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To lie in dead oblivion, losing half
The fleeting moments of too short a life;
Total extinction of the enlightened soul !
Or else to feverish vanity alive,
Wildered, and tossing through distempered dreams?
Who would in such a gloomy state remain
Longer than Nature craves; when every muse
And every blooming pleasure wait without,
To bless the wildly-devious morning walk?
But yonder comes the powerful King of Day,
Rejoicing in the east. The lessening cloud,
The kindling azure, and the mountain's brow
Illumed with fluid gold, his near approach
Betoken glad. Lo! now, apparent all,
Aslant the dew-bright earth, and colored air,
He looks in boundless majesty abroad;
And sheds the shining day, that burnished plays
On rocks, and hills, and towers, and wandering streams,
High-gleaming from afar.
3. SUN-SETTING." The Seasons," Thomson.
Low walks the sun, and broadens by degrees, Just o'er the verge of day. The shifting clouds, Assembled gay, a richly-gorgeous train,
In all their pomp, attend his setting throne.
Air, earth, and ocean, smile immense. And now,
As if his weary chariot sought the bowers
Of Amphitrite, and her tending nymphs,
(So Grecian fable sung), he dips his orb :
Now half-immersed; and now a golden curve
Gives one bright glance, then total disappears.
4. THE AMERICAN FOREST-GIRL.—Mrs. Hemans. D. 1835.
Wildly and mournfully the Indian drum
On the deep hush of moonlight forests broke-
"Sing us a death-song, for thine hour is come"-
So the red warriors to their captive spoke.
Still, and amidst those dusky forms alone,
A youth, a fair-haired youth of England stood,
Like a king's son: though from his cheek had flown,
The mantling crimson of the Island blood,
And his pressed lips looked marble. Fiercely bright
And high around him blazed the fires of night,
Rocking beneath the cedars to and fro,
As the wind passed, and with a fitful glow
Lighting the victim's face but who could tell
Of what within his secret heart befell,
Known but to Heaven that hour! Thick cypress boughs
Full of strange sound, waved o'er him, darkly red
In the broad stormy firelight ;-savage brows,
With tall plumes crested and wild hues o'erspread,
Girt him like feverish phantoms; and pale stars
Looked through the branches as through dungeon bars,
Shedding no hope.-He knew, he felt his doom—
Oh what a tale to shadow with its gloom
That happy hall in England !-Idle fear!
Would the winds tell it ?-Who might dream or hear
The secret of the forests?-To the stake
They bound him; and that proud young soldier strove
His father's spirit in his breast to wake,
Trusting to die in silence! He, the love
Of many hearts!--the fondly reared the fair,
Gladdening all eyes to see !--And fettered there
He stood beside his death-pyre, and the brand
Flamed up to light it in the chieftain's hand.-
He thought upon his God.-Hush! hark! a cry
Breaks on the stern and dread solemnity,--
A step hath pierced the ring !-Who dares intrude
On the dark hunters in their vengeful mood ?-
A girl-a young slight girl-a fawn-like child
Of green savannas and the leafy wild,
Springing unmarked till then, as some lone flower,
Happy because the sunshine is its dower;
Yet one who knew how early tears are shed,-
For hers had mourned a playmate brother dead.—
She had sat gazing on the victim long,
Until the pity of her soul grew strong;
And by its passion's deepening fervor swayed,
Even to the stake she rushed, and gently laid
His bright head on her bosom, and around
His form her slender arms to shield it wound
Like close Liannes; then raised her glittering eye,
And clear-toned voice, that said, "He shall not die !"
"He shall not die !"--the gloomy forest thrilled
To that sweet sound. A sudden wonder fell
On the fierce throng; and heart and hand were stilled,
Struck dumb as by the magic of a spell.
They gazed-their dark souls bowed before the maid,
She of the dancing step in wood and glade!
And, as her cheek flushed through its olive hue,
As her black tresses to the night wind flew,
Something o'ermastered them from that young mien-
Something of heaven, in silence felt and seen;
And seeming to their childish faith a token
That the Great Spirit by her voice had spoken.
They loosed the bonds that held the captive's breath;
From his pale lips they took the cup of death;
They quenched the brand beneath the cypress tree;
"Away," they cried, "young stranger, thou art free!"
5. TOBY TOSSPOT.-Colman.
Alas! what pity 'tis that regularity,
Like Isaac Shove's, is such a rarity,
But there are swilling wights in London town
Termed-jolly dogs-choice spirits-alias swine,
Who pour in midnight revel, bumpers down,
Making their throats a thoroughfare for wine.
These spendthrifts, who life's pleasures thus run on,
Dozing with headaches till the afternoon,
Lose half men's regular estate of sun,
By borrowing too largely of the moon.
One of this kidney,-Toby Tosspot hight—
Was coming from the Bedford late at night:
And being Bacchi plenus,--full of wine,
Although he had a tolerable notion,
Of aiming at progressive motion,
'Twasn't direct-'twas serpentine.
He worked with sinuosities along,
Like Monsieur Corkscrew, worming through a cork Not straight, like Corkscrew's proxy, stiff Don Prong -a fork.
At length, with near four bottles in his pate,
He saw the moon shining on Shove's brass plate,
When reading, "Please to ring the bell,"
And being civil beyond measure,
Ring it!" says Toby-" Very well;
I'll ring it with a deal of pleasure."
Toby, the kindest soul in all the town,
Gave it a jerk that almost jerked it down.
He waited full two minutes-no one came;
He waited full two minutes more ;-and then,
Says Toby, "If he's deaf, I'm not to blame;
I'll pull it for the gentleman again."
But the first peal woke Isaac in a fright,
Who, quick as lightning, popping out his head,
Sat on his head's antipodes, in bed,
Pale as a parsnip,—bolt upright.
At length, he wisely to himself doth say,—calming his fears,
Tush! 'tis some fool has rung, and run away; When peal the second rattled in his ears! Shove jumped into the middle of the floor ; And, trembling at each breath of air that stirred, He groped down stairs, and opened the street door, While Toby was performing peal the third.
Isaac eyed Toby fearfully askance,-
And saw he was a strapper stout and tall,
Then put this question: "Pray, Sir, what d'ye want?”
Says Toby: "I want nothing, sir, at all!
Want nothing!-Sir, you've pulled my bell, I vow, As if you'd jerk it off the wire."