The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb IV
Charles and Mary Lamb
Part 2 out of 11
Guileless traitor, rebel mild,
Convict unconscious, culprit-child!
Gates that close with iron roar
Have been to thee thy nursery door;
Chains that chink in cheerless cells
Have been thy rattles and thy bells;
Walls contrived for giant sin
Have hemmed thy faultless weakness in;
Near thy sinless bed black Guilt
Her discordant house hath built,
And filled it with her monstrous brood--
Sights, by thee not understood--
Sights of fear, and of distress,
That pass a harmless infant's guess!
But the clouds, that overcast
Thy young morning, may not last.
Soon shall arrive the rescuing hour,
That yields thee up to Nature's power.
Nature, that so late doth greet thee,
Shall in o'er-flowing measure meet thee.
She shall recompense with cost
For every lesson thou hast lost.
Then wandering up thy sire's lov'd hill,
Thou shall take thy airy fill
Of health and pastime. _Birds shall sing
For thy delight each May morning._
'Mid new-yean'd lambkins thou shalt play,
Hardly less a lamb than they.
Then thy prison's lengthened bound
Shall be the horizon skirting round.
And, while thou fillest thy lap with flowers,
To make amends for wintery hours,
The breeze, the sunshine, and the place,
Shall from thy tender brow efface
Each vestige of untimely care,
That sour restraint had graven there;
And on thy every look impress
A more excelling childishness.
So shall be thy days beguil'd,
THORNTON HUNT, my favourite child.
[Footnote 4: Hampstead.]
* * * * *
_Here came "Ballad from the German." See page 29.
Here came "David in the Cave of Aditllam" by Mary
Lamb, from "Poetry for Children." See vol. iii. page 486._
* * * * *
(_By Mary Lamb. Probably_ 1808 _or_ 1809)
Once on a charger there was laid,
And brought before a royal maid,
As price of attitude and grace,
A guiltless head, a holy face.
It was on Herod's natal day,
Who, o'er Judea's land held sway.
He married his own brother's wife,
Wicked Herodias. She the life
Of John the Baptist long had sought,
Because he openly had taught
That she a life unlawful led,
Having her husband's brother wed.
This was he, that saintly John,
Who in the wilderness alone
Abiding, did for clothing wear
A garment made of camel's hair;
Honey and locusts were his food,
And he was most severely good.
He preached penitence and tears,
And waking first the sinner's fears,
Prepared a path, made smooth a way,
For his diviner master's day.
Herod kept in princely state
His birth-day. On his throne he sate,
After the feast, beholding her
Who danced with grace peculiar;
Fair Salome, who did excel
All in that land for dancing well.
The feastful monarch's heart was fired,
And whatsoe'er thing she desired.
Though half his kingdom it should be,
He in his pleasure swore that he
Would give the graceful Salome.
The damsel was Herodias' daughter:
She to the queen hastes, and besought her
To teach her what great gift to name.
Instructed by Herodias, came
The damsel back; to Herod said,
"Give me John the Baptist's head;
And in a charger let it be
Hither straitway brought to me."
Herod her suit would fain deny,
But for his oath's sake must comply.
When painters would by art express
Beauty in unloveliness,
Thee, Herodias' daughter, thee,
They fittest subject take to be.
They give thy form and features grace;
But ever in thy beauteous face
They shew a steadfast cruel gaze,
An eye unpitying; and amaze
In all beholders deep they mark,
That thou betrayest not one spark
Of feeling for the ruthless deed,
That did thy praiseful dance succeed
For on the head they make you look,
As if a sullen joy you took,
A cruel triumph, wicked pride,
That for your sport a saint had died.
_Suggested by a Picture of Two Females by Lionardo da Vinci._
(_By Mary Lamb_. 1804)
The Lady Blanch, regardless of all her lovers' fears,
To the Urs'line convent hastens, and long the Abbess hears.
"O Blanch, my child, repent ye of the courtly life ye lead."
Blanch looked on a rose-bud and little seem'd to heed.
She looked on the rose-bud, she looked round, and thought
On all her heart had whisper'd, and all the Nun had taught.
"I am worshipped by lovers, and brightly shines my fame,
All Christendom resoundeth the noble Blanch's name.
Nor shall I quickly wither like the rose-bud from the tree,
My queen-like graces shining when my beauty's gone from me.
But when the sculptur'd marble is raised o'er my head,
And the matchless Blanch lies lifeless among the noble dead,
This saintly lady Abbess hath made me justly fear,
It nothing will avail me that I were worshipp'd here."
_On the Same Picture being Removed to make
Place for a Portrait of a Lady by Titian._
(_By Mary Lamb_. 1805)
Who art thou, fair one, who usurp'st the place
Of Blanch, the lady of the matchless grace?
Come, fair and pretty, tell to me,
Who, in thy life-time, thou might'st be.
Thou pretty art and fair,
But with the lady Blanch thou never must compare.
No need for Blanch her history to tell;
Whoever saw her face, they there did read it well.
But when I look on thee, I only know
There lived a pretty maid some hundred years ago.
_On the Celebrated Picture by Lionardo da Vinci,
called The Virgin of the Rocks._
While young John runs to greet
The greater Infant's feet,
The Mother standing by, with trembling passion
Of devout admiration,
Beholds the engaging mystic play, and pretty adoration;
Nor knows as yet the full event
Of those so low beginnings,
From whence we date our winnings,
But wonders at the intent
Of those new rites, and what that strange child-worship meant.
But at her side
An angel doth abide,
With such a perfect joy
As no dim doubts alloy,
A glory, an amenity,
Passing the dark condition
Of blind humanity,
As if he surely knew
All the blest wonders should ensue,
Or he had lately left the upper sphere,
And had read all the sovran schemes and divine riddles there.
ON THE SAME
(_By Mary Lamb_. 1805)
Maternal lady with the virgin grace,
Heaven-born thy Jesus seemeth sure,
And of a virgin pure.
Lady most perfect, when thy sinless face
Men look upon, they wish to be
A Catholic, Madonna fair, to worship thee.
TO MISS KELLY
You are not, Kelly, of the common strain,
That stoop their pride and female honor down
To please that many-headed beast _the town_,
And vend their lavish smiles and tricks for gain;
By fortune thrown amid the actor's train,
You keep your native dignity of thought;
The plaudits that attend you come unsought,
As tributes due unto your natural vein.
Your tears have passion in them, and a grace
Of genuine freshness, which our hearts avow;
Your smiles are winds whose ways we cannot trace,
That vanish and return we know not how--
And please the better from a pensive face,
And thoughtful eye, and a reflecting brow.
