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To build our altar, confident and bold,
SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER SELKIRK, Then Baal is the God, and worship him.
DURING HIS SOLITARY ABODE IN THE ISLAND OF Digression is so much in modern use, Thought is so rare, and fancy so profuse, Some never seem so wide of their intent,
I am monarch of all I survey, As when returning to the theme they meant;
My right there is none to dispute ; As mendicants, whose business is to roam,
From the centre all round to the sea, Make ev'ry parish but their own their home.
I am lord of the fowl and the brute. Though such continual zig-zags in a book,
O Solitude! where are the charms, Such drunken reelings have an awkward look,
That sages have seen in thy face? And I had rather creep to what is true,
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
Than reign in this horrible place.
I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone, And touch the subject I design'd at first,
Never hear the sweet music of speech, May prove, though much beside the rules of art,
I start at the sound of my own. Best for the public, and my wisest part.
The beasts, that roam over the plain, And first let no man charge me, that I mean
My form with indifference see; To close in sable ev'ry social scene,
They are so unacquainted with man,
Their tameness is shocking to me.
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestow'd upon man, Their wisdom bursts into this sage reply,
O, had I the wings of a dove, “ Then mirth is sin, and we should always cry."
How soon would I taste you again! To find the medium asks some share of wit,
My sorrows I then might assuage And therefore 't is a mark fools never hit :
In the ways of religion and truth, But though life's valley be a vale of tears,
Might learn from the wisdom of age, A brighter scene beyond that vale appears,
And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth. Whose glory with a light, that never fades, Shoots between scatter'd rocks and op’ning shades, Religion ! what treasure untold And, while it shows the land the soul desires,
Resides in that heavenly word! The language of the land she seeks inspires.
More precious than silver and gold, Thus touch'd, the tongue receives a sacred cure
Or all that this Earth can afford. Of all that was absurd, profane, impure;
But the sound of the church-going bell Held within modest bounds, the tide of speech
These valleys and rocks never heard,
Or smil'd when a sabbath appear'd.
Ye winds, that have made me your sport, Sprightly and fresh, enriches ev'ry theme,
Convey to this desolate shore While all the happy man possess'd before,
Some cordial endearing report The gift of Nature, or the classic store,
Of a land, I shall visit no more. Is made subservient to the grand design,
My friends, do they now and then send For which Heav'n form’d the faculty divine.
A wish or a thought after me? So should an idiot, while at large he strays,
O tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see.
How fleet is a glance of the mind !
Compar'd with the speed of its flight, Once take the shell beneath his just command,
The tempest itself lags behind, In gentle sounds it seems as it complain'd
And the swift-winged arrows of light. Of the rude injuries it late sustain’d,
When I think of my own native land, Till tun'd at length to some immortal song,
In a moment I seem to be there ; It sounds Jehovah's name, and pours his praise along.
But alas! recollection at hand
Soon hurries me back to despair.
But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,
The beast is laid down in his lair;
And I to my cabin repair.
And mercy, encouraging thought!
And reconciles man to his lot.
So down he came ; for loss of time,
Although it griev'd him sore ; HISTORY OF JOHN GILPIN;
Yet loss of pence, full well he knew,
Would trouble him much more.
'T was long before the customers John GILPIN was a citizen
Were suited to their mind,
When Betty screaming came down stairs, A train-band captain eke was he
“ The wine is left behind !" Of famous London town.
" Good lack !" quoth he -"yet bring it me, John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear,
My leathern belt likewise, “ Though wedded we have been
In which I bear my trusty sword,
When I do exercise."
Now Mistress Gilpin (careful soul!) * To-morrow is our wedding-day,
Had two stone bottles found,
To hold the liquor that she lov'd,
And keep it safe and sound.
Each bottle had a curling ear, “ My sister, and my sister's child,
Through which the belt he drew,
And hung a bottle on each side,
To make his balance true.
Then over all, that he might be
Equipp'd from top to toe,
His long red cloak, well brush'd and neat, And you are she, my dearest dear,
He manfully did throw.
Now see him mounted once again “ I am a linen-draper bold,
Upon his nimble steed,
Full slowly pacing o'er the stones,
With caution and good heed.
But finding soon a smoother road
Beneath his well-shod feet,
The snorting beast began to trot,
Which gall’d him in his seat.
