Slike strani
PDF
ePub

The tott'ring vessel quivers with the blast,

And angry clouds obscure the cheerful day. Yet why repine ?-my anxious breast, be fill!

No human bliss is free from foul alloy; But what at present bears the face of ill,

May end in smiling peace and lasting joy. Soon that Pow'r supreme, whose dread command

Can still the tumults of the raging main, Through paths of danger, with unerring hand,

Guide me to thee and happiness again. In Him, my Delia! then thy trust repose:

'Tis He alone the joyless bosom cheers; He soothes, when absent, all our'heart-felt woes,

At home, our soft domestic scene endears.

THE THREE WARNINGS.

PIOZZI.

ΤΗ
HE tree of deepest root is found

Least willing still to quit the ground;
'Twas therefore said by ancient sages,

That love of life increas’d with years
So much, that in our latter stages,
When pains grow sharp and sickness rages,

The greatest love of life appears.
This great affection to believe,
Which all confess but few perceive,
If old assertions can't prevail,
Be pleas’d to hear a modern tale:
When sports went round, and all were gay,
On neighbour Dobson's wedding-day,
Death call'd aside the jocund groom
With him into another room,
And looking grave—“ You must,” says he,

Quit your sweet bride and come with me.”

66

• With you! and quit my Susan's side ?
With you! the hapless husband cry’d:
Young as I am, 'tis monstrous hard!
Besides, in truth, I'm not preparid:
My thoughts on other matters go;
This is my wedding-night, you know.'
What more he urgʻd I have not heard,

His reasons could not well be stronger;
So Death the poor delinquent spar’d,

And left to live a little longer.
Yet calling up a serious look,
His hour-glass trembled while he spoke

Neighbour," he said, “ farewell ! no more
Shall Death disburb your mirthful hour;
And farther, to avoid all blame
Of cruelty upon my name,
To give you time for preparation,
And fit

you
for
your

future station, Three sev’ral Warnings you shall have, Before you're summond to the

grave : Willing for once I'll quit my prey,

And grant a kind reprieve;
In hopes you'll have no more to say,
But, when I call again this way,

Well pleas'd the world will leave.”
To these conditions both consented,
And parted perfectly contented.

What next the hero of our tale befell,
How long he liv'd, how wife, how well,
How roundly he pursu'd his course,
And smok’d'his pipe, and strok'd his horse,

The willing muse shall tell:
He chaffer'd then, he bought, he fold,
Nor once perceiv'd his growing old,

Nor thought of Death as near;
His friends not false, his wife no shrew,
Many his gains, his children few,
He país'd his hours in peace:
But while he view'd his wealth increase,
While thus along Life's dusty road
The beaten track content he trod,

Old Time, whose haste no mortal spares,
Uncallid, unheeded, unawares,

Brought on his eightieth year.
And now, one night, in musing mood,

As all alone he lat,

Th’unwelcome messenger of Fate Once more before him stood. Half kill'd with anger and surprise, • So soon return'd! old Dobson cries; “ So soon! d’ye call it ?” Death replies;

Surely, my friend, you're but in jeft!

Since I was here before 'Tis six and thirty years, at least,

And you are now fourscore.”

• So much the worse!' the clown rejoin'd; • To spare the aged would be kind. However, see your search be legal ; And your authority-is't regal ? Else you are come on a fool's errand, With but a secretary's warrant. Besides, you promis'd me Three Warnings, Which I have look'd for nights and mornings ; But, for that loss of time and ease, I can recover damages.'

“ I know,” cries Death, “ that, at the best, I seldom am a welcome guest; But don't be captious, friend, at least. I little thought you'd still be able To stụmp about your farm and stable; Your years have run to a great length; I wish you joy, though, of your strength!"

· Hold,' says the farmer, 'not so fast ! I have been lame these four years past.'

“ And no great wonder !” Death replies; “ However, you still keep your eyes ; And, sure, to see one's loves and friends, For legs and arms would make amends."

• Perhaps,' says Dobson, so it might; But latterly I've lost my sight.'

“ This is a shocking story, 'faith ; Yet there's some comfort ftill,” says Death: " Each strives your sadness to amuse; I warrant you hear all the news.” · There's none, cries he ; and if there were, I'm grown so deaf, I could not hear.'

“ Nay then !" the spečtre stern rejoin'd,

“ These are unjustifi'bie yearnings; If you are lame, and deaf, and blind,

You've had your Three sufficient Warnings. So come along, no more we'll part :" He said, and touch'd him with his dart; And now, old Dobson, turning pale, Yields to his fate—so ends my tale.

THE

BRITISH

POETICAL MISCELLANY.

THE NEGRO'S COMPLAINT.

COWPER.

FOR

file from home and all its pleasures,

Afric's ,
To increase a stranger's treafures ;

O'er the raging billows borne:
Men from England bought and sold me,

Paid my price in paltry gold;
But, though theirs they have enrolld me,

Minds are never to be sold.
Still in thought as free as ever,

What are England's rights, I ask, Me from my delights to lever,

Me to torture, me to talk ? Fleecy locks and black complexion

Cannot forfeit Nature's claim; Skins may differ, but affection

Dwells in white and black the same.
Why did all-creating Nature

Make the plant for which we toil ?
Sighs must fan it, tears must water,

Sweat of ours must dress the foil.
Think, ye masters iron-hearted!

Lolling at your jovial boards ;
Think how many backs have smarted,

For the sweets your cane affords !
Is there, as you sometimes tell us,

Is there one who reigns on high?

« PrejšnjaNaprej »