« PreviousContinue »
HODGE AND THE VICAR.
HODGE, a poor honest country lout,
Not over stocked with learning,
Chanced, on a summer's eve, to meet
The vicar, home returning.
"Ah! master Hodge," the vicar cried,
"What still as wise as ever :
"The people in the village say,
"That you are wond'rous clever."
"Why, master parson, as to that
"I beg you'll right conceive me,
"I do na brag, but yet I know
"A thing or two, believe me."
"We'll try your skill," the parson cried,
"For learning what digestion:
"And this you'll prove, or right or wrong,
"By solving me a question :
"Noah of old three babies had,
"Or grown-up children rather;
"Shem, Ham, and Japhet they were called: "Now, who was Japhet's father?"
"Rat it!" cried Hodge, and scratched his head, "That does my wits belabour:
"But howsomde'er, I'll homeward run,
"And ax old Giles, my neighbour."
To Giles he went, and put the case
With circumspect intention:
"Thou fool," cried Giles, "I'll make it clear.
"To thy dull comprehension.
"Three children has Tom Long, the smith,
"Or cattle-doctor rather;
"Tom, Dick, and Harry, they are called:
"Now, who is Harry's father?"
"Adzooks! I have it," Hodge replied,
Right well I know your lingo;
"Who's Harry's father? stop-here goes,-
'Why Tom Long Smith, by jingo."
Away he ran to find the priest
With all his might and main,
Who with good humour instant put
The question once again:
"Noah of old three babies had,
"Or grown-up children rather;
"Shem, Ham, and Japhet they were called:
"Now who was Japhet's father?"
"I have it now," Hodge grinning cried,
"I'll answer like a proctor;
"Who's Japhet's father? now I know;
"Why Tom Long Smith, the doctor."
THE adventurous boy, that asks his little share,
And hies from home, with many a gossip's prayer,
Turns on the neighbouring hill, once more to see
The dear abode of peace and privacy;
And as he turns, the thatch among the trees,
The smoke's blue wreaths ascending with the breeze,
The village-common spotted with white sheep,
The church-yard yews round which his fathers sleep;
All rouse Reflection's sadly-pleasing train,
And oft he looks and weeps, and looks again!
So, when the mild TUPIA dared explore
Arts yet untaught, and worlds unknown before,
And, with the sons of Science, wooed the gale
That, rising, swelled their strange expanse of sail ;
So, when he breathed his firm yet fond adieu,
Borne from his leafy hut, his carved canoe,
And all his soul best loved-such tears he shed,
While each soft scene of summer-beauty fled.
Long o'er the wave a wistful look he cast,
Long watched the streaming signal from the mast;
Till twilight's dewy tints deceived his eye,
And fairy-forests fringed the evening sky.
So Scotia's Queen, as slowly dawned the day, Rose on her couch, and gazed her soul away. Her eyes had blessed the beacon's glimmering height, That faintly tipt the feathery surge with light; But now the morn with orient hues pourtrayed Each castled cliff, and brown monastic shade: All touched the talisman's resistless spring, And lo, what busy tribes were instant on the wing!
"I HEAR thee speak of the better land; Thou callest its children a happy band: Mother; Oh! where is that radiant shore?Shall we not seek it, and weep no more? Is it where the flower of the orange blows, And the fire-flies glance through the myrtle boughs?" "Not there, not there, my child!”
"Is it where the feathery palm-trees rise,
And the date grows ripe under sunny skies?—
Or midst the green islands of glittering seas,
Where fragrant forests perfume the breeze,
And strange bright birds, on their starry wings,
Bear the rich hues of all glorious things?"
"Not there, not there, my child !"
"Is it far away, in some region old,
Where the rivers wander o'er sands of gold?
Where the burning rays of the ruby shine,
And the diamond lights up the secret mine,
And the pearl gleams forth from the coral strand-
Is it there, sweet mother, that better land?"
-"Not there, not there, my child!"
"Eye hath not seen it, my gentle boy!
Ear hath not heard its deep songs of joy;
Dreams cannot picture a world so fair,-
Sorrow and death may not enter there;
Time doth not breathe on its fadeless bloom,
For beyond the clouds, and beyond the tomb,
-It is there, it is there, my child !"
IMITATED FROM THE ITALIAN OF CRESCEMBINI.
I ASKED the Heavens ;- "What foe to God hath done "This unexampled deed?—The Heavens exclaim, " "Twas Man; —and we in horror snatched the sun "From such a spectacle of guilt and shame."
I asked the Sea;-the Sea in fury boiled,
And answered with his voice of storms,-
"My waves in panic at his crime recoiled,
"Disclosed the abyss, and from the centre ran."
I asked the Earth ;-the Earth replied aghast,
" "Twas Man ;-and such strange pangs my bosom rent,
"That still I groan and shudder at the past."
-To Man, gay, smiling, thoughtless Man, I went, And asked him next :-He turned a scornful eye, Shook his proud head, and deigned me no reply.
A THOUGHT ON ETERNITY.
ERE the foundations of the world were laid,
Ere kindling light the Almighty word obeyed,
Thou wert; and when the subterraneous flame
Shall burst its prison, and devour this frame,
From angry Heaven when the keen lightning flies,
When fervent heat dissolves the melting skies,
Thou still shalt be; still as thou wert before,
And know no change, when time shall be no more.
O endless thought! divine Eternity!
The immortal soul shares but a part of thee!
For thou wert present when our life began,
When the warm dust shot up in breathing man.
Ah! what is life? with ills encompassed round,
Amidst our hopes, fate strikes the sudden wound:
To-day the statesman of new honour dreams,
To-morrow death destroys his airy schemes.
Is mouldy treasure in thy chest confined?
Think all that treasure thou must leave behind;
Thy heir with smiles shall view thy blazoned hearse,
And all thy hoards with lavish hand disperse.
Should certain fate the impending blow delay,
Thy mirth will sicken, and thy bloom decay;
Then feeble age will all thy nerves disarm,
No more thy blood its narrow channels warm.
Who then would wish to stretch this narrow span,
To suffer life beyond the date of man?
The virtuous soul pursues a nobler aim,
And life regards but as a fleeting dream:
She longs to wake, and wishes to get free,
To launch from earth into eternity.
For while the boundless theme extends our thought, Ten thousand thousand rolling years are nought.
Mylo, forbear to call him blest
That only boasts a large estate,
Should all the treasures of the West
Meet and conspire to make him great:
I know thy better thoughts, I know
Thy reason can't descend so low.