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A FRAGMENT OF A BALLAD:
TEACHING HOW POETRY IS BEST PAID FOR.
Non voglio cento scudi.-Song.
say not that the minstrel's art, The pleasant gift of verse, Though his hopes decay, though his friends depart,
Can ever be a curse;
And Penury hold his purse.
Say not his toil is profitless ;
Though he charm no rich relation,
With such remuneration,
Beyond his calculation.
Annuities, and three per cents,
Little cares he about them;
He rambles on without them:
Oh, never bid him doubt them!
Young Florice rose from his humble bed,
And prayed as a good youth should;
Into the neighboring wood;
And where the old oak stood.
And as he lay at the noon of day,
Beneath the ancient tree,
A holy man was he,
At a shrine in a far countrie.
Oh, his was a weary wandering,
And a song or two might cheer him.
As the ancient man drew near him;
And the thrush said, “Hear him, hear him !"
He sang high tales of the martyred brave;
Of the good, and pure, and just ; Who have gone into the silent grave,
In such deep faith and trust, That the hopes and thoughts which sain and save
Spring from their buried dust.
The fair of face, and the stout of limb,
Meek maids, and grandsires hoary; Who have sung on the cross their rapturous hymn,
As they passed to their doom of glory;
Their radiant fame is never dim,
Nor their names erased from story.
Time spares the stone where sleep the dead
With angels watching round them; The mourner's grief is comforted,
As he looks on the chains that bound them; And peace is shed on the murderer's head,
And he kisses the thorns that crowned them.
Such tales he told; and the pilgrim heard
In a trance of voiceless pleasure; For the depths of his inmost soul were stirred,
By the sad and solemn measure : “I give thee my blessing,"—was his word;
" It is all I have of treasure !"
A little child came bounding by;
And he, in a fragrant bower, Had found a gorgeous butterfly,
Rare spoil for a nursery dower, Which, with fierce step, and eager eye,
He chased from flower to flower.
“Come hither, come hither," 'gan Florice call;
And the urchin left his fun;
Retreats the baffled dun;
Where she leaves a heart half won.
Then Florice did the child caress,
his sweetest songs : Their theme was of the gentleness
Which to the soul belong
Of human rights and wrongs.
And of the wants which make agree
All parts of this vast plan;
And only life in man :-
And where the longer span?
And how the heart
And wits who write reviews.
Oh, Song hath power o'er Nature's springs, ,
Though deep the Nymph has laid them! The child gazed, gazed, on gilded wings,
As the next light breeze displayed them; But he felt the while that the meanest things
Are dear to him that made them!
The sun went down behind the hill,
The breeze was growing colder
But there the minstrel lingered still;
And amazed the chance beholder, Musing beside a rippling rill,
With a harp upon his shoulder.
And soon, on a graceful steed and tame,
A sleek Arabian mare, The Lady Juliana came,
Riding to take the air, With lords of fame, at whose proud name
A radical would swear.
The minstrel touched his lute again.
It was more than a Sultan's crown, When the lady checked her bridle rein,
And lit from her palfrey down:What would you give for such a strain,
Rees, Longman, Orme, and Brown?
He sang of Beauty's dazzling eyes,
Of Beauty's melting tone;
Than the gems of Persia's throne ;
Have never, never known.
He told how the valiant scoff at fear,
When the sob of her grief is heard ; How they couch the spear for a smile or tear
How they die for a single word ;Things which, I own, to me appear