Page images
PDF
EPUB
[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

8

[blocks in formation]

I 2

[blocks in formation]

The twentieth year is well-nigh past,
Since first our sky was overcast;
Ah, would that this might be the last!

My Mary!
Thy spirits have a fainter flow,
I see thee daily weaker grow;
'Twas my distress that brought thee low,

My Mary!
Thy needles, once a shining store,
For my sake restless heretofore,
Now rust disused, and shine no more,

My Mary!
For though thou gladly wouldst fulfil
The same kind office for me still,
Thy sight now seconds not thy will,

My Mary!

16
But well thou playedst the housewife's part,
And all thy threads with magic art
Have wound themselves about this heart,

My Mary!
Thy indistinct expressions seem
Like language uttered in a dream;
Yet me they charm, whate'er the theme,

My Mary!
Thy silver locks, once auburn bright,
Are still more lovely in my sight
Than golden beams of orient light,

My Mary!
For, could I view nor them nor thee,
What sight worth seeing could I see?
The sun would rise in vain for me,

My Mary!
Partakers of thy sad declise,
Thy hands their little force resign,
Yet, gently prest, press gently mine,

My Mary!

20

[blocks in formation]

24

He shouted: nor his friends had failed

To check the vessel's course,
But so the furious blast prevailed,

That, pitiless perforce,
They left their outcast mate behind,
And scudded still before the wind.

28

24

32

Some succour yet they could afford;

And such as storms allow,
The cask, the coop, the floated cord,

Delayed not to bestow.
But he (they knew) nor ship nor shore,
Whate'er they gave, should visit more.

36

30

[blocks in formation]

Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he

Their haste himself condemn,
Aware that flight, in such a sea,

Alone could rescue them;
Yet bitter felt it still to die
Deserted, and his friends so nigh.
He long survives, who lives an hour

In ocean, self-upheld;
And so long he, with unspent power,

His destiny repelled;
And ever, as the minutes flew,
Entreated help, or cried “Adieu !"
At length, his transient respite past,

His comrades, who before
Had heard his voice in every blast,

Could catch the sound no more:
For then, by toil subdued, he drank
The

ifling wave, and then he sank. No poet wept him; but the page

Of narrative sincere,
That tells his name, his worth, his age,

Is wet with Anson's tear:
And tears by bards or heroes shed
Alike immortalize the dead.
I therefore purpose not, or dream,

Descanting on his fate,
To give the melancholy theme

A more enduring date :
But misery still delights to trace
Its semblance in another's case.
No voice divine the storm allayed,

No light propitious shone,
When, snatched from all effectual aid,

We perished, each alone: But I beneath a rougher sea, And whelmed in deeper gulfs than he.

And yet poor Edwin was no vulgar boy.
Deep thought oft seemed to fix his infant eye.
Dainties he heeded not, nor gaud, nor toy, 130
Save one short pipe of rudest minstrelsy;
Silent when glad; affectionate, though shy;
And now his look was most demurely sad;
And now he laughed aloud, yet none knew why.
The neighbors stared and sighed, yet blessed

the lad; Some deemed him wondrous wise, and some be

lieved him mad.

48

54

But why should I his childish feats display?
Concourse, and noise, and toil he ever fled;
Nor cared to mingle in the clamorous fray
Of squabbling imps; but to the forest sped, 140
Or roamed at large the lonely mountain's head,
Or where the maze of some bewildered stream
To deep untrodden groves his footsteps led,

There would he wander wild, till Phæbus' beam, Shot from the western cliff, released the weary

60

[blocks in formation]

JAMES BEATTIE (1735-1803)

THE MINSTREL

FROM BOOK I

There lived in Gothic days, as legends tell,
A shepherd swain, a man of low degree,
Whose sires, perchance, in Fairyland might

dwell,
Sicilian groves, or vales of Arcady;

94 But he, I ween, was of the north countrie; A nation famed for song, and beauty's charms; Zealous, yet modest; innocent, though free;

Patient of toil: serene amidst alarms; Inflexible in faith: invincible in arms.

Lo! where the stripling, rapt in wonder, roves
Beneath the precipice o'erhung with pine;
And sees on high, amidst the encircling groves,
From cliff to cliff the foaming torrents shine;
While waters, woods, and winds in concert join,
And echo swells the chorus to the skies.
Would Edwin this majestic scene resign

For aught the huntsman's puny craft supplies? Ah, no! he better knows great Nature's charms to

prize.

160

And oft he traced the uplands to survey,
When o'er the sky advanced the kindling dawn,
The crimson cloud, blue main, and mountain

gray,
And lake, dim-gleaming on the smoky lawn:
Far to the west the long, long vale withdrawn,
Where twilight loves to linger for a while;
And now he faintly kens the bounding fawn,
And villager abroad at early toil:

171 But, lo! the sun appears, and heaven, earth,

ocean smile.

From matter's base encumbering weed ?

