Page images

and forwards under the directions of a fresh bustling landlady; but still seizing an occasional moment to exchange a flippant word, and have a rallying laugh with the group round the fire.

I had not been long at the inn when a post-chaise drove up to the door. A young gentleman stepped out, and by the light of the lamps I caught a glimpse of a countenance which I thought I knew. I moved forward to get a nearer view, when his eye caught mine. I was not mistaken; it was Frank Bracebridge, a sprightly good-humoured young fellow, with whom I had once travelled on the continent. Our meeting was extremely cordial, for the countenance of an old fellow-traveller always brings up the recollection of a thousand pleasant scenes, odd adventures, and excellent jokes. To discuss all these in a transient interview at an inn was impossible; and finding that I was not pressed for time, and was merely making a tour of observation, he insisted that I should give him a day or two at his father's country seat, to which he was going to pass the holidays, and which lay at a few miles' distance. “ It is better than eating a solitary Christmas dinner at an inn," said he, “and I can assure you of a hearty welcome in something of the old-fashioned style." His reasoning was cogent,* and I must confess the preparation I had seen for universal festivity and social enjoyment had made me feel a little impatient of my loneliness. I closed, therefore, at once, with his invitation; the chaise drove up to the door, and in a few moments I was on my way to the family mansion of the Bracebridges. — Mushington Irving.

* Cogent, forcible or strong to the mind.



THE English powers were in array,*

The borders of the kingdom won,
When settling o'er the conqueror's way

The shadow of dark death came on;
It did not thin his bannered host,
It took the one he loved the most.

A moment's space he turned aside

From his fixed spirit's steady aim;
And slowly followed her who died,

Till to grey Westminster they came;
And whereso'er they set her down
He fondly reared a cross of stone.†

They rested nigh Northampton's bowers,

They rested nigh old Waltham's I shade,
And when they drew to London's towers

One more sad halting-place they made;-
Who knows not where King Charles's horse
Hath looked so long o'er Charing Cross ?

They laid her in the minster shade

Who should attend his march no more;
And when the burial rites were paid,

The hour of saddening honours o'er,
King Edward from the shrine set forth
And joined his army in the north.

Chronicled in a stirring page,

Ruler of spirits stern and rude,-
Blest by

father's shielded age!
Branded by death of Wallace good;
But little time could grief and he

In outward show keep company. * Edward the First was fighting in Scotland. † The carved stone cross which stands in front of the Railway Station at Charing ('ross is said to be an exact copy of the original cross erected by Edward.

# Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire.

Yet went no lone thoughts wandering back

Away from shrine and monument,
To early memory's distant track,

When in that shadowing eastern tent,
The gentle girl of haughty Spain
Could make the Assassin's dagger vain ?
No dream of that Sicilian shore

Crossing the blue sea citron-isled,
Where he had stood with Eleanor

To watch beside their dying child; Or from Caernarvon's towered heights Shown their young lord to Cambria's knights? The peasant passes by the way

And looks up to yon graven crest;
The pedlar-woman worn and grey

Sits down upon its step to rest;
But never thinks 'twas reared up for
The love of good Queen Eleanor.
For earthly loves do all pass by,

And little trace of sorrow leave;
The country lad goes whistling nigh

Where heavy hearts once stopped to grieve. And who, but for the bedesman's* lore, Now knows the name of Eleanor ?

Yet it is written,-sure and deep,

In one Book undiscerned of men;
And guarded well, its leaves shall keep

Their trust, until the hour when
The wakening trumpet's solemn breath
Shall steal upon the ear of death,

Anonymous. THE DYING BOY,

* “ Bedesman” or “beadsman,” a man anciently employed in praying, especially praying for another person.


You know we French stormed Ratisbon ;-*

A mile or so away,
On a little mound Napoleon

Stood, on our storming day;
With neck out-thrust, you fancy how-

Legs wide, arms locked behind,
As if to balance the prone brow

Oppressive with its mind.

Just as perhaps he mused, “My plans,

That soar, to earth may fall,
Let once my army-leader, Lannes,

Waver at yonder wall,”
Out 'twixt the battery-smokes there flew

A rider, bound on bound
Full galloping; nor bridle drew

Until he reached the mound.

Then off there flung in smiling joy,

And held himself erect
By just his horse's mane, a boy:

You hardly could suspect, -
So tight he kept his lips compressed

Scarce any blood came through,-
You looked twice ere you saw his breast

Was all but shot in two.

“Well,” cried he, "Emperor! by God's grace

We've got you Ratisbon !
The marshal's in the market-place,

And you 'll be there anon
To see your flag-bird flap his vanst

Where I, to heart's desire,
Perched him!” The chief's eye flashed; his plans

Soared up again like fire.
* Ratisbon is a city in Bavaria. Napoleon defeated the Austrians there in 1809.

+ Wings with which the air is beaten, The poct Dryden, for example, uses the word of vag" in the sense of a wing,


The chief's eye flashed; but presently

Softened itself as sheathes A film the mother eagle's eye,

When her bruised eaglet breathes. “You're wounded!” “Nav.” his soldier's pride

Touched to the quick, he said, “ I'm killed, Sire!” And his chief beside, Smiling the boy fell dead.

R. Browning.


FAREWELL, a long farewell, to all my greatness!
This is the state of man; to-day he puts forth
The tender leaves of hope, to-morrow blossoms,
And bears his blushing honours thick upon him;
The third day comes a frost, a killing frost;
And,-when he thinks, good easy man, full surely
His greatness is a ripening,-nips his root,
And then he falls, as I do. I have ventured,
Like little wanton boys that swim on bladders,
This many summers in a sea of glory;
But far beyond my depth; my high-blown pride
At length broke under me; and now has left me,
Weary, and old with service, to the mercy
Of a rude stream, that must for ever hide me.
Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye;
I feel my heart new opened: 0, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favours !
There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears, than wars or women have;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again.


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »