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The popular harangue, the tart reply,
The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit,
And the loud laugh-I long to know them all;
I burn to set the imprison'd wranglers free,
And give them voice and utterance once again.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast.
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer, but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
Not such his evening, who, with shining face,
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeez'd
And bored with elbow.points through both his sides,
Out-scolds the ranting actor on the stage :
Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb,
And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath
Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage,
Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles.
This folio of four pages, happy work!
Which not even critics criticise ; that holds
Inquisitive attention, while I read,
Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair,
'Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break;
What is it, but a map of busy life,
Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns ?
Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge
That tempts ambition. On the summit, see !
The seals of office glitter in his eyes ;
He climbs, he panis, he grasps them! At his heels,
Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him down.
And wins them, but to lose them in his turn.
Here rills of oily eloquerce, in soft
Meanders, lubricate the course they take ;
The modest speaker is asham'd and griev'd
To engross a moment's notice, and yet begs,
Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts,
However trivial all that he conceives.
Sweet bashfulness ! it claims at least this praise ;
The dearth of information and good sense
That it foretells us always comes to pass.
Cataracts of declamation thunder here;
There forests of no meaning spread the page,
In which all comprehension wanders lost ;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there
With merry descants on a nation's woes.
The rest appears a wilderness of strange
But gay confusion ; roses for the cheeks,
And lilies for the brows of faded age,
Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald,
Heaven, earth, and ocean, plundered of their sweets,
Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,
Sermons, and city feasts, and favourite airs,
Ethereal journies, submarine exploits,
And Katterfelto, with his hair on end
At his own wonders, wondering for his bread.
'Tis pleasant through the loop-holes of retreat
To peep at such a world ; to see the stir
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd ;
To hear the roar she sends through all her gates
At a safe distance, where the dying sound
Falls, a soft murmur, on the uninjur'd ear.
Thus sitting, and surveying, thus at ease,
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanc'd,
To some secure and more than mortal height,
That liberates and exempts me from them all.
It turns, submitted to my view, turns round
With all its generations ; I behold
The tumult, and am still.. The sound of war
Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me ;
Grieves, but alarms me not. I mourn the pride
And avarice that make man a wolf to man;
Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats
By which he speaks the language of his heart,
And sigh, but never tremble at the sound.
He travels and expatiates, as the bee
From flower to flower, so he from land to land;
The manners, customs, policy, of all,
Pay contribution to the store he gleans;
He sucks intelligence in every clime,
And spreads the honey of his deep research,
At his return--a rich repast for me.
He travels, and I too.
I tread his deck,
Ascend his topmast, through his peering eyes
Discover countries, with a kindred heart
Suffer his woes, and share in his escapes ;
While fancy, like the finger of a clock,
Runs the great circuit, and is still at home.
Oh Winter, ruler of the inverted year,
Thy scatter'd hair, with sleet-like ashes, fill'd,
Thy breath congeal'd upon thy lips, thy cheeks
Fring'd with a beard made white with other snows
Than those of age, thy forehead wrapt in clouds,
A leafless branch thy sceptre, and thy throne
A sliding car, indebted to no wheels,
But urged by storms along its slippery way,
I love thee, all unlovely as thou seem'st,
And dreaded as thou art! Thou hold'st the sun
A prisoner in the yet undawning east,
Shortening his journey between morn and noon,
And hurrying him, impatient of his stay,
Down to the rosy west; but kindly still
Compensating his loss with added hours
Of social converse and instructive ease,
And gathering, at short notice, in one group,
The family dispers’d, and fixing thought,
Not less dispers’d by day-light and its cares.
I crown thee king of intimate delights,
Fire-side enjoyments, home-born happiness,
And all the comforts that the lowly roof
Of undisturb'd retirement, and the hours
Of long uninterrupted evening, know.
No rattling wheels stop short before these gates;
No powderåd, pert proficient in the art
Of sounding an alarm, assaults these doors
Till the street rings ; -no stationary steeds
Cough their own knell, while, heedless of the sound,
The silent circle fan themselves, and quake :
But here the needle plies its busy task,
The pattern grows, the well-depicted flower,
Wrought patiently into the snowy lawn,
Unfolds its bosom ; buds, and leaves, and sprigs,
And curling tendrils, gracefully dispos’d,
Follow the nimble finger of the fair;
A wreath that cannot fade, of flowers that blow
With most success when all besides decay.
