صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني
[blocks in formation]

So, “Fair and softly,” John he cried,

But John he cried in vain; That trot became a gallop soon,

In spite of curb and rein.

So stooping down, as needs he must

Who cannot sit upright, He grasp'd the mane with both his hands,

And eke with all his might.

His horse, who never in that sort

Had handled been before, What thing upon his back had got

Did wonder more and more.

John Gilpin kiss'd his loving wife;

O'erjoy'd was he to find,
That, though on pleasure she was bent,

She had a frugal mind.
The morning came, the chaise was brought,

But yet was not allow'd
To drive up to the door, lest all

Should say that she was proud.
So three doors off the chaise was stay'd,

Where they did all get in;
Six precious souls, and all agog

To dash through thick and thin.
Smack went the whip, round went the wheels,

Were never folk so glad,
The stones did rattle underneath,

As if Cheapside were mad.
John Gilpin at his horse's side

Seiz'd fast the flowing mane,
And up he got, in haste to ride,

But soon came down again;
For saddle-tree scarce reach'd had he,

His journey to begin,
When, turning round his head, he saw

Three customers come in.

Away went Gilpin, neck or nought;

Away went hat and wig ;
He little dreamt, when he set out,

Of running such a rig.

The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,

Like streamer long and gay, Till, loop and button failing both,

At last it flew away.

Then might all people well discem

The bottles he had slung;
A bottle swinging at each side,

As hath been said or sung.

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

And thus unto the youth she said,

That drove them to the Bell, “This shall be yours, when you bring back

My husband safe and well."

The youth did ride, and soon did meet

John coming back amain; Whom in a trice he tried to stop,

By catching at his rein;

66

66

[ocr errors]

But not performing what he meant,

And gladly would have done,
The frighted steed he frighted more,

And made him faster run.

Away went Gilpin, and away

Went postboy at his heels,
The postboy's horse right glad to miss

The lumb'ring of the wheels.

Six gentlemen upon the road,

Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
With postboy scamp'ring in the rear,

They rais'u the hue and cry

“Stop thief! stop thief!-a highwayman!"

Not one of them was mute;
And all and each that pass'd that way

Did join in the pursuit.

Dreading a negative, and overawid

Lest he should trespass, begg'd to go abroad.
“Go, fellow !-whither?"-turning short about

Nay. Stay at home-you ’re always going out."
'Tis but a step, sir, just at the streets end."
For what?"_" An' please you, sir, to see a friend.'

A friend !" Horatio cried, and seem'd to start-
“ Yea marry shalt thou, and with all my heart.-
And fetch my cloak; for, though the night be raw,
I'll see him 100-The first I ever saw."

I knew the man, and knew his nature mild,
And was his plaything often when a child ;
But somewhat at that moment pinch'd him close,

Else he was seldom bitter or morose.
Perhaps his confidence just then betray'd,
His grief might prompt him with the speech he made;
Perhaps 'twas mere good-humor gave it birth,
The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth.
Howe'er it was, his language. in my mind,
Bespoke at least a man that knew mankind.

But not to moralize too much, and strain,
To prove an evil, of which all complain,
(I hate long arguments verbosely spun,)
One story more, dear Hill, and I have done.
Once on a time an emp'ror, a wise man,
No matter where, in China, or Japan,
Decreed, that whosoever should offend
Against the well-known doties of a friend,
Convicted once should ever after wear
But half a coat, and show his bosom bare.
The punishment importing this, no doubt,
That all was naught within, and all found out.

O happy Britain! we have not to fear
Such hard and arbitrary measure here;
Else, could a law, like that which I relate,
Once have the sanction of our triple state,
Some few, that I have known in days of old,
Would run most dreadful risk of catching cold ;
While you, my friend, whatever wind should blow
Might traverse England safely to and fro,
An honest man, close-button'd to the chin,
Broadcloth without, and a warm heart within

And now the turnpike gates again

Flew open in short space; The toll-men thinking, as before,

That Gilpin rode a race.

And so he did, and won it too,

For he got first to town;
Nor stopp'd till where he had got up

He did again get down.

Now let us sing, Long live the King,

And Gilpin long live he ;
And, when he next doth ride abroad,

May I be there to see!

AN EPISTLE

TO

YARDLEY OAK.

JOSEPH HILL, ESQ.

SURVIVOR sole, and hardly such, of all

That once liv'd here, thy brethren, at my birth, Dear JOSEPH-five-and-twenty years ago (Since which I number threescore winters past, Alas, how time escapes !-'tis even so

A shatter'd vet'ran, hollow-trunk'd perhaps,
With frequent intercourse, and always sweet, As now, and with excoriate forks deform,
And always friendly, we were wont to cheat Relics of ages! Could a mind, imbued
A tedious hour and now we never meet!

