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And as he thinks o'er all his ills,
Disease, neglect, and scorn,
Thus aged and forlorn.
“ This is not only pathetic,” continued the nymph, “ but it is poetical in the truest sense of the term ; for it presents at once an image to the mind, an argument to the judgment, and a subject interesting to the universal feelings of our nature. Pray, do tell me by whom it was written.” .
" Some other time I may," replied Benedict,6 when the proper occasion arises; meanwhile, have you found any thing else that pleases you ?”
“O they all please me,” said Egeria briskly; “ and here is a humorous effusion, that seems to have been written as a companion to the affecting little piece which I have just read.”
How blest was I at Dobson's ball !
The fiddlers come, my partner chosen !
Alas ! they were not half-a-dozen !
For soon a richer rival came,
And soon the bargain was concluded ;
And left me hopeless and deluded.
To leave me for an orange more !
Could not your pockets-full content ye?
He had but six, and five were plenty.
And mine were biggest, I protest,
For some of his were only penny ones, While mine were all the very best,
As juicy, large, and sweet as any one's.
Could I have thought, ye beaux and belles,
An orange would have so undone me! Or any thing the grocer sells,
Could move my fair one thus to shun me!
All night I sat in fixed disdain,
While hornpipes numberless were hobbled ; I watch'd my mistress and her swain,
And saw his paltry present gobbled.
But when the country-dance was callid,
I could have cried with pure vexation; For by the arms I saw her haul'd,
And led triumphant to her station.
What other could I think to take?
Of all the school she was the tallest; What choice worth making could I make,
None left me, but the very smallest !
But now all thoughts of her adieu !
This is no time for such diversion; Mair's Introduction lies in view,
And I must write my Latin version.
Yet all who that way are inclined,
This lesson learn from my undoing ; Unless your pockets are well lined,
'Tis labour lost to go a wooing.
“ There is, “ resumed the nymph,” not only humour and truth in this little poem, but a naïveté of thought and expression, which shows that the author possesses very amiable dispositions.”
“ Possessed !" replied the Bachelor with a mournful accent," but read me the short ballad on old age. I remember, when I heard it at first, it struck me as one of the most plaintive and simple complaints I had ever met with. It is in my opinion quite a melody, and a sad one too. Alas, that we should grow old !”
Egeria turned over the papers, till she found the piece, and then began to read.
A BALLAD ON OLD AGE.
Who wants a mournful page,
Oh, sing the woes of age !
Who sings so sad a lay ;
His sorrow shall repay.
O age is dark and dreary,
As every old man knows;
In rest finds no repose ;
For he has lived too long ;
It palls upon the tongue.
His friends long time departed,
That were so true and kind,
When children are hard-hearted,
He bears them oft in mind :
In grief and helpless pride ;
He thinks them at his side.
O who would strive with nature
For half an hour of gloom,
Usurping others' room!
I pray to be at rest;
That voyage is surely best.
“ I shall not be content, my dear Benedict,” said the nymph, “ till you tell me by whom these papers were written, and how it happened that so many really charming things have never been published ?"
“ Whether any of these poems have ever been published,” replied the Bachelor, “ I do not certainly know; but the Essay on Deformity was printed in some periodical work at the time it was written, and I recollect it obtained a warm commendation from the editor. The author then was very young, a mere boy, and the promise of his talent was a blossom that might have come in time to some rich and rare fruit, had he been spared in health.”
" In health ! then he is still alive?" said the nymph.
“ Do not question me any further at present," replied the Bachelor ; - I have a reason for my silence. Have you looked at any more ?"
“ Yes; and here is a song which is both spirited and highly poetical.”
THE CALL OF MORVEN. Strike the harp! strike the harp! O ye masters of song! Call forth your high strains that to glory belong. The valiant depart, go ye minstrels before, And lead with proud steps to the fight as of yore. High flames the red signal on Cruachan's bound, And answering swords gleam in thousands around. The banner of Albin unfurls in its might, And flaps like an eagle preparing for flight; . Full spread to the blast see it rushes afar, And the sons of green Morven must follow to war. Hide your tears ! O ye maids, in your brightness o'ercast, Nor rend your fair locks till the heroes be past ! Approach not, ye mothers, lamenting afar, For the sons of green Morven are summoned to war! O ye shores of the ocean, for combats renown'd, Where the bones of the mighty lie scatter'd around; Where the Roman was chased from the hill to the plain, And the haughty Norweyan lies stretched on the Dane: Again shall ye tell where the valiant have died, And the spoiler of nations stood check'd in his pride ; Once more shall your echoes redouble from far The sound of pursuit, and the triumph of war.
“ But,” continued the nymph, “it is in the simple pathetic that the author most excels,—and here is a little piece of that kind which I think affecting and pretty.”
THE SWISS BEGGAR.
And much my heart is wrung,
And beg in foreign tongue.