Page images

Thus have I seen a magpie in the street,
A chattering bird we often meet,
A bird for curiosity well known,

With head awry,

And cunning eye, Peep knowingly into a marrow-bone, And now his curious majesty did stoop To count the nails on every hoop; And lo! no single thing came in his way, That, full of deep research, he did not say, • What's this? hae, hae? What's that? What's this? What's that? So quick the words too, when he deigned to speak, As if each syllable would break its neck. Thus, to the world of great whilst others crawl, Our gov'reign peeps into the world of small : Thus microscopic geniuses explore

Things that too oft provoke the public scorn;
Yet swell of useful knowledges, the store,

By finding systems in a peppercorn.
Now boasting Whitbread serious did declare,
To make the majesty of England stare,
That he had butts enough, he knew,
Placed side by side, to reach along to Kew;
On which the king with wonder swiftly cried:
• What if they reach to Kew, then, side by side,

What would they do, what, what, placed end to end?'
To whom, with knitted calculating brow,
The man of beer most solemnly did yow,

Almost to Windsor that they would extend:
On which the king, with wondering mien,
Repeated it unto the wondering queen;
On which, quick turning round his haltered head,
The brewer's horse, with face astonished, neighed;
The brewer's dog, too, poured a note of thunder,
Rattled his chain, and wagged his tail for wonder.
Now did the king for other beers inquire,
For Calvert's, Jordan's, Thrale's entire;
And after talking of these different beers,
Asked Whitbread if his porter equalled theirs ?
This was a puzzling disagreeing question,
Grating like arsenic on his host's digestion;
A kind of question to the man of Cask
That not even Solomon himself would ask.
Now majesty, alive to knowledge, took
A very pretty memorandum-book,
With gilded leaves of assis-skin so white,

And in it legibly began to write!

A charming place beneath the grates

For roasting chestnuts or potates.

'Tis hops that give a bitterness to beer,
Hops grow in Kent, says Whitbread, and elsewhere.


Is there no cheaper stuff? where doth it dwell?

Would not horse-aloes bitter it as well?

To try it soon on our small beer
"Twill save us several pounds a year.

To remember to forget to ask

Old Whitbread to my house one day.

Not to forget to take of beer the cask,
The brewer offered me away.

Now, having pencilled his remarks so shrewd,

Sharp as the point, indeed, of a new pin, His majesty his watch most sagely viewed,

And then put up his ass's-skin.
To Whitbread now deigned majesty to say:
•Whitbread, are all your horses fond of hay?'
Yes, please your majesty,' in humble notes
The brewer answered— Also, sire, of oats;
Another thing my horses, too, maintains,
And that, an 't please your majesty, are grains.'
Grains, grains,' said majesty, to fill their crops ?
Grains, grains ?-that comes from hops-yes, hops, hops, hops ?'
Here was the king, like hounds sometimes, at fault-

Sire,' cried the humble brewer, "give me leave
Your sacred majesty to undeceive;
Grains, sire, are never made from hops, but malt.'
"True,' said the cautious monarch with a smile,

From malt, malt, malt-I meant malt all the while.
• Yes,' with the sweetest bow, rejoined the brewer,

An't please your majesty, you did, I'm sure.'
Yes,' answered majesty, with quick reply,
"I did, I did, I did, I, I, I, I.' .
Now did the king admire the bell so fine,
That daily asks the draymen all to dine;
On which the bell rung out-how very proper!
To shew it was a bell, and had a clapper.
And now before their sovereign's curious eye-

Parents and children, fine fat hopeful sprigs,
All snuffling, sqụinting, grunting in their sty-

Appeared the brewer's tribe of handsome pigs;
On which the observant man who fills a throne,
Declared the pigs were vastly like his own;
On which the brewer, swallowed up in joys,
Fear and astonishment in both his eyes,
His soul brimful of sentiments so loyal,

Exclaimed: 'O heavens ! and can my swine
Be deemed by majesty so fine?
Heavens ! can my pigs compare, sire, with pigs royal ?'
To which the king assented with a nod;
On which the brewer bowed, and said : Good God!
Then winked significant on Miss,
Significant of wonder and of bliss,



Who, bridling in her chin divine,
Crossed her fair hands, a dear old maid,
And then her lowest curtsy made

For such high honour done her father's swine.
Now did his majesty, so gracious, say
To Mister Whitbread in his flying way.

Whitbread, d'ye nick the excisemen now and then ?
Hae, Whitbread, when d'ye think to leave off trade?
Hae ? what? Miss Whitbread's still a maid, a maid?

What, what's the matter with the men ?
D'ye hunt?—hae, hunt? No no, you are too old;
You'll be lord-mayor-lord-mayor one day;
Yes, yes, I've heard so; yes, yes, so I'm told;

Don't, don't the fine for sheriff pay; ?

I'll prick you every year, man, I declare;
Yes, Whitbread, yes, yes, you shall be lord-mayor.
•Whitbread, d’ye keep a coach, or job one, pray?

Job, job, that's cheapest; yes, that's best, that's best.
You put your liveries on the draymen-hae?

Hae, Whitbread? You have feathered well your nest.
What, what's the price now, hae, of all your stock ?
But, Whitbread, what's o'clock, pray, what's o'clock?'
Now Whitbread inward said: “May I be cursed
If I know what to answer first.'

Then searched his brains with ruminating eye;
But ere the man of malt an answer found,
Quick on his heel, lo, majesty turned round,
Skipped off, and balked the honour of reply.

Lord Gregory.
Burns admired this ballad of Wolcot's, and wrote another on the same subject.
• Ah ope, Lord Gregory, thy door, · Alas! thou heardst a pilgrim mourn
A midnight wanderer sighs ;

That once was prized by thee: Hard rush the rains, the tempests roar, Think of the ring by yonder burn

And lightnings cleave the skies.' Thou gav'st to love and me. “Who comes with woe at this drear night, "But shouldst thou not poor Marion know, A pilgrim of the gloom ?

I'll turn my feet and part; [blow, If she whose love did once delight, And think the storms that round me My cot shall yield her room.'

Far kinder than thy heart.'

Epigram on Sleep. Thomas Wharton wrote the following Latin epigram to be placed under the statute of Somnus, in the garden of Harris, the philologist, and Wolcot translated it with a beauty and felicity worthy of the original.

Somne levis, quanquam certissima mortis imago
Consortem cupio te tamen esse tori ;
Alma quies, optata, veni, nam sic sine vitân
Vivere quam suave est ; sic sine morte mori.
Come, gentle sleep! attend thy votary's prayer,
And, though death's image, to my couch repair ;
How sweet, though lifeless, yet with life to lie,
And, without dying, O how sweet to die !

THE REV. WILLIAM CROWE. WILLIAM CROWE (circa 1746–1829) was the son of a carpenter at Winchester, and was admitted upon the foundation as a poor scholar. He was transferred to New College, Oxford, and was elected Fellow in 1773. He rose to be Professor of Poetry and Public Orator, holding at the same time the valuable rectory of Alton Barnes. Crowe was author of 'Lewesdon Hill' (1786), å descriptive poem in blank verse, and of various other pieces. Several editions of his ‘Poems' have been published, the latest in 1827. There is poetry of a very high order in the works of Crowe, though it has never been popular.

