« AnteriorContinuar »
To fill the aching breast ! My God, thou knowest
How the heart pines that rests on human love.
There is yon house that holds the parish poor,
Whose walls of mud scarce bear the broken door ;
There, where the putrid vapours flagging play,
And the dull wheel hums doleful through the day :
There children dwell, who know no parents' care ;
Parents, who know no children's love, dwell there :
Heart-broken matrons on their joyless bed,
Forsaken wives, and mothers never wed;
Dejected widows, with unheeded tears,
And crippled age, with more than childhood fears !
The lame, the blind, and, far the happiest they!
The moping idiot, and the madman gay.
Here too the sick their final doom receive,
Here brought, amid the scenes of grief, to grieve :
Where the loud groans from some sad chamber flow,
Mixed with the clamors of the crowd below :
Here sorrowing, they each kindred sorrow scan,
And the cold charities of ma to man :
Whose laws indeed for ruined age provide,
And strong compulsion plucks the scrap from pride ;
But still that scrap is bought with many a sigh,
And pride embitters what it can't deny.
Say ye oppressed by some fantastic woes,
Some jarring nerve that baffles your repose ;
Who press the downy couch, while slaves advance
With timid eye, to read the distant glance ;
Who with sad prayers the weary doctor tease
To name the nameless ever-new disease ;
Who with mock-patience dire complaints endure,
Which real pain, and that alone, can cure ;
How would ye bear in real pain to lie,
Despised, neglected, left alone to die?
How would ye bear to draw your latest breath,
Where all that's wretched paves
Such is that room which one rude beam divides,
And naked rafters form the sloping sides ;
Where the vile bands that bind the thatch are seen,
And lath and mud are all that lie between ;
Save one dull pane, that, coarsely patched, gives way
To the rude tempest, yet excludes the day :
Here, on a matted flock, with dust o'erspread,
The drooping wretch reclines his languid head;
For him no hand the cordial cup applies,
Nor wipes the tear that stagnates in his eyes ;
No friends with soft discourse his pain beguile,
Nor promise hope till sickness wears a smile.
Sad solitary Thought, who keeps thy vigils,
Thy solemn vigils, in the sick man's mind;
Communing lonely with his sinking soul,
And musing on the dubious glooms that lie
In dim obscurity before him,--thee,
Wrapt in thy dark magnificence, I call
At this still midnight hour, this awful seasonry
When on my bed, in wakeful restlessness,
I turn me wearisome ; while all around,
All, all, save me, sink in forgetfulness;
I only wake to watch the sickly taper
Which lights me to my tomb.—Yea, 'tis the hand
Of death I feel press heavy on my vitals,
Slow sapping the warm current of existence.
My moments now are few---the sand of life:
Ebbs fastly to its finish. Yet a little,
And the last fleeting particle will fall, Silent, unseen, unnoticed, unlamented. Come then, sad Thought, and let us meditate While meditate we may. We have now But a small portion of what men call time To hold communion ; for even now the knife, The separating knife, I feel divide The tender bond that binds my soul to earth. Yes, I must die I feel that I must die; And though to me has life been dark and dreary, Though hope for me has smiled but to deceive, And disappointment still pursued her blandishments, Yet do I feel my soul recoil within me As I contemplate the dim gulf of death, The shuddering void, the awful blank-futurity. Ay, I had planned full many a sanguine scheme Of earthly happiness—romantic schemes, And fraught with loveliness; and it is hard To feel the hand of death arrest one's steps, Throw a chill blight o'er all one's budding hopes, And hurl one's soul untimely to the shades, Lost in the gaping gulf of blank oblivion. Fifty years hence, and who will hear of Henry? Oh! none ;-another busy brood of beings Will shoot
in the interim, and none Will hold him in remembrance. I shall sink,
As sinks a stranger in the crowded streets
Of busy London :-Some short bustle's caused,
A few inquiries, and the clouds close in,
And all's forgotten.On my grassy grave
The men of future times will careless tread,
And read my name upon the sculptured stone ;
Nor will the sound, familiar to their ears,
Recall my vanished memory I did hope
For better things I hoped I should not leave
The earth without a vestige ;-fate decrees
It shall be otherwise, and I submit.
Henceforth, oh world, no more of thy desires;
No more of hope! the wanton vagrant hope !
I abjure all.-Now other cares engross me,
And my tired soul, with emulative haste,
Looks to its God, and prunes its wings for heaven.
H. K. White.
In man or woman, but far most in man,
And most of all in man that ministers
And serves the altar, in my soul I loathe
All affectation. 'Tis my perfect scorn,