ON THE SIGHT OF SWANS IN KENSINGTON GARDEN
Queen-bird that sittest on thy shining nest,
And thy young cygnets without sorrow hatchest,
And thou, thou other royal bird, that watchest
Lest the white mother wandering feet molest:
Shrined are your offspring in a chrystal cradle,
Brighter than Helen's ere she yet had burst
Her shelly prison. They shall be born at first
Strong, active, graceful, perfect, swan-like able
To tread the land or waters with security.
Unlike poor human births, conceived in sin,
In grief brought forth, both outwardly and in
Confessing weakness, error, and impurity.
Did heavenly creatures own succession's line,
The births of heaven like to your's would shine.
* * * * *
_Here came "Was it some sweet device." See page_ 4.
_Here came "Methinks how dainty sweet." See page_ 5.
_Here came "When last I roved." See page_ 8.
_Here came "A timid grace" See page_ 8.
_Here came "If from my lips." See page_ 9.
* * * * *
THE FAMILY NAME
What reason first imposed thee, gentle name,
Name that my father bore, and his sire's sire,
Without reproach? we trace our stream no higher;
And I, a childless man, may end the same.
Perchance some shepherd on Lincolnian plains,
In manners guileless as his own sweet flocks,
Received the first amid the merry mocks
And arch allusions of his fellow swains.
Perchance from Salem's holier fields returned,
With glory gotten on the heads abhorr'd
Of faithless Saracens, some martial lord
Took HIS meek title, in whose zeal he burn'd.
Whate'er the fount whence thy beginnings came,
No deed of mine shall shame thee, gentle name.
TO JOHN LAMB, ESQ.
_Of the South-Sea House_
John, you were figuring in the gay career
Of blooming manhood with a young man's joy,
When I was yet a little peevish boy--
Though time has made the difference disappear
Betwixt our ages, which _then_ seemed so great--
And still by rightful custom you retain
Much of the old authoritative strain,
And keep the elder brother up in state.
O! you do well in this. 'Tis man's worst deed
To let the "things that have been" run to waste,
And in the unmeaning present sink the past:
In whose dim glass even now I faintly read
Old buried forms, and faces long ago,
Which you, and I, and one more, only know.
* * * * *
_Here came "O! I could laugh." See page_ 5.
_Here came "We were two pretty babes." See page_ 9.
_Here came, under the heading "Blank Verse," "Childhood," see page 9;
"The Grandame," see page 6; "The Sabbath Bells," see page 10, "Fancy
employed on Divine Subjects," see page 10; and "Composed at Midnight,"
see page 26._
* * * * *
TO MARTIN CHARLES BURNEY, ESQ.
(The Dedication to Vol. II. of Lamb's _Works_, 1818)
Forgive me, BURNEY, if to thee these late
And hasty products of a critic pen,
Thyself no common judge of books and men,
In feeling of thy worth I dedicate.
My _verse_ was offered to an older friend;
The humbler _prose_ has fallen to thy share:
Nor could I miss the occasion to declare,
What spoken in thy presence must offend--
That, set aside some few caprices wild,
Those humorous clouds that flit o'er brightest days,
In all my threadings of this worldly maze,
(And I have watched thee almost from a child),
Free from self-seeking, envy, low design,
I have not found a whiter soul than thine.
IN THE ALBUM OF A CLERGYMAN'S LADY
An Album is a Garden, not for show
Planted, but use; where wholesome herbs should grow.
A Cabinet of curious porcelain, where
No fancy enters, but what's rich or rare.
A Chapel, where mere ornamental things
Are pure as crowns of saints, or angels' wings.
A List of living friends; a holier Room
For names of some since mouldering in the tomb,
Whose blooming memories life's cold laws survive;
And, dead elsewhere, they here yet speak, and live.
Such, and so tender, should an Album be;
And, Lady, such I wish this book to thee.
IN THE AUTOGRAPH BOOK OF MRS. SERGEANT W------
Had I a power, Lady, to my will,
You should not want Hand Writings. I would fill
Your leaves with Autographs--resplendent names
Of Knights and Squires of old, and courtly Dames,
Kings, Emperors, Popes. Next under these should stand
The hands of famous Lawyers--a grave band--
Who in their Courts of Law or Equity
Have best upheld Freedom and Property.
These should moot cases in your book, and vie
To show their reading and their Serjeantry.
But I have none of these; nor can I send
The notes by Bullen to her Tyrant penn'd
In her authentic hand; nor in soft hours
Lines writ by Rosamund in Clifford's bowers.
The lack of curious Signatures I moan,
And want the courage to subscribe my own.
IN THE ALBUM OF LUCY BARTON
Little Book, surnamed of _white_,
Clean as yet, and fair to sight,
Keep thy attribution right.
Never disproportion'd scrawl;
Ugly blot, that's worse than all;
On thy maiden clearness fall!
In each letter, here design'd,
Let the reader emblem'd find
Neatness of the owner's mind.
Gilded margins count a sin,
Let thy leaves attraction win
By the golden rules within;
Sayings fetch'd from sages old;
Laws which Holy Writ unfold,
Worthy to be graved in gold:
Lighter fancies not excluding;
Blameless wit, with nothing rude in,
Sometimes mildly interluding
Amid strains of graver measure:
Virtue's self hath oft her pleasure
In sweet Muses' groves of leisure.
Riddles dark, perplexing sense;
Darker meanings of offence;
What but _shades_--be banished hence.
Whitest thoughts in whitest dress,
Candid meanings, best express
Mind of quiet Quakeress.
IN THE ALBUM OF MISS ------
Such goodness in your face doth shine,
With modest look, without design,
That I despair, poor pen of mine
Can e'er express it.
To give it words I feebly try;
My spirits fail me to supply
Befitting language for't, and I
Can only bless it!
But stop, rash verse! and don't abuse
A bashful Maiden's ear with news
Of her own virtues. She'll refuse
Praise sung so loudly.
Of that same goodness, you admire,
The best part is, she don't aspire
To praise--nor of herself desire
To think too proudly.
IN THE ALBUM OF A VERY YOUNG LADY
Joy to unknown Josepha who, I hear,
Of all good gifts, to Music most is given;
Science divine, which through the enraptured ear
Enchants the Soul, and lifts it nearer Heaven.
Parental smiles approvingly attend
Her pliant conduct of the trembling keys,
And listening strangers their glad suffrage lend.
Most musical is Nature. Birds--and Bees
At their sweet labour--sing. The moaning winds
Rehearse a _lesson_ to attentive minds.
In louder tones "Deep unto Deep doth call;"
And there is Music in the Waterfall.
IN THE ALBUM OF A FRENCH TEACHER (? 1829)
Implored for verse, I send you what I can;
But you are so exact a Frenchwoman,
As I am told, Jemima, that I fear
To wound with English your Parisian ear,
And think I do your choice collection wrong
With lines not written in the Frenchman's tongue.
