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Dear B., whose native taste, solid and clear,
The throng of life has strengthen’d without harm,
You know the rural feeling, and the charm
That stillness has for a world-fretted ear:-
'Tis now deep whisp'ring all about me here
With thousand tiny hushings, like the swarm
Of atom bees, or fairies in alarm,
Or noise of numerous bliss from distant sphere.
This charm our evening hours duly restore,
Nought heard through all our little, lulld abode,
Save the crisp fire, or leaf of book turn'd o'er,
Or watch-dog, or the ring of frosty road.
Wants there no other sound then ?-Yes one more-
The voice of friendly visiting, long owed.
OR THE DESPERATE SITUATION OF A JOURNALIST UKHAPPILY
SMITTEN WITH THE LOVE OF RHYME.
AGAIN I stop ;-again the toil refuse !
Away, for pity's sake, distracting Muse ;
Nor thus come smiling with thy bridal tricks
Between my studious face, and politics.
Is it for thee to mock the frowns of fate?
Look round, look round, and mark my desp’rate state.
Cannot thy gifted eyes a sight behold,
That might have quell'd the Lesbian bard of old, *
And made the blood of Dante's self run cold?
Lo, first this table spread with fearful books
In which, whoe'er can help it, never looks ;
Letters to Lords, Remarks, Reflections, Hints ;
Lives, snatch'd a moment from the public prints ;
Pamphlets to prove, on pain of our undoing,
That rags are wealth, and reformation ruin ;
Journals, and briefs, and bills, and laws of libel,
And bloated and blood-red, the placeman's annual bible.
Scarce from the load, as from a heap of dead,
My poor old Homer shows his living head;
Milton, in sullen darkness, yields to fate,
And Tasso groans beneath the courtly weight :
Horace alone (the rogue !) his doom has miss’d,
And lies at ease upon the Pensiou List.
Round these, in tall imaginary chairs,
Imps ever griuning, sit my daily cares;
Distaste, delays, dislikings to begin,
Gnawings of pen, and kneadings of the chin.
Here the Blue Demon keeps his constant stir,
Who makes a man his own barometer;
There Nightmare, horrid mass! unfeatur'd heap!
Prepares to seize me if I fall asleep;
And there, with hands that grasp one's very soul,
Frowns Headach, scalper of the studious poll;
Headach, who lurks at noon about the courts,
And whets his tomahawk on East's Reports.
Chief of this social game behind me stands
Pale, peevish, periwigg'd, with itching hands,
A goblin double-tailed, and cloak'd in black,
Who while I'm gravely thinking, bites my back,
Around his head flits many a harpy shape
With jaws of parchment and long hairs of tape,
Threat'ning to pounce, and turn whate'er I write,
With their own venom, into foul despite.
Let me but name the court, they swear and curse,
And din me with hard names; and what is worse,
'Tis now three times that I have miss'd my purse.
No wonder poor Torquato went distracted,
On whose gall d senses just such pranks were acted,
When the small tyrant, God knows on what ground,
With dungeons and with doctors hemm'd him round.*
* See Black's Life of Torquato Tasso, which, if it does not evince a mature judgment in point of style, is written at once with great accuracy of investigation and enthusiasm of sympathy. One can pever hear without indignation, of the state to which this uusortunate genius was reduced by a petty Italian prince, the Duke of Ferrara, who, from some mysterious jeslousy, chose to regard bis morbid sensibility as madness, and
Last, but not least, (methinks I see him now!)
With stare expectant, and a ragged brow,
Comes the foul fiend, who, let it rain or shine,
Let it be clear or cloudy, foul or fine,
Or freezing, thawing, drizzling, hailing, snowing,
Or mild, or warm, or hot, or bleak and blowing,
Or damp, or dry, or dull, or sharp, or sloppy,
Is sure to come;—the Devil who comes for copy!
Old Brinsley, too, with whiskey dead alive,
Look up once more, and feel his flame revive;
And Canning, for a public joke, prefer
Some merrier fiction than his character.
E'en Walter Scott may see thee now and then,
Spite of the worn-out sword he wields for pen,
And all that ancient state in which he sits,
Of spears, plaids, bugles, helms, and border-wits.
Enchanter Scott, who in black-letter red,
Gains a rank life by raising of the dead,
Sure but to fix his destiny more fast,
And dying like themselves, be damn'd at last.
But see! e'en now thy wondrous charm prevails;
The shapes are mov'd: the stricken circle fails :
With backward grins of malice they retire,
Scar'd at thy seraph looks and smiles of fire.
That instant, as the hindmost shuts the door,
The bursting sunshine smites the window'd floor:
Bursts, too, on ev'ry side, the sparkling sound
Of birds abroad; th' elastic spirits bound;
And the fresh mirth of morning breathes around.
Away, ye clouds :-dull politics, give place ;-
Oi, cares, and wants, and threats, and all the race
Of foes to freedom and to graceful leisure !
To day is for the Muse and dancing pleasure !
O for a seat in some poetic nook,
Just hid with trees, and sparkling with a brook,
Where through the quiviring boughs the sunbeams shoot)
Their arrowy diamonds upon flow'r and fruit,
While stealing airs come fuming o'er the stream,
And lull the fancy to a waking dream!
There shouldst thou come, O first of my desires,
What time the noon had spent its fiercer fires,