Page images

Whom flow'rs alone I knew would little please,
Let fall th' unfinish'd wreath, and rov'd for fruit;
Rov'd far, and gather'd much: some harsh, 'tis true,
Pick'd from the thorns and briers of reproof,
But wholesome, well-digested; grateful some
To palates that can tafte immortal truth;
Insipid else, and sure to be despis’d.
But all is in His hand whose praise I seek.
In vain the poet sings, and the world hears,
If he regard not, though divine the theme.
'Tis not in artful measures, in the chime
And idle tinkling of a minstrel's lyre,
To charm his ear, whose eye is on the heart;
Whose frown can disappoint the proudest strain,
Whose approbation-profper even mine.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Dear Joseph-five and twenty years ago Alas, how time escapes !—'tis even foWith frequent intercourse, and always sweet, And always friendly, we were wont to cheat A tedious hour and now we never meet! As some grave gentleman in Terence says, ('Twas therefore much the same in ancient days) Good lack, we know not what to-morrow bringsStrange fluctuation of all human things! True. Changes will befall, and friends may part, But distance only cannot change the heart:

And, were I call’d to prove th' assertion true,
One proof should serve a reference to you.

Whence comes it then, that in the wane of life, Though nothing have occurr'd to kindle strife, We find the friends we fancied we had won, Though num'rous once, reduc'd to few or none? Can gold grow worthless that has stood the touch? No-gold they seem'd, but they were never such.

Horatio's servant once, with bow and cringe,
Swinging the parlour-door upon its hinge,
Dreading a negative, and overaw'd
Left he should trespass, begg'd to go abroad.
Go, fellow!—whither?-turning short about-
Nay-stay at home--you're always going out.
'Tis but a step, sir, just at the street's end. -
For what?-An please you, sir, to see a friend.
A friend! Horatio cried, and feem'd to start-
Yea marry shalt thou, and with all my heart.

[ocr errors]

And fetch my cloak; for, though the night be raw, I'll see him too--the first I ever saw.

I knew the man, and knew his nature mild,
And was his plaything often when a child;
But somewhat at that moment pinch'd him close,
Else he was seldom bitter or morose.

Perhaps, his confidence just then betray'd,
His grief might prompt him with the speech he made;
Perhaps 'twas mere good-humour gave it birth,
The harmless play of pleasantry and mirth.
Howe'er it was, his language, in


mind, Bespoke at least a man that knew mankind.

But, not to moralize too much, and strain
To prove an evil of which all complain,
(I hate long arguments, verbosely spun)
One story more, dear Hill, and I have done.
Once on a time an emp'ror, a wise man-
No matter where, in China or Japan-

« PreviousContinue »