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Care circles every mortal head,
The dust will be a calmer bedi
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' unuttered 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 Alight, 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 smothered 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 1 ill my dust would rest,
If the plain marble o'er my breast,
That tells, in letters large and clear,
“THE BONES OF THOMAS QUINCE LIE HERE !"
Should add a talisman of strife,
“ALSO THE BONES OF JOAN, HIS 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 opened wide his door
To the first knocking of the poor.
None, as the grateful parish knows,
Save the Churchwardens, were his foes;
They could not bear the virtuous pride
Which gave the sixpence they denied.
If neighbours 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;
Women he called 'a pretty thing,'
But never could abide a ring ! ”
Good Mr. Pringle !—you must see
Your arguments are light with me;
They buzz like feeble flies around me,
But leave me firm, as first they found me.
Silence your logic ! burn your pen!
The poet says, “ We all are men;"
And all “condemned alike to groan”-
You with a wife, and I with none.
Well ! yours may be a happier lot,
But it is one I envy not; .
And you'll allow me, Sir, to pray
That, at some near-approaching day,
You may not have to wince and whine,
And find some cause to envy mine!
At the last hour of Fannia's rout,
When Dukes walked in, and lamps went out,
Fair Chloe sat; a sighing crowd
Of high adorers round her bowed,
And ever flattery's incense rose
To lull the idol to repose.
Sudden some Gnome that stood unseen,
Or lurked disguised in mortal mien,
Whispered in Beauty's trembling ear
The word of bondage and of fear. -
“ Marriage l”-her lips their silence broke, And smiled on Vapid as they spoke,“ I hate a drunkard or a lout, I hate the the sullens and the gout; If e'er I wed_let danglers know it I wed with no one but a poet."
And who but feels a poet's fire
When Chloe's smiles, as now, inspire ?
Who can the bidden verse refuse
When Chloe is his verse and Muse ?
Thus Flattery whispered round ;
And straight the humorous fancy grew,
That lyres are sweet when hearts are true ;
And all who feel a lover's flame
Must rhyme to-night on Chloe's name;
And he's unworthy of the dame
Who silent here is found.
Since head must plead the cause of heart,
Some put their trust in answer smart
Or pointed repartee;
Some joy that they have hoarded up
Those genii of the jovial cup,
Chorus, and catch, and glee;
And for one evening all prepare
To be “ Apollo's chiefest care."
Then Vapid rose~no Stentor this,
And his no Homer's lay; Meek victim of antithesis,
He sighed and died away :-
“Despair my sorrowing bosom rives,
And anguish on me lies
Chloe may die, while Vapid lives,
Or live while Vapid dies !
You smile !—the horrid vision flies,
And Hope this promise gives; I cannot live while Chloe dies,
Nor die while Chloe lives !"
Next, Snaffle, foe to tears and sadness,
Drew fire from Chloe's eyes ; And warm with drunkenness and madness,
He started for the prize.
“Let the glad cymbals loudly clash,
Full bumpers let's be quaffing !
No poet I 1-Hip, hip !-here goes !
Blow,-blow the trumpet, blow the-
Here he was puzzled for a rhyme,
And Lucy whispered “nose” in time,
And so they fell a-laughing.
"Gods!” cried a minister of State,
“You know not, Empress of my fate,
How long my passion would endure,
If passion were a sinecure;
But since, in Love's despotic clime,
Fondness is taxed, and pays in rhyme,
Glad to retire, I shun disgrace,
And make my bow, and quit my place.”
And thus the jest went circling round,
And ladies smiled and sneered, As smooth fourteen and weak fourscore Professed they ne'er had rhymed before, And drunkards blushed, and doctors swore,
And soldiers owned they feared ; Unwonted Muses were invoked
By pugilists and whips,