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Reserved for twilight's darkling hour,
And as with thoughts of former years
Think not he dotes because he weeps;
And oft in age a helpless pride
How busy now his teeming brain,
He ponders on his infant years,
How swift those lovely hours were past,
The brightest summer's noon.
His wither'd hand he holds to view,
And as he thinks o'er all his ills,
"This is not only pathetic," continued the nymph, "but it is poetical in the truest sense of the term; for it presents at once an image to the mind, an argument to the judgment, and a subject interesting to the universal feelings of our nature. Pray, do tell me by whom it was written."
"Some other time I may," replied Benedict,"when the proper occasion arises; meanwhile, have you found any thing else that pleases you ?"
"O they all please me,” said Egeria briskly; "and here is a humorous effusion, that seems to have been written as a companion to the affecting little piece which I have just read."
ELEGY BY A SCHOOL-BOY.
How blest was I at Dobson's ball!
The fiddlers come, my partner chosen !
Alas! they were not half-a-dozen !
For soon a richer rival came,
And soon the bargain was concluded
And left me hopeless and deluded.
To leave me for an orange more!
Could not your pockets-full content ye?
And mine were biggest, I protest,
As juicy, large, and sweet as any one's.
Could I have thought, ye beaux and belles,
Could move my fair one thus to shun me!
All night I sat in fixed disdain,
While hornpipes numberless were hobbled; I watch'd my mistress and her swain, And saw his paltry present gobbled.
But when the country-dance was call'd,
What other could I think to take?
Of all the school she was the tallest ; What choice worth making could I make, None left me, but the very smallest!
But now all thoughts of her adieu !
This is no time for such diversion; Mair's Introduction lies in view,
And I must write my Latin version.
Yet all who that way are inclined,
This lesson learn from my undoing ; Unless your pockets are well lined, 'Tis labour lost to go a wooing.
"There is, "resumed the nymph," not only bumour and truth in this little poem, but a naïveté of thought and expression, which shows that the author possesses very amiable dispositions."
"Possessed!" replied the Bachelor with a mournful accent," but read me the short ballad on old age. I remember, when I heard it at first, it struck me as one of the most plaintive and simple complaints I had ever met with. It is in my opinion quite a melody, and a sad one too. Alas, that we should grow old!"
Egeria turned over the papers, till she found the piece, and then began to read.
A BALLAD ON OLD AGE.
Come any gentle poet
Who wants a mournful page,
Who sings so sad a lay;
O age is dark and dreary,
As every old man knows;
In rest finds no repose;
It palls upon the tongue.
His friends long time departed,
When children are hard-hearted,
In grief and helpless pride;
O who would strive with nature
I pray to be at rest;
"I shall not be content, my dear Benedict," said the nymph," till you tell me by whom these papers were written, and how it happened that so many really charming things have never been published ?"
"Whether any of these poems have ever been published,” replied the Bachelor, "I do not certainly know; but the Essay on Deformity was printed in some periodical work at the time it was written, and I recollect it obtained a warm commendation from the editor. The author then was very young, a mere boy, and the promise of his talent was a blossom that might have come in time to some rich and rare fruit, had he been spared in health.”
"In health! then he is still alive?" said the nymph.
"Do not question me any further at present," replied the Bachelor; "I have a reason for my silence. Have you looked at any more ?"