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THE WITCH.

A DRAMATIC SKETCH OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

CHARACTERS. Old Servant in the Family of Sir Francis Fairford. Stranger.

Servant. One summer night Sir Francis, as it chanced, Was pacing to and fro in the avenue That westward fronts our house, Among those aged oaks, said to have been planted Three hundred years ago, By a ncighb'ring prior of the Fairford name. Being o'crtask'd in thought, he heeded not The importunate suit of one who stood by the

gate,
And begg'd an alms.

Some say he shoved her rudely from the gate
With angry chiding; but I can never think
(Our master's nature hath a sweetness in it)
That he could use a woman, an old woman,
With such discourtesy; but he refused her—
And better had he met a lion in his path
Than that old woman that night;
For she was one who practised the black arts,
And served the devil, being since burnt for witch-
craft.
She look'd at him as one that meant to blast him,
And with a frightful noise,
('Twas partly like a woman's voice,
And partly like the hissing of a snake,)
She nothing said but this
(Sir Francis told the words):—

A mischief, mischief, mischief,
And a nine-times killing curse.
By day and by night, to the caitiff wight,

Who shakes the poor like snakes from his door,

And shuts up the womb of his purse.

And still she cried—

A mischief.
And a nine-fold withering curse:
For that shall come to thee that will undo thee,
Both all that thou fearest and worse.

So saying, she departed,
Leaving Sir Francis like a man, benoath
Whose feet a scaffolding was suddenly falling;
So he described it .

Stranger. A terrible curse! What follow'd?
Servant. Nothing immediate, but somo two

months after, Young Philip Fairford suddenly fell sick, And none could tell what ail'd him; for ho lay, And pined, and pined, till all his hair fell off, And he, that was full-flesh'd, became as thin As a two-month's babe that has been starved in

the nursing. And sure I think

He bore his death-wound like a little child;
With such rare sweetness of dumb melancholy
He strove to clothe his agony in smiles,
Which he would force up in his poor pale cheeks,
Like ill-timed guests that had no proper dwelling

there;
Aud, when they ask'd him his complaint, ho laid
His hand upon his heart to show the place,
Where Susan came to him anights, he said,
And prick'd him with a pin.—
And thereupon Sir Francis call'd to mind
The beggar-witch that stood by the gateway
And begg'd on alms.
Stranger. But did the witch confess?

Servant. All this and more at her death. Stranger. I do not love to credit tales of magic. Heaven's music, which is Order, seems unstrung, And this brave world (The mystery of God) unbeautified, Disorder'd, marr'd, where such strange things arc

acted.

ALBUM VERSES.

WITH A FEW OTHERS.

DEDICATION.

TO THE PUBLISHER Dear Moxon,

I do not know to whom a Dedication of these Trifles is more properly due than to yourself. Ton suggested the printing of them. You were desirous of exhibiting a specimen of the manner in which Publications, entrusted to your future care, would appear. With more propriety, perhaps, the "Christmas," or some other of your own simple, unpretending Compositions, might have served this purpose. But I forget —you have bid a long adieu to the Muses. I had on my hands sundry Copies of Verses written for Albumi

Those books kept by modern young Ladies for show,
Of which their plain Grandmothers nothing did know—

or otherwise floating about in Periodicals; which you have chosen in this manner to embody. I feel little interest in their publication. They are simp'ly—Advertisement Verses.

It is not for me, nor you, to allude in public to the kindness of our honoured Friend, under whose auspices you are become a Publisher. May that fine-minded Veteran in Verse enjoy life long enough to see his patronage justified! I venture to predict that your habits of industry, and your cheerful spirit, will carry you through the world.

I am, Dear Moxon, your Friend and sincere Well-Wisher,

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IN THE AUTOGRAPH BOOK OF
MRS. SERGEANT W-—.

Had I a power, Lady, to my will,
You should not want Hand Writings. I would fill
Your leaves with Autographs—resplendent names
Of Knights and Squires of old, and courtly Dames,
Kings, Emperors, Popes. Next under these

should stand
The hands of famous Lawyers—a grave band—
Who in their Courts of Law or Equity
Have best upheld Freedom and Property.
These should moot cases in your book, and vie
To show their reading and their Sergeantry.
But I have none of these; nor can I send
The notes by Bullen to her Tyrant penn'd
In her authentic hand; nor in soft hours
Lines writ by Rosamund in Clifford's bowers.
The lack of curious Signatures I moan,
And want the courage to subscribe my own.

TO DORA W ,

ON BEING ASKED BT HER FATHER TO WRITE IN HER
ALBUM.

An Album is a Banquet: from the store,
In his intelligential Orchard growing,
Your Sire might heap your board to overflowing:
One shaking of the Tree—'twould ask no more
To set a Salad forth, more rich than that
Which Evelyn * in his princely cookery fancied:
Or that more rare, by Eve's neat hands enhanced,
Where, a pleased guest, the Angelic Virtue sat.
But like the all-grasping Founder of the Feast,
Whom Nathan to the sinning king did tax,
From his less wealthy neighbours he exacts;
Spares his own flocks, and takes the poor man's

beast.
Obedient to his bidding, lo, I am,
A zealous, meek, contributory Lamb.

• Acctaria, a Discourse of Sallcts, by J. E. 1706.

IN THE ALBUM OF A CLERGYMAN'S LADY.

An Album is a Garden, not for show

Planted, but use; where wholesome herba should

grow. A Cabinet of curious porcelain, where No fancy enters, but what's rich or rare. A Chapel, where mere ornamental things Are pure as crowns of saints, or angels' wings. A List of living friends; a holier Room For names of some since mouldering in the tomb, Whose blooming memories life'scold laws survive; And, dead elsewhere, they here yet speak and live. Such, and so tender, should an Album be; And, Lady, such I wish this book to thee.

IN THE ALBUM OF EDITH S

In Christian world Mart the garland wears!
Renecca sweetens on a Hebrew's ear;
Quakers for pure Pbiscilla are more clear;
And the light Gaul by amorous Ninon swears.
Among the lesser lights how Lucy shines!
What air of fragrance Rosamond throws round!
How like a hymn doth sweet Cecilia sound!
Of Marthas, and of Anigails, few lines
Have bragg'd in verse. Of coarsest household stuff
Should homely Joan bo fashion'd. But cau
You Barnara resist, or Marian?
And is not Clare for love excuse enough?
Yet, by my faith in numbers, I profess,
These all, than Saxon Edith, please me less.

IN THE ALBUM OF ROTHA Q .

A Passing glance was all I caught of thee,
In my own Enfield haunts at random roving.
Old friends of ours were with thee, faces loving;
Time short: and salutations cursory,
Though deep, and hearty. The familiar Name
Of you, yet unfamiliar, raised in me
Thoughts—what the daughter of that Man should

be, Who call'd our Wordsworth friend. My thoughts

did frame
A growing Maiden, who, from day to day
Advancing still in stature, and in grace,
Would all her lonely Father's griefs efface,
And his paternal cares with usury pay.
I still retain the phantom, as I can;
And call the gentle image—Quillinan.

IN THE ALBUM OF CATHERINE ORKNEY.

CanAt>iA! boast no more the toils
Of hunters for the furry spoils;
Your whitest ermines are but foils
To brighter Catherine Orkney.

That such a flower should ever burst
From climes with rigorous winter curst!—
We bless you, that so kindly nurst

This flower, this Catherine Orkney.

We envy not your proud display
Of lake—wood—vast Niagara;
Your greatest pride we've borne away.
How spared you Catherine Orkney?

That Wolfe on Heights of Abraham fell .
To your reproach no more we tell:
Canadia, you repaid us well

With rearing Catherine Orkney.

O Britain, guard with tenderest care
The charge allotted to your share:
You've scarce a native maid so fair,
So good, as Catherine Orkney.

IN THE ALBUM OF LUCY BARTON.

Little Book, surnamed of white,
Clean as yet, and fair to sight,
Keep thy attribution right.

Never disproportion'd scrawl;
Ugly blot, that's worse than all;
On thy maiden clearness fall!

In each letter, here design'd,
Let the reader emblem'd find
Neatness of the owner's mind.

Gilded margins count a sin,
Let thy leaves attraction win
By the golden rules within;

Sayings fetch'd from sages old;
Laws which Holy Writ unfold,
Worthy to be graved in gold:

Lighter fancies not excluding:
Blameless wit, with nothing rude in,
Sometimes mildly interluding

Amid strains of graver measure:
Virtue's self hath oft her pleasure
In sweet Muses' groves of leisure.

Riddles dark, perplexing sense;

Darker meanings of offence;

What but shades—be banish'd hence.

Whitest thoughts in whitest dress,
Candid meanings, best express
Mind of quiet Quakeress.

IN THE ALBUM OF MRS. JANE TOWERS.

Lady Unknown, who crav'st from me Unknown
The trifle of a verse these leaves to grace,
How shall I find fit matter? with what face
Address a face that ne'er to me was shown?
Thy looks, tones, gesture, manners, and what

not,
Conjecturing, I wander iu the dark.
I know thee only Sister to Charles Clarke!
But at that name my cold muse waxes hot,
And swears that thou art such a one as he,
Warm, laughter-loving, with a touch of madness,
Wild, glee-provoking, pouring oil of gladness
From frank heart without guile. And, if

thou be The pure reverse of this, and I mistake— Demure one, I will like thee for his sake.

IN THE ALBUM OF MISS .

Such goodness in your face doth shine,
With modest look, without design,
That I despair, poor pen of mine

Can e'er express it.
To give it words I feebly try;
My spirits fail me to supply
Befitting language for't, and I

Can only bless it!

But stop, rash verse ! and don't abuse
A bashful Maiden's ear with news
Of her own virtues. She 'U refuse

Praise sung so loudly.
Of that same goodness you admire,
The best part is, she don't aspire
To praise—nor of herself desire

To think too proudly.

IN MY OWN ALBUM.

Fresh clad from heaven in robes of white,

A young probationer of light,

Thou wert, my soul, an album bright,

A spotless leaf; but thought, and care,

And friend and foe, in foul or fair,

Have " written strange defeatures" there;

And Time with heaviest hand of all,
Like that fierce writing on the wall.
Hath stamp'd sad dates—he can't recall;

And error gilding worst designs—

Like speckled snake that strays and shines—

Betrays his path by crooked lines;

And vice hath left his ugly blot;
And good resolves, a moment hot,
Fairly began—but finish'd not;

And fruitless, late remorse doth trace—
Like Hebrew lore a backward pace—
Hor irrecoverable race.

Disjointed numbers; sense unknit;
Huge reams of folly, shreds of wit;
Compose the mingled mass of it.

My scalded eyes no longer brook
Upon this ink-blurr'd thing to look—
Go, shut the leaves, and clasp the book.

MISCELLANEOUS.

ANGEL HELP.*

This rare tablet doth include

Poverty with Sanctitude.

Past midnight this poor maid hath spun,

And yet the work is not half done,

Which must supply from earnings scant

A feeble bed-rid parent's want.

Her sleep-charged eyes exemption ask,

And Holy hands take up the task;

Unseen the rock and spindle ply,

And do her earthly drudgery.

Sleep, saintly poor one ! sleep, sleep on;

And, waking, find thy labours done.

Perchance she knows it by her dreams;

Her eye hath caught the golden gleams,

Angelic presence testifying,

That round her everywhere are flying;

Ostents from which she may presume,

That much of heaven is in the room.

Skirting her own bright hair they run,

And to the sunny add more sun:

Now on that aged face they fix,

Streaming from the Crucifix;

The flesh-clogg'd spirit disabusing,

Death-disarming sleeps infusing,

Prelibations, foretastes high,

And equal thoughts to live or die.

Gardener bright from Eden's bower,

Tend with care that lily flower;

To its leaves and root infuse

Heaven's sunshine, Heaven's dews.

'Tis a type, and 'tis a pledge,

Of a crowning privilege.

Careful as that lily flower,

This Maid must keep her precious dower;

Live a sainted Maid, or die

Martyr to virginity.

ON AN INFANT DYING AS SOON AS BORN.

I s&w where in the shroud did lurk
A curious frame of Nature's work.
A flow'ret crushed in the bud,
A nameless piece of Babyhood,

• Suggested by a drawing in the possession of Charles Aders, Esq., in which is represented the legend of a poor female Saint; who, having spun past midnight, to main, tain a bed-rid mother, has fallen asleep from fatigue, and Angels are finishing her work. In another part of the chamber, an angel is tending a lily, the emblem of parity.

Was in her cradle-coffin lying;

Extinct, with scarce the sense of dying:

So soon to exchange the imprisoning womb

For darker closets of the tomb I

She did but ope an eye, and put

A clear beam forth, then straight up shut

For the long dark: ne'er more to see

Through glasses of mortality.

Riddle of destiny, who can show

What thy short visit meant, or know

What thy errand here below?

Shall we say, that Nature blind

Check'd her hand, and changed her mind,

Just when she had exactly wrought

A finish'd pattern without fault?

Could she flag, or could she tire,

Or lack'd she the Promethean fire

(With her nine moons' long workings sicken'd)

That should thy little limbs have quicken'd?

Limbs so firm, they seem'd to assure

Life of health and days mature:

Woman's self in miniature!

Limbs so fair, they might supply

(Themselves now but cold imagery)

The sculptor to make Beauty by.

Or did the stern-eyed Fate descry,

That babe, or mother, one must die;

So in mercy left the stock,

And cut the branch; to save the shock

Of young years widow'd; and the pain,

When Single State comes back again

To the lone man who, 'reft of wife,

Thenceforward drags a maimed life?

The economy of Heaven is dark;

And wisest clerks have miss'd the mark,

Why Human Buds, like this, should fall,

More brief than fly ephemeral,

That has his day; while ahrivell'd crones

Stiffen with age to stocks and stones;

And crabbed use the conscience sears

In sinners of an hundred years.

Mother's prattle, mother's kiss,

Baby fond, thou ne'er wilt miss.

Rites, which custom does impose,

Silver bells and baby clothes;

Coral redder than those lips,

Which pale death did late eclipse;

Music framed for infants' glee,

Whistle never tuned for thee;

Though thou want'st not, thou shalt have them,

Loving hearts were they which gave them.

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