Had I a knowledge equal to my will,
With airy _Chansons_ I your leaves would fill;
With _Fabliaux_, that should emulate the vein
Of sprightly Cresset, or of La Fontaine;
Or _Scenes Comiques_, that should approach the air
Of your own favourite--renowned Moliere.
But at my suit the Muse of France looks sour,
And strikes me dumb! Yet, what is in my power
To testify respect for you, I pray,
Take in plain English--our rough Enfield way.
IN THE ALBUM OF MISS DAUBENY
Some poets by poetic law
Have Beauties praised, they never saw;
And sung of Kittys, and of Nancys,
Whose charms but lived in their own fancies.
So I, to keep my Muse a going,
That willingly would still be doing,
A Canzonet or two must try
In praise of--_pretty_ Daubeny.
But whether she indeed be comely,
Or only very good and homely,
Of my own eyes I cannot say;
I trust to Emma Isola.
But sure I think her voice is tuneful,
As smoothest birds that sing in June full;
For else would strangely disagree
The _flowing_ name of--Daubeny.
I hear that she a Book hath got--
As what young Damsel now hath not,
In which they scribble favorite fancies,
Copied from poems or romances?
And prettiest draughts, of her design,
About the curious Album shine;
And therefore she shall have for me
The style of--_tasteful_ Daubeny.
Thus far I have taken on believing;
But well I know without deceiving,
That in her heart she keeps alive still
Old school-day likings, which survive still
In spite of absence--worldly coldness--
And thereon can my Muse take boldness
To crown her other praises three
With praise of--_friendly_ Daubeny.
IN THE ALBUM OF MRS. JANE TOWERS (1828)
Lady Unknown, who crav'st from me Unknown
The trifle of a verse these leaves to grace,
How shall I find fit matter? with what face
Address a face that ne'er to me was shown?
Thy looks, tones, gesture, manners, and what not,
Conjecturing, I wander in the dark.
I know thee only Sister to Charles Clarke!
But at that name my cold Muse waxes hot,
And swears that thou art such a one as he,
Warm, laughter-loving, with a touch of madness,
Wild, glee-provoking, pouring oil of gladness
From frank heart without guile. And, if thou be
The pure reverse of this, and I mistake--
Demure one, I will like thee for his sake.
IN MY OWN ALBUM (1827)
Fresh clad from heaven in robes of white.
A young probationer of light,
Thou wert my soul, an Album bright,
A spotless leaf; but thought, and care,
And friend and foe, in foul or fair,
Have "written strange defeatures" there;
And Time with heaviest hand of all,
Like that fierce writing on the wall,
Hath stamp'd sad dates--he can't recal;
And error gilding worst designs--
Like speckled snake that strays and shines--
Betrays his path by crooked lines;
And vice hath left his ugly blot;
And good resolves, a moment hot,
Fairly began--but finish'd not;
And fruitless, late remorse doth trace--
Like Hebrew lore a backward pace--
Her irrecoverable race.
Disjointed numbers; sense unknit;
Huge reams of folly, shreds of wit;
Compose the mingled mass of it.
My scalded eyes no longer brook
Upon this ink-blurr'd thing to look--
Go, shut the leaves, and clasp the book.
This rare tablet doth include
Poverty with Sanctitude.
Past midnight this poor Maid hath spun,
And yet the work is not half done,
Which must supply from earning scant
A feeble bed-rid parent's want.
Her sleep-charged eyes exemption ask,
And Holy hands take up the task:
Unseen the rock and spindle ply,
And do her earthly drudgery.
Sleep, saintly poor one, sleep, sleep on;
And, waking, find thy labours done.
Perchance she knows it by her dreams;
Her eye hath caught the golden gleams,
Angelic presence testifying,
That round her every where are flying;
Ostents from which she may presume,
That much of Heaven is in the room.
Skirting her own bright hair they run,
And to the sunny add more sun:
Now on that aged face they fix,
Streaming from the Crucifix;
The flesh-clogg'd spirit disabusing,
Death-disarming sleeps infusing,
Prelibations, foretastes high,
And equal thoughts to live or die.
Gardener bright from Eden's bower,
Tend with care that lily flower;
To its leaves and root infuse
Heaven's sunshine, Heaven's dews.
'Tis a type, and 'tis a pledge,
Of a crowning privilege.
Careful as that lily flower,
This Maid must keep her precious dower
Live a sainted Maid, or die
Martyr to virginity.
[Footnote 5: Suggested by a drawing in the possession of Charles Aders,
Esq., in which is represented the Legend of a poor female Saint; who,
having spun past midnight, to maintain a bed-rid mother, has fallen
asleep from fatigue, and Angels are finishing her work. In another part
of the chamber, an Angel is tending a lily, the emblem of purity.]
Array'd--a half-angelic sight--
In vests of pure Baptismal white,
The Mother to the Font doth bring
The little helpless nameless thing,
With hushes soft and mild caressing,
At once to get--a name and blessing.
Close by the Babe the Priest doth stand,
The Cleansing Water at his hand,
Which must assoil the soul within
From every stain of Adam's sin.
The Infant eyes the mystic scenes,
Nor knows what all this wonder means;
And now he smiles, as if to say
"I am a Christian made this day;"
Now frighted clings to Nurse's hold,
Shrinking from the water cold,
Whose virtues, rightly understood,
Are, as Bethesda's waters, good.
Strange words--The World, The Flesh, The Devil--
Poor Babe, what can it know of Evil?
But we must silently adore
Mysterious truths, and not explore.
Enough for him, in after-times,
When he shall read these artless rhymes,
If, looking back upon this day,
With quiet conscience, he can say
"I have in part redeem'd the pledge
Of my Baptismal privilege;
And more and more will strive to flee
All which my Sponsors kind did then renounce for me."
ON AN INFANT DYING AS SOON AS BORN
I saw where in the shroud did lurk
A curious frame of Nature's work.
A flow'ret crushed in the bud,
A nameless piece of Babyhood,
Was in a cradle-coffin lying;
Extinct, with scarce the sense of dying;
So soon to exchange the imprisoning womb
For darker closets of the tomb!
She did but ope an eye, and put
A clear beam forth, then strait up shut
For the long dark: ne'er more to see
Through glasses of mortality.
Riddle of destiny, who can show
What thy short visit meant, or know
What thy errand here below?
Shall we say, that Nature blind
Check'd her hand, and changed her mind,
Just when she had exactly wrought
A finish'd pattern without fault?
Could she flag, or could she tire,
Or lack'd she the Promethean fire
(With her nine moons' long workings sicken'd)
That should thy little limbs have quicken'd?
Limbs so firm, they seem'd to assure
Life of health, and days mature:
Woman's self in miniature!
Limbs so fair, they might supply
(Themselves now but cold imagery)
The sculptor to make Beauty by.
