图书图片
PDF
ePub

And e'en their sports, their balls and races,
Their galloping through public places,
There's sic parade, sic pomp and art,
The joy can scarcely reach the heart.

The men cast out in party matches,
Then sowther1 a' in deep debauches;
Ae night they're mad wi' drink and w—ing,
Niest day their life is past enduring.

The Ladies arm-in-arm in clusters,
As great and gracious a' as sisters;
But hear their absent thoughts o' ither,
They're a' run deils and jads thegither.
Whyles o'er the wee bit cup and platie,
They sip the scandal potion pretty;
Or lee-lang nights, wi' crabbit leuks,
Pore owre the devil's pictured beuks;
Stake on a chance a farmer's stack yard,
And cheat like ony unhanged blackguard.
There's some exception, man and woman;
But this is Gentry's life in common.

3

By this, the sun was out o' sight,
And darker gloaming brought the night:
The bum-clock hummed wi' lazy drone;
The kye stood rowtin' i' the loan;
When up they gat, and shook their lugs,
Rejoiced they were na men, but dogs;
And each took aff his several way,
Resolved to meet some ither day.

1 make up for.

4 beetle.

2 next.

5

COWS.

8

playing cards. 6 lowing.

THE RETIRED CAT.

BY WILLIAM COWPER.1

A Poet's Cat, sedate and grave
As poet well could wish to have,
Was much addicted to inquire
For nooks to which she might retire,
And where, secure as mouse in chink,
She might repose, or sit and think.
I know not where she caught the trick;
Nature perhaps herself had cast her
In such a mould PHILOSOPHIQUE,
Or else she learned it of her master.
Sometimes ascending, debonair,
An apple-tree, or lofty pear,
Lodged with convenience in the fork,
She watched the gardener at his work;
Sometimes her ease and solace sought
In an old empty watering-pot,
There wanting nothing, save a fan,
To seem some nymph in her sedan,
Appareled in exactest sort,

And ready to be borne to court.

But love of change it seems has place

Not only in our wiser race;

Cats also feel, as well as we,

That passion's force, and so did she.

1 Born at Great Berkhamstead, England, 1731; wrote "Table Talk," "The Task," "Tirocinium," "John Gilpin," etc.; died at East Dereham, 1800.

Her climbing, she began to find,
Exposed her too much to the wind,
And the old utensil of tin

Was cold and comfortless within :
She therefore wished, instead of those,
Some place of more serene repose,
Where neither cold might come, nor air
Too rudely wanton in her hair,
And sought it in the likeliest mode
Within her master's snug abode.

A drawer, it chanced, at bottom lined With linen of the softest kind, With such as merchants introduce From India, for the ladies' use; A drawer, impending o'er the rest, Half open, in the topmost chest, Of depth enough, and none to spare, Invited her to slumber there; Puss with delight beyond expression, Surveyed the scene and took possession. Recumbent at her ease, ere long, And lulled by her own humdrum song, She left the cares of life behind, And slept as she would sleep her last, When in came, housewifely inclined, The chambermaid, and shut it fast, By no malignity impelled,

But all unconscious whom it held.

Awakened by the shock (cried puss)

"Was ever cat attended thus !

The open drawer was left, I see,
Merely to prove a nest for me,
For soon as I was well composed,

Then came the maid, and it was closed.

How smooth those 'kerchiefs, and how sweet?

Oh what a delicate retreat!

I will resign myself to rest

Till Sol declining in the west,

Shall call to supper, when, no doubt,
Susan will come, and let me out."

The evening came, the sun descended,
And puss remained still unattended.
The night rolled tardily away

(With her indeed 'twas never day),
The sprightly morn her course renewed,
The evening gray again ensued,

And puss came into mind no more

Than if entombed the day before;
With hunger pinched, and pinched for room,
She now presaged approaching doom.

Nor slept a single wink, nor purred,
Conscious of jeopardy incurred.

That night, by chance, the poet watching, Heard an inexplicable scratching;

His noble heart went pit-a-pat,

And to himself he said "What's that?"
He drew the curtain at his side,

And forth he peeped, but nothing spied.
Yet, by his ear directed, guessed
Something imprisoned in the chest ;

And, doubtful what, with prudent care
Resolved it should continue there.

At length a voice which well he knew,
A long and melancholy mew,
Saluting his poetic ears,

Consoled him, and dispelled his fears;
He left his bed, he trod the floor,
He 'gan in haste the drawers explore,
The lowest first, and without stop
The next in order to the top.
For 'tis a truth well known to most,
That whatsoever thing is lost,
We seek it, ere it come to light,
In every cranny but the right.
Forth skipped the cat, not now replete
As erst with airy self-conceit,
Nor in her own fond comprehension,
A theme for all the world's attention,
But modest, sober, cured of all,
Her notions hyperbolical,
And wishing for a place of rest,
Any thing rather than a chest.
Then stepped the poet into bed
With this reflection in his head :

MORAL.

Beware of too sublime a sense
Of your own worth and consequence.
The man who dreams himself so great,
And his importance of such weight,
That all around in all that's done
Must move and act for him alone,
Will learn in school of tribulation
The folly of his expectation.

« 上一页继续 »