A Word dropped careless on a Page

A Word dropped careless on a Page
May stimulate an eye
When folded in perpetual seam
The Wrinkled Maker lie

Infection in the sentence breeds
We may inhale Despair
At distances of Centuries
From the Malaria -

by Emily Dickinson.

A Careless Heart

The wind has blown my heart away
All on a summer holiday.
If you can find it, pray you tell,
For this is how the loss befell
If you will now my tale believe,
I wore my heart upon my sleeve,
So came it that, alack the day!
The wind did blow my heart away.

by Dora Sigerson Shorter.

A Careless Heart

A little breath can make a prayer,
A little wind can take it
And turn it back again to air:
Then say, why should you make it ?

An ardent thought can make a word,
A little ear can hear it,
A careless heart forget it heard :
Then why keep ever near it ?

by Isaac Rosenberg.

There Pass The Careless People

There pass the careless people
That call their souls their own:
Here by the road I loiter,
How idle and alone.

Ah, past the plunge of plummet,
In seas I cannot sound,
My heart and soul and senses,
World without end, are drowned.

His folly has not fellow
Beneath the blue of day
That gives to man or woman
His heart and soul away.

There flowers no balm to sain him
From east of earth to west
That's lost for everlasting
The heart out of his breast.

Here by the labouring highway
With empty hands I stroll:
Sea-deep, till doomsday morning,
Lie lost my heart and soul.

by Alfred Edward Housman.

Careless Philosopher's Soliloquy

I rise when I please, when I please I lie down,
Nor seek, what I care not a rush for, renown;
The rattle called wealth I have learnt to despise,
Nor aim to be either important or wise.

Let women & children & children-like men
Pursue the false trollop the world has called fame.
Who just as enjoyed, is instantly flown
And leaves disappointment, the hag, in her room.

If the world is content not to stand in my way
The world may jog on both by night and by day
Unimpeded by me - not a straw will I put
Where a dear fellow-creature uplifteth its foot.

While my conscience upbraids not, I'll rise and lye down,
Nor envy a monarch His cares and His crown.

by Henry Livingston Jr..

THE SLEEPING WOODMAN.
Written in April, 1790.
YE copses wild, where April bids arise
The vernal grasses, and the early flowers;
My soul depress'd--from human converse flies
To the lone shelter of your pathless bowers.
Lo!--where the Woodman, with his toil oppress'd,
His careless head on bark and moss reclined,
Lull'd by the song of birds, the murmuring wind,
Has sunk to calm though momentary rest.
Ah! would 'twere mine in Spring's green lap to find
Such transient respite from the ills I bear!
Would I could taste, like this unthinking hind,
A sweet forgetfulness of human care,
Till the last sleep these weary eyes shall close,
And Death receive me to his long repose.

by Charlotte Smith.

The Broken Pitcher

Accursed be the hour of that sad day
The careless potter put his hand to thee,
And dared to fashion out of common clay
So pure a shape as thou didst seem to me.

An idle boy, when vintage was begun,
I passed and saw thy beauty for my sin,
And poured unheedingly till it was done
The red wine of my love's first gathering in.

And thou, ah! thou didst look at me and smile
To see me give with such ungrudging hand,
As taking all to thy dear heart, the while
It only fell upon the thirsty sand.

Sad pitcher, thou wast broken at the well,
Ere yet the shepherd's lip had tasted thine.
A god had lost in thee his hydromel,
As I have wasted my poor wealth of wine.

Yet, wherefore wast thou made so fair a thing?
Or why of clay, whose fabric rightly were
Of finest gold, new--fashioned for a king,
And framed by some divine artificer?

I will not curse thee, thou poor shape of clay,
That thou art other than thou seemed to be,
Yet I will break thee, that no passer may
Unthinking break another heart on thee.

by Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.

The Shakespeare Memorial

Lord Lilac thought it rather rotten
That Shakespeare should be quite forgotten,
And therefore got on a Committee
With several chaps out of the City,
And Shorter and Sir Herbert Tree,
Lord Rothschild and Lord Rosebery,
And F.C.G. and Comyn Carr
Two dukes and a dramatic star,
Also a clergy man now dead;
And while the vain world careless sped
Unheeding the heroic name --
The souls most fed with Shakespeare's flame
Still sat unconquered in a ring,
Remembering him like anything.

Lord Lilac did not long remain,
Lord Lilac did not some again.
He softly lit a cigarette
And sought some other social set
Where, in some other knots or rings,
People were doing cultured things.
-- Miss Zwilt's Humane Vivarium
-- The little men that paint on gum
-- The exquisite Gorilla Girl . . .
He sometimes, in this giddy whirl
(Not being really bad at heart),
Remembered Shakespeare with a start --
But not with that grand constancy
Of Clement Shorter, Herbert Tree,
Lord Rosebery and Comyn Carr
And all the other names there are;
Who stuck like limpets to the spot,
Lest they forgot, lest they forgot.

Lord Lilac was of slighter stuff;
Lord Lilac had had quite enough.

by Gilbert Keith Chesterton.

A giddy young maiden with nimble feet,
Heigh-ho! alack and alas!
Declared she would far rather dance than eat,
And the truth of it came to pass.
For she danced all day and she danced all night;
She danced till the green earth faded white;
She danced ten partners out of breath;
She danced the eleventh one quite to death;
And still she redowaed up and down-
The giddiest girl in town.
With one, two, three; one, two, three; one, two, three-kick;
Chassée back, chassée back, whirl around quick.


The name of this damsel ended with E-
Heigh-ho! alack and a-day!
And she was as fair as a maiden need be,
Till she danced her beauty away.
She danced her big toes out of joint;
She danced her other toes all to a point;
She danced out slipper and boot and shoe;
She danced till the bones of her feet came through.
And still she redowaed, waltzed and whirled-
The giddiest girl in the world.
With one, two, three; one, two, three; one, two, three-kick;
Chassée back, chassée back, whirl around quick.


Now the end of my story is sad to relate-
Heigh-ho! and away we go!
For this beautiful maiden's final fate
Is shrouded in gloom and woe.
She danced herself into a patent top;
She whirled and whirled till she could not stop;
She danced and bounded and sprang so far,
That she stuck at last on a pointed star;
And there she must dance till the Judgment Day,
And after it, too, for she danced away
Her soul, you see, so she has no place anywhere out of space,
With her one, two, three; one, two, three; one, two, three-kick;
Chassée back, chassée back, whirl about quick.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

The lovely young Lavinia once had friends;
And fortune smiled deceitful on her birth:
For, in her helpless years deprived of all,
Of every stay, save innocence and Heaven,
She, with her widow'd mother, feeble, old,
And poor, lived in a cottage, far retired
Among the windings of a woody vale;
By solitude and deep-surrounding shades,
But more by bashful modesty, conceal'd.
Together thus they shunn'd the cruel scorn
Which virtue, sunk to poverty, would meet
From giddy passion and low-minded pride;
Almost on Nature's common bounty fed,
Like the gay birds that sung them to repose,
Content, and careless of to-morrow's fare.
Her form was fresher than the morning rose,
When the dew wets its leaves; unstain'd and pure,
As is the lily or the mountain snow.
The modest virtues mingled in her eyes,
Still on the ground dejected, darting all
Their humid means into the blooming flowers;
Or when the mournful tale her mother told
Of what her faithless fortune promised once,
Thrill'd in her thought, they like the dewy star
Of evening, shone in tears. A native grace
Sat fair-proportion'd on her polish'd limbs,
Veil'd in a simple robe, their best attire,
Beyond the pomp of dress; for loveliness
Needs not the foreign aid of ornament,
But is, when unadorn'd, adorn'd the most.
Thoughtless of beauty, she was beauty's self,
Recluse amid the close-embowering woods:
As in the hollow breast of Apennine,
Beneath the shelter of encircling hills,
A myrtle rises, far from human eye,
And breathes its balmy fragrance o'er the wild;
So flourish'd, blooming, and unseen by all,
The sweet Lavinia.

by James Thomson.

A Careless Man Scorning And Describing The Subtle Usage Of Women Toward Their Lovers

WRAPT in my careless cloak, as I walk to and fro,
I see how love can shew what force there reigneth in his bow :
And how he shooteth eke a hardy heart to wound ;
And where he glanceth by again, that little hurt is found.
For seldom is it seen he woundeth hearts alike ;
The one may rage, when t' other's love is often far to seek.
All this I see, with more ; and wonder thinketh me
How he can strike the one so sore, and leave the other free.
I see that wounded wight that suff'reth all this wrong,
How he is fed with yeas and nays, and liveth all too long.
In silence though I keep such secrets to myself,
Yet do I see how she sometime doth yield a look by stealth,
As though it seem'd ; ' I wis, I will not lose thee so: '
When in her heart so sweet a thought did never truly grow.
Then say I thus : ' Alas ! that man is far from bliss,
That doth receive for his relief none other gain but this.'
And she that feeds him so, I feel and find it plain,
Is but to glory in her power, that over such can reign.
Nor are such graces spent, but when she thinks that he,
A wearied man, is fully bent such fancies to let flee.
Then to retain him still, she wrasteth new her grace,
And smileth, lo ! as though she would forthwith the
man embrace.
But when the proof is made, to try such looks withal,
He findeth then the place all void, and freighted full of gall.
Lord ! what abuse is this ; who can such women praise ?
That for their glory do devise to use such crafty ways.
I that among the rest do sit and mark the row,
Find that in her is greater craft, than is in twenty mo' :
Whose tender years, alas ! with wiles so well are sped,
What will she do when hoary hairs are powder'd in her head ?

by Henry Howard.

Woman! When I Behold Thee Flippant, Vain

Woman! when I behold thee flippant, vain,
Inconstant, childish, proud, and full of fancies;
Without that modest softening that enhances
The downcast eye, repentant of the pain
That its mild light creates to heal again:
E'en then, elate, my spirit leaps, and prances,
E'en then my soul with exultation dances
For that to love, so long, I've dormant lain:
But when I see thee meek, and kind, and tender,
Heavens! how desperately do I adore
Thy winning graces;--to be thy defender
I hotly burn--to be a Calidore--
A very Red Cross Knight--a stout Leander--
Might I be loved by thee like these of yore.

Light feet, dark violet eyes, and parted hair;
Soft dimpled hands, white neck, and creamy breast,
Are things on which the dazzled senses rest
Till the fond, fixed eyes, forget they stare.
From such fine pictures, heavens! I cannot dare
To turn my admiration, though unpossess'd
They be of what is worthy,--though not drest
In lovely modesty, and virtues rare.
Yet these I leave as thoughtless as a lark;
These lures I straight forget--e'en ere I dine,
Or thrice my palate moisten: but when I mark
Such charms with mild intelligences shine,
My ear is open like a greedy shark,
To catch the tunings of a voice divine.

Ah! who can e'er forget so fair a being?
Who can forget her half retiring sweets?
God! she is like a milk-white lamb that bleats
For man's protection. Surely the All-seeing,
Who joys to see us with his gifts agreeing,
Will never give him pinions, who intreats
Such innocence to ruin,--who vilely cheats
A dove-like bosom. In truth there is no freeing
One's thoughts from such a beauty; when I hear
A lay that once I saw her hand awake,
Her form seems floating palpable, and near;
Had I e'er seen her from an arbour take
A dewy flower, oft would that hand appear,
And o'er my eyes the trembling moisture shake.

by John Keats.

De mortuis nil ni-
Si bonum: R.I.P.:—
No more upbraid him:—
Nay, rather plead his cause,
For Ben exactly was
What Nature made him.

Not radically bad,
He naturally had
No leaning sinwards;
But Nature saw it good
One life-long crave for food
Should rack his inwards.

According to his lights,
And to the appetites
In him implanted,
He did his level best
To feed—and all the rest
He took for granted.

Ere birth he was laid low,
And yet no man I know
For high birth matched him:
Apollo was his sire,
Who with life-giving fire
Ab ovo hatched him.

Just over Capricorn
This same Big Ben was born,
A feeble lizard;
But with the years came strength,
And twenty feet of length—
The most part gizzard.

By Fitzroy's rugged crags,
Its “sawyers” and its snags,
He roamed piscivorous;
Or watching for his prey,
By Yaamba creek he lay,
In mood carnivorous.

Unthinking little hogs,
And careless puppy-dogs
Fitzroy-ward straying,
Were grist unto his mill. . . .
His grinders now are still,
Himself past preying.

Whether in self-defence,
Or out of hate prepense,
Or just for fun shot,
Are things beyond my ken—
I only know Big Ben
Died of a gunshot.

It was a sorry case;
For Ben loved all our race,
Both saint and sinner;
If he had had his way,
He would have brought each day
One home to dinner:—

Loved with that longing love,
Such as is felt above
The Southern Tropic:—
Small chance was ever his,
But his proclivities
Were philanthropic.

There are who would insist
He was misogynist—
'Tis slander horrid;
For every nymph he saw,
He would have liked her— raw,
From toe to forehead.

Then let his memory be;
No misanthrope was he;
No woman-hater;
But just what you may call,
Take him for all in all,
An alligator.

by James Brunton Stephens.

Oh, let me not serve so, as those men serve
Whom honour's smokes at once fatten and starve;
Poorly enrich't with great men's words or looks;
Nor so write my name in thy loving books
As those idolatrous flatterers, which still
Their Prince's styles, with many realms fulfil
Whence they no tribute have, and where no sway.
Such services I offer as shall pay
Themselves, I hate dead names: Oh then let me
Favourite in Ordinary, or no favourite be.
When my soul was in her own body sheathed,
Nor yet by oaths betrothed, nor kisses breathed
Into my Purgatory, faithless thee,
Thy heart seemed wax, and steel thy constancy:
So, careless flowers strowed on the waters face
The curled whirlpools suck, smack, and embrace,
Yet drown them; so, the taper's beamy eye
Amorously twinkling beckons the giddy fly,
Yet burns his wings; and such the devil is,
Scarce visiting them who are entirely his.
When I behold a stream which, from the spring,
Doth with doubtful melodious murmuring,
Or in a speechless slumber, calmly ride
Her wedded channels' bosom, and then chide
And bend her brows, and swell if any bough
Do but stoop down, or kiss her upmost brow:
Yet, if her often gnawing kisses win
The traiterous bank to gape, and let her in,
She rusheth violently, and doth divorce
Her from her native, and her long-kept course,
And roars, and braves it, and in gallant scorn,
In flattering eddies promising retorn,
She flouts the channel, who thenceforth is dry;
Then say I, That is she, and this am I.
Yet let not thy deep bitterness beget
Careless despair in me, for that will whet
My mind to scorn; and Oh, love dulled with pain
Was ne'er so wise, nor well armed as disdain.
Then with new eyes I shall survey thee, and spy
Death in thy cheeks, and darkness in thine eye.
Though hope bred faith and love: thus taught, I shall,
As nations do from Rome, from thy love fall.
My hate shall outgrow thine, and utterly
I will renounce thy dalliance: and when I
Am the recusant, in that resolute state,
What hurts it me to be excommunicate?

by John Donne.

The Careless Word

A WORD is ringing thro' my brain,
It was not meant to give me pain;
It had no tone to bid it stay,
When other things had past away;
It had no meaning more than all
Which in an idle hour fall:
It was when first the sound I heard
A lightly uttered, careless word.

That word--oh! it doth haunt me now,
In scenes of joy, in scenes of woe;
By night, by day, in sun or shade,
With the half smile that gently played
Reproachfully, and gave the sound
Eternal power thro' life to wound.
There is no voice I ever heard,
So deeply fix'd as that one word.

When in the laughing crowd some tone,
Like those whose joyous sound is gone,
Strikes on my ear, I shrink--for then
The careless word comes back again.
When all alone I sit and gaze
Upon the cheerful home-fire blaze,
Lo! freshly as when first 'twas heard,
Returns that lightly uttered word.

When dreams bring back the days of old;
With all that wishes could not hold;
And from my feverish couch I start
To press a shadow to my heart--
Amid its beating echoes, clear
That little word I seem to hear:
In vain I say, while it is heard,
Why weep?--'twas but a foolish word.

It comes--and with it come the tears,
The hopes, the joys of former years;
Forgotten smiles, forgotten looks,
Thick as dead leaves on autumn brooks,
And all as joyless, though they were
The brightest things life's spring could share.
Oh! would to God I ne'er had heard
That lightly uttered, careless word!

It was the first, the only one
Of those which lips for ever gone
Breathed in their love--which had for me
Rebuke of harshness at my glee:
And if those lips were here to say,
'Beloved, let it pass away,'
Ah! then, perchance--but I have heard
The last dear tone--the careless word!

Oh! ye who, meeting, sigh to part,
Whose words are treasures to some heart,
Deal gently, ere the dark days come,
When earth hath but for one a home;
Lest, musing o'er the past, like me,
They feel their hearts wrung bitterly,
And, heeding not what else they heard,
Dwell weeping on a careless word.

by Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton.

I Would I Were A Careless Child

I would I were a careless child,
Still dwelling in my highland cave,
Or roaming through the dusky wild,
Or bounding o'er the dark blue wave;
The cumbrous pomp of Saxon pride
Accords not with the freeborn soul,
Which loves the mountain's craggy side,
And seeks the rocks where billows roll.

Fortune! take back these cultured lands,
Take back this name of splendid sound!
I hate the touch of servile hands,
I hate the slaves that cringe around.
Place me among the rocks I love,
Which sound to Ocean's wildest roar;
I ask but this -- again to rove
Through scenes my youth hath known before.

Few are my years, and yet I feel
The world was ne'er designed for me:
Ah! why do dark'ning shades conceal
The hour when man must cease to be?
Once I beheld a splendid dream,
A visionary scene of bliss:
Truth! -- wherefore did thy hated beam
Awake me to a world like this?

I loved -- but those I loved are gone;
Had friends -- my early friends are fled:
How cheerless feels the heart alone
When all its former hopes are dead!
Though gay companions o'er the bowl
Dispel awhile the sense of ill;
Though pleasure stirs the maddening soul,
The heart -- the heart -- is lonely still.

How dull! to hear the voice of those
Whom rank or chance, whom wealth or power,
Have made, though neither friends nor foes,
Associates of the festive hour.
Give me again a faithful few,
In years and feelings still the same,
And I will fly the midnight crew,
Where boist'rous joy is but a name.

And woman, lovely woman! thou,
My hope, my comforter, my all!
How cold must be my bosom now,
When e'en thy smiles begin to pall!
Without a sigh I would resign
This busy scene of splendid woe,
To make that calm contentment mine,
Which virtue knows, or seems to know.

Fain would I fly the haunts of men--
I seek to shun, not hate mankind;
My breast requires the sullen glen,
Whose gloom may suit a darken'd mind.
Oh! that to me the wings were given
Which bear the turtle to her nest!
Then would I cleave the vault of heaven,
To flee away and be at rest.

by George Gordon Byron.

Address To The Unco Guid

O YE wha are sae guid yoursel',
Sae pious and sae holy,
Ye've nought to do but mark and tell
Your neibours' fauts and folly!
Whase life is like a weel-gaun mill,
Supplied wi' store o' water;
The heaped happer's ebbing still,
An' still the clap plays clatter.