Or dost thou, hid from sight,

Wait, like some spell-bound knight, Through blank oblivious years th' appointed hour To break thy trance and reassume thy power? 20 Yet canst thou without thought or feeling be? O say, what art thou, when no more thou'rt thee?

[blocks in formation]

And oft the craggy cliff he loved to climb,
When all in mist the world below was lost.
What dreadful pleasure ! there to stand sublime,
Like shipwrecked mariner on desert coast,
And view the enormous waste of vapour, tost
In billows, lengthening to the horizon round,
Now scooped in gulfs, with mountains now

embossed! And hear the voice of mirth and song rebound, Flocks, herds, and waterfalls, along the hoar

profound! In truth he was a strange and wayward wight, Fond of each gentle and each dreadful scene. In darkness and in storm he found delight; Nor less than when on ocean-wave serene The southern sun diffused his dazzling sheen. Even sad vicissitude amused his soul; And if a sigh would sometimes intervene,

And down his cheek a tear of pity roll, 189 A sigh, a tear, so sweet, he wished not to control.

BRISTOWE TRAGEDIE; OR, THE DETHE OF SYR CHARLES

BAWDIN

181

The feathered songster chaunticleer

Han wounde hys bugle horne, And tolde the earlie villager

The commynge of the morne:

Kynge Edwarde sawe the ruddie streakes

Of lyghte eclypse the greie;
And herde the raven's crokynge throte
Proclayme the fated daie.

8 “Thou’rt ryghte," quod he, "for, by the Godde

That syttes enthron'd on hyghe ! Charles Bawdin, and hys fellowes twaine,

To-daie shall surelie die."

ANNA LÆTITIA BARBAULD

12

(1743-1825)

LIFE

Life! I know not what thou art,

But know that thou and I must part; And when, or how, or where we met, I own to me's a secret yet. But this I know, when thou art fled, Where'er they lay these limbs, this head, No clod so valueless shall be As all that then remains of me.

20

Thenne wythe a jugge of nappy ale

Hys knyghtes dydd onne hymm waite; “Goe tell the traytour, thatt to-daie Hee leaves thys mortall state.”

16 Sir Canterlone thenne bendedd lowe,

With harte brymm-fulle of woe;
Hee journey'd to the castle-gate,

And to Syr Charles dydd goe.
Butt whenne hee came, hys children twaine,

And eke hys lovynge wyfe,
Wythe brinie tears dydd wett the floore,

For goode Syr Charleses lyfe.
"O goode Syr Charles !” sayd Canterlone,

“Badde tydyngs I doe brynge." “Speke boldlie, manne,” sayd brave Syr Charles, "Whatte says the traytor kynge?”

28

IO

24

O whither, whither, dost thou fly?
Where bend unseen thy trackless course ?

And in this strange divorce,
Ah, tell where I must seek this compound I?
To the vast ocean of empyreal flame

From whence thy essence came Dost thou thy flight pursue, when freed

[blocks in formation]

“Butt telle thye kynge, for myne hee's not,

I'de sooner die 'to-daie
Thanne lyve hys slave, as manie are,

Though I shoulde lyve for aie."
Thenne Canterlone hee dydd goe out,

To telle the maior straite
To gett all thynges ynne redyness

For goode Syr Charleses fate.

44

48

96

52

100

56

104

“My nobile leige ! the trulie brave

Wylle val'rous actions prize; Respect a brave and nobile mynde, Although ynne enemies.”

92 “Canynge, awaie! By Godde ynne Heav'n

That dydd mee beinge gyve,
I wylle nott taste a bitt of breade

Whilst thys Syr Charles dothe lyve.
“By Marie, and alle Seinctes ynne Heav'n,

Thys sunne shall be hys laste,"
Thenne Canynge dropt a brinie teare,

And from the presence paste.
With herte brymm-fulle of gnawynge grief,

Hee to Syr Charles dydd goe,
And sat hymm downe uponne a stoole,

And teares beganne to flowe.
“Wee all must die," quod brave Syr Charles;

“Whatte bootes ytte howe or whenne; Dethe ys the sure, the certaine fate Of all wee mortall menne.

108 “Saye why, my friende, thie honest soul

Runns overr att thyne eye;
Is ytte for my most welcome doome

Thatt thou dost child-lyke crye?"
Quod godlie Canynge, “I doe weepe,

Thatt thou soe soone must dye,
And leave thy sonnes and helpless wyfe;

'Tys thys thatt wettes myne eye.”
“Thenne drie the tears thatt out thyne eye

From godlie fountaines sprynge; Dethe I despise, and alle the power

Of Edwarde, traytour kynge.
“Whan through the tyrant's welcom means

I shall resigne my lyfe,
The Godde I serve wylle soone provyde

For bothe mye sonnes and wyfe.

