Abbildungen der Seite

Howl round his home, but he remembers it,
And thinks upon the suffering mariners.

Three dreadful nights and days we drove along :
The fourth the welcome rain came rattling down :
The wind had fallen, and through the broken cloud
Appeared the bright dilating blue of heaven.
Emboldened now, I called the mariners :
Vain were it, should we bend a homeward course,
Driven by storm so far: they saw our barks
For service of that long and perilous way
Disabled, and our food belike to fail.
Silent they heard, reluctant in assent;
Anon, they shouted joyfully, I looked
And saw a bird sailing slowly over-head,
His long white pinions by the sun-beam edged.
As though with burnished silver ;-never yet
Heard I so sweet a music as his


y! Yet three days more, and hope more eager now, Sure of the signs of land, -weed shoals, and birds Who flocked the main, and gentle airs that breathed, Or seemed to breathe, fresh fragrańce fronä the shore. On the last evening a long shadowy line Skirted the sea ;-how fast the night closed in I stood upon the deck, and watched till dawn. But who can tell what feelings filled my heart, When, like a cloud, the distant land arose Grey from the ocean,when we left the ship, And cleft with rapid oars the shallow wave, And stood triumphant on another world !


THERE was not, on that day, a speck to stain
The azure heaven, the blessed sun, alone,
In unapproachable divinity,
Careered, rejoicing in his fields of light.
How beautiful, beneath the bright blue sky,
The billows heave! one glowing green expanse,
Save where along the bending line of shore

Such hue is thrown, as when the peacock's neck
Assumes its proudest tint of amethyst,
Embathed in emerald glory. All the flocks
Of ocean are abroad : like floating foam,
The sea-gulls rise and fall, upon the waves ;
With long protruded neck the cormorants
Wing their far flight aloft, and round and round
The plovers wheel, and give their note of joy.
It was a day that sent into the heart
A summer feeling : even the insect swarms
From their dark nooks and coverts issue forth,
For one day of existence more, and joy ;
The solitary primrose on the bank,
Seemed now, as though it had no cause to mourn
Its bleak autumnal birth; the rocks and shores,
And everlasting mountains, had put on
The smile of that glad sun-shine-they partook
The universal blessing.


Stranger. Whom are they ushering from the world, with all
This pageantry and long parade of death ?

Townsman. A long parade, indeed, Sir, and yet here
You see but half; round yonder bend, it reaches
A furlong farther, carriage behind carriage.

S. 'Tis but a mournful sight, and yet the pomp
Tempts me to stand a gazer.

T. Yonder schoolboy,
Who plays the truant, says the proclamation
Of peace was nothing to the show, and even
The chairing of the members at election
Would not have been a finer sight than this ;

* This voluminous biographer and original and vigorous poet, Dr. Southey, Poet Laureat, died, at his residence near Keswick, on the 21st of March, 1843, aged 69. The “ Alderman's Funeral,” though the production of his early muse, and somewhat sarcastic, may be regarded as a fair specimen of the Laureat's peculiar style of versification. The dialogue, though not so smooth and harmonious as the two preceding selections from “ Madoc,” is nevertheless exceedingly well adapted for recitation.

[ocr errors]

Only that red and green are prettier colours
Than all this mourning. There, Sir, you behold
One of the red-gowned worthies of the city,

and the boast of our exchange,
Ay, what was worth, last week, a good half million,
Screwed down in yonder hearse.

S. Then he was born
Under a lucky planet, who to-day
Puts mourning on for his inheritance.

T. When first I heard his death, that very wish
Leapt to my lips ; but now the closing scene
Of the comedy, hath wakened wiser thoughts :
And I bless God, that, when I go to the grave,
There will not be the weight of wealth like his
To sink me down.

S. The camel and the needle,-
Is that then in your mind ?

T. Even so. The text
Is Gospel wisdom. I would ride the camel,-
Yea, leap him flying through the needle's eye,
As easily, as such a pampered soul
Could pass the narrow gate.

