Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

His cheerless sponse the coming danger sees,
And mutual murmurs urge the slow disease.

Yet grant them health, 'tis not for us to tell,
Though the head droops not, that the heart is well;
Or will you praise that homely, healthy fare,
Plenteous and plain, that happy peasants share?
Oh! trifle not with wants you cannot feel,
Nor mock the misery of a stinted meal;
Homely not wholesome, plain not plenteous, such
As you who praise would never deign to touch.

Ye gentle souls, wbo dream of rural ease,
Whom the smooth stream and smoother sonnet please ;
Go! if the peaceful cot your praises share,
Go look within, and ask if peace be there:
If peace be his—that drooping, weary sire,
Or theirs, that offspring round their feeble fire ;
Or hers, that matron pale, whose trembling hand
Turns on the wretched hearth th' expiring brand.

A BETROTHED PAIR IN HUMBLE LIFE.

Yes, there are real mourners; I have seen
A fair sad girl, mild, suffering, and serene;
Attention through the day her duties claimed,
And to be useful as resigned she aimed;
Neatly she dressed, nor vainly seemed to expect
Pity for grief, or pardon for neglect;
But when her wearied parents sunk to sleep,
She sought her place to meditate and weep:
Then to her mind was all the past displayed,
That faithful memory brings to sorrow's aid;
For then she thought on one regretted youth,
Her tender trust, and his unquestioned truth;
In every place she wandered where they'd been,
And sadly-sacred held the parting scene
Where last for sea he took his leave that place
With double interest would she nightly trace;
For long the courtship was, and he would say,
Each time he sailed, “ This once, and then the day;"
Yet prudence tarried, but when last he went,
He drew from pitying love a full consent.

Happy he sailed, and great the care sbe took
That he should softly sleep, and smartly look ;
White was his better linen, and his check
Was made more trim than any on the deck;
And every comfort men at sea can know,
Was hers to buy, to make, and to bestow;
For he to Greenland sailed, and much she told
How he should guard against the climate's cold,
Yet saw not danger, dangers he'd withstood,
Nor could she trace the fever in his blood.

His messmates smiled at fushings in his cheek,
And he, too, smiled, but seldom would he speak;
For now he found the danger, felt the pain,
With grievous symptoms he could not explain.

He called his friend, and prefaced with a sigh
A lover's message—“ Thomas, I must die;
Would I could see my Sally, and could rest
My throbbing temples on her faithful breast,
And gazing go! if not, this trifle take,
And say, till death I wore it for her sake.
Yes, I must die-blow on, sweet breeze, blow on!
Give me one look before my life be gone;
Oh, give me that! and let me not despair-
One last fond look-and now repeat the prayer."

He had his wish, and more. I will not paint
The lovers' meeting: she beheld him faint-
With tender fears she took a nearer view,
Her terrors doubling as her hopes withdrew;
He tried to smile, and, half succeeding, said,
“ Yes, I must die"-and hope for ever fled.

Still long she nursed him; tender thoughts meantiine
Were interchanged, and hopes and views sublime.
To her he came to die, and every day
She took some portion of the dread away;
With him she prayed, to him his Bible read,
Soothed the faint heart, and held the aching head;
She came with smiles the hour of pain to cheer,
Apart she sighed, alone she shed the tear;
Then, as if breaking from a cloud, she gave
Fresh light, and gilt the prospect of the grave.

One day he lighter seemed, and they forgot The care, the dread, the anguish of their lot; They spoke with cheersulness, and seemed to think, Yet said not so—"Perhaps he will not sink.” A sudden brightness in his look appeared, A sudden vigor in bis voice was heard; She had been reading in the Book of Prayer, And led him forth, and placed him in his chair; Lively be seemed, and spoke of all he knew, The friendly many, and the favorite few; Nor one that day did he to mind recall But she has treasured, and she loves them all. When in her way she meets them, they appear Peculiar people-death has made them dear. He named his friend, but then his hand she pressed, And fondly wbispered, “Thou must go to rest." "I go," he said, but as he spoke she found His hand more cold, and fluttering was the sound; Then gazed affrighted, but she caught a last, A dying look of love, and all was past.

She placed a decent stone his grave above, Neatly engraved, an offering of her love:

For that she wrought, for that forsook her bed,
Awake alike to duty and the dead.
She would have grieved had they presumed to spare
The least assistance—'twas her proper care.
Here will she come, and on the grave will sit,
Folding her arms, in long abstracted fit;
But is observer pass, will take her round,
And careless seem, for she would not be found;
Then go again, and thus her hour employ,
While visions please her, and while woes destroy.

SONG OF THE CRAZED MAIDEN.

