« AnteriorContinuar »
With tatter'd hat, and beard unshorn,
And face inlaid with dirt and soot: And hunting shirt deiii'd and torn,
And feet unbless'd with shoe or boot,
The squatter by his hearth unclean,
Sat with his handspike for a cane, And as the shivering pigs crept in,
He drove them through the logs again.
And as he scratch'd, and chewd his quid,
And listen'd to the pilgrim's tale,
And still the handspike would assail.
Close round a gaping circle press,
Of ragged children plump and brown, To gaze upon the stranger's dress,
And hear the wonders of the town.
In buckskin bag, with head of axe,
The mouldy coffee now is broke, The pork no store of cabbage lacks;
The hoe-cakes on the shingle smoke.
No cups from foreign lands are seen,
No plates arrang’d, no table spread, Each dipp'd within the pot his tin,
And slic'd his bacon on his bread.
But Hunger, ravenous guest! was there,
He wav'd his spells o'er every treat, And gave the rough and homely fare
A charm, that even the gods might eat;
And Toil, blest sinnewer of the poor!
Thy callous hand, and stubborn tread,
Still made the hardest cabin floor
Refreshing as the softest bed.
What though the wolves with mingling howl,
All night harrangued their answering brood; And that vile hag, the big horn'd owl,
More hideous, hollow'd through the wood,
Our pilgrim as he dropt to rest,
Well pleas'd would listen to their lay, And as the cabin planks he prest,,
Snore chorus to their lullaby.
Soon as the dawn of morning broke,
The pilgrim all his stores reshipt, And through the placid river's smoke,
With steady stroke serenely swept.
The red-bird whistled as he past,
The turtles deep bemoan’d around, The screaming jays in search of mast,
And rattling woodpeckers resound.
The turkey, from the tallest trees,
Calls out the watchword to his train, Soon as the coming skiff he sees,
And seeks the mountain's side again.
The streaming ducks in rapid file,
Shoot o'er the surface of the flood, And pigeons darkening many a mile,
Roar like a tempest o'er the wood.
And now the source of morning beams
High from the shaggy mountain's steep, Upon the pilgrim's skiff' it gleams,
And plays upon the glassy deep:
And where encircling mountains bend,
And vast primæval woods prevail, He sees the pillar'd smoke ascend
From Sugar Camp in shelter'd vale.
He heard the whistling rustic's noise
The sounding axe—the artless song; The barking dog, the children's voice
The clamor of the rural throng.
Fast by the the river's shelving side,
He moor’d his little skiff with care, Where piles of floating timber ride,
And form a shelter'd harbour there.
He climb’d the mouldering bank sublime,
Struck with the forest deep and gray, Where scatter'd round by mighty Time,
The ruins of the former lay;
Here rose the sycamores immense,
And stretch'd their whiten’d arms around, From eating floods the best defence,
And hugest of the forest found
The sugar trees erect and tall,
Arrang’d their stately thousands here, Whose trunks profusely yield to all
The sweetening beverage of the year:
The limpid sweets from every tree,
Drop in the wooden troughs below, Set by the entering augur free,
And through small tubes of elder flow.
Amid this maple forest gay,
Where one prodigious log was rear'd,
The kettles rang'd in black array
Above a raging fire appear’d.
With wooden pails from tree to tree,
The singing rustics walk'd their round, And with their mingling jokes and glee,
The deep and hollow woods resound.
A little hut with leaves bespread,
To shield the rustics from the night, With blankets for a transient bed,
And moss cramm'd in each crevice tight.
To see the thickening syrrup done,
Is still the sire and matron's share, But when the evening shades draw on,
They leave it to the damsel's care.
Amid the fire enlighten'd woods,
The wanton wenches laugh and sing, For well each lightsome lass concludes
Her hastening beau is on the wing.
With startling whoop, in laughing trim,
The hardy buckskins soon arrive, They fill the kettles to the brim,
In feats of chopping wood they strive.
The lasses from the kettles neat,
Their vigorous sweethearts oft regale, With pliant lumps of sugar sweet,
Dropp'd in the cool congealing pail.
And while the blazing fire burns high,
Within the hut the leaves are prest, Where snug as squirrels close they lie,
And Love and Laughter know the rest.
“ Sweet is the sugar season dear!”
The maids along Ohio sing;
(To be continued.)
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
THE TABLE D'HOTE, No. V.
Self delusion. There is no property of human nature that excites risibility on fairer terms than our total blindness to those follies and vices which form the dark shades of our characters; which diminish and often times destroy the value of our good qualities; and which excite the pity of our friends and the ridicule and contempt of our enemies.
From this extraordinary kind of blindness and folly, few menand with deference to the ladies be it addec-few women can pretend to an exemption. Hence we frequently see that persons with striking failings which an observer would suppose could not possibly escape their view for a single instant, remain as blind, deaf, and dumb to those blemishes, as if they belonged to the man in the moon, or any other of the illustrious personages with whom fancy or philosophy has peopled the planets.
But ludicrous and frequently melancholy as the picture is, it is by no means complete. It holds up to view but half of our folly on this point: for it too often happens that we are so extravagantly deluded as to lay claim to virtues the very opposites to our every-day follies. Were I not disposed to let the reader employ his own imagination by looking among his acquaintances for instances, I might fill a page or two with corroborative cases.
The most wonderful instance I have ever met with to illustrate the ideas here submitted to the readers of the Port Folio, and indeed the instance which has given rise to these lucubrations, is that of Dr. Johnson: with the extraordinary powers of his “ mighty mind,”