Imágenes de páginas

Himself enslav'd by terror of the band,
Th' audacious convict, whom he daręs not bind.
Perhaps, though by profession ghostly pure,
He too may have his vice, and sometimes prove
Less dainty than becomes his grave outside
In lucrative concerns. Examine well

His milk-white hand; the palm is hardly clean-
But here and there an ugly smutch appears.
Foh! 'twas a bribe that left it: he has touch'd
Corruption! Whoso seeks an audit here
Propitious, pays his tribute, game or fish, ,
Wild-fowl or ven'son; and his errand speeds.

But faster far, and more than all the rest,
A noble cause, which none who bears a spark
Of public virtue ever wilh'd removid,
Works the deplor'd and mischievous effect.
'Tis universal soldiership has stabb’d
The heart of merit in the meaner class.
Arms, through the vanity and brainless rage

Of those that bear them, in whatever cause,
Seem molt at variance with all moral good,
And incompatible with serious thought.
The clown, the child of nature, without guile,
Bleft with an infant's ignorance of all
But his own simple pleasures ; now and then
A wrestling match, a foot-race, or a fair;
Is ballotted, and trembles at the news ::
Sheepish he doffs his hat, and, mumbling, swears
A bible-oath to be whate'er they please,
To do he knows not what! The task perform’d,
That instant he becomes the serjeant's care,
His pupil, and his torment, and his jest.
His awkward gait, his introverted toes,
Bent knees, round shoulders, and dejected looks,
Procure him many a curse. By Now degrees,
Unapt to learn, and form'd of stubborn stuff,
He yet by Now degrees puts off himself,
Grows conscious of a change, and likes it well:
He stands erect; his Nouch becomes a walk;

He steps right onward, martial in his air,
His form, and movement; is as smart above

As meal and larded locks can make him ; wears

His hat, or his plum'd helmet, with a grace ;
And, his three years of hero ship expir’d,
Returns indignant to the flighted plough.
He hates the field, in which no fife or drum
Attends him; drives his cattle to a march;
And fighs for the smart comrades he has left.
'Twere well if his exterior change were all-
But with his clumsy port the wretch has loft
His ignorance and harmless manners too !
To swear, to game, to drink; to show at home,
By lewdness, idleness, and fabbath-breach,
The great proficiency he made abroad;
T'astonish and to grieve his gazing friends ;
To break some maiden's and his mother's heart;
To be a pest where he was useful once;
Are his sole aim, and all his glory, now!

[ocr errors]

Man in society is like a flow'r

Blown in its native bed : 'tis there alone

His faculties, expanded in full bloom,
Shine out; there only reach their proper use.
But man, associated and leagu'd with man
By regal warrant, or self-join’d by bond
For int'rest-fake, or swarming into clans
Beneath one head for purposes of war,
Like flow'rs selected from the rest, and bound
And bundled close to fill some crowded vase,
Fades rapidly, and, by compression marr’d,
Contracts defilement not to be endur'd.
Hence charter'd boroughs are such public plagues ;
And burghers, men immaculate perhaps
In all their private functions, once combin'd,
Become a loathsome body, only fit
For dissolution, hurtful to the main.
Hence merchants, unimpeachable of sin
Against the charities of domestic life,
Incorporated, seem at once to lose

Their nature ; and, disclaiming all regard

mercy and the common rights of man,
Build factories with blood, conducting trade
At the sword's point, and dyeing the white robe
Of innocent commercial justice red.
Hence, too, the field of glory, as the world
Misdeems it, dazzled by its bright array,
With all its majesty of thund'ring pomp,
Enchanting music and immortal wreaths,
Is but a school where thoughtlessness is taught
On principle, where foppery atones
For folly, gallantry for ev'ry vice.

But, slighted as it is, and by the great Abandon’d, and, which still I more regret,

Infected with the manners and the modes

It knew not once, the country wins me still.
I never fram'd a wish, or form’d a plan,
That flatter'd me with hopes of earthly bliss,
But there I laid the scene. There early stray'd

« AnteriorContinuar »