With truth from Heaven, created thing adore,
As some grave gentleman in Terence says, I might with rev'rence kneel, and worship thee.
("Twas therefore much the same in ancient days)
Good lack, we know not what to-morrow brings- It seems idolatry with some excuse,
Strange fluctuation of all human things !

When our forefather Druids in their oaks
True. Changes will befall, and friends may part, Imagined sanctity. The conscience, yet
But distance only cannot change the heart: Unpurified by an authentic act
And, were I call'd to prove th' assertion true, Of amnesty, the meed of blood divine,
One proof should serve--a reference to you. Lov'd not the light, but, gloomy, into gloom

Whence comes it then, that in the wane of life, or thickest shades, like Adam after taste
Though nothing have occurr'd to kindle strife, Of fruit proscrib'd, as to a refuge, fled.
We find the friends we fancied we had won,
Though num'rous once, reduc'd to few or none? Thou wast a bauble once; a cup and ball,
Can gold grow worthless, that has stood the touch? Which babes might play with ; and the thievish jay,
No; gold they seem'd, but they were never such. Seeking her food, with ease might have purloin'd

Horatio's servant once, with bow and cringe, The auburn nut that held thee, swallowing down Swinging the parlor-door upon its hinge,

| Thy yet close-folded latitude of boughs

And all thine embryo vastness at a gulp.

Delight in agitation, yet sustain
But Fate thy growth decreed ; autumnal rains The force that agitates, not unimpair'd ;
Beneath thy parent tree mellow'd the soil

But, worn by frequent impulse, to the cause
Design'd thy cradle ; and a skipping deer,

of their best tone their dissolution owe. With pointed hoof dibbling the glebe, prepar'd The soft receptacle, in which, secure,

Thought cannot spend itself, comparing still Thy rudiments should sleep the winter through. The great and little of thy lot, thy growth

From almost nullity into a state So Fancy dreams. Disprove it, if ye can, Of matchless grandeur, and declension thence, Ye reas'ners broad awake, whose busy search Slow, into such magnificent decay. Of argument, employ'd too oft amiss,

Time was, when, setiling on thy leaf, a fly Sifts half the pleasures of short life away!

Could shake thee to the root-and time has been

When tempests could not. At thy firmest age Thou fellist mature; and in the loamy clod Thou hadst within thy bole solid contents, Swelling with vegetative force instinct

That might have ribb’d the sides and plank'd the deck Didst burst thine egg, as theirs the fabled Twins, Of some flagg'd admiral; and tortuous arms, Now stars ; two lobes, protruding, pair'd exact; The shipwright's darling treasure, didst present A leaf succeeded, and another leaf,

To the four-quarter'd winds, robust and bold, And, all the elements thy puny growth

Warp'd into tough knee-timber,* many a load! Fost'ring propitious, thou becam'st a twig.

But the ax spar'd thee. In those thriftier days,

Oaks fell not, hewn by thousands, to supply Who livd, when thou wast such ? O couldst thou The bottomless demands of contest, wag'd speak,

For senatorial honors. Thus to Time As in Dodona once thy kindred trees

The task was left to whittle thee away Oracular, I would not curious ask

With his sly scythe, whose ever-nibbling edge, The future, best unknown, but at thy mouth Noiseless, an atom, and an atom more, Inquisitive, the less ambiguous past.

Disjoining from the rest, has, unobserv'd,

Achiev'd a labor, which had far and wide,
By thee I might correct, erroneous oft,

By man perform d, made all the forest ring.
The clock of history, facts and events
Timing more punctual, unrecorded facts

Embowel'd now, and of thy ancient self
Recov'ring, and misstated setting right-

Possessing nought, but the scoop'd rind, that seems Desp’rate attempt, till trees shall speak again! An huge throat, calling to the clouds for drink,

Which it would give in rivulets to thy root, Time made thee what thou wast, king of the Thou temptest none, but rather much forbidd'st

The feller's toil, which thou couldst ill requite. And Time hath made thee what thou art-a cave Yet is thy root sincere, sound as the rock, For owls to roost in. Once thy spreading boughs A quarry of stout spurs, and knotted fangs, O'erhung the champaign; and the num'rous flocks, Which, crook'd into a thousand whimsies, clasp That graz'd it, stood beneath that ample cope The stubborn soil, and hold thee still erect. Uncrowded, yet safe-shelter'd from the storm. No flock frequents thee now. Thou hast outliy'd So stands a kingdom, whose foundation yet Thy popularity, and art become

Fails not, in virtue and in wisdom laid, (Unless verse rescue thee awhile) a thing Though all the superstructure, by the tooth Forgotten, as the foliage of thy youth.