Hear me, ye venerable core,
As counsel for poor mortals
That frequent pass douce Wisdom's door
For glaikit Folly's portals:
I, for their thoughtless, careless sakes,
Would here propone defences—
Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes,
Their failings and mischances.


Ye see your state wi' theirs compared,
And shudder at the niffer;
But cast a moment's fair regard,
What maks the mighty differ;
Discount what scant occasion gave,
That purity ye pride in;
And (what's aft mair than a' the lave),
Your better art o' hidin.


Think, when your castigated pulse
Gies now and then a wallop!
What ragings must his veins convulse,
That still eternal gallop!
Wi' wind and tide fair i' your tail,
Right on ye scud your sea-way;
But in the teeth o' baith to sail,
It maks a unco lee-way.


See Social Life and Glee sit down,
All joyous and unthinking,
Till, quite transmugrified, they're grown
Debauchery and Drinking:
O would they stay to calculate
Th' eternal consequences;
Or your more dreaded hell to state,
Damnation of expenses!


Ye high, exalted, virtuous dames,
Tied up in godly laces,
Before ye gie poor Frailty names,
Suppose a change o' cases;
A dear-lov'd lad, convenience snug,
A treach'rous inclination—
But let me whisper i' your lug,
Ye're aiblins nae temptation.


Then gently scan your brother man,
Still gentler sister woman;
Tho' they may gang a kennin wrang,
To step aside is human:
One point must still be greatly dark,—
The moving Why they do it;
And just as lamely can ye mark,
How far perhaps they rue it.


Who made the heart, 'tis He alone
Decidedly can try us;
He knows each chord, its various tone,
Each spring, its various bias:
Then at the balance let's be mute,
We never can adjust it;
What's done we partly may compute,
But know not what's resisted.

by Robert Burns.

The Careless Good Fellow

1 A pox of this fooling, and plotting of late,
2 What a pother, and stir has it kept in the state?
3 Let the rabble run mad with suspicions, and fears,
4 Let them scuffle, and jar, till they go by the ears:
5 Their grievances never shall trouble my pate,
6 So I can enjoy my dear bottle at quiet.

7 What coxcombs were those, who would barter their ease
8 And their necks for a toy, a thin wafer and mass?
9 At old Tyburn they never had needed to swing,
10 Had they been but true subjects to drink, and their king;
11 A friend, and a bottle is all my design;
12 He has no room for treason, that's top-full of wine.

13 I mind not the members and makers of laws,
14 Let them sit or prorogue, as his majesty please:
15 Let them damn us to woollen, I'll never repine
16 At my lodging, when dead, so alive I have wine:
17 Yet oft in my drink I can hardly forbear
18 To curse them for making my claret so dear.

19 I mind not grave asses, who idly debate
20 About right and succession, the trifles of state;
21 We've a good king already: and he deserves laughter
22 That will trouble his head with who shall come after:
23 Come, here's to his health, and I wish he may be
24 As free from all care, and all trouble, as we.

25 What care I how leagues with the Hollander go?
26 Or intrigues betwixt Sidney, and Monsieur D'Avaux?
27 What concerns it my drinking, if Cassel be sold,
28 If the conqueror take it by storming, or gold?
29 Good Bordeaux alone is the place that I mind,
30 And when the fleet's coming, I pray for a wind.

31 The bully of France, that aspires to renown
32 By dull cutting of throats, and vent'ring his own;
33 Let him fight and be damn'd, and make matches and treat,
34 To afford the news-mongers, and coffee-house chat:
35 He's but a brave wretch, while I am more free,
36 More safe, and a thousand times happier than he.

37 Come he, or the Pope, or the Devil to boot,
38 Or come faggot, and stake; I care not a groat;
39 Never think that in Smithfield I porters will heat:
40 No, I swear, Mr. Fox, pray excuse me for that.
41 I'll drink in defiance of gibbet, and halter,
42 This is the profession, that never will alter.

by John Oldham.

Address To The Unco Guid

My Son, these maxims make a rule,
An' lump them aye thegither;
The Rigid Righteous is a fool,
The Rigid Wise anither:
The cleanest corn that ere was dight
May hae some pyles o' caff in;
So ne'er a fellow creature slight
For random fits o' daffin.
Solomon.--Eccles. ch. vii. verse 16


O ye wha are sae guid yoursel',
Sae pious and sae holy,
Ye've nought to do but mark and tell
Your neibours' fauts and folly!
Whase life is like a weel-gaun mill,
Supplied wi' store o' water;
The heapèd happer's ebbing still,
An' still the clap plays clatter.

Hear me, ye venerable core,
As counsel for poor mortals
That frequent pass douce Wisdom's door
For glaikit Folly's portals:
I, for their thoughtless, careless sakes,
Would here propone defences--
Their donsie tricks, their black mistakes,
Their failings and mischances.

Ye see your state wi' theirs compared,
And shudder at the niffer;
But cast a moment's fair regard,
What makes the mighty differ?
Discount what scant occassion gave,
That purity ye pride in;
And (what's aft mair than a' the lave)
Your better art o' hidin.

Think, when your castigated pulse
Gies now and then a wallop,
What ragings must his veins convulse,
That still eternal gallop!
Wi' wind and tide fair i' your tail,
Right on ye scud your sea-way;
But in the teeth o' baith to sail,
It maks a unco lee-way.

See Social Life and Glee sit down,
All joyous and unthinking,
Till, quite transmugrified, they're grown
Debauchery and Drinking:
O would they stay to calculate
Th' external consequences;
Or your more dreaded hell to state
Damnation of expenses!

Ye high, exalted, virtuous dames,
Tied up in godly laces,
Before ye gie poor Frailty names,
Suppose a change o' cases;
A dear-lov'd lad, convenience snug,
A treach'rous inclination--
But let me whisper i' your lug,
Ye're aiblins nae temptation.

Then gently scan your brother man,
Still gentler sister woman;
Tho' they may gang a kennin wrang,
To step aside is human;
One point must still be greatly dark,--
The moving Why they do it;
And just as lamely can ye mark,
How far perhaps they rue it.

Who made the heart, 'tis He alone
Decidedly can try us;
He knows each chord, its various tone,
Each spring, its various bias:
Then at the balance let's be mute,
We never can adjust it;
What's done we partly may compute,
But know not what's resisted.

by Robert Burns.

Oh Litis, little slave, why will you sleep?
These long Egyptian noons bend down your head
Bowed like the yarrow with a yellow bee.
There, lift your eyes no man has ever kindled,
Dark eyes that wait like faggots for the fire.
See how the temple's solid square of shade
Points north to Lesbos, and the splendid sea
That you have never seen, oh evening-eyed.
Yet have you never wondered what the Nile
Is seeking always, restless and wild with spring
And no less in the winter, seeking still?
How shall I tell you? Can you think of fields
Greater than Gods could till, more blue than night
Sown over with the stars; and delicate
With filmy nets of foam that come and go?
It is more cruel and more compassionate
Than harried earth. It takes with unconcern
And quick forgetting, rapture of the rain
And agony of thunder, the moon's white
Soft-garmented virginity, and then
The insatiable ardor of the sun.
And me it took. But there is one more strong,
Love, that came laughing from the eider seas,
The Cyprian, the mother of the world;
She gave me love who only asked for death —
I who had seen much sorrow in men's eyes
And in my own too sorrowful a fire.
I was a sister of the stars, and yet
Shaken with pain; sister of birds and yet
The wings that bore my soul were very tired.
I watched the careless spring too many times
Light her green torches in a hungry wind;
Too many times I watched them flare, and then
Fall to forsaken embers in the autumn.
And I was sick of all things — even song.
In the dull autumn dawn I turned to death,
Buried my living body in the sea,
The strong cold sea that takes and does not give —
But there is one more strong, the Cyprian.
Litis, to wake from sleep and find your eyes
Met in their first fresh upward gaze by love,
Filled with love's happy shame from other eyes,
Dazzled with tenderness and drowned in light
As tho' you looked unthinking at the sun,
Oh Litis, that is joy! But if you came
Not from the sunny shallow pool of sleep,
But from the sea of death, the strangling sea
Of night and nothingness, and waked to find
Love looking down upon you, glad and still,
Strange and yet known forever, that is peace.
So did he lean above me. Not a word
He spoke; I only heard the morning sea
Singing against his happy ship, the keen
And straining joy of wind-awakened sails
And songs of mariners, and in myself
The precious pain of arms that held me fast.
They warmed the cold sea out of all my blood;
I slept, feeling his eyes above my sleep.
There on the ship with wines and olives laden,
Led by the stars to far invisible ports,
Egypt and islands of the inner seas,
Love came to me, and Cercolas was love.

by Sara Teasdale.

The Careless Lad

The careless lad went through the wood,
Leaped the retarding gate,
And whistled thrice unto his dog,
Who strayed behind so late.
And then he turned him to the north,
To find the trodden way,
And there he saw a pretty child
Who on his path did play.
‘Come hither now, my little maid,
Come hither now to me,
And tell me of a fair young girl
Called Mary Margarie.’
‘Oh, would you seek poor Margarie,’
The little maid replied.
She took him by the strong right hand,
And hurried by his side.
The careless lad he turned him east,
And then he turned him west,
Until he passed a withered crone,
Who beat upon her breast.

‘Why do you weep, you ancient one,
Why do you weep and sigh?’
‘'Tis for poor maiden Margarie,
Who now is like to die.’
The careless lad sang up the hill,
And then he whistled down,
And there he passed a laden man
Who hurried from the town.
‘Where do you take so great a load,
That makes you groan in pain?’
‘A gift for poor maid Margarie,
To make her smile again.’
The careless lad went through the mead
With laughter loud and sweet,
And there he saw a shining stream
That trickled by his feet.
‘Now tell to me, my pretty child,
That at my side doth run,
What makes this little stream to go
Where never there was one?’
‘Maid Margarie doth lie all day,
She neither laughs nor cries.
Here flow her mother's tears,’ she said,
‘That fall from her sad eyes.’

The careless lad he leaped the stream,
And danced across the mead,
And lone he left the pretty child,
Who could not dare his speed,
And when he reached the lonely cot,
Where Margarie did dwell,
He boldly pulled upon the latch,
And struck the white lintel.
And thrice his careless shoulder pushed
Upon the oaken door.
‘Now, what is this that holds so strong,
That never held before?’
‘Pale Mary Margarie doth lie
Beneath some fairy charm.
It is her father's heart that holds
To keep her safe from harm.’
The careless lad he laughed full long,
Full loud and long laughed he.
‘What pother is all this,’ he said,
‘Where need no pother be.’
And then he turned him to the south,
And then he turned him east,
And thrice he whistled to his dog,
To chide the lagging beast.

And thrice he whistled to his dog,
And once to Margarie;
Swift rose she from her snow-white bed,
Where all alone lay she.
She sprang from off her narrow couch,
All laughing in her glee,
And pushed upon the oaken door,
That swung to set her free.
The careless lad went through the wood,
And leaped the moss-grown gate,
And thrice he whistled to the thrush
Who sung beside his mate.
And thrice he whistled to his dog,
A laggard beast was he.
And once he whistled low and sweet
To Mary Margarie.
She stepped across the little stream
That through the mead did wind,
And followed close the careless lad,
Who never looked behind.

by Dora Sigerson Shorter.

Careless Mathilda

'AGAIN, Matilda, is your work undone!
Your scissors, where are they? your thimble, gone?
Your needles, pins, and thread and tapes all lost;
Your housewife here, and there your workbag toss'd.

'Fie, fie, my child! indeed this will not do,
Your hair uncomb'd, your frock in tatters, too;
I'm now resolved no more delays to grant,
To learn of her, I'll send you to your aunt. '
In vain Matilda wept, entreated, pray'd,
In vain a promise of amendment made.

Arrived at Austere Hall, Matilda sigh'd,
By Lady Rigid when severely eyed:
'You read and write, and work well, as I'm told,
Are gentle, kind, good-natured, and not bold;
But very careless, negligent, and wild–
You'll leave me, as I hope, a different child. '

The little girl next morn a favour asks;
'I wish to take a walk.'–'Go, learn your tasks,'
Replies her aunt, 'nor fruitlessly repine:
Your room you'll leave not till you're call'd to dine. '
As there Matilda sat, o'erwhelm'd with shame,
A dame appear'd, Disorder was her name:
Her hair and dress neglected–soil'd her face,
Her mien unseemly, and devoid of grace.

'Here, child, ' said she, 'my mistress sends you this,
A bag of silks–a flower, not work'd amiss–
A polyanthus bright, and wondrous gay,
You'll copy it by noon, she bade me say. '
Disorder grinn'd, and shuffling walk'd away.

Entangled were the silks of every hue,
Confused and mix'd were shades of pink, green, blue;
She took a thread, compared it with the flower:
'To finish this is not within my power.
Well-sorted silks had Lady Rigid sent,
I might have work'd, if such was her intent. '
She sigh'd, and melted into sobs and tears:
She hears a step, and at the door appears
A pretty maiden, clean, well-dress'd, and neat,
Her voice was soft, her looks sedate, yet sweet.
'My name is Order: do not cry, my love;
Attend to me, and thus you may improve. '
She took the silks, and drew out shade by shade,
In separate skeins, and each with care she laid;
Then smiling kindly, left the little maid.
Matilda now resumes her sweet employ,
And sees the flower complete–how great her joy!

She leaves the room–'I've done my task,' she cries;
The lady look'd, and scarce believed her eyes;
Yet soon her harshness changed to glad surprise:
'Why, this is well, a very pretty flower,
Work'd so exact, and done within the hour!
And now amuse yourself, and walk, or play.'
Thus pass'd Matilda this much dreaded day.
At all her tasks, Disorder would attend;
At all her tasks, still Order stood her friend.
With tears and sighs her studies oft began,
These into smiles were changed by Order's plan.
No longer Lady Rigid seem'd severe:
The negligent alone her eye need fear.

And now the day, the wish'd-for day, is come,
When young Matilda may revisit home.
'You quit me, child, but oft to mind recall
The time you spent with me at Austere Hall.
And now, my dear, I'll give you one of these
To be your maid–take with you which you please.
What! from Disorder do you frighten'd start? '
Matilda clasp'd sweet Order to her heart,
And said, 'From thee, best friend, I'll never part. '

by Ann Taylor.

When lawless men their neighbours dispossess,
The tenants they extirpate or oppress,
And make rude havoc in the fruitful soil,
Which the right owners ploughed with careful toil.
The same proportion does in kingdoms hold;
A new prince breaks the fences of the old,
And will o'er carcases and deserts reign,
Unless the land its rightful lord regain.
He gripes the faithless owners of the place,
And buys a foreign army to deface
The feared and hated remnant of their race;
He starves their forces, and obstructs their trade;
Vast sums are given, and yet no native paid.
The church itself he labours to assail,
And keeps fit tools to break the sacred pale.
Of those let him the guilty roll commence,
Who has betrayed a master and a prince;
A man, seditious, lewd, and impudent;
An engine always mischievously bent;
One who from all the bans of duty swerves,
No tie can hold but that which he deserves;
An author dwindled to a pamphleteer;
Skilful to forge, and always insincere;
Careless exploded practices to mend;
Bold to attack, yet feeble to defend.
Fate's blindfold reign the atheist loudly owns,
And providence blasphemously dethrones.
In vain the leering actor strains his tongue
To cheat, with tears and empty noise, the throng;
Since all men know, whate'er he says or writes,
Revenge, or stronger interest, indites;
And that the wretch employs his venal wit
How to confute what formerly he writ.
Next him the grave Socinian claims a place,
Endowed with reason, though bereft of grace;
A preaching pagan of surpassing fame,
No register records his borrowed name.
O, had the child more happily been bred,
A radiant mitre would have graced his head:
But now unfit, the most he should expect,
Is to be entered of T&wblank; F&wblank;'s sect.
To him succeeds, with looks demurely sad,
A gloomy soul, with revelation mad;
False to his friend, and careless of his word;
A dreaming prophet, and a gripping lord;
He sells the livings which he can't possess,
And forms that sinecure, his diocese.
Unthinking man! to quit thy barren see
And vain endeavours in chronology,
For the more fruitless care of royal charity.
Thy hoary noddle warns thee to return,
The treason of old age in Wales to mourn;
Nor think the city-poor may less sustain,
Thy place may well be vacant in this reign.
I should admit the booted prelate now,
But he is even for lampoon too low;
The scum and outcast of a royal race,
The nation's grievance, and the gown's disgrace.
None so unlearned did e'er at London sit;
This driveller does the sacred chair besh---t.
I need not brand the spiritual parricide,
Nor draw the weapon dangling by his side;
The astonished world remembers that offence,
And knows he stole the daughter of his prince.
'Tis time enough, in some succeeding age,
To bring this mitred captain on the stage.
These are the leaders in apostasy,
And the blind guides of poor elective majesty;
A thing which commonwealths-men did devise,
Till plots were ripe, to catch the people's eyes.
Their king's a monster, in a quagmire born,
Of all the native brutes the grief and scorn;
With a big snout, cast in a crooked mould,
Which runs with glanders and an inborn cold;
His substance is of clammy snot and phlegm;
Sleep is his essence, and his life a dream.
To Caprea this Tiberius does retire,
To quench with catamite his feeble fire.
Dear catamite! who rules alone the state,
While monarch dozes on his unpropt height,
Silent, yet thoughtless, and secure of fate.
Could you but see the fulsome hero led
By loathing vassals to his noble bed!
In flannel robes the coughing ghost does walk,
And his mouth moats like cleaner breech of hawk;
Corruption, springing from his cankered breast,
Furs up the channel, and disturbs his rest.
With head propt up, the bolstered engine lies;
If pillow slip aside, the monarch dies.

by John Dryden.

