Изображения страниц

Nor toil for title, place, or touch

Of pension, neither count on praise :

It grows to guerdon after-days : Nor deal in watch-words overmuch ; Not clinging to some ancient saw ;

Not master'd by some modern term ;

Not swift nor slow to change, but firm : And in its season bring the law; That from Discussion's lip may fall

With Life, that, working strongly, binds

Set in all lights by many minds,
To close the interests of all.
For Nature also, cold and warm,

And moist and dry, devising long,

Thro' many agents making strong,
Matures the individual form.
Meet is it changes should control

Our being, lest we rust in ease.

We all are changed by still degrees,
All but the basis of the soul.
So let the change which comes be free

To ingroove itself with that, which flies,

And work, a joint of state, that plies
Its office, moved with sympathy.
A saying, hard to shape in act;

For all the past of Time reveals

A bridal dawn of thunder-peals, Wherever Thought hath wedded Fact. Ev'n now we hear with inward strife

A motion toiling in the gloom

The Spirit of the years to come Yearning to mix himself with Life. A slow-develop'd strength awaits

Completion in a painful school;

Phantoms of other forms of rule, New Majesties of mighty StatesThe warders of the growing hour,

But vague in vapour, hard to mark ;

And round them sea and air are dark With great contrivances of Power.

Of many changes, aptly join'd,

Is bodied forth the second whole.

Regard gradation, lest the soul
Of Discord race the rising wind;
A wind to puff your idol-fires,

And heap their ashes on the head ;

To shame the boast so often made,
That we are wiser than our sires.
Oh yet, if Nature's evil star

Drive men in manhood, as in youth,

To follow flying steps of Truth
Across the brazen bridge of war-
If New and Old, disastrous feud,

Must ever shock, like armed foes,

And this be true, till Time shall close,
That Principles are rain'd in blood;
Not yet the wise of heart would cease

To hold his hope thro' shame and guilt,

But with his hand against the hilt, Would pace the troubled land, like Peace; Not less, tho' dogs of Faction bay,

Would serve his kind in deed and word,

Certain, if knowledge bring the sword, That knowledge takes the sword awayWould love the gleams of good that broke

From either side, nor veil his eyes :

And if some dreadful need should rise Would strike, and firmly, and one stroke : To-morrow yet would reap to-day, ,

As we bear blossom of the dead;

Earn well the thrifty months, nor wed Raw Haste, half-sister to Delay. (1853)


[ocr errors]

I KNEW an old wife lean and poor,

Her rags scarce held together;
There strode a stranger to the door,

And it was windy weather.

his arm,

He held a goose upon

He utter'd rhyme and reason, “Here, take the goose, and keep you warm,

It is a stormy season.
She caught the white goose by the leg,

A goose-'twas no great matter.
The goose let fall a golden egg

With cackle and with clatter.
She dropt the goose, and caught the pelf,

And ran to tell her neighbours;
And bless'd herself, and cursed herself,

And rested from her labours.
And feeding high, and living soft,

Grew plump and able-bodied; Until the grave churchwarden doffd, ,

The parson smirk'd and nodded. So sitting, served by man and maid,

She felt her heart grow prouder :
But ah ! the more the white goose laid

It clack'd and cackled louder.
It clutter'd here, it chuckled there;

It stirr'd the old wife's mettle :
She shisted in her elbow-chair,

And hurl'd the pan and kettle. “A quinsy choke thy cursed note !"

Then wax'd her anger stronger. “Go, take the goose, and wring her throat,

I will not bear it longer.”
Then yelp'd the cur, and yawl'd the cat;

Ran Gaffer, stumbled Gammer,
The goose flew this way and flew that,

And fill'd the house with clamour.
As head and heels upon the floor

They flounder'd all together,
There strode a stranger to the door,

And it was windy weather :
He took the goose upon his arm,

He utter'd words of scorning ;
“So keep you cold, or keep you warm,

It is a stormyy morning.”

The wild wind rang from park and plain,

And round the attics rumbled,
Till all the tables danced again,

And half the chimneys tumbled.
The glass blew in, the fire blew out,

The blast was hard and harder.

cap blew off, her gown blew up,
And a whirlwind clear'd the larder;
And while on all sides breaking loose

Her household fled the danger,
Quoth she, “The Devil take the goose,

And God forget the stranger !” (1853)


O BLACKBIRD! sing me something well:

While all the neighbours shoot thee round,

I keep smooth plats of fruitsul ground,
Where thou may'st warble, eat and dwell.
The espaliers and the standards all

Are thine ; the range of lawn and park :

The unnetted black-hearts ripen dark,
All thine, against the garden wall.
Yet, tho’ I spared thee all the spring,

Thy sole delight is, sitting still,

With that gold dagger of thy bill
To fret the summer jenneting.
A golden bill! the silver tongue,

Cold February loved, is dry :

Plenty corrupts the melody
That made thee famous once, when young:
And in the sultry garden-squares,

Now thy flute-notes are changed to coarse,

I hear thee not at all, or hoarse
As when a hawker hawks his wares.
Take warning! he that will not sing

While yon sun prospers in the blue,

Shall sing for want, ere leaves are new,

Caught in the frozen palms of Spring.




REVERED, beloved—o you that hold
A nobler office

upon earth
Than arms, or power of brain, or birth
Could give the warrior kings of old,
Victoria,-since your Royal grace

To one of less desert allows

This laurel greener from the brows
Of him that utter'd nothing base;
And should your greatness, and the care

That yokes with empire, yield you time

To make demand of modern rhyme
If aught of ancient worth be there;
Then—while a sweeter music wakes,

And thro’ wild March the throstle calls,

Where all about your palace-walls
The sun-lit almond-blossom shakes-
Take, Madam, this poor book of song;

For tho' the faults were thick as dust

In vacant chambers, I could trust
Your kindness. May you rule us long,
And leave us rulers of

As noble till the latest day!

May children of our children say,
“She wrought her people lasting good;
“Her court was pure ; her life serene;

God gave her peace; her land reposed;

A thousand claims to reverence closed
In her as Mother, Wife and Queen;

your blood

[ocr errors]


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »