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Friends, my heart is half aweary
Of its happiness to-night;
Though your songs are gay and cheery,
And your spirits feather-light,
There’s a ghostly music haunting
Still the heart of every guest
And a voiceless chorus chanting
That the Old Times were the best. 

Chorus: 

All about is bright and pleasant
With the sound of song and jest,
Yet a feeling’s ever present
That the Old Times were the best.

 

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The Brain – is wider than the Sky –
For – put them side by side –
The one the other will contain
With ease – and You – beside – 

The Brain is deeper than the sea –
For – hold them – Blue to Blue –
The one the other will absorb –
As Sponges – Buckets – do – 

The Brain is just the weight of God –
For – Heft them – Pound for Pound –
And they will differ – if they do –
As Syllable from Sound –

 

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St. Peter stood guard at the golden gate
With a solemn mien and air sedate.
When up to the top of the golden stair
A man and a woman ascending there.
Applied for admission, they came and stood
Before St. Peter, so great and good.
In hopes the City of Peace to win —
And asked St. Peter to let them in.

The woman was tall, and lank and thin,
With a scraggy beardlet upon her chin.
The man was short and thick and stout,
His stomach was built so it rounded out.
His face was pleasant and all the while
He wore a kindly and genial smile.
The choirs in the distance the echoes woke,
And the man kept still while the woman spoke:

“O, thou who guardest the gate,” said she,
“We two come hither beseeching thee
To let us enter the heavenly land
And play our harps with the angel band.
Of me, St. Peter, there is no doubt,
There is nothing from heaven to bar me out.
I’ve been to meeting three times a week,
And almost always I’d rise to speak.

“I’ve told the sinners about the day
When they’d repent of their evil way.
I’ve told my neighbors — I’ve told them all —
‘Bout Adam and Eve and the primal fall.
I’ve shown them what they’d have to do
If they’d pass in with the chosen few.
I’ve marked their path of duty clear —
Laid out the plan for their whole career.

“I’ve talked and talked to ’em loud and long,
For my lungs are good and my voice is strong.
So, good St. Peter, you will clearly see
The gate of heaven is open for me.
But my old man, I regret to say,
Hasn’t walked in exactly the narrow way;
He smokes and he swears, and grave faults he’s got,
And I don’t know whether he’ll pass or not.

“He never would pray with an earnest vim,
Or go to revival, or join in a hymn.
So I had to leave him in sorrow there
While I, with the chosen, united in prayer.
He ate what the pantry chanced to afford,
While I, in my purity, sang to the lord.
And if cucumbers were all he got,
It’s a chance if he merited them or not.

“But oh, St. Peter, I love him so,
To the pleasures of heaven please let him go.
I’ve done enough — a saint I’ve been,
Won’t that atone? Can’t you let him in —
By my grim gospel, I know ’tis so
That the unrepentant must fry below;
But isn’t there some way you can see
That he may enter whose dear to me?

“It’s a narrow gospel by which I pray,
But the chosen expect to find some way
Of coaxing, or fooling, or bribing you,
So that their relations can amble through.
And say, St. Peter, it seems to me
This gate isn’t kept as it ought to be.
You ought to stand right by the opening there,
And never sit down in that easy chair.

“And say, St. Peter, my sight is dimmed,
But I don’t like the way your whiskers are trimmed;
They’re cut too wide, and outward toss,
They’d look better narrow, cut straight across.
Well, we must be going our crown to win.
So open, St. Peter, and we’ll pass in!”

St. Peter sat quiet, and stroked his staff,
But in spite of his office he had to laugh,
Then said, with a fiery gleam in his eye,
“Who’s tending this gateway? you or I? —
Then he arose in his stature tall,
And pressed a button upon the wall.
And said to an imp, who answered the bell,
“Escort this lady around to hell.”

The man stood still as a piece of stone —
Stood sadly, gloomily there alone.
A life-long settled idea he had
That his wife was good and he was bad.
He thought, if the woman went down below,
That he would certainly have to go —
That if she went to the regions dim,
There wasn’t a ghost of a show for him.

Slowly he turned, by habit bent,
To follow wherever the woman went.
St. Peter, standing in duty there,
Observed that the top of his head was bare.
He called the gentleman back, and said,
“Friend, how long have you been wed? —
“Thirty years” (with a weary sigh),
And then he thoughtfully added, “Why?”