The Kitten And Falling Leaves

THAT way look, my Infant, lo!
What a pretty baby-show!
See the kitten on the wall,
Sporting with the leaves that fall,
Withered leaves---one---two---and three---
From the lofty elder-tree!
Through the calm and frosty air
Of this morning bright and fair,
Eddying round and round they sink
Softly, slowly: one might think,
From the motions that are made,
Every little leaf conveyed
Sylph or Faery hither tending,---
To this lower world descending,
Each invisible and mute,
In his wavering parachute.
---But the Kitten, how she starts,
Crouches, stretches, paws, and darts!
First at one, and then its fellow
Just as light and just as yellow;
There are many now---now one---
Now they stop and there are none
What intenseness of desire
In her upward eye of fire!
With a tiger-leap half way
Now she meets the coming prey,
Lets it go as fast, and then
Has it in her power again:
Now she works with three or four,
Like an Indian conjurer;
Quick as he in feats of art,
Far beyond in joy of heart.
Were her antics played in the eye
Of a thousand standers-by,
Clapping hands with shout and stare,
What would little Tabby care
For the plaudits of the crowd?
Over happy to be proud,
Over wealthy in the treasure
Of her own exceeding pleasure!
'Tis a pretty baby-treat;
Nor, I deem, for me unmeet;
Here, for neither Babe nor me,
Other play-mate can I see.
Of the countless living things,
That with stir of feet and wings
(In the sun or under shade,
Upon bough or grassy blade)
And with busy revellings,
Chirp and song, and murmurings,
Made this orchard's narrow space,
And this vale so blithe a place;
Multitudes are swept away
Never more to breathe the day:
Some are sleeping; some in bands
Travelled into distant lands;
Others slunk to moor and wood,
Far from human neighborhood;
And, among the Kinds that keep
With us closer fellowship,
With us openly abide,
All have laid their mirth aside.
Where is he that giddy Sprite,
Blue-cap, with his colors bright,
Who was blest as bird could be,
Feeding in the apple-tree;
Made such wanton spoil and rout,
Turning blossoms inside out;
Hung---head pointing towards the ground---
Fluttered, perched, into a round
Bound himself, and then unbound;
Lithest, gaudiest Harlequin!
Prettiest Tumbler ever seen!
Light of heart and light of limb;
What is now become of Him?
Lambs, that through the mountains went
Frisking, bleating merriment,
When the year was in its prime,
They are sobered by this time.
If you look to vale or hill,
If you listen, all is still,
Save a little neighboring rill,
That from out the rocky ground
Strikes a solitary sound.
Vainly glitter hill and plain,
And the air is calm in vain;
Vainly Morning spreads the lure
Of a sky serene and pure;
Creature none can she decoy
Into open sign of joy:
Is it that they have a fear
Of the dreary season near?
Or that other pleasures be
Sweeter even than gaiety ?
Yet, whate'er enjoyments dwell
In the impenetrable cell
Of the silent heart which Nature
Furnishes to every creature;
Whatsoe'er we feel and know
Too sedate for outward show,
Such a light of gladness breaks,
Pretty Kitten! from thy freaks,---
Spreads with such a living grace
O'er my little Dora's face;
Yes, the sight so stirs and charms
Thee, Baby, laughing in my arms,
That almost I could repine
That your transports are not mine,
That I do not wholly fare
Even as ye do, thoughtless pair!
And I will have my careless season
Spite of melancholy reason,
Will walk through life in such a way
That, when time brings on decay,
Now and then I may possess
Hours of perfect gladsomeness.
---Pleased by any random toy;
By a kitten's busy joy,
Or an infant's laughing eye
Sharing in the ecstasy;
I would fare like that or this,
Find my wisdom in my bliss;
Keep the sprightly soul awake,
And have faculties to take,
Even from things by sorrow wrought,
Matter for a jocund thought,
Spite of care, and spite of grief,
To gambol with Life's falling Leaf.

by William Wordsworth.

THE GLOVED and jewelled bards who sing
Of Pippa, Maud, and Dorothea,
Have hardly done the handsome thing
For you, my inky Cytherea.
Flower of a land whose sunny skies
Are like the dome of Dante’s clime,
They might have praised your lips, your eyes,
And, eke, your ankles in their rhyme!

But let them pass! To right your wrong,
Aspasia of the ardent South,
Your poet means to sing a song
With some prolixity of mouth.

I’ll even sketch you as you are
In Herrick’s style of carelessness,
Not overstocked with things that bar
An ample view—to wit, with dress.

You have your blanket, it is true;
But then, if I am right at all,
What best would suit a dame like you
Was worn by Eve before the Fall.

Indeed, the “fashion” is a thing
That never cramped your cornless toes:
Your single jewel is a ring
Slung in your penetrated nose.

I can’t detect the flowing lines
Of Grecian features in your face,
Nor are there patent any signs
That link you with the Roman race.

In short, I do not think your mould
Resembles, with its knobs of bone,
The fair Hellenic shapes of old
Whose perfect forms survive in stone.

Still, if the charm called Beauty lies
In ampleness of ear and lip,
And nostrils of exceeding size,
You are a gem, my ladyship!

Here, squatting by the doubtful flame
Of three poor sticks, without a roof
Above your head, impassive dame
You live on—somewhat hunger-proof.

The current scandals of the day
Don’t trouble you—you seem to take
Things in the coolest sort of way—
And wisest—for you have no ache.

You smoke a pipe—of course, you do!
About an inch in length or less,
Which, from a sexual point of view,
Mars somehow your attractiveness.

But, rather than resign the weed,
You’d shock us, whites, by chewing it;
For etiquette is not indeed
A thing that bothers you a bit.

Your people—take them as a whole—
Are careless on the score of grace;
And hence you needn’t comb your poll
Or decorate your unctuous face.

Still, seeing that a little soap
Would soften an excess of tint,
You’ll pardon my advance, I hope,
In giving you a gentle hint.

You have your lovers—dusky beaux
Not made of the poetic stuff
That sports an Apollonian nose,
And wears a sleek Byronic cuff.

But rather of a rougher clay
Unmixed with overmuch romance,
Far better at the wildwood fray
Than spinning in a ballroom dance.

These scarcely are the sonneteers
That sing their loves in faultless clothes:
Your friends have more decided ears
And more capaciousness of nose.

No doubt they suit you best—although
They woo you roughly it is said:
Their way of courtship is a blow
Struck with a nullah on the head.

It doesn’t hurt you much—the thing
Is hardly novel to your life;
And, sans the feast and marriage ring,
You make a good impromptu wife.

This hasty sort of wedding might,
In other cases, bring distress;
But then, your draper’s bills are light—
You’re frugal in regard to dress.

You have no passion for the play,
Or park, or other showy scenes;
And, hence, you have no scores to pay,
And live within your husband’s means.

Of course, his income isn’t large,—
And not too certain—still you thrive
By steering well inside the marge,
And keep your little ones alive.

In short, in some respects you set
A fine example; and a few
Of those white matrons I have met
Would show some sense by copying you.

Here let us part! I will not say,
O lady free from scents and starch,
That you are like, in any way,
The authoress of “Middlemarch”.

One cannot match her perfect phrase
With commonplaces from your lip;
And yet there are some sexual traits
That show your dim relationship.

Indeed, in spite of all the mists
That grow from social codes, I see
The liberal likeness which exists
Throughout our whole humanity.

And though I’ve laughed at your expense,
O Dryad of the dusky race,
No man who has a heart and sense
Would bring displeasure to your face.

by Henry Kendall.

Epistle From Arthur Grey, The Footman, To Mrs. Murray, After His Condemnation For Attempting To Commit Violence.

Read, lovely nymph, and tremble not to read,
I have no more to wish, nor you to dread;
I ask not life, for life to me were vain,
And death a refuge from severer pain.
My only hope in these last lines I try --
I would be pitied, and I then would die.
Long had I liv'd as sordid as my fate,
Nor curs'd the destiny that made me wait
A servile slave: content with homely food,
The gross instinct of happiness pursued:
Youth gave me sleep at night and warmth of blood.
Ambition yet had never touch'd my breast;
My lordly master knew no sounder rest;
With labour healthy, in obedience blest.
But when I saw -- oh! had I never seen
That wounding softness, that engaging mien!
The mist of wretched education flies,
Shame, fear, desire, despair, and love arise,
The new creation of those beauteous eyes.
But yet that love pursu'd no guilty aim;
Deep in my heart I hid the secret flame:
I never hop'd my fond desire to tell,
And all my wishes were to serve you well.
Heav'ns! how I flew when wing'd by your command,
And kiss'd the letters giv'n me by your hand.
How pleas'd, how proud, how fond I was to wait,
Present the sparkling wine, or change the plate!
How, when you sung, my soul devour'd the sound,
And ev'ry sense was in the rapture drown'd!
Though bid to go, I quite forgot to move;
-- You knew not that stupidity was love!
But oh! the torment not to be express'd,
The grief, the rage, the hell, that fir'd this breast,
When my great rivals, in embroidery gay,
Sate by your side, or led you from the play!

I still contriv'd near as I could to stand
(the flambeau trembling in my shaking hand);
I saw, or thought I saw, those fingers press'd,
For thus their passion by my own I guess'd,
And jealous fury all my soul possess'd.
Like torrents, love and indignation meet,
And madness would have thrown me at your feet.
Turn, lovely nymph (for so I would have said),
Turn from those triflers who make love a trade;
This is true passion in my eyes you see;
They cannot, no -- they cannot love like me;
Frequent debauch has pall'd their sickly taste,
Faint their desire, and in a moment past;
They sigh not from the heart, but from the brain;
Vapours of vanity and strong champagne.
Too dull to feel what forms like yours inspire,
After long talking of their painted fire,
To some lewd brothel they at night retire;
There, pleas'd with fancy'd quality and charms,
Enjoy your beauties in a strumpet's arms.
Such are the joys those toasters have in view,
And such the wit and pleasure they pursue;
-- And is this love that ought to merit you?
Each opera night a new address begun,
They swear to thousands what they swear to one.
Not thus I sigh -- but all my sighs are vain --
Die, wretched Arthur, and conceal thy pain:
'Tis impudence to wish, and madness to complain.
Fix'd on this view, my only hope of ease,
I waited not the aid of slow disease;
The keenest instruments of death I sought,
And death alone employ'd my lab'ring thought.
This all the night -- when I remember well
The charming tinkle of your morning bell!
Fir'd by the sound, I hasten'd with your tea,
With one last look to smooth the darksome way --
But oh! how dear that fatal look has cost!
In that fond moment my resolves were lost.
Hence all my guilt, and all your sorrows rise --
I saw the languid softness of your eyes;

I saw the dear disorder of your bed;
Your cheeks all glowing with a tempting red;
Your night-clothes tumbled with resistless grace,
Your flowing hair play'd careless down your face
Your night-gown fasten'd with a single pin;
-- Fancy improv'd the wondrous charms within!
I fix'd my eyes upon that heaving breast,
And hardly, hardly, I forbore the rest:
Eager to gaze, unsatisfied with sight,
My head grew giddy with the near delight!
-- Too well you know the fatal following night!
Th'extremest proof of my desire I give,
And since you will not love, I will not live.
Condemn'd by you, I wait the righteous doom.
Careless and fearless of the woes to come.
But when you see me waver in the wind,
My guilty flame extinct, my soul resign'd,
Sure you may pity what you can't approve,
The cruel consequence of furious love.
Think the bold wretch, that could so greatly dare,
Was tender, faithful, ardent, and sincere;
Think when I held the pistol to your breast, --
Had I been of the world's large rule possess'd, --
That world had then been yours, and I been blest;
Think that my life was quite below my care,
Nor fear'd I any hell beyond despair. --
If these reflections, though they seize you late,
Give some compassion for your Arthur's fate:
Enough you give, nor ought I to complain:
You pay my pangs, nor have I died in vain.

by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

Epistle From Arthur Grey, The Footman, To Mrs. Murray, After His Condemnation For Attempting To Comm

Read, lovely nymph, and tremble not to read,
I have no more to wish, nor you to dread;
I ask not life, for life to me were vain,
And death a refuge from severer pain.
My only hope in these last lines I try --
I would be pitied, and I then would die.
Long had I liv'd as sordid as my fate,
Nor curs'd the destiny that made me wait
A servile slave: content with homely food,
The gross instinct of happiness pursued:
Youth gave me sleep at night and warmth of blood.
Ambition yet had never touch'd my breast;
My lordly master knew no sounder rest;
With labour healthy, in obedience blest.
But when I saw -- oh! had I never seen
That wounding softness, that engaging mien!
The mist of wretched education flies,
Shame, fear, desire, despair, and love arise,
The new creation of those beauteous eyes.
But yet that love pursu'd no guilty aim;
Deep in my heart I hid the secret flame:
I never hop'd my fond desire to tell,
And all my wishes were to serve you well.
Heav'ns! how I flew when wing'd by your command,
And kiss'd the letters giv'n me by your hand.
How pleas'd, how proud, how fond I was to wait,
Present the sparkling wine, or change the plate!
How, when you sung, my soul devour'd the sound,
And ev'ry sense was in the rapture drown'd!
Though bid to go, I quite forgot to move;
-- You knew not that stupidity was love!
But oh! the torment not to be express'd,
The grief, the rage, the hell, that fir'd this breast,
When my great rivals, in embroidery gay,
Sate by your side, or led you from the play!

I still contriv'd near as I could to stand
(the flambeau trembling in my shaking hand);
I saw, or thought I saw, those fingers press'd,
For thus their passion by my own I guess'd,
And jealous fury all my soul possess'd.
Like torrents, love and indignation meet,
And madness would have thrown me at your feet.
Turn, lovely nymph (for so I would have said),
Turn from those triflers who make love a trade;
This is true passion in my eyes you see;
They cannot, no -- they cannot love like me;
Frequent debauch has pall'd their sickly taste,
Faint their desire, and in a moment past;
They sigh not from the heart, but from the brain;
Vapours of vanity and strong champagne.
Too dull to feel what forms like yours inspire,
After long talking of their painted fire,
To some lewd brothel they at night retire;
There, pleas'd with fancy'd quality and charms,
Enjoy your beauties in a strumpet's arms.
Such are the joys those toasters have in view,
And such the wit and pleasure they pursue;
-- And is this love that ought to merit you?
Each opera night a new address begun,
They swear to thousands what they swear to one.
Not thus I sigh -- but all my sighs are vain --
Die, wretched Arthur, and conceal thy pain:
'Tis impudence to wish, and madness to complain.
Fix'd on this view, my only hope of ease,
I waited not the aid of slow disease;
The keenest instruments of death I sought,
And death alone employ'd my lab'ring thought.
This all the night -- when I remember well
The charming tinkle of your morning bell!
Fir'd by the sound, I hasten'd with your tea,
With one last look to smooth the darksome way --
But oh! how dear that fatal look has cost!
In that fond moment my resolves were lost.
Hence all my guilt, and all your sorrows rise --
I saw the languid softness of your eyes;

I saw the dear disorder of your bed;
Your cheeks all glowing with a tempting red;
Your night-clothes tumbled with resistless grace,
Your flowing hair play'd careless down your face
Your night-gown fasten'd with a single pin;
-- Fancy improv'd the wondrous charms within!
I fix'd my eyes upon that heaving breast,
And hardly, hardly, I forbore the rest:
Eager to gaze, unsatisfied with sight,
My head grew giddy with the near delight!
-- Too well you know the fatal following night!
Th'extremest proof of my desire I give,
And since you will not love, I will not live.
Condemn'd by you, I wait the righteous doom.
Careless and fearless of the woes to come.
But when you see me waver in the wind,
My guilty flame extinct, my soul resign'd,
Sure you may pity what you can't approve,
The cruel consequence of furious love.
Think the bold wretch, that could so greatly dare,
Was tender, faithful, ardent, and sincere;
Think when I held the pistol to your breast, --
Had I been of the world's large rule possess'd, --
That world had then been yours, and I been blest;
Think that my life was quite below my care,
Nor fear'd I any hell beyond despair. --
If these reflections, though they seize you late,
Give some compassion for your Arthur's fate:
Enough you give, nor ought I to complain:
You pay my pangs, nor have I died in vain.

by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

I
An empty sky, a world of heather,
Purple of foxglove, yellow of broom;
We two among them wading together,
Shaking out honey, treading perfume.

Crowds of bees are giddy with clover,
Crowds of grasshoppers skip at our feet,
Crowds of larks at their matins hang over,
Thanking the Lord for a life so sweet.

Flusheth the rise with her purple favor,
Gloweth the cleft with her golden ring,
'Twixt the two brown butterflies waver,
Lightly settle, and sleepily swing.

We two walk till the purple dieth,
And short dry grass under foot is brown,
But one little streak at a distance lieth
Green like a ribbon to prank the down.

II
Over the grass we stepped unto it,
And God He knoweth how blithe we were!
Never a voice to bid us eschew it:
Hey the green ribbon that showed so fair!

Hey the green ribbon! we kneeled beside it,
We parted the grasses dewy and sheen:
Drop over drop there filtered and slided
A tiny bright beck that trickled between.

Tinkle, tinkle, sweetly it sung to us,
Light was our talk as of fairy bells; -
Fairy wedding-bells faintly rung to us
Down in their fortunate parallels.

Hand in hand, while the sun peered over,
We lapped the grass on that youngling spring;
Swept back its rushes, smoothed its clover,
And said, 'Let us follow it westering.'

III
A dappled sky, a world of meadows,
Circling above us the black rooks fly
Forward, backward; lo their dark shadows
Flit on the blossoming tapestry; -

Flit on the beck; for her long grass parteth
As hair from a maid's bright eyes blown back:
And, lo, the sun like a lover darteth
His flattering smile on her wayward track.

Sing on! we sing in the glorious weather
Till one steps over the tiny strand,
So narrow, in sooth, that still together
On either brink we go hand in hand.

The beck grows wider, the hands must sever.
On either margin, our songs all done,
We move apart, while she singeth ever,
Taking the course of the stooping sun.

He prays, 'Come over,' - I may not follow;
I cry, 'Return,' - but he cannot come:
We speak, we laugh, but with voices hollow;
Our hands are hanging, our hearts are numb.

IV
A breathing sigh, a sigh for answer,
A little talking of outward things:
The careless beck is a merry dancer,
Keeping sweet time to the air she sings.

A little pain when the beck grows wider;
'Cross to me now; for her wavelets swell';
'I may not cross,' - and the voice beside her
Faintly reacheth, though heeded well.

No backward path; ah! no returning;
No second crossing that ripple's flow:
'Come to me now, for the west is burning;
Come ere it darkens. - Ah, no! ah, no!'

Then cries of pain, and arms outreaching, -
The beck grows wider and swift and deep:
Passionate words as of one beseeching:
The loud beck drowns them: we walk, and weep.

V
A yellow moon in splendor drooping,
A tired queen with her state oppressed,
Low by rushes and swordgrass stooping,
Lies she soft on the waves at rest.

The desert heavens have felt her sadness;
Her earth will weep her some dewy tears;
The wild beck ends her tune of gladness,
And goeth stilly as soul that fears.

We two walk on in our grassy places
On either marge of the moonlit flood,
With the moon's own sadness in our faces,
Where joy is withered, blossom and bud.

VI
A shady freshness, chafers whirring;
A little piping of leaf-hid birds;
A flutter of wings, a fitful stirring;
A cloud to the eastward snowy as curds.

Bare grassy slopes, where kids are tethered,
Round valleys like nests all ferny-lined,
Round hills, with fluttering tree-tops feathered,
Swell high in their freckled robes behind.

A rose-flush tender, a thrill, a quiver,
When golden gleams to the tree-tops glide;
A flashing edge for the milk-white river,
The beck, a river - with still sleek tide.

Broad and white, and polished as silver,
On she goes under fruit-laden trees:
Sunk in leafage cooeth the culver,
And 'plaineth of love's disloyalties.

Glitters the dew, and shines the river,
Up comes the lily and dries her bell;
But two are walking apart forever,
And wave their hands for a mute farewell.

VII
A braver swell, a swifter sliding;
The river hasteth, her banks recede.
Wing-like sails on her bosom gliding
Bear down the lily, and drown the reed.

