« ПретходнаНастави »
Though ne'er a madam of them all,
Whose silken kirtle sweeps the hall,
More varied trick and whim displays,
To catch the admiring stranger's gaze.
Doth power in measured verses dwell,
All thy vagaries wild to tell ?
Ah! no: the start, the jet, the bound,
The giddy scamper round and round,
With leap, and jerk, and high curvet,
And many a whirling somerset
(Permitted be the modern Muse
Expression technical to use),
These mock the destliest rhymester's skill,
But poor in art, though rich in will.
The nimblest tumbler, stage-bedight,
To thee is but a clumsy wight,
Who every limb and sinew strains
To do what costs thee little pains,
For which, I trow, the gaping crowd
Requites him oft with plaudits loud.
But, stopp'd the while thy wanton play,
Applauses too thy feats repay :
For then, beneath some urchin's hand,
With modest pride thou takest thy stand,
While many a stroke of fondness glides
Along thy back and tabby sides;
Dilated swells thy glossy fur,
And loudly sings thy busy pur,
As, timing well the equal sound,
Thy clutching feet bepat the ground,
And all their harmless claws disclose,
Like prickles of an early rose;
While softly from thy whisker'd cheek
Thy half-closed eyes peer mild and meek.
But not alone by cottage fire Do rustics rude thy tricks admire; The learned sage, whose thoughts explore The widest range of human lore, Or, with unfetter'd fancy, fly Through airy heights of poesy,
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 raveli'd 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 haih spoil'd thee of our love;
Still be thou deem'd, 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 Siloani's shady rill
The lily must decay;
The rose that blooms beneath the hill
Must shortly fade away.
And soon, too soon, the wint'ry 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.