Or did the stern-eyed Fate descry,
That babe, or mother, one must die;
So in mercy left the stock,
And cut the branch; to save the shock
Of young years widow'd; and the pain,
When Single State comes back again
To the lone man who, 'reft of wife,
Thenceforward drags a maimed life?
The economy of Heaven is dark;
And wisest clerks have miss'd the mark,
Why Human Buds, like this, should fall,
More brief than fly ephemeral,
That has his day; while shrivel'd crones
Stiffen with age to stocks and stones;
And crabbed use the conscience sears
In sinners of an hundred years.
Mother's prattle, mother's kiss,
Baby fond, thou ne'er wilt miss.
Rites, which custom does impose,
Silver bells and baby clothes;
Coral redder than those lips,
Which pale death did late eclipse;
Music framed for infants' glee,
Whistle never tuned for thee;
Though thou want'st not, thou shall have them,
Loving hearts were they which gave them.
Let not one be missing; nurse,
See them laid upon the hearse
Of infant slain by doom perverse.
Why should kings and nobles have
Pictured trophies to their grave;
And we, churls, to thee deny
Thy pretty toys with thee to lie,
A more harmless vanity?
TO BERNARD BARTON
_With a Coloured Print_
When last you left your Woodbridge pretty,
To stare at sights, and see the City,
If I your meaning understood,
You wish'd a Picture, cheap, but good;
The colouring? decent; clear, not muddy;
To suit a Poet's quiet study,
Where Books and Prints for delectation
Hang, rather than vain ostentation.
The subject? what I pleased, if comely;
But something scriptural and homely:
A sober Piece, not gay or wanton,
For winter fire-sides to descant on;
The theme so scrupulously handled,
A Quaker might look on unscandal'd;
Such as might satisfy Ann Knight,
And classic Mitford just not fright.
Just such a one I've found, and send it;
If liked, I give--if not, but lend it.
The moral? nothing can be sounder.
The fable? 'tis its own expounder--
A Mother teaching to her Chit
Some good book, and explaining it.
He, silly urchin, tired of lesson,
His learning lays no mighty stress on,
But seems to hear not what he hears;
Thrusting his fingers in his ears,
Like Obstinate, that perverse funny one,
In honest parable of Bunyan.
His working Sister, more sedate,
Listens; but in a kind of state,
The painter meant for steadiness;
But has a tinge of sullenness;
And, at first sight, she seems to brook
As ill her needle, as he his book.
This is the Picture. For the Frame--
'Tis not ill-suited to the same;
Oak-carved, not gilt, for fear of falling;
Old-fashion'd; plain, yet not appalling;
And sober, as the Owner's Calling.
[Footnote 6: From the venerable and ancient Manufactory of Carrington
Bowles: some of my readers may recognise it.]
THE YOUNG CATECHIST
While this tawny Ethiop prayeth,
Painter, who is she that stayeth
By, with skin of whitest lustre,
Sunny locks, a shining cluster,
Saint-like seeming to direct him
To the Power that must protect him?
Is she of the Heaven-born Three,
Meek Hope, strong Faith, sweet Charity:
Or some Cherub?--
They you mention
Far transcend my weak invention.
'Tis a simple Christian child,
Missionary young and mild,
From her stock of Scriptural knowledge,
Bible-taught without a college,
Which by reading she could gather,
Teaches him to say OUR FATHER
To the common Parent, who
Colour not respects, nor hue.
White and black in him have part,
Who looks not to the skin, but heart.
[Footnote 7: A Picture by Henry Meyer, Esq.]
SHE IS GOING
For their elder Sister's hair
Martha does a wreath prepare
Of bridal rose, ornate and gay:
To-morrow is the wedding day:
She is going.
Mary, youngest of the three,
Laughing idler, full of glee,
Arm in arm does fondly chain her,
Thinking, poor trifler, to detain her--
But she's going.
Vex not, maidens, nor regret
Thus to part with Margaret.
Charms like your's can never stay
Long within doors; and one day
You'll be going.
TO A YOUNG FRIEND
_On Her Twenty-First Birth-Day_
Crown me a cheerful goblet, while I pray
A blessing on thy years, young Isola;
Young, but no more a child. How swift have flown
To me thy girlish times, a woman grown
Beneath my heedless eyes! in vain I rack
My fancy to believe the almanac,
That speaks thee Twenty-One. Thou should'st have still
Remain'd a child, and at thy sovereign will
Gambol'd about our house, as in times past.
Ungrateful Emma, to grow up so fast,
Hastening to leave thy friends!--for which intent,
Fond Runagate, be this thy punishment.
After some thirty years, spent in such bliss
As this earth can afford, where still we miss
Something of joy entire, may'st thou grow old
As we whom thou hast left! That wish was cold.
O far more ag'd and wrinkled, till folks say,
Looking upon thee reverend in decay,
"This Dame for length of days, and virtues rare,
With her respected Grandsire may compare."--
Grandchild of that respected Isola,
Thou should'st have had about thee on this day
Kind looks of Parents, to congratulate
Their Pride grown up to woman's grave estate.
But they have died, and left thee, to advance
Thy fortunes how thou may'st, and owe to chance
The friends which Nature grudg'd. And thou wilt find,
Or make such, Emma, if I am not blind
To thee and thy deservings. That last strain
Had too much sorrow in it. Fill again
Another cheerful goblet, while I say
"Health, and twice health, to our lost Isola."
TO THE SAME
External gifts of fortune, or of face,
Maiden, in truth, thou hast not much to show;
Much fairer damsels have I known, and know,
And richer may be found in every place.
In thy _mind_ seek thy beauty, and thy wealth.
Sincereness lodgeth there, the soul's best health.
O guard that treasure above gold or pearl,
Laid up secure from moths and worldly stealth--
And take my benison, plain-hearted girl.
* * * * *
HARMONY IN UNLIKENESS
By Enfield lanes, and Winchmore's verdant hill,
Two lovely damsels cheer my lonely walk:
The fair Maria, as a vestal, still;
And Emma brown, exuberant in talk.
With soft and Lady speech the first applies
The mild correctives that to grace belong
To her redundant friend, who her defies
With jest, and mad discourse, and bursts of song.
O differing Pair, yet sweetly thus agreeing,
What music from your happy discord rises,
While your companion hearing each, and seeing,
Nor this, nor that, but both together, prizes;
This lesson teaching, which our souls may strike,
That harmonies may be in things unlike!
WRITTEN AT CAMBRIDGE
(_August_ 15. 1819)
I was not train'd in Academic bowers,
And to those learned streams I nothing owe
Which copious from those twin fair founts do flow;
Mine have been any thing but studious hours.
Yet can I fancy, wandering 'mid thy towers,
Myself a nursling, Granta, of thy lap;
My brow seems tightening with the Doctor's cap,
And I walk _gowned_; feel unusual powers.