So, “ Fair and softly," John he cried, John Gilpin kiss'd his loving wife;
But John he cried in vain;
That trot became a gallop soon,
In spite of curb and rein.
So stooping down, as needs he must
Who cannot sit upright,
He grasp'd the mane with both his hands, To drive up to the door, lest all
And eke with all his might.
His horse, who never in that sort
Had handled been before,
What thing upon his back had got
Did wonder more and more.
Away went Gilpin, neck or nought ;
He little dreamt, when he set out,
Of running such a rig.
The wind did blow, the cloak did dy,
Like streamer long and gay,
Till, loop and button failing both,
At last it flew away.
Then might all people well discern
The bottles be had slung;
A bottle swinging at each side,
As hath been said or sung.
The dogs did bark, the children scream'd,
• What news? what news ? your tidings tell ; Up flew the windows all ;
Tell me you must and shall And ev'ry soul cried out, “ Well done!"
Say why, bareheaded you are come, As loud as he could bawl.
Or why you come at all ?" Away went Gilpin - who but he ?
Now Gilpin had a pleasant wit, His fame soon spread around,
And lov'd a timely joke; “ He carries weight! he rides a race !
And thus unto the calender 'Tis for a thousand pound !”
In merry guise he spoke: And still as fast as he drew near,
“ I came because your horse would come; 'T was wonderful to view,
And, if I well forbode, How in a trice the turnpike men
My hat and wig will soon be here, Their gates wide open threw.
They are upon the road.” And now, as he went bowing down
The calender, right glad to find His reeking head full low,
His friend in merry pin, The bottles twain behind his back
Return'd him not a single word, Were shatter'd at a blow,
But to the house went in:
The youth did ride, and soon did meet Dreading a negative, and overaw'd
Lest he should trespass, begg'd to go abroad. Whom in a trice he tried to stop,
“ Go, fellow !-whither?”-turning short about By catching at his rein;
“ Nay. Stay at home-you 're always going out."
“ 'T is but a step, sir, just at the street's end.” But not performing what he meant,
“ For what?"-“ An please you, sir, to see a friend." And gladly would have done,
“ A friend !" Horatio cried, and seem'd to startThe frighted steed he frighted more,
“ Yea marry shalt thou, and with all my heart. – And made him faster run.
And fetch my cloak; for, though the night be ras,
I'll see him too — the first I ever saw." Away went Gilpin, and away
I knew the man, and knew his nature mild, Went postboy at bis heels,
And was his plaything often when a child ; The postboy's horse right glad to miss But somewhat at that moment pinch'd hiin elose, The lumb'ring of the wheels.
Else he was seldom bitter or morose.
Perhaps his confidence just then betray'd, Six gentlemen upon the road,
His grief might prompt him with the speech he made; Thus seeing Gilpin fly,
Perhaps 't was mere good-humour gave it birth, With postboy scamp'ring in the rear,
The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth.
Howe'er it was, his language in my mind,
Bespoke at least a man that knew mankind. “ Stop thief! stop thief!- a highwayman !" But not to moralize too much, and strain, Not one of them was mute;
To prove an evil, of which all complain, And all and each that pass'd that way
(I hate long arguments verbosely spun,) Did join in the pursuit.
One story more, dear Hill, and I have done.
Once on a time an emp'ror, a wise man,
No matter where, in China, or Japan,
Decreed, that whosoever should offend
Against the well-known duties of a friend,
Convicted once should ever after wear
But half a coat, and show his bosom bare.
The punishment importing this, no doubt,
That all was naught within, and all found out Nor stopp'd till where he had got up
O happy Britain! we have not to fear
Such hard and arbitrary measure here;
Else, could a law, like that which I relate, Now let us sing, Long live the King, Once have the sanction of our triple state, And Gilpin long live he;
Some few, that I have known in days of old, And, when he next doth ride abroad,
Would run most dreadful risk of catching cold;
While you, my friend, whatever wind should blow,
JOSEPH HILL, Esq.
SURVIVOR sole, and hardly such, of all,
That once liv'd here, thy brethren, at my birth, DEAR JOSEPH - five-and-twenty years ago - (Since which I number threescore winters past, Alas, how time escapes ! -'t is even so
À shatter'd vet'ran, hollow-trunk'd perhaps,
When our forefather Druids in their oaks
Lov'd not the light, but, gloomy, into gloom
The auburn nut that held thee, swallowing lowo Swinging the parlour door upon it's hinge, Thy yet close-folded latitude of boughs
And all thine einbryo vastness at a gulp.
