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From conversation—and the bowl,
The feast of stomach—and of soul,
I lay me down, and seem to leap
O’er forty summers in my sleep;
And youth, with all its joy and pain,
Comes rushing on my soul again ;
I rove where'er my boyhood roved-
I love whate'er my boyhood loved-
And rocks, and vales, and woods, and streams,
Fleet o'er my pillow in my dreams.
'Tis true some ugly foes arise
E’en in this earthly paradise,
Which you, good Pringle, may beguile
By Mrs. P.'s unceasing smile.
I am an independent elf,
And keep my comforts in myself.
If my best sheep have got the rot-
Or if the Parson hits a blot-
Or if young Witless prates of laurel-
Or if my tithe produces quarrel-
Or if my roofing wants repairs-
Or if I'm angry with my heirs—
Or if I've nothing else to do-
I grumble for an hour or two;
Riots, or rumors, unrepressed,
My niece, or knuckle, over-dressed,
The lateness of a wish’d-for post,
Miss Mackrell's story of the ghost,
New wines, new fashions, or new faces,
New bills, new taxes, or new places,
Or Mr. Hume's enumeration
Of all the troubles of the nation,
Will sometimes wear my patience out!
Then, as I said before—the gout-
Well, well, my heart was never faint-
And yet it might provoke a saint.
A rise of bread, or fall of rain, Sometimes unite to give me pain, And oft my lawyer's bag of papers Gives me a taste of spleen and vapors. Angry or sad, alone or ill, I have my senses with me still; Although my eyes are somewhat weak, Yet can I dissipate my pique By Poem, Paper, or Review; And though I'm dozy in my pew, At Dr. Poundtext's second leaf, I am not yet so very deaf As to require the rousing noise Of screaming girls and roaring boys. Thrice—thrice accursèd be the day When I shall fling my bliss away, And, to disturb my quiet life, Take Discord in the shape of wife! Time, in his endless muster-roll, Shall mark the hour with blackest coal When old Tom Quince shall cease to see The Chronicle with toast and tea,
Confine his rambles to his park,
And never dine till after dark,
And change his comfort and his crony,
For crowd and conversazione.
If every aiding thought is vain,
And momentary grief and pain
Urge the old man to frown and fret,
He has another comfort yet;
This earth has thorns, as poets sing,
But not forever can they sting;
Our sand from out its narrow glass
Rapidly passes !—let it pass !
I seek not-I—to check or stay
The progress of a single day,
But rather cheer my hours of pain
Because so few of them remain.
Care circles every mortal head,
The dust will be a calmer bed!
From Life’s alloy no Life is free,
But—Life is not eternity!
When that unerring day shall come To call me from my wandering, home, The dark, and still, and painful day, When breath shall fleet in groans away, When comfort shall be vainly sought, And doubt shall be in every thought, When words shall fail th’ unutter'd vow, And fever heat the burning brow,
When the dim eye shall gaze, and fear
To close the glance that lingers here,
Snatching the faint departing light,
That seems to flicker in its flight,
When the lone heart, in that long strife,
Shall cling unconsciously to life,–
I'll have no shrieking female by
To shed her drops of sympathy;
To listen to each smotherd throe,
To feel, or feign, officious woe;
To bring me every useless cup,
And beg “ dear Tom ” to drink it up;
To turn my oldest servants off,
E'en as she hears my gurgling cough;
And then expectantly to stand,
And chafe my temples with her hand;
And pull a cleaner night-cap o'er 'em,
That I may die with due decorum;
And watch the while my ebbing breath,
And count the tardy steps of death ;
Grudging the Leech his growing bill,
And wrapt in dreams about the will.
I'll have no Furies round my bed!
They shall not plague me—till I'm dead !
Believe me! ill my dust would rest, If the plain marble o'er my breast, That tells, in letters large and clear, 6. The Bones of Thomas Quince lie here !"
Should add a talisman of strife,
“ Also the Bones of Jane bis Wife !"
No; while beneath this simple stone
Old Quince shall sleep, and sleep alone,
Some Village Oracle, who well
Knows how to speak, and read, and spell,
Shall slowly construe, bit by bit,
My “natus” and my “obiit,”
And then, with sage discourse and long,
Recite my virtues to the throng:
“The Gentleman came straight from College ! A most prodigious man for knowledge ! He used to pay all men their due, Hated a miser,--and a Jew, But always open'd wide his door To the first knocking of the poor. None, as the grateful Parish knows, Save the Church-wardens, were his foes; They could not bear the virtuous pride Which gave the sixpence they denied. If neighbors had a mind to quarrel, He used to treat them to a barrel; And that, I think, was sounder law Than any book I ever saw. The Ladies never used to flout him; But this was rather strange about him, That, gay or thoughtful, young or old, He took no wife for love or gold;