St. Peter was silent. With head bent down,
He raised his hand and scratched his crown.
Then seeming a different thought to take,
Slowly, half to himself, he spake:
“Thirty years with that woman there —
No wonder the man hasn’t any hair!
Swearing is wicked, smoke’s not good,
He smoked and swore — I should think he would,
Thirty years with that tongue so sharp!
Ho! Angel Gabriel! Give him a harp.
A jeweled harp with a golden string!
Good sir, pass in where the angels sing!

“Gabriel, give him a seat alone —
One with a cushion — up near the throne.
Call up some angels to play their best,
Let him enjoy the music and rest!
See that on finest ambrosia he feeds,
He’s had about all the hell he needs.
It isn’t just hardly the thing to do,
To roast him on earth and the future too.”

They gave him a harp with golden strings,
A glittering robe and a pair of wings,
And he said, as he entered the Realm of Day,
“Well, this beats cucumbers, any way.”
And so, the scripture had come to pass,
That “the last shall be first and the first shall be last.”

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A simple Child, dear brother Jim,
That lightly draws its breath,
And feels its life in every limb,
What should it know of death?  

I met a little cottage Girl:
She was eight years old, she said;
Her hair was thick with many a curl
That clustered round her head.  

She had a rustic, woodland air,
And she was wildly clad:
Her eyes were fair, and very fair;
—Her beauty made me glad.  

“Sisters and brothers, little Maid,
How many may you be?”
“How many? Seven in all,” she said,
And wondering looked at me.  

“And where are they? I pray you tell.”
She answered, “Seven are we;
And two of us at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea.  

“Two of us in the church-yard lie,
My sister and my brother;
And, in the church-yard cottage, I
Dwell near them with my mother.”  

“You say that two at Conway dwell,
And two are gone to sea,
Yet ye are seven! I pray you tell,
Sweet Maid, how this may be.”  

Then did the little Maid reply,
“Seven boys and girls are we;
Two of us in the church-yard lie,
Beneath the church-yard tree.”  

“You run about, my little Maid,
Your limbs they are alive;
If two are in the church-yard laid,
Then ye are only five.”  

“Their graves are green, they may be seen,”
The little Maid replied,
“Twelve steps or more from my mother’s door,
And they are side by side.  

“My stockings there I often knit,
My kerchief there I hem;
And there upon the ground I sit,
And sing a song to them.  

“And often after sunset, Sir,
When it is light and fair,
I take my little porringer,
And eat my supper there.  

“The first that died was sister Jane;
In bed she moaning lay,
Till God released her of her pain;
And then she went away.  

“So in the church-yard she was laid;
And, when the grass was dry,
Together round her grave we played,
My brother John and I.  

“And when the ground was white with snow,
And I could run and slide,
My brother John was forced to go,
And he lies by her side.”  

“How many are you, then,” said I,
“If they two are in heaven?”
Quick was the little Maid’s reply,
“O Master! we are seven.” 

“But they are dead; those two are dead!
Their spirits are in heaven!”
’Twas throwing words away; for still
The little Maid would have her will,
And said, “Nay, we are seven!”

 

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Calm was the day, and through the trembling air
Sweet breathing Zephyrus did softly play,
A gentle spirit, that lightly did delay
Hot Titan’s beams, which then did glister fair;
When I whose sullen care,
Through discontent of my long fruitless stay
In prince’s court, and expectation vain
Of idle hopes, which still do fly away
Like empty shadows, did afflict my brain,
Walked forth to ease my pain
Along the shore of silver streaming Thames,
Whose rutty bank, the which his river hems,
Was painted all with variable flowers,
And all the meads adorned with dainty gems,
Fit to deck maidens’ bowers,
And crown their paramours,
Against the bridal day, which is not long:
…..Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

There, in a meadow, by the river’s side,
A flock of nymphs I chanced to espy,
All lovely daughters of the flood thereby,
With goodly greenish locks, all loose untied,
As each had been a bride;
And each one had a little wicker basket,
Made of fine twigs, entrailed curiously,
In which they gathered flowers to fill their flasket,
And with fine fingers cropt full featously
The tender stalks on high.
Of every sort, which in that meadow grew,
They gathered some; the violet pallid blue,
The little daisy, that at evening closes,
The virgin lily, and the primrose true,
With store of vermeil roses,
To deck their bridegrooms’ posies
Against the bridal day, which was not long:
…..Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

With that, I saw two swans of goodly hue
Come softly swimming down along the Lee;
Two fairer birds I yet did never see.
The snow which doth the top of Pindus strew,
Did never whiter shew,
Nor Jove himself, when he a swan would be
For love of Leda, whiter did appear:
Yet Leda was they say as white as he,
Yet not so white as these, nor nothing near.
So purely white they were,
That even the gentle stream, the which them bare,
Seemed foul to them, and bade his billows spare
To wet their silken feathers, lest they might
Soil their fair plumes with water not so fair,
And mar their beauties bright,
That shone as heaven’s light,
Against their bridal day, which was not long:
…..Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