Let me not have this gloomy view

About my room, about my bed;
But morning roses, wet with dew,

To cool my burning brow instead;
As flowers that once in Eden grew,

Let them their fragrant spirits shed,
And every day their sweets renew,

Till I, a fading flower, am dead.
O let the herbs I loved to rear

Give to my sense their perfumed breath!
Let them be placed about my bier,

And grace the gloomy house of death.
I'll have my grave beneath a hill,

Where only Lucy's self shall know,
Where runs the pure pellucid rill

Upon its gravelly bed below :
There violets on the borders blow,

And insects their soft light display,
Till, as the morning sunbeams glow,

The cold phosphoric fires decay.
That is the grave to Lucy shown;

The soil a pure and silver sand;
The green cold moss above it grown,

Unplucked of all but maiden hand.
In virgin earth, till then unturned,

There let my maiden form be laid;
Nor let my changed clay be spurned,

Nor for new guest that bed be made.
There will the lark, the lamb, in sport,

In air, on earth, securely play:
And Lucy to my grave resort,

As innocent, but not so gay.
I will not have the churchyard ground

With bones all black and ugly grown,
To press my shivering body round,

Or on my wasted limbs be thrown.

a

With ribs and skulls I will not sleep,

In clammy beds of cold blue clay,
Through which the ringed earthworms creep,

And on the shrouded bosom prey.
I will not have the bell proclaim

When those sad marriage rites begin,
And boys, without regard or shame,

Press the vile mouldering masses in.
Say not, it is beneath my care-

I cannot these cold truths allow;
These thoughts may not afflict me there,

But oh! they vex and tease me now!
Raise not a turf, nor set a stone,

That man a maiden's grave may trace,
But thou, my Lucy, come alone,

And let affection find the place!

HIS LETTER TO EDMUND BURKE.1

SIR—I am sensible that I need even your talents to apologize for the freedom I now take; but I have a plea which, however, simply urged, will, with a mind like yours, sir, procure me pardon : I am one of those outcasts on the world who are without a friend, without employment, and without bread.

Pardon me a short preface. I had a partial father, who gave me a better education than his broken fortune would have allowed; and a better than was necessary, as he could give me that only. I was designed for the profession of physic; but, not having wherewithal to complete the requisite studies, the design but served to convince me of a parent's affection, and the error it had occasioned. In April last, I came to London, with three pounds, and flattered myself this would be sufficient to supply me with the common necessaries of life till my abilities should procure me more; of these I had the highest opinion, and a poetical vanity contributed to my delusion. I knew little of the world, and had read books only.

""Mr. Crabbe's journal of bis London life, extending over a period of three months, is one of the most affecting documents which ever lení an interest to biography: Arriving in the metropolis in the beginning of 1800, without money, friends, or introductions, he rapidly sank into penury and suffering. His landlord threatened him, and hunger and a jail already stared him in the face. In this emergency, he ventured to solicit ihe notice of three individuals, eminent for station and influence. He applied to Lord North, Lord Shelburne, and Lord Thurlow, but without success. In a happy moment the name of Burke entered bis mind, and he appealed to his sympathy in the following letter. The result is well known. In Burke the happy poet found not only a patron and a friend, but a sagacious adviser and an accomplished critic."

Willmott,

I wrote, and fancied perfection in my compositions; when I wanted bread, they promised me affluence, and soothed me with dreams of reputation, whilst my appearance subjected me to contempt. Time, reflection, and want have shown me my mistake. I see my trifles in that which I think the true light; and, whilst I deem them such, have yet the opinion that holds them superior to the common run of poetical publications.

I had some knowledge of the late Mr. Nassau, the brother of Lord Rochford; in consequence of which, I asked his lordship's permission to inscribe my little work to him. Knowing it to be free from all political allusions and personal abuse, it was no very material point to me to whom it was dedicated. His lordship thought it none to him, and obligingly consented to my request.

I was told that a subscription would be the more profitable method for me, and therefore endeavored to circulate copies of the inclosed proposals.

I am afraid, sir, I disgust you with this very dull narration, but believe me punished in the misery that occasions it. You will conclude that, during this time, I must have been at more expense than I could afford; indeed, the most parsimonious could not have avoided it. The printer deceived me, and my little business has had every delay. The people with whom I live perceive my situation, and find me to be indigent and without friends. About ten days since, I was compelled to give a note for seven pounds, to avoid an arrest for about double that sum which I owe. I wrote to every friend I bad, but my friends are poor likewise; the time of payment approached, and I ventured to represent my case to Lord Rochford. I begged to be credited for this sum till I received it of my subscribers, which I believe will be within one month; but to this letter I had no reply, and I have probably offended by my importunity. Having used every honest means in vain, I yesterday confessed my inability, and obtained, with much entreaty, and as the greatest favor, a week's forbearance, when I am positively told that I must pay the money, or prepare for a prison.

You will guess the purpose of so long an introduction. I appeal to you, sir, as a good, and, let me add, a great man. I have no other pretensions to your favor than that I am an unhappy one. It is not easy to support the thoughts of confinement; and I am coward enough to dread such an end to my suspense.

Can you, sir, in any degree, aid me with propriety? Will you ask any demonstrations of my veracity? I have imposed upon myself, but I have been guilty of no other imposition. Let me, if possible, interest your compassion. I know those of rank and fortune are teased with frequent petitions, and are compelled to

« AnteriorContinuar »