Page images
PDF
EPUB

Oh, then and there was hurrying to and fro,

And gathering tears, and tremblings of distress,
And cheeks all pale, which but an hour ago

Blushed at the praise of their own loveliness ;
And there were sudden partings, such as press
The life from out young hearts, and choking sighs

Which ne'er might be repeated; who could guess

If ever more should meet those mutual eyes,
Since upon night 80 sweet, such awful morn could rise ?

And there was mounting in hot haste; the steed,

The mustering squadron, and the clattering car,
Went pouring forward, with impetuous speed.

And swiftly forming in the ranks of war;

And the deep thunder peal on peal afar,
And near the beat of the alarming drum,

Roused up the soldier ere the morning star;

While thronged the citizens with terror dumb, Or whispering with white lips, The foe! they come! they come!'

Last noon beheld them full of lusty life,

Last eve in Beauty's circle proudly gay,
The midnight brought the signal-sound of strife,

The morn the marshalling in arms,-the day

Battle's magnificently-stern array :
The thunder-clouds close o'er it, but when rent,

The earth is covered thick with other clay,
Which her own clay shall cover, heaped and pent,
Rider and horse, friend, foe-in one red burial blent!

Lord Byron.

COMIC PIECES.

THE HORSE AND THE WOLF. When nature, released from the cold icy trammels

Which winter had formed, all her lustre renews, When the gold of the cowslip each meadow enamels,

And the amethyst blends with soft emerald hues.

At this sprightly season of love and of joy,

A Horse from his stable was sent by his master, In freedom those holiday-hours t'employ,

And graze at his ease in a rich verdant pasture.

A Wolf, who was prowling in search of adventures,

The glossy, plump animal joyfully spies,
With caution the paddock's enclosure he enters,

In hopes of possessing so tempting a prize.

“Ah, wert thou, stout beast,” cries the thief, “but a mutton,

In a moment that carcass I'd seize as my own; As it is, some disguise I must artfully put on,

Before I can tear thy fat flesh from the bone.”

So gravely saluting, he questioned the steed

Are you here, my fair sir, for your health or your pleasure ? From the symptoms, I fear you're a great invalid,

For, in health, men allow their poor nags but small leisure.

“ As a pupil of Galen, accept my assistance,

By feeling your pulse, I shall learn what your state is ; I have travelled thus far from a very great distance,

To give the afflicted my best advice gratis.

“Very choice are the wise in selecting their food,

For plants that are noxious the functions disturb all; As Solomon knew well the bad from the good,

I can point out each root in old Culpepper's Herbal.”

The Horse Isgrim's character knew by repute,

And plainly perceived what the traitor designed ; So he says, “ Learned doctor, my pains are acute,

An abscess is formed in my off-foot behind.”

" A delicate part!” quote the leash, “and indeed,

In the choice of a surgeon, 'tis well to be wary; Allow me to touch it, and then I'll proceed,

Like a perfect adept in the art veter'nary.

“ But first of your pain let's examine the cause”

The Horse launch'd his heels, and no kick could be kinder, It crushed to a mummy the hypocrite's jaws,

And dashed from their sockets each holder and grinder.

66 All this I deserve (said the Wolf, full of sadness)

In the trade of a butcher, I'd been quite at home, ah ! To change my profession was absolute madness

Who dares kill a patient without a diploma ?

THE JESTER CONDEMNED TO DEATH.

ONE of the Kings of Scanderoon,

A Royal Jester
Had in his train, a gross buffoon,

Who used to pester
The court with tricks inopportune,
Venting on the highest folks his
Scurvy pleasantries and hoaxes.

; needs some sense to play the fool, Which wholesome rule Occurr'd not to our jackanapes,

Who consequently found his freaks Lead to innumerable scrapes,

And quite as many kicks and tweaks, Which only seemed to make him faster Try the patience of his master.

Some sin at last, beyond all measure,
Incurred the desperate displeasure

Of his serene and raging highness.
Whether he twitched his most revered
And sacred beard,

Or had intruded on the shyness
of the seraglio, or let fly
An epigram at royalty,
None knows ;-his sin was an occult one ;
But report tells us that the Sultan
Meaning to terrify the knave,

Exclaimed, "'Tis time to stop your breath; Thy doom is seal’d, presumptuous slave!