Eftsoons the nymphs, which now had flowers their fill,
Ran all in haste, to see that silver brood,
As they came floating on the crystal flood.
Whom when they saw, they stood amazed still,
Their wondering eyes to fill.
Them seemed they never saw a sight so fair,
Of fowls so lovely, that they sure did deem
Them heavenly born, or to be that same pair
Which through the sky draw Venus’ silver team;
For sure they did not seem
To be begot of any earthly seed,
But rather angels, or of angels’ breed:
Yet were they bred of Somers-heat they say,
In sweetest season, when each flower and weed
The earth did fresh array,
So fresh they seemed as day,
Even as their bridal day, which was not long:
…..Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

 

Then forth they all out of their baskets drew

Great store of flowers, the honour of the field,

That to the sense did fragrant odours yield,

All which upon those goodly birds they threw,

And all the waves did strew,

That like old Peneus’ waters they did seem,

When down along by pleasant Tempe’s shore,

Scattered with flowers, through Thessaly they stream,

That they appear through lilies’ plenteous store,

Like a bride’s chamber floor.

Two of those nymphs meanwhile, two garlands bound,

Of freshest flowers which in that mead they found,

The which presenting all in trim array,

Their snowy foreheads therewithal they crowned,

Whilst one did sing this lay,

Prepared against that day,

Against their bridal day, which was not long:

Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

‘Ye gentle birds, the world’s fair ornament,
And heaven’s glory, whom this happy hour
Doth lead unto your lovers’ blissful bower,
Joy may you have and gentle heart’s content
Of your love’s complement:
And let fair Venus, that is queen of love,
With her heart-quelling son upon you smile,
Whose smile, they say, hath virtue to remove
All love’s dislike, and friendship’s faulty guile
For ever to assoil.
Let endless peace your steadfast hearts accord,
And blessed plenty wait upon your board,
And let your bed with pleasures chaste abound,
That fruitful issue may to you afford,
Which may your foes confound,
And make your joys redound
Upon your bridal day, which is not long:
…..Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.’

So ended she; and all the rest around
To her redoubled that her undersong,
Which said their bridal day should not be long.
And gentle echo from the neighbour ground
Their accents did resound.
So forth those joyous birds did pass along,
Adown the Lee, that to them murmured low,
As he would speak, but that he lacked a tongue,
Yet did by signs his glad affection show,
Making his stream run slow.
And all the fowl which in his flood did dwell
Gan flock about these twain, that did excel
The rest so far as Cynthia doth shend
The lesser stars. So they, enranged well,
Did on those two attend,
And their best service lend,
Against their wedding day, which was not long:
…..Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

At length they all to merry London came,
To merry London, my most kindly nurse,
That to me gave this life’s first native source;
Though from another place I take my name,
An house of ancient fame.
There when they came, whereas those bricky towers,
The which on Thames’ broad aged back do ride,
Where now the studious lawyers have their bowers
There whilom wont the Templar Knights to bide,
Till they decayed through pride:
Next whereunto there stands a stately place,
Where oft I gained gifts and goodly grace
Of that great lord, which therein wont to dwell,
Whose want too well now feels my friendless case.
But ah, here fits not well
Old woes but joys to tell
Against the bridal day, which is not long:
…..Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

Yet therein now doth lodge a noble peer,
Great England’s glory, and the world’s wide wonder,
Whose dreadful name late through all Spain did thunder,
And Hercules’ two pillars standing near
Did make to quake and fear:
Fair branch of honour, flower of chivalry,
That fillest England with thy triumph’s fame,
Joy have thou of thy noble victory,
And endless happiness of thine own name
That promiseth the same:
That through thy prowess and victorious arms,
Thy country may be freed from foreign harms;
And great Elisa’s glorious name may ring
Through all the world, filled with thy wide alarms,
Which some brave Muse may sing
To ages following,
Upon the bridal day, which is not long:
…..Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

From those high towers this noble lord issuing,
Like radiant Hesper when his golden hair
In th’Ocean billows he hath bathed fair,
Descended to the river’s open viewing,
With a great train ensuing.
Above the rest were goodly to be seen
Two gentle knights of lovely face and feature
Beseeming well the bower of any queen,
With gifts of wit and ornaments of nature,
Fit for so goodly stature;
That like the twins of Jove they seemed in sight,
Which deck the baldric of the heavens bright.
They two forth pacing to the river’s side,
Received those two fair birds, their love’s delight;
Which, at th’ appointed tide,
Each one did make his bride
Against their bridal day, which is not long:
…..Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song.

