« AnteriorContinua »
Alas! regardless of their doom,
The little victims play!
No sense have they of ills to come,
Nor care beyond to-day:
Yet see how all around 'em wait
The Ministers of human fate,
And black Misfortune's baleful train! ..
Ah, show them where in ambush stand
To seize their prey the murth'rous band: Ah, tell them they are men!
These shall the fury Passions tear,
The vultures of the mind,
Disdainful Anger, pallid Fear,
And Shame that sculks behind;
Or pining Love shall waste their youth,
Or Jealousy with rankling tooth,
That inly knaws the secret heart,
And Envy wan, and faded Care,
Grim-visaged comfortless Despair,
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Ambition this shall tempt to rise,
Then whirl the wretch from high, To bitter Scorn a sacrifice,
And grinning Infamy. The stings of Falsehood, those shall try, And hard unkindness' alter'd eye, That mocks the tear it forced to flow; - And keen Remorse with blood defiled,
And moody Madness laughing wild Amid severest woe.
Lo, in the vale of years beneath
A griesly troop are seen, The painful family of Death,
More hideous than their Queen: This racks the joints, this fires the veins, That every laboring sinew strains, Those in the deeper vitals rage : Lo, Poverty, to fill the band,
That numbs the soul with icy hand, And slow-consuming Age.
To each his suff rings: all are men,
Condemn'd alike to groan; The tender for another's pain,
Th' unfeeling for his own. Yet ah ! why should they know their fate ? Since sorrow never comes too late, And happiness too swiftly flies.
Thought would destroy their paradise.
No more; where ignorance is bliss, 'Tis folly to be wise.
THE ALLIANCE OF EDUCATION AND GOVERNMENT.
As sickly plants betray a niggard earth,
Whose barren bosom starres her gen'rous birth
Nor genial warmth, nor genial juice retains
Their roots to feed, and fill their verdant veins;
And as in climes, where Winter holds his reign,
The soil, though fertile, will not teem in vain,
Forbids her gems to swell, her shades to rise,
Nor trusts her blossoms to the churlish skies :
So draw mankind in vain the vital airs,
Unform'd, unfriended, by those kindly cares,
That health and vigour to the soul impart,
Spread the young thought, and warm the opening neart:
So fond Instruction on the growing powers
Of nature idly lavishes her stores,
If equal Justice with unclouded face
Smile not indulgent on the rising race,
And scatter with a free, though frugal hand
Light golden showers of plenty o'er the land:
But Tyranny has fix'd her empire there,
To check their tender hopes with chilling fear,
And blast the blooming promise of the year.
This spacious animated scene survey,
From where the rolling orb, that gives the day,
His sable sons with nearer course surrounds
To either pole, and life's remotest bounds.
How rude soe'er th' exterior form we find,
Howe'er opinion tinge the varied mind,
Alike, to all the kind, impartial Heav'n
The sparks of truth and happiness has giv'n;
With sense to feel, with memory to retain,
They follow pleasure, and they fly from pain;
Their judgment rends the plan their fancy draws,
Th' event presages, and explores the cause;
The soft returns of gratitude they know,
By fraud elude, by force repel the foe;
While mutual wishes, mutual woes endear
The social smile and sympathetic tear.'
Say, then, through ages by what fate confined
To different climes seem different souls assign'd?
Here measured laws and philosophic ease
Fix, and improve the polish'd arts of peace.
There industry and gain their vigils keep,
Command the winds, and tame th' unwilling deep.
Here force and hardy deeds of blood prevail;
There languid pleasure sighs in every gale.
Oft o'er the trembling nations from afur
Has Scythia breathed the living cloud of war;
And, where the deluge burst, with sweepy sway
Their arms, their kings, their gods were roll'd away.
As oft have issued, host impelling host,
The blue-eyed myriads from the Baltic coast.
The prostrate South to the destroyer yields
Her boasted titles and her golden fields ·
With grim delight the brood of winter view
A brighter day, and heavens of azure hue,
Scent the new fragrance of the breathing rose,
And quaff the pendent vintage as it grows.
Proud of the yoke, and pliant to the rod,
Why yet does Asia dread a monarch's nod,
While European freedom still withstands
Th' encroaching tide, that drowns her lessening lands;
And sees far off with an indignant groan
Her native plains, and empires once her own.
Can opener skies and suns of fiercer flame
O'erpower the fire that animates our frame;
As lamps, that shed at eve a cheerful ray,
Fade and expire beneath the eye of day?
Need we the influence of the northern star
To string our nerves and steel our hearts to war!
And, where the face of nature laughs around,
Must sick’ning virtue fly the tainted ground?
Unmanly thought! what seasons can control,
What fancied zone can circumscribe the soul,
Who, conscious of the source from whence she springs,
By reason's light, on resolution's wings,
Spite of her frail companion, dauntless goes
O'er Lybia's deserts and through Zembla's snows?
She bids each slumb'ring energy awake,
Another touch, another temper take,
Suspends th' inferior laws, that rule our clay:
The stubborn elements confess her sway;
Their little wants, their low desires, refine,
And raise the mortal to a height divine.
Not but the human fabric from the birth
Imbibes a flavour of its parent earth.
As various tracts enforce a various toil,
The manners speak the idiom of their soil.
An iron race the mountain-cliffs maintain,
Foes to the gentler genius of the plain :
For where unwearied sinews must be found
With side-long plough to quell the flinty ground,
To turn the torrent's swift-descending flood,
To brave the savage rushing from the wood,
What wonder, if to patient valour train'd
They guard with spirit, what by strength they gain'd ?
And while their rocky ramparts round they see,
The rough abode of want and liberty,
(As lawless force from confidence will grow)
Insult the plenty of the vales below!
What wonder, in the sultry climes, that spread,
Where Nile redundant o'er his summer-bed
From his broad bosom life and verdure Aings,
And broods o'er Egypt with his wat'ry wings,
If with advent'rous oar and ready sail
The dusky people drive before the gale;
Or on frail floats to neighb'ring cities ride,
That rise and glitter o'er the ambient tide.
THE SCHOOL AND THE TEACHER IN LITERATURE.
WILLIAM COWPER 1731–1796. WILLIAM COWPER,* the most popular poet of his generation and the best of English letter-writers was the son of Rev. John Cowper, D.D., rector of Great Barkhampstead, Herts, and was born at the parsonage house in 1731. His mother died when he was six years old, and her sweet presence, and his happy childhood, he has embalmed forever in the “Lines" suggested by his mother's picture, & gift from his cousin later in life.'
"Oh that those lips had language! Life has pass'd
With me but roughly since I heard thee last.
Those lips are thine-thy own sweet smile I see,
The same that oft in childhood solaced me;
Voice only fails, else how distinct they say,
Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears away!'
My mother! when I learn'd that thou wast dead,
Bay, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed ?
I heard the bell toll'd on thy burial day,
I saw the hearse that bore thee slow away.
And, turning from my nursery window, drew
A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu !
But was it such 1-It was.-Wbere thou art gone.
Adieus and farewells are a sonnd unknown.
May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore,
The parting word shall pass my lips no more!
Thy maidens, grieved themselves at my concern,
Oft gave me promise of thy quick return.
What ardently I wish'd, I long believed,
And, disappointed still, was still deceived.
By expectation every day beguiled,
Dope of to-morrow even from a child.
Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went,
Till, all my stock of infant sorrows spent,
I learn'd at last submission to my lot,
But, though I less deplored thee, ne'er forgot.
Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more,
Children not thine have trod my pursery floor.
And wbere the gardener Robin, day by day,
Drew me to school along the public way,
Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapp'd
In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet-capp'd,
'Tis now become a history little known,
That once we call'd the pastoral house our own.
Short-lived possession! but the record fair,
That memory keeps of all thy kindness there,
still outlives many a storm, that has effaced
A thousand other themes less deeply traced.
Thy nightly visits to my chamber made,
That thou might'st know me safe and warmly laid;
• This sketch is taken substantially from Timb's " School days of Eminent Men."
Thy morning bounties ere I left my home,
The biscuit, or confectionery plum;
The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestow'd
By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and glow'd:
All this, and more endearing still than all,
Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall,
Ne'er roughen'd by those cataracts and breaks,
That humor interposed too often makes ;
All this still legible in memory's page,
And still to be so to my latest age,
Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay
Such honors to thee as my numbers may
Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere,
Not scorn'd in heaven, though little noticed here." In the year of his mother's death, he was, as he himself describes it, “ taken from the nursery, and from the immediate care of a most indulgent mother," and sent out of his father's house to a considerable school kept by a Dr. Pitman, at Market-street. Here for two years he suffered much from ill-treatment by his rough companions: his sensibility and delicate health were the objeets of their cruelty and ridicule; and one boy so relentlessly persecuted him that he was expelled, and Cowper was removed from the school. Cowper retained in late years a painful recollection of the terror with which this boy inspired him. “His savage treatment to me," he says, “impressed such a dread of his figure on my mind, that I well remember being afraid to lift my eyes upon him higher than his knees; and that I knew him better by his shoe-buckle than by any other part of his dress.” To the brutality of this boy's character, and the general impression left upon Cowper's mind by the tyranny he had undergone at Dr. Pitman's, may be traced Cowper's prejudice against the whole system of public education, so forcibly expressed in his poem called “Tirocinium ; or, a Review of Schools.”
About this time Cowper was attacked with an inflammation in the eyes, and was placed in the house of an oculist, where he remained two years, and was but imperfectly cured.
At the end of this time, at the age of ten, he was removed to Westminster School. The sudden change from the isolation of the oculist's house to the activity of a large public school, and the collision with its variety of characters and tempers, helped to feed and foster the moods of dejection to which Cowper was subject. His constitutional ,despondency was deepened by his sense of solitude in being surrounded by strangers; and thus, thrown' in upon himself, he took refuge in brooding over his spiritual condition. This tendency had first manifested itself at Dr. Pitman's school, and next at Westminster. Passing one evening through St. Margaret's churchyard, he saw a light glimmering at a distance from the lantern of a grave-digger, who, as Cowper approached, threw up a skull that struck