Imágenes de páginas

Consuming all his time, and strength away,
To make the pond rise higher every day :
He work’d, and slav'd, and—oh! how slow it fills !
Pour'd in by pail-fulls, and took out—by gills.

4. In a wet season-he would skip about,

Placing his buckets under ev'ry spout ;
From falling show'rs collecting fresh supply,
And grudging every cloud—that passed by;
Cursing the dryness of the times, each hour,
Although it rain'd as fast as it could pour.

5. Then he would wade through ev'ry dirty spot,

Where any little moisture could be got;
And when he had done draining of a bog,
Still kept himself as dirty as a hog :
And cried, whene'er folks blam'd him : “ What d'ye mean?
It costs a world of water to be clean !"

6. If some poor neighbor crav’d to slake his thirst,

“ What !-rob my pond ! I'll see the rogue hang’d first :
A burning shame, these vermin of the poor
Should creep unpunish'd thus about my door!
As if I had of frogs and toads too few,
That suck my pond, whatever I can do.”

7. The Sun still found him, as he rose or set,

Always in quest of matters that were wet:
Betimes he rose to sweep the morning dew,
And rested late to catch the evening too.
With soughs and troughs, he labor'd to enrich
The rising pond, from ev'ry neighb'ring ditch.

8. With drains, and troughs, and pipes, and cuts, and sluices,

From growing plants he drain'd the very juices;
Made all the forest by these stringent measures
Deposit for him all its fluid treasures;

By some conveyance, or another, still
Devis'd recruits from each declining hill :
He left, in short, for this beloved plunder,
No stone unturn'd—that could have water under.

9. Sometimes when forc'd to quit his awkward toil,

And-sore against his will—to rest awhile;
Then straight he took his book, and down he sat
To calculate th’ expenses he was at;
How much he suffer'd, at a mod'rate guess,
From all those ways by which the pond grew less;
For as to those by which it still grew bigger,
For them he reckon'd—not a single figure :
He knew a wise old saying, which maintain'd,
“That 'twas bad luck to count what one had gain'd.”

10.“ First for myself—my daily charges here

Cost a prodigious quantity a year:
Although, thank Heav'n, I never boil my meat,
Nor am I such a sinner as to sweat :
But things are come to such a pass indeed,
We spend ten times the water that we need ;
People are grown, with washing, cleansing, rincing,
So finical and nice, past all convincing ;
So many proud, fantastic modes, in short,
Are introduc'd, that my poor pond pays for't.

11. “Not but I could be well enough content

With what, upon my own account, is spent;
But those large articles, from whence I reap
No kind of profit, strike me on a heap:
What a vast deal, each moment, at a sup,
This ever-thirsty earth itself drinks up!
Such holes ! and gaps ! alas ! my pond provides,
Scarce for its own unconscionable sides.

from every

12. Nay, how can one imagine it should thrive,

So many creatures as it keeps alive!

nook and corner, marry !
Filching as much as ever they can carry.
Then, all the birds that fly along the air,
Light at my pond, and come in for a share :
Also, at every puff of wind that blows,
Away at once—the surface of it goes :
The rest, in exhalations to the sun
One month's fair weather and I am undone !"

13. This life he led for many a year together :

Grew old, and gray, in watching of his weather;
Meagre as Death itself, till this same Death
Stopp'd, as the saying is, his vital breath;
For as th’ old fool was carrying to his field
A heavier burden than he well could wield,
He miss'd his footing, or some how he fumbled
In tumbling of it in,—but in he tumbled :
Mighty desirous to get out again,
He scream'd, and scrambl’d, but 'twas all in vain :
The place was grown so very deep and wide,
No bottom of it could he feel, nor side,
And so-in the middle of his pond-he died !

14. What think ye now from this imperfect sketch,

My friends, of such a miserable wretch ?-
“Why, 'tis a wretch, we think, of your own making;
No fool could be suppos’d in such a taking :
Your own warm fancy”—Nay, but warm or cool,
The world abounds with


such a fool:
The choicest ills, the greatest torments, sure,
Are those, which numbers labor to endure-
“ What! for a pond !"—Why, call it an ESTATE ;
You change the name, but realize the fate.



[ocr errors]

old mo

1. One day Polly said to me:
“Mr. Potiphar, we're getting down town."
“ What do you mean, my dear ?"

“Why, every body is building above, and there are actually shops in the next street. Singe, the pastry cook, has hired Mrs. Croesus's old house."

2. “I know it. Old Croesus told me so some time ago; and he said how sorry he was to go. “Why, Potiphar,' said he, “I really hoped when I built there, that I should stay, and not go out of the house, finally, until I went into no other.

3. I have lived there long enough to love the place, and have some associations with it; and my family have grown up in it, and love the old house too. It was our home.

4. When any of us said 'home,' we meant not the family only, but the house in which the family lived, where the children were all born, and where two have died, and my ther, too. I'm in a new house now, and have lost my reckoning entirely. I don't know the house; I've no associations with it. 5. The house is new, the furniture is new, and my feelings

It's a farce for me to begin again, in this way. But my wife

says it's all right, that every body does it, and wants to know how it can be helped ; and as I dont want to argue the matter, I look amen.' That's the way Mr. Croesus submits to his new house. Mrs. Potiphar.”

6. “I'm ashamed of you, Potiphar. Do you pretend to be an American, and not give way willingly to the march of improvement? You had better talk with Mr. Cream Cheese upon the 'genius of the country.'

7. You are really unpatriotic, you show nothing of the enterprising spirit of your time.” “ Yes," I answer. “That's pretty from you; you are patriotic, are n't


your liveries and illimitable expenses, and your low bows to money, and your immense intimacy with all lords and ladies that honor the city by visiting it. You are prodigiously patriotic with

are new.

your insane imitations of a splendor impossible to you in the nature of things. You are the ideal American woman, aren't you, Mrs. Potiphar."

8. Then I run, for I'm afraid of myself, as much as of her. I am sick of this universal plea of patriotism. It is used to excuse all the follies that outrage it. I am not patriotic if I don't do this and that, which, if done, is a ludicrous caricature of something foreign. I am not up to the time, if I persist in having my own comfort in my own way.

9. I try to resist the irresistible march of improvement, if I decline to build a great house ; which, when it is built, is a puny copy of a bad model. I am very unpatriotic, if I am not trying to outspend foreign noblemen, and if I don't affect, without education, or taste, or habit, what is only beautiful, when it is only the result of the three.

THE TRUMPETER. Mrs. ROBINSON. 1. It was in the days of a gay British king,

(In the old-fashion'd custom of merry-making,)
The palace of Woodstock with revels did ring,

While they sang and carous'd one and all :
For the monarch a plentiful treasure he had,
And his courtiers were pleas'd, and no visage was sad,
And the knavish and foolish with drinking were mad,

While they sat in the banqueting-hall.
2. Some talk'd of their valor, and some of their race,

And vaunted, till vaunting was black in the face;
Some bragg’d for a title, and some for a place,

And, like braggarts, they bragg’d one and all !
Some spoke of their scars in the holy crusade,
Some boasted the banner of Fame they displayed,
And some sang their loves in the soft serenade,

As they sat in the banqueting-hall.

« AnteriorContinuar »