, the cold chill year advances, Therefore I pray you, let me close that wall.

Ed. I tell thee no, man; if the north air bites, Bring me a cloak. Where is thy dog to-day ?

Keep. Indeed I wonder that he came not with me As he is wont.

Ed. Bring him, I pray thee, when thou comest again, He wags his tail and looks up to my face With the assured kindliness of one Who has not injured me.

4. GOD'S MERCY.

When urged by strong temptation to the brink
Of guilt and ruin, stands the virtuous mind,
With scarce a step between, all-pitying Heav'n,
Severe in mercy, chast'ning in its love,
Oit-times, in dark and awful visitation,
Doth interfere, and leads the wand'rer back
To the straight path, to be for ever after
A firm, undaunted, onward-bearing traveller
Strong in humility, who swerves no more.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »