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I learn'd at last submission to my lot,
But, though I less deplored thee, ne'er forgot.
Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more,
Children not thine have trod thy nurs'ry floor;
And where the gard'ner Robin, day by day,
Drew me to school along the public way,
Delighted with my bawble coach, and wrapp'd
In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet capp'd,
'Tis now become a hist'ry little known,
That once we call'd the past'ral house our own.
Short-lived possession! but the record fair,
That mem'ry keeps of all thy kindness there,
Still outlives many a storm that has effaced
A thousand other themes less deeply traced.
Thy nightly visits to my chamber made,
That thou mightst know me safe and warmly laid ;
Thy morning bounties ere I left my home,
The biscuit, or confectionary plumb;
The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestow'd
By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and glow'd !
All this, and more endearing still than all,
Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall,
Ne'er roughen'd by those cataracts and breaks
That humour interposed too often makes ;
All this still legible in mem'ry's page,
And still to be so to my latest age,
Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay
Such honours to thee as my numbers may;
Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere,
Not scorn'd in Heav'n, though little noticed here.
ON THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL GEORGE.
TOLL for the brave!
The brave that are no more !
All sunk beneath the wave,
Fast by their native shore !
Eight hundred of the brave,
Whose courage well was tried, Had made the vessel heel,
And laid her on her side.
A land-breeze shook the shrouds,
And she was overset;
Down went the Royal George,
With all her crew complete.
Toll for the brave !
Brave Kempenfelt is gone ; His last seafight is fought ;
His work of glory done. It was not in the battle,
No tempest gave the shock ;
She sprang no fatal leak,
She ran upon no rock.
His sword was in its sheath,
His fingers held the pen,
When Kempenfelt went down
With twice four hundred men. Weigh the vessel up,
Once dreaded by our foes ! And mingle with our cup
The tear that England owes. Her timbers yet are sound,
And she may float again Full-charged with England's thunder,
And plough the distant main.
But Kempenfelt is gone,
His victories are o'er;
And he and his eight hundred
Shall plough the wave no more.
THE TASK." HARK! 'tis the twanging horn o'er yonder bridge, That with its wearisome but needful length Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright; He comes, the herald of a noisy world, [locks; With spatter'd boots, strapp'd waist, and frozen News from all nations lumb'ring at his back. True to his charge, the close pack'd load behind, Yet careless what he brings, his one concern Is to conduct it to the destined inn; And, having dropp'd th' expected bag, pass on. He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch, Cold and yet cheerful: messenger of grief Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some ; To him indiff'rent whether grief or joy. Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks, Births, deaths, and marriages, epistles wet With tears, that trickled down the writer's cheeks Fast as the periods from his fluent quill, Or charged with am'rous sighs of absent swains, Or nymphs responsive, equally affect His horse and him, unconscious of them all. But oh th' important budget! usher'd in With such heart-shaking music, who can say What are its tidings ? have our troops awaked? Or do they still, as if with opium drugg’d, Snore to the murmurs of th’ Atlantic wave! Is India free? and does she wear her plumed And jewell'd turban with a smile of peace, Or do we grind her still? The grand debate, The popular harangue, the tart reply, The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit, And the loud laugh-I long to know them all; I burn to set th' imprison'd wranglers free, And give them voice and utt'rance once again.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let sall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful ev'ning in.
Not such his ev'ning, who, with shining face,
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeezed
And bored with elbow-points through both his sides,
Outscolds the ranting actor on the stage :
Nor his who patient stands till his feet throb,
And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath
Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage,
Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles.
This folio of four pages, happy work!
Which not ev'n critics criticise; that holds
Inquisitive Attention, while I read,
Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair,
Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break;
What is it but a map of busy life,
Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns ?
Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge
That tempts Ambition. On the summit see
The seals of office glitter in his eyes ;
He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels,
Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
And with a dextrous jerk soon twists him down,
And wins them, but to lose them in his turn.
Here rills of oily eloquence in soft
Meanders lubricate the course they take ;
The modest speaker is ashamed and grieved
T'engross a moment's notice; and yet begs,
Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts,
However trivial all that he conceives.
Sweet bashfulness! it claims at least this praise:
The dearth of information and good sense
That it foretels us, always comes to pass.
Catracts of declamation thunder here;
There forests of no meaning spread the page,
In which all comprehension wanders lost ;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there
With merry descants on a nation's woes.
The rest appears a wilderness of strange
But gay confusion: roses for the cheeks,
And lilies for the brows of faded age,
Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald,
Heav'n, earth, and ocean plunderd of their sweets,
Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,
Sermons, and city feasts, and fav’rite airs,
Æthereal journeys, submarine exploits,
And Katerfelto, with his hair on end
At his own wonders, wond'ring for his bread.
'Tis pleasant, through the loopholes of retreat,
To peep at such a world; to see the stir
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd ;
To hear the roar she sends through all her gates
At a safe distance, where the dying sound
Falls a soft murmur on th' uninjured ear:
Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanced
To some secure and more than mortal height,
That lib’rates and exempts me from them all.
It turns submitted to my view, turns round
With all its generations; I behold
The tumult, and am still. The sound of war
Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me;
Grieves, but alarms me not. I mourn the pride
And av'rice that make man a wolf to man;
Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats,
By which he speaks the language of his heart,
And sigh, but never tremble at the sound.
He travels and expatiates, as the bee
From flow'r to flow'r, so he from land to land;
The manners, customs, policy of all
Pay contribution to the store he gleans;
He sucks intelligence in ev'ry clime,
And spreads the honey of his deep research
At his return-a rich repast for me.
He travels, and I too. I tread his deck,