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SCREEN'D from the sun and piercing wind,
As once an ox at ease reclin'd,
A sprightly steed, who sought the shade,
His limbs beside his neighbour's laid,
And entering into friendly chat,—
The horse exclaim'd, "I'd fain debate,
Which of us, in our destin'd station,
Is of most service to the nation!"
The ox turn'd round, and said, “Agreed ;
To name your virtues, pray proceed.”
"Born," quoth the horse, "of high degree, I boast a line of ancestry,
And all their qualities inherit
Their strength, their fleetness, and their spirit.
In courses oft I win the race,
Am deem'd the foremost in the chase;
In tourneys skill'd, alert and gay,
I bear the splendid prize away;
In warfare, with a martial glow,
Rush with destruction on the foe;
At fêtes, equipp'd with costly bit,
Kings, peers, and damsels, on me sit;
Nay, all the wealthy of the land
Are pleas'd my service to command :
While you, an honest drudge, I vow,
Seem only born to drag a plough."
"That may be true," the ox replied;
"But lay these haughty airs aside:
The point at issue is, you know,
Not one of pleasure, pomp, or show ;
Were that the case, I might incline
To grant your worth surpasses mine.
But cast your eye athwart the plain,
See how it teems with ripening grain!
The mountain's side, the upland field,
What crops, what plenteous stores, they yield!
Whence do they 'shout for joy,' and smile,
Save through my industry and toil?
Did I forbear to till the earth,
Would it spontaneously bring forth
The corn, with which you're daily fed,
That gives to kings their staff of bread?'
No-they (and all your race who favour)
Live by the produce of my labour :-
Be wise, then, and no rudeness shew
To one to whom so much you owe ;
And learn, not wealth, nor rank, nor birth,
But usefulness stamps real worth."
TO THE MEMORY OF A BLIND SAILOR.
-A MAN, indeed, he was of gentle soul, Tho' bred to brave the deep: the lightning's flash Had dimm'd, not clos'd, his mild, but sightless eyes. He was a welcome guest thro' all his range; (It was not wide) no dog would bay at him; Children would run to meet him on his way, And lead him to a sunny seat, and climb His knee; and wonder at his oft-told tales. Then would he teach the elfins how to plait The rushy cap and crown, or sedgy ship; And I have seen him lay his tremulous hand Upon their heads, while silent mov'd his lips.
Peace to thy spirit, that now looks on me,
Perhaps with greater pity than I felt
To see thee wand'ring darkling on thy way.
THE FUNERAL AT SEA.
DEEP mists hung over the Mariner's grave,
When the holy funereal rite was read;
And every breath on the dark blue wave
Seem'd hush'd, to hallow the friendless dead.
And heavily heav'd, on the gloomy sea,
The ship that shelter'd that homeless one-
As though his funeral hour should be
When the waves were still, and the winds were gone.
And there he lay, in his coarse cold shroud—
And strangers were round the coffinless:
Not a kinsman was seen among that crowd,
Not an eye to weep, nor a lip to bless.
No sound from the church's passing-bell
Was echo'd along the pathless deep,
The hearts that were far away, to tell
Where the Mariner lies, in his lasting sleep.
Not a whisper then linger'd upon the air-
O'er his body, one moment, his messmates bent;
But the plunging sound of the dead was there—
And the ocean is now his monument!
But many a sigh, and many a tear,
Shall be breath'd, and shed, in the hours to come-
When the widow and fatherless shall hear
How he died, far, far from his happy home!
UNDERNEATH the greenwood tree,
There we dwell right merrily,
Lurking in the grassy lane,
Here this hour-then gone again.
You may see where we have been;
By the burnt spot on the green;
By the oak's branch drooping low,
Wither'd in our faggot's glow;
By the grass and hedge-row cropp'd,
Where our asses have been grazing;
By some old torn rag we dropp'd,
When our crazy tents were raising:
You may see where we have been;
Where we are-that is not seen.
Where we are, it is no place
For a lazy foot to trace.
Over heath and over field,
He must scramble who would find us;
In the copse-wood close conceal'd,
With a running brook behind us.
Here we list no village clocks;
Livelier sound the farm-yard cocks,
Crowing, crowing round about,
As if to point their roostings out;
And many a cock shall cease to crow,
Or ere we from the copse-wood go.
On the stream the trout are leaping;
Midway there the pike is sleeping,-
Motionless, self-pois'd he lies—
Stir but the water-on he flies,
E'en as an arrow through the skies!
We could tie the noose to snare him,
But by day we wisely spare him ;--
Nets shall scour the stream at night,
By the cold moon's trusty light;-
Scores of fish will not surprise her,
Writhing with their glittering scales;
She'll look on, none else the wiser,
Give us light, and tell no tales;
And next day the sporting squire
Of his own trout shall be the buyer.
Till the farmer catch us out,
Prowling his rich barns about ;-
Till the squire suspect the fish;
Till the keeper finds his hares,
Struggling in our nightly snares;
Till the girls have ceas'd to wish,
Heedless what young lad shall be
Theirs in glad futurity;
Till the boors no longer hold
Awkwardly their rough hands out,
All to have their fortunes told
By the cross lines thereabout;-
Till these warnings, all or some,
Urge us-(not by beat of drum!)
On our careless march to roam,
copse shall be our leafy home.
If ever you should come to Modena,
(Where among other relics you may see
Tassoni's bucket-but 'tis not the true one)