Stately prows are rising and bowing
(Shouts of mariners winnow the air),
And level sands for banks endowing
The tiny green ribbon that showed so fair.

While, O my heart! as white sails shiver,
And clouds are passing, and banks stretch wide,
How hard to follow, with lips that quiver,
That moving speck on the far-off side.

Farther, farther; I see it, know it -
My eyes brim over, it melts away:
Only my heart to my heart shall show it
As I walk desolate day by day.

VIII
And yet I know past all doubting, truly, -
A knowledge greater than grief can dim, -
I know, as he loved, he will love me duly, -
Yea, better, e'en better than I love him.

And as I walk by the vast calm river,
The awful river so dread to see,
I say, 'Thy breadth and thy depth forever
Are bridged by his thoughts that cross to me.'

by Jean Ingelow.

To Eliza On Her Marriage

You're now, Eliza, fix'd for life;
In other words, you're now - a wife;
And let me whisper in your ear,
A wife, though fix'd, has cause to fear;
For much she risks, and much she loses
If an improper road she choses.
Yet think not that I mean to fright you,
My plan, au contraire's to delight you;
To draw the lines where comfort reaches;
Where folly flies; where prudence teaches.
In short, Eliza, to prevent you
From nameless ills that may torment you:
And ere bright Hymen's torch burns faintly,
From nuptial glare conduct you gently,
Where (cur'd of wounds from Cupid's quiver)
A milder lustre beams for ever!

First, then, Eliza, change your carriage,
Courtship's a different thing from marriage,
And much I fear (by passion blinded)
This change at first is seldom minded.
The miss who feasts on rich romances,
And love-sick sonnets, wisely fancies
That all the end of ardent wooing
Is constant billing, constant cooing.
The nymph again, whom caution teaches.
To doubt the truth of rapt'rous speeches,
She whom experience oft has school'd,
And shewn how husbands may be - rul'd,
Laughs at the whims of fond sixteen,
And thinks that wedlock stamps - a queen.
Now I (though ne'er, alas! contracted)
Consider both as half distracted;
And will predict that endless strife
Must be the lot of either wife.
Not that I would infer from hence
That men of feeling, worth, or sense,
Could every try to wound or pain
A tender breast with cold disdain;
Or e'er descend to storm and battle
At fondly-foolish female prattle.
Yet if sweet madam, without reason,
Will fret and fume, and mutter treason,
Plaguing her plain, unpuffing spouse,
About his former oaths and vows,
And tender sighs, and soft expressions,
With various comments and digressions,
I will not sweat that mere connexion
Will guard the husband's warm affection;
And when affection cools, they say
The husband's apt to - go astray.

Maids, prais'd and flatter'd all their lives,
Expect as much when they are wives;
And think when husbands cease palav'ring,
That love (sweet souls!) is surely wav'ring:
Then hey! for pets, and cold distrust,
Doubt's sullen brow, and dreams accurst :
The game goes on, ma'am's in the dumps,
And jealousy at last is trumps.
For thee, fair flower! of softest dye,
That caught so late each vagrant eye,
Still breathing sweets, still blooming gay,
Beauteous in winter as in May:
For thee this truth the muse has penn'd.
The muse - but more thy anxious friend:
'Woman's bright charms were giv'n to lure us,
They catch, 'tis true; but can't secure us.'

Sage Solomon, who paints with beauty
A virtuous woman's worth and duty,
Compares her to a ship of trade,
That brings from far her daily bread.
This may be true; but as for me,
I'll draw a plainer simile,
And call a virtuous wife a gem,
Which for its worth we ne'er contemn,
Though soon its water, size and hue,
Grow quite familiar to the view.
What then ensues? Why, faith, I'll tell ye;
We think of nothing but - the value.
Yet take this gem and lay it by
From the possessor's careless eye,
Conceal its lustre, dazzling bright,
From beaming daily on his sight,
I'll take you any bet at pleasure,
Whene'er he views this tempting treasure,
With eager bliss and sparkling eyes
He'll mark each new-born charm arise,
And with the joy of first possession,
Admire and rave sans intermission!

If women, therefore, would be wise,
Instead of murmurs, tears and sighs,
And sullen moods, and scolding frays,
When lovie's absent for some days,
Let ev'ry female art conspire
To drive him from the parlour fire.
Of all the plagues in wedded life,
To teaze or to torment a wife,
There's none more likely to increase
The bane of matrimonial peace,
Than the tame husband always by
With prying and suspicious eye.
Mark then, when * * * * goes to town,
Smile thou, when other wives would frown;
He only goes (nay, don't be angry)
To take a walk to make him hungry;
To taste awhile, unknown to care,
A change of exercise and air;
Observe the pert, the bold, the witty
How diff'rent from his own sweet Betty!
Return impatient to his home,
No husband, but a fond bridegroom.

Lastly, Eliza, let me say
That wives should rather yield than sway;
To thwart a husband's fixt opinion
Is not the way to gain dominion,
For kisses order, tears reprove,
And teach us rev'rence, fear and love!
O! born to soothe and guide the heart
With native softness, void of art!
Thou, whom nor pride nor fashion sways,
Unchang'd by flatt'ry's giddy praise;
And thou to whom a trem'lous youth
First spoke the tale of love and truth,
Blending with passion's fond alarms
The bright'ning beam of virtue's charms
Ah! lend not now a careless ear!-
Yet, yet attend to truth sincere!
These lines, at least with smiles receive,
The last, perhaps, thy bard shall give.

While pleasure spreads her gawdy train,
To lure the trifling and the vain;
While fashion kills the tedious day
With shopping, concert, cards, and play;
While female love and youth's fair charms
Shrink from pure passion's ardent arms,
And cling to splendour's fancied bliss,
With withering age and wretchedness,
Be thine Eliza, more refin'd,
The pleasures of the virtuous mind!
Be thine the transports of the heart
Which love and goodness still impart;
The tender glance, the tranquil smile,
A husband's sorrows to beguile:
The blush of joy divinely meek;
That paint's a mother's glowing cheek;
The balm that friendship still bestows;
The tear that drops for human woes!
These, these, Eliza! light the way,
And cheer when other charms decay;
Conduct through care and worldly gloom,
And whisper joys - beyond the tomb.

by Hector Macneill.

The Stror 'At Coot

Ar, wimmin! Wot a blinded fool I've been!
I arsts meself, wot else could I ixpeck?
I done me block complete on this Doreen,
An' now me 'eart is broke, me life's a wreck!
The dreams I dreamed, the dilly thorts I thunk
Is up the pole, an' joy 'as done a bunk.

Wimmin! O strike! I orter known the game!
Their tricks is crook, their arts is all dead snide.
The 'ole world over tarts is all the same;
All soft an' smilin' wiv no 'eart inside.
But she fair doped me wiv 'er winnin' ways,
Then crooled me pitch fer all me mortal days.

They're all the same! A man 'as got to be
Stric' master if 'e wants to snare 'em sure.
'E 'as to take a stand an' let 'em see
That triflin' is a thing'e won't indure.
'E wants to show 'em that 'e 'olds command,
So they will smooge an' feed out of 'is 'and.

'E needs to make 'em feel 'e is the boss,
An' kid 'e's careless uv the joys they give.
'E 'as to make 'em think 'e'll feel no loss
To part wiv any tart 'e's trackin' wiv.
That all their pretty ways is crook pretence
Is plain to any bloke wiv common-sense.

But when the birds is nestin' in the spring,
An' when the soft green leaves is in the bud,
'E drops 'is bundle to some fluffy thing.
'E pays 'er 'omage—an' 'is name is Mud.
She plays wiv'im an' kids 'im on a treat,
Until she 'as 'im crawlin' at 'er feet.

An' then, when 'e's fair orf 'is top wiv love,
When she 'as got 'im good an' 'ad 'er fun,
She slings 'im over like a carst-orf glove,
To let the other tarts see wot she's done.
All vanity, deceit an' 'eartless kid!
I orter known; an', spare me days, I did!

I knoo. But when I looked into 'er eyes
Them shinin' eyes o' blue all soft wiv love
Wiv MIMIC love—they seemed to 'ipnertize.
I wus content to place 'er 'igh above.
I wus content to make of 'er a queen;
An' so she seemed them days…O, 'struth!…Doreen!

I knoo. But when I stroked 'er glossy 'air
Wiv rev'rint 'ands, 'er cheek pressed close to mine,
Me lonely life seemed robbed of all its care;
I dreams me dreams, an' 'ope begun to shine.
An' when she 'eld 'er lips fer me to kiss…
Ar, wot's the use? I'm done wiv all o' this!


Wimmin!…Oh, I ain't jealous! Spare me days!
Me? Jealous uv a knock-kneed coot like that!
'Im! Wiv 'is cute stror 'at an' pretty ways!
I'd be a mug to squeal or whip the cat.
I'm glad, I am—glad 'cos I know I'm free!
There ain't no call to tork o' jealousy.

I tells meself I'm well out o' the game;
Fer look, I mighter married 'er-an' then….
Ar strike! 'Er voice wus music when my name
Wus on 'er lips on them glad ev'nin's when
We useter meet. An' then to think she'd go…
No, I ain't jealous—but—Ar, I dunno!

I took a derry on this stror 'at coot
First time I seen 'im dodgin' round Doreen.
'Im, wiv 'is giddy tie an' Yankee soot,
Ferever yappin' like a tork-machine
About 'The Hoffis' where 'e 'ad a grip….
The way 'e smiled at 'er give me the pip!

She sez I stoushed 'im, when I promised fair
To chuck it, even to a friendly spar.
Stoushed 'im! I never roughed 'is pretty 'air!
I only spanked 'im gentle, fer 'is mar.
If I'd 'a' jabbed 'im once, there would 'a' been
An inquest; an' I sez so to Doreen.

I mighter took an' cracked 'im in the street,
When she was wiv 'im there lars' Fridee night.
But don't I keep me temper when we met?
An' don't I raise me lid an' act perlite?
I only jerks me elbow in 'is ribs,
To give the gentle office to 'is nibs.

Stoushed 'im! I owns I met 'im on the quiet,
An' worded 'im about a small affair;
An' when 'e won't put up 'is 'ands to fight
('E sez, 'Fer public brawls 'e didn't care')
I lays 'im 'cross me knee, the mother's joy,
An' smacks 'im 'earty, like a naughty boy.

An' now Doreen she sez I've broke me vow,
An' mags about this coot's pore, 'wounded pride.'
An' then, o' course, we 'as a ding-dong row,
Wiv 'ot an' stormy words on either side.
She sez I done it outer jealousy,
An' so, we parts fer ever—'er an' me.

Me jealous? Jealous of that cross-eyed cow!
I set 'im 'cos I couldn't sight 'is face.
'Is yappin' fair got on me nerves, some'ow.
I couldn't stand 'im 'angin' round 'er place.
A coot like that!…But it don't matter much,
She's welkim to 'im if she fancies such.

I swear I'll never track wiv 'er no more;
I'll never look on 'er side o' the street
Unless she comes an' begs me pardin for
Them things she said to me in angry 'eat.
She can't ixpeck fer me to smooge an' crawl.
I ain't at ANY woman's beck an' call.

Wimmin! I've took a tumble to their game.
I've got the 'ole bang tribe o' cliners set!
The 'ole world over they are all the same:
Crook to the core the bunch of 'em—an' yet
We could 'a' been that 'appy, 'er an' me…
But, wot's it matter? Ain't I glad I'm free?

A bloke wiv commin-sense 'as got to own
There's little 'appiness in married life.
The smoogin' game is better left alone,
Fer tarts is few that makes the ideel wife.
An' them's the sort that loves wivout disguise,
An' thinks the sun shines in their 'usban's' eyes.

But when the birds is matin' in the spring,
An' when the tender leaves begin to bud,
A feelin' comes—a dilly sorter thing
That seems to sorter swamp 'im like a flood.
An' when the fever 'ere inside 'im burns,
Then freedom ain't the thing fer wot 'e yearns.

But I 'ave chucked it all. An' yet—I own
I dreams me dreams when soft Spring breezes stirs;
An' often, when I'm moonin' 'ere alone,
A lispin' maid, wiv 'air an' eyes like 'ers,
'Oo calls me 'dad,' she climbs upon me knee,
An' yaps 'er pretty baby tork to me.

I sorter see a little 'ouse, it seems,
Wiv someone waitin' for me at the gate…
Ar, where's the sense in dreamin' barmy dreams,
I've dreamed before, and nearly woke too late.
Sich 'appiness could never last fer long,
We're strangers—'less she owns that she was wrong.

To call 'er back I'll never lift a 'and;
She'll never 'ear frum me by word or sign.
Per'aps, some day, she'll come to understand
The mess she's made o' this 'ere life o' mine.
Oh, I ain't much to look at, I admit.
But'im! The knock-kneed, swivel-eyed misfit?…

by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis.

The Rape Of The Lock: Canto 2

Not with more glories, in th' etherial plain,
The sun first rises o'er the purpled main,
Than, issuing forth, the rival of his beams
Launch'd on the bosom of the silver Thames.
Fair nymphs, and well-dress'd youths around her shone,
But ev'ry eye was fix'd on her alone.
On her white breast a sparkling cross she wore,
Which Jews might kiss, and infidels adore.
Her lively looks a sprightly mind disclose,
Quick as her eyes, and as unfix'd as those:
Favours to none, to all she smiles extends;
Oft she rejects, but never once offends.
Bright as the sun, her eyes the gazers strike,
And, like the sun, they shine on all alike.
Yet graceful ease, and sweetness void of pride,
Might hide her faults, if belles had faults to hide:
If to her share some female errors fall,
Look on her face, and you'll forget 'em all.
This nymph, to the destruction of mankind,
Nourish'd two locks, which graceful hung behind
In equal curls, and well conspir'd to deck
With shining ringlets the smooth iv'ry neck.
Love in these labyrinths his slaves detains,
And mighty hearts are held in slender chains.
With hairy springes we the birds betray,
Slight lines of hair surprise the finney prey,
Fair tresses man's imperial race ensnare,
And beauty draws us with a single hair.
Th' advent'rous baron the bright locks admir'd;
He saw, he wish'd, and to the prize aspir'd.
Resolv'd to win, he meditates the way,
By force to ravish, or by fraud betray;
For when success a lover's toil attends,
Few ask, if fraud or force attain'd his ends.
For this, ere Phœbus rose, he had implor'd
Propitious Heav'n, and ev'ry pow'r ador'd,
But chiefly love--to love an altar built,
Of twelve vast French romances, neatly gilt.
There lay three garters, half a pair of gloves;
And all the trophies of his former loves;
With tender billet-doux he lights the pyre,
And breathes three am'rous sighs to raise the fire.
Then prostrate falls, and begs with ardent eyes
Soon to obtain, and long possess the prize:
The pow'rs gave ear, and granted half his pray'r,
The rest, the winds dispers'd in empty air.

But now secure the painted vessel glides,
The sun-beams trembling on the floating tides,
While melting music steals upon the sky,
And soften'd sounds along the waters die.
Smooth flow the waves, the zephyrs gently play,
Belinda smil'd, and all the world was gay.
All but the Sylph--with careful thoughts opprest,
Th' impending woe sat heavy on his breast.
He summons strait his denizens of air;
The lucid squadrons round the sails repair:
Soft o'er the shrouds aerial whispers breathe,
That seem'd but zephyrs to the train beneath.
Some to the sun their insect-wings unfold,
Waft on the breeze, or sink in clouds of gold.
Transparent forms, too fine for mortal sight,
Their fluid bodies half dissolv'd in light,
Loose to the wind their airy garments flew,
Thin glitt'ring textures of the filmy dew;
Dipp'd in the richest tincture of the skies,
Where light disports in ever-mingling dyes,
While ev'ry beam new transient colours flings,
Colours that change whene'er they wave their wings.
Amid the circle, on the gilded mast,
Superior by the head, was Ariel plac'd;
His purple pinions op'ning to the sun,
He rais'd his azure wand, and thus begun.

"Ye Sylphs and Sylphids, to your chief give ear!
Fays, Fairies, Genii, Elves, and Dæmons, hear!
Ye know the spheres and various tasks assign'd
By laws eternal to th' aerial kind.
Some in the fields of purest æther play,
And bask and whiten in the blaze of day.
Some guide the course of wand'ring orbs on high,
Or roll the planets through the boundless sky.
Some less refin'd, beneath the moon's pale light
Pursue the stars that shoot athwart the night,
Or suck the mists in grosser air below,
Or dip their pinions in the painted bow,
Or brew fierce tempests on the wintry main,
Or o'er the glebe distil the kindly rain.
Others on earth o'er human race preside,
Watch all their ways, and all their actions guide:
Of these the chief the care of nations own,
And guard with arms divine the British throne.

"Our humbler province is to tend the fair,
Not a less pleasing, though less glorious care.
To save the powder from too rude a gale,
Nor let th' imprison'd essences exhale,
To draw fresh colours from the vernal flow'rs,
To steal from rainbows e'er they drop in show'rs
A brighter wash; to curl their waving hairs,
Assist their blushes, and inspire their airs;
Nay oft, in dreams, invention we bestow,
To change a flounce, or add a furbelow.


"This day, black omens threat the brightest fair
That e'er deserv'd a watchful spirit's care;
Some dire disaster, or by force, or slight,
But what, or where, the fates have wrapt in night.
Whether the nymph shall break Diana's law,
Or some frail china jar receive a flaw;
Or stain her honour, or her new brocade,
Forget her pray'rs, or miss a masquerade;
Or lose her heart, or necklace, at a ball;
Or whether Heav'n has doom'd that Shock must fall.
Haste, then, ye spirits! to your charge repair:
The flutt'ring fan be Zephyretta's care;
The drops to thee, Brillante, we consign;
And, Momentilla, let the watch be thine;
Do thou, Crispissa, tend her fav'rite lock;
Ariel himself shall be the guard of Shock.
"To fifty chosen Sylphs, of special note,
We trust th' important charge, the petticoat:
Oft have we known that sev'n-fold fence to fail,
Though stiff with hoops, and arm'd with ribs of whale.
Form a strong line about the silver bound,
And guard the wide circumference around.
"Whatever spirit, careless of his charge,
His post neglects, or leaves the fair at large,
Shall feel sharp vengeance soon o'ertake his sins,
Be stopp'd in vials, or transfix'd with pins;
Or plung'd in lakes of bitter washes lie,
Or wedg'd whole ages in a bodkin's eye:
Gums and pomatums shall his flight restrain,
While clogg'd he beats his silken wings in vain;
Or alum styptics with contracting pow'r
Shrink his thin essence like a rivell'd flow'r.
Or, as Ixion fix'd, the wretch shall feel
The giddy motion of the whirling mill,
In fumes of burning chocolate shall glow,
And tremble at the sea that froths below!"
He spoke; the spirits from the sails descend;
Some, orb in orb, around the nymph extend,
Some thrid the mazy ringlets of her hair,
Some hang upon the pendants of her ear;
With beating hearts the dire event they wait,
Anxious, and trembling for the birth of fate.

by Alexander Pope.