Strange forms of logic clothe my admiring speech,
Old Ramus' ghost is busy at my brain;
And my scull teems with notions infinite.
Be still, ye reeds of Camus, while I teach
Truths, which transcend the searching Schoolmen's vein,
And half had stagger'd that stout Stagirite!
TO A CELEBRATED FEMALE PERFORMER IN THE "BLIND BOY"
Rare artist! who with half thy tools, or none,
Canst execute with ease thy curious art,
And press thy powerful'st meanings on the heart,
Unaided by the eye, expression's throne!
While each blind sense, intelligential grown
Beyond its sphere, performs the effect of sight:
Those orbs alone, wanting their proper might,
All motionless and silent seem to moan
The unseemly negligence of nature's hand,
That left them so forlorn. What praise is thine,
O mistress of the passions; artist fine!
Who dost our souls against our sense command,
Plucking the horror from a sightless face,
Lending to blank deformity a grace.
Who first invented work, and bound the free
And holyday-rejoicing spirit down
To the ever-haunting importunity
Of business in the green fields, and the town--
To plough, loom, anvil, spade--and oh! most sad
To that dry drudgery at the desk's dead wood?
Who but the Being unblest, alien from good,
Sabbathless Satan! he who his unglad
Task ever plies 'mid rotatory burnings,
That round and round incalculably reel--
For wrath divine hath made him like a wheel--
In that red realm from which are no returnings;
Where toiling, and turmoiling, ever and aye
He, and his thoughts, keep pensive working-day.
They talk of time, and of time's galling yoke,
That like a mill-stone on man's mind doth press,
Which only works and business can redress:
Of divine Leisure such foul lies are spoke,
Wounding her fair gifts with calumnious stroke.
But might I, fed with silent meditation,
Assoiled live from that fiend Occupation--
_Improbus Labor_, which my spirits hath broke--
I'd drink of time's rich cup, and never surfeit:
Fling in more days than went to make the gem,
That crown'd the white top of Methusalem:
Yea on my weak neck take, and never forfeit,
Like Atlas bearing up the dainty sky,
The heaven-sweet burthen of eternity.
DEUS NOBIS HAEC OTIA FECIT.
TO SAMUEL ROGERS, ESQ.
Rogers, of all the men that I have known
But slightly, who have died, your Brother's loss
Touch'd me most sensibly. There came across
My mind an image of the cordial tone
Of your fraternal meetings, where a guest
I more than once have sat; and grieve to think,
That of that threefold cord one precious link
By Death's rude hand is sever'd from the rest.
Of our old Gentry he appear'd a stem--
A Magistrate who, while the evil-doer
He kept in terror, could respect the Poor,
And not for every trifle harass them,
As some, divine and laic, too oft do.
This man's a private loss, and public too.
THE GIPSY'S MALISON
"Suck, baby, suck, mothers love grows by giving,
Drain the sweet founts that only thrive by wasting;
Black manhood comes, when riotous guilty living
Hands thee the cup that shall be death in tasting.
"Kiss, baby, kiss, mother's lips shine by kisses,
Choke the warm breath that else would fall in blessings;
Black manhood comes, when turbulent guilty blisses
Tend thee the kiss that poisons 'mid caressings.
"Hang, baby, hang, mother's love loves such forces,
Strain the fond neck that bends still to thy clinging;
Black manhood comes, when violent lawless courses
Leave thee a spectacle in rude air swinging."
So sang a wither'd Beldam energetical,
And bann'd the ungiving door with lips prophetical.
TO THE AUTHOR OF POEMS,
_Published under the name of Barry Cornwall_
Let hate, or grosser heats, their foulness mask
Under the vizor of a borrowed name;
Let things eschew the light deserving blame:
No cause hast thou to blush for thy sweet task.
"Marcian Colonna" is a dainty book;
And thy "Sicilian Tale" may boldly pass;
Thy "Dream" 'bove all, in which, as in a glass,
On the great world's antique glories we may look.
No longer then, as "lowly substitute,
Factor, or PROCTOR, for another's gains,"
Suffer the admiring world to be deceived;
Lest thou thyself, by self of fame bereaved,
Lament too late the lost prize of thy pains,
And heavenly tunes piped through an alien flute.
TO R.[J.]S. KNOWLES, ESQ.
_On his Tragedy of Virginius_
Twelve years ago I knew thee, Knowles, and then
Esteemed you a perfect specimen
Of those fine spirits warm-soul'd Ireland sends,
To teach us colder English how a friend's
Quick pulse should beat. I knew you brave, and plain,
Strong-sensed, rough-witted above fear or gain;
But nothing further had the gift to espy.
Sudden you re-appear. With wonder I
Hear my old friend (turn'd Shakspeare) read a scene
Only to _his_ inferior in the clean
Passes of pathos: with such fence-like art--
Ere we can see the steel, 'tis in our heart.
Almost without the aid language affords,
Your piece seems wrought. That huffing medium, _words_,
(Which in the modern Tamburlaines quite sway
Our shamed souls from their bias) in your play
We scarce attend to. Hastier passion draws
Our tears on credit: and we find the cause
Some two hours after, spelling o'er again
Those strange few words at ease, that wrought the pain.
Proceed, old friend; and, as the year returns,
Still snatch some new old story from the urns
Of long-dead virtue. We, that knew before
Your worth, may admire, we cannot love you more.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE "EVERY-DAY BOOK"
I like you, and your book, ingenuous Hone!
In whose capacious all-embracing leaves
The very marrow of tradition's shown;
And all that history--much that fiction--weaves.
By every sort of taste your work is graced.
Vast stores of modern anecdote we find,
With good old story quaintly interlaced--
The theme as various as the reader's mind.
Rome's life-fraught legends you so truly paint--
Yet kindly,--that the half-turn'd Catholic
Scarcely forbears to smile at his own saint,
And cannot curse the candid heretic.
Rags, relics, witches, ghosts, fiends, crowd your page;
Our fathers' mummeries we well-pleased behold,
And, proudly conscious of a purer age,
Forgive some fopperies in the times of old.
Verse-honouring Phoebus, Father of bright _Days_,
Must needs bestow on you both good and many,
Who, building trophies of his Children's praise,
Run their rich Zodiac through, not missing any.
Dan Phoebus loves your book--trust me, friend Hone--
The title only errs, he bids me say:
For while such art, wit, reading, there are shown,
He swears,'tis not a work of _every day_.
* * * * *
TO CAROLINE MARIA APPLEBEE
Caroline glides smooth in verse,
And is easy to rehearse;
Runs just like some crystal river
O'er its pebbly bed for ever.
Lines as harsh and quaint as mine
In their close at least will shine,
Nor from sweetness can decline,
Ending but with _Caroline_.
_Maria_ asks a statelier pace--
"_Ave Maria_, full of grace!"
Romish rites before me rise,
And well-meant but mistaken pieties.
_Apple_ with _Bee_ doth rougher run.
Paradise was lost by one;
Peace of mind would we regain,
Let us, like the other, strain
Every harmless faculty,
Bee-like at work in our degree,
Ever some sweet task designing,
Extracting still, and still refining.
TO CECILIA CATHERINE LAWTON
Choral service, solemn chanting,
Echoing round cathedrals holy--
Can aught else on earth be wanting
In heav'n's bliss to plunge us wholly?
Let us great _Cecilia_ honour
In the praise we give unto them,
And the merit be upon her.
Cold the heart that would undo them,
And the solemn organ banish
That this sainted Maid invented.
Holy thoughts too quickly vanish,
Ere the expression can be vented.
Raise the song to _Catherine_,
In her torments most divine!
Ne'er by Christians be forgot--
Envied be--this Martyr's lot.
_Lawton_, who these _names_ combinest,
Aim to emulate their praises;
Women were they, yet divinest
Truths they taught; and story raises
O'er their mouldering bones a Tomb,
Not to die till Day of Doom.
TO A LADY WHO DESIRED ME TO WRITE HER EPITAPH
Grace Joanna here doth lie:
Reader, wonder not that I
Ante-date her hour of rest.
Can I thwart her wish exprest,
Ev'n unseemly though the laugh
Jesting with an Epitaph?
On her bones the turf lie lightly,
And her rise again be brightly!
No dark stain be found upon her--
No, there will not, on mine honour--
Answer that at least I can.
Would that I, thrice happy man,
In as spotless garb might rise,
Light as she will climb the skies,
Leaving the dull earth behind,
In a car more swift than wind.
All her errors, all her failings,
(Many they were not) and ailings,
Sleep secure from Envy's railings.
TO HER YOUNGEST DAUGHTER
Least Daughter, but not least beloved, of _Grace_!
O frown not on a stranger, who from place,
Unknown and distant these few lines hath penn'd.
I but report what thy Instructress Friend
So oft hath told us of thy gentle heart.
A pupil most affectionate thou art,
Careful to learn what elder years impart.
_Louisa--Clare_--by which name shall I call thee?
A prettier pair of names sure ne'er was found,
Resembling thy own sweetness in sweet sound.
Ever calm peace and innocence befal thee!
* * * * *
_From the Latin of Vincent Bourne_
ON A SEPULCHRAL STATUE OF AN INFANT SLEEPING
Beautiful Infant, who dost keep
Thy posture here, and sleep'st a marble sleep,
May the repose unbroken be,
Which the fine Artist's hand hath lent to thee,
While thou enjoy'st along with it
That which no art, or craft, could ever hit,
Or counterfeit to mortal sense,
The heaven-infused sleep of Innocence!
THE RIVAL BELLS
A tuneful challenge rings from either side
Of Thames' fair banks. Thy twice six Bells, Saint Bride
Peal swift and shrill; to which more slow reply
The deep-toned eight of Mary Overy.
Such harmony from the contention flows,
That the divided ear no preference knows;
Betwixt them both disparting Music's State,
While one exceeds in number, one in weight.
EPITAPH ON A DOG
Poor Irus' faithful wolf-dog here I lie,
That wont to tend my old blind master's steps,
His guide and guard; nor, while my service lasted,
Had he occasion for that staff, with which
He now goes picking out his path in fear
Over the highways and crossings, but would plant
Safe in the conduct of my friendly string,
A firm foot forward still, till he had reach'd
His poor seat on some stone, nigh where the tide
Of passers-by in thickest confluence flow'd:
To whom with loud and passionate laments
From morn to eve his dark estate he wail'd.
Nor wail'd to all in vain: some here and there,
The well disposed and good, their pennies gave.
I meantime at his feet obsequious slept;
Not all-asleep in sleep, but heart and ear
Prick'd up at his least motion, to receive
At his kind hand my customary crumbs,
And common portion in his feast of scraps;
Or when night warn'd us homeward, tired and spent
With our long day, and tedious beggary.
These were my manners, this my way of life,
Till age and slow disease me overtook,
And sever'd from my sightless master's side.
But lest the grace of so good deeds should die,
Through tract of years in mute oblivion lost,
This slender tomb of turf hath Irus rear'd,
Cheap monument of no ungrudging hand,
And with short verse inscribed it, to attest,
In long and lasting union to attest,
The virtues of the Beggar and his Dog.
THE BALLAD SINGERS
Where seven fair Streets to one tall Column draw,
Two Nymphs have ta'en their stand, in hats of straw;
Their yellower necks huge beads of amber grace,
And by their trade they're of the Sirens' race:
With cloak loose-pinn'd on each, that has been red,
But long with dust and dirt discoloured
Belies its hue; in mud behind, before,
From heel to middle leg becrusted o'er.
One a small infant at the breast does bear;
And one in her right hand her tuneful ware,
Which she would vend. Their station scarce is taken,
When youths and maids flock round. His stall forsaken,
Forth comes a Son of Crispin, leathern-capt,
Prepared to buy a ballad, if one apt
To move his fancy offers. Crispin's sons
Have, from uncounted time, with ale and buns
Cherish'd the gift of _Song_, which sorrow quells;
And, working single in their low-rooft cells,
Oft cheat the tedium of a winter's night
With anthems warbled in the Muses' spight.
Who now hath caught the alarm? the Servant Maid
Hath heard a buzz at distance; and, afraid
To miss a note, with elbows red comes out.
Leaving his forge to cool, Pyracmon stout
Thrusts in his unwash'd visage. _He_ stands by,
Who the hard trade of Porterage does ply
With stooping shoulders. What cares he? he sees
The assembled ring, nor heeds his tottering knees,
But pricks his ears up with the hopes of song.
So, while the Bard of Rhodope his wrong
Bewail'd to Proserpine on Thracian strings,
The tasks of gloomy Orcus lost their stings,
And stone-vext Sysiphus forgets his load.
Hither and thither from the sevenfold road
Some cart or waggon crosses, which divides
The close-wedged audience; but, as when the tides
To ploughing ships give way, the ship being past,
They re-unite, so these unite as fast.
The older Songstress hitherto hath spent
Her elocution in the argument
Of their great Song in _prose_; to wit, the woes
Which Maiden true to faithless Sailor owes--
Ah! "_Wandering He_!"--which now in loftier _verse_
Pathetic they alternately rehearse.
All gaping wait the event. This Critic opes
His right ear to the strain. The other hopes
To catch it better with his left. Long trade
It were to tell, how the deluded Maid
A victim fell. And now right greedily
All hands are stretching forth the songs to buy,
That are so tragical; which She, and She,
Deals out, and _sings the while_; nor can there be
A breast so obdurate here, that will hold back
His contribution from the gentle rack
Of Music's pleasing torture. Irus' self,
The staff-propt Beggar, his thin-gotten pelf
Brings out from pouch, where squalid farthings rest.
