Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

And though this drudgery be mine,
You never heard me once repine.

'Yet what rewards have crown'd my days? I'm grudged the poor reward of praise. For oats small gratitude I owe; Beans were untasted joys, you know. And now I'm hastening to my end, Past services can find no friend. Infirmities, disease, and age Provoke my surly driver's Look to my wounded flanks you'll see No horse was ever used like me.

rage.

'But now I eat my meals with pain,
Averse to masticate the grain.
Hence you direct, at night and morn,
That chaff accompany my corn;
For husks, although my teeth be few,
Force my reluctant jaws to chew.
What then? Of life shall I complain,
And call it fleeting, false, and vain?
Against the world shall I inveigh,
Because my grinders now decay?

'You think it were the wiser plan,
Had I consorted ne'er with man;
Had I my liberty maintain❜d,
Or liberty by flight regain'd,
And ranged o'er distant hills and dales
With the wild foresters of Wales.

Grant I succeeded to my mind-
Is happiness to hills confined?
Don't famine oft erect her throne
Upon the rugged mountain's stone?
And don't the lower pastures fail,
When snows descending choke the vale?

[ocr errors]

Or who so hardy to declare
Disease and death ne'er enter there?

Do pains or sickness here invade?
Man tenders me his cheerful aid.
For who beholds his hungry beast,
But grants him some supply at least?
Interest shall prompt him to pursue
What inclination would not do.

6

'Say, had I been the desert's foal, Through life estranged to man's control; What service had I done on earth, Or who could profit by my birth? My back had ne'er sustain'd thy weight, My chest ne'er known thy wagons freight; But now my several powers combine To answer Nature's ends and thine. I'm useful thus in every viewOh! could I say the same of you! Superior evils had ensued, With prescience had I been endued. Ills, though at distance seen, destroy, Or sicken every present joy. We relish every new delight, When future griefs elude our sight. To blindness then what thanks are due! It makes each single comfort two. The colt, unknown to pain and toil, Anticipates to-morrow's smile. Yon lamb enjoys the present hour, A stranger to the butcher's power. 'Yours is a wild Utopian scheme; A boy would blush to own your dream.

Be your profession what it will,

No province is exempt from ill:

Quite from the cottage to the throne,
Stations have sorrows of their own.
Why should a peasant then explore
What longer heads ne'er found before?
Go, preach my doctrine to your son;
By yours the lad would be undone.
But whether he regards or not,
Your lecture would be soon forgot.
The hopes which gull'd the parent's breast,
Ere long, will make his son their jest.
Though now these cobweb cheats you spurn,
Yet every man's a dupe in turn.
And wisely so ordain'd, indeed
(Whate'er philosophers may plead),
Else life would stagnate at its source,
And Man and Horse decline the course.

Then bid young Ralpho never mind it, But take the world as he shall find it.'

LIBRAS

VII.

THE LAMB AND THE PIG.

CONSULT the moralist, you'll find
That education forms the mind:
But education ne'er supplied
What ruling nature hath denied.
If you'll the following page pursue,
My tale shall prove this doctrine true.

Since to the muse all brutes belong,
The Lamb shall usher in my song;
Whose snowy fleece adorn'd her skin,
Emblem of native white within.

Meekness and love possess'd her soul,
And innocence had crown'd the whole.
It chanced in some unguarded hour
(Ah! purity, precarious flower!
Let maidens of the present age
Tremble, when they peruse my page);
It chanced upon a luckless day,
The little wanton, full of play,
Rejoiced a thymy bank to gain ;
But short the triumphs of her reign!
The treacherous slopes her fate foretell,
And soon the pretty trifler fell.
Beneath, a dirty ditch impress'd
Its mire upon her spotless vest.
What greater ill could lamb betide,
The butcher's barbarous knife beside?

The shepherd, wounded with her cries, Straight to the bleating sufferer flies. The lambkin in his arms he took, And bore her to a neighbouring brook. The silver streams her wool refined, Her fleece in virgin whiteness shined.

Cleansed from pollution's every stain, She join❜d her fellows on the plain; And saw afar the stinking shore, But ne'er approach'd those dangers more. The shepherd bless'd the kind event, And view'd his flock with sweet content.

To market next he shaped his way, And bought provisions for the day: But made for winter's rich supply, A purchase from a farmer's sty. The children round their parent crowd, And testify their mirth aloud.

Y

They saw the stranger with surprise,
And all admired his little eyes.
Familiar grown, he shared their joys,
Shared too the porridge with the boys.
The females o'er his dress preside,
They wash his face and scour his hide:
But daily more a Swine he grew,
For all these housewives e'er could do.

Hence let my youthful reader know, That once a hog, and always so.

VIII.

DEATH AND THE RAKE.

WHEN pleasures court the human heart,
Oh! 'tis reluctant work to part.
Are we with griefs and pains oppress'd?
Woe says, that Death's a welcome guest:
Though sure to cure our evils all,
He's the last doctor we would call.
We think, if he arrives at morn,
"Tis hard to die as soon as born:
Or if the conqueror invade,
When life projects the evening shade,
Do we not meditate delay,
And still request a longer stay?
We shift our homes, we change the air,
And double, like the hunted hare:
Thus be it morn or night or noon,
Come when he will, he comes too soon!
You wish my subject I would wave,
The preface is so very grave.

« ZurückWeiter »