The Cudgelled And Contented Cuckold

SOME time ago from Rome, in smart array,
A younger brother homeward bent his way,
Not much improved, as frequently the case
With those who travel to that famous place.
Upon the road oft finding, where he stayed,
Delightful wines, and handsome belle or maid,
With careless ease he loitered up and down.--
One day there passed him in a country town,
Attended by a page, a lady fair,
Whose charming form and all-engaging air,
At once his bosom fired with fond desire;
And nearer still, her beauties to admire.
He most gallantly saw her safely home;
Attentions charm the sex where'er we roam.

OUR thoughtless rambler pleasures always sought:
From Rome this spark had num'rous pardons brought;
But,--as to virtues (this too oft we find),
He'd left them,--with his HOLINESS behind!

THE lady was, by ev'ry one, confessed,
Of beauty, youth, and elegance possessed;
She wanted naught to form her bliss below,
But one whose love would ever fondly flow.

INDEED so fickle proved this giddy youth,
That nothing long would please his heart or tooth;
Howe'er he earnestly inquired her name,
And ev'ry other circumstance the same.
She's lady, they replied, to great 'squire Good,
Who's almost bald from age 'tis understood;
But as he's rich, and high in rank appears,
Why that's a recompense you know for years.

THESE facts our young gallant no sooner gained,
But ardent hopes at once he entertained;
To wily plots his mind he quickly bent,
And to a neighb'ring town his servants sent;
Then, at the house where dwelled our noble 'squire,
His humble services proposed for hire.

PRETENDING ev'ry sort of work he knew,
He soon a fav'rite with old Square-toes grew,
Who (first advising with his charming mate),
Chief falc'ner made him o'er his fine estate.

THE new domestick much the lady pleased;
He watched and eagerly the moment seized,
His ardent passion boldly to declare,
In which he showed a novice had no share.

'TWAS managed well, for nothing but the chase,
Could Square-toes tempt to quit her fond embrace,
And then our falc'ner must his steps attend:--
The very time he wished at home to spend.
The lady similar emotions showed;
For opportunity their bosoms glowed;
And who will feel in argument so bold,
When this I say, the contrary to hold?
At length with pity Cupid saw the case,
And kindly lent his aid to their embrace.

ONE night the lady said, with eager eyes,
My dear, among our servants, which d'ye prize,
For moral conduct most and upright heart?
To this her spouse replied, the faithful part
Is with the falc'ner found, I must decide:
To him my life I'd readily confide.

THEN you are wrong, said she,--most truly so,
For he's a good-for-nothing wretch I know;
You'll scarcely credit it, but t'other day,
He had the barefaced impudence to say,
He loved me much, and then his passion pressed:
I'd nearly fallen, I was so distressed.
To tear his eyes out, I designed at first,
And e'en to choke this wretch, of knaves the worst;
By prudence solely was I then restrained,
For fear the world should think his point was gained.

THE better then to prove his dark intent,
I feigned an inclination to consent,
And in the garden, promised as to-night,
I'd near the pear-tree meet this roguish wight.
Said I, my husband never moves from hence;
No jealous fancy, but to show the sense
He entertains of my pure, virtuous life,
And fond affection for a loving wife.
Thus circumstanced, your wishes see are vain,
Unless when he's asleep a march I gain,
And softly stealing from his torpid side,
With trembling steps I, to my lover, glide.
So things remain, my dear; an odd affair:--
On this Square-toes 'gan to curse and swear;
But his fond rib most earnestly besought,
His rage to stifle, as she clearly thought,
He might in person, if he'd take the pain,
Secure the rascal and redress obtain
You know, said she, the tree is near the door,
Upon the left and bears of fruit great store;
But if I may my sentiments express,
In cap and petticoats you'd best to dress;
His insolence is great, and you'll be right,
To give your strokes with double force to night;
Well work his back; flat lay him on the ground:--
A rascal! honourable ladies round,
No doubt he many times has served the same;
'Tis such impostors characters defame.
To rouse his wrath the story quite sufficed;
The spouse resolved to do as she advised.
Howe'er to dupe him was an easy lot;
The hour arrived, his dress he soon had got,
Away he ran with anxious fond delight.
In hopes the wily spark to trap that night.
But no one there our easy fool could see,
And while he waited near the fav'rite tree,
Half dead with cold, the falc'ner slyly stole,
To her who had so well contrived the whole;
Time, place, and disposition, all combined
The loving pair to mutual joys resigned.
When our expert gallant had with the dame,
An hour or more indulged his ardent flame,
Though forced at length to quit the loving lass,
'Twas not without the favourite parting glass;
He then the garden sought, where long the 'squire,
Upon the knave had wished to vent his ire.

NO sooner he the silly husband spied,
But feigning 'twas the wily wife he eyed,
At once he cried,--ah, vilest of the sex!
Are these thy tricks, so good a man to vex?
Oh shame upon thee! thus to treat his love,
As pure as snow, descending from above.
I could not think thou hadst so base a heart,
But clear it is, thou need'st a friendly part,
And that I'll act: I asked this rendezvous
With full intent to see if thou wert true;
And, God be praised, without a loose design,
To plunge in luxuries pronounced divine.
Protect me Heav'n! poor sinner that I'm here!
To guard thy honour I will persevere.
My worthy master could I thus disgrace?
Thou wanton baggage with unblushing face,
Thee on the spot I'll instantly chastise,
And then thy husband of the fact advise.

THE fierce harangue o'er Square-toes pleasure spread,
Who, mutt'ring 'tween his teeth, with fervour said:
O gracious Lord! to thee my thanks are due--
To have a wife so chaste--a man so true!
But presently he felt upon his back
The falc'ner's cudgel vigorously thwack,
Who soundly basted him as on he ran,
To gain the house, with terror, pale and wan.

THE squire had wished his trusty man, no doubt,
Had not, at cudgelling, been quite so stout;
But since he showed himself so true a friend,
And with his actions could such prudence blend,
The master fully pardoned what he knew,
And quickly to his wife in bed he flew,
When he related every thing that passed
Were we, cried he, a hundred years to last,
My lovely dear, we ne'er on earth could find
A man so faithful, and so well inclined.
I'd have him take within our town a wife,
And you and I'll regard him during life.
In that, replied the lady, we agree,
And heartily thereto I pledged will be.

by Jean De La Fontaine.

The Battle Of The Wazzir

If ole Pharaoh, King of Egyp', 'ad been gazin' on the scene
'E'd' ave give the A.I.F. a narsty name
When they done their little best to scrub 'is dirty Kingdom clean,
An' to shift 'is ancient 'eap uv sin an' shame.
An' I'm tippin' they'd 'ave phenyled 'im, an' rubbed it in 'is 'ead.
But old Pharaoh, King uv Egyp', 'e is dead.

So yeh don't 'ear much about it; an' it isn't meant yeh should,
Since 'is Kingship wasn't there to go orf pop;
An' this mishunery effort fer to make the 'eathen good
Wus a contract that the fellers 'ad to drop.
There wus other pressin' matters, so they 'ad to chuck the fun,
But the Battle uv the Wazzir took the bun.

Now, Ginger Mick 'e writes to me a long, ixcited note,
An' 'e writes it in a whisper, so to speak;
Fer I guess the Censor's shadder wus across 'im as 'e wrote,
An' 'e 'ad to bottle things that musn't leak.
So I ain't got orl the strength uv it; but sich as Ginger sends
I rejooce to decent English fer me friends.

It wus part their native carelessness, an' part their native skite;
Fer they kids themselves they know the Devil well,
'Avin' met 'im, kind uv casu'l, on some wild Australian night-
Wine an' women at a secon'-rate 'otel.
But the Devil uv Australia 'e's a little woolly sheep
To the devils wot the desert children keep.

So they mooches round the drink-shop's, an' the Wazzir took their eye,
An' they found old Pharoah's daughters pleasin' Janes;
An' they wouldn't be Australian 'less they give the game a fly . . .
An' Egyp' smiled an' totted up 'is gains.
'E doped their drinks, an' breathed on them 'is aged evil breath . . .
An' more than one woke up to long fer death.

When they wandered frum the newest an' the cleanest land on earth,
An' the filth uv ages met 'em, it wus 'ard.
Fer there may be sin an' sorrer in the country uv their birth;
But the dirt uv cenchuries ain't in the yard.
They wus children, playin' wiv an asp, an' never fearin' it,
An' they took it very sore when they wus bit.

First, they took the tales fer furphies.. when they got around the camp,
Uv a cove done in fer life wiv one night's jag,
But when the yarns grew 'ot an' strong an' bore the 'all-mark stamp
Uv dinkum oil, they waved the danger flag.
An' the shudder that a clean man feels when 'e's su'prized wiv dirt
Gripped orl the camp reel solid; an' it 'urt.

There wus Bill from up the Billabong, 'oo's dearest love wus cow,
An' 'oo lived an' thought an' fought an' acted clean.
'E wus lately frum 'is mother wiv 'er kiss wet on 'is brow;
But they snared 'im in, an' did 'im up reel mean.
Fer young Bill, wus gone a million, an' 'e never guessed the game. . .
For 'e's down in livin' 'ell, an' marked fer sbame.

An' Bill wus only one uv 'em to fall to Eastern sin
Ev'ry comp'ny 'ad a rotten tale to tell,
An' there must be somethin' doin' when the strength uv it sunk in
To a crowd that ain't afraid to clean up 'ell.
They wus game to take a gamble; but this dirt dealt to a mate-
Well, it riled 'em; an' they didn't 'esitate.

'Ave 'yeh seen a crowd uv fellers takin' chances 'on a game,
Crackin' 'ard while they thought it on the square?
'Ave yeh 'eard their owl uv anguish when they tumbled to the same,
'Avin' found they wus the victums uv a snare?
It wus jist that sort uv anger when they fell to Egyp's stunt;
An', remember, they wus trainin' fer the front.

I 'ave notions uv the Wazzir. It's as old as Pharaoh's tomb;
It's as cunnin' as the oldest imp in 'ell;
An' the game it plays uv lurin' blokes, wiv love-songs, to their doom
Wus begun when first a tart 'ad smiles to sell.
An' it stood there thro' the ages; an' it might be standin' still
If it 'adn't bumped a clean cove, name o' Bill.

An' they done it like they done it when a word went to the push
That a nark 'oo'd crooled a pal wus run to ground.
They done it like they done it when the blokes out in the bush
Passed a telegraft that cops wus nosin' round.
There wus no one rung a fire-bell, but the tip wus passed about;
An' they fixed a night to clean the Wazzir out.

Yes, I've notions uv the Wazzir. It's been pilin' up its dirt
Since it mated wiv the Devil in year One,
An' spawned a brood uv evil things to do a man a 'urt
Since the lurk uv snarin' innercents begun.
But it's sweeter an' it's cleaner since one wild an' woolly night
When the little A.I.F. put up a fight.

Now, it started wiv some 'orseplay. If the 'eads 'ad seen the look,
Dead in earnest, that wus underneath the fun,
They'd 'ave tumbled there wus somethin' that wus more than commin crook,
An' 'ave stopped the game before it 'arf begun.
But the fellers larfed like school-boys, tbo' they orl wus more than narked,
An' they 'ad the 'ouses well an' truly marked.

Frum a little crazy balkiney that clawed agin a wall
A chair come crasbin' down into the street;
Then a woman's frightened screamin' give the sign to bounce the ball,
An' there came a sudden rush uv soljers' feet.
There's a glimpse uv frightened faces as a door caved in an' fell;
An' the Wazzir wus a 'owlin' screamin' 'ell.

Frum a winder 'igh above 'em there's a bloke near seven feet,
Waves a bit uv naked Egyp' in the air.
An' there's squealin' an' there's shriekin' as they chased 'em down the street,
When they dug 'em out like rabbits frum their lair.
Then down into the roadway gaudy 'ouse'old gods comes fast,
An' the Wazzir's Great Spring Cleanin' starts at last.

Frum the winders came pianners an' some giddy duchess pairs;
An' they piled 'em on the roadway in the mire,
An' 'eaped 'em 'igh wiv fal-de-rals an' pretty parlor chairs,
Which they started in to purify wiv fire.
Then the Redcaps come to argue, but they jist amused the mob;
Fer tbe scavengers wus warmin' to their job.

When the fire-reels come to quell 'em-'struth! they 'ad no bloomin' 'ope;
Fer they cut the 'ose to ribbons in a jiff;
An' they called u'pon tbe drink-shops an' poured out their rotten dope,
While the nigs 'oo didn't run wus frightened stiff.
An' when orb wus done an' over, an' they wearied uv the strife,
That old Wazzir'd 'ad the scourin' uv its life.

Now, old Gin er ain't quite candid; 'e don't say where 'e came in;
But 'e mentions that'e don't get no C.B.,
An' 'e's 'ad some pretty practice dodgin' punishment fer sin
Down in Spadger's since 'is early infancy.
So I guess, if they went after 'im, they found 'im snug in bed.
Fer old Ginger 'as a reel tactician's 'ead.

An' 'e sez that when 'e wandered down the Wazzir later on
It wus like a 'ome where 'oliness reposed;
Fer its sinfulness wus 'idden, an' its brazenness wus gone,
An' its doors, wiv proper modesty, wus closed.
If a 'ead looked out a winder, as they passed, it quick drew in;
Fer the Wazzir wus a wowser, scared from sin.

If old Pharaoh, King uv Egyp', 'e 'ad lived to see the day
When they tidied up 'is 'eap uv shame an' sin,
Well, 'e mighter took it narsty, fer our fellers 'ave a way
Uv completin' any job that they begin.
An' they might 'ave left 'is Kingship nursin' gravel-rash in bed. . .
But old Pharaoh, King uv Egyp', 'e is dead.

by Clarence Michael James Stanislaus Dennis.

The Rape Of The Lock: Canto 1

Nolueram, Belinda, tuos violare capillos;
Sedjuvat, hoc precibus me tribuisse tuis.
(Martial, Epigrams 12.84)
What dire offence from am'rous causes springs,
What mighty contests rise from trivial things,
I sing--This verse to Caryl, Muse! is due:
This, ev'n Belinda may vouchsafe to view:
Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,
If she inspire, and he approve my lays.
Say what strange motive, Goddess! could compel
A well-bred lord t' assault a gentle belle?
O say what stranger cause, yet unexplor'd,
Could make a gentle belle reject a lord?
In tasks so bold, can little men engage,
And in soft bosoms dwells such mighty rage?

Sol thro' white curtains shot a tim'rous ray,
And op'd those eyes that must eclipse the day;
Now lap-dogs give themselves the rousing shake,
And sleepless lovers, just at twelve, awake:
Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock'd the ground,
And the press'd watch return'd a silver sound.
Belinda still her downy pillow press'd,
Her guardian sylph prolong'd the balmy rest:
'Twas he had summon'd to her silent bed
The morning dream that hover'd o'er her head;
A youth more glitt'ring than a birthnight beau,
(That ev'n in slumber caus'd her cheek to glow)
Seem'd to her ear his winning lips to lay,
And thus in whispers said, or seem'd to say.

"Fairest of mortals, thou distinguish'd care
Of thousand bright inhabitants of air!
If e'er one vision touch'd thy infant thought,
Of all the nurse and all the priest have taught,
Of airy elves by moonlight shadows seen,
The silver token, and the circled green,
Or virgins visited by angel pow'rs,
With golden crowns and wreaths of heav'nly flow'rs,
Hear and believe! thy own importance know,
Nor bound thy narrow views to things below.
Some secret truths from learned pride conceal'd,
To maids alone and children are reveal'd:
What tho' no credit doubting wits may give?
The fair and innocent shall still believe.
Know then, unnumber'd spirits round thee fly,
The light militia of the lower sky;
These, though unseen, are ever on theg,
Hang o'er the box, and hover round the Ring.
Think what an equipage thou hast in air,
And view with scorn two pages and a chair.
As now your own, our beings were of old,
And once inclos'd in woman's beauteous mould;
Thence, by a soft transition, we repair
From earthly vehicles to these of air.
Think not, when woman's transient breath is fled,
That all her vanities at once are dead;
Succeeding vanities she still regards,
And tho' she plays no more, o'erlooks the cards.
Her joy in gilded chariots, when alive,
And love of ombre, after death survive.
For when the fair in all their pride expire,
To their first elements their souls retire:
The sprites of fiery termagants in flame
Mount up, and take a Salamander's name.
Soft yielding minds to water glide away,
And sip with Nymphs, their elemental tea.
The graver prude sinks downward to a Gnome,
In search of mischief still on earth to roam.
The light coquettes in Sylphs aloft repair,
And sport and flutter in the fields of air.

Know further yet; whoever fair and chaste
Rejects mankind, is by some sylph embrac'd:
For spirits, freed from mortal laws, with ease
Assume what sexes and what shapes they please.
What guards the purity of melting maids,
In courtly balls, and midnight masquerades,
Safe from the treach'rous friend, the daring spark,
The glance by day, the whisper in the dark,
When kind occasion prompts their warm desires,
When music softens, and when dancing fires?
'Tis but their sylph, the wise celestials know,
Though honour is the word with men below.

Some nymphs there are, too conscious of their face,
For life predestin'd to the gnomes' embrace.
These swell their prospects and exalt their pride,
When offers are disdain'd, and love denied:
Then gay ideas crowd the vacant brain,
While peers, and dukes, and all their sweeping train,
And garters, stars, and coronets appear,
And in soft sounds 'Your Grace' salutes their ear.
'Tis these that early taint the female soul,
Instruct the eyes of young coquettes to roll,
Teach infant cheeks a bidden blush to know,
And little hearts to flutter at a beau.

Oft, when the world imagine women stray,
The Sylphs through mystic mazes guide their way,
Thro' all the giddy circle they pursue,
And old impertinence expel by new.
What tender maid but must a victim fall
To one man's treat, but for another's ball?
When Florio speaks, what virgin could withstand,
If gentle Damon did not squeeze her hand?
With varying vanities, from ev'ry part,
They shift the moving toyshop of their heart;
Where wigs with wigs, with sword-knots sword-knots strive,
Beaux banish beaux, and coaches coaches drive.
This erring mortals levity may call,
Oh blind to truth! the Sylphs contrive it all.


Of these am I, who thy protection claim,
A watchful sprite, and Ariel is my name.
Late, as I rang'd the crystal wilds of air,
In the clear mirror of thy ruling star
I saw, alas! some dread event impend,
Ere to the main this morning sun descend,
But Heav'n reveals not what, or how, or where:
Warn'd by the Sylph, oh pious maid, beware!
This to disclose is all thy guardian can.
Beware of all, but most beware of man!"


He said; when Shock, who thought she slept too long,
Leap'd up, and wak'd his mistress with his tongue.
'Twas then, Belinda, if report say true,
Thy eyes first open'd on a billet-doux;
Wounds, charms, and ardors were no sooner read,
But all the vision vanish'd from thy head.