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Sweet Auburn, loveliest village of the plain,
Where health and plenty cheared the labouring swain,
Where smiling spring its earliest visit paid,
And parting summer’s lingering blooms delayed,
Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease,
Seats of my youth, when every sport could please,
How often have I loitered o’er thy green,
Where humble happiness endeared each scene!
How often have I paused on every charm,
The sheltered cot, the cultivated farm,
The never-failing brook, the busy mill,
The decent church that topt the neighbouring hill,
The hawthorn bush, with seats beneath the shade,
For talking age and whispering lovers made!
How often have I blest the coming day,
When toil remitting lent its turn to play,
And all the village train, from labour free,
Led up their sports beneath the spreading tree,
While many a pastime circled in the shade,
The young contending as the old surveyed;
And many a gambol frolicked o’er the ground,
And slights of art and feats of strength went round;
And still as each repeated pleasure tired,
Succeeding sports the mirthful band inspired;
The dancing pair that simply sought renown
By holding out to tire each other down;
The swain mistrustless of his smutted face,
While secret laughter tittered round the place;
The bashful virgin’s side-long looks of love,
The matron’s glance that would those looks reprove!
These were thy charms, sweet village; sports like these,
With sweet succession, taught even toil to please;
These round thy bowers their cheerful influence shed,
These were thy charms—But all these charms are fled.
Sweet smiling village, loveliest of the lawn,
Thy sports are fled, and all thy charms withdrawn;
Amidst thy bowers the tyrant’s hand is seen,
And desolation saddens all thy green:
One only master grasps the whole domain,
And half a tillage stints thy smiling plain;
No more thy glassy brook reflects the day,
But, choked with sedges, works its weedy way;
Along thy glades, a solitary guest,
The hollow-sounding bittern guards its nest;
Amidst thy desert walks the lapwing flies,
And tires their echoes with unvaried cries.
Sunk are thy bowers, in shapeless ruin all,
And the long grass o’ertops the mouldering wall;
And, trembling, shrinking from the spoiler’s hand,
Far, far away, thy children leave the land.
Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey,
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay:
Princes and lords may flourish, or may fade;
A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
But a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
When once destroyed, can never be supplied.
A time there was, ere England’s griefs began,
When every rood of ground maintained its man;
For him light labour spread her wholesome store,
Just gave what life required, but gave no more:
His best companions, innocence and health;
And his best riches, ignorance of wealth.
But times are altered; trade’s unfeeling train
Usurp the land and dispossess the swain;
Along the lawn, where scattered hamlets rose,
Unwieldy wealth and cumbrous pomp repose;
And every want to oppulence allied,
And every pang that folly pays to pride.
Those gentle hours that plenty bade to bloom,
Those calm desires that asked but little room,
Those healthful sports that graced the peaceful scene,
Lived in each look, and brightened all the green;
These, far departing seek a kinder shore,
And rural mirth and manners are no more.
Sweet Auburn! parent of the blissful hour,
Thy glades forlorn confess the tyrant’s power.
Here as I take my solitary rounds,
Amidst thy tangling walks, and ruined grounds,
And, many a year elapsed, return to view
Where once the cottage stood, the hawthorn grew,
Remembrance wakes with all her busy train,
Swells at my breast, and turns the past to pain.
In all my wanderings round this world of care,
In all my griefs—and God has given my share—
I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down;
To husband out life’s taper at the close,
And keep the flame from wasting by repose.
I still had hopes, for pride attends us still,
Amidst the swains to shew my book-learned skill,
Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw;
And, as an hare whom hounds and horns pursue,
Pants to the place from whence at first she flew,
I still had hopes, my long vexations past,
Here to return—and die at home at last.
O blest retirement, friend to life’s decline,
Retreats from care that never must be mine,
How happy he who crowns, in shades like these
A youth of labour with an age of ease;
Who quits a world where strong temptations try,
And, since ’tis hard to combat, learns to fly!
For him no wretches, born to work and weep,
Explore the mine, or tempt the dangerous deep;
No surly porter stands in guilty state
To spurn imploring famine from the gate,
But on he moves to meet his latter end,
Angels around befriending virtue’s friend;
Bends to the grave with unperceived decay,
While resignation gently slopes the way;
And, all his prospects brightening to the last,
His Heaven commences ere the world be past!
Sweet was the sound, when oft at evening’s close,
Up yonder hill the village murmur rose;
There, as I past with careless steps and slow,
The mingling notes came soften’d from below;
The swain responsive as the milk-maid sung,
The sober herd that lowed to meet their young,
The noisy geese that gabbled o’er the pool,
The playful children just let loose from school,
The watch-dog’s voice that bayed the whispering wind,
And the loud laugh that spoke the vacant mind,
These all in sweet confusion sought the shade,
And filled each pause the nightingale had made.
But now the sounds of population fail,
No cheerful murmurs fluctuate in the gale,
No busy steps the grass-grown foot-way tread,
For all the bloomy flush of life is fled.
All but yon widowed, solitary thing
That feebly bends beside the plashy spring;
She, wretched matron, forced in age, for bread,
To strip the brook with mantling cresses spread,
To pick her wintry faggot from the thorn,
To seek her nightly shed, and weep till morn;
She only left of all the harmless train,
The sad historian of the pensive plain.
Near yonder copse, where once the garden smiled,
And still where many a garden-flower grows wild;
There, where a few torn shrubs the place disclose,
The village preacher’s modest mansion rose.
A man he was, to all the country dear,
And passing rich with forty pounds a year;
Remote from towns he ran his godly race,
