Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

That errand-bound 'Prentice was passing in haste-What matter! he's caught-and his time runs to waste;

The Newsman is stopped, though he stops on the fret;

Ar the corner of Wood Street, when daylight And the half-breathless Lamplighter-he's in the

appears,

[blocks in formation]

net!

The Porter sits down on the weight which he bore;
The Lass with her barrow wheels hither her store ;-
If a thief could be here he might pilfer at ease;
She sees the Musician, 'tis all that she sees!

He stands, backed by the wall;—he abates not his
din;

His hat gives him vigour, with boons dropping in,
From the old and the young, from the poorest;

and there!

The one-pennied Boy has his penny to spare.

O blest are the hearers, and proud be the hand
Of the pleasure it spreads through so thankful a
band;

I am glad for him, blind as he is!—all the while
If they speak 'tis to praise, and they praise with a

smile.

That tall Man, a giant in bulk and in height,
Not an inch of his body is free from delight;
Can he keep himself still, if he would? oh, not he!
The music stirs in him like wind through a tree.

Mark that Cripple who leans on his crutch; like a

tower

AN Orpheus! an Orpheus! yes, Faith may grow bold,
And take to herself all the wonders of old ;-
Near the stately Pantheon you'll meet with the same That long has leaned forward, leans hour after
In the street that from Oxford hath borrowed its

name.

His station is there; and he works on the crowd,
He sways them with harmony merry and loud;
He fills with his power all their hearts to the brim
Was aught ever heard like his fiddle and him?

What an eager assembly! what an empire is this!
The weary have life, and the hungry have bliss;
The mourner is cheered, and the anxious have rest;
And the guilt-burthened soul is no longer opprest

hour!

[blocks in formation]

XV.

STAR-GAZERS.

Does, then, a deep and earnest thought the blissful mind employ

Of him who gazes, or has gazed? a grave and steady joy,

WHAT Crowd is this? what have we here! we must That doth reject all show of pride, admits no out

[blocks in formation]

The Show-man chooses well his place, 'tis Leicester's Seem to meet with little gain, seem less happy than

busy Square;

And is as happy in his night, for the heavens are blue and fair;

before:

One after One they take their turn, nor have I one espied

Calm, though impatient, is the crowd; each stands That doth not slackly go away, as if dissatisfied.

ready with the fee,

[blocks in formation]

1806.

WHILE RESTING ON THE BRIDGE AT THE FOOT OF BROTHER'S WATER.

THE Cock is crowing,

The stream is flowing,
The small birds twitter,

The lake doth glitter,

The green field sleeps in the sun;
The oldest and youngest
Are at work with the strongest ;
The cattle are grazing,

Their heads never raising; There are forty feeding like one!

Like an army defeated
The snow hath retreated,
And now doth fare ill

On the top of the bare hill;
The Ploughboy is whooping-anon—anon :
There's joy in the mountains;
There's life in the fountains;
Small clouds are sailing,
Blue sky prevailing;
The rain is over and gone!

1801.

XVII.

LYRE! though such power do in thy magic live
As might from India's farthest plain
Recal the not unwilling Maid,

Assist me to detain

The lovely Fugitive:

Check with thy notes the impulse which, betrayed

By her sweet farewell looks, I longed to aid.
Here let me gaze enrapt upon that eye,
The impregnable and awe-inspiring fort
Of contemplation, the calm port

By reason fenced from winds that sigh
Among the restless sails of vanity.

But if no wish be hers that we should part,
A humbler bliss would satisfy my heart.

Where all things are so fair,

Enough by her dear side to breathe the air
Of this Elysian weather;

And, on or in, or near, the brook, espy
Shade upon the sunshine lying

Faint and somewhat pensively;
And downward Image gaily vying

With its upright living tree

Mid silver clouds, and openings of blue sky
As soft almost and deep as her cerulean eye.

Nor less the joy with many a glance
Cast up the Stream or down at her beseeching,
To mark its eddying foam-balls prettily distrest
By ever-changing shape and want of rest;

Or watch, with mutual teaching,

The current as it plays

In flashing leaps and stealthy creeps
Adown a rocky maze;

Or note (translucent summer's happiest chance!)
In the slope-channel floored with pebbles bright,
Stones of all hues, gem emulous of gem,
So vivid that they take from keenest sight
The liquid veil that seeks not to hide them.

XVIII.

BEGGARS.

SHE had a tall man's height or more;
Her face from summer's noontide heat

No bonnet shaded, but she wore
A mantle, to her very feet
Descending with a graceful flow,

And on her head a cap as white as new-fallen snow.

Her skin was of Egyptian brown:
Haughty, as if her eye had seen
Its own light to a distance thrown,
She towered, fit person for a Queen

To lead those ancient Amazonian files;

Or ruling Bandit's wife among the Grecian isles.

Advancing, forth she stretched her hand

And begged an alms with doleful plea
That ceased not; on our English land
Such woes, I knew, could never be;

And yet a boon I gave her, for the creature
Was beautiful to see-a weed of glorious feature.

I left her, and pursued my way;
And soon before me did espy

A pair of little Boys at play,
Chasing a crimson butterfly;

The taller followed with his hat in hand, Wreathed round with yellow flowers the gayest of the land.

The other wore a rimless crown
With leaves of laurel stuck about;
And, while both followed up and down,
Each whooping with a merry shout,

In their fraternal features I could trace

Unquestionable lines of that wild Suppliant's face.

Yet they, so blithe of heart, seemed fit

For finest tasks of earth or air:

Wings let them have, and they might flit
Precursors to Aurora's car,

Scattering fresh flowers; though happier far, I

ween,

To hunt their fluttering game o'er rock and level green.

They dart across my path-but lo,
Each ready with a plaintive whine!
Said I, "not half an hour ago

Your Mother has had alms of mine."

"That cannot be," one answered-"she is dead:"I looked reproof-they saw-but neither hung his

head.

"She has been dead, Sir, many a day.”—
"Hush, boys! you're telling me a lie ;

It was your Mother, as I say!"
And, in the twinkling of an eye,
"Come! come!" cried one, and without more ado,
Off to some other play the joyous Vagrants flew !

1802.

L2

XX.

XIX.

SEQUEL TO THE FOREGOING,

COMPOSED MANY YEARS AFTER.

WHERE are they now, those wanton Boys?
For whose free range the dædal earth
Was filled with animated toys,
And implements of frolic mirth;

With tools for ready wit to guide;
And ornaments of seemlier pride,

More fresh, more bright, than princes wear;
For what one moment flung aside,
Another could repair;

What good or evil have they seen
Since I their pastime witnessed here,
Their daring wiles, their sportive cheer?
I ask-but all is dark between!

They met me in a genial hour,
When universal nature breathed

As with the breath of one sweet flower,-
A time to overrule the power

Of discontent, and check the birth

Of thoughts with better thoughts at strife,
The most familiar bane of life
Since parting Innocence bequeathed
Mortality to Earth!

Soft clouds, the whitest of the year,

Sailed through the sky-the brooks ran clear;
The lambs from rock to rock were bounding;
With songs the budded groves resounding;
And to my heart are still endeared

The thoughts with which it then was cheered;
The faith which saw that gladsome pair
Walk through the fire with unsinged hair.
Or, if such faith must needs deceive-
Then, Spirits of beauty and of grace,
Associates in that eager chase;
Ye, who within the blameless mind
Your favourite seat of empire find-
Kind Spirits! may we not believe

That they, so happy and so fair

Through your sweet influence, and the care
Of pitying Heaven, at least were free
From touch of deadly injury?
Destined, whate'er their earthly doom,
For mercy and immortal bloom!

1817.

GIPSIES.

YET are they here the same unbroken knot
Of human Beings, in the self-same spot!

Men, women, children, yea the frame
Of the whole spectacle the same!
Only their fire seems bolder, yielding light,
Now deep and red, the colouring of night;
That on their Gipsy-faces falls,

Their bed of straw and blanket-walls. -Twelve hours, twelve bounteous hours are gone, while I

Have been a traveller under open sky,

Much witnessing of change and cheer,
Yet as I left I find them here!
The weary Sun betook himself to rest ;-
Then issued Vesper from the fulgent west,
Outshining like a visible God

The glorious path in which he trod.
And now, ascending, after one dark hour
And one night's diminution of her power,
Behold the mighty Moon! this way
She looks as if at them-but they
Regard not her:-oh better wrong and strife
(By nature transient) than this torpid life;
Life which the very stars reprove

As on their silent tasks they move!
Yet, witness all that stirs in heaven or earth!
In scorn I speak not;-they are what their birth
And breeding suffer them to be;
Wild outcasts of society!

XXI.

RUTH.

WHEN Ruth was left half desolate, Her Father took another Mate;

And Ruth, not seven years old,

A slighted child, at her own will Went wandering over dale and hill, In thoughtless freedom, bold.

And she had made a pipe of straw,
And music from that pipe could draw
Like sounds of winds and floods;
Had built a bower upon the green,
As if she from her birth had been
An infant of the woods.

1807.

« ZurückWeiter »