Page images
PDF
EPUB

With wandering eye on all the watery waste,
Now striving to believe the albatross

A sail appearing on the horizon's verge;
Now vowing ne'er to cherish other hope
Than hope of death. Thus pass his weary hours,
Till welcome evening warns him that 'tis time
Upon the shell-notched calendar to mark
Another day, another weary day.

CCLXVIII. ROBERT BLOOMFIELD, 1766—-1823.

THE FAKENHAM GHOST.

The lawns were dry in Euston Park,
(Here truth inspires my tale);
The lonely footpath, still and dark,
Led over hill and dale.

Benighted was an ancient dame,

And fearful haste she made
To gain the vale of Fakenham,
And hail its willow shade.
Her footsteps knew no idle stops,
But follow'd faster still;

And echoed to the darksome copse

That whisper'd on the hill;

Where clamorous rooks, yet scarcely hushed,

Bespoke a peopled shade;

And many a wing the foliage brushed,

And hovering circuits made.

The dappled herd of grazing deer

That sought the shades by day,

Now started from her path with fear,

And gave the stranger way.

Darker it grew and darker fears

Came o'er her troubled mind;

When now a short quick step she hears
Come patting close behind.

She turned; it stopped;-nought could she see

Upon the gloomy plain!

But as she strove the sprite to flee,

She heard the same again.

Now terror seized her quaking frame ·

For when the path was bare,

The trotting ghost kept on the same!
She mutter'd many a prayer.

Yet once again, amidst her fright,
She tried what sight could do:

When through the cheating glooms of night
A monster stood in view.
Regardless of whate'er she felt,

It follow'd down the plain!

She own'd her sins, and down she knelt,
And said her prayers again.

Then on she sped: and hope grew strong,
The white park gate in view;
Which pushing hard, so long it swung
That ghost and all passed through.
Loud fell the gate against the post!
Her heart-strings like to crack;
For much she feared the grisly ghost
Would leap up on her back.
Still on, pat, pat, the goblin went,
As it had done before :

Her strength and resolution spent,
She fainted at the door.

Out came her husband much surprised,
Out came her daughter dear;
Good-natured souls! all unadvised

Of what they had to fear.

The candle's gleam pierced through the night,

Some short space o'er the

green;

And there the little trotting sprite

Distinctly might be seen.
An ass's foal had lost its dam
Within the spacious park;
And, simple as the playful lamb,
Had followed in the dark.
No goblin he, no imp of sin;

No crimes had ever known;
They took the shaggy stranger in,
And reared him as their own.
His little hoofs would rattle round
Upor the cottage floor;

The matron learnt to love the sound
That frighten'd her before.
A favourite the ghost became ;

And 'twas his fate to thrive :
And long he lived and spread his fame,
And kept the joke alive.

For many a laugh went through the vale,
And some conviction too:
Each thought some other goblin tale
Perhaps was just as true.

CCLXIX. ALEXANDER WILSON, 1766-1819.

THE VILLAGE SCOLD.

I' the thrang o' stories tellin',
Shakin' hands and jokin' queer,
Swith! a chap comes on the hallan,—
"Mungo, is our Watty here ?"
Maggy's weel-kenned tongue and hurry
Darted through him like a knife:
Up the door flew-ike a fury
In came Watty's scoldin' wife.
"Nasty gude-for-naething bein'!
O ye snuffy drucken sow!
Bringin' wife and weans to ruin,
Drinkin' here wi' sick a crew!

Rise, ye

drucken beast o' Bethel!
Drink's your night and day's des re
Rise this precious hour, or 'faith, I'll
Fling your whiskey i' the fire."
Watty heard her tongue unhallow'd,
Paid his groat wi',little din,
Left the house, while Maggy followed,
Flytin' a' the road behin'.

Folk frae every door came lampin',
Maggy curst them ane and a',
Clappéd wi' her hands, and stampin'
Lost her bauchels i' the snaw.

Hame at length she turned the gavel,
Wi' a face as white's a clout,

Ragin' like a very devil,

Kickin' stools and chairs about.

you,

"Ye'll sit wi' your limmers round ye-
Hang you, sir; I'll be your death!
Little hauds my hands, confound
But I cleave you to the teeth!"
Watty, who 'midst this oration
Eyed her whiles, but durst na speak,
Sat, like patient Resignation,
Trembling by the ingle cheek.

Sad his wee drap brose he sippet-
Maggy's tongue gaed like a bell-
Quietly to his bed he slippet,
Sighin' often to himsel',

"Nane are free frae some vexation,
Ilk ane has his ills to dree;
But through a' the hale creation
Is nae mortal vexed like me.

CCLXX. WORDSWORTH, 1770-1804.
1. ODE TO DUTY.

Stern daughter of the voice of God!
O Duty! if that name thou love,
Who art a light to guide, a rod
To check the erring, and reprove ;
Thou who art victory and law
When empty terrors overawe,
From vain temptations dost set free,

And calm'st the weary strife of frail humanity.

There are who ask not if thine

eye

Be on them: who, in love and truth,
Where no misgiving is, rely
Upon the genial sense of youth:
Glad hearts! without reproach or blot!

Who do thy work, and know it not :
May joy be theirs while life shall last;

And thou, if they should totter, teach them to stand fast.

Serene will be our days, and bright,

And happy will our nature be,

When love is an unerring light,

And joy its own security.

And blest are they who in the main
This faith e'en now do entertain:

Live in the spirit of this creed;

Yet find that other strength, according to their need.

I, loving freedom, and untried,
No sport of every random gust,
Yet being to myself a guide,

Too blindly have reposed my trust;
Full oft, when in my heart was heard
Thy timely mandate, I deferred
The task imposed, from day to day;

But thee I now would serve more strictly if I

Though no disturbance of my soul,

Or strong compunction in me wrought,
I supplicate for thy control;

But in the quietness of thought:
Me this unchartered freedom tires;

I feel the weight of chance desires:

My hopes no more must change their name,
I long for a repose which ever is the same.

Stern lawgiver! yet thou dost wear
The godhead's most benignant grace!
Nor know we anything so fair
As is the smile upon thy face:

Flowers laugh before thee on their beds:

And fragrance in thy footing treads;

Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong:

may.

And the most ancient heavens through thee are fresh

and strong.

To humbler functions, awful power,

I call thee: I myself commend

Unto thy guidance from this hour;
Oh! let my weakness have an end!
Give unto me, made lowly wise,
The spirit of self-sacrifice;
The confidence of reason give,

And in the light of truth thy bondman let me live.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »