Poverty And Riches
Who with a little cannot be content,
Endures an everlasting punishment.
by Robert Herrick.
I Always Beg
I always beg, yet never am relieved,
I grieve, because my griefs are not believed.
I cry aloud in vain, my voice outstretched,
And get but this, mine echo calls me wretched!
by John Wilbye.
The Lady Poverty
I met her on the Umbrian hills,
Her hair unbound, her feet unshod:
As one whom secret glory fills
She walked, alone with God.
I met her in the city street:
Oh, changed was all her aspect then!
With heavy eyes and weary feet
She walked alone, with men.
by Evelyn Underhill.
I hate this grinding poverty—
To toil, and pinch, and borrow,
And be for ever haunted by
The spectre of to-morrow.
It breaks the strong heart of a man,
It crushes out his spirit—
Do what he will, do what he can,
However high his merit!
I hate the praise that Want has got
From preacher and from poet,
The cant of those who know it not
To blind the men who know it.
The greatest curse since man had birth,
An everlasting terror:
The cause of half the crime on earth,
The cause of half the error.
by Henry Lawson.
Sonnet 103: Alack, What Poverty My Muse Brings Forth
Alack, what poverty my Muse brings forth,
That having such a scope to show her pride,
The argument all bare is of more worth
Than when it hath my added praise beside.
O, blame me not if I no more can write!
Look in your glass, and there appears a face
That overgoes my blunt invention quite,
Dulling my lines, and doing me disgrace.
Were it not sinful then striving to mend,
To mar the subject that before was well?
For to no other pass my verses tend
Than of your graces and your gifts to tell;
And more, much more than in my verse can sit,
Your own glass shows you when you look in it.
Sonnet: O Poverty! Though From Thy Haggard Eye
O, Poverty! though from thy haggard eye,
Thy cheerless mien, of every charm bereft,
Thy brow that Hope's last traces long have left,
Vain Fortune's feeble sons with terror fly;
I love thy solitary haunts to seek.
For Pity, reckless of her own distress;
And Patience, in her pall of wretchedness,
That turns to the bleak storm her faded cheek;
And Piety, that never told her wrong;
And meek Content, whose griefs no more rebel;
And Genius, warbling sweet her saddest song;
And Sorrow, listening to a lost friend's knell,
Long banished from the world's insulting throng;
With thee, and thy unfriended offspring, dwell.
Ix. O Poverty! Though From Thy Haggard Eye...
O POVERTY! though from thy haggard eye,
Thy cheerless mein, of every charm bereft,
Thy brow, that hope's last traces long have left,
Vain Fortune's feeble sons with terror fly;
Thy rugged paths with pleasure I attend; -
For Fancy, that with fairest dreams can bless;
And Patience, in the Pall of Wretchedness,
Sad-smiling, as the ruthless storms descend;
And Piety, forgiving every wrong,
And meek Content, whose griefs no more rebel;
And Genius, warbling sweet her saddest song;
And Pity, list'ning to the poor man's knell,
Long banish'd from the world's insulting throng;
With Thee, and loveliest Melancholy, dwell.
The Love That Goes A-Begging
Oh Loves there are that enter in,
And Loves there are that wait,
And Loves that sit a-weeping
Whose joy will come too late.
For some there be that ope their doors,
And some there be that close,
And Love must go a-begging,
But whither, no one knows.
His feet are on the thorny ways,
And on the dew-cold grass,
No ears have ever heard him sing,
No eyes have seen him pass.
And yet he wanders thro' the world
And makes the meadows sweet,
For all his tears and weariness
Have flowered beneath his feet.
The little purple violet
Has marked his wanderings,
And in the wind among the trees,
You hear the song he sings.
by Sara Teasdale.
For love's sake, kiss me once again;
I long, and should not beg in vain,
Here's none to spy or see;
Why do you doubt or stay?
I'll taste as lightly as the bee
That doth but touch his flower and flies away.
Once more, and faith I will be gone;
Can he that loves ask less than one?
Nay, you may err in this
And all your bounty wrong;
This could be called but half a kiss,
What we're but once to do, we should do long.
I will but mend the last, and tell
Where, how it should have relished well;
Join lip to lip, and try
Each suck other's breath.
And whilst our tongues perplexed lie,
Let who will, think us dead or wish our death.
by Ben Jonson.
Some are teethed on a silver spoon,
With the stars strung for a rattle;
I cut my teeth as the black racoon--
For implements of battle.
Some are swaddled in silk and down,
And heralded by a star;
They swathed my limbs in a sackcloth gown
On a night that was black as tar.
For some, godfather and goddame
The opulent fairies be;
Dame Poverty gave me my name,
And Pain godfathered me.
For I was born on Saturday--
"Bad time for planting a seed,"
Was all my father had to say,
And, "One mouth more to feed."
Death cut the strings that gave me life,
And handed me to Sorrow,
The only kind of middle wife
My folks could beg or borrow.
by Countee Cullen.
The Necessity Of A New Heart
Now wouldst thou have a heart that tender is,
A heart that forward is to close with bliss;
A heart that will impressions freely take
Of the new covenant, and that will make
The best improvement of the word of grace,
And that to wickedness will not give place;
All this is in the promise, and it may
Obtained be of them that humbly pray.
Wouldst thou enjoy that spirit that is free,
And looseth those that in their spirits be
Oppressed with guilt, or filth, or unbelief;
That spirit that will, where it dwells, be chief;
Which breaketh Samson's cord as rotten thread,
And raiseth up the spirit that is dead;
That sets the will at liberty to choose
Those things that God hath promis'd to infuse
Into the humble heart? All this, I say,
The promise holdeth out to them that pray.
by John Bunyan.
Bring Kateen-beug and Maurya Jude
To dance in Beg-Innish,
And when the lads (they're in Dunquin)
Have sold their crabs and fish,
Wave fawny shawls and call them in,
And call the little girls who spin,
And seven weavers from Dunquin,
To dance in Beg-Innish.
I'll play you jigs, and Maurice Kean,
Where nets are laid to dry,
I've silken strings would draw a dance
From girls are lame or shy;
Four strings I've brought from Spain and France
To make your long men skip and prance,
Till stars look out to see the dance
Where nets are laid to dry.
We'll have no priest or peeler in
To dance in Beg-Innish;
But we'll have drink from M'riarty Jim
Rowed round while gannets fish,
A keg with porter to the brim,
That every lad may have his whim,
Till we up sails with M'riarty Jim
And sail from Ben-Innish.
I saw an old cottage of clay,
And only of mud was the floor;
It was all falling into decay,
And the snow drifted in at the door.
Yet there a poor family dwelt,
In a hovel so dismal and rude;
And though gnawing hunger they felt,
They had not a morsel of food.
The children were crying for bread,
And to their poor mother they’d run;
‘Oh, give us some breakfast,’ they said,
Alas! their poor mother had none.
She viewed them with looks of despair,
She said (and I’m sure it was true),
‘’Tis not for myself that I care,
But, my poor little children, for you.’
O then, let the wealthy and gay
But see such a hovel as this,
That in a poor cottage of clay
They may know what true misery is.
And what I may have to bestow
I never will squander away,
While many poor people I know
Around me are wretched as they.
by Jane Taylor.
Pauper Poet's Song
Sun, moon, and stars, the ample air,
The birds shrill whistling everywhere,
Fields white with lambs and daisies;
The pearls of eve, the jewelled morn,
The rose rich blowing on the thorn,
The glow of blush-rose faces;
The silver glint of sun-smit rain,
The shattered sun-gold of the main,
And heaven's sweet breath that moves it;
The earth, our myriad-bosomed nurse,
This whole miraculous universe
Belongs to him who loves it!
Why fret then for the gold of this,
The fame of that man, or the bliss,
Or such another's graces?
Oh heart that chim'st with golden verse,
My heart, thou art the magic purse
Which all dull trouble chases;
Thine too fruition of all fame
When the live soul, as flame with flame,
Weds the dead soul that moves it;
Then sing for aye, and aye rehearse,
This whole miraculous universe
Belongs to him who loves it!
by Mathilde Blind.
Mamma heard me with scorn and pride
A wretched beggar-boy deride.
'Do you not know,' said I, 'how mean
It is to be thus begging seen?
If for a week I were not fed,
I'm sure I would not beg my bread.'
And then away she saw me stalk
With a most self-important walk.
But meeting her upon the stairs,
All these my consequential airs
Were changed to an entreating look.
'Give me,' said I, 'the pocket-book,
Mamma, you promised I should have.'
The pocket-book to me she gave;
After reproof and counsel sage
She bade me write in the first page
This naughty action all in rhyme;
No food to have until the time,
In writing fair and neatly worded,
The unfeeling fact I had recorded.
Slow I compose, and slow I write;
And now I feel keen hunger bite.
My mother's pardon I entreat,
And beg she'll give me food to eat.
Dry bread would be received with joy
By her repentant beggar-boy.
by Charles Lamb.
Your Riches—taught Me—poverty
Your Riches—taught me—Poverty.
In little Wealths, as Girls could boast
Till broad as Buenos Ayre—
You drifted your Dominions—
A Different Peru—
And I esteemed All Poverty
For Life's Estate with you—
Of Mines, I little know—myself—
But just the names, of Gems—
The Colors of the Commonest—
And scarce of Diadems—
So much, that did I meet the Queen—
Her Glory I should know—
But this, must be a different Wealth—
To miss it—beggars so—
I'm sure 'tis India—all Day—
To those who look on You—
Without a stint—without a blame,
Might I—but be the Jew—
I'm sure it is Golconda—
Beyond my power to deem—
To have a smile for Mine—each Day,
How better, than a Gem!
At least, it solaces to know
That there exists—a Gold—
Altho' I prove it, just in time
Its distance—to behold—
Its far—far Treasure to surmise—
And estimate the Pearl—
That slipped my simple fingers through—
While just a Girl at School.
by Emily Dickinson.
Poverty And Wealth
The stork flew over a town one day,
And back of each wing an infant lay;
One to a rich man’s home he brought,
And one he left at a labourer’s cot.
The rich man said, ‘My son shall be
A lordly ruler o’er land and sea.’
The labourer sighed, ‘’Tis the good God’s will
That I have another mouth to fill.’
The rich man’s son grew strong and fair,
And proud with the pride of a millionaire.
His motto in life was, ‘Live while you may, ’
And he crowded years in a single day.
He bought position and name and place,
And he bought him a wife with a handsome face.
He journeyed over the whole wide world,
But discontent his heart lay curled
Like a serpent hidden in leaves and moss,
And life seemed hollow and gold was dross.
He scoffed at woman, and doubted God,
And died like a beast and went back to the sod.
The son of the labourer tilled the soil,
And thanked God daily for health and toil.
He wedded for love in his youthful prime,
And two lives chorded in tune and time.
His wants were simple, and simple his creed,
To trust God fully: it served his need,
And lightened his labour, and helped him to die
With a smile on his lips and a hope in his eye.
When all is over and all is done,
Now which of these men was the richer one?
To An Unborn Pauper Child
Breathe not, hid Heart: cease silently,
And though thy birth-hour beckons thee,
Sleep the long sleep:
The Doomsters heap
Travails and teens around us here,
And Time-Wraiths turn our songsingings to fear.
Hark, how the peoples surge and sigh,
And laughters fail, and greetings die;
Hopes dwindle; yea,
Faiths waste away,
Affections and enthusiasms numb:
Thou canst not mend these things if thou dost come.
Had I the ear of wombed souls
Ere their terrestrial chart unrolls,
And thou wert free
To cease, or be,
Then would I tell thee all I know,
And put it to thee: Wilt thou take Life so?
Vain vow! No hint of mine may hence
To theeward fly: to thy locked sense
Explain none can
Life's pending plan:
Thou wilt thy ignorant entry make
Though skies spout fire and blood and nations quake.
Fain would I, dear, find some shut plot
Of earth's wide wold for thee, where not
One tear, one qualm,
Should break the calm.
But I am weak as thou and bare;
No man can change the common lot to rare.
Must come and bide. And such are we --
Unreasoning, sanguine, visionary --
That I can hope
Health, love, friends, scope
In full for thee; can dream thou'lt find
Joys seldom yet attained by humankind!
by Thomas Hardy.
The Dead Beggar
Addressed to a Lady, who was affected at seeing the
Funeral of a nameless Pauper, buried at the ex-
pense of the Parish, in the Church-Yard at Bright-
helmstone, in November 1792.
SWELLS then thy feeling heart, and streams thine eye
O'er the deserted being, poor and old,
Whom cold, reluctant, parish charity
Consigns to mingle with his kindred mould?
Mourn'st thou, that here the time-worn sufferer ends
Those evil days still threatening woes to come;
Here, where the friendless feel no want of friends,
Where even the houseless wanderer finds a home!
What though no kindred crowd in sable forth,
And sigh, or seem to sigh, around his bier;
Though o'er his coffin with the humid earth
No children drop the unavailing tear?
Rather rejoice that here his sorrows cease,
Whom sickness, age, and poverty oppress'd;
Where death, the leveller, restores to peace
The wretch who living knew not where to rest.
Rejoice, that though an outcast spurn'd by fate,
Through penury's rugged path his race he ran;
In earth's cold bosom, equall'd with the great,
Death vindicates the insulted rights of man.
Rejoice, that though severe his earthly doom,
And rude, and sown with thorns the way he trod,
Now, (where unfeeling fortune cannot come)
He rests upon the mercies of his God.
by Charlotte Smith.
When the world is fast asleep,
Along the midnight skies--
As though it were a wandering cloud--
The ghostly dream-ship flies.
An angel stands at the dream-ship's helm,
An angel stands at the prow,
And an angel stands at the dream-ship's side
With a rue-wreath on her brow.
The other angels, silver-crowned,
Pilot and helmsman are,
And the angel with the wreath of rue
Tosseth the dreams afar.
The dreams they fall on rich and poor;
They fall on young and old;
And some are dreams of poverty,
And some are dreams of gold.
And some are dreams that thrill with joy,
And some that melt to tears;
Some are dreams of the dawn of love,
And some of the old dead years.
On rich and poor alike they fall,
Alike on young and old,
Bringing to slumbering earth their joys
And sorrows manifold.
The friendless youth in them shall do
The deeds of mighty men,
And drooping age shall feel the grace
Of buoyant youth again.
The king shall be a beggarman--
The pauper be a king--
In that revenge or recompense
The dream-ship dreams do bring.
So ever downward float the dreams
That are for all and me,
And there is never mortal man
Can solve that mystery.
But ever onward in its course
Along the haunted skies--
As though it were a cloud astray--
The ghostly dream-ship flies.
Two angels with their silver crowns
Pilot and helmsman are,
And an angel with a wreath of rue
Tosseth the dreams afar.
by Eugene Field.
The Complaints Of The Poor
And wherefore do the Poor complain?
The rich man asked of me,--
Come walk abroad with me, I said
And I will answer thee.
Twas evening and the frozen streets
Were cheerless to behold,
And we were wrapt and coated well,
And yet we were a-cold.
We met an old bare-headed man,
His locks were few and white,
I ask'd him what he did abroad
In that cold winter's night:
'Twas bitter keen indeed, he said,
But at home no fire had he,
And therefore, he had come abroad
To ask for charity.
We met a young bare-footed child,
And she begg'd loud and bold,
I ask'd her what she did abroad
When the wind it blew so cold;
She said her father was at home
And he lay sick a-bed,
And therefore was it she was sent
Abroad to beg for bread.
We saw a woman sitting down
Upon a stone to rest,
She had a baby at her back
And another at her breast;
I ask'd her why she loiter'd there
When the wind it was so chill;
She turn'd her head and bade the child
That scream'd behind be still.
She told us that her husband served
A soldier, far away,
And therefore to her parish she
Was begging back her way.
We met a girl; her dress was loose
And sunken was her eye,
Who with the wanton's hollow voice
Address'd the passers by;
I ask'd her what there was in guilt
That could her heart allure
To shame, disease, and late remorse?
She answer'd, she was poor.
I turn'd me to the rich man then
For silently stood he,
You ask'd me why the Poor complain,
And these have answer'd thee.
by Robert Southey.
Before The Altar
Before the Altar, bowed, he stands
With empty hands;
Upon it perfumed offerings burn
Wreathing with smoke the sacrificial urn.
Not one of all these has he given,
No flame of his has leapt to Heaven
Forked, and darted,
Consuming what a few spare pence
Have cheaply bought, to fling from hence
In idly-asked petition.
His sole condition
Love and poverty.
And while the moon
Swings slow across the sky,
Athwart a waving pine tree,
Tips all the needles there
With silver sparkles, bitterly
He gazes, while his soul
Grows hard with thinking of the poorness of his dole.
"Shining and distant Goddess, hear my prayer
Where you swim in the high air!
With charity look down on me,
Under this tree,
Tending the gifts I have not brought,
The rare and goodly things
I have not sought.
Instead, take from me all my life!
"Upon the wings
Of shimmering moonbeams
I pack my poet's dreams
My wearying strife,
My courage, my loss,
Into the night I toss
Deign to look down on me
Who so unworthily
Offers to you:
All life has known,
Seeds withered unsown,
Hopes turning quick to fears,
Laughter which dies in tears.
The shredded remnant of a man
Is all the span
And compass of my offering to you.
"Empty and silent, I
Kneel before your pure, calm majesty.
On this stone, in this urn
I pour my heart and watch it burn,
Myself the sacrifice; but be
Still unmoved: Divinity.”
From the altar, bathed in moonlight,
The smoke rose straight in the quiet night.
by Amy Lowell.
The Necessity Of Self–abasement
Source of love, my brighter sun,
Thou alone my comfort art;
See, my race is almost run;
Hast thou left this trembling heart?
In my youth thy charming eyes
Drew me from the ways of men;
Then I drank unmingled joys;
Frown of thine saw never then.
Spouse of Christ was then my name;
And, devoted all to thee,
Strangely jealous I became,
Jealous of this self in me.
Thee to love, and none beside,
Was my darling, sole employ;
While alternately I died,
Now of grief, and now of joy.
Through the dark and silent night
On thy radiant smiles I dwelt;
And to see the dawning light
Was the keenest pain I felt.
Thou my gracious teacher wert;
And thine eye, so close applied,
While it watched thy pupil's heart,
Seemed to look at none beside.
Conscious of no evil drift,
This, I cried, is love indeed—
'Tis the giver, not the gift,
Whence the joys I feel proceed.
But, soon humbled and laid low,
Stript of all thou hast conferred,
Nothing left but sin and woe,
I perceived how I had erred.
Oh, the vain conceit of man,
Dreaming of a good his own,
Arrogating all he can,
Though the Lord is good alone!
He the graces thou hast wrought
Makes subservient to his pride;
Ignorant that one such thought
Passes all his sin beside.
Such his folly—proved, at last
By the loss of that repose,
Self–complacence cannot taste,
Only love divine bestows.
'Tis by this reproof severe,
And by this reproof alone,
His defects at last appear,
Man is to himself made known.
Learn, all earth! that feeble man,
Sprung from this terrestrial clod,
Nothing is, and nothing can;
Life and power are all in God.
by William Cowper.
As in the house I sate,
Alone and desolate,
No creature but the fire and I,
The chimney and the stool, I lift mine eye
Up to the wall,
And in the silent hall,
Saw nothing mine
But some few cups and dishes shine,
The table and the wooden stools
Where people used to dine;
A painted cloth there was,
Wherein some ancient story wrought
A little entertained my thought,
Which light discovered through the glass.
I wondered much to see
That all my wealth should be
Confined in such a little room,
Yet hope for more I scarcely durst presume.
It grieved me sore
That such a scanty store
Should be my all;
For I forgot my ease and health,
Nor did I think of hands or eyes,
Nor soul nor body prize;
I neither thought the sun,
Nor moon, nor stars, nor people mine,
Though they did round about me shine;
And therefore was I quite undone.
Some greater things, I thought,
Must needs for me be wrought,
Which till my craving mind could see
I ever should lament my poverty;
I fain would have
Whatever bounty gave,
Nor could there be
Without or love or deity;
For should not he be infinite
Whose hand created me?
Ten thousand absent things
Did vex my poor and wanting mind,
Which, till I be no longer blind,
Let me not see the King of kings.
His love must surely be
Rich, infinite, and free;
Nor can he be thought a God
Of grace and power, that fills not his abode,
His holy court,
In kind and liberal sort;
Joys and pleasures,
Plenty of jewels, goods, and treasures,
To enrich the poor, cheer the forlorn,
His palace must adorn,
And given all to me;
For till his works my wealth became,
No love or peace did me inflame:
But now I have a Deity.
by Thomas Traherne.
Alice Fell, Or Poverty
THE post-boy drove with fierce career,
For threatening clouds the moon had drowned;
When, as we hurried on, my ear
Was smitten with a startling sound.
As if the wind blew many ways,
I heard the sound,-and more and more;
It seemed to follow with the chaise,
And still I heard it as before.
At length I to the boy called out;
He stopped his horses at the word,
But neither cry, nor voice, nor shout,
Nor aught else like it, could be heard.
The boy then smacked his whip, and fast
The horses scampered through the rain;
But, hearing soon upon the blast
The cry, I bade him halt again.
Forthwith alighting on the ground,
'Whence comes,' said I, 'this piteous moan?'
And there a little Girl I found,
Sitting behind the chaise, alone.
'My cloak!' no other word she spake,
But loud and bitterly she wept,
As if her innocent heart would break;
And down from off her seat she leapt.
'What ails you, child?'-she sobbed 'Look here!'
I saw it in the wheel entangled,
A weather-beaten rag as e'er
From any garden scare-crow dangled.
There, twisted between nave and spoke,
It hung, nor could at once be freed;
But our joint pains unloosed the cloak,
A miserable rag indeed!
'And whither are you going, child,
To-night alone these lonesome ways?'
'To Durham,' answered she, half wild-
'Then come with me into the chaise.'
Insensible to all relief
Sat the poor girl, and forth did send
Sob after sob, as if her grief
Could never, never have an end.
'My child, in Durham do you dwell?'
She checked herself in her distress,
And said, 'My name is Alice Fell;
I'm fatherless and motherless.
'And I to Durham, Sir, belong.'
Again, as if the thought would choke
Her very heart, her grief grew strong;
And all was for her tattered cloak!
The chaise drove on; our journey's end
Was nigh; and, sitting by my side,
As if she had lost her only friend
She wept, nor would be pacified.
Up to the tavern-door we post;
Of Alice and her grief I told;
And I gave money to the host,
To buy a new cloak for the old.
'And let it be of duffil grey,
As warm a cloak as man can sell!'
Proud creature was she the next day,
The little orphan, Alice Fell!
To A Young Gentleman In Love. A Tale
From publick Noise and factious Strife,
From all the busie Ills of Life,
Take me, My Celia, to Thy Breast;
And lull my wearied Soul to Rest:
For ever, in this humble Cell,
Let Thee and I, my Fair One, dwell;
None enter else, but Love—and He
Shall bar the Door, and keep the Key.
To painted Roofs, and shining Spires
(Uneasie Seats of high Desires)
Let the unthinking Many croud,
That dare be Covetous and Proud:
In golden Bondage let Them wait,
And barter Happiness for State:
But Oh! My Celia, when Thy Swain
Desires to see a Court again;
May Heav'n around This destin'd Head
The choicest of it's Curses shed:
To sum up all the Rage of Fate,
In the Two Things I dread and hate;
May'st Thou be False, and I be Great.
Thus, on his Celia's panting Breast,
Fond Celadon his Soul exprest;
While with Delight the lovely Maid
Receiv'd the Vows, She thus repaid:
Hope of my Age, Joy of my Youth,
Blest Miracle of Love and Truth!
All that cou'd e'er be counted Mine,
My Love and Life long since are Thine:
A real Joy I never knew;
'Till I believ'd Thy Passion true:
A real Grief I ne'er can find;
'Till Thou prov'st Perjur'd or Unkind.
Contempt, and Poverty, and Care,
All we abhor, and all we fear,
Blest with Thy Presence, I can bear.
Thro' Waters, and thro' Flames I'll go,
Suff'rer and Solace of Thy Woe:
Trace Me some yet unheard-of Way,
That I Thy Ardour may repay;
And make My constant Passion known,
By more than Woman yet has done.
Had I a Wish that did not bear
The Stamp and Image of my Dear;
I'd pierce my Heart thro' ev'ry Vein,
And Die to let it out again.
No: Venus shall my Witness be,
(If Venus ever lov'd like Me)
That for one Hour I wou'd not quit
My Shepherd's Arms, and this Retreat,
To be the Persian Monarch's Bride,
Part'ner of all his Pow'r and Pride;
Or Rule in Regal State above,
Mother of Gods, and Wife of Jove.
O happy these of Human Race!
But soon, alas! our Pleasures pass.
He thank'd her on his bended Knee;
Then drank a Quart of Milk and Tea;
And leaving her ador'd Embrace,
Hasten'd to Court, to beg a Place.
While She, his Absence to bemoan,
The very Moment He was gone,
Call'd Thyrsis from beneath the Bed;
Where all this time He had been hid.
While Men have these Ambitious Fancies;
And wanton Wenches read Romances;
Our Sex will—What? Out with it. Lye;
And Their's in equal Strains reply.
The Moral of the Tale I sing
(A Posy for a Wedding Ring)
In this short Verse will be confin'd:
Love is a Jest; and Vows are Wind.
by Matthew Prior.
The Leap Of Roushan Beg. (Birds Of Passage. Flight The Fifth)
Mounted on Kyrat strong and fleet,
His chestnut steed with four white feet,
Roushan Beg, called Kurroglou,
Son of the road and bandit chief,
Seeking refuge and relief,
Up the mountain pathway flew.
Such was Kyrat's wondrous speed,
Never yet could any steed
Reach the dust-cloud in his course.
More than maiden, more than wife,
More than gold and next to life
Roushan the Robber loved his horse.
In the land that lies beyond
Erzeroum and Trebizond,
Garden-girt his fortress stood;
Plundered khan, or caravan
Journeying north from Koordistan,
Gave him wealth and wine and food.
Seven hundred and fourscore
Men at arms his livery wore,
Did his bidding night and day;
Now, through regions all unknown,
He was wandering, lost, alone,
Seeking without guide his way.
Suddenly the pathway ends,
Sheer the precipice descends,
Loud the torrent roars unseen;
Thirty feet from side to side
Yawns the chasm; on air must ride
He who crosses this ravine.
Following close in his pursuit,
At the precipice's foot,
Reyhan the Arab of Orfah
Halted with his hundred men,
Shouting upward from the glen,
'La Illáh illa Alláh!'
Gently Roushan Beg caressed
Kyrat's forehead, neck, and breast;
Kissed him upon both his eyes,
Sang to him in his wild way,
As upon the topmost spray
Sings a bird before it flies.
'O my Kyrat, O my steed,
Round and slender as a reed,
Carry me this peril through!
Satin housings shall be thine,
Shoes of gold, O Kyrat mine,
O thou soul of Kurroglou!
'Soft thy skin as silken skein,
Soft as woman's hair thy mane,
Tender are thine eyes and true;
All thy hoofs like ivory shine,
Polished bright; O, life of mine,
Leap, and rescue Kurroglou!'
Kyrat, then, the strong and fleet,
Drew together his four white feet,
Paused a moment on the verge,
Measured with his eye the space,
And into the air's embrace
Leaped as leaps the ocean surge.
As the ocean surge o'er sand
Bears a swimmer safe to land,
Kyrat safe his rider bore;
Rattling down the deep abyss
Fragments of the precipice
Rolled like pebbles on a shore.
Roushan's tasselled cap of red
Trembled not upon his head,
Careless sat he and upright;
Neither hand nor bridle shook,
Nor his head he turned to look,
As he galloped out of sight.
Flash of harness in the air,
Seen a moment like the glare
Of a sword drawn from its sheath;
Thus the phantom horseman passed,
And the shadow that he cast
Leaped the cataract underneath.
Reyhan the Arab held his breath
While this vision of life and death
Passed above him. 'Allahu!'
Cried he. 'In all Koordistan
Lives there not so brave a man
As this Robber Kurroglou!'
The Scots Apostasie
Is't come to this? What shall the cheeks of fame
Stretch'd with the breath of learned Loudon's name,
Be flogg'd again? And that great piece of sense,
As rich in loyalty and eloquence,
Brought to the test be found a trick of state,
Like chemist's tinctures, proved adulterate;
The devil sure such language did achieve,
To cheat our unforewarned grand-dam Eve,
As this imposture found out to be sot
The experienced English to believe a Scot,
Who reconciled the Covenant's doubtful sense,
The Commons argument, or the City's pence?
Or did you doubt persistence in one good,
Would spoil the fabric of your brotherhood,
Projected first in such a forge of sin,
Was fit for the grand devil's hammering?
Or was't ambition that this damned fact
Should tell the world you know the sins you act?
The infamy this super-treason brings.
Blasts more than murders of your sixty kings;
A crime so black, as being advisedly done,
Those hold with these no competition.
Kings only suffered then; in this doth lie
The assassination of monarchy,
Beyond this sin no one step can be trod.
If not to attempt deposing of your God.
O, were you so engaged, that we might see
Heav'ns angry lightning 'bout your ears to flee,
Till you were shrivell'd to dust, and your cold land
Parch't to a drought beyond the Libyan sand!
But 'tis reserv'd till Heaven plague you worse;
The objects of an epidemic curse,
First, may your brethren, to whose viler ends
Your power hath bawded, cease to be your friends;
And prompted by the dictate of their reason;
And may their jealousies increase and breed
Till they confine your steps beyond the Tweed.
In foreign nations may your loathed name be
A stigmatizing brand of infamy;
Till forced by general hate you cease to roam
The world, and for a plague live at home:
Till you resume your poverty, and be
Reduced to beg where none can be so free
To grant: and may your scabby land be all
Translated to a generall hospital.
Let not the sun afford one gentle ray,
To give you comfort of a summer's day;
But, as a guerdon for your traitorous war,
Love cherished only by the northern star.
No stranger deign to visit your rude coast,
And be, to all but banisht men, as lost.
And such in heightening of the indiction due
Let provok'd princes send them all to you.
Your State a chaos be, where not the law,
But power, your lives and liberties may give.
No subject 'mongst you keep a quiet breast
But each man strive through blood to be the best;
Till, for those miseries on us you've brought
By your own sword our just revenge be wrought.
To sum up all ... let your religion be
As your allegiance--maskt hypocrisie
Until when Charles shall be composed in dust
Perfum'd with epithets of good and just.
He saved--incensed Heaven may have forgot--
To afford one act of mercy to a Scot:
Unless that Scot deny himself and do
What's easier far--Renounce his nation too.
by John Cleveland.
The Lay Of The Laborer
A spade! a rake! a hoe!
A pickaxe, or a bill!
A hook to reap, or a scythe to mow,
A flail, or what ye will—
And here's a ready hand
To ply the needful tool,
And skill'd enough, by lessons rough,
In Labor's rugged school.
To hedge, or dig the ditch,
To lop or fell the tree,
To lay the swarth on the sultry field,
Or plough the stubborn lea;
The harvest stack to bind,
The wheaten rick to thatch,
And never fear in my pouch to find
The tinder or the match.
To a flaming barn or farm
My fancies never roam;
The fire I yearn to kindle and burn
Is on the hearth of Home;
Where children huddle and crouch
Through dark long winter days,
Where starving children huddle and crouch,
To see the cheerful rays,
A-glowing on the haggard cheek,
And not in the haggard's blaze!
To Him who sends a drought
To parch the fields forlorn,
The rain to flood the meadows with mud,
The blight to blast the corn,
To Him I leave to guide
The bolt in its crooked path,
To strike the miser's rick, and show
The skies blood-red with wrath.
A spade! a rake! a hoe!
A pickaxe, or a bill!
A hook to reap, or a scythe to mow,
A flail, or what ye will—
The corn to thrash, or the hedge to plash,
The market-team to drive,
Or mend the fence by the cover side,
And leave the game alive.
Ay, only give me work,
And then you need not fear
That I shall snare his Worship's hare,
Or kill his Grace's deer;
Break into his lordship's house,
To steal the plate so rich;
Or leave the yeoman that had a purse
To welter in a ditch.
Wherever Nature needs,
Wherever Labor calls,
No job I'll shirk of the hardest work,
To shun the workhouse walls;
Where savage laws begrudge
The pauper babe its breath,
And doom a wife to a widow's life,
Before her partner's death.
My only claim is this,
With labor stiff and stark,
By lawful turn, my living to earn,
Between the light and dark;
My daily bread, and nightly bed,
My bacon, and drop of beer—
But all from the hand that holds the land,
And none from the overseer!
No parish money, or loaf,
No pauper badges for me,
A son of the soil, by right of toil
Entitled to my fee.
No alms I ask, give me my task:
Here are the arm, the leg,
The strength, the sinews of a Man,
To work, and not to beg.
Still one of Adam's heirs,
Though doom'd by chance of birth
To dress so mean, and to eat the lean
Instead of the fat of the earth;
To make such humble meals
As honest labor can,
A bone and a crust, with a grace to God,
And little thanks to man!
A spade! a rake! a hoe!
A pickaxe, or a bill!
A hook to reap, or a scythe to mow,
A flail, or what ye will—
Whatever the tool to ply,
Here is a willing drudge,
With muscle and limb, and woe to him
Who does their pay begrudge!
Who every weekly score
Docks labor's little mite,
Bestows on the poor at the temple door,
But robb'd them over night.
The very shilling he hoped to save,
As health and morals fail,
Shall visit me in the new Bastille,
The Spital, or the Gaol!
by Thomas Hood.
To An Antiquated Coquette
Phyllis, if you will not agree
To give me back my liberty,
In spite of you I must regain
My loss of time and break your chain.
You were mistaken if you thought
I was so grossly to be caught;
Or that I was so blindly bred,
As not to be in woman read.
Perhaps you took me for a fool,
Design'd alone your sex's tool;
Nay, you might think so made a thing,
That with a little fashioning,
I might in time for your dear sake,
That monster call'd a husband make:
Perhaps I might, had I not found
One darling vice in you abound --
A vice to me which e'er will prove
An antidote to banish love.
O! I could better bear an old,
Ugly, diseas'd, misshapen scold,
Or one who games, or will be drunk,
A fool, a spendthrift, bawd, or punk,
Than one at all who wildly flies,
And with soft, asking, giving eyes,
And thousand other wanton arts,
So meanly trades in begging hearts.
How might such wond'rous charms perplex,
Give chains or death to all our sex,
Did she not so unwisely set
For ev'ry flutt'ring fool her net!
So poorly proud of vulgar praise,
Her very look her thoughts betrays:
She never stays till we begin,
But beckons us her self to sin.
Ere we can ask, she cries consent,
So quick her yielding looks are sent,
They hope forestall and ev'n desire prevent.
But nature's turn'd when women woo --
We hate in them what we should do;
Desire's asleep and cannot wake
When women such advances make:
Both time and charms thus Phyllis wastes,
Since each must surfeit ere he tastes.
Nothing escapes her wand'ring eyes,
No one she thinks too mean a prize;
E'en Lynch, the lag of human kind,
Nearest to brutes by God design'd,
May boast the smiles of this coquette,
As much as any man of wit.
The signs hang thinner in the Strand,
The Dutch scarce more infest the land,
Tho' Egypt's locusts they outvie,
In number and voracity.
Whores are not half so plenty found,
In playhouse or that hallow'd ground
Of Temple Walks or Whetstone's Park:
Caresses less abound in Spark.
Then with kind looks for all who come
At bawdyhouse, the drawing room,
But all in vain she throws her darts --
They hit but cannot hurt our hearts.
Age has enerv'd her charms so much,
That fearless all her eyes approach;
Each her autumnal face degrades
With ``Rev'rend Mother of the Maids''!
But 'tis ill-natur'd to run on,
Forgetting what her charms have done;
To Teagueland we this beauty owe,
Teagueland her earliest charms did know:
There first her tyrant beauties reign'd,
Where'er she look'd she conquest gain'd.
No heart the glances could repel,
The Teagues by shoals before her fell;
And trotting bogs was all the art
The sound had left to save his heart.
She kill'd so fast, by my salvation,
She ne'er dispeopl'd had the nation,
Tho' she, good soul, to save took care
All, all she could from sad despair.
From thence she hither came to prove
If yet her charms could kindle love.
But ah! it was too late to try,
For spring was gone and winter nigh:
Yet tho' her eyes such conquests made
That they were shunn'd or else obey'd,
Yet now her charms are so decay'd,
She thanks each coxcomb that will deign
To praise her face and wear her chain.
So some old soldier who had done
Wonders in youth and battles won,
When feeble years his strength depose,
That he too weak to vanquish grows,
With mangled face and wooden leg,
Reduc'd about for alms to beg,
O'erjoy'd, a thousand thanks bestows
On him who but a farthing throws.
The Two Men
THERE were two youths of equal age,
Wit, station, strength, and parentage;
They studied at the self-same schools,
And shaped their thoughts by common rules.
One pondered on the life of man,
His hopes, his endings, and began
To rate the Market's sordid war
As something scarce worth living for.
"I'll brace to higher aims," said he,
"I'll further Truth and Purity;
Thereby to mend and mortal lot
And sweeten sorrow. Thrive I not,
"Winning their hearts, my kind will give
Enough that I may lowly live,
And house my Love in some dim dell,
For pleasing them and theirs so well."
Idly attired, with features wan,
In secret swift he labored on;
Such press of power had brought much gold
Applied to things of meaner mould.
Sometimes he wished his aims had been
To gather gains like other men;
Then thanked his God he'd traced his track
Too far for wish to drag him back.
He lookèd from his loft one day
To where his slighted garden lay;
Nettles and hemlock hid each lawn,
And every flower was starved and gone.
He fainted in his heart, whereon
He rose, and sought his plighted one,
Resolved to loose her bond withal,
Lest she should perish in his fall.
He met her with a careless air,
As though he'd ceased to find her fair,
And said: "True love is dust to me;
I cannot kiss: I tire of thee!"
(That she might scorn him was he fain,
To put her sooner out of pain;
For incensed love breathes quick and dies,
When famished love a-lingering lies.)
Once done, his soul was so betossed,
It found no more the force it lost:
Hope was his only drink and food,
And hope extinct, decay ensued.
And, living long so closely penned,
He had not kept a single friend;
He dwindled thin as phantoms be,
And drooped to death in poverty....
Meantime his schoolmate had gone out
To join the fortune-finding rout;
He liked the winnings of the mart,
But wearied of the working part.
He turned to seek a privy lair,
Neglecting note of garb and hair,
And day by day reclined and thought
How he might live by doing nought.
"I plan a valued scheme," he said
To some. "But lend me of your bread,
And when the vast result looms nigh,
In profit you shall stand as I."
Yet they took counsel to restrain
Their kindness till they saw the gain;
And, since his substance now had run,
He rose to do what might be done.
He went unto his Love by night,
And said: "My Love, I faint in fight:
Deserving as thou dost a crown,
My cares shall never drag thee down."
(He had descried a maid whose line
Would hand her on much corn and wine,
And held her far in worth above
One who could only pray and love.)
But this Fair read him; whence he failed
To do the deed so blithely hailed;
He saw his projects wholly marred,
And gloom and want oppressed him hard;
Till, living to so mean an end,
Whereby he'd lost his every friend,
He perished in a pauper sty,
His mate the dying pauper nigh.
And moralists, reflecting, said,
As "dust to dust" in burial read
Was echoed from each coffin-lid,
"These men were like in all they did."
by Thomas Hardy.
New Chum And Old Monarch
“Chieftain, enter my verandah;
Sit not in the blinding glare;
Thou shalt have a refuge, and a
Remnant of my household fare.
“Ill becomes thy princely haunches
Such a seat upon the ground:
Doubtless on a throne of branches
Thou hast sat, banana-crowned.
“By the brazen tablet gleaming
On the darkness of thy breast,
Which, unto all outward seeming,
Serves for trousers, coat, and vest;—
“By the words thereon engraven,
Of thy royal rank the gage,
Hail! true King, in all things save in
“Such divinity doth hedge thee,
I had guessed thy rank with ease—
Such divinity—(but edge thee
Somewhat more to leeward, please).
“Though thy lineage I know not,
Thou art to the manner born;
Every inch a king, although not
King of one square barleycorn.
“Enter, sire; no longer linger;
Cease thy signals grandly dumb:
Point not thus with royal finger
To thy hungry vacuum.
“Though thy pangs are multifarious,
Soon they all shall pass away:
Come, my begging Belisarius—
Belisorious I should say.
“Fear not; I am the intruder;
I, and white men such as I:
Simpler though thou art, and ruder,
Thou art heir of earth and sky.
“Thine the mountain, thine the river,
Thine the endless miles of scrub:
Shall I grudge thee, then—oh never!—
Useless ends of refuse grub?
“Lay aside thy spears—(I doubt them),
Lay aside thy tomahawk;
I prefer thee, sire, without them,
By a somewhat longish chalk.
“Lay aside thy nullah-nullahs;
Is there war betwixt us two?
Soon the pipe of peace shall lull us—
Pipe a-piece, bien entendu.
“Seat thee in this canvas chair here;
Heed not thou the slumbering hound;
Fear not; all is on the square here,
Though thou strangely lookest round.
“Or if thou, my chair deriding,
Follow thine ancestral bent,
To the naked floor subsiding
Down the groove of precedent,—
“If the boards have more temptation,
Wherefore should I say thee No,
Seeing caudal induration
Must have set in long ago?
“Take thou now this refuse mince-meat;
Pick this bone, my regal guest:
Shall a fallen warrior-prince meet
Other welcome than the best?
“Treated like a very rebel,
Chased from town at set of sun,
Wert thou ev'n the debbil-debbil,
Thou shouldst eat—when I am done.”
On the bare floor sat the sable
Chieftain of a fallen race,
Two black knees his only table,
“Wai-a-roo” his simple grace.
Stood I by and ruminated
On the chief's Decline and Fall,
While his highness masticated
What I gave him, bone and all.
“Chief,” said I, when all had vanished,
“Fain am I thou shouldst relate
Why thou roam'st discrowned and banished
From thy scrub-palatinate.”
Stared the chief, and wildly muttered,
As if words refused to come;
“Want him rum,” at length he uttered;
“Black f'lo plenty like him rum!”
“Nay! 'Twill make thee mad—demoniac!
Set thee all a-fire within!
Law forbids thee rum and cognac,
Though in mercy spares thy gin.
“Come; thy tale, if thou hast any.”—
Forth the chieftain stretched his hand,
Stood erect, and shouted “Penny!”
In a voice of stern command.
“Out upon thee! savage squalid!
Mine ideal thus to crush,
With thy beggary gross and solid,
All for money and for lush!
“Out upon thee! prince degenerate!
Get thee to thy native scrub!
Die a dog's death!—or, at any rate,
Trouble me no more for grub!
“At him, Ginger! Up and at him!
Go it, lad! On, Ginger, on!
King, indeed! the beggar! . . Drat him!
One more fond illusion gone.”
The Cry Of The People
Fire! Fire! Fire! the cry rang out on the night air,
The roving winds caught it up, and the very heavens resounded.
Louder and louder still, by voices grown hoarse with terror,
The cry went up and out and a nation stood still to listen.
'Come, for the love of God, and help us fight the demon!
Come and help us to chain the fiend that is making us homeless:
His hot and scorching breath has melted our hard-earned fortunes,
And, not contented with this, he is snatching our loved ones from us.
The air is thick with the stream that pours in clouds from his nostrils:
Come, for the love of God, and help us to fetter or slay him.'
The ear of the Nation heard, the heart of the Nation responded:
The smith left anvil and forge, and hastened to render assistance;
The clergyman went from the pulpit, the lawyer went from his office,
The houses of trade were closed, and a Nation was in commotion.
For the hungry tongue of Fire was lapping the skirts of the city,
The royal Queen of the West, and her people were crying in anguish.
Nobly and well they worked, till they chained and fettered the demon,
Bound him hand and foot, and hindered his work of destruction.
Over the land on wires, over the mighty cable,
Flashed the terrible truth: 'Ruin and destitution
Reigns where but yesterday there was lavish wealth and plenty.'
And up from the South came aid, and aid came down from the Northland,
And it came from East and West, wholesome food for the hungry,
Shelter for houseless heads, and clothes to cover the naked.
Hark! there's a sound abroad, like the cry of a suffering people,
Loud and louder it swells, and echoes from ocean to ocean,
The raving winds catch it up, and from throats that are hoarse with crying
The wail goes up and out, but is answered only by echoes.
'Come for the love of God, and help us to fetter the demon
That is taking the bread from our mouths, and the mouths of our helpless children;
He is walking abroad in the land, and all things perish before him:
Homesteads crumble away, and fortunes vanish like snow wreaths;
And, not contented with this, he is slaying our best and our fairest,
Stealing the brains of the wise, and bringing the young to the gallows;
He is making the home forlorn, and crowding the jails and the prisons,
He moves the hand of the thief-he drives the assassin's dagger.'
The ear of the Nation is deaf, the heart of the Nation is hardened:
The smith at his anvil and forge sings in the midst of his labor;
The clergyman stands in his pulpit, and prays for the soul of the sinner,
But says no word of the fiend who wrecked and ruined the mortal;
The lawyer smokes his cigar or sips his glass of Burgundy;
The merchant, day after day, thinks only of buying and selling.
And up and down through the land, night and day, walks the demon,
Poverty, sorrow, and shame follow the print of his footsteps.
The cry of the people goes up, a cry of anguish and pleading,
But only a few respond, a few too feeble to chain him.
The multitude stands aloof, or aids the fiend of destruction,
While he tramples under his hoofs hundreds and thousands of victims-
And the multitude's ear is deaf to the wail of the beggared orphans.
Shame, oh! shame to the Nation that leaves the demon of Traffic
Free to roam through the land, and pillage and rob the helpless.
Shame to the multitude that will not render assistance,
But leaves a few to do what many can only accomplish.
Arouse! ye listless hosts! and answer the suffering people!
Spring to the aid of the million, as ye sprang to the aid of the thousand:
As you fettered the demon Fire, fetter the demon Traffic,
Who slays his tens of thousands, where the other slew only hundreds.
Charity, Charity - parson and priest
Ever in church and in chapel have taught
'Give ye in charity e'en to the least,
So may the favor of Heaven be bought.
Strive ye in Virtue, for Him that we call
Master has named it the greatest of all.
Strive ye in holiness;
Owner of acres and breeder of sheep.
Cleaning his wealth with a masterful hand,
Scheming for profit with schemes that are deep.
Yet is the squatter a generous soul
A generous donor, and this be more:
He never begrudges - nor misses - the dole
Of gratuitous guineas he flings from his store.
Charity, Charity - purchase your fame!
All the world honours a giver of alms.
Noble philanthropist! Publish his name!
Scatter his gift to the suppliant palms.
Nay! Would you ask how his guineas are won?
Mark his beneficence? See what he's done!
Thank him, ye lowly ones;
Bless him you holy ones.
Charity, Charity - worthily done!
Humble BILL HODMAN is agèd and poor;
Owning no riches and owning no lands,
Living the life of a labouring boor,
Earning his bread by the toil of his hands.
Yet is the toiler an obstinate soul
An obstinate pauper, and this be more:
He'd answer with curses if offered a dole
In charity out of a rich man's store.
Charity, Charity - ignorant clowns!
What should ye know of personal pride?
Shame on your surliness! Shame on your frowns!
Spurring the gifts that the wealthy provide!
Are they not generous? Are they not kind?
Pride is their privilege, why should ye mind?
Charity, Charity - fools, ye are blind!
Proud Squatter REX has a charming wife
Queen of society, lady of birth;
Nurtured in luxury, smiling thro' life,
Ever enjoying the sweets of the earth.
Ah, but she pities the poor o' the land
Sweet benefactress, as kind as her lord.
Patroness she of a slum-working band,
President, too, of a hospital board.
Charity, Charity - down in the slums
Misery stalks 'mid the lean o' the land.
Angel beneficent! See where she comes,
Scattering gifts with a generous hand.
Sweet Lady Bountiful, draw in your skirt;
Shrink from the misery squalor and dirt.
Pity is lured to it?
Nay, they're inured to it.
Charity, Charity is their desert.
Labourer BILL has a toil-worn wife
Drudge of the lower class, cradled in care;
Nurtured in poverty, struggling through life,
Knowing too well all the bitterness there.
Ah, but she nurses a foolish old pride
Wife of a labourer barren of lands
Knowing the 'comforts' they humbly divide
Are earned, doubly earned, by the toil of their hands.
Charity, Charity - nay, foolish drudge!
Why should you slave till the end of your day?
Think of the wealthy who never begrudge
Gifts to the 'Home' where the indignent stay.
Why should mendicity shame such as you?
Indigence, beggary - these are not new.
Where is the blame for it?
What's in the name of it?
Charity, Charity - it is your due.
Proud Squatter REX, does your lordly soul
Shrink from the thought of a mendicant whine?
Are you too proud to solicit a dole
Won by the sweat of a fellow of thine?
What of the subsidy sued for and paid?
Paid at a word from a tool of the 'class';
Earned, hardly earned, at a labourer's trade
Charity wrung from the toil of the mass.
Charity, Charity - what's in a name?
Whine for a subsidy, lo, and it comes!
Still it is charity ever the same
Begged from a palace or cadged from the slums.
Call it a clever political game
Yours is the sordidness, yours is the shame.
Skilled in duplicity.
Charity, Charity! - this is its name.
Sweet lady Bountiful, queen of your set,
Selfish for pleasure and greedy for show,
When come the toys and the treasures you get/
Have you considered or wanted to know?
Nay, would you stoop to take pence from the poor,
Soiled with the sweat of an overworked wife
Loaf on the toil of a labouring boor,
Squander his pittance to lighten your life?
Charity, Charity - cover your face!
This is your charity, this is your pride:
To laugh, and to live, and to know the disgrace
Of squandering pence that the needy provide.
Some toiling sister, some work-weary soul,
Is slaving the harder to eke out your dole.
Blush for the shame of it!
Shrink form the name of it!
Blush for your name upon Charity's roll!
The Farmer Of Tilsbury Vale
'TIS not for the unfeeling, the falsely refined,
The squeamish in taste, and the narrow of mind,
And the small critic wielding his delicate pen,
That I sing of old Adam, the pride of old men.
He dwells in the centre of London's wide Town;
His staff is a sceptre--his grey hairs a crown;
And his bright eyes look brighter, set off by the streak
Of the unfaded rose that still blooms on his cheek.
'Mid the dews, in the sunshine of morn,--'mid the joy
Of the fields, he collected that bloom, when a boy,
That countenance there fashioned, which, spite of a stain
That his life hath received, to the last will remain.
A Farmer he was; and his house far and near
Was the boast of the country for excellent cheer:
How oft have I heard in sweet Tilsbury Vale
Of the silver-rimmed horn whence he dealt his mild ale!
Yet Adam was far as the farthest from ruin,
His fields seemed to know what their Master was doing:
And turnips, and corn-land, and meadow, and lea,
All caught the infection--as generous as he.
Yet Adam prized little the feast and the bowl,--
The fields better suited the ease of his soul:
He strayed through the fields like an indolent wight,
The quiet of nature was Adam's delight.
For Adam was simple in thought; and the poor,
Familiar with him, made an inn of his door:
He gave them the best that he had; or, to say
What less may mislead you, they took it away.
Thus thirty smooth years did he thrive on his farm:
The Genius of plenty preserved him from harm:
At length, what to most is a season of sorrow,
His means are run out,--he must beg, or must borrow.
To the neighbours he went,--all were free with their money;
For his hive had so long been replenished with honey,
That they dreamt not of dearth;--He continued his rounds,
Knocked here--and knocked there, pounds still adding to pounds.
He paid what he could with his ill-gotten pelf,
And something, it might be, reserved for himself:
Then (what is too true) without hinting a word,
Turned his back on the country--and off like a bird.
You lift up your eyes!--but I guess that you frame
A judgment too harsh of the sin and the shame;
In him it was scarcely a business of art,
For this he did all in the 'ease' of his heart.
To London--a sad emigration I ween--
With his grey hairs he went from the brook and the green;
And there, with small wealth but his legs and his hands,
As lonely he stood as a crow on the sands.
All trades, as need was, did old Adam assume,--
Served as stable-boy, errand-boy, porter, and groom;
But nature is gracious, necessity kind,
And, in spite of the shame that may lurk in his mind,
He seems ten birthdays younger, is green and is stout;
Twice as fast as before does his blood run about;
You would say that each hair of his beard was alive,
And his fingers are busy as bees in a hive.
For he's not like an Old Man that leisurely goes
About work that he knows, in a track that he knows;
But often his mind is compelled to demur,
And you guess that the more then his body must stir.
In the throng of the town like a stranger is he,
Like one whose own country's far over the sea;
And Nature, while through the great city he hies,
Full ten times a day takes his heart by surprise.
This gives him the fancy of one that is young,
More of soul in his face than of words on his tongue;
Like a maiden of twenty he trembles and sighs,
And tears of fifteen will come into his eyes.
What's a tempest to him, or the dry parching heats?
Yet he watches the clouds that pass over the streets;
With a look of such earnestness often will stand,
You might think he'd twelve reapers at work in the Strand.
Where proud Covent-garden, in desolate hours
Of snow and hoar-frost, spreads her fruits and her flowers,
Old Adam will smile at the pains that have made
Poor winter look fine in such strange masquerade.
'Mid coaches and chariots, a waggon of straw,
Like a magnet, the heart of old Adam can draw;
With a thousand soft pictures his memory will teem,
And his hearing is touched with the sounds of a dream.
Up the Haymarket hill he oft whistles his way,
Thrusts his hands in a waggon, and smells at the hay;
He thinks of the fields he so often hath mown,
And is happy as if the rich freight were his own.
But chiefly to Smithfield he loves to repair,--
If you pass by at morning, you'll meet with him there.
The breath of the cows you may see him inhale,
And his heart all the while is in Tilsbury Vale.
Now farewell, old Adam! when low thou art laid,
May one blade of grass spring up over thy head;
And I hope that thy grave, wheresoever it be,
Will hear the wind sigh through the leaves of a tree.
The Beggar's Soliloquy
Now, this, to my notion, is pleasant cheer,
To lie all alone on a ragged heath,
Where your nose isn't sniffing for bones or beer,
But a peat-fire smells like a garden beneath.
The cottagers bustle about the door,
And the girl at the window ties her strings.
She's a dish for a man who's a mind to be poor;
Lord! women are such expensive things.
We don't marry beggars, says she: why, no:
It seems that to make 'em is what you do;
And as I can cook, and scour, and sew,
I needn't pay half my victuals for you.
A man for himself should be able to scratch,
But tickling's a luxury:- love, indeed!
Love burns as long as the lucifer match,
Wedlock's the candle! Now, that's my creed.
The church-bells sound water-like over the wheat;
And up the long path troop pair after pair.
The man's well-brushed, and the woman looks neat:
It's man and woman everywhere!
Unless, like me, you lie here flat,
With a donkey for friend, you must have a wife:
She pulls out your hair, but she brushes your hat.
Appearances make the best half of life.
You nice little madam! you know you're nice.
I remember hearing a parson say
You're a plateful of vanity pepper'd with vice;
You chap at the gate thinks t' other way.
On his waistcoat you read both his head and his heart:
There's a whole week's wages there figured in gold!
Yes! when you turn round you may well give a start:
It's fun to a fellow who's getting old.
Now, that's a good craft, weaving waistcoats and flowers,
And selling of ribbons, and scenting of lard:
It gives you a house to get in from the showers,
And food when your appetite jockeys you hard.
You live a respectable man; but I ask
If it's worth the trouble? You use your tools,
And spend your time, and what's your task?
Why, to make a slide for a couple of fools.
You can't match the colour o' these heath mounds,
Nor better that peat-fire's agreeable smell.
I'm clothed-like with natural sights and sounds;
To myself I'm in tune: I hope you're as well.
You jolly old cot! though you don't own coal:
It's a generous pot that's boiled with peat.
Let the Lord Mayor o' London roast oxen whole:
His smoke, at least, don't smell so sweet.
I'm not a low Radical, hating the laws,
Who'd the aristocracy rebuke.
I talk o' the Lord Mayor o' London because
I once was on intimate terms with his cook.
I served him a turn, and got pensioned on scraps,
And, Lord, Sir! didn't I envy his place,
Till Death knock'd him down with the softest of taps,
And I knew what was meant by a tallowy face!
On the contrary, I'm Conservative quite;
There's beggars in Scripture 'mongst Gentiles and Jews:
It's nonsense, trying to set things right,
For if people will give, why, who'll refuse?
That stopping old custom wakes my spleen:
The poor and the rich both in giving agree:
Your tight-fisted shopman's the Radical mean:
There's nothing in common 'twixt him and me.
He says I'm no use! but I won't reply.
You're lucky not being of use to him!
On week-days he's playing at Spider and Fly,
And on Sundays he sings about Cherubim!
Nailing shillings to counters is his chief work:
He nods now and then at the name on his door:
But judge of us two, at a bow and a smirk,
I think I'm his match: and I'm honest-that's more.
No use! well, I mayn't be. You ring a pig's snout,
And then call the animal glutton! Now, he,
Mr. Shopman, he's nought but a pipe and a spout
Who won't let the goods o' this world pass free.
This blazing blue weather all round the brown crop,
He can't enjoy! all but cash he hates.
He's only a snail that crawls under his shop;
Though he has got the ear o' the magistrates.
Now, giving and taking's a proper exchange,
Like question and answer: you're both content.
But buying and selling seems always strange;
You're hostile, and that's the thing that's meant.
It's man against man-you're almost brutes;
There's here no thanks, and there's there no pride.
If Charity's Christian, don't blame my pursuits,
I carry a touchstone by which you're tried.
- 'Take it,' says she, 'it's all I've got':
I remember a girl in London streets:
She stood by a coffee-stall, nice and hot,
My belly was like a lamb that bleats.
Says I to myself, as her shilling I seized,
You haven't a character here, my dear!
But for making a rascal like me so pleased,
I'll give you one, in a better sphere!
And that's where it is-she made me feel
I was a rascal: but people who scorn,
And tell a poor patch-breech he isn't genteel,
Why, they make him kick up-and he treads on a corn.
It isn't liking, it's curst ill-luck,
Drives half of us into the begging-trade:
If for taking to water you praise a duck,
For taking to beer why a man upbraid?
The sermon's over: they're out of the porch,
And it's time for me to move a leg;
But in general people who come from church,
And have called themselves sinners, hate chaps to beg.
I'll wager they'll all of 'em dine to-day!
I was easy half a minute ago.
If that isn't pig that's baking away,
May I perish!-we're never contented-heigho!
by George Meredith.
The Angel In The House. Book I. Canto V.
I The Comparison
Where she succeeds with cloudless brow,
In common and in holy course,
He fails, in spite of prayer and vow
And agonies of faith and force;
Or, if his suit with Heaven prevails
To righteous life, his virtuous deeds
Lack beauty, virtue's badge; she fails
More graciously than he succeeds.
Her spirit, compact of gentleness,
If Heaven postpones or grants her pray'r,
Conceives no pride in its success,
And in its failure no despair;
But his, enamour'd of its hurt,
Baffled, blasphemes, or, not denied,
Crows from the dunghill of desert,
And wags its ugly wings for pride.
He's never young nor ripe; she grows
More infantine, auroral, mild,
And still the more she lives and knows
The lovelier she's express'd a child.
Say that she wants the will of man
To conquer fame, not check'd by cross,
Nor moved when others bless or ban;
She wants but what to have were loss.
Or say she wants the patient brain
To track shy truth; her facile wit
At that which he hunts down with pain
Flies straight, and does exactly hit.
Were she but half of what she is,
He twice himself, mere love alone,
Her special crown, as truth is his,
Gives title to the worthier throne;
For love is substance, truth the form;
Truth without love were less than nought;
But blindest love is sweet and warm,
And full of truth not shaped by thought;
And therefore in herself she stands
Adorn'd with undeficient grace,
Her happy virtues taking hands,
Each smiling in another's face.
So, dancing round the Tree of Life,
They make an Eden in her breast,
While his, disjointed and at strife,
Proud-thoughted, do not bring him rest.
II Love in Tears
If fate Love's dear ambition mar,
And load his breast with hopeless pain,
And seem to blot out sun and star,
Love, won or lost, is countless gain;
His sorrow boasts a secret bliss
Which sorrow of itself beguiles,
And Love in tears too noble is
For pity, save of Love in smiles.
But, looking backward through his tears,
With vision of maturer scope,
How often one dead joy appears
The platform of some better hope!
And, let us own, the sharpest smart
Which human patience may endure
Pays light for that which leaves the heart
More generous, dignified, and pure.
III Prospective Faith
They safely walk in darkest ways
Whose youth is lighted from above,
Where, through the senses' silvery haze,
Dawns the veil'd moon of nuptial love.
Who is the happy husband? He
Who, scanning his unwedded life,
Thanks Heaven, with a conscience free,
'Twas faithful to his future wife.
IV Venus Victrix
Fatal in force, yet gentle in will,
Defeats, from her, are tender pacts,
For, like the kindly lodestone, still
She's drawn herself by what she attracts.
I went not to the Dean's unbid:
I would not have my mystery,
From her so delicately hid,
The guess of gossips at their tea.
A long, long week, and not once there,
Had made my spirit sick and faint,
And lack-love, foul as love is fair,
Perverted all things to complaint.
How vain the world had grown to be!
How mean all people and their ways,
How ignorant their sympathy,
And how impertinent their praise;
What they for virtuousness esteem'd,
How far removed from heavenly right;
What pettiness their trouble seem'd,
How undelightful their delight;
To my necessity how strange
The sunshine and the song of birds;
How dull the clouds' continual change,
How foolishly content the herds;
How unaccountable the law
Which bade me sit in blindness here,
While she, the sun by which I saw,
Shed splendour in an idle sphere!
And then I kiss'd her stolen glove,
And sigh'd to reckon and define
The modes of martyrdom in love,
And how far each one might be mine.
I thought how love, whose vast estate
Is earth and air and sun and sea,
Encounters oft the beggar's fate,
Despised on score of poverty;
How Heaven, inscrutable in this,
Lets the gross general make or mar
The destiny of love, which is
So tender and particular;
How nature, as unnatural
And contradicting nature's source,
Which is but love, seems most of all
Well-pleased to harry true love's course;
How, many times, it comes to pass
That trifling shades of temperament,
Affecting only one, alas,
Not love, but love's success prevent;
How manners often falsely paint
The man; how passionate respect,
Hid by itself, may bear the taint
Of coldness and a dull neglect;
And how a little outward dust
Can a clear merit quite o'ercloud,
And make her fatally unjust,
And him desire a darker shroud;
How senseless opportunity
Gives baser men the better chance;
How powers, adverse else, agree
To cheat her in her ignorance;
How Heaven its very self conspires
With man and nature against love,
As pleased to couple cross desires,
And cross where they themselves approve.
Wretched were life, if the end were now!
But this gives tears to dry despair,
Faith shall be blest, we know not how,
And love fulfilled, we know not where.
While thus I grieved, and kiss'd her glove,
My man brought in her note to say,
Papa had bid her send his love,
And would I dine with them next day?
They had learn'd and practised Purcell's glee,
To sing it by to-morrow night.
The Postscript was: Her sisters and she
Inclosed some violets, blue and white;
She and her sisters found them where
I wager'd once no violets grew;
So they had won the gloves. And there
The violets lay, two white, one blue.
by Coventry Patmore.
From 'The Motto'
And first, that no man else may censure me
For vaunting what belongeth not to me,
Heare what I have not, for Tie not deny
To make confession of my poverty.
I have not of myselfe the powre or grace
To be, or not to be ; one minute-space
I have not strength another word to write,
Or tell you what I purpose to indite ;
Or thinke out halfe a thought, before my death,
But by the leave of him that gave me breath.
I have no native goodnes in my soul,
But I was over all corrupt and foul:
And till another cleans'd me I had nought
That was not stain'd within me : not a thought.
I have no propper merrit ; neither will,
Or to resolve, or act, but what is ill;
I have no meanes of safety, or content,
In ought which mine owne wisdom can invent.
Nor have I reason to be desperate tho,
Because for this a remedy I know.
I have no portion in the world like this,
That I may breathe that ayre which common is,
Nor have I seen within this spacious round
What I have worth my joy or sorrow found,
Except it hath for these that follow binn,
The love of my Redeemer, and my sinn.
I none of those great priviledges have
Which makes the minions of the time so brave;
I have no sumpteous pallaces, or bowers
That overtop my neighbours with their tow'rs;
I have no large demeanes or princely rents,
Like those heroes, nor their discontents;
I have no glories from mine auncesters,
For want of reall worth to bragg of theirs ;
Nor have I baseness in my pedigree:
For it is noble, though obscure it be.
I have no golde those honours to obtaine,
Which men might heretofore by vertue gaine;
Nor have I witt, if wealth were given me,
To thinke bought place, or title, honour'd me.
I (yet) have no beliefe that they are wise
Who for base ends can basely temporise :
Or that it will at length be ill for me,
That I liv'd poore to keepe my spirit free.
I have no causes in our pleading courts,
Nor start I at our Chancery reports;
No fearfull bill hath yet affrighted me,
No motion, order, judgement, or decree.
Nor have I forced beene to tedious journeys
Betwixt my counsellors and my attorneys.
I have no neede of these long-gowned warriers,
Who play at Westminster, unarm'd, at barriers
For gamster for those Common-pleas am I
Whose sport is marred by the Chancery.
* * * *
I have no complements, but what may show
That I doe manners and good breeding know;
For much I hate the forced apish tricks
Of these our home-disdaining politicks :
Who to the forraine guises are affected,
That English honesty is quite rejected
And in the stead thereof, they furnisht home
With shadowes of humanity doe come.
Oh! how judicious, in their owne esteeme,
And how compleatly travelled they seem,
If, in the place of reall kindnesses,
(Which nature could have taught them to expresse,)
They can, with gestures, lookes, and language sweet,
Fawne like a curtezan on all they meete ;
And vie in humble and kind speeches, when
They doe most proudly and most falsely meane.
On this too many falsely set their face,
Of courtship and of wisdome ; but 'tis base.
For servile unto me it doth appeare
When we descend to soothe and flatter, where
We want affection : yea, I hate it more
Than to be borne a slave, or to be poore.
I have no pleasure or delight in ought
That by dissembling must to passe be brought
If I dislike, I'll sooner tell them so,
Then hide my face beneath a friendly show
For he who to be just hath an intent,
Needs nor dissemble nor a lie invent.
I rather wish to faile with honestie,
Then to prevaile in ought by treacherie.
And with this minde I'll safer sleep, then all
Our Macavillian polititians shall.
I have no minde to flatter ; though I might
Be made some lord's companion, or a knight;
Nor shall my verse for me on begging goe,
Though I might starve unlesse it did doe so.
* * * *
I cannot (for my life) my pen compell,
Upon the praise of any man to dwell:
Unlesse I know (or thinke at least) his worth
To be the same which I have blazed forth.
Had I some honest suit, the gaine of which
Would make me noble, eminent, and rich,
And that to compasse it no meanes there were,
Unlesse I basely flatter'd some great peere;
Would with that suite my mine I might get,
If on those terms I would endeavour it.
I have not bin to their condition borne
Who are enclyned to respect, and scorne,
As men in their estates doe rise or fall:
Or rich or poore, I vertue love in all.
And where I find it not, I doe despise
To fawn on them ; how high soe're they rise ;
For where proud greatnesse without worth J see
Old Mordecay had not a stiffer knee.
I cannot give a plaudit (I protest)
When, as his lordship thinks, he breakes a jeast,
Unles it move me ; neither can I grin
When he a causeles laughter doth begin ;
I cannot sweare him truly honourable,
Because he once received me to his table,
i And talk't as if the Muses glad might be
That he vouchsafed such a grace to me :
I His slender worth I could not blazen so
By strange hyperboles, as some would do;
Or wonder at it, as if none had bin
His equall, since King William first came in.
Nor can I thinke true vertue ever car'd
To give or take (for praise) what I have heard.
For, if we pryze them well, what goodly grace
Have outward beauties, riches, titles, place,
Or such, that we the owners should commend,
When no true vertues doe on these attend ?
If beautiful he be, what honor's that ?
As fayre as he is many a beggar's brat.
If we his noble titles would extoll,
Those titles he may have, and be a fool.
If seats of justice he hath climbed (we say),
So tyrants and corrupt oppressors may.
If for a large estate his praise we tell,
A thousand villains may be praised as well.
If he his prince's good esteeme be in,
Why so hath many a bloudy traytor bin.
And if in these things he alone excell,
Let those that list upon his praises dwell.
Some other worth I find ere I have sense
Of any praise deserving excellence.
I have no friends that once affected were,
But to my heart they sit this day as neare
As when I most endear'd them (though they seeme
To fall from my opinion or esteeme :)
For pretious time in idle would be spent,
If I with all should alwayes complement ;
And till my love I may to purpose show,
I care not wher' they think I love or no.
For sure I am, if any find me chang'd,
Their greatnes,not their meannesse, me estranged.
by George Wither.
The Orange-Peel In The Gutter
BEHOLD, unto myself I said,
This place how dull and desolate,
For lovely thoughts how all unmeet,
This drear and darksome London street.
Above, beneath, and all around,
Not one slight crumb is to be found;
Not one so slight poetic crumb
For sparrow-poet to feed upon.
For lo! above there is no sky!
No living blue to glad the eye!
No sun that shines, no flying cloud!
But fog, that in a huge dun shroud
Wraps all the London town about;
And with it comes the drizzling rain,
And dusky houses wets in vain--
It ne'er can wash them white again.
Those houses, yea, how cold and bare,
With self-same aspect stand they there,
With grimy windows two and two,
It makes me sick to look at you!
No tree, no shrub, to lend you grace,
With drooping branch to hide your face;
No solitary blossom e'en
To brighten you with flow'ry sheen;
Nor living things I here espy,
Save yon black cat, with sharp green eye,
Sliding along with stealthy pace:
The very spirit of the place.
And in the road hops here and there
A sparrow, searching scanty fare,
The pauper of the sons of air.
Nought! nought! but wall and iron spike,
Cold, cruel, as if fain 'twould like
To run some beggar through and through,
And guard the door from him and you.
And underfoot?--no flowers, no grass,
T' arrest the step before you pass,
To send up whispers low and sweet,
To smile, to beckon, and to greet;
No gurgling brook, no silent pool,
In whose pure waters, still and cool,
The flying bird, the flitting cloud,
The sunbeam peering in and out,
The star that slides through limpid air,
Are glassed in beauty wondrous fair.
None--none of these, but miry clay,
To cling tenaciously all day,
With heavy clutch to your poor heel,
And in the gutter you, the peel
Of some sweet golden orange fruit,
Though smothered now with dirt and soot
Still darting forth through dull decay,
The splendour of a by-gone day,
The ling'ring of a dying ray.
Oh, wondrous strange! I feel the deep
Hush of Italian nights slow creep
Around me, see the fuller light
Of southern stars strike through the night,
And hear the sweeter breathèd sighs
Of southern breezes swell and rise;
Rise, swell I hear the balm-fed breeze,
Through the dark grove of orange trees,
Where silver gleams of creamy bloom,
In fragrance flash along the gloom;
And the gold fruit through dark doth shine
A star! a mystery divine!
I hear the sweeter sighs of love,
By southern hearts breathed through the grove,
Like to the cooing of a dove;
Like to the soft falls of summer rain,
On hoary wood and parched plain;
Like to the drops of pale moonlight,
That sink upon the sea at night;
Heart melts with heart, and kiss with kiss,
In holy night, in holy bliss,
As in the wondrous sunset skies
Hues melt with hues, and dyes with dyes,
Till all in one vast glory lies.
But what a full and deep-set roar
Heaves, swells, and surges more and more,
Like billows on a stormy shore.
Yet here flows not the dark blue sea,
But street on street continually;
Here walls on walls press nigh and nigher,
And roofs on roofs rise high and higher,
And spire still greets the rising spire.
The clang, the clash, the row, the roar,
London, great London, 'tis once more,
With hurry, flurry, to and fro,
Time scarce to snarl a 'yes' or 'no;'
Time scarce t' evade your neighbour's toe.
But here's the market fair to see,
An island green within that sea
Of streets, a little flow'ry spot,
Reminding him who's long forgot,
Of country fields and waving trees,
Of hedges, birds and flowers and bees.
The snowdrop stands in moist brown ground,
And purifies the air around;
The violet scatters woodland smells,
And hyacinths ring their honeyed bells.
This man sells grapes from sunny Spain;
Lombardian almonds this again;
Pears, peaches, with the morning down,
All in that world-wide lap are thrown,
By all the nations, and they vie
In fruits, nursed by a southern sky.
The chaff'ring crowd, the bart'ring maid,
Here buy and sell, and choose and trade.
There sits a woman lean and old,
She shivers in the east wind's cold;
She knits; how fast her fingers fly!
Her fingers, oh! how worn and dry.
But still she knits, because she knows
Her crying grandchild's icy toes.
Her basket stands close by her side,
With orange heaps in golden pride;
Surely imprisoned sunbeams throw
Around them such a flush and glow,
That seeing them we seem to see
A glimpse of sun-loved Italy.
Oh, may they all be bought, and give
The old woman wherewithal to live!
Here in the garret, 'neath the leads,
Slowly spin out life's weary threads;
Slowly and slowly ebbs away
The breath of one poor child of clay.