Wreck of the · Falsewell,' East Indiaman.
See how the sun, here clouded, afar off
Pours down the golden radiance of his light
Upon the enridged sea; where the black ship
Sails on the

phosphor-seeming waves. So fair,
But falsely flattering, was yon surface calm,
When forth for India sailed, in evil time,
That vessel, whose disastrous fate, when told,
Filled every breast with horror, and each eye
With piteous tears, so cruel was the loss.
Methinks I see her, as, by the wintry storm
Shattered and driven along past yonder isle,
She strove, her latest hope, by strength or art,
To gain the port within it, or at worst,
To shun that harbourless and hollow coast
From Portland eastward to the promontory
Where still St. Alban's high-built chapel stands.
But art nor strength avail her-on she drives,
In storm and darkness to the fatal coast;
And there 'mong rocks and high o'erhanging cliffs
Dashed piteously, with all her precious freight,
Was lost, by Neptune's

wild and foamy jaws
Swallowed up quick! The richest-laden ship
Of spicy Ternate, or that annual sent
To the Philippines o'er the southern main
From Acapulco, carrying massy gold,
Were poor to this; freighted with hopeful youth,
And beauty and high courage andismayed
By mortal terrors, and paternal love,

and unconquerable even in death-
Alas, they perished all, all in one hour !*

The Miseries of War. From Verses intended to have been spoken in the Theatre of Oxford, on the In stallation of the Duke of Portland as Chancellor of the University.'

If the stroke of war
Fell certain on the guilty head, none else ;
If they that make the cause might taste th' effect,
And drink themselves the bitter cup they mix;

Then might the bard, though child of peace, delight * The Falsewell. Captain Pierce. was wrecked in January 1786, having struck on the rocks near Seacombe, on the island of Purbeck, between Peverel Point and St. Alban's Head. All the passengers perished; but out of 240 souls on board, 74 were saved. Seven interesting and accomplished young ladies (two of them daughters of the captain), were among the drowned.

To twine fresh wreaths around the conqueror's brow;
Or haply strike his high-toned harp, to swell
The trumpet's martial sound, and bid them on
Whom justice arms for vengeance. But alas !
That undistinguishing and deathful storm
Beats heavier on th' exposed innocent ;
And they that stir its fury, while it raves
Stand at safe distance, send their mandate forth
Unto the mortal ministers that wait
To do their bidding.-Oh, who then regards
The widow's tears, the friendless orphan's cry,
And famine, and the ghastly train of woes
That follow at the dogged heels of war ?
They, in the pomp and pride of victory
Rejoicing o'er the desolated earth,
As at an altar wet with human blood,
And flaming with the fire of cities burnt,
Sing their mad hymns of triumph-hymns to God,
O'er the destruction of his gracious works !
Hymns to the Father o'er his slaughtered sons !

CHARLOTTE SMITH. Several ladies cultivated poetry with success at this time. Among these was Mrs. CHARLOTTE SMITH (whose admirable prose fictions will afterwards be noticed). She was the daughter of Mr. Turner of Stoke House, in Surrey, and born on the 4th of May 1749. She was remarkable for precocity of talents, and for a lively playful humour that shewed itself in conversation, and in compositions both in prose and verse. Being early deprived of her mother, she was carelessly though expensively educated, and introduced into society at a very early age. Her father having decided on a second mar. riage, the friends of the young and admired poetess endeavoured to establish her in life, and she was induced to accept the hand of Mr. Smith, the son and partner of a rich West India merchant. The husband was twenty-one years of age, and his wife fifteen! This rash union was productive of mutual discontent and misery. Mr. Smith was careless and extravagant, business was neglected, and his father dying, left a will so complicated and voluminous that no two lawyers understood it in the same sense. Law-suits and embarrassments were therefore the portion of this ill-starred pair for all their after-lives. Mr. Smith was ultimately forced to sell the greater part of his property, after he had been thrown into prison, and his faithful wife had shared with him the misery and discomfort of his confinement. After an unhappy union of twenty-three years, Mrs. Smith separated from her busband, and, taking a cottage near Chichester, applied herself to her literary occupations with cheerful assiduity, supplying to her children the duties of both parents. In eight months she completed her novel of 'Emmeline,' published in 1788. In the following year appeared another novel from her pen, entitled Ethelinde;' and in 1791, a third under the name of 'Celestina.' She imbibed the opinions of the French Revolution, and em. bodied them in a romance entitled “Desmond.' This work arrayed

« PreviousContinue »