« PoprzedniaDalej »
The levee swarms, as if, in golden pomp,
Were character'd on ev'ry statesman's door,
“ Batter'd and bankrupt fortunes mended here."
These are the charms that sully and eclipse
The charms of nature. 'Tis the cruel gripe
That lean hard-handed poverty inflicts,
The hope of better things, the chance to win,
The wish to shine, the thirst to be amus’d,
That at the sound of winter's hoary wing
Unpeople all our counties of such herds
Of Autt'ring, loit'ring, cringing, begging, loose,
And wanton vagrants, as make London, vast
And boundless as it is, a crowded coop.
Oh thou, resort and mart of all the earth,
Chequer'd with all complexions of mankind,
And spotted with all crimes; in whom I see
Much that I love, and more that I admire, .
That pleasest and yet shock’st me, I can laugh,
And I can weep, can hope, and can despond,
Feel wrath and pity, when I think on thee !
Ten righteous would have sav'd a city once,
And thou hast many righteous.—Well for thee
That salt preserves thee ; more corrupted else,
And therefore more obnoxious, at this hour,
Than Sodom in her day had pow'r to be,
For whom God heard his Abr'am plead in vain.
ARGUMENT OF THE FOURTH BOOK.
The post comes in. The news-paper is read. The world
contemplated at a distance. --Address to winter.—The rural amusements of a winter evening compared with the fashionable ones.-Address to evening.--A brown study.-Fall of snow in the evening.–The waggoner.A poor family piece. The rural thief-Public houses. -The multitude of them censured.-The farmer's daugh. ter : what she was—what she is.-The simplicity of country manners almost lost.--Causes of the change.Desertion of the country by the rich.—Neglect of magistrates.--The militia principally in fault.-—The new recruit and his transformation. Reflection on bodies corporate.—The love of rural objects natural to all, and never to be totally extinguished.
HARK! 'tis the twanging horn o'er yonder bridge,
That with its wearisome but needful length
Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon
Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright;
He comes, the herald of a noisy world,
With spatter'd boots, strapp'd waist, and frozen locks;
News from all nations lumb’ring at his back.
True to his charge, the close-pack'd load behind,
Yet careless what he brings, his one concern
Is to conduct it to the destin'd inn ;
And, having dropp'd th' expected bag, pass on.
He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch,
Cold and yet cheerful : messenger of grief
Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some ;
To him indiff'rent whether grief or joy.
Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks,
Births, deaths, and marriages, epistles wet
With tears, that trickled down the writer's cheeks
Fast as the periods from his fluent quill,
Or charg'd with am'rous sighs of absent swains,
Or nymphs responsive, equally affect
His horse and him, unconscious of them all.
But oh th' important budget ! usher'd in
With such heart-shaking music, who can say
What are its tidings ? have our troops awak'd ?
Or do they still, as if with opium drugg'd,
Snore to the murmurs of th’ Atlantic wave ?
Is India free? and does she wear her plum'd
And jewell'd turban with a smile of peace ?
Or do we grind her still? The grand debate,
The popular harangue, the tart reply,
The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit,
And the loud laugh-I long to know them all ;
I burn to set th' imprison'd wranglers free,
And give them voice and utt'rance once again.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful ev'ning in.
Not such his ev’ning, who with shining face
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeez'd
And bor'd with elbow-points through both his sides,
Out-scolds the ranting actor on the stage :
Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb,
And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath
Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage,
Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles.
This folio of four pages, happy work!
Which not ev'n critics criticise ; that holds
Inquisitive attention, while I read,
Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair,
Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break;
What is it, but a map of busy life,
Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns ?
Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge
That tempts ambition. On the summit see
The seals of office glitter in his eyes ;
He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels,
Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
And with a dext'rous jerk soon twists him down,
And wins them but to lose them in his turn.
Here rills of oily eloquence in soft
Meanders lubricate the course they take ;
The modest speaker is asham’d and griev'd
T'engross a moment's notice, and yet begs,
Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts,
However trivial all that he conceives.
Sweet bashfulness ! it claims at least this praise ;
The dearth of information and good sense,
Thavit foretels us, always comes to pass.
Catracts of declamation thunder here ;
There forests of no meaning spread the page,
In which all comprehension wanders, lost;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there