Nor e’er had changed, nor wished to change his place;
Unpractised he to fawn, or seek for power,
By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour;
Far other aims his heart had learned to prize,
More skilled to raise the wretched than to rise.
His house was known to all the vagrant train,
He chid their wanderings but relieved their pain;
The long-remembered beggar was his guest,
Whose beard descending swept his aged breast;
The ruined spendthrift, now no longer proud,
Claim’d kindred there, and had his claims allowed;
The broken soldier, kindly bade to stay,
Sat by his fire, and talked the night away;
Wept o’er his wounds, or, tales of sorrow done,
Shouldered his crutch, and shewed how fields were won.
Pleased with his guests, the good man learned to glow,
And quite forgot their vices in their woe;
Careless their merits, or their faults to scan,
His pity gave ere charity began.
Thus to relieve the wretched was his pride,
And even his failings leaned to Virtue’s side;
But in his duty prompt at every call,
He watched and wept, he prayed and felt, for all.
And, as a bird each fond endearment tries,
To tempt its new-fledged offspring to the skies;
He tried each art, reproved each dull delay,
Allured to brighter worlds, and led the way.
Beside the bed where parting life was laid,
And sorrow, guilt, and pain, by turns, dismayed
The reverend champion stood. At his control
Despair and anguish fled the struggling soul;
Comfort came down the trembling wretch to raise,
And his last faltering accents whispered praise.
At church, with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorned the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevailed with double sway,
And fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray.
The service past, around the pious man,
With steady zeal, each honest rustic ran;
Even children followed, with endearing wile,
And plucked his gown, to share the good man’s smile.
His ready smile a parent’s warmth expressed,
Their welfare pleased him, and their cares distressed:
To them his heart, his love, his griefs were given,
But all his serious thoughts had rest in Heaven.
As some tall cliff that lifts its awful form,
Swells from the vale, and midway leaves the storm,
Tho’ round its breast the rolling clouds are spread,
Eternal sunshine settles on its head.
Beside yon straggling fence that skirts the way,
With blossomed furze unprofitably gay,
There, in his noisy mansion, skill’d to rule,
The village master taught his little school;
A man severe he was, and stern to view,
I knew him well, and every truant knew;
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace
The day’s disasters in his morning face;
Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee,
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he:
Full well the busy whisper circling round,
Conveyed the dismal tidings when he frowned;
Yet he was kind, or if severe in aught,
The love he bore to learning was in fault;
The village all declared how much he knew;
‘Twas certain he could write, and cypher too;
Lands he could measure, terms and tides presage,
And ev’n the story ran that he could gauge.
In arguing too, the parson owned his skill,
For even tho’ vanquished, he could argue still;
While words of learned length and thundering sound,
Amazed the gazing rustics ranged around;
And still they gazed, and still the wonder grew,
That one small head could carry all he knew.
But past is all his fame. The very spot
Where many a time he triumphed, is forgot.
Near yonder thorn, that lifts its head on high,
Where once the sign-post caught the passing eye,
Low lies that house where nut-brown draughts inspired,
Where grey-beard mirth and smiling toil retired,
Where village statesmen talked with looks profound,
And news much older than their ale went round.
Imagination fondly stoops to trace
The parlour splendours of that festive place;
The white-washed wall, the nicely sanded floor,
The varnished clock that clicked behind the door;
The chest contrived a double debt to pay,
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day;
The pictures placed for ornament and use,
The twelve good rules, the royal game of goose;
The hearth, except when winter chill’d the day,
With aspen boughs, and flowers, and fennel gay;
While broken tea-cups, wisely kept for show,
Ranged o’er the chimney, glistened in a row.
Vain transitory splendours! Could not all
Reprieve the tottering mansion from its fall!
Obscure it sinks, nor shall it more impart
An hour’s importance to the poor man’s heart;
Thither no more the peasant shall repair
To sweet oblivion of his daily care;
No more the farmer’s news, the barber’s tale,
No more the woodman’s ballad shall prevail;
No more the smith his dusky brow shall clear,
Relax his ponderous strength, and lean to hear;
The host himself no longer shall be found
Careful to see the mantling bliss go round;
Nor the coy maid, half willing to be pressed,
Shall kiss the cup to pass it to the rest.
Yes! let the rich deride, the proud disdain,
These simple blessings of the lowly train;
To me more dear, congenial to my heart,
One native charm, than all the gloss of art;
Spontaneous joys, where Nature has its play,
The soul adopts, and owns their first-born sway;
Lightly they frolic o’er the vacant mind,
Unenvied, unmolested, unconfined.
But the long pomp, the midnight masquerade,
With all the freaks of wanton wealth arrayed,
In these, ere triflers half their wish obtain,
The toiling pleasure sickens into pain;
And, even while fashion’s brightest arts decoy,
The heart distrusting asks, if this be joy.
Ye friends to truth, ye statesmen who survey
The rich man’s joys encrease, the poor’s decay,
‘Tis yours to judge, how wide the limits stand
Between a splendid and a happy land.
Proud swells the tide with loads of freighted ore,
And shouting Folly hails them from her shore;
Hoards even beyond the miser’s wish abound,
And rich men flock from all the world around.
Yet count our gains. This wealth is but a name
That leaves our useful products still the same.
Not so the loss. The man of wealth and pride
Takes up a space that many poor supplied;
Space for his lake, his park’s extended bounds,
Space for his horses, equipage, and hounds:
The robe that wraps his limbs in silken sloth,
Has robbed the neighbouring fields of half their growth;
His seat, where solitary sports are seen,
Indignant spurns the cottage from the green:
Around the world each needful product flies,
For all the luxuries the world supplies.
While thus the land adorned for pleasure, all
In barren splendour feebly waits the fall.
As some fair female unadorned and plain,
Secure to please while youth confirms her reign,
Slights every borrowed charm that dress supplies,
Nor shares with art the triumph of her eyes.
But when those charms are past, for charms are frail,
When time advances, and when lovers fail,
She then shines forth, solicitous to bless,
In all the glaring impotence of dress.
Thus fares the land, by luxury betrayed:
In nature’s simplest charms at first arrayed;
But verging to decline, its splendours rise,
Its vistas strike, its palaces surprise;
While, scourged by famine from the smiling land,
The mournful peasant leads his humble band;
And while he sinks, without one arm to save,
The country blooms—a garden, and a grave.
Where then, ah where, shall poverty reside,
To scape the pressure of contiguous pride?
If to some common’s fenceless limits strayed,
He drives his flock to pick the scanty blade,
Those fenceless fields the sons of wealth divide,
And ev’n the bare-worn common is denied.
If to the city sped—What waits him there?
To see profusion that he must not share;
To see ten thousand baneful arts combined
To pamper luxury, and thin mankind;
To see those joys the sons of pleasure know,
Extorted from his fellow-creature’s woe.
Here while the courtier glitters in brocade,
There the pale artist plies the sickly trade;
Here while the proud their long-drawn pomps display,
There the black gibbet glooms beside the way.
The dome where Pleasure holds her midnight reign,
Here, richly decked, admits the gorgeous train;
Tumultuous grandeur crowds the blazing square,
The rattling chariots clash, the torches glare.
Sure scenes like these no troubles e’er annoy!
Sure these denote one universal joy!
Are these thy serious thoughts?—Ah, turn thine eyes
Where the poor houseless shivering female lies.
She once, perhaps, in village plenty blest,
Has wept at tales of innocence distressed;
Her modest looks the cottage might adorn
Sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn:
Now lost to all; her friends, her virtue fled,
Near her betrayer’s door she lays her head,
And, pinch’d with cold, and shrinking from the shower,
With heavy heart deplores that luckless hour
When idly first, ambitious of the town,
She left her wheel and robes of country brown.
Do thine, sweet Auburn, thine, the loveliest train,
Do thy fair tribes participate her pain?
Even now, perhaps, by cold and hunger led,
At proud men’s doors they ask a little bread!
Ah, no. To distant climes, a dreary scene,
Where half the convex world intrudes between,
Through torrid tracts with fainting steps they go,
Where wild Altama murmurs to their woe.
Far different there from all that charm’d before,
The various terrors of that horrid shore;
Those blazing suns that dart a downward ray,
And fiercely shed intolerable day;
Those matted woods where birds forget to sing,
But silent bats in drowsy clusters cling;
Those poisonous fields with rank luxuriance crowned,
Where the dark scorpion gathers death around;
Where at each step the stranger fears to wake
The rattling terrors of the vengeful snake;
Where crouching tigers wait their hapless prey,
And savage men, more murderous still than they;
While oft in whirls the mad tornado flies,
Mingling the ravaged landscape with the skies.
Far different these from every former scene,
The cooling brook, the grassy vested green,
The breezy covert of the warbling grove,
That only shelter’d thefts of harmless love.
Good Heaven! what sorrows gloom’d that parting day,
That called them from their native walks away;
When the poor exiles, every pleasure past,
Hung round their bowers, and fondly looked their last,
And took a long farewell, and wished in vain
For seats like these beyond the western main;
And shuddering still to face the distant deep,
Returned and wept, and still returned to weep.
The good old sire the first prepared to go
To new found worlds, and wept for others woe.
But for himself, in conscious virtue brave,
He only wished for worlds beyond the grave.
His lovely daughter, lovelier in her tears,
The fond companion of his helpless years,
Silent went next, neglectful of her charms,
And left a lover’s for a father’s arms.
With louder plaints the mother spoke her woes,
And blessed the cot where every pleasure rose;
And kist her thoughtless babes with many a tear,
And clasped them close, in sorrow doubly dear;
Whilst her fond husband strove to lend relief
In all the silent manliness of grief.
O luxury! thou curst by Heaven’s decree,
How ill exchanged are things like these for thee!
How do thy potions, with insidious joy,
Diffuse their pleasures only to destroy!
Kingdoms, by thee, to sickly greatness grown,
Boast of a florid vigour not their own;
At every draught more large and large they grow,
A bloated mass of rank unwieldy woe;
Till sapped their strength, and every part unsound,
Down, down they sink, and spread a ruin round.
Even now the devastation is begun,
And half the business of destruction done;
Even now, methinks, as pondering here I stand,
I see the rural virtues leave the land:
Down where yon anchoring vessel spreads the sail,
That idly waiting flaps with every gale,
Downward they move, a melancholy band,
Pass from the shore, and darken all the strand.
Contented toil, and hospitable care,
And kind connubial tenderness, are there;
And piety with wishes placed above,
And steady loyalty, and faithful love.
And thou, sweet Poetry, thou loveliest maid,
Still first to fly where sensual joys invade;
Unfit in these degenerate times of shame,
To catch the heart, or strike for honest fame;
Dear charming nymph, neglected and decried,
My shame in crowds, my solitary pride;
Thou source of all my bliss, and all my woe,
That found’st me poor at first, and keep’st me so;
Thou guide by which the nobler arts excel,
Thou nurse of every virtue, fare thee well!
Farewell, and O where’er thy voice be tried,
On Torno’s cliffs, or Pambamarca’s side,
Whether were equinoctial fervours glow,
Or winter wraps the polar world in snow,
Still let thy voice, prevailing over time,
Redress the rigours of the inclement clime;
Aid slighted truth with thy persuasive strain,
Teach erring man to spurn the rage of gain;
Teach him, that states of native strength possessed,
Tho’ very poor, may still be very blest;
That trade’s proud empire hastes to swift decay,
As ocean sweeps the labour’d mole away;
While self-dependent power can time defy,
As rocks resist the billows and the sky.

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An Austrian army, awfully arrayed,
Boldly by battery besieged Belgrade.
Cossack commanders cannonading come,
Dealing destruction’s devastating doom.
Every endeavor engineers essay,
For fame, for fortune fighting – furious fray!
Generals ‘gainst generals grapple – gracious God!
How honors Heaven heroic hardihood!
Infuriate, indiscriminate in ill,
Kindred kill kinsmen, kinsmen kindred kill.
Labor low levels longest, loftiest lines;
Men march ‘mid mounds, ‘mid moles, ‘ mid murderous mines;
Now noxious, noisey numbers nothing, naught
Of outward obstacles, opposing ought;
Poor patriots, partly purchased, partly pressed,
Quite quaking, quickly “Quarter! Quarter!” quest.
Reason returns, religious right redounds,
Suwarrow stops such sanguinary sounds.
Truce to thee, Turkey! Triumph to thy train,
Unwise, unjust, unmerciful Ukraine!
Vanish vain victory! vanish, victory vain!
Why wish we warfare? Wherefore welcome were
Xerxes, Ximenes, Xanthus, Xavier?
Yield, yield, ye youths! ye yeomen, yield your yell!
Zeus’, Zarpater’s, Zoroaster’s zeal,
Attracting all, arms against acts appeal!

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Is it a sin to love thee? Then my soul is deeply dyed,
For my lifeblood, as it gushes, takes its crimson from love’s tide;
And I feel it’s wave roll o’er me and the blushes mount my brow
And my pulses quicken wildly, as the love dreams come and go;
I feel my spirit’s weakness; I know my spirit’s power;
I have felt my proud heart struggle in temptation’s trying hour;
Yet, amid the din of conflict, bending o’er life’s hallowed shrine,
Yielding all, my soul had murmured, I am thine, forever thine!

Is it a sin to love thee? What were existence worth,
Bereft of all the heaven that lingers here on earth!
Friendship’s smiles, like gleams of sunlight, shed their feeling o’er the heart,
But the soul still cries for something more than friendship can impart.
Frozen heart, like ice-bound eyries, that no summer ray can melt,
Vainly boast their power to conquer what their hearts have never felt;
But envy not their glory, ‘mid the rapture that is mine,
When with earnest soul I tell thee, I am thine, forever thine!

Is it a sin to love thee? Gentle voices round me fall,
And I press warm hearts about me – but I’ve given thee my all.
What though stern fate divides us, and our hands, not hearts, be riven-
My all of earth thou hast-wilt more? I dare not offer heaven!
But in some blessed moment, when our dark eyes flashing meet,
When I feel thy power so near me, feel thy heart’s quick pulses beat,
Then I know-May God forgive me!- I would everything resign
All I have, or all I hope for – to be thine – forever thine.

Is it a sin to love thee? I remember well the hour
When we would our love to conquer, resist temptation’s power;
When I felt my heart was breaking and my all of life was gone;
When I wept the hour I met thee, and the hour I was born;
But a hidden storm was raging, and amid the muffled din
I flung my arms upon thy bosom, with thy warm hands clasped in mine,
I smiled through tears and murmured: I am thine, forever thine.

Is it a sin to love thee? with love’s signet on thy brow?
Though thy lot be dark as Hades, I’ll cling to thee as now;
Not mine the heart to fail thee, when other cheeks grow pale;
We have shared the storm together; I’ll stand by thee trough the gale.
Though our bark may drift asunder, yet, with true hearts beating high,
Let the golden sunlight cheer us, or the angry storm clouds fly.
From our helms with steady brightness our light shall shine,
And the watchwords on our pennons shall be-thine, forever thine.

Is it a sin to love thee? When I bend the knee in prayer,
And before a High Omniscience my burdened heart lay bare,
On the breath of love to heaven ascends thy blessed name,
And I plead weak and erring nature, if loving thee be shame.
Heaven know ’tis no light sacrifice I’ve offered up to thee,
No gilded dream of fancy, but my being’s destiny.
Since our fates we may not conquer here, divide thy lot from mine-
In the starlit world above us, call me thine-forever thine!

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I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn:
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day;
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away.

I remember, I remember,
The roses, red and white,
The violets and the lily-cups,
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday, –
The tree is living yet!

I remember, I remember,
The place I was used to swing;
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing:
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!

I remember, I remember,
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now ’tis little joy
To know I’m farther off from heaven
Than when I was a boy.

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They followed Him by thousands when he took some fish and bread
And a banquet in the desert by His miracle was spread.
They sang aloud, “Hosanna!” and they shouted, “Praise His name!”
When in an hour of glory to Jerusalem He came.
They followed when He told them of a kingdom and a throne,
But when He went to Calvary, He went there all alone.

It seems that many people still would follow Him today
If He only went to places where everything was gay.
For the kingdom that they’re seeking isn’t one the world scorns.
And the crown of which they’re singing isn’t one that’s made of thorns.
Oh, they’ll follow for the fishes over land and over sea,
And they’ll join the church at Zion, but not at Calvary.

It’s so easy, friends, to follow when the nets are full of fish,
When the loaves are spread before you and you’re eating all you wish.
When no lands, nor lots, nor houses and no friendships are at stake,
When there’s no mob to mock you and you have no cross to take.
But you’ll need some faith to follow down through Gethsemane,
And you’ll need some love to follow up to Calvary!

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