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Pausing, smiles, with alter'd air,
To see thee climb his elbow chair;
Or, struggling on the mat below,
Hold warfare with his slipper'd toe.
The widow'd dame or lonely maid,
Who in the still, but cheerless shade
Of home unsocial spends her age,
And rarely turns a letter'd page,
Upon her hearth for thee lets fall
The rounded cork or paper ball;
Nor chides thee on thy wicked watch
The ends of ravelld skein to catch,
But lets thee have thy wayward will,
Perplexing oft her sober skill.
Even he, whose mind of gloomy bent,
In lonely tower or prison pent,
Reviews the wit of former days,
And loathes the world and all its ways;
What time the lamp's unsteady gleam
Doth rouse him from his moody dream,
Feels, as thou gambol'st round his seat,
His heart with pride less fiercely beat,
And smiles, a link in thee to find,
That joins him still to living kind.
Whence hast thou, then, thou witless puss,
The magic power to charm us thus ?
Is it that in thy glaring eye
And rapid movements we descry-
While we at ease, secure from ill,
The chimney-corner snugly fill-
A lion darting on the prey?
A tiger at his ruthless play?
Or is it that in thee we trace,
With all thy varied wanton grace,
An emblem, view'd with kindred eye,
Of tricksy, restless infancy?
Ah! many a lightly-sportive child,
Who hath, like thee, our wits beguiled,
To dull and sober manhood grown,
With strange recoil our hearts disown.
Even so, poor Kit! must thou endure,
When thou becomest a cat demure;
Full many a cuff and angry word,
Chid roughly from the tempting board.
And yet, for that thou hast, I ween,
So oft our favour'd playmate been,
Soft be the change which thou shalt prove,
When time hath spoild thee of our love;
Still be thou deemd, by housewife fat,
A comely, careful, mousing cat,
Whose dish is, for the public good,
Replenish'd oft with savoury food.
Nor, when thy span of life be past,
Be thou to pond or dunghill cast;
But, gently borne on good man's spade,
Beneath the decent sod be laid ;
And children show, with glistening eyes,
The place where poor old Pussy lies.
REGINALD HEBER. 1783-1826.
FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.
By cool Siloam's shady rill
How sweet the lily grows !
How sweet the breath beneath the hill
Of Sharon's dewy rose!
Lo! such the child whose early feet
The paths of peace have trod;
Whose secret heart, with influence sweet,
Is upward drawn to God!
By cool Siloam's shady rill
The lily must decay;
The rose that blooms beneath the hill
Must shortly fade away.
And soon, too soon, the wintry hour
Of man's maturer age,
Will shake the soul with sorrow's power,
And stormy passion's rage !
Oh Thou, whose infant feet were found
Within thy Father's shrine !
Whose years, with changeless virtue crown'd,
Were all alike divine,
Dependant on thy bounteous breath,
We seek thy grace alone,
In childhood, manhood, age and death,
To keep us still thine own!
LINES WRITTEN TO HIS WIFE.
If thou wert by my side, my love!
How fast would evening fail
In green Bengala's palmy grove, .
Listening the nightingale !
If thou, my love, wert by my side,
My babies at my knee,
How gayly would our pinnace glide
O’er Gunga's mimic sea !
I miss thee at the dawning gray,
When, on our deck reclined,
In careless ease my limbs I lay,
And woo the cooler wind.
I miss thee when by Gunga's stream
My twilight steps I guide,
But most beneath the lamp's pale beam,
I miss thee from my side.
I spread my books, my pencil try,
The lingering noon to cheer,
But miss thy kind, approving eye,
Thy meek, attentive ear.
But when of morn and eve the star
Beholds me on my knee,
I feel, though thou art distant far,
Thy prayers ascend for me.
Then on! then on! where duty leads,
My course be onward still,
On broad Hindoostan's sultry meads,
O'er black Almorah's hill.
That course, nor Delhi's kingly gates,
Nor mild Malwah detain,
For sweet the bliss us both awaits,
By yonder western main.
Thy towers, Bombay, gleam bright, they say,
Across the dark blue sea,
But never were hearts so light and gay,
As then shall meet in thee !
I see them on their winding way,
About their ranks the moonbeams play ;
Their lofty deeds and daring high
Blend with the notes of victory:
And waving arms, and banners bright,
Are glancing in the mellow light :
They're lost and gone, the moon is past,
The wood's dark shade is o'er them cast;
And fainter, fainter, fainter still
The march is rising o'er the hill.
Again, again, the pealing drum,
The clashing horn-they come, they come;
Through rocky pass, o'er wooded steep,
In long and glittering files they sweep.
And nearer, nearer, yet more near,
Their sosten'd chorus meets the ear;
Forth, forth, and meet them on their way-
The trampling hoofs brook no delay;
With thrilling fife, and pealing drum,
And clashing horn-they come, they come.
GEORGE CRABBE. 1754–1832.
THE BOROUGH." “Describe the Borough”—though our idle tribe May love description, can we so describe, That you shall fairly streets and buildings trace, And all that gives distinction to a place? This cannot be; yet, moved by your request, A part I paint-let fancy form the rest.
Cities and towns, the various haunts of men, Require the pencil-they defy the pen: Could he, who sang so well the Grecian fleet So well have sung of alley, lane, or street ? Can measured lines these various buildings show, The Town-hall Turning, or the Prospect Row? Can I the seats of wealth and want explore, And lengthen out my lays from door to door?
Then let thy fancy aid me: I repair, From this tall mansion of our last-year's mayor, Till we the outskirts of the borough reach, And these half-buried buildings next the beach; Where hang at open doors the net and cork, While squalid sea-dames mend the meshy work ; Till comes the hour, when, fishing through the tide, The weary husband throws his freight aside; A living mass, which now demands the wife, Th' alternate labours of their humble life.