Page images

Ah! had I married, I might now have scen But when to either we our souls devote, My-No! it never, never could have been: We grow unfitted for that world, and dote.” That long enchantment, that pernicious George to a school of higher class was sent,


But he was ever grieving that he went: True, I recover'd, but alas! too late- A still, retiring, musing, dreaming boy, And here is Richard, poor indeed—but-nay! He relish'd not their sudden bursts of joy; This is self - torment - foolish thoughts, Nor the tumultuous pleasures of a rude,


A noisy, careless, fearless multitude:

He had his own delights, as one who flies Ease leads to habit, as success to ease, From every pleasure that a crowd supplies: He lives by rule who lives himself to please; Thrice he returnd, but then was weary For change is trouble, and a man of wealth

grown, Consults his quiet as he guards his health ; And was indulged with studies of his own. And habit now on George had sovereign Still could the Rector and his friend relate


The small adventures of that distant date; His actions all had their accustom'd hour: And Richard listen’d as they spake of time At the fix'd time he slept, he walk’d, he read, Past in that world of misery and crime. Or sought his grounds, his gruel, and his bed; Freed from his school, a priest of gentle kind For every season he with caution dress'd, The uncle found to guide the nephew's mind; And morn and eve had the appropriate vest; Pleased with his teacher, George so long He talkd of early mists, and night's cold air,

remain'd, And in one spot was fix'd his worship’s chair. The mind was weakend by the store it But not a custom yet on Richard's mind

gain'd. Had force, or him to certain modes confined; His guardian uncle, then on foreign ground, To him no joy such frequent visits paid, No time to think of his improvements found; That habit by its beaten track was made : Nor had the nephew, now to manhood He was not one who at his ease could say,

grown, We'll live to-morrow as we lived to-day; Talents or taste for trade or commerce shown, But he and his were as the ravens fed, But shunn'd a world of which he little knew, As the day came it brought the daily bread. Nor of that little did he like the view.

George, born to fortune, though of mo- His mother chose, nor I the choice upbraid,

derate kind, An Irish soldier of an house decay'd, Was not in haste his road through life to find: And passing poor, but precious in her eyes His father early lost, his mother tried As she in his; they both obtain'd a prize. To live without him, liked it not, and—sighd, To do the captain justice, she might share When, for her widow'd hand, an amorous What of her jointure his affairs could spare:

youth applied: Irish he was in his profusion-true, She still was young, and felt that she could But he was Irish in affection too;


And though he spent her wealth and made A lover's passion, and an husband's care;

her grieve, Yet past twelve years before her son was He always said “my dear," and "with your told,

leave." To his surprise, “your father you behold.” Him she survived: she saw his boy posBut he beheld not with his mother's eye

sess'd The new relation, and would not comply; of manly spirit, and then sank to rest. But all obedience, all connexion spurn'd, And fled their home, where he no more


Her thus left, some legal cause His father's brother was a man whose mind

required Was to his business and his bank confined; That they should meet, but neither this His guardian care the captious nephew

desired : sought,

George, a recluse, with mind engaged, was And was received, caress'd, advised, and

one taught.

Who did no business, with whom none was “That Irish beggar, whom your mother took,

done; Does you this good, he sends you to your Whose heart, engrossid by its peculiar care,

book ;

Shared no one's counsel-no one his might Yet love not books beyond their proper

share. worth,

Richard, a boy, a lively boy, was told But when they fit you for the world, go of his half-brother, haughty, stern, and cold;


And his boy-folly, or his inanly pride, They are like beanties, and may blessings Made him on measures cool and harsh decide:

So, when they met, a distant cold salute When we with caution study them, or love; Was of a long-expected day the fruit;



The rest hy proxies managed, each withdrew, One of a race, if not extinguish'd, tamed,
Ter'd by the business and the brother too: The flogger now is of the act ashamed;
But now they met when timc had calm'd But this great mind all mercy's calls with-
the mind,

Both wish'd for kindness, and it made them This Holofernes was a man of blood.

kind :

Students, he said, like horses on the road, George had no wife or child, and was disposed Must well be lash'd before they take the load; To love the man on whom his hope reposed: They may be willing for a time to run, Richard had both; and those so well beloved, But you must whip them ere the work be Husband and father were to kindness moved;

done: And thus th' affections check’d, subdued, To tell a boy, that, if he will improve,


His friends will praise him, and his parents Rose in their force, and in their fulness

love, reign'd.

Is doing nothing--he has not a doubt

But they will love him, nay applaud, without: The bell now bids to dine: the friendly priest, Let no fond sire a boy's ambition trust Social and shrewd, the day's delight increased: To make him study, let him see he must. Brief and abrupt their speeches while they Such his opinion; and to prove it true,


At least sincere, it was his practice too: Nar were their themes of intellectual kind; Pluto they call’d him, and they named him Nor, dinner past, did they to these advance,

well, Bat left the subjects they discuss’d to chance. | 'Twas not an heaven' where he was pleased Richard, whose boyhood in the place was

to dwell: spent,

From him a smile was like the Greenland Profound attention to the speakers lent,

sun, Who spake of men ; and, as he heard a name, Or like the lightning, for the sudden flash

Surprising, nay portentous, when it shone; Actors and actions to his memory came: Then, too, the scenes he could distinctly tracc, Prepared the children for the thunder's crash. Here he had fought, and there had gain’d

a race; la that church-walk he had affrighted been, O! had Narcissa, when she fondly kiss'd la that old tower he had a something seen; The weeping boy whom she to school disWhat time, dismiss'd from school, he upward

miss'd, cast

Had she beheld him shrinking from the arm A fearful look, and trembled as he past.

Uplifted high to do the greater harm,
Then seen her darling stript, and that pare

white, No private tutor Richard's parents sought, And-O! her soul had fainted at the sight; Made keen by hardship, and by trouble And with those looks that love could not taught:

withstand, They might have sent him—some the coun- She would have cried: Barbarian, hold thy

hand! Seven gloomy winters of the North to brave, In vain! no grief to this stern soul could Where a few pounds would pay for board

speak, and bed,

No iron-tear roll down this Pluto's cheek. While the poor frozen boy was taught and When, say he lives, fair, freckled, lank and Thus far they went, half earnest, half in jest,


Then turn'd to themes of deeper interest; The lad returns shrewd, subtle, close and While Richard's mind, that for awhile had keen;

stray'd, With all the northern virtues, and the rules Call'd home its powers, and due attention paid. Tanght to the thrifty in these thriving

schools: There had he gone, and borne this trying

part, Bat Richard's mother had a mother's heart.



sel gave

fed ;

Now squire and rector were return'd to BOYS AT SCHOOL.

school, And spoke of him who there had sovereign We name the world a school, for day by day

We something learn, till we are call’d away; He was, it seem'd, a tyrant of the sort The school we name a world,-for vice and Who make the cries of tortured boys his


pain, sport; Fraud and contention, there begin to reiga;


And much, in fact, this lesser world can show This was his logic, and his arm so strong, of grief and crime that in the greater grow. His cause prevaild, and he was never wrong; You saw, said George, in that still-hated But no obtuse—you must have seen his school

look, How the meek susser, how the haughty rule; Desponding, angry, puzzled o’er his book. There soft, ingenuous, gentle minds endure Can you not see him on the morn that Ills that ease, time, and friendship fail to cure:

proved There the best hearts, and those, who shrink His skill in figures ? Pluto's self was moved

from sin,

Come, six times five? th' impatient teacher Find some seducing imp to draw them in ;

cried; Who takes infernal pleasure to impart In vain, the pupil shut his eyes, and sighd. The strongest poison to the purest heart. Try, six times count your fingers; how he Call to your mind this scene-Yon boy behold:

stands ! How hot the vengeance of a heart so cold! Your fingers, idiot!-- What, of both my See how be beats, whom he had just reviled

hands? And made rebellious--that imploring child: With parts like these his father felt assured, How fierce his eye, how merciless his blows, In busy times, a ship might be procured; And how his anger on his insult grows; He too was pleased to be so early freed, You saw this Hector and his patient slave, He now could fight, and he in time might read. Th’insulting speech, the cruel blows he gave. So he has fought, and in his country's cause Mix'd with mankind, his interest in his sight, Has gaind him glory, and our hearts' We found this Nimrod civil and polite,

applause. There was no triumph in his manner seen, No more the blustering boy a school defies, He was so humble you might think him We see the hero from the tyrant rise,

And in the captain's worth the student's Thore angry passions slept till he attain'd

dulness dies. His purposed wealth, and waked when that

was gain’d; He then resumed the native wrath and pride, Be all allow'd ; replied the Squire, I give The more indulged, as longer laid aside;

Praise to his actions; may their glory live! Wife, children, servants, all obedience pay,

Nay, I will hear him in his riper age The slaves at school no greater slaves than Fight his good ship, and with the foe engage;


Nor will I quit him when the cowards fly, No more dependant, he resumes the rein,

Although, like them, I dread his energy. And shows the schoolboy-turbulence again. But still, my friend, that ancient spirit reigns, Were I a poet, I would say, he brings

His powers support the credit of his brains, To recollertion some impetuous springs;

Insisting ever that he must be right, See! one that issues from its humble source, Let him a judge of England's prowess be,

And for his reasons still prepared to fight. To gain new powers, and run its noisy course; And all her floating terrors on the sea; Frothy and fierce among the rocks it goes, But this contents not, this is not denied, And threatens all that bound it or oppose: Till wider grown, and finding large increase, He claims a right on all things to decide ; Though bounded still, it moves along in A kind of patent-wisdom, and he cries,

"Tis so! and bold the hero that denies.

peace; And as its waters to the ocean glide,

Thus the boy-spirit still the bosom rules, They bear a busy people on its tide;

And the world's maxims were at first the But there arrived, and from its channel free,

school's. Thone swelling waters meet the mighty sea; With threat’ning force the new-form'a bil- No doubt, said Jacques, there are in minds lows swell,

the seeds And now affright the crowd they bore so of good and ill, the virtues and the weeds ;


But is it not of study the intent

This growth of evil nature to prevent ! Yet, said the Rector, all these early signs To check the progress of each idle shoot Of vice are lost, and vice itself declines; That might retard the ripening of the fruit? Religion counsels, troubles, sorrows rise, And the vile spirit in the conflict dies. Sir Hector Blane, the champion of the school, Our purpose certain! and we much effect, Was very blockhead, but was form'd for rule: We something cure, and something wr Learn he could not; he said he could not

correct; learn,

But do your utmost, when the man you see, But he profess'd it gave him no concern: You find him what you saw the boy would be. Books were his horror, dinner his delight, Disguised a little; but we still behold And his amusement to shake hands and fight; What pleased and what offended us of old. Argue he could not, but in case of doubt, Years from the mind no native stain remove Or disputation, fairly box'd it out: But lay the varnish of the world above.



Still, when he can, he loves to step aside The speech was heard, and praise was amply And be the boy, without a check or guide;

dealt, In the old wanderings he with pleasure strays, His Lordship felt it, and he said he feltAnd reassumes the bliss of earlier days. It is delightful, he observed, to raise

And foster merit,-it is more than praise.

Five years at school th' industrious boy had I left at school the boy with pensive look,

past, Whom some great patron order'd to his book, And what, was whisperd, will be done at

last? Who from his mother's cot reluctant came, And gave my Lord, for this compassion, My Lord was troubled, for he did not mean


To have his bounty watch'd and overseen; Who, told of all his patron's inerit, sigh’d, Bounty that sleeps when men applaud no I know not why, in sorrow or in pride; And would, with vex'd and troubled spirit, The generous act that waked their praise

before; cry, I am not happy; let your envy die.

The deed was pleasant while the praise was Him left I with you; who, perhaps, can tell If Fortune blest him, or what fate befell:

But none the progress would with wonder, I yet remember how the idlers ran

view : To see the carriage of the godlike man,

It was a debt contracted; he who pays When pride restrain'd me; yet I thought A debt is just, but must not look for praise:

the deed

The deed that once had fame must still Was noble, too, and how did it succeed?

proceed, Though fame no more proclaims, how great

the deed! Jacques answer'd not till he had backward The boy is taken from his mother's side,


And he who took him must be now his His view, and dwelt upon the evil past;

guide. Then, as he sigh’d, he smiled ;-from folly But this, alas ! instead of bringing fame,


A tax, a trouble, to my Lord became. Sach smiles, and misery will create such

sighs. And Richard now from his abstraction broke, / "The boy is dull, you say,—why then by Listening attentive as the Rector spoke.

By law, by physic, nothing can be made;
If a small living—mine are bot!, too large,
And then the College is a cursed charge:

The sea is open; should he there display
This noble lord was one disposed to try Signs of dislike, he cannot run away.”
And weigh the worth of each new luxury:
Now, at a certain time, in pleasant mood,
He tried the luxury of doing good;

Now Charles, who acted no heroic part, For this he chose a widow's handsome boy, And felt no seaman's glory warm his heart, Whom he would first improve, and then Refused the offer—anger touch'd my Lord.


“He does not like it-Good, upon my wordThe boy was gentle, modest, civil, kind, If I at College place him, he will need Bat not for bustling through the world Supplies for ever, and will not succeed ;


Donbtless in me 'tis duty to provide Reserved in manner, with a little gloom, Not for his comfort only, but his prideApt to retire, but never to assunie ; Let him to sea!”-He heard the words again, Possess'd of pride that he could not subdue, With promise join'd—with threat'ning; all Although he kept his origin in view.

in vain : Him sent my Lord to school, and this became Charles had his own pursuits; for aid to A theme for praise, and gave his Lordship

these fame;

He had been thankful, and had tried to please ; Bat when the boy was told how great his But urged again, as meekly as a saint,


He humbly begg'd to stay at home, and paint. He proudly ask'd, is it contracted yet ? “Yes, pay some dauber, that this stubborn With care he studied, and with some success;

fool His patience great, but his acquirements less: May grind his colours, and may boast his Yet when he heard that Charles would not

school." excel,

As both persisted: Choose, good sir, your His Lordship answer'd, with a smile, 'tis

way, well;

The Peer exclaim'd, I have no more to say. Let him proceed, and do the best he can, I seek your good, but I have no command I want no pedant, but a necful man. Upon your will, nor your desire withstand.


Resolved and firm, yet dreading to offend, I saw him next where he had lately come,
Charles pleaded genius with, his noble friend: A silent pauper in a crowded room;
Genius! he cried, the name that triflers give I heard his name, but he conceal'd his face,
To their strong wishes without pains to live; To his sad mind his misery was disgrace:
Genius! the plea of all who feel desire In vain I strove to combat his disdain
Of fame, yet grudge the labours that acquire: of my compassion—“Sir, I pray refrain;"
But say 'tis true; how poor, how late the For I had left my friends and stepp'd aside,


Because I fear’d his unrelenting pride. And certain ruin if the hope be vain! He then was sitting on a workhouse-bed, Then to the world appeal'd my Lord, and And on the naked boards reclined his head,


Around were children with incessant cry, Whatever happens, I am justified.

And near was one, like him, about to die; Nay, it was trouble to his soul to find A broken chair's deal bottom held the store There was such hardness in the human mind : That he required-he soon would need no He wash'd his hands before the world, and


A yellow tea-pot, standing at his side, That he such minds would patronize no more. From its half spout the cold black tea supplied.

Hither, it seem'd, the fainting man was

brought, Now Charles his bread by daily labours Found without food, - it was no longer sought,

sought: And this his solace, “go-Corregio wrought." For his employers knew not whom they paid, Alas, poor youth! however great his name, Nor where to seek him whom they wish'd And humble thine, thy fortune was the same :

to aid: Charles drew and painted, and some praise Here brought, some kind attendant he adobtain'd

dress'd, For care and pains; but little more was And sought some trifles which he yet posgain’d :

bess'd; Fame was his hope, and he contempt display'd Then named a lightless closet, in a room For approbation, when 'twas coolly paid : Hired at small rate, a garret's deepest gloom: His daily tasks he call'd a waste of mind, They sought the region, and they brought Ver'd at his fate, and angry with mankind :

him all "Thus have the blind to merit ever done, That he his own, his proper wealth could call : And Genius mourn'd for each neglected son." A better coat, less pieced; some linen neat, Charles murmur'd thus, and angry and alone Not whole; and papers many a valued sheet; Half breathed the curse, and half suppress’a Designs and drawings; these, at his desire,

the groan;

Were placed before him at the chamber-fire, Then still more sullen grew, and still more And while th' admiring people stood to gaze,


He, one by one, committed to the blaze, Fame so refused he to himself allow'd, Smiling in spleen; but one he held awhile, Crowds in contempt he held, and all to him And gave it to the flames, and could not was crowd.

smile. If aught on earth, the youth his mother


The sickening man-for such appear'd the And, at her death, to distant scenes removed.

factYears past away, and where he lived, and Just in his need, would not a debt contract;


But left his poor apartment for the bed Was then unknown-indeed we know not that earth might yield him, or some waynow;

side shed; But once at twilight walking up and down, Here he was found, and to this place convey'd, In a poor alley of the mighty town,

Where he might rest, and his last debt be Where, in her narrow courts and garrets,

paid: hide

Fame was his wish, but he so far from fame, The grieving sons of Genius, Want, and Pride, That no one knew his kindred, or his name, I met him musing: sadness I could trace,

Or by what means he lived, or from what And conquer'd hope's meek anguish, in his

place he came. face.

Poor Charles! unnoticed by thy titled friend, See him I must: but I with ease address’d, Thy days had calmly past, in peace thine end : And neither pity nor surprise express'd; Led by thy patron's vanity astray, I strove both grief and pleasure to restrain, Thy own misled thee in thy trackless way, But yet I saw that I was giving pain.

Urging thee on by hope absurd and vain, He said, with quick’ning pace, as loth to hold where never peace or comfort smiled again. A longer converse, that the day was cold, That he was well, that I had scarcely light To aid my steps, and bade me then Good Once more I saw him, when his spirits fail'd,


And my desire to aid him then prevail'd;

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »