Page images

“O ye who taught me first to know
“Bright Virtue's sacred flame,

“To whom far more than life I owe,
“Who more than duty claim—

“Ah ! let me dry each tender tear,
“And ev'ry doubt destroy,
Dispel at once each anxious fear,
“And call you back to joy.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

And thou, my Henry, dearer far “Than fortune's richest prize, 2 . “I know thy heart—and thou canst dare “Her treasures to despise:

“A purer'bliss that heart shall prove
“From care and sorrow free,

. Content with innocence and love,
“With poverty and Me.”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

In transport lost, and freed from fears,
The happy parents smiled,

And blushing dried the falling tears,
And clasped their matchless child.

Her Henry, fixed in silent gaze,
Beheld his lovely bride,-

“O Heaven, accept my humble praise
At length, entranced, he cried.


“To all my storms and dangers past,
“If joys like these succeed,

“My utmost wish is crowned at last,.
“And I am rich indeed.

“Then rise, ye raging tempests, rise,
“And fortune's gifts destroy;
Thy Henry gains the noblest prize,
“He feels the purest joy.

[ocr errors]

Ecstatic bliss his heart shall prove “From care and sorrow free, “While blest with innocence and love, “With boundless wealth—in thee.

[ocr errors]

Sweet Hope o'er every morn shall shed
“Her soul-enliv'ning ray,
Celestial Peace, by Virtue led,
“Shall cheer each closing day.

Far from Ambition's train remov’d,
“And Pleasure's giddy throng,
Our blameless hours, by Heaven approv’d,
“Shall gently glide along.

[ocr errors]

“O may I catch that sacred fire
“Which animates thy breast !

“Like thee to noblest heights aspire,
“Like thee be truly blest

[ocr errors]

Thus shall the pleasing charm of love
“Bright Virtue's force increase;
Thus ev'ry changing scene shall prove
“The road to lasting peace;

“And thus, thro' life, our hearts shall know
“A more than mortal joy,

“Beyond what fortune can bestow,
“Or time or death destroy.”


THE tree of deepest root is found
Least willing still to quit the ground;
'Twas therefore said, by ancient sages, ,
That love of life increased with years,
So much, that in our latter stages,
When pains grow sharp, and sickness rages,
The greatest love of life appears.
This great affection to believe,
Which all confess, but few perceive,
If old assertions can't prevail,
Be pleased to hear a modern tale.

When sports went round, and all were gay,
On neighbour Dobson's wedding-day,
Death called aside the jocund groom
With him into another room;
And looking grave—“You must,” says he,
“Quit your sweet bride, and come with me!”
“With you! and quit my Susan's side
“With you!” the hapless husband cried:
“Young as I am 'tis monstrous hard
“Besides, in truth, I'm not prepar'd :
“My thoughts on other matters go,
“This is my wedding-day, you know.”
What more he urged I have not heard,
His reasons could not well be stronger;,
So Death the poor delinquent spar'd,
And left to live a little longer.

Yet calling up a serious look,
His hour-glass trembled while he spoke—
“Neighbour,” he said, “farewell no more
“Shall Death disturb your mirthful hour;
“And farther, to avoid all blame
“Of cruelty upon my name,
“To give you time for preparation,
“And fit you for your future station,
“Three several warnings you shall have
“Before you’re summoned to the grave.
“Willing for once I'll quit my prey,
“And grant a kind reprieve;
“In hopes you'll have no more to say, ..
“But when l call again this way,
“Well pleased the world will leave.”
To these conditions both consented,
And parted perfectly contented,

What next the hero of our tale befell,
How long he lived, how wise, how well,
How roundly he pursued his course,
And smoked his pipe, and stroked his horse,
The willing muse shall tell.
He chaffered then ; he bought and sold;
Nor once perceived his growing old,
Northought of death as near :
His friends not false, his wife no shrew,
Many his gains, his children few,
He passed his hours in peace.
But while he viewed his wealth increase,
While thus along life's dusty road
The beaten track content he trod,

Old Time, whose haste no mortal spares, Uncalled, unheeded, unawares, Brought on his eightieth year. And now one night, in musing mood, As all alone he sate, The unwelcome messenger of fate Once more before him stood. Half killed with anger and surprise, “So soon returned P’ old Dobson cries: “So soon d'ye call it!” Death replies: “Surely, my friend, you're but in jest? “Since I was here before “”Tis six and forty years at least, “And you are now fourscore " “So much the worse,” the clown rejoin'd, “To spare the aged would be kind; . . . “Beside, you promised me Three Warnings, “Which I have looked for nights and mornings.” “I know,” cries Death, “that at the best, “I seldom am a welcome guest; “But don’t be captious, friend, at least:— “I little thought you'd still be able “To stump about your farm and stable : “Your years have run to a great length : “I wish you joy, though, of your strength 1"– “Hold,” says the farmer, “not so fast ! “I have been lame these four years past.” “And no great wonder,” Death replies; “However, you still keep your eyes; “And sure to see one's loves and friends “For legs and arms must make amends.”

« PreviousContinue »