And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd,
Each silver vase in mystic order laid.
First, rob'd in white, the nymph intent adores
With head uncover'd, the cosmetic pow'rs.
A heav'nly image in the glass appears,
To that she bends, to that her eyes she rears;
Th' inferior priestess, at her altar's side,
Trembling, begins the sacred rites of pride.
Unnumber'd treasures ope at once, and here
The various off'rings of the world appear;
From each she nicely culls with curious toil,
And decks the goddess with the glitt'ring spoil.
This casket India's glowing gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
The tortoise here and elephant unite,
Transform'd to combs, the speckled and the white.
Here files of pins extend their shining rows,
Puffs, powders, patches, bibles, billet-doux.
Now awful beauty puts on all its arms;
The fair each moment rises in her charms,
Repairs her smiles, awakens ev'ry grace,
And calls forth all the wonders of her face;
Sees by degrees a purer blush arise,
And keener lightnings quicken in her eyes.
The busy Sylphs surround their darling care;
These set the head, and those divide the hair,
Some fold the sleeve, whilst others plait the gown;
And Betty's prais'd for labours not her own.

by Alexander Pope.

Alas, I thought this forest must be true,
And would not change because of my changed eyes;
I thought the growing things were as I knew,
And not a mock; I thought at least the skies
Were honest and would keep that happy blue
They used to wear before I learned to see
.But woe the day!
Lo, I have wandered forth and thought to stay
Here where some gladness still might be for me,
Where some delight
Should still break on my now too faithful sight;
And, lo, not even here may I go free.
Oh, hateful knowledge, pass and let me be:
Why am I made thy slave? why am I wise
Who once beheld all life with glamoured eyes?

Ah, woe the day! this bleak and shrivelled wood,
These rotted leaves, and all the wild flowers dead:
And here the ferns lie bruised and brown that stood
My tall green shelter: and, above my head,
The naked creaking branches show the sky
Athwart their lattice one murk sunless grey
Ah, woe the day!
I see, and beauty has all passed away.
Woe for my desolate wisdom, woe! Ah why
Must the sweet spell be broken ere I die?

Dear glad-tongued lark, come down and talk with me;
Tell me, oh tell me, hast thou caught, maybe,
Some little word,
Some word from heaven to make the meaning plain
Of this great change, or change me back again?
And, chattering sparrow from the eaves, come here
And tell me, thou who seest men so near,
Canst thou have heard
Some talk among them, out of all their lore,
To teach me, who have learned to see as they,
To be like them still more
And smile at hateful things or pass them o'er?
Sky-bird and house-bird, do you know the way?

Come hither, let me tell you all my woe;
Have you not known me in my carelessness?
I was that joyous child, not long ago,
The fairies hid away from life's distress
And eager weariness of burdened men
To live their darling in the elfin glen;
I was that thing of mirth and fantasies,
More antic than young squirrels at their play,
More wilful wanton than coy butterflies
Teasing the flowers with make-believes to kiss,
More happy than the early thrush whose lay
Awakes the woodlands with spring melodies
And sings the year to summer with his bliss:
And now I am so sad:
For, listen, I am wise, my eyes see truth,
And nothing wears the brightness that it had,
Nothing is fair or glad;
All joy and grace were dreams, dead with my fairy youth.

Ah, had you seen our home!
For the great hall one amethyst clear dome
Fretted with silver or, who could say which,
With white pure moonbeams; and the floors made rich
With patens of all rare translucent gems
And musky flower-buds bending down their stems
For weight of diamonds that hung like dews;
And everywhere the radiance of carved gold,
And pearls' soft shimmer, and quick various hues
Of mystic opals glinting manifold;
And everywhere the music and the gleams
Of clear cool water's sparkling iris beams
In emerald and crystal fountains wrought
Like river lilies with their buds and leaves,
Or as late briar shoots caught
In the first glittering rime-webs blithe October weaves.

Ah me, so fair, so bright!
Had you but seen! But, lo, the other night
I was alone and watching how the sky
Made a new star each moment and grew dim,
And singing to the moon, when he came by,
The wise weird man—what need had I of him?—
The wise weird man who can see fairy folk
And break all spells, he saw me and he spoke
'Poor changeling child,
How is thy heart beguiled,
And thy blind eyes made foolish with false sight!
Let the spell end: be wise, and see aright.'
Then with a frozen salve that brought sharp tears
Signed both my eyes, and went. And from that hour
I am made weary with the cruel dower
Of sight for evil. For mine eyes before
Made beauty where they looked, and saw no more.
Ah happy eyes! Ah sweet, blind, cheated years!

Alas! the glories of our fairy halls:
Alas! the blossoms and the gems and gold:
Dreams, dreams, and lies.
Broken and clammy are the earthen walls,
The mildew is their silvering; where of old
The jewels shimmered shimmers moist and cold
The dew of oozing damps; and, for the dyes
And the fair shapes of diamond laden flowers,
Foul toadstool growths that never saw the skies;
And, for the fountains,pools; and, for the bowers,
Blank caves. Nought, nought in its old gracious guise.
And what is left for beauty is a mock:
Spangles and gilt and glass for precious things,
Bedraggled tinsel gauzes to enfrock
Unlovely nakedness of earth and rock,
And painted images and cozenings.
Ah me! ah me! the beauty, the delight:
Dreams, dreams, and lies.
Ah me! and a curse more has come with sight;
There is no sweetness left me for my ears:
For when they sing the fairy melodies,
Like voice of laughters and like voice of sighs
And voice of running brooks and voice of birds
And voice of lovers' wooing, and the words
Are those that fill the heart of each who hears,
I hate the song, for I hear all the while
'Dreams, dreams, and lies.'
Yea, and I see no loving in a smile;
For, when they soothe me tenderly, and praise,
And speak the soft words of the former days,
My heart is cold and wise as are mine eyes,
And I grow sick of pleasant flatteries
And talk of bliss and ancient merry ways:
For, lo, the hollow old content was vain, How shall it live again?
Dreams, dreams, and lies.

And even here is change. For not till now
Have I seen barrenness, and leaves lie dank.
For me the leaf was green upon the bough
The livelong year, my tall ferns never sank,
Some sweet and tender blossom always grew,
The summer and the winter skies were blue;
And when the snow came in a winter freak
To make the blossoms play me hide and seek
I laughed because I knew that they were there.
Ah woe is me!
I said 'I will steal forth and make my lair,
Like some strayed foxcub, in the sheltered wood,
For that will be as it was wont to be:
And I will live among the careless birds
And happy forest beasts and insect herds
Who in blithe wanderings find their easy food,
And feed and sport and rest in ceaseless glee,
Having their world all real and all fair.'

Alas! for it was falseness even here!
The beauty has gone by, it was my dream,
And all the black and dripping trees lie bare,
Soddening in fog and in dull mists that steam
From the unwholesome barren earth and where
The dead leaves fester that were born this year.
Ah me, I am grown wise, my sight is clear:
And to see clear is weeping, wisdom is despair.

Kind birds, oh tell me, whither shall I hie?
Dear lark, hast thou looked down out of thy sky
On the sweet quiet of some summer land
Where truth and beauty yet go hand in hand?—
Nay, but would'st thou be here!
Tell me, half human sparrow, hast thou seen,
Among the homes of men where thine has been,
A home where I might be among my kind
And love it, and love them, not being blind?
Tell me; draw near.
Oh answer me, for now I learn desires
For men's strong life to stir me, and were fain
To lose old dreams, warm by their hearthside fires.
Yea, and I must go, though it all were pain:
The doom of my new'wisdom is on me.
Woe for my fairy youth! Man among men
I must go forth and suffer, for I see.
Woe for the blind days in the happy glen!

And the lark answered 'Nay, I am not wise;
I can teach nought. Only, the other day,
I heard them singing who sing in the skies,
And ceaselessly I whisper low that lay,
To sing it when the summer comes again:
'In the world are Love and Pain:
Foes yet lovers they remain:
Pain strengthens Love till Love slay Pain.''
The sparrow said 'I could not hear thee plain,
For I was chirruping the merry rhyme
I heard men sing last night at supper-time:
'Reap the grain, and sow the grain,
To grow by sunshine and by rain.''
Then the sad fairies' foster-child arose,
And saw the grey day darkening to its close,
And passed out from the wood, and wandered down,
Along the misty hillside, to the town.

by Augusta Davies Webster.

The Old Cumberland Beggar

I saw an aged Beggar in my walk;
And he was seated, by the highway side,
On a low structure of rude masonry
Built at the foot of a huge hill, that they
Who lead their horses down the steep rough road
May thence remount at ease. The aged Man
Had placed his staff across the broad smooth stone
That overlays the pile; and, from a bag
All white with flour, the dole of village dames,
He drew his scraps and fragments, one by one;
And scanned them with a fixed and serious look
Of idle computation. In the sun,
Upon the second step of that small pile,
Surrounded by those wild unpeopled hills,
He sat, and ate his food in solitude:
And ever, scattered from his palsied hand,
That, still attempting to prevent the waste,
Was baffled still, the crumbs in little showers
Fell on the ground; and the small mountain birds,
Not venturing yet to peck their destined meal,
Approached within the length of half his staff.
Him from my childhood have I known; and then
He was so old, he seems not older now;
He travels on, a solitary Man,
So helpless in appearance, that for him
The sauntering Horseman throws not with a slack
And careless hand his alms upon the ground,
But stops,--that he may safely lodge the coin
Within the old Man's hat; nor quits him so,
But still, when he has given his horse the rein,
Watches the aged Beggar with a look
Sidelong, and half-reverted. She who tends
The toll-gate, when in summer at her door
She turns her wheel, if on the road she sees
The aged beggar coming, quits her work,
And lifts the latch for him that he may pass.
The post-boy, when his rattling wheels o'ertake
The aged Beggar in the woody lane,
Shouts to him from behind; and if, thus warned,
The old man does not change his course, the boy
Turns with less noisy wheels to the roadside,
And passes gently by, without a curse
Upon his lips, or anger at his heart.
He travels on, a solitary Man;
His age has no companion. On the ground
His eyes are turned, and, as he moves along
'They' move along the ground; and, evermore,
Instead of common and habitual sight
Of fields with rural works, of hill and dale,
And the blue sky, one little span of earth
Is all his prospect. Thus, from day to day,
Bow-bent, his eyes for ever on the ground,
He plies his weary journey; seeing still,
And seldom knowing that he sees, some straw,
Some scattered leaf, or marks which, in one track,
The nails of cart or chariot-wheel have left
Impressed on the white road,--in the same line,
At distance still the same. Poor Traveller!
His staff trails with him; scarcely do his feet
Disturb the summer dust; he is so still
In look and motion, that the cottage curs,
Ere he has passed the door, will turn away,
Weary of barking at him. Boys and girls,
The vacant and the busy, maids and youths,
And urchins newly breeched--all pass him by:
Him even the slow-paced waggon leaves behind.
But deem not this Man useless.--Statesmen! ye
Who are so restless in your wisdom, ye
Who have a broom still ready in your hands
To rid the world of nuisances; ye proud,
Heart-swoln, while in your pride ye contemplate
Your talents, power, or wisdom, deem him not
A burthen of the earth! 'Tis Nature's law
That none, the meanest of created things,
Or forms created the most vile and brute,
The dullest or most noxious, should exist
Divorced from good--a spirit and pulse of good,
A life and soul, to every mode of being
Inseparably linked. Then be assured
That least of all can aught--that ever owned
The heaven-regarding eye and front sublime
Which man is born to--sink, howe'er depressed,
So low as to be scorned without a sin;
Without offence to God cast out of view;
Like the dry remnant of a garden-flower
Whose seeds are shed, or as an implement
Worn out and worthless. While from door to door,
This old Man creeps, the villagers in him
Behold a record which together binds
Past deeds and offices of charity,
Else unremembered, and so keeps alive
The kindly mood in hearts which lapse of years,
And that half-wisdom half-experience gives,
Make slow to feel, and by sure steps resign
To selfishness and cold oblivious cares.
Among the farms and solitary huts,
Hamlets and thinly-scattered villages,
Where'er the aged Beggar takes his rounds,
The mild necessity of use compels
To acts of love; and habit does the work 0
Of reason; yet prepares that after-joy
Which reason cherishes. And thus the soul,
By that sweet taste of pleasure unpursued,
Doth find herself insensibly disposed
To virtue and true goodness.
Some there are,
By their good works exalted, lofty minds
And meditative, authors of delight
And happiness, which to the end of time
Will live, and spread, and kindle: even such minds
In childhood, from this solitary Being,
Or from like wanderer, haply have received
(A thing more precious far than all that books
Or the solicitudes of love can do!)
That first mild touch of sympathy and thought,
In which they found their kindred with a world
Where want and sorrow were. The easy man
Who sits at his own door,--and, like the pear
That overhangs his head from the green wall,
Feeds in the sunshine; the robust and young,
The prosperous and unthinking, they who live
Sheltered, and flourish in a little grove
Of their own kindred;--all behold in him
A silent monitor, which on their minds
Must needs impress a transitory thought
Of self-congratulation, to the heart
Of each recalling his peculiar boons,
His charters and exemptions; and, perchance,
Though he to no one give the fortitude
And circumspection needful to preserve
His present blessings, and to husband up
The respite of the season, he, at least,
And 'tis no vulgar service, makes them felt.
Yet further.----Many, I believe, there are
Who live a life of virtuous decency,
Men who can hear the Decalogue and feel
No self-reproach; who of the moral law
Established in the land where they abide
Are strict observers; and not negligent
In acts of love to those with whom they dwell,
Their kindred, and the children of their blood.
Praise be to such, and to their slumbers peace!
--But of the poor man ask, the abject poor;
Go, and demand of him, if there be here
In this cold abstinence from evil deeds,
And these inevitable charities,
Wherewith to satisfy the human soul?
No--man is dear to man; the poorest poor
Long for some moments in a weary life
When they can know and feel that they have been,
Themselves, the fathers and the dealers-out
Of some small blessings; have been kind to such
As needed kindness, for this single cause,
That we have all of us one human heart.
--Such pleasure is to one kind Being known,
My neighbour, when with punctual care, each week
Duly as Friday comes, though pressed herself
By her own wants, she from her store of meal
Takes one unsparing handful for the scrip
Of this old Mendicant, and, from her door
Returning with exhilarated heart,
Sits by her fire, and builds her hope in heaven.
Then let him pass, a blessing on his head!
And while in that vast solitude to which
The tide of things has borne him, he appears
To breathe and live but for himself alone,
Unblamed, uninjured, let him bear about
The good which the benignant law of Heaven
Has hung around him: and, while life is his,
Still let him prompt the unlettered villagers
To tender offices and pensive thoughts.
--Then let him pass, a blessing on his head!
And, long as he can wander, let him breathe
The freshness of the valleys; let his blood
Struggle with frosty air and winter snows;
And let the chartered wind that sweeps the heath
Beat his grey locks against his withered face.
Reverence the hope whose vital anxiousness
Gives the last human interest to his heart.
May never HOUSE, misnamed of INDUSTRY,
Make him a captive!--for that pent-up din,
Those life-consuming sounds that clog the air,
Be his the natural silence of old age!
Let him be free of mountain solitudes;
And have around him, whether heard or not,
The pleasant melody of woodland birds.
Few are his pleasures: if his eyes have now
Been doomed so long to settle upon earth
That not without some effort they behold
The countenance of the horizontal sun,
Rising or setting, let the light at least
Find a free entrance to their languid orbs.
And let him, 'where' and 'when' he will, sit down
Beneath the trees, or on a grassy bank
Of highway side, and with the little birds
Share his chance-gathered meal; and, finally,
As in the eye of Nature he has lived,
So in the eye of Nature let him die!

by William Wordsworth.

An Epistle To Dr. Moore

Whether dispensing hope, and ease
To the pale victim of disease,
Or in the social crowd you sit,
And charm the group with sense and wit,
Moore's partial ear will not disdain
Attention to my artless strain.

An Epistle To Dr. Moore, Author Of A View Of Society And Manners In France, Switzerland And Germany
I mean no giddy heights to climb,
And vainly toil to be sublime;
While every line with labour wrought,
Is swell'd with tropes for want of thought:
Nor shall I call the Muse to shed
Castalian drops upon my head;
Or send me from Parnassian bowers
A chaplet wove of fancy's flowers.
At present all such aid I slight—
My heart instructs me how to write.

That softer glide my hours along,
That still my griefs are sooth'd by song,
That still my careless numbers flow
To your successful skill I owe;
You, who when sickness o'er me hung,
And languor had my lyre unstrung,
With treasures of the healing art,
With friendship's ardor at your heart,
From sickness snatch'd her early prey
And bade fair health—the goddess gay,
With sprightly air, and winning grace,
With laughing eye, and rosy face,
Accustom'd when you call to hear,
On her light pinion hasten near,
And swift restore with influence kind,
My weaken'd frame, my drooping mind.

With like benignity, and zeal,
The mental malady to heal,
To stop the fruitless, hopeless tear,
The life you lengthen'd, render dear,
To charm by fancy's powerful vein,
'The written troubles of the brain,'
From gayer scenes, compassion led
Your frequent footsteps to my shed:
And knowing that the Muses' art
Has power to ease an aching heart,
You sooth'd that heart with partial praise,
And I before too fond of lays,
While others pant for solid gain,
Grasp at a laurel sprig—in vain—
You could not chill with frown severe
The madness to my soul so dear;
For when Apollo came to store
Your mind with salutary lore,
The god I ween, was pleas'd to dart
A ray from Pindus on your heart;
Your willing bosom caught the fire,
And still is partial to the lyre.

But now from you at distance plac'd
Where Epping spreads a woody waste;
Tho' unrestrain'd my fancy flies,
And views in air her fabrics rise,
And paints with brighter bloom the flowers,
Bids Dryads people all the bowers,
And Echoes speak from every hill,
And Naiads pour each little rill,
And bands of Sylphs with pride unfold
Their azure plumage mix'd with gold,
My heart remembers with a sigh
That you are now no longer nigh.
The magic scenes no more engage,
I quit them for your various page;
Where, with delight I traverse o'er
The foreign paths you trod before:
Ah not in vain those paths you trac'd,
With heart to feel, with powers to taste!

Amid the ever-jocund train
Who sport upon the banks of Seine,
In your light Frenchman pleas'd I see
His nation's gay epitome;
Whose careless hours glide smooth along,
Who charms MISFORTUNE with a song.
She comes not as on Albion's plain,
With death, and madness in her train;
For here, her keenest sharpest dart
May raze, but cannot pierce the heart.
Yet he whose spirit light as air
Calls life a jest, and laughs at care,
Feels the strong force of pity's voice,
And bids afflicted love rejoice;
Love, such as fills the poet's page
Love, such as form'd the golden age—
FANCHON, thy grateful look I see—
I share thy joys—I weep with thee—
What eye has read without a tear
A tale to nature's heart so dear!

