Imágenes de páginas


"Sing, heavenly Muse!

"Things unattempted yet, in prose or rhyme;"
A Shilling, Breeches, and Chimeras dire.

Happy the man, who, void of cares and strife, In silken or in leathern purse retains A Splendid Shilling. He nor hears with pain New oysters cry'd, nor sighs for cheerful ale: But with his friends, when nightly mists arise, To Juniper's Magpye, or Town Hall repairs; Where, mindful of the nymph, whose wanton eye ransfix'd his soul, and kindled amorous flames, hloe, or Phillis, he each circling glass Visheth her health, and joy, and equal love. (eanwhile he smoaks, and laughs at merry tale, pun ambiguous, or conundrum quaint. at I, whom griping penury surrounds, nd hunger sure attendant upon want, Vith scanty offals, and small acid tiff, Wretched repast!) my meagre corse sustain; hen solitary walk, or doze at home 1 garret vile, and with a warming puff legale chill'd fingers; or, from tube as black s winter chimney, or well-polish'd jet, xhale Mundungus, ill-perfuming scent; lot blacker tube, nor of a shorter size, noaks Cambro-Britain (vers'd in pedigree, prung from Cadwallader and Arthur, kings ull famous in romantic tale) when he

er many a craggy hill, and barren cliff, on a cargo of fam'd Cestrian cheese, gh over-shadowing rides, with a design o vend his wares, or at th' Arvonian mart, r Maridunum, or the ancient town clep'd Brechinia; or where Vaga's stream

Qu qu

Encircles Ariconium, fruitful soil,
Whence flow nectareous wines, that well may vie
With Massic, Setin, or renown'd Falern.

Thus, while my joyless minutes tedious flow,
With looks demure, and silent pace, a Dun,
Horrible monster! hated by gods and men,
To my aërial citadel ascends:

With vocal heel thrice thund'ring at my gates,
With hideous accent thrice he calls; I know
The voice ill-boding, and the solemn sound.
What should I do? or whither turn? Amaz'd,
Confounded, to the dark recess I fly
Of wood-hole; straight my bristling hairs erect
Thro' sudden fear; a chilly sweat bedews
My shudd'ring limbs, and (wonderful to tell!)
My tongue forgets her faculty of speech;
So horrible he seems! His faded brow
Entrench'd with many a frown, and conick beard,
And spreading band, admir'd by modern saints,
Disastrous acts forebode; in his right hand
Long scrolls of paper solemnly he waves,
With characters and figures dire inscrib'd,
Grievous to mortal eyes; (ye gods, avert
Such plagues from righteous men!) Behind him stalks
Another monster, not unlike himself,
Sullen of aspect, by the vulgar call'd
A Catchpole, whose polluted hands the gods
With force incredible, and magic charms,
Erst have endu'd; if he his ample palm
Should haply on ill-fated shoulder lay
Of debtor, straight his body, to the touch
Obsequious, (as whilom knights were wont
To some inchanted castle is convey'd,
Where gates impregnable, and coercive chains,
In durance strict detain him, till, in form
Of money, Pallas sets the captive free.
Beware, ye debtors! when ye walk beware,
Be circumspect; oft with insidious ken
This caitiff eyes your steps aloof, and oft

Lies perdue in a nook or gloomy cave,
Prompt to inchant some inadvertent wretch
With his unhallow'd touch. So (poets sing)
Grimalkin, to domestic vermin sworn
An everlasting foe, with watchful eye
Lies nightly brooding o'er a chinky gap,
Protending her fell claws, to thoughtless mice
Sure ruin. So her disembowell'd web
Arachne in a hall or kitchen spreads,
Obvious to vagrant flies: she secret stands
Within her woven cell; the humming prey,
Regardless of their fate, rush on the toils
Inextricable, nor will aught avail
Their arts, or arms, or shapes of lovely hue;
The wasp insidious, and the buzzing drone,
And butterfly proud of expanded wings
Distinct with gold, entangled in her snares,
Useless resistance make: with eager strides,
She tow'ring flies to her expected spoils;
Then with envenom'd jaws the vital blood
inks of reluctant foes, and to her cave
Their bulky carcases triumphant drags.