Thenne Maisterr Canynge saughte the kynge,

And felle down onne hys knee; “I'm come," quod hee, “unto your grace

To move your clemencye.” Thenne quod the kynge, “Youre tale speke out,

You have been much oure friende; Whatever youre request may bee,

Wee wylle to ytte attende.”
“My nobile leige ! alle my request,

Ys for a nobile knyghte,
Who, though may hap hee has donne wronge,

Hee thoughte ytte stylle was ryghte:
He has a spouse and children twaine,

Alle rewyn'd are for aie;
Yff that you are resolved to lett

Charles Bawdin die to-dai."
"Speke not of such a traytour vile,"

The kynge ynn furie sayde; “Before the evening starre doth sheene,

Bawdin shall loose hys hedde:
" Justice does loudlie for hym calle,

And hee shalle have hys meede:
Speke, maister Canynge! Whatte thynge else
Att present doe you neede?”

68 “My nobile leige !" goode Canynge sayde,

“Leave justice to our Godde, And laye the yronne rule asyde; Be thyne the olyve rodde.

72 "Was Godde to serche our hertes and reines,

The best were synners grete; Christ's vicart only knowes ne synne,

Ynne alle thys mortall state.

60

64

II2

116

120

76

124

128

176

132

180

136

184

140

188

144

192

148

196

“Before I sawe the lyghtsome sunne,

Thys was appointed mee;
Shall mortall manne repyne or grudge

What Godde ordeynes to bee?
“Howe oft ynne battaile have I stoode,

Whan thousands dy'd arounde; Whan smokynge streemes of crimson bloode

Imbrew'd the fatten'd grounde:
“Howe dydd I knowe thatt ev'ry darte,

That cutte the airie waie,
Myghte nott fynde passage toe my harte,

And close myne eyes for aie?
“And shall I nowe, forr feere of dethe,

Looke wanne and bee dysmayde?
Nel fromm my herte flie childyshe feere,

Bee alle the manne display'd. “Ah! goddelyke Henrie! Godde forefende,

And guarde thee and thye sonne, Yff 'tis hys wylle; but yff 'tis nott,

Why thenne hys wylle bee donne. “My honest friende, my faulte has beene

To serve Godde and mye prynce; And thatt I no tyme-server am,

My dethe wylle soone convynce. “Ynne Londonne citye was I borne,

Of parents-of grete note; My fadre dydd a nobile armes

Emblazon onne hys cote: “I make ne doubte butt bee ys gone

Where soone I hope to goe; Where wee for ever shall bee blest,

From oute the reech of woe.
“Hee taughte mee justice and the laws

Wyth pitie to unite;
And eke hee taughte mee howe to knowe

The wronge cause fromm the ryghte:
"Hee taughte mee wyth a prudent hande

To feede the hungrie poore,
Ne lett mye sarvants dryve awaie

The hungrie fromme my doore:
“And none can saye butt alle mye lyfe

I have hys wordyes kept;
And summ'd the actyonns of the daie

Eche nyghte before I slept.
“I have a spouse, goe aske of her

Yff I defyld her bedde?
I have a kynge, and none can laie

Black treason onne my hedde.

“Ynne Lent, and onne the holie eve,

Fromm feshe I dydd refrayne;
Whie should I thenne appeare dismay'd

To leave thys worlde of payne? “Ne, hapless Henrie! I rejoyce,

I shall ne see thye dethe;
Moste willynglie ynne thye just cause

Doe I resign my brethe.
“Oh, fickle people! rewyn'd londe !

Thou wylt kenne peace ne moe;
Whyle Richard's sonnes exalt themselves,

Thye brookes wythe bloude wylle flowe. “Saie, were ye tyrd of godlie peace,

And godlie Henrie's reigne,
Thatt you dyd choppe your easie daies

For those of bloude and peyne? “Whatte though I onne a sledde be drawne,

And mangled by a hynde,
I doe defye the traytor's pow'r,

Hee can ne harm my mynd;
“Whatte though, uphoisted onne a pole,

Mye lymbes shall rotte ynne ayre, And ne ryche monument of brasse

Charles Bawdin's name shall bear; Yett ynne the holie booke above,

Whyche tyme can't eate awaie, There wythe the sarvants of the Lord

Mye name shall lyve for aie. “Thenne welcome dethe! for lyfe eterne

I leave thys mortall lyfe: Farewell vayne world, and alle that's deare,

Mye sonnes and lovynge wyfe! “Nowe dethe as welcome to mee comes,

As e'er the moneth of Maie;
Nor woulde I even wyshe to lyve,

Wyth my dere wyfe to staie.”
Quod Canynge, “'Tys a goodlie thynge

To bee prepar'd to die;
And from thys world of peyne and grefe

To Godde ynne heav'n to flie.”
And nowe the belle began to tolle,

And claryonnes to sound;
Syr Charles hee herde the horses feete

A prauncyng onne the grounde:
And just before the officers

His lovynge wyfe came ynne, Weepynge unfeigned teeres of woe,

Wythe loude and dysmalle dynne.

152

200

156

204

160

208

164

2 1 2

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »