« AnteriorContinuar »
Drops chase each other down his breast and sides,
Ah, well for him if here his suffering ceased,
RICHARD AND KATE,
OR FAIR DAY.
(A Suffolk Ballad.) “Come, Goody, stop your humdrum wheel,
Sweep up your orts, and get your hat; Old joys revived once more I feel,
'Tis Fair day; ay, and more than that.
“Have you forgot, Kate, prithee say,
How many seasons here we've tarried ? 'Tis forty years this very day,
Since you and I, old girl, were married !
“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 scorn'd to damp the gen'rous flame
That warm'd 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 folks, and all the ale?”
“Ay Kate, I wooll, 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.”
The day was up, the air serene,
The firmament without a cloud ; The bee hummid o'er the level green
Where knots of trembling cowslips bow'd.
And Richard thus, with heart elate,
As past things rush'd across his mind, Over his shoulder talk'd to Kate,
Who, snug tuck'd up, walked on behind,
Now friendly nods and smiles had they
From many a kind fair-going face ; And many a pinch Kate gave away,
While Richard kept his usual pace.
At length arrived amidst the throng,
Grand-children bawling hemm'd them round, And dragg'd them by the skirts along Where gingerbread bestrew'd the ground.
And soon the aged couple spied
Their lusty sons and daughters dear; When Richard thus exulting cried,
“ Didn't I tell you they'd be here ?”
'Twas good to see the honest strife,
Which should contribute most to please ; And hear the long-recounted life
Of infant tricks and happy days.
But now, as at some nobler places,
Amongst the leaders 'twas decreed Time to begin the Dicky Races,
More famed for laughter than for speed.
Richard look'd on with wondrous glee,
And praised the lad who chanced to win; “Kate, wa'nt I such a one as he ?
As like him, aye, as pin to pin.
“Full fifty years are pass'd away,
Since I rode this same ground about; Lor', I was lively as the day,
I won the High-lows out and out !"
Thus spoke the ale in Richard's pate,
A very little made him mellow, But still he loved his faithful Kate,
Who whisper'd thus, “My good old fellow,
“Remember what you promised me,
And see, the sun is getting low; The children want an hour ye see
To talk a bit before we go."
Kate viewed her blooming daughters round,
And sons, who shook her wither'd hand : Her features spoke what joy she found,
But utterance had made a stand.
The children toppled on the green,
And bowld their fairings down the hill; Richard with pride beheld the scene,
Nor could he for his life sit still,
A father's uncheck'd feelings gave
A tenderness to all he said : “My boys, how proud am I to have
My name thus round the country spread !
“Through all my days I've laboured hard,
And could of pains and crosses tell; But this is labour's great reward,
To meet ye thus and see ye well.
“My good old partner, when at home,
Sometimes with wishes mingles tears ; Goody, says I, let what wooll come,
We've nothing for them but our prayers.
Thou, Filial Piety, wert there;
And round the ring, benignly bright, Dwelt in the luscious half-shed tear,
And in the parting words—"Good night.”
With thankful hearts and strengthen'd love,
The poor old, pair, supremely blest, Saw the sun sink behind the grove,
And gain'd once more their lowly rest.
THE POET AND HIS POETRY.
ROBERT SOUTHEY. (Poet Laureate,) was born at Bristol, in 1774, in which place his father carried on an extensive business as a linen draper. Mr. Southey was first educated under Mr. Foote, a baptist minister of great talent, from whom he is said to have imbibed those "crude notions,” which exhibited themselves in his early writings. He was afterwards removed to Westminster School, and thence to Oxford, where he was entered a student of Baliol Col. lege, with a view to the church to which however he was not at that time partial. In 1801, Mr. Southey was appointed Secretary to the Right Honourable Isaac Corry, Chancellor of the Exchequer for Ireland, but retired from office with his patron. In 1813, on the death of Mr. Pye, he succeeded to the office of Poet Laureate.
Southey has written a great deal, both verse and prose. His early poetical productions were disfigured by party politics, but nevertheless contain evidence of powerful genius: “Wat Tyler," "Joan of Arc," and "Thalaba,” abound in rich descriptions, and are full of passion and feeling. Latterly the author has written little but prose, and his “Life of Lord Nelson,” “Life of Westley,” “History of the Peninsula,” and “Book of the Church,” are considered fine specimens of English composition; his prose has been preferred to his poetry and not without reason, for while one may exhibit the man of feeling and imagination, the other exhibits the most splendid proofs of a richly stored mind, an impartial judgment, and sets forth in every page the frankness and candour of an honest man.]
EXTRACTS FROM SOUTHEY.
THE MAID OF THE INN.
Who is she, the poor maniac ! whose wildly fix'd eyes
Seem a heart overcharged to express ?
The composure of settled distress!