S. Your pardon, Sir,
But sure this lack of Christian charity
Looks not like Christian truth.

T. Your pardon too, Sir,
If, with this text before me, I should feel
In the preaching mood ! But for these barren fig-trees,
With all their flourish and their leafiness,
We have been told their destiny and use,
When the axe is laid unto the root, and they
Cumber the earth no longer.

S. Was his wealth
Stored fraudfully, the spoil of orphans wronged,
And widows who had none to plead their right ?

T. All honest, open honourable gains,
Fair legal interest, bonds and mortgages,
Ships to the East and West.

S. Why judge you then so hardly of the dead ?

T. For what he left
Undone ; for sins, not one of which is mentioned
In the Ten Commandments. He, I warrant him,

Believed no other Gods, than those of his Creed :
Bowed to no idols,—but his money-bags;
Swore no false oaths, except, at the Custom-house :
Kept the Sabbath idle: built a monument
To honour his dead father
Never picked pockets : never bore false witness :
And never, with that all-commanding wealth,
Coveted his neighbour's house, nor ox, nor ass.

s. You knew him then, it seems ?

T. As all men know The virtues of


hundred-thousanders ; They never hide their lights beneath a bushel.

S. Nay, nay, uncharitable Sir! for often Doth bounty, like a streamlet, flow unseen, Freshening and giving life along its course.

T. We track the streamlet by the brighter green
And livelier growth it gives ;-but as for this
This was a pool that stagnated and stunk,
The rains of Heaven engendered nothing in it
But slime and foul corruption.

S. Yet even these
Are reservoirs whence public charity
Still keeps her channels full.
T. Now, Sir,


touch Upon the point. This man of half a million Had all these public virtues which you praise, But the poor man never rung at his door; And the old beggar, at the public gate, Who, all the summer long, stands, hat in hand, He knew how vain it was to lift an eye To that hard face. Yet he was always found Among your ten and twenty-pound subscribers, Your benefactors in the newspapers. His alms were money put to interest In the other world, donations to keep open A running charity-account with heaven :Retaining fees against the last assizes, When, for the trusted talents, strict accounts Shall be required from all, and the old Arch-Lawyer Plead his own cause as plaintiff. S. I must needs

Sir ;--these are your witnesses,

Believe you,

These mourners here, who from their carriages
Gape at the gaping crowd. A good march wind
Were to be prayed for now, to lend their eyes
Some decent rheum. The very hireling mute
Bears not a face blanker of all emotion,
Than the old servant of the family!
How can this man have lived, that thus his death
Costs not the soiling one white handkerchief?

T. Who should lament for him, Sir, in whose heart
Love had no place, nor natural charity ?
The parlour-spaniel, when she heard his step,
Rose slowly from the hearth, and stole aside
With creeping pace ; she never raised her eyes
To woo kind words from him, nor laid her head
Upraised upon his knee, with fondling whine.
How could it be but thus ! Arithmetic
Was the sole science he was ever taught.
The multiplication table was his Creed,
His Pater-noster, and his Decalogue.
When yet he was a boy, and should have breathed
The open air and sunshine of the fields,
To give his blood its natural spring and play,
He in a close and dusky counting-house
Smoke-dried, and seared, and shrivelled up his heart.
So, from the way in which he was trained up,
His feet departed not; he toiled and moiled,
Poor muckworm ! through his three-score years

and ten,
And, when the earth shall now be shovelled on him,
If that which served him for a soul were still
Within its husk, 'TWOULD STILL BE, Dirt to Dirt !

S. Yet your next newspapers will blazon him
For industry and honourable wealth
A bright example.

T. Even half a million
Gets him no other praise. But come this way
Some twelve months hence, and you will find his virtues
Trimly set forth in lapidary lines,
Faith, with her torch beside, and little Cupids
Dropping upon his urn their marble tears!

« ZurückWeiter »