Delight in agitation, yet sustain
But, worn by frequent impulse, to the cause
Of their best tone their dissolution owe.
Thought cannot spend itself, comparing still Thy rudiments should sleep the winter through The great and little of thy lot, thy growth
From almost nullity into a state So Fancy dreams. Disprove it, if ye can, Of matchless grandeur, and declension thence, Ye reas'ners broad awake, whose busy search Slow, into such magnificent decay. Of argument, employ'd too oft amiss,
Time was, when, settling on thy leaf, a fly Sists half the pleasures of short life away!
Could shake thee to the root and time has been
When tempests could not. At thy firmest age Thou fell'st mature; and in the loamy clod Thou hadst within thy bole solid contents, (deck Swelling with vegetative force instinct
That might have ribb'd the sides and plank'd the Didst burst thine egg, as theirs the fabled Twins, Of some flagg'd admiral; and tortuous arms, Now stars ; two lobes, protruding, pair'd exact ; The shipwright's darling treasure, didst present A leaf succeeded, and another leaf,
To the four-quarter'd winds, robust and bold, And, all the elements thy puny growth
Warp'd into tough knee-timber *, many a load! Fost'ring propitious, thou becam'st a twig.
But the axe spar'd thee. In those thriftier days
"Oaks fell not, hewn by thousands, to supply Who liv'd, when thou wast such? Oh, couldst The bottomless demands of contest, wag'd thou speak,
For senatorial honours. Thus to Time As in Dodona once thy kindred trees
The task was left to whittle thee away Oracular, I would not curious ask
With his sly scythe, whose ever-nibbling edge, The future, best unknown, but at thy mouth Noiseless, an atom, and an atom more, Inquisitive, the less ambiguous past.
Disjoining from the rest, has, unobserv'd,
Achiev'd a labour, which had far and wide,
By man perform’d, made all the forest ring.
Embowell’d now, and of thy ancient self
Possessing nought, but the scoop'd rind, that seems Desp'rate attempt, till trees shall speak again! An huge throat, calling to the clouds for drink,
Which it would give in rivulets to thy root, Time made thee what thou wast, king of the Thou temptest none, but rather much forbidd'st woods;
The feller's toil, which thou couldst ill requite. And Time hath made thee what thou art — a cave Yet is thy root sincere, sound as the rock, For owls to roost in. Once thy spreading boughs A quarry of stout spurs, and knotted fangs, O'erhung the champaign; and the num'rous flocks, which, crook'd into a thousand whimsics, clasp That graz'd it, stood beneath that ample cope The stubborn soil, and hold thee still erect. Uncrowded, yet safe-shelter'd from the storm. No flock frequents thee now. Thou hast outliv'd So stands a kingdom, whose foundation yct Thy popularity, and art become
Fails not, in virtue and in wisdom laid, (Unless verse rescue thee awhile) a thing
Though all the superstructure, by the tooth Forgotten, as the foliage of thy youth.
Pulveriz'd of venality, a shell
Stands now, and semblance only of itself!
Thine arms have left thee. Winds have rent Tlien twig ; then sapling; and, as cent'ry roll'd
them off Slow after century, a giant-bulk
Long since, and rovers of the forest wild [left Of girth enormous, with moss-cushion'd root With bow and shaft, have burnt them. Some have Upheav'd above the soil, and sides emboss'd
A splinter'd stump, bleach'd to a snowy white; With prominent wens globose - till at the last And some, memorial 'none, where once they grew. The rottenness, which time is charged to inflict Yet life still lingers in thee, and puts forth On other mighty ones, found also thee.
Proof not contemptible of what she can,
Even where death predominates. The spring What exhibitions various hath the world
Finds thee not less alive to her sweet force, Witness'd of mutability in all,
Than yonder upstarts of the neighb'ring wood, That we account most durable below!
So much thy juniors, who their birth receiv'd
Half a millennium since the date of thine.
* Knee-timber is found in the crooked arms of In all that live, plant, animal, and man,
oak, which, by reason of their distortion, are easily And in conclusion mar them. Nature's threads, adjusted to the angle formed where the deck and Fine passing thought, e'en in her coarsest works, the ship's sides meet.