The throbbing pulse, the great'ning eye,
The parchèd lips, the impatient sigh,
The mother marks 'twixt hope and fright,
From weary noon to weary night,
From midnight round to noon again:
Each hour crammed full with aching pain,
And anxious fluttering of hope,
As both alternately find scope.
And as she breathless notes each sound,
He whispers, turning round and round,
'Oh! mother, mother, give me drink.'
She's up, she's back scarce in a wink,
And to her darling's burning lips,
The luscious fruit she holds, he sips
With breaths long drawn, still on and on,
Till all the cooling juice is gone,
And only left of fragrant meal,
Is that still golden orange-peel.
The orange-peel! ah, where am I?
Beneath the deep Italian sky?
In Covent Garden's crowded fair?
Or 'neath the roof of pain and care?
Ah, still within the darksome street,
So all unlovely and unsweet!
The welt'ring fog, the drizzling rain,
The dirt, the dust upon each pane,
The iron rails so hard and bare,
The miry clay, they all are here!
What did befall? Then did I dream?
Was all but air? Did all but seem?
How caught I then this wondrous gleam?
Ah! here you bit of sunny gold,
Within the gutter I behold;
Across my mind its life it flashed,
The fragrance of the past it dashed,
Dying, it kindled life, and hurled
My soul through heights and depths of world.
In bud and blossom, fruit and tree,
Revealed life's perfect harmony!
Revealed the throbs of mutual love,
Ensphered by kindling stars above!
Revealed the stir of busy life,
The trade, the turmoil, and the strife!
Struggles of honest poverty;
A watching mother's agony!
Child-life that hangs upon a breath,
The tremblings betwixt life and death--
Revealed the mystic link, that thrills
Through joy and pain, through good and ills,
Wafts influences from afar,
Connects the worm still with the star,
And binds the earth, the skies, the main,
The worlds, with one electric chain!
Behold, unto myself I said,
There's nought on earth so desolate,
But if the eye is there to see
Will find a joy and mystery,
As under dark and mossy dells
The violet hides with spring-like smells!
No cell, no garret, and no tomb,
For which no flower of love doth bloom!
No place so waste, so dark, so drear,
But heavenly beauty lurketh there!
And from these two will ever spring,
As music from the harp's sweet string,
As from the nest the lark soars high,
As from the flame the live sparks fly,
The fountain of great poesy,
Will shine and flash, and flame and glow,
Like to the million coloured bow
Of hope and peace, a lovely sign,
Flinging around that world of thine
A glory that is all divine!
by Mathilde Blind.
Who would not be Sir Hubert, for his birth and bearing fine,
His rich sky-skirted woodlands, valleys flowing oil and wine;
Sir Hubert, to whose sunning all the rays of fortune shine?
So most men praised Sir Hubert, and some others warm'd with praise
Of Hubert noble-hearted, than whom none went on his ways
Less spoilt by splendid fortune, whom no peril could amaze.
To Ladies all, save one, he was the rule by which the worth
Of other men was reckon'd; so that many a maid, for dearth
Of such a knight to woo her, love forswore, and with it mirth.
No prince could match his banquets, when proud Mabel was his guest;
And shows and sumptuous triumphs day by day his hope express'd
That love e'en yet might burgeon in her young unburgeon'd breast.
Time pass'd, and use for riches pass'd with hope, which slowly fled;
And want came on unheeded; and report in one day spread
Of good Sir Hubert houseless, and of Mabel richly wed.
Forth went he from the city where she dwelt, to one poor farm,
All left of all his valleys: there Sir Hubert's single arm
Served Hubert's wants; and labour soon relieved love's rankling harm.
Much hardship brought much easement of the melancholy freight
He bore within his bosom; and his fancy was elate
And proud of Love's rash sacrifice which led to this estate.
One friend was left, a falcon, famed for beauty, skill, and size,
Kept from his fortune's ruin, for the sake of its great eyes,
That seem'd to him like Mabel's. Of an evening he would rise,
And wake its royal glances and reluctantly flapp'd wings,
And looks of grave communion with his lightsome questionings,
That broke the drowsy sameness, and the sense like fear that springs
At night, when we are conscious of our distance from the strife
Of cities, and the memory of the spirit in all things rife
Endows the silence round us with a grim and ghastly life.
His active resignation wrought, in time, a heartfelt peace,
And though, in noble bosoms, love once lit can never cease,
He could walk and think of Mabel, and his pace would not increase.
Who say, when somewhat distanced from the heat and fiercer might,
‘Love's brand burns us no longer; it is out,’ use not their sight
For ever and for ever we are lighted by the light:
And ere there be extinguish'd one minutest flame, love-fann'd,
The Pyramids of Egypt shall have no place in the land,
But as a nameless portion of its ever-shifting sand.
News came at last that Mabel was a widow; but, with this,
That all her dead Lord's wealth went first to her one child and his;
So she was not for Hubert, had she beckon'd him to bliss;
For Hubert felt, tho' Mabel might, like him, become resign'd
To poverty for Love's sake, she might never, like him, find
That poverty is plenty, peace, and freedom of the mind.
One morning, while he rested from his delving, spade in hand,
He thought of her and blest her, and he look'd about the land,
And he, and all he look'd at, seem'd to brighten and expand.
The wind was newly risen; and the airy skies were rife
With fleets of sailing cloudlets, and the trees were all in strife,
Extravagantly triumphant at their newly gotten life.
Birds wrangled in the branches, with a trouble of sweet noise;
Even the conscious cuckoo, judging wisest to rejoice,
Shook round his ‘cuckoo, cuckoo,’ as if careless of his voice.
But Hubert mused and marvell'd at the glory in his breast;
The first glow turn'd to passion, and he nursed it unexpress'd;
And glory gilding glory turn'd, at last, to sunny rest.
Then again he look'd around him, like an angel, and, behold,
The scene was changed; no cloudlets cross'd the serious blue, but, roll'd
Behind the distant hill-tops, gleam'd aërial hills of gold.
The wind too was abated, and the trees and birds were grown
As quiet as the cloud-banks; right above, the bright sun shone,
Down looking from the forehead of the giant sky alone.
Then the nightingale, awaken'd by the silence, shot a throng
Of notes into the sunshine: cautious first, then swift and strong;
Then he madly smote them round him, till the bright air throbb'd with song,
And suddenly stopp'd singing, all amid his ecstasies:—
Myrtles rustle; what sees Hubert? sight is sceptic, but his knees
Bend to the Lady Mabel, as she blossoms from the trees.
She spoke, her eyes cast downwards, while upon them, dropp'd half way,
Lids fairer than the bosom of an unblown lily lay:
‘In faith of ancient amity, Sir Hubert, I this day
‘Would beg a boon, and bind me your great debtor.’ O, her mouth
Was sweet beyond new honey, or the bean-perfumed South,
And better than pomegranates to a pilgrim dumb for drouth!
She look'd at his poor homestead; at the spade beside his hand;
And then her heart reproach'd her, What inordinate demand
Was she come there for making! Then she says, in accents bland,
Her Page and she are weary, and her wish can wait; she'll share
His noontide meal, by his favour. This he hastens to prepare;
But, lo! the roost is empty, and his humble larder bare.
No friend has he to help him; no one near of whom to claim
The tax, and force its payment in his passion's sovereign name;
No time to set the pitfalls for the swift and fearful game;
Too late to fly his falcon, which, as if it would assist
Its master's trouble, perches on his idly proffer'd fist,
With busy, dumb caresses, treading up and down his wrist.
But now a gleam of comfort and a shadow of dismay
Pass o'er the good knight's features; now it seems he would essay
The fatness of his falcon, while it flaps both wings for play;
Now, lo, the ruthless lover takes it off its trusted stand;
Grasps all its frighten'd body with his hard remorseless hand;
Puts out its faithful life, and plucks and broils it on the brand.
In midst of this her dinner, Mabel gave her wish its word:
‘My wilful child, Sir Hubert, pines from fancy long deferr'd;
And now he raves in fever to possess your famous bird.’
‘Alas!’ he said, ‘behold it there.’ Then nobly did she say:
‘It grieves my heart, Sir Hubert, that I'm much too poor to pay
For this o'er-queenly banquet I am honour'd with to-day;
‘But if, Sir, we two, henceforth, can converse as friends, my board
To you shall be as open as it would were you its Lord.’
And so she bow'd and left him, from his vex'd mind unrestored.
Months pass'd, and Hubert went not, but lived on in his old way;
Until to him, one morning, Mabel sent her Page to say,
That, should it suit his pleasure, she would speak with him that day.
‘Ah, welcome Sir!’ said Mabel, rising courteous, kind and free
‘I hoped, ere this, to have had you for my guest, but now I see
That you are even prouder than they whisper you to be.’
Made grave by her great beauty, but not dazzled, he replied,
With every noble courtesy, to her words; and spoke beside
Such things as are permitted to bare friendship; not in pride,
Or wilful overacting of the right, which often blends
Its sacrificial pathos, bitter-sweet, with lover's ends,
Or that he now remember'd her command to meet ‘as friends;’
But having not had knowledge that the infant heir was dead,
Whose life made it more loving to preserve his love unsaid,
He waited, calmly wondering to what mark this summons led.
She, puzzled with a strangeness by his actions disavow'd,
Spoke further: ‘Once, Sir Hubert, I was thoughtless, therefore proud;
Your love on me shone sunlike. I, alas, have been your cloud,
‘And, graceless, quench'd the light that made me splendid. I would fain
Pay part of what I owe you, that is, if,—alas, but then
I know not! Things are changed, and you are not as other men.’
She strove to give her meaning, yet blush'd deeply with dismay
Lest he should find it. Hubert fear'd she purpos'd to repay
His love with less than love. Thought he, ‘Sin 'twas my hawk to slay!’
His eyes are dropp'd in sorrow from their worshipping: but, lo!
Upon her sable vesture they are fall'n; with progress slow,
Through dawning apprehension to sweet hope, his features glow;
And all at once are lighted with a light, as when the moon,
Long labouring to the margin of a cloud, still seeming soon
About to swim beyond it, bursts at last as bare as noon.
‘O, Lady, I have loved, and long kept silence; but I see
The time is come for speaking, O, sweet Lady, I should be
The blessedest knight in Christendom, were I beloved by thee!’
One small hand's weight of whiteness on her bosom did she press;
The other, woo'd with kisses bold, refused not his caress;
Feasting the hungry silence came, sob-clad, her silver ‘Yes.’
Now who would not be Hubert, for his dark-eyed Bride divine,
Her rich, sky-skirted woodlands, valleys flowing oil and wine,
Sir Hubert to whose sunning all the rays of fortune shine!’
by Coventry Patmore.