Page images

The snow! the snow !—alas! to me
It speaks of far-off days,
When a boyish skater, mingling free
Amid the merry maze;
Methinks I see the broad ice still ;
And my nerves all jangling feel,
Blending with tones of voices shrill
The ring of the slider's heel.

The snow! the snow!—soon dusky night
Drew his murky curtains round
Low earth, while a star of lustre bright
Peep'd from the blue profound.
Yet what cared we for dark'ning lea,
Or warning bell remote :
With shout and cry we scudded by,
And found the bliss we sought.

The snow! the snow!—'t was ours to wage,
How ost, a mimic war,
Each white ball tossing in wild rage,
That left a gorgeous scar:
While doublets dark were powder'd o'er,
Till darkness none could find,
And valorous chiefs had wounds before,
And caitiff chiefs behind.

[ocr errors]

The snow! the snow!—Lo! Eve reveals
Her starr'd map to the moon,

And o'er hush'd earth a radiance steals
More bland than that of noon:

[ocr errors]

The fur-robed genii of the Pole
Dance o'er our mountains white,

Chain up the billows as they roll,
And pearl the caves with light,

The snow ! the snow !—It brings to mind
A thousand happy things,
And but one sad one—'tis to find
Too sure that Time hath wings!
Oh! ever sweet is sight or sound
That tells of long ago;
And I gaze around, with thoughts profound,
Upon the falling snow.


HARK' 'tis the twanging horn o'er }. bridge,
That with its wearisome but needful length
Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon
Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright;-
He comes, the herald of a noisy world,
With spatter'd boots, strapped waist, and frozen locks;
News }. all nations lumb'ring at his back:
True to his charge, the close-pack'd load behind,
Yet careless what he brings; his one concern,
Is to conduct him to the destined inn;
And, having dropp'd the expected bag, pass on.
He whistles as he goes, light-hearted wretch,
Cold and yet cheerful, messenger of grief
Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some ;
To him indifferent whether grief or joy.
Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks;
Births, deaths, and marriages; epistles wet
With tears, that trickled down the writer's cheeks,
Fast as the periods from his fluent quill;
Or charged with amorous sighs of absent swains,

Or o: responsive; equally affect
His horse and him, unconscious of them all.
But oh! the important budget ! usher'd in
With such heart-shaking music; who can sa
What are its tidings? Have our troops awak'd?
Qr do they still, as if with opium drugg’d,
Snore to the murmurs of the Atlantic wave?
Is India free? and does she wear her plumed
And jewell'd turban with a smile of peace,
Or do we grind her still? The ofdebate,
The popular harangue, the tart reply,
The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit,
And the loud laugh—I long to know them all;
I burn to set the imprison'd wranglers free,
And give them voice and utterance once again.

Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast, Iet fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round, ... and while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn Throws up a steamy column, and the cups, That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each, So let us welcome peaceful evening in. Not such is evening, who with shining face Sweats in the crowded theatre, and squeezed And bored with elbow-points through both his sides, Out-scolds the ranting actor on the stage : Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb, And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage; Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles. This folio of four pages, happy work! Which not e'en critics criticise; that holds Inquisitive attention, while I read, Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair, Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break — What is it but a map of busy life, Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns? . Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge That tempts ambition. On the summit see The seals of office glitter in his eyes;

He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels,
Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
And with a dextrous jerk soon twists him down,
And wins them but to lose them in his turn.
Here rills of oily eloquence in soft
Meanders lubricate the course they take :
The modest speaker is ashamed and grieved
To engross a moment's notice, and yet begs,
Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts,
However trivial all that he conceives. . .
Sweet bashfulness! it claims, at least, this praise,
The dearth of information and good sense
That it foretells us, always comes to pass.
Cataracts of declamation thunder here;
There forests of no meaning spread the page,
In which all comprehension wanders lost;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there
With merry descants on a nation's woes.
The rest appears a wilderness of strange

But ‘. confusion ; roses for the cheeks,
And lilies for the brows of faded age;
Teeth for the toothless, ringlets for the bald ;
Heaven, earth, and ocean plunder'd of their sweets;
Nectareous essences, Olympian dews,
Sermons, and city feasts, and favourite airs:
Ethereal journeys, submarine exploits,
And Katterfelto with his hair on end
At his own wonders—wond'ring for his bread.
'Tis pleasant through the loopholes of retreat
To peep at such a world; to see the stir
Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd;
To hear the roar she sends through all her gates
At a safe distance, where the dying sound
Falls a soft murmur on the uninjured ear.
Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease
The globe and its concerns, I seem advanced
To some secure and more than mortal height,
That liberates and exempts me from them all.
sorno, submitted to my view; turns round,
With all its generations: I behold

The tumult, and am still. The sound of war
Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me; -
Grieves, but alarms me not fmourn the pride
dayarice, that make man a wolf to man;
Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats,
By which he speaks the language of his heart,
And sigh, but never tremblé at the sound.
° travels and expatiates; as the bee
From flower to flower, so he from land to land;
he manners, customs, policy of all
Pay contribution to the store he gleans;
He sucks intelligence in every clime,
And spreads the honey of his deep research
At his return—a rich repast for me.
He travels, and I too. I tread his deck,
Ascend his topmast, through his peering eyes
Piscover countries, with a kindréd heart
Suffer his woes, and share in his esca S;
While fancy, like the finger of a clock, *
Runs the great circuit, and is still at home.


THE Spring—she is a blessed thing!
She is the mother of the flowers;

She is the mate of birds and bees,

The partner of their revelries,
Our star of hope through wintry hours.

To many children, when they see
Her coining, by the budding thorn,
They leap upon the costage floor,
They shout beside the cottage door,
run to meet her night and morm.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »