Page images
PDF
EPUB

Reserved for twilight's darkling hour,

A voluntary dream;
And as with thoughts of former years

His weakly eyes o’erflow,
None wonders at an old man's tears,

Or seeks his grief to know.

Think not he dotes because he weeps;

Conclusion, ah! how wrong!
Reason with grief joint empire keeps,

Indissolubly strong ;
And oft in age a helpless pride

With jealous weakness pines, (To second infancy allied)

And every woe refines,

How busy now his teeming brain,

Those murmuring lips declare ; Scenes never to return again .

Are represented there,

He ponders on his infant years,

When first his race began, . And, oh ! how wonderful appears

The destiny of man! How swift those lovely hours were past,

In darkness closed how soon! As if a winter's night o'ercast

The brightest summer's noon,

His wither'd hand he holds to view,

With nerves once firmly strung, And scarcely can believe it true

That ever he was young

Disease, neglect, and scorn,
· Strange pity of himself he feels,

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,« 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.”

ELEGY BY A SCHOOL-BOY.

How blest was I at Dobson's ball!

The fiddlers come, my partner chosen !
My oranges were five in all,

Alas ! they were not half-a-dozen !

For soon a richer rival came,

And soon the bargain was concluded;
My Peggy took him without shame,

And left me hopeless and deluded.

To leave me for an orange more !

Could not your pockets-full content ye?
What could you do with all that store?

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.

6. 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.

À BALLAD ON OLD AGE.
Come any gentle poet

Who wants a mournful page,
His theme I soon will show it;

Oh, sing the woes of age !
He sure must weep for pity;

Who sings so sad a lay;
And tears, to grace his ditty,

His sorrow shall repay.

O age is dark and dreary,

As every old man knows;
Without labour he is weary,

In rest finds no repose ;
His life affords no pleasure,

For he has lived too long ;
A cup with over-measure,

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 :
He silent sits and ponders,

In grief and helpless pride ;
And as his fancy wanders,

He thinks them at his side.

O who would strive with nature

For half an hour of gloom,
To live an abject creature,

Usurping others' room !
I seek not life, but rather

I pray to be at rest;
When friends go all together,

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 ?",

silence. the Bachelor? me any fur

« PreviousContinue »