And boldly claims his ballad with the best.
An old Dame only lingers. To her purse
The penny sticks. At length, with harmless curse,
"Give me," she cries. "I'll paste it on my wall,
While the wall lasts, to show what ills befal
Fond hearts seduced from Innocency's way;
How Maidens fall, and Mariners betray."
[Footnote 8: Seven Dials.]
TO DAVID COOK,
_Of the Parish of Saint Margaret's, Westminster, Watchman_
For much good-natured verse received from thee,
A loving verse take in return from me.
"Good morrow to my masters," is your cry;
And to our David "twice as good," say I.
Not Peter's monitor, shrill chanticleer,
Crows the approach of dawn in notes more clear,
Or tells the hours more faithfully. While night
Fills half the world with shadows of affright,
You with your lantern, partner of your round,
Traverse the paths of Margaret's hallow'd bound.
The tales of ghosts which old wives' ears drink up,
The drunkard reeling home from tavern cup,
Nor prowling robber, your firm soul appal;
Arm'd with thy faithful staff thou slight'st them all.
But if the market gard'ner chance to pass,
Bringing to town his fruit, or early grass,
The gentle salesman you with candour greet,
And with reit'rated "good mornings" meet.
Announcing your approach by formal bell,
Of nightly weather you the changes tell;
Whether the Moon shines, or her head doth steep
In rain-portending clouds. When mortals sleep
In downy rest, you brave the snows and sleet
Of winter; and in alley, or in street,
Relieve your midnight progress with a verse.
What though fastidious Phoebus frown averse
On your didactic strain--indulgent Night
With caution hath seal'd up both ears of Spite,
And critics sleep while you in staves do sound
The praise of long-dead Saints, whose Days abound
In wintry months; but Crispen chief proclaim:
Who stirs not at that Prince of Coblers' name?
Profuse in loyalty some couplets shine,
And wish long days to all the Brunswick line!
To youths and virgins they chaste lessons read;
Teach wives and husbands how their lives to lead;
Maids to be cleanly, footmen free from vice;
How death at last all ranks doth equalise;
And, in conclusion, pray good years befal,
With store of wealth, your "worthy masters all."
For this and other tokens of good will,
On boxing day may store of shillings fill
Your Christmas purse; no householder give less,
When at each door your blameless suit you press:
And what you wish to us (it is but reason)
Receive in turn--the compliments o' th' season!
ON A DEAF AND DUMB ARTIST
And hath thy blameless life become
A prey to the devouring tomb?
A more mute silence hast thou known,
A deafness deeper than thine own,
While Time was? and no friendly Muse,
That mark'd thy life, and knows thy dues,
Repair with quickening verse the breach,
And write thee into light and speech?
The Power, that made the Tongue, restrain'd
Thy lips from lies, and speeches feign'd;
Who made the Hearing, without wrong
Did rescue thine from Siren's song.
He let thee _see_ the ways of men,
Which thou with pencil, not with pen,
Careful Beholder, down did'st note,
And all their motley actions quote,
Thyself unstain'd the while. From look
Or gesture reading, more than _book_,
In letter'd pride thou took'st no part,
Contented with the Silent Art,
Thyself as silent. Might I be
As speechless, deaf, and good, as He!
[Footnote 9: Benjamin Ferrers--died A.D. 1732.]
Great Newton's self, to whom the world's in debt,
Owed to School Mistress sage his Alphabet;
But quickly wiser than his Teacher grown,
Discover'd properties to her unknown;
Of A _plus_ B, or _minus_, learn'd the use,
Known Quantities from unknown to educe;
And made--no doubt to that old dame's surprise--
The Christ-Cross-Row his Ladder to the skies.
Yet, whatsoe'er Geometricians say,
Her Lessons were his true PRINCIPIA!
The frugal snail, with fore-cast of repose,
Carries his house with him, where'er he goes;
Peeps out--and if there comes a shower of rain,
Retreats to his small domicile amain.
Touch but a tip of him, a horn--'tis well--
He curls up in his sanctuary shell.
He's his own landlord, his own tenant; stay
Long as he will, he dreads no Quarter Day.
Himself he boards and lodges; both invites,
And feasts, himself; sleeps with himself o' nights.
He spares the upholsterer trouble to procure
Chattles; himself is his own furniture,
And his sole riches. Wheresoe'er he roam--
Knock when you will--he's sure to be at home.
THE FEMALE ORATORS
Nigh London's famous Bridge, a Gate more famed
Stands, or once stood, from old Belinus named,
So judged Antiquity; and therein wrongs
A name, allusive strictly to _two Tongues_.
Her School hard by the Goddess Rhetoric opes,
And _gratis_ deals to Oyster-wives her Tropes.
With Nereid green, green Nereid disputes,
Replies, rejoins, confutes, and still confutes.
One her coarse sense by metaphors expounds,
And one in literalities abounds;
In mood and figure these keep up the din:
Words multiply, and every word tells in.
Her hundred throats here bawling Slander strains;
And unclothed Venus to her tongue gives reins
In terms, which Demosthenic force outgo,
And baldest jests of foul-mouth'd Cicero.
Right in the midst great Ate keeps her stand,
And from her sovereign station taints the land.
Hence Pulpits rail; grave Senates learn to jar;
Quacks scold; and Billinsgate infects the Bar.
[Footnote 10: _Billingis_ in the Latin.]
PINDARIC ODE TO THE TREAD MILL
Inspire my spirit, Spirit of De Foe,
That sang the Pillory,
In loftier strains to show
A more sublime Machine
Than that, where them wert seen,
With neck out-stretcht and shoulders ill awry,
Courting coarse plaudits from vile crowds below--
A most unseemly show!
In such a place
Who could expose thy face,
Historiographer of deathless Crusoe!
That paint'st the strife
And all the naked ills of savage life,
Far above Rousseau?
Rather myself had stood
In that ignoble wood,
Bare to the mob, on holyday or high day.
If nought else could atone
For waggish libel,
I swear on bible,
I would have spared him for thy sake alone,
Our ancestors' were sour days,
Great Master of Romance!
A milder doom had fallen to thy chance
In our days:
Thy sole assignment
Some solitary confinement,
(Not worth thy care a carrot,)
Where in world-hidden cell
Thou thy own Crusoe might have acted well,
Only without the parrot;
By sure experience taught to know,
Whether the qualms thou mak'st him feel were truly such or no.
But stay! methinks in statelier measure--
A more companionable pleasure--
I see thy steps the mighty Tread Mill trace,
(The subject of my song
Delay'd however long,)
And some of thine own race,
To keep thee company, thou bring'st with thee along.
