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Of one of these I heard a drummer say,

" Oft have I seen him from the muddy street, Across the crimson benches make his way,

To gain his well-loved and accustomed seat, " There, where yon orchestra uprears its rail,

On which I hang my drumsticks, many a night I've seen him, with a dirty shirt, and pale,

Watching the motley scene with wild delight. 6There, upon yonder seat, which now appears

To have rent its robe for grief he is not here, Oft have I seen him sit, dissolved in tears,

Veiling his grief in draughts of ginger-beer. " One night I missed him from his favourite seat.

I wondered strangely where the boy could be. Another night I gazed—in vain my gaze

Nor in the pit, nor in the house was he! " Come here ! I saw him carried to that tomb,

With drunken mutes, and all their mock parade. Just read—I've left my spectacles at home

The epitaph a friend has kindly made.”

THE EPITAPH. “Here lieth one beneath the cold damp ground,

A youth to London and the stage unknown, Upon his merits stern Macready frowned,

And 'Swan and Edgar' marked him for their own. " Large was his bounty, unto aught wherein

The stage did mingle, and the cost was sweet. He gave the drama all he could-his “tin,'

And gained—'twas all he could-his favourite seat. “No father had he who could interfere

To check his nightly wanderings about, And from the best authority we hear,

His mother never dreamt that he was out !" (From The Bentley Ballads." _By permission of Richard

Bentley, Esq.)

129

DARKNESS.

LORD BYRON. I HAD a dream, which was not all a dream. The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars Did wander darkling in the eternal space, Rayless and pathless, and the icy earth Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air ; Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day, And men forgot their passions in their dread Of this their desolation; and all hearts Were chill'd into a selfish prayer for light: And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones, The palaces of crowned kings—the huts, The habitations of all things which dwell, Were burnt for beacons; cities were consumed, And men were gathered round their blazing homes To look once more into each other's face; Happy were those who dwelt within the eye Of the volcanoes, and their mountain-torch : A fearful hope was all the world contain'd; Forests were set on fire—but hour by hour They fell and faded—and the crackling trunks Extinguish'd with a crash-and all was black. The brows of men by the despairing light Wore an unearthly aspect, as by fits The flashes fell upon them; some lay down And hid their eyes and wept; and some did rest Their chins upon their clenchèd hands, and smiled ; And others hurried to and fro, and fed Their funeral piles with fuel, and looked up With mad disquietude on the dull sky, The pall of a past world; and then again With curses cast them down upon the dust, And gnash'd their teeth and howl'd: the wild birds

shriek'd, . And, terrified, did flutter on the ground,

And flap their useless wings; the wildest brutes
Came tame and tremulous; and vipers crawl'd
And twined themselves among the multitude,
Hissing, but stingless—they were slain for food :
And war, which for a moment was no more,
Did glut himself again : a meal was bought
With blood, and each sate sullenly apart
Gorging himself in gloom; no love was left;
All earth was but one thought-and that was death,
Immediate and inglorious; and the pang
Of famine fed upon all entrails—men
Died, and their bones were tombless as their flesh;
The meagre by the meagre were devoured,
Even dogs assail'd their masters, all save one,
And he was faithful to a corse, and kept
The birds and beasts and famish'd men at bay,
Till hunger clung them, or the dropping dead
Lured their lank jaws; himself sought out no food,
But with a piteous and perpetual moan
And a quick desolate cry, licking the hand
Which answered not with a caress—he died.
The crowd was famish'd by degrees; but two
Of an enormous city did survive,
And they were enemies; they met beside
The dying embers of an altar-place
Where had been heap'd a mass of holy things
For an unholy usage; they raked up,
And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands
The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath
Blew for a little life, and made a flame
Which was a mockery; then they lifted up
Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld
Each other's aspects-saw, and shriek’d, and died
Even of their mutual hideousness they died,
Unknowing who he was upon whose brow
Famine had written Fiend. The world was void,
The populous and the powerful was a lump,
Seasonless, herbless, treeless, manless, lifeless-
A lump of death-a chaos of hard clay.

The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still,
And nothing stirred within their silent depths;
Ships, sailorless, lay rotting on the sea,
And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropp'd
They slept on the abyss without a surge-
The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,
The moon their mistress had expired before ;
The winds were withered in the stagnant air,
And the clouds perish’d; Darkness had no need
Of aid from them-She was the universe.

RICHARD AND KATE.

(A SUFFOLK BALLAD.)

ROBERT BLOOMFIELD. “Come, goody, stop your humdrum wheel,

Sweep up your orts, and get your hat; Old joys revived once more I feel;

'Tis fair-day ;-aye, and more than that :

“Have you forgot, Kate, prythee say,

How many seasons here we've tarried ? 'Tis forty years, this very day,

Since you and I, old girl, were married ! " Look out;—the sun shines warms and bright,

The stiles are low, the paths all dry; I know you cut your corns last night:

Come, be as free from care as 1.

“For I'm resolved once more to see

That place where we so often met;
Though few have had more cares than we,

We've none just now, to make us fret."

Kate scorned to damp the generous flame

That warmed her aged partner's breast;

Yet, ere determination came,

She thus some trifling doubts expressed :

" Night will come on; when seated snug,

And you've perhaps begun some tale, Can you then leave your dear stone mug;

Leave all the folk, and all the ale ?"

" Aye, Kate, I wool;—because I know,

Though time has been we both could run, Such days are gone and over now;

I only mean to see the fun !"

She straight slipped off the wall and band,

And laid aside her lucks and twitches : And to the hutch she reached her hand,

And gave him out his Sunday breeches.

His mattock he behind the door,

And hedging-gloves again replaced ; And looked across the yellow moor,

And urged his tottering spouse to haste.

The day was up, the air serene,

The firmament without a cloud; The bee hummed o'er the level green,

Where knots of trembling cowslips bowed.

And Richard thus, with heart elate,

As past things rushed across his mind, Over his shoulder talked to Kate,

Who, snug tucked up, walked slow behind.

“When once a giggling mauther you,

And I a red-faced chubby boy, Sly tricks you played me not a few ;

For mischief was your greatest joy.

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