Page images
PDF
EPUB

Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover ;
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice ;
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With

eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances ;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Shakespeare.

a

179*

... Whate'er the passion, knowledge, fame, or pelf,
Not one will change his neighbour with himself.
The learn’d is happy nature to explore,
The fool is happy that he knows no more ;
The rich is happy in the plenty given,
The or contents him with the care of Heaven.
See the blind beggar dance, the cripple sing,
The sot a hero, lunatic a king ;

pard] leopard.

his sound]*. sans] without, pronounce as English.

The starving chemist in his golden views
Supremely blest, the poet in his muse.

See some strange comfort every state attend,
And pride bestow'd on all, a common friend :
See some fit passion every age supply,
Hope travels through, nor quits us when we die.

Behold the child, by nature's kindly law, Pleased with a rattle, tickled with a straw : Some livelier plaything gives his youth delight, A little louder, but as empty quite : Scarfs, garters, gold, amuse his riper stage, And beads and prayer-books are the toys of age : Pleased with this bauble still as that before, Till tired he sleeps, and life's poor play is o'er. ...

Pope.

a

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

O WORLD! O life! O time!
On whose last steps I climb,

Trembling at that where I had stood before ;
When will return the glory of your prime ?

No more—Oh, never more !

IL

Out of the day and night
A joy has taken flight;

Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar, Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight No more—Oh, never more !

Shelley,

[blocks in formation]

UNFATHOMABLE Sea! whose waves are years,

Ocean of Time, whose waters of deep woe Are brackish with the salt of human tears !

Thou shoreless flood, which in thy ebb and flow Claspest the limits of mortality,

And sick of prey, yet howling on for more,
Vomitest thy wrecks on its inhospitable shore ;
Treacherous in calm, and terrible in storm,

Who shall put forth on thee,
Unfathomable Sea ?

Shelley.

182

I have learn'd To look on Nature, not as in the hour Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes The still, sad music of humanity, Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power To chasten and subdue. And I have felt A presence that disturbs me with the joy Of elevated thoughts ; a sense sublime Of something far more deeply interfused, Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns, And the round ocean and the living air, And the blue sky, and in the mind of man : A motion and a spirit, that impels All thinking things, all objects of all thought, And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still A lover of the meadows and the woods And mountains, and of all that we behold From this green earth ; of all the mighty world Of eye and ear,—both what they half create, And what perceive; well pleased to recognize

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

*

In Nature and the language of the sense
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.

Wordsworth. * 183

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan,
The proper study of mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A being darkly wise, and rudely great ;
With too much knowledge for the sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or beast;
In doubt his mind or body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reasoning but to err ;
Alike in ignorance, his reason such,
Whether he thinks too little, or too much :
Chaos of thought and passion, all confused;
Still by himself abused, or disabused ;
Created half to rise, and half to fall;
Great lord of all things, yet a prey to all ;
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd ;
The glory, jest, and riddle of the world !...

Pope.* 184

Nature
BECAUSE out of corruption burns the rose,
And to corruption lovely cheeks descend;
Because with her right hand she heals the woes
Her left hand wrought, loth nor to wound nor mend ;
I praise indifferent Nature, affable
To all philosophies, of each unknown;
Though in my listening ear she leans to tell
Some private word, as if for me alone.

Still, like an artist, she her meaning hides,
Silent, while thousand tongues proclaim it clear ;
Ungrudging, her large feast for all provides ;
Tender, exultant, savage, blithe, austere,
In each man's hand she sets the proper tool,
For the wise Wisdom, Folly for the fool.

Laurence Binyon.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]

ONE lesson, Nature, let me learn of thee,

One lesson, which in every wind is blown,
One lesson of two duties kept at one,

Tho' the loud world proclaim their enmity-
Of toil unsever'd from tranquillity !

Of labour, that in lasting fruit outgrows
Far noisier schemes, accomplish'd in repose-

Too great for haste, too high for rivalry !
Yes, while on earth a thousand discords ring,

Man's fitful uproar mingling with his toil,

Still do thy sleepless ministers move on, Their glorious tasks in silence perfecting !

Still working, blaming still our vain turmoil, Labourers that shall not fail, when man is gone.

Arnold.

186

The House Beautiful

A naked house, a naked moor,
A shivering pool before the door,
A garden bare of flowers and fruit
And poplars at the garden foot :
Such is the place that I live in,
Bleak without and bare within.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »