Imatges de pàgina
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And boldly bid them stalk from where they lurk,
When once the charmed cup begins to work ;
"Till those who had aver'd the fame glar'd blue,
Close huddled round it as the terrors grew,
Wish'd that some sneaking spectre dar'd appeary
And on each other fung the coward's fear.

• Beside their garden dwelt their living stock;
The petted lambkin from the smiling fock,
The peasant youngling's joy to see its race,
Its antic gambols, or its saunt'ring pace,
Or mount its back, or smooth its woolly coat,
Or twine a garland round its fleecy throat,
Or pat its visage fair, that seem'd so mild,
Though, in the frolic mood, so archly wild,
That oft the sulky dog, and cat demure,
Betray'd to romps, have fall’n into the lare.

• The rich man's pastimes are the poor man's wealtlı,
And yield him plenty, happiness, and health,
The fattening porker, and prolific sow,
The brooding hen, and balmy-breathing cow,
The proud, vain turkey, tyrant of the green,
The good old market mare, and sheep serene ;
These fill'd the home-stall spare with life and glee,
These gave enough-enough 's prosperity !
These rais'd the hind, and lifted him to man,
And these were his till traitors chang'd the plan,
Their country's traitors ! who with dire design-

But check awhile, my heart, th' indignant line.' P.4. The following passage brings Burns to our recollection.

• And when a neighbour chanc'd to wend that way,
What time the sun-set clos'd the cares of day,
Or sweet-heart guest, to woo the damsel fair,
How blithe with such the cottage meal to share !
No sense of morn or noon-tide toils remain,
But pleasure beats renew'd in every vein!
Round goes the home-brew'd, with the light regale,
And mirthful thoughts and artless jests prevail ;
The peasant sire and matron, as they quaff
Good lack to lovers, mingle many a laugh
With winks and nods, the bashful maid to cheer,
While the fush'd youth in whispers wins her ear ;
And as the time to bid farewell drew nigh,
The pitying father heard the lover's sigh,
And at the warning click to strike, he strove
With generous haste the hour-hand back to move;
And still the tender respite to prolong
The matron kind would claim the maiden's song ;
And still, in fond return, the grateful swain
Would pour his passion in some artless strain,

Some soothing ditty that might hope inspire,
Or, in his turn, might call upon the sire,
Who in his age, rememb’ring days of youth,
Would troll his ballad fill'd with love and truth,
That very ballad which declar'd his flame,
When to the matron be a wooing came;
She, pleas’d to hear the recollected lay,
Prolong'd the parting hour by fresh delay,
Trillid her own madrigal with joyous sound,
'Till all the cottage took the chorus round ;-
At length, with promise of returning soon,
The swain hied home beneath the fav’ring moon.

• And when the fair return'd, how blithe to see
This from the plough, and that the wheel set free ;
To hear how echo sent the mingled sound
O'er hill and vale, to woods and streams around.
Lo! in gay groups the harmless people go,
Prepar'd for ev'ry prank and every show ;
All up betimes, and like the morning drest,
In nature's vermeil robe and lillied vest.
How sweet for earlier passenger to trace
Th' anticipated day in every face !
In every honest countenance reveal'd,
To read whate'er the light-wing'd hours might yield;
The hallow'd keep-sake, ever-sacred thing!
The motto'd garter, and the posied ring;
The bloomy ribbon, and the bonnet gay,
And hose, with figur'd clock, for holy-day ;
The father's duffel stout, and matron's gown
Of goodly grey, or sober-seeming brown;
The jovial feasting, and the foaming ale,
The loud-sung roundelay, the merry tale ;
The feats of merryman, the furious strife,
Warning, I ween, to maids of punch and wife!
The bridal day pronounc'd, the banns arrang'd,
The vow repeated, and the kiss exchang'd;
Then to their cots, unmindful of the dews,
Pockets with fairings, and heads cramm'd with news,
For kin-folk dear at home, who pining there
Haply sit up to hear about the fair!
And then for grandsire old, and granny grey,
Came forth the soft memorials of the day;
The polish'd snuff-box, with its pungent store,
The sweetmeats rare, and bravely gilded o'er ;
While those too young, like those too old to rove,
Receive their tokens of remember'd love ;
The shrilly whistle, and more manly toy,
For the weak infant and the sturdy boy ;
These, lightly slumb'ring, or their little eyes
By hope unclos’d, beheld with glad surprise

Those tokens gay, and half asleep, would take
The lascious lozenge or the tempting cake,
The orange sweet, or golden gingerbread,
And strew with many a crumb the tiny bed :
Small gifts ! yet, ah, how priz'd! and brought to view,
As treasures promis'd, and expected too!
For still from youth to nature's latest hour

The little cares preserve their magic power.' P. 4. It is unfortunate that Mr. Pratt's poem should so frequently remind us of better writers ; not because he has imitated them, but from the necessity of his subject. There remains for him, however, a high praise. He has felt for the miseries of the poor, and expressed good feelings upon an important topic in a well-timed season. We could wish that he had nol joined in the common and dangerous outcry against monopolisers. • As the deep warehouse opes

its

massy doors,
Far from pale famine plenty sends its stores :
Roll'd to the busy wharfs, the ready barge
Upon the smooth canal receives the charge ;
The fraudful hoards deep-laden to the brim,
Sacks pil'd on sacks, as heavily they swim
Far from the starving town—the thronging poor
In dire dismay stand gazing on the shore :
With ragged garinents, and with haggard mien,
From alleys dark and foul, and lanes obscene,
In squallid groups they eager press around,
Silent awhile from horror too profound
For words or voice ; but as the freight moves by,
And wealth observes it with triumphant eye,
A growing murmur gathers on the strand,
And mingled anguish stirs the meagre band;
The ruffian dealers see the tempest near,
And, as the thunders of the mob they hear
Begin to burst, the conscious cowards fly
With all the speed of trembling infamy.' P. 51.

• But soft, 'tis midnight! and while sleep the swains,
By magic moves the produce of the plains ;
Deep groan the waggons with their pond'rous loads,
As their dark course they bend along the roads;
Wheel following wheel, in dread procession slow,
With half a harvest to their points they go,
Their magic points by water and by land
Known to the tyrants and their hireling band.
The secret expedition, like the night
That covers its intents, still shuns the light ;
And, e'er the morning blushes on the deed,
The teams return, and all the plots succeed ;

While the poor ploughman, when he leaves his bed,
Sees the huge barn as empty as his shed.

: Dark Night! couldst thou unfold the darker tale
Of craft and fraud thy raven pinions veil ;
Or thou, pale moon! take up the guilty theme,
When the stol'n goods, beneath thy trembling beam,
Pase thief-like on, to work a people's woe,
Where small canals to mighty rivers flow:
Thence could parental Thames, or Severn, tell
What freights of villany their bosoms swell,
What hoarded stores, that might a people save,
There find, alas ! a banishment or grave ;
Rat-gnaw'd and rotted lost to human use,
Accursed avarice! by thy base abuse ;
O what tremendous scenes would meet the view,

To make wrong'd England start, and tremble too!' P. 53. Mr. Pratt calls loudly for the interference of government. The same outcry has been generaland violent; butour ministers have been happily firm, knowing that the evil lies beyond their power. It is not the interference of the legislature that can awaken good feelings, or counteract that love of gain which is the main spring, the very heart and life, of the commercial system. The moralist may do something--the clergyman may do mor. Perhaps Mr. Pratt himself has chosen the best mode of admonition, by appealing to the feelings of individuals. How much is in the power of individuals, his own notes amply evince.

The second part is devoted to the present state of the middle classes. The poet describes the situation of a reduced gentleman

2-an affecting situation, which Mrs. Smith has powerfully delineated in one of her novels, and which has afforded interesting subjects for our theatres.

• Mark yon grey doine, which still attempts to hide
Its drooping honours from insulting pride ;
And though, alas ! the shell alone remains
Of what was once the wonder of the plains,
Still does the wreck affect an air of state,
The gapp'd park paling, and the gaping gate,
The towers dismantled, and the crumbling wall,
The mould'ring pillars, menacing a fall,
The garden weedul half, and half in flower,
The broken statues and disorder'd bower,
· The vista trees hewn down beside the way,
E'en like their lord, majestic in decay;
And, as in better days, the warning bell,
That usd the social hour of joy to tell,
When gay festivity pour'd forth his trains,
And gave a general welcome to the swains,
Now sending forth, alas ! an empty sound,
To screen the ruin from the neighbours round,

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• But oh! heart-piercing sight! see yonder bed,
Where high-born Lucius lays his anguish'd head;
A modest patrimony called him lord,
And frugal plenty smil'd upon his board;
That plenty well a numerous race supplied,
Nothing superfluous, nothing was denied
Which virtue wish’d, or nature pure might claim,
And smooth his life till public robbers came;
Till trebled each demand for daily bread,
And not increas'd the means by which they fed,
Then sire and husband in his breast contend,
While brooding misery excludes a friend;
To her who shard them, scarce he dares impart
The thronging horrors that devour his heart.
In some dim room, with ragged tapestry spread,
As if already number'd with the dead,
On his dire fate he seeks to muse alone,
While at each thought bursts forth a dismal groan;
The dread of want comes rushing to his brain,
He smites his boding heart, and groans again!' P. 25.

« Ah ! little know the rich what pains molest,
In times like these, a parent's throbbing breast;
Ah ! little think they, as in rooms of state,
'Midst fatt'ring mirrors and unweildy plate ;
Or, fagg’d with yawning indolence, supine
On yielding down repose; from silver dine,
While swoln abundance the gorg'd banquet spreads,
And favoring fortune cloudless sunshine sheds
Thro' life, perchance, but as one summer day,
And every hour is taught to smile away;
Ah! little can they judge what Lucius knew,
As near his tott'ring hall fierce Famine drew;
Or, to prevent the fiend from ent'ring there,
And save his offspring from the last despair,
What thoughts annoy, what bitter fears invade,
What arts are tried, what sacrifices made ;
How the fond mother, though to softness bred,
Turns every thrifty talent into brcad;
And every present, e'en of bridal day3,
Converts to housewifery a thousand ways;
Or how the daughters, from the world to keep
Their father's

wrongs

and
sorrows, work and

wecP i
And, lest those wrongs and sorrows should be told,
Turn every youthful ornament to gold:
The hoarded tokens, and the keepsakes dear,
And love's soft pledge, is sold without a tear ;
Save that one precious drop perchance may rise,
When at their father's feet their small supplies
They blushing lay, and as they trembling kneel,
Daughters alone can tell what daughters feel..

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