Thou art condemned to certain death.
Silence! base rebel-no replying!
But such is my indulgence still,
Out of my sovereign grace and will,
I leave to thee the mode of dying.'

“Thy royal will be done-'tis just,'
Replied the slave, and kissed the dust;

Since my last moments to assuage,
Your majesty's humane decree
Has deign'd to leave the choice to me,

I'll die, so please you, of OLD AGE.'

THE RAILROAD.

THROUGH the mould, and through the clay,
Through the corn, and through the hay,
By the margin of the lake,
o'er the river, through the brake,
O'er the bleak and dreary moor,
On we hie with screech and roar!

Slasbing-flashing

Crashing-dashing-
Over ridges,
Gullies, bridges,

By the bubbling rill,

And mill-
Highways,
Byways,

Hollow hill-
Jumping—bumping-
Rocking-roaring

Like ten thousand giants snoring!
O’er the aqueduct and bog,
On we fly with ceaseless jog,
Every instant something new,
The next instant lost to view,
Now a tavern-now a steeple-
Now a crowd of gaping people-
Now a hollow-now a ridge-

Now a crossway-now a bridge
Grumble-stumble-
Rumble-tumble-
Fretting-getting in a stew!
Church and steeple--gaping people,
Quick as thought are lost to view !
Everything that eye can survey
Turns hurly-burly, topsy-turvey !

Glimpse of lonely hut and mansion,
Glimpse of ocean's wide expansion,
Glimpse of foundery and forge,
Glimpse of plain and mountain gorge,
Dash along-
Slash along-
Flash along-
On! on with a jump
And a bump,

And a roll !
Hies the firebrand to its destined goal!

THE PHILOSOPHER'S SCALES.

What were they? you ask. You shall presently see; 1
These scales were not made to weigh sugar and tea;
Oh no, for such properties wondrous had they,
That qualities, feelings, and thoughts they could weigh,
Together with articles, small or immense,
From mountains and planets to atoms of sense ;
Nought was there so bulky but there it would lay,
And nought so ethereal but there it would stay;
And nought so reluctant but in it must go :
All which some examples more clearly will show.

The first thing he tried was the head of Voltaire,
Which retained all the wit that had ever been there ;
As a weight be threw in a torn scrap of a leaf,
Containing the prayer of the penitent thief ;
When the scull rose aloft with so sudden a spell,
As to bound like a ball on the roof of his cell.

Next time he put in Alexander the Great,
With a garment that Dorcas had made for a weight;
And though clad in armour from sandals to crown,
The hero went up, and the garment went down.

A long row of alms-houses, amply endowed,
By a well-esteemed pharisee, busy and proud,
Now loaded one scale, while the other was press'd
By those mites the poor widow dropp'd into the chest ;
Up flew the endowment, not weighing an ounce,
And down, down the farthing's worth came with a bounce.

By further experiments (no matter how)
He found that ten chariots weigh'd less than a plough.
A sword, with rich trappings, rose up in the scale,
Though balanced by only a tenpenny nail.
A lord and a lady went up at full sail,
When a useful mechanic stepp'd into the scale.
Ten doctors, ten lawyers, two courtiers, one earl-
Ten counsellors' wigs, full of powder and curl,
All heap'd in one balance, and swaying from thence,
Weigh'd less than some atoms of candour and sense ;-
A first-water diamond, with brilliants begirt,
Than one good potato, just washed from the dirt ;
Nor mountains of silver and gold would suffice
One pearl to outweigh-—'twas the Pearl of great price.

At last the whole world was bowl'd in at the grate,
With the soul of a pauper to serve for a weight;
When the former sprung up with so strong a rebuff,
That it made a vast rent, and escaped at the roof-
While the scales with the soul in't so heavily fell,
That it jerk'd the philosopher out of his cell.

Jane Taylor.

THE CUR AND THE MASTIFF.

THERE lived in a village, not far from a river,
A puppy, who thought himself knowing and clever-
A pert little cur, who, unable to bite,
Kept snarling and barking from morning to night.

« PreviousContinue »