The poet'skor historian's page, by one
Made vocal for the amusement of the rest ;
The sprightly lyre, whose treasure of sweet sounds
The touch, from many a trembling chord, shakes out;
And the clear voice, symphonious, yet distinct,
And in the charming strife triumphant still ;
Beguile the night, and set a keener edge
On female industry: the threaded steel
Flies swiftly, and unfelt the task proceeds,
The volume clos d, the customary rites
Of the last meal commence. A roman meal ;
Such as the mistress of the world once found
Delicious, when her patriots of high note,
Perhaps by moonlight, at their humble doors,
And under an old oak 's domestic shade,
Enjoy'd-spare feast!--a radish and an egg !
Discourse ensues, not trivial, yet not dull,
Nor such as, with a frown, forbids the play
Of fancy, or proscribes the sound of nirth :
Nor do we madly, like an impious world,
Who deem religion frenzy, and the God
That made them an intruder on their joys,
Start at his awful name, or deem his praise
A jarring note. Themes of a graver tone,
Exciting oft our gratitude and love,
While we retrace with memory's pointing wand,
That calls the past to our exact review,
The dangers we have 'scap d, the broken snare,
The disappointed foe, deliverance found
Unlook d for, life preservd and peace restor'd-
Fruits of omnipotent eternal love.
Oh, evenings worthy of the gods ! exclaim'd
The sabine bard. Oh, evenings, I reply,
More to be priz’d and coveted than yours,
As more illumin’d, and with nobler truths,
That I, and mine, and those we love, enjoy,
Is winter hideous in a garb like this?
Needs he the tragic fur, the srioke of lamps,
The pent-up breath of an unsavoury throng,
To thaw him into feeling; or the smart
And snappish dialogue, that flippant wits
Call comedy, to prompt him with a smile ?
The self-complacent actor, when he views
(Stealing a side-long glance at a full house)
The slope of faces, from the floor to the roof,
(As if one master-spring contrould them all)
Relax'd into an universal grin,
Sees not a countenance there that speaks a joy
Half so refin'd or so sincere as our's.
Cards were superfluous here, with all the tricks
That idleness has ever yet contriv'd
To fill the void of an unfurnish'd brain,
T'o palliate dulness, and give time a shove.
Time, as he passes us, has a dove's wing,
Unsoil'd, and swift, and of a silken sound;
But the world's time is time in masquerade !
Theirs, should I paint him, has his pinions fledg'd
With motley plumes; and, where the peacock shows
His azure eyes, is tinctur'd black and red
With spots quadrangular of diamond form,
Ensanguin d hearts, clubs typical of strife,
And spades, the emblem of untimely graves.
What should be, and what was, an hour-glass once,
Becomes a dice-box; and a billiard mast
Well does the work of his destructive scythe.
Thus deck'd, he charms a world whom fashion blinds
To his true worth, most pleas d when idle most ;
Whose only happy, are their wasted, hours.
Even misses, at whose age their mother's wore
The back-string and the bib, assume the dress
Of womanhood, sit pupils in the school
Of card-devoted time, and, night by night,
Placed at some vacant corner of the board,
Learn every trick, and soon play all the game.
But truce with censure. Roving as I rove,
Where shail I find an end, or how proceed ?
As he that travels far oft turns aside
To view some rugged rock or mouldering tower,
Which seen, delights him not ; then, coming home,
Describes and prints it, that the world may know
How far he went for what was nothing worth ;
So I, with brush in hand and pallet spread,
With cclours mix'd for a far different use,
Paint cards and dolls, and every idle thing
That fancy finds in her excursive flights.
Come, Evening, once again, season of peace;
Return, sweet Evening, and continue long !
Me:hinks I see thee in the streaky west,
With matron step slow-moving, while the night
Treads on thy sweeping train; one hand employ'd
In letting fall the curtain of repose
On bird and beast, the other charged for man
With sweet oblivion of the cares of day:
Not sumptuously adoru’d, nor needing aid,
Like homely featured night, of clustering gems;
A star or two, just twinkling on thy brow,
Suffices thee; save that the moon is thine
No less than her's, not worn indeed on high