Pulveriz'd of venality, a shell

Stands now, and semblance only of itself!
While thus through all the stages thou hast push'd
Of treeship—first a seedling, hid in grass ;

Thine arms have left thee. Winds have rent Then twig; then sapling; and, as cent'ry rollid

them off Slow after century, a giant-bulk

Long since, and rovers of the forest wild, Of girth enormous, with moss-cushion'd root With bow and shaft, have burnt them. Some have left Upheav'd above the soil, and sides emboss'd A splinter'd stump, bleach'd to a snowy white; With prominent wens globosetill at the last And some, memorial none, where once they grew. The rottenness, which time is charged to inflict Yet life still lingers in thee, and puts forth On other mighty ones, found also thee.

Proof not contemptible of what she can,

Even where death predominates. The spring What exhibitions various hath the world

Finds thee not less alive to her sweet force, Witness'd of mutability, all

Than yonder upstarts of the neighb'ring wood, That we account most durable below!

So much thy juniors, who their birth receiv'd
Change is the diet on which all subsist,

Half a millennium since the date of thine.
Created changeable, and change at last
Destroys them. Skies uncertain now the heat But since, although well qualified by age
Transmitting cloudless, and the solar beam To teach, no spirit dwells in thee, nor voice
Now quenching in a boundless sea of clouds May be expected from thee, seated here
Calm and alternate storm, moisture and drought,
Invigorate by turns the springs of life

* Knee-timber is found in the crooked arms of oak, In all that live, plant, animal, and man,

which, by reason of their distortion, are easily adjusted And in conclusion mar them. Nature's threads, to the angle formed where the deck and the ship's sides Fine passing thought, e'en in her coarsest works,

wood;

meet.

They left their outcast mate behind, And scudded still before the wind.

Some succor yet they could afford;

And, such as storms allow,
The cask, the coop, the floated cord,

Delay'd not to bestow.
But he, they knew, nor ship nor shore,
Whate'er they gave, should visit more.

On thy distorted root, with hearers none,
Or prompter, save the scene, I will perform,
Myself the oracle, and will discourse
In my own ear such matter as I may.

One man alone, the father of us all,
Drew not his life from woman; never gaz'd,
With mute unconsciousness of what he saw,
On all around him; learn'd not by degrees,
Nor ow'd articulation to his ear;
But, moulded by his Maker into man
At once, upstood intelligent, survey'd
All creatures, with precision understood
Their purport, uses, properties, assign'd
To each his name significant, and, fillid
With love and wisdom, render'd back to Heaven
In praise harmonious the first air he drew.
He was excus'd the penalties of dull
Minority. No tutor charg'd his hand
With the thought-tracing quill, or task'd his mind
With problems. History, noc wanted yet,
Leand on her elbow, watching Time, whose course,
Eventful, should supply her with a theme.

Nor, cruel as it seem'd, could he

Their haste himself condemn, Aware that flight, in such a sea,

Alone could rescue them; Yet bitter felt it still to die Deserted, and his friends so nigh.

He long survives, who lives an hour

In ocean, self-upheld : And so long he, with unspent pow'r,

His destiny repell’d: And ever as the minutes flew, Entreated help, or cried—“Adieu!"

At length, his transient respite past,

His comrades, who before
Had heard his voice in ev'ry blast,

Could catch the sound no more. For then, by toil subdued, he drank The stifling wave, and then he sank.

No poet wept him; but the page

of narrative sincere, That tells his name, his worth, his age,

Is wet with Anson's tear.
And tears by bards or heroes shed
Alike immortalize the dead.

THE CAST-AWAY. OBSCUREST night involv'd the sky;

Th' Atlantic billows roar'd,
When such a destin'd wretch as I,

Wash'd headlong from on board,
Of friends, of hope, of all bereft,
His floating home for ever left.
No braver chief could Albion boast,

Than he, with whom he went,
Nor ever ship left Albion's coast,

With warmer wishes sent. He lov'd them both, but both in vain, Nor him beheld, nor her again. Not long beneath the whelming brine,

Expert to swim, he lay: Nor soon he felt his strength decline,

Or courage die away; But wag'd with death a lasting strife, Supported by despair of life. He shouted ; nor his friends had fail'd

To check the vessel's course, But so the furious blast prevail'd,

That, pitiless, perforce,

I therefore purpose not, or dream,

Descanting on his fate,
To give the melancholy theme

A more enduring date.
But misery still delights to trace
Its semblance in another's case.

No voice divine the storm allay'd,

No light propitious shone ; When, snatch'd from all effectual aid,

We perish'd, each alone: But I beneath a rougher sea, And whelm'd in deeper gulfs than he.

« السابقةمتابعة »