图书图片
PDF
ePub

“ Is this a landman's love? Be certain, then,
We part for ever!”—and they cried, “ Amen!"

His words were truth's. Some forty summers fled,
His brethren died, his kin supposed him dead:
Three nephews these—one sprightly niece, and one
Less near in blood—they call’d him surly John ;-
He work'd in woods apart from all his kind,
Fierce were his looks, and moody was his mind.

For home the sailor now began to sigh:
“The dogs are dead—and I'll return and die;
When all I have, my gains, in years of care,
The younger Cuffs with kinder souls shall share:-
Yet hold! I'm rich ;—with one consent they'll say,
• You're welcome, Uncle, as the flowers in May,'
No; I'll disguise me, be in tatters dress'd, -
And best befriend the lads who treat me best."

Now all his kindred,-neither rich nor poor,-
Kept the wolf, want, some distance from the door.

In piteous plight he knock'd at George's gate, And begg'd for aid, as he described his state: But stern was George ;-"Let them who had thee strong Help thee to drag thy weaken'd frame along; To us a stranger while your limbs would move, From us depart, and try a stranger's love ;Ha! dost thou murmur?'—for, in Roger's throat, Was · Rascal!' rising with disdainful tone.

To pious James he then his prayer address’d: “Good lack," quoth James, “ thy sorrows pierce my breast ! And had I wealth, as have my

brethren twain, One board should feed us, and one roof contain: But plead I will thy cause, and I will pray; And so farewell !-Heaven help thee on thy way!" “ Scoundrel !” said Roger, (but apart,)—and told His case to Peter Peter too was cold:

66 The rates are high; we have a-many poor ;But I will think,” he said, and shut the door.

Then the gay niece the seeming pauper press'd: “ Turn, Nancy, turn, and view this form distress'd ;Akin to thine is this declining frame, And this poor beggar claims an Uncle's name.”

"Avaunt! begone!" the courteous maiden said, “ Thou vile impostor! Uncle Roger's dead : I hate thee, beast; thy look my spirit shocks ! Oh! that I saw thee starving in the stocks !"

“My gentle Niece!” he said, -and sought the wood. “I hunger, fellow; prithee give me food !"

“ Give! am I rich? This hatchet take, and try Thy proper strength,—nor give those limbs the lie: Work, feed thyself, to thine own powers appeal, Nor whine out woes thine own right hand can heal : And while that hand is thine, and thine a leg, Scorn of the proud or of the base to beg."

“ Come, surly John, thy wealthy kinsman view," Old Roger said :—“thy words are brave and true; Come, live with me,-we'll vex those scoundrel boys; And that prim shrew shall, envying, hear our joys. Tobacco's glorious fume all day we'll share, With beef and brandy kill all kinds of care; We'll beer and biscuit on our table heap, And rail at rascals, till we fall asleep."

Such was their life: but when the woodman died, His grieving kin for Roger's smiles applied, In vain : he shut, with stern rebuke, the door, And, dying, built a refuge for the poor ; With this restriction,--that no Cuff should share One meal, cr shelter for one moment there.

[blocks in formation]

STANZAS.

Let me not have this gloomy view

About my room, around my bed; But morning roses, wet with dew,

To cool my burning brows instead. As flow'rs that once in Eden grew,

Let them their fragrant spirits shed; And every day the sweets renew,

Till I, a fading flower, am dead. Oh! let the herbs I loved to rear

Give to my sense their perfum'd breath; Let them be placed about my bier,

And grace the gloomy house of death. I'll have my grave beneath a hill,

Where only Lucy's self shall know; Where runs the pure pellucid rill

Upon its gravelly bed below: There violets on the borders blow,

And insects their soft light display,Till, as the morning sunbeams glow,

The cold phosphoric fires decay.

That is the grave to Lucy shown,

The soil a pure and silver sand, The green cold moss above it

grown, Unpluck'd of all but maiden hand : In virgin earth, till then unturn'd,

There let my maiden form be laid. Nor let my changed clay be spurn'd,

Nor for new guest that bed be made.

There will the lark,—the lamb, in sport,

In air,-on earth,—securely play,
And Lucy to my grave resort,

As innocent,—but not so gay.
I will not have the churchyard ground,

With bones all black and ugly grown,
To press my shivering body round,

Or on my wasted limbs be thrown.

With ribs and skulls I will not sleep,

In clammy beds of cold blue clay, Through which the ringed earth-worms creep,

And on the shrouded bosom prey; I will not have the bell proclaim

When those sad marriage rites begin,And boys, without regard or shame,

Press the vile mouldering masses in.

Say not, it is beneath my care ;

I cannot these cold truths allow:These thoughts may not afflict me there,

But, oh! they vex and tease me now. Raise not a turf, nor set a stone,

That man a maiden's grave may trace; But thou, my Lucy, come alone,

And let affection find the place.

O! take me from a world I hate,

Men cruel, selfish, sensual, cold; And, in some pure and blessed state,

Let me my sister minds behold :

From gross and sordid views refined,

Our heaven of spotless love to share,-
For only generous souls design'd,

And not a man to meet us there.

WOMAN.

Place the white man on Afric's coast,

Whose swarthy sons in blood delight, Who of their scorn to Europe boast,

And paint their very demons white: There, while the sterner sex disdains

To soothe the woes they cannot feel, Woman will strive to heal his pains,

And weep for those she cannot heal. Hers is warm pity's sacred glow,

From all her stores she bears a part; And bids the spring of hope reflow,

That languish'd in the fainting heart.

“ What though so pale his haggard face,

So sunk and sad his looks,”—she cries:
66 And far unlike our nobler race,
With crisped locks and rolling eyes;
Yet misery marks him of our kind,

We see him lost, alone, afraid !
And pangs of body, griefs in mind,

Pronounce him man, and ask our aid.

66

Perhaps in some far distant shore,

There are who in these forms delight; Whose milky features please them more

Than ours of jet, thus burnish'd bright:

« 上一页继续 »