There, dress'd in each sublimer grace
Geneva's happy scene I trace;
Her lake, from whose broad bosom thrown
Rushes the loud impetuous Rhone,
And bears his waves with mazy sweep
In rapid torrents to the deep—
Oh for a Muse less weak of wing,
High on yon Alpine steeps to spring,
And tell in verse what they disclose
As well as you have told in prose;
How wrapt in snows and icy showers,
Eternal winter, horrid lowers
Upon the mountain's awful brow,
While purple summer blooms below;
How icy structures rear their forms
Pale products of ten thousand storms;
Where the full sun-beam powerless falls
On crystal arches, columns, walls,
Yet paints the proud fantastic height
With all the various hues of light.
Why is no poet call'd to birth
In such a favour'd spot of earth?
How high his vent'rous Muse might rise,
And proudly scorn to ask supplies
From the Parnassian hill, the fire
Of verse, Mont Blanc might well inspire.
O SWITZERLAND! how oft these eyes
Desire to view thy mountains rise;
How fancy loves thy steeps to climb,
So wild, so solemn, so sublime;
And o'er thy happy vales to roam,
Where freedom rears her humble home.
Ah, how unlike each social grace
Which binds in love thy manly race,
The HOLLANDERS phlegmatic ease
Too cold to love, too dull to please;
Who feel no sympathetic woe,
Nor sympathetic joy bestow,
But fancy words are only made
To serve the purposes of trade,
And when they neither buy, nor sell,
Think silence answers quite as well.

Now in his happiest light is seen
VOLTAIRE, when evening chas'd his spleen,
And plac'd at supper with his friends,
The playful flash of wit descends—
Of names renown'd you clearly shew
The finer traits we wish to know—
To Prussia's martial clime I stray
And see how FREDERIC spends the day;
Behold him rise at dawning light
To form his troops for future fight;
Thro' the firm ranks his glances pierce,
Where discipline, with aspect fierce,
And unrelenting breast, is seen
Degrading man to a machine;
My female heart delights to turn
Where GREATNESS seems not quite so stern:
Mild on th' IMPERIAL BROW she glows,
And lives to soften human woes.

But lo! on ocean's stormy breast
I see majestic VENICE rest;
While round her spires the billows rave,
Inverted splendours gild the wave.
Fair liberty has rear'd with toil,
Her fabric on this marshy soil.
She fled those banks with scornful pride,
Where classic Po devolves her tide:
Yet here her unrelenting laws
Are deaf to nature's, freedom's cause.
Unjust! they seal'd FOSCARI'S doom,
An exile in his early bloom.
And he, who bore the rack unmov'd,
Divided far from those he lov'd,
From all the social hour can give,
From all that make it bliss to live,
These worst of ills refus'd to bear,
And died, the victim of despair.

An eye of wonder let me raise,
While on imperial ROME I gaze.
But oh! no more in glory bright
She fills with awe th' astonish'd sight:
Her mould'ring fanes in ruin trac'd,
Lie scatter'd on Campania's waste.
Nor only these—alas! we find
The wreck involves the human mind:
The lords of earth now drag a chain
Beneath a pontiff's feeble reign;
The soil that gave a Cato birth
No longer yields heroic worth,
Whose image lives but on the bust,
Or consecrates the medal's rust:
Yet if no heart of modern frame
Glows with the antient hero's flame,
The dire Arena's horrid stage
Is banish'd from this milder age;
Those savage virtues too are fled
At which the human feelings bled.

While now at Virgil's tomb you bend,
O let me on your steps attend!
Kneel on the turf that blossoms round,
And kiss, with lips devout, the ground.
I feel how oft his magic powers
Shed pleasure on my lonely hours.
Tho' hid from me the classic tongue,
In which his heav'nly strain was sung,
In Dryden's tuneful lines, I pierce
The shaded beauties of his verse.

Bright be the rip'ning beam, that shines
Fair FLORENCE, on thy purple vines!
And ever pure the fanning gale
That pants in Arno's myrtle vale!
Here, when the barb'rous northern race,
Dire foes to every muse, and grace,
Had doom'd the banish'd arts to roam
The lovely wand'rers found a home;
And shed round Leo's triple crown
Unfading rays of bright renown.
Who e'er has felt his bosom glow
With knowledge, or the wish to know;
Has e'er from books with transport caught
The rich accession of a thought;
Perceiv'd with conscious pride, he feels
The sentiment which taste reveals;
Let all who joys like these possess,
Thy vale, enchanting FLORENCE bless—
O had the arts benignant light
No more reviv'd from Gothic night,
Earth had been one vast scene of strife,
Or one drear void had sadden'd life;
Lost had been all the sage has taught,
The painter's sketch, the poet's thought,
The force of sense, the charm of wit,
Nor ever had your page been writ;
That soothing page, which care beguiles,
And dresses truth in fancy's smiles:
For not with hostile step you prest
Each foreign soil, a thankless guest!
While travellers who want the skill
To mark the shapes of good and ill,
With vacant stare thro' Europe range,
And deem all bad, because 'tis strange;
Thro' varying modes of life, you trace
The finer trait, the latent grace,
And where thro' every vain disguise
You view the human follies rise,
The stroke of irony you dart
With force to mend, not wound the heart.
While intellectual objects share
Your mind's extensive view, you bear,
Quite free from spleen's incumb'ring load,
The little evils on the road—
So, while the path of life I tread,
A path to me with briers spread;
Let me its tangled mazes spy
Like you, with gay, good-humour'd eye;
Nor at those thorny tracts repine,
The treasure of your friendship, mine.

by Helen Maria Williams.

Rural Elegance, An Ode To The Late Duchess Of Somerset

While orient skies restore the day,
And dew-drops catch the lucid ray;
Amid the sprightly scenes of morn
Will aught the Muse inspire?
Oh! peace to yonder clamorous horn
That drowns the sacred lyre!

Ye rural Thanes! that o'er the mossy down
Some panting, timorous hare pursue,
Does Nature mean your joys alone to crown?
Say, does she smooth her lawns for you?
For you does Echo bid the rocks reply,
And, urged by rude constraint, resound the jovial cry?

See from the neighbouring hill, forlorn,
The wretched swain your sport survey;
He finds his faithful fences torn,
He finds his labour'd crops a prey;
He sees his flock no more in circles feed,
Haply beneath your ravage bleed,
And with no random curses loads the deed.

Nor yet, ye Swains! conclude
That Nature smiles for you alone;
Your bounded souls and your conceptions crude,
The proud, the selfish boast disown:
Yours be the produce of the soil;
O may it still reward your toil!
Nor ever the defenceless train
Of clinging infants ask support in vain!

But though the various harvest gild your plains,
Does the mere landscape feast your eye?
Or the warm hope of distant gains
Far other cause of glee supply?
Is not the red-streak's future juice
The source of your delight profound,
Where Ariconium pours her gems profuse,
Purpling a whole horizon round?
Athirst ye praise the limpid stream, 'tis true;
But though the pebbled shores among
It mimic no unpleasing song,
The limpid fountain murmurs not for you.

Unpleased ye see the thickets bloom,
Unpleased the spring her flowery robe resume;
Unmoved the mountain's airy pile,
The dappled mead without a smile
O let a rural conscious Muse,
For well she knows, your froward sense accuse:
Forth to the solemn oak you bring the square,
And span the massy trunk, before you cry, 'Tis fair.

Nor yet, ye Learn'd! nor yet, ye Courtly Train!
If haply from your haunts ye stray
To waste with us a summer's day,
Exclude the taste of every swain,
Nor our untutor'd sense disdain:
'Tis nature only gives exclusive right
To relish her supreme delight
She, where she pleases, kind or coy,
Who furnishes the scene, and forms us to enjoy.

Then hither bring the fair ingenuous mind,
By her auspicious aid refined.
Lo! not an hedge-row hawthorn blows,
Or humble harebell paints the plain,
Or valley winds, or fountain flows,
Or purple heath is tinged in vain:
For such the rivers dash the foaming tides,
The mountain swells, the dale subsides:
Even thriftless furze detains their wandering sight,
And the rough barren rock grows pregnant with delight.

With what suspicious fearful care
The sordid wretch secures his claim,
If haply some luxurious heir
Should alienate the fields that wear his name!
What scruples lest some future birth
Should litigate a span of earth!
Bonds, contracts, feoffments, names unmeet for prose,
The towering Muse endures not to disclose;
Alas! her unreversed decree,
More comprehensive and more free,
Her lavish charter, taste, appropriates all we see.

Let gondolas their painted flags unfolds,
And be the solemn day enroll'd,
When, to confirm his lofty plea,
In nuptial sort, with bridal gold,
The grave Venetian weds the sea;
Each laughing Muse derides the vow;
Even Adria scorns the mock embrace,
To some lone hermit on the mountain's brow,
Allotted, from his natal hour,
With all her myrtle shores in dower.
His breast, to admiration prone,
Enjoys the smile upon her face,
Enjoys triumphant every grace,
And finds her more his own.

Fatigued with Form's oppressive laws,
When Somerset avoids the great,
When, cloy'd with merited applause,
She seeks the rural calm retreat,
Does she not praise each mossy cell,
And feel the truth my numbers tell?
When deafen'd by the loud acclaim
Which genius graced with rank obtains,
Could she not more delighted hear
Yon throstle chant the rising year?
Could she not spurn the wreaths of fame,
To crop the primrose of the plains?
Does she not sweets in each fair valley find,
Lost to the sons of power, unknown to half mankind?

Ah! can she covet there to see
The splendid slaves, the reptile race,
That oil the tongue, and bow the knee,
That slight her merit, but adore her place?
Far happier, if aright I deem,
When from gay throngs, and gilded spires,
To where the lonely halcyons play,
Her philosophic step retires:
While studious of the moral theme,
She, to some smooth sequester'd stream
Likens the swains' inglorious day;
Pleased from the flowery margin to survey,
How cool, serene, and clear, the current glides away.

O blind to truth, to virtue blind,
Who slight the sweetly pensive mind!
On whose fair birth the Graces mild,
And every Muse prophetic smiled.
Not that the poet's boasted fire
Should Fame's wide-echoing trumpet swell;
Or, on the music of his lyre
Each future age with rapture dwell;
The vaunted sweets of praise remove,
Yet shall such bosoms claim a part
In all that glads the human heart;
Yet these the spirits form'd to judge and prove
All Nature's charms immense, and heaven's unbounded love.

And, oh! the transport most allied to song,
In some fair villa's peaceful bound,
To catch soft hints from Nature's tongue,
And bid Arcadia bloom around;
Whether we fringe the sloping hill,
Or smoothe below the verdant mead;
Whether we break the falling rill,
Or through meandering mazes lead;
Or in the horrid brambles' room
Bid careless groups of roses bloom;
Or let some shelter'd lake serene
Reflect flowers, woods, and spires, and brighten all the scene.

O sweet disposal of the rural hour!
O beauties never known to cloy!
While Worth and Genius haunt the favour'd bower,
And every gentle breast partakes the joy;
While Charity at eve surveys the swain,
Enabled by these toils to cheer
A train of helpless infants dear,
Speed whistling home across the plain;
See vagrant Luxury, her handmaid grown,
For half her graceless deeds atone,
And hails the bounteous work, and ranks it with her own.

Why brand these pleasures with the name
Of soft, unsocial toils, of indolence and shame?
Search but the garden, or the wood,
Let yon admired carnation own,
Not all was meant for raiment, or for food,
Not all for needful use alone;
There while the seeds of future blossoms dwell,
'Tis colour'd for the sight, perfumed to please the smell.
Why knows the nightingale to sing?
Why flows the pine's nectareous juice?
Why shines with paint the linnet's wing?
For sustenance alone? for use?
For preservation? Every sphere
Shall bid fair Pleasure's rightful claim appear.

And sure there seem, of humankind,
Some born to shun the solemn strife;
Some for amusive tasks design'd,
To soothe the certain ills of life;
Grace its lone vales with many a budding rose,
New founts of bliss disclose,
Call forth refreshing shades, and decorate repose.

From plains and woodlands; from the view
Of rural Nature's blooming face,
Smit with the glare of rank and place,
To courts the sons of Fancy flew;
There long had Art ordain'd a rival seat,
There had she lavish'd all her care
To form a scene more dazzling fair,
And call'd them from their green retreat
To share her proud control;
Had given the robe with grace to flow,
Had taught exotic gems to glow;
And emulous of Nature's power,
Mimic'd the plume, the leaf, the flower;
Changed the complexion's native hue,
Moulded each rustic limb anew,
And warp'd the very soul!

Awhile her magic strikes the novel eye,
Awhile the fairy forms delight;
And now aloof we seem to fly
On purple pinions through a purer sky,
Where all is wondrous, all is bright:
Now, landed on some spangled shore,
Awhile each dazzled maniac roves,
By sapphire lakes through emerald groves:
Paternal acres please no more:
Adieu, the simple, the sincere delight!
The habitual scene of hill and dale,
The rural herds, the vernal gale,
The tangled vetch's purple bloom,
The fragrance of the bean's perfume,
Be theirs alone who cultivate the soil,
And drink the cup of thirst, and eat the bread of toil.

But soon the pageant fades away!
'Tis Nature only bears perpetual sway.
We pierce the counterfeit delight,
Fatigued with splendour's irksome beams.
Fancy again demands the sight
Of native groves and wonted streams,
Pants for the scenes that charm'd her youthful eyes,
Where Truth maintains her court, and banishes Disguise.

Then hither oft, ye Senators! retire;
With Nature here high converse hold;
For who like Stamford her delights admire,
Like Stamford shall with scorn behold
The unequal bribes of pageantry and gold;
Beneath the British oak's majestic shade,
Shall see fair Truth, immortal maid!
Friendship in artless guise array'd,
Honour and moral beauty shine
With more attractive charms, with radiance more divine.

Yes, here alone did highest Heaven ordain
The lasting magazine of charms,
Whatever wins, whatever warms,
Whatever fancy seeks to share,
The great, the various, and the fair,
For ever should remain!

Her impulse nothing may restrain-
Or whence the joy 'mid columns, towers,
Midst all the city's artful trim,
To rear some breathless vapid flowers
Or shrubs fuliginously grim?
From rooms of silken foliage vain,
To trace the dun far distant grove,
Where, smit with undissembled pain,
The woodlark mourns her absent love,
Borne to the dusty town from native air,
To mimic rural life, and soothe some vapour'd fair?

But how must faithless Art prevail,
Should all who taste our joy sincere,
To virtue, truth, or science, dear,
Forego a court's alluring pale,
For dimpled brook and leafy grove,
For that rich luxury of thought they love!
Ah, no! from these the public sphere requires
Examples for its giddy bands;
From these impartial Heaven demands
To spread the flame itself inspires;
To sift Opinion's mingled mass,
Impress a nation's taste, and bid the sterling pass.

Happy, thrice happy they,
Whose graceful deeds have exemplary shone
Round the gay precincts of a throne,
With mild effective beams!
Who bands of fair ideas bring,
By solemn grot, or shady spring,
To join their pleasing dreams!
Theirs is the rural bliss without alloy;
They only that deserve, enjoy.

What though nor fabled Dryad haunt their grove,
Nor Naiad near their fountain rove?
Yet all embodied to the mental sight,
A train of smiling Virtues bright
Shall there the wise retreat allow,
Shall twine triumphant palms to deck the wanderer's brow.

And though by faithless friends alarm'd,
Art have with Nature waged presumptuous war,
By Seymour's winning influence charm'd,
In whom their gifts united shine,
No longer shall their councils jar.
'Tis hers to mediate the peace;
Near Percy-lodge, with awe-struck mien,
The rebel seeks her lawful queen,
And havoc and contention cease.
I see the rival powers combine,
And aid each other's fair design:
Nature exalt the mound where Art shall build;
Art shape the gay alcove, while Nature paints the field.

Begin, ye songsters of the grove!
O warble forth your noblest lay:
Where Somerset vouchsafes to rove,
Ye leverets! freely sport and play.
-Peace to the strepent horn!
Let no harsh dissonance disturb the Morn;
No sounds inelegant and rude
Her sacred solitudes profane!
Unless her candour not exclude
The lowly shepherd's votive strain,
Who tunes his reed amidst his rural cheer,
Fearful, yet not averse, that Somerset should hear.

by William Shenstone.

Uncle Ned’s Tales: How The Flag Was Saved

‘TWAS a dismal winter's evening, fast without came down the snow,
But within, the cheerful fire cast a ruddy, genial glow
O'er our pleasant little parlor, that was then my mother's pride.
There she sat beside the glowing grate, my sister by her side;
And beyond, within the shadow, in a cosy little nook
Uncle Ned and I were sitting, and in whispering tones we spoke.
I was asking for a story he had promised me to tell,—
Of his comrade, old Dick Hilton, how he fought and how he fell;
And with eager voice I pressed him, till a mighty final cloud
Blew he slowly, then upon his breast his grisly head he bowed,
And, musing, stroked his gray mustache ere he began to speak,
Then brushed a tear that stole along his bronzed and furrowed cheek.
'Ah, no! I will not speak to-night of that sad tale,' he cried,
'Some other time I'll tell you, boy, about that splendid ride.
Your words have set me thinking of the many careless years
That comrade rode beside me, and have caused these bitter tears;
For I loved him, boy,—for twenty years we galloped rein to rein,—
In peace and war, through all that time, stanch comrades had we been.
As boys we rode together when our soldiering first began.
And in all those years I knew him for a true and trusty man.
One who never swerved from danger,—for he knew not how to fear,—
If grim Death arrayed his legions, Dick would charge him with a cheer.
He was happiest in a struggle or a wild and dangerous ride:
Every inch a trooper was he, and he cared for naught beside.
He was known for many a gallant deed: to-night I'll tell you one,
And no braver feat of arms was by a soldier ever done.
'Twas when we were young and fearless, for 'twas in our first campaign,
When we galloped through the orange groves and fields of sunny Spain.
Our wary old commander was retiring from the foe,
Who came pressing close upon us, with a proud, exulting show.
We could hear their taunting laughter, and within our very sight
Did they ride defiant round us,—ay, and dared us to the fight.
But brave old Picton heeded not, but held his backward track,
And smiling said the day would come to pay the Frenchmen back.
And come it did: one morning, long before the break of day,
We were standing to our arms, all ready for the coming fray.
Soon the sun poured down his glory on the hostile lines arrayed,
And his beams went flashing brightly back from many a burnished blade,
Soon to change its spotless luster for a reeking crimson stain,
In some heart, then throbbing proudly, that will never throb again.
When that sun has reached his zenith, life and pride will then have fled,
And his beams will mock in splendor o'er the ghastly heaps of dead.
Oh, 'tis sad to think how many—but I wander, lad, I fear;
And, though the moral's good, I guess the tale you'd rather hear.
Well, I said that we were ready, and the foe was ready, too;
Soon the fight was raging fiercely,—thick and fast the bullets flew,
With a bitter hiss of malice, as if hungry for the life
To be torn from manly bosoms in the maddening heat of strife.
Distant batteries were thundering, pouring grape and shell like rain,
And the cruel missiles hurtled with their load of death and pain,
Which they carried, like fell demons, to the heart of some brigade,
Where the sudden, awful stillness told the havoc they had made.
Thus the struggle raged till noon, and neither side could vantage show;
Then the tide of battle turned, and swept in favor of the foe!
Fiercer still the cannon thundered,—wilder screamed the grape and shell,—
Onward pressed the French battalions,—back the British masses fell!
Then, as on its prey devoted, fierce the hungered vulture swoops,
Swung the foeman's charging squadrons down upon our broken troops.
Victory hovered o'er their standard,—on they swept with maddened shout,
Spreading death and havoc round them, till retreat was changed to rout!
'Twas a saddening sight to witness; and, when Picton saw them fly,
Grief and shame were mixed and burning in the old commander's eye.
We were riding in his escort, close behind him, on a height
Which the fatal field commanded; thence we viewed the growing flight.
'But, my lad, I now must tell you something more about that hill,
And I'll try to make you see the spot as I can see it still.
Bight before us, o'er the battle-field, the fall was sheer and steep;
On our left the ground fell sloping, in a pleasant, grassy sweep,
Where the aides went dashing swiftly, bearing orders to and fro,
For by that sloping side alone they reached the plain below.
On our right—now pay attention, boy—a yawning fissure lay,
As if an earthquake's shock had split the mountain's side away.
And in the dismal gulf, far down, we heard the angry roar
Of a foaming mountain torrent, that, mayhap, the cleft had wore,
As it rushed for countless ages through its black and secret lair;
But no matter how 'twas formed, my lad, the yawning gulf was there.
And from the farther side a stone projected o'er the gorge,—
'Twas strange to see the massive rock just balanced on the verge;
It seemed as if an eagle's weight the ponderous mass of stone
Would topple from its giddy height, and send it crashing down.
It stretched far o'er the dark abyss; but, though 'twere footing good,
'Twas twenty feet or more from off the side on which we stood.
Beyond the cleft a gentle slope went down and joined the plain,—
Now, lad, back to where we halted, and again resume the rein.
I said our troops were routed. Far and near they broke and fled,
The grape-shot tearing through them, leaving lanes of mangled dead.
All order lost, they left the fight,—they threw their arms away,
And joined in one wild panic rout,—ah! 'twas a bitter day!

'But did I say that all was lost? Nay, one brave corps stood fast,
Determined they would never fly, but fight it to the last.
They barred the Frenchman from his prey, and his whole fury braved,—
One brief hour could they hold their ground, the army might be saved.
Fresh troops were hurrying to our aid,—we saw their glittering head,—
Ah, God! how those brave hearts were raked by the death-shower of lead!
But stand they did: they never flinched nor took one backward stride,
They sent their bayonets home, and then with stubborn courage died.
But few were left of that brave band when the dread hour had passed,
Still, faint and few, they held their flag above them to the last.
But now a cloud of horsemen, like a shadowy avalanche,
Sweeps down: as Picton sees them, e'en his cheek is seen to blanch.
They were not awed, that little band, but rallied once again,
And sent us back a farewell cheer. Then burst from reckless men
The anguished cry, ' God help them!' as we saw the feeble flash
Of their last defiant volley, when upon them with a crash
Burst the gleaming lines of riders,—one by one they disappear,
And the chargers' hoofs are trampling on the last of that brave square!
On swept the squadrons! Then we looked where last the band was seen:
A scarlet heap was all that marked the place where they had been!
Still forward spurred the horsemen, eager to complete the rout;
But our lines had been reformed now, and five thousand guns belched out
A reception to the squadrons,—rank on rank was piled that day
Every bullet hissed out ' Vengeance!' as it whistled on its way.

'And now it was, with maddened hearts, we saw a galling sight:
A French hussar was riding close beneath us on the right,—
He held a British standard! With insulting shout he stood,
And waved the flag,—its heavy folds drooped down with shame and blood,—
The blood of hearts unconquered: 'twas the flag of the stanch corps
That had fought to death beneath it,—it was heavy with their gore.
The foreign dog! I see him as he holds the standard down,
And makes his charger trample on its colors and its crown!
But his life soon paid the forfeit: with a cry of rage and pain,
Hilton dashes from the escort, like a tiger from his chain.
Nought he sees but that insulter; and he strikes his frightened horse
With his clenched hand, and spurs him, with a bitter-spoken curse,
Straight as bullet from a rifle—but, great Lord! he has not seen,
In his angry thirst for vengeance, the black gulf that lies between!
All our warning shouts unheeded, starkly on he headlong rides,
And lifts his horse, with bloody spurs deep buried in his sides.

God's mercy! does he see the gulf? Ha! now his purpose dawns
Upon our minds, as nearer still the rocky fissure yawns:
Where from the farther side the stone leans o'er the stream beneath,
He means to take the awful leap! Cold horror checks our breath,
And still and mute we watch him now: he nears the fearful place;
We hear him shout to cheer the horse, and keep the headlong pace.
Then comes a rush,—short strides,—a blow!—the horse bounds wildly on,
Springs high in air o'er the abyss, and lands upon the stone!
It trembles, topples 'neath their weight! it sinks! ha! bravely done!
Another spring,—they gain the side,—the ponderous rock is gone
With crashing roar, a thousand feet, down to the flood below,
And Hilton, heedless of its noise, is riding at the foe!
'The Frenchman stared in wonder: he was brave, and would not run,
'Twould merit but a coward's brand to turn and fly from one.
But still he shuddered at the glance from 'neath that knitted brow:
He knew 'twould be a death fight, but there was no shrinking now.
He pressed his horse to meet the shock: straight at him Hilton made,
And as they closed the Frenchman's cut fell harmless on his blade;
But scarce a moment's time had passed ere, spurring from the field,
A troop of cuirassiers closed round and called on him to yield.
One glance of scorn he threw them,—all his answer in a frown,—
And riding at their leader with one sweep he cut him down;
Then aimed at him who held the flag a cut of crushing might,
And split him to the very chin!—a horrid, ghastly sight!
He seized the standard from his hand; but now the Frenchmen close,
And that stout soldier, all alone, fights with a hundred foes!
They cut and cursed,—a dozen swords were whistling round his head;
He could not guard on every side,—from fifty wounds he bled.
His saber crashed through helm and blade, as though it were a mace;
He cut their steel cuirasses and he slashed them o'er the face.
One tall dragoon closed on him, but he wheeled his horse around,
And cloven through the helmet went the trooper to the ground.
But his saber blade was broken by the fury of the blow,
And he hurled the useless, bloody hilt against the nearest foe;
Then furled the colors round the pole, and, like a leveled lance,
He charged with that red standard through the bravest troops of France!
His horse, as lion-hearted, scarcely needed to be urged,
And steed and rider bit the dust before him as he charged.
Straight on he rode, and down they went, till he had cleared the ranks,
Then once again he loosed the rein and struck his horse's flanks.
A cheer broke from the French dragoons,—a loud, admiring shout!—
As off he rode, and o'er him shook the tattered colors out.
Still might they ride him down: they scorned to fire or to pursue,—
Brave hearts! they cheered him to our lines,—their army cheering, too!
And we—what did we do? you ask. Well, boy, we did not cheer,
Nor not one sound of welcome reached our hero comrade's ear;
But, as he rode along the ranks, each soldier's head was bare,—
Our hearts were far too full for cheers,—we welcomed him with prayer.
Ah, boy, we loved that dear old flag!—ay, loved it so, we cried
Like children, as we saw it wave in all its tattered pride!
No, boy, no cheers to greet him, though he played a noble part,—
We only prayed 'God bless him!' but that prayer came from the heart.
He knew we loved him for it,—he could see it in our tears,—
And such silent earnest love as that is better, boy, than cheers.
Next day we fought the Frenchman, and we drove him back, of course,
Though we lost some goodly soldiers, and old Picton lost a horse.
But there I've said enough: your mother's warning finger shook,—
Mind, never be a soldier, boy!—now let me have a smoke.'

by John Boyle O'Reilly.

(A Fragment)>/i>


What, have I waked again? I never thought
To see the rosy dawn, or ev'n this grey,
Dull, solemn stillness, ere the dawn has come.
The lamp burns low; low burns the lamp of life:
The still morn stays expectant, and my soul,
All weighted with a passive wonderment,
Waiteth and watcheth, waiteth for the dawn.
Come hither, maids; too soundly have ye slept
That should have watched me; nay, I would not chide--
Oft have I chidden, yet I would not chide
In this last hour;--now all should be at peace.
I have been dreaming in a troubled sleep
Of weary days I thought not to recall;
Of stormy days, whose storms are hushed long since;
Of gladsome days, of sunny days; alas!
In dreaming, all their sunshine seem'd so sad,
As though the current of the dark To-Be
Had flow'd, prophetic, through the happy hours.
And yet, full well, I know it was not thus;
I mind me sweetly of the summer days,
When, leaning from the lattice, I have caught
The fair, far glimpses of a shining sea;
And, nearer, of tall ships which thronged the bay,
And stood out blackly from a tender sky
All flecked with sulphur, azure, and bright gold;
And in the still, clear air have heard the hum
Of distant voices; and methinks there rose
No darker fount to mar or stain the joy
Which sprang ecstatic in my maiden breast
Than just those vague desires, those hopes and fears,
Those eager longings, strong, though undefined,
Whose very sadness makes them seem so sweet.
What cared I for the merry mockeries
Of other maidens sitting at the loom?
Or for sharp voices, bidding me return
To maiden labour? Were we not apart,--
I and my high thoughts, and my golden dreams,
My soul which yearned for knowledge, for a tongue
That should proclaim the stately mysteries
Of this fair world, and of the holy gods?
Then followed days of sadness, as I grew
To learn my woman-mind had gone astray,
And I was sinning in those very thoughts--
For maidens, mark, such are not woman's thoughts--
(And yet, 'tis strange, the gods who fashion us
Have given us such promptings). . . .
Fled the years,
Till seventeen had found me tall and strong,
And fairer, runs it, than Athenian maids
Are wont to seem ; I had not learnt it well--
My lesson of dumb patience--and I stood
At Life's great threshold with a beating heart,
And soul resolved to conquer and attain. . . .
Once, walking 'thwart the crowded market place,
With other maidens, bearing in the twigs
White doves for Aphrodite's sacrifice,
I saw him, all ungainly and uncouth,
Yet many gathered round to hear his words,
Tall youths and stranger-maidens--Sokrates--
I saw his face and marked it, half with awe,
Half with a quick repulsion at the shape. . . .
The richest gem lies hidden furthest down,
And is the dearer for the weary search;
We grasp the shining shells which strew the shore,
Yet swift we fling them from us; but the gem
We keep for aye and cherish. So a soul,
Found after weary searching in the flesh
Which half repelled our senses, is more dear,
For that same seeking, than the sunny mind
Which lavish Nature marks with thousand hints
Upon a brow of beauty. We are prone
To overweigh such subtle hints, then deem,
In after disappointment, we are fooled. . .
And when, at length, my father told me all,
That I should wed me with great Sokrates,
I, foolish, wept to see at once cast down
The maiden image of a future love,
Where perfect body matched the perfect soul.
But slowly, softly did I cease to weep;
Slowly I 'gan to mark the magic flash
Leap to the eyes, to watch the sudden smile
Break round the mouth, and linger in the eyes;
To listen for the voice's lightest tone--
Great voice, whose cunning modulations seemed
Like to the notes of some sweet instrument.
So did I reach and strain, until at last
I caught the soul athwart the grosser flesh.
Again of thee, sweet Hope, my spirit dreamed!
I, guided by his wisdom and his love,
Led by his words, and counselled by his care,
Should lift the shrouding veil from things which be,
And at the flowing fountain of his soul
Refresh my thirsting spirit. . .
And indeed,
In those long days which followed that strange day
When rites and song, and sacrifice and flow'rs,
Proclaimed that we were wedded, did I learn,
In sooth, a-many lessons; bitter ones
Which sorrow taught me, and not love inspired,
Which deeper knowledge of my kind impressed
With dark insistence on reluctant brain;--
But that great wisdom, deeper, which dispels
Narrowed conclusions of a half-grown mind,
And sees athwart the littleness of life
Nature's divineness and her harmony,
Was never poor Xantippe's. . .
I would pause
And would recall no more, no more of life,
Than just the incomplete, imperfect dream
Of early summers, with their light and shade,
Their blossom-hopes, whose fruit was never ripe;
But something strong within me, some sad chord
Which loudly echoes to the later life,
Me to unfold the after-misery
Urges with plaintive wailing in my heart.
Yet, maidens, mark ; I would not that ye thought
I blame my lord departed, for he meant
No evil, so I take it, to his wife.
'Twas only that the high philosopher,
Pregnant with noble theories and great thoughts,
Deigned not to stoop to touch so slight a thing
As the fine fabric of a woman's brain--
So subtle as a passionate woman's soul.
I think, if he had stooped a little, and cared,
I might have risen nearer to his height,
And not lain shattered, neither fit for use
As goodly household vessel, nor for that
Far finer thing which I had hoped to be. . .
Death, holding high his retrospective lamp,
Shows me those first, far years of wedded life,
Ere I had learnt to grasp the barren shape
Of what the Fates had destined for my life.
Then, as all youthful spirits are, was I
Wholly incredulous that Nature meant
So little, who had promised me so much.
At first I fought my fate with gentle words,
With high endeavours after greater things;
Striving to win the soul of Sokrates,
Like some slight bird, who sings her burning love
To human master, till at length she finds
Her tender language wholly misconceived,
And that same hand whose kind caress she sought,
With fingers flippant flings the careless corn. . .
I do remember how, one summer's eve,
He, seated in an arbour's leafy shade,
Had bade me bring fresh wine-skins. . .
As I stood
Ling'ring upon the threshold, half concealed
By tender foliage, and my spirit light
With draughts of sunny weather, did I mark
An instant, the gay group before mine eyes.
Deepest in shade, and facing where I stood,
Sat Plato, with his calm face and low brows
Which met above the narrow Grecian eyes,
The pale, thin lips just parted to the smile,
Which dimpled that smooth olive of his cheek.
His head a little bent, sat Sokrates,
With one swart finger raised admonishing,
And on the air were borne his changing tones.
Low lounging at his feet, one fair arm thrown
Around his knee (the other, high in air
Brandish'd a brazen amphor, which yet rained
Bright drops of ruby on the golden locks
And temples with their fillets of the vine),
Lay Alkibiades the beautiful.
And thus, with solemn tone, spake Sokrates:
' This fair Aspasia, which our Perikles
Hath brought from realms afar, and set on high
In our Athenian city, hath a mind,
I doubt not, of a strength beyond her race;
And makes employ of it, beyond the way
Of women nobly gifted : woman's frail--
Her body rarely stands the test of soul;
She grows intoxicate with knowledge; throws
The laws of custom, order, 'neath her feet,
Feasting at life's great banquet with wide throat.'
Then sudden, stepping from my leafy screen,
Holding the swelling wine-skin o'er my head,
With breast that heaved, and eyes and cheeks aflame,
Lit by a fury and a thought, I spake:
' By all great powers around us ! can it be
That we poor women are empirical?
That gods who fashioned us did strive to make
Beings too fine, too subtly delicate,
With sense that thrilled response to ev'ry touch
Of nature's and their task is not complete?
That they have sent their half-completed work
To bleed and quiver here upon the earth?
To bleed and quiver, and to weep and weep,
To beat its soul against the marble walls
Of men's cold hearts, and then at last to sin!'
I ceased, the first hot passion stayed and stemmed
And frighted by the silence: I could see,
Framed by the arbour foliage, which the sun
In setting softly gilded with rich gold,
Those upturned faces, and those placid limbs;
Saw Plato's narrow eyes and niggard mouth,
Which half did smile and half did criticise,
One hand held up, the shapely fingers framed
To gesture of entreaty--' Hush, I pray,
Do not disturb her; let us hear the rest;
Follow her mood, for here's another phase
Of your black-browed Xantippe. . .'
Then I saw
Young Alkibiades, with laughing lips
And half-shut eyes, contemptuous shrugging up
Soft, snowy shoulders, till he brought the gold
Of flowing ringlets round about his breasts.
But Sokrates, all slow and solemnly,
Raised, calm, his face to mine, and sudden spake:
' I thank thee for the wisdom which thy lips
Have thus let fall among us : prythee tell
From what high source, from what philosophies
Didst cull the sapient notion of thy words?'
Then stood I straight and silent for a breath,
Dumb, crushed with all that weight of cold contempt;
But swiftly in my bosom there uprose
A sudden flame, a merciful fury sent
To save me; with both angry hands I flung
The skin upon the marble, where it lay
Spouting red rills and fountains on the white;
Then, all unheeding faces, voices, eyes,
I fled across the threshold, hair unbound--
White garment stained to redness--beating heart
Flooded with all the flowing tide of hopes
Which once had gushed out golden, now sent back
Swift to their sources, never more to rise. . .
I think I could have borne the weary life,
The narrow life within the narrow walls,
If he had loved me; but he kept his love
For this Athenian city and her sons;
And, haply, for some stranger-woman, bold
With freedom, thought, and glib philosophy. . .
Ah me ! the long, long weeping through the nights,
The weary watching for the pale-eyed dawn
Which only brought fresh grieving : then I grew
Fiercer, and cursed from out my inmost heart
The Fates which marked me an Athenian maid.
Then faded that vain fury ; hope died out;
A huge despair was stealing on my soul,
A sort of fierce acceptance of my fate,--
He wished a household vessel--well! 'twas good,
For he should have it! He should have no more
The yearning treasure of a woman's love,
But just the baser treasure which he sought.
I called my maidens, ordered out the loom,
And spun unceasing from the morn till eve;
Watching all keenly over warp and woof,
Weighing the white wool with a jealous hand.
I spun until, methinks, I spun away
The soul from out my body, the high thoughts
From out my spirit; till at last I grew
As ye have known me,--eye exact to mark
The texture of the spinning; ear all keen
For aimless talking when the moon is up,
And ye should be a-sleeping; tongue to cut
With quick incision, 'thwart the merry words
Of idle maidens. . .
Only yesterday
My hands did cease from spinning; I have wrought
My dreary duties, patient till the last.
The gods reward me! Nay, I will not tell
The after years of sorrow; wretched strife
With grimmest foes--sad Want and Poverty;--
Nor yet the time of horror, when they bore
My husband from the threshold; nay, nor when
The subtle weed had wrought its deadly work.
Alas! alas! I was not there to soothe
The last great moment; never any thought
Of her that loved him--save at least the charge,
All earthly, that her body should not starve. . .
You weep, you weep; I would not that ye wept;
Such tears are idle; with the young, such grief
Soon grows to gratulation, as, 'her love
Was withered by misfortune; mine shall grow
All nurtured by the loving,' or, 'her life
Was wrecked and shattered--mine shall smoothly sail.'
Enough, enough. In vain, in vain, in vain!
The gods forgive me! Sorely have I sinned
In all my life. A fairer fate befall
You all that stand there. . .
Ha! the dawn has come;
I see a rosy glimmer--nay ! it grows dark;
Why stand ye so in silence? throw it wide,
The casement, quick; why tarry?--give me air--
O fling it wide, I say, and give me light!

by Amy Levy.