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“Ham. The air bites shrewdly—it is very cold.
Hor. It is a nipping and eager air."—HAMLET.
CoME, gentle Spring ! ethereal mildness, come !”
O! Thomson, void of rhyme as well as reason,
How couldst thou thus poor human nature hum?
There's no such season.
The Spring ! I shrink and shudder at her name I
For why, I find her breath a bitter blighter
And suffer from her blows as if they came
From Spring the Fighter.
Her praises, then, let hardy poets sing,
And be her tuneful laureates and upholders,
Who do not feel as if they had a Spring
Poured down their shoulders!
Let others eulogize her floral shows;
From me they can not win a single stanza.
I know her blooms are in full blow—and so 's
Her cowslips, stocks, and lilies of the vale,
Her honey-blossoms that you hear the bees at,
Her pansies, daffodils, and primrose pale,
Are things I sneeze at!
Fair is the vernal quarter of the year!
And fair its early buddings and its blowings—
But just suppose Consumption's seeds appear
With other sowings!
For me, I find, when eastern winds are high,
A frigid, not a genial inspiration;
Nor can, like Iron-Chested Chubb, defy
Smitten by breezes from the land of plague,
To me all vernal luxuries are fables,
O! where's the Spring in a rheumatic leg,
Stiff as a table's 2
I limp in agony—I wheeze and cough;
And quake with Ague, that great Agitator;
Nor dream, before July, of leaving off
What wonder if in May itself I lack
A peg for laudatory verse to hang on 2–
Spring, mild and gentle!—yes, a Spring-heeled Jack
To those he sprang on.
In short, whatever panegyrics lie
In fulsome odes too many to be cited,
The tenderness of Spring is all my eye,
And that is blighted
Ah me! those old familiar bounds !
That classic house, those classic grounds,
My pensive thought recalls!
What tender urchins now confine,
What little captives now repine,
Within yon irksome walls
Ay, that's the very house ! I know
Its ugly windows, ten a row !
Its chimneys in the rear !
And there's the iron rod so high,
That drew the thunder from the sky
And turned our table-beer!
There I was birched there I was bred I
There like a little Adam fed
From Learning's woeful tree!
The weary tasks I used to con!—
The hopeless leaves I wept upon l—
Most fruitful leaves to me !
The summoned class!—the awful bow!—
I wonder who is master now
And wholesome anguish sheds!
How many ushers now employs,
How many maids to see the boys
Have nothing in their heads !
And Mrs. S + 4 +?–Doth she abct
(Like Pallas in the palor) yet
Some favored two or three—
The little Crichtons of the hour,
Her muffin-medals that devour,
And swill her prize—bohea?
Ay, there's the playground ! there's the lime,
Beneath whose shade in summer's prime
So wildly I have read l—
Who sits there now, and skims the cream
Of young Romance, and weaves a dream
Of Love and Cottage-bread?
Who struts the Randall of the walk 2
Who models tiny heads in chalk?
Who scoops the light canoe 7
What early genius buds apace?
Where's Poynter? Harris? Bowers? Chase?
Hal Baylis’ blithe Carew 7
Alack they're gone—a thousand ways!
And some are serving in “the Greys,”
And some have perished young !—
Jack Harris weds his second wife;
Hal Baylis drives the wayne of life;
And blithe Carew—is hung
Grave Bowers teaches A B C
To Savages at Owhyee;
Poor Chase is with the worms 1–
All are gone—the olden breed l—
New crops of mushroom boys succeeds,
“And push us from our forms!"
Lo! where they scramble forth, and shout,
And leap, and skip, and mob about,
At play where we have played!
Some hop, some run (some fall), some twine
Their crony arms; some in the shine,
And some are in the shadel
Lo there what mixed conditions run |
The orphan lad; the widow's son;
And Fortune's favored care—
The wealthy born, for whom she hath
Macadamized the future path—
The nabob's pampered heir!
Some brightly starred—some evil born—
For honor some, and some for scorn—
For fair or foul renown
Good, bad, indifferent—none they lack!
Look, here's a white, and there's a blackl
And there's a creole brown!
Some laugh and sing, some mope and weep,
And wish their frugal sires would keep
Their only sons at home;—
Some tease the future tense, and plan
The full-grown doings of the man,
And pant for years to come !
A foolish wish! There's one at hoop;
And four at fives/ and five who stoop
The marble taw to speed I
And one that curvets in and out,
Reining his fellow-cob about,
Would I were in his steed /
Yet he would gladly halt and drop
That boyish harness off, to swop
With this world's heavy van—
To toll, to tug. O little fool!
While thou can be a horse at school
To wish to be a man'
Perchance thou deem'st it were a thing
To wear a crown—to be a king!
And sleep on regal down
Alas! thou know'st not kingly cares;
Far happier is thy head that wears
That hat without a crown'
And dost thou think that years acquire
New added joys 2 Dost think thy sire
More happy than his son 2
That manhood's mirth?–0, go thy ways
To Drury-lane when plays,
And see how forced our fun!
Thy taws are brave!—thy tops are rare 1–
Our tops are spun with coils of care,
Our dumps are no delight!—
The Elzin marbles are but tame.
And 'tis at best a sorry game
To fly the Muse's kites
Our hearts are dough, our heels are lead,
Our topmost joys fall dull and dead,
Like balls with no rebound!
And often with a faded eye
We look behind, and send a sigh
Toward that merry ground !
Then be contented. Thou hast got
The most of heaven in thy young lot;
There's sky-blue in thy cup!
Thou It find thy manhood all too fast—
Soon come, soon gone! and age at last
A sorry breaking up /