There with thee go,
Link'd in like sentence,
With regulated pace and footing slow,
Each old acquaintance,
Rogue--harlot--thief--that live to future ages;
Through many a labour'd tome,
Rankly embalm'd in thy too natural pages.
Faith, friend De Foe, thou art quite at home!
Not one of thy great offspring thou dost lack,
From pirate Singleton to pilfering Jack.
Here Flandrian Moll her brazen incest brags;
Vice-stript Roxana, penitent in rags,
There points to Amy, treading equal chimes,
The faithful handmaid to her faithless crimes.
Incompetent my song to raise
To its just height thy praise,
That by thy motion proper
(No thanks to wind, or sail, or working rill)
Grinding that stubborn corn, the Human will,
Turn'st out men's consciences,
That were begrimed before, as clean and sweet
As flower from purest wheat,
Into thy hopper.
All reformation short of thee but nonsense is,
Or human, or divine.
Compared with thee,
What are the labours of that Jumping Sect,
Which feeble laws connive at rather than respect?
Thou dost not bump,
But _walk_ men into virtue; betwixt crime
And slow repentance giving breathing time,
And leisure to be good;
Instructing with discretion demi-reps
How to direct their steps.
Thou best Philosopher made out of wood!
Not that which framed the tub,
Where sate the Cynic cub,
With nothing in his bosom sympathetic;
But from those groves derived, I deem,
Where Plato nursed his dream
Seeing that clearly
Thy system all is merely
Thou to thy pupils dost such lessons give
Of how to live
With temperance, sobriety, morality,
(A new art,)
That from thy school, by force of virtuous deeds,
Each Tyro now proceeds
A "Walking Stewart!"
GOING OR GONE
Fine merry franions,
My days are ev'n banyans
With thinking upon ye;
How Death, that last stinger,
Has laid his chill finger,
Or is laying on ye.
There's rich Kitty Wheatley,
With footing it featly
That took me completely,
She sleeps in the Kirk House;
And poor Polly Perkin,
Whose Dad was still firking
The jolly ale firkin,
She's gone to the Work-house;
Fine Gard'ner, Ben Carter
(In ten counties no smarter)
Has ta'en his departure
For Proserpine's orchards;
And Lily, postillion,
With cheeks of vermilion,
Is one of a million
That fill up the church-yards;
And, lusty as Dido,
Fat Clemitson's widow
Flits now a small shadow
By Stygian hid ford;
And good Master Clapton
Has thirty years nap't on
The ground he last hap't on,
Intomb'd by fair Widford;
And gallant Tom Dockwra,
Of nature's finest crockery,
Now but thin air and mockery,
Lurks by Avernus,
Whose honest grasp of hand
Still, while his life did stand,
At friend's or foe's command,
Almost did burn us.
Roger de Coverley
Not more good man than he;
Yet has he equally
Push'd for Cocytus,
With drivelling Worral,
And wicked old Dorrell,
'Gainst whom I've a quarrel,
Whose end might affright us!--
Kindly hearts have I known;
Kindly hearts, they are flown;
Here and there if but one
Linger yet uneffaced,
Imbecile tottering elves,
Soon to be wreck'd on shelves,
These scarce are half themselves,
With age and care crazed.
But this day Fanny Hutton
Her last dress has put on;
Her fine lessons forgotten,
She died, as the dunce died:
And prim Betsy Chambers,
Decay'd in her members,
No longer remembers
Things, as she once did;
And prudent Miss Wither
Not in jest now doth _wither_,
And soon must go--whither
Nor I well, nor you know;
And flaunting Miss Waller,
_That_ soon must befal her,
Whence none can recal her,
Though proud once as Juno!
[Footnote 11: Here came, in _Album Verses_, 1830, "The Wife's Trial,"
for which see page 273, where it is placed with Lamb's other plays.]
NEW POEMS IN LAMB'S _POETICAL WORKS, 1836_
IN THE ALBUM OF EDITH S[OUTHEY] (1833)
In Christian world MARY the garland wears!
REBECCA sweetens on a Hebrew's ear;
Quakers for pure PRISCILLA are more clear;
And the light Gaul by amorous NINON swears.
Among the lesser lights how LUCY shines!
What air of fragrance ROSAMOND throws round!
How like a hymn doth sweet CECILIA sound!
Of MARTHAS, and of ABIGAILS, few lines
Have bragg'd in verse. Of coarsest household stuff
Should homely JOAN be fashioned. But can
You BARBARA resist, or MARIAN?
And is not CLARE for love excuse enough?
Yet, by my faith in numbers, I profess,
These all, than Saxon EDITH, please me less.
TO DORA W[ORDSWORTH],
_On Being Asked by Her Father to Write in Her Album_
An Album is a Banquet: from the store,
In his intelligential Orchard growing,
Your Sire might heap your board to overflowing;
One shaking of the Tree--'twould ask no more
To set a Salad forth, more rich than that
Which Evelyn in his princely cookery fancied:
Or that more rare, by Eve's neat hands enhanced,
Where, a pleased guest, the angelic Virtue sat.
But like the all-grasping Founder of the Feast,
Whom Nathan to the sinning king did tax,
From his less wealthy neighbours he exacts;
Spares his own flocks, and takes the poor man's beast.
Obedient to his bidding, lo, I am,
A zealous, meek, _contributory_
[Footnote 12: Acetaria, a Discourse of Sallets, by J.E., 1706.]
IN THE ALBUM OF ROTHA Q[UILLINAN]
A passing glance was all I caught of thee,
In my own Enfield haunts at random roving.
Old friends of ours were with thee, faces loving;
Time short: and salutations cursory,
Though deep, and hearty. The familiar Name
Of you, yet unfamiliar, raised in me
Thoughts--what the daughter of that Man should be,
Who call'd our Wordsworth friend. My thoughts did frame
A growing Maiden, who, from day to day
Advancing still in stature, and in grace,
Would all her lonely Father's griefs efface,
And his paternal cares with usury pay.
I still retain the phantom, as I can;
And call the gentle image--Quillinan.
IN THE ALBUM OF CATHERINE ORKNEY
Canadia! boast no more the toils
Of hunters for the furry spoils;
Your whitest ermines are but foils
To brighter Catherine Orkney.
That such a flower should ever burst
From climes with rigorous winter curst!--
We bless you, that so kindly nurst
This flower, this Catherine Orkney.
We envy not your proud display
Of lake--wood--vast Niagara:
Your greatest pride we've borne away.
How spared you Catherine Orkney?
That Wolfe on Heights of Abraham fell,
To your reproach no more we tell:
Canadia, you repaid us well
With rearing Catherine Orkney.
O Britain, guard with tenderest care
The charge allotted to your share:
You've scarce a native maid so fair,
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