So pass my days. But when nocturnal shades
This world invelope, and th' inclement air
Persuades men to repel benumbing frosts
With pleasant wines, and crackling blaze of wood;
Me lonely sitting, nor the glimmering light
Of make-weight candle, nor the joyous talk
Of loving friend, delights; distress'd, forlorn,
Amidst the horrors of the tedious night,
Darkling I sigh, and feed with dismal thoughts
My anxious mind; or sometimes mournful verse
Indite, and sing of groves and myrtle shades,
Dr desperate lady near a purling stream,
Or lover pendent on a willow-tree.
feanwhile I labour with eternal drought,
And restless wish and rave; my parched throat
Finds no relief, nor heavy eyes repose:

[ocr errors]


But if a slumber haply does invade
My weary limbs, my fancy 's still awake,
Thoughtful of drink, and eager, in a dream,
Tipples imaginary pots of ale,
In vain-awake, I find the settled thirst
Still gnawing, and the pleasant phantom curse.

Thus do I live, from pleasure quite debarr'd,
Nor taste the fruits that the sun's genial rays
Mature, john-apple, nor the downy peach,
Nor walnut in rough-furrow'd coat secure,
Nor medlar fruit delicious in decay.
Afflictions great! yet greater still remain:
My galligaskins, that have long withstood
The winter's fury, and encroaching frosts,
By time subdu'd, (what will not time subdue!)
An horrid chasm disclose, with orifice
Wide, discontinuous; at which the winds,
Eurus and Auster, and the dreadful force
Of Boreas, that congeals the Cronian waves,
Tumultuous enter with dire chilling blasts,
Portending agues. Thus a well-fraught ship,
Long sail'd secure, or thro' th' Egean deep,
Or the Ionian, till cruising near
The Lilybean shore, with hideous crush
On Scylla, or Charybdis, (dang'rous rocks)
She strikes rebounding; whence the shatter'd oak,
So fierce a shock unable to withstand,
Admits the sea; in at the gaping side
The crouding waves gush with impetuous rage,
Resistless, overwhelming! Horrors seize
The mariners; death in their eyes appears; [pray
They stare, they lave, they pump, they swear, they
(Vain efforts!) still the battering waves rush in,
Implacable; till, delug'd by the foam,
The ship sinks found'ring in the vast abyss.


Miss Molly, a fam'd toast, was fair and young,
Had wealth and charms-but then she had a tongue!
From morn to night, th' eternal larum rung,
Which often lost those hearts her eyes had won.

Sir John was smitten and confess'd his flame, Sigh'd out the usual time, then wed the dame; Possess'd, he thought of every joy of life; But his dear Molly prov'd a very wife. Excess of fondness did in time decline; Madam lov'd money, and the knight lov'd wine. From whence some petty discords would arise, As "You're a fool!" and, "You are mighty wise!" "Tho' he and all the world allow'd her wit, Her voice was shrill, and rather loud than sweet; When she began,-for hat and sword he'd call; Then, after a faint kiss,-cry, "B'y', dear Moll: "Supper and friends expect me at the Rose." "And, what, Sir John, you'll get your usual dose ? "Go, stink of smoke, and guzzle nasty wine; "Sure, never virtuous love was us'd like mine!"

Oft', as the watchful bellman march'd his round, At a fresh bottle gay Sir John he found. By four the knight would get his business done, And only then reel'd off, because alone. Full well he knew the dreadful storm to come; But, arm'd with Bourdeaux, he dust venture home. My lady with her tongue was still prepar'd, She rattled loud, and he impatient heard: "'Tis a fine hour! In a sweet pickle made! "And this, Sir John, is every day the trade. "Here I sit moping all the live-long night, "Devour'd with spleen, and stranger to delight;

« AnteriorContinuar »