At thirty boards, 'twixt now and then,
My knife and fork shall play ;
But better wine and better men
I shall not meet in May.
And though, good friend, with whom I dine.
Your honest head is gray,
And, like this grizzled head of mine.
Has seen its last of May ;
Yet, with a heart that's ever kind,
A gentle spirit gay,
You've spring perennial in your mind,
And round you make a May !
AH, BLEAK AND BARREN WAS THE
Ah ! bleak and barren was the moor.
Ah I loud and piercing was the storm,
The cottage roof was sheltered sure,
The cottage hearth was bright and warm ā
An orphan-boy the lattice pass'd.
And, as he marked its cheerful glow.
Felt doubly keen the midnight blast.
And doubly cold the fallen snow.
They marked him as he onward press'd.
With fainting heart and weary limb ;
Kind voices bade him turn and rest,
And g^entlc faces welcomed him.
The dawn is up ā the guest Is gone,
The cottage hearth is blazing still :
Heaven pity all poor wanderers lone !
Hark to the wind upon the hill !
SONG OF THE VIOLET.
A HUMBLE flower long time I pined
Upon the solitary plain,
And trembled at the angry wind,
And shrunk before the bitter rain.
And oh ! 'twas in a blessed hour
A passing wanderer chanced to see,
And, pitying the lonely flower,
To stoop and gather me.
I fear no more the tempest rude.
On dreary heath no more I pine.
But left my cheerless solitude,
To deck the breast of Caroline.
Alas ! our days are brief at best.
Nor long, I fear, will mine endure.
Though sheltered here upon a breast
So gentle and so pure.
It draws the fragrance from my leaves.
It robs me of my sweetest breath,
And every time it falls and heaves.
It warns me of my coming death.
But one I know would glad forego
All joys of life to be as I ;
An hour to rest on that sweet breast.
And then, contented, die.
FAIRY DAYS. 75
Beside the old hall-fire ā upon my nurse's knee,
Of happy fairy days ā what tales were told to me !
I thought the world was once ā all peopled with
And my heart would beat to hear ā their loves and
their distresses ;
And many a quiet night, ā in slumber sweet and
The pretty fairy people ā would visit me in sleep.
I saw them in my dreams ā come flying east and
With wondrous fairy gifts ā the new-born babe
they bless'd ;
One has brought a jewel ā and one a crown of gold.
And one has brought a curse ā but she is wrinkled
The gentle queen turns pale ā to hear those words
But the king he only laughs ā and bids the dance
The babe has grown to be ā the fairest of the land,
And rides the forest green ā a hawk upon her
An ambling palfrey white ā a golden robe and
I've seen her in my dreams ā riding up and down :
And heard the ogre laugh ā as she fell into his;
At the little tender creature ā who wept and tore
her hair I
But ever when it seemed ā her need was at the
A prince in shining mail ā comes prancing through
A waving ostrich-plume ā a buckler burnished
I've seen him in my dreams ā good sooth ! a
His lips are coral red ā beneath a dark mustache ;
See how he waves his hand ā and how his blue
eyes flash !
" Come forth, thou Paynim knight .'" ā he shouts
in accents clear.
The giant and the maid ā both tremble his voice
Saint Mary guard him well ! ā he draws his
The giant and the knight ā are fighting on the
I see them in my dreams ā his blade gives stroke
The giant pants and reels ā and tumbles like an
With what a blushing grace ā he falls upon his
And takes the lady's hand ā and whispers, " You
are free !"
Ah ! happy childish tales ā of knight and faerie !
I waken from my dreams ā but there's ne'er a
knight for me ;
I waken from my dreams ā and wish that I could
A child by the old hall-fire ā upon my nurse's
Wearied arm and broken sword
Wage in vain the desperate fight :
Round him press a countless horde,
He is but a single knight.
Hark ! a cvj of triumph shrill
Through the wilderness resounds,
As, with twenty bleeding wounds,
Sinks the warrior, fighting still.
Now they heap the fatal pyre,
And the torch of death they light ;
Ah ! 'tis hard to die of fire !
Who will shield the captive knight ?
Round the stake with fiendish cry
Wheel and dance the savage crowd.
Cold the victim's mien, and proud,
And his breast is bared to die.
Who will shield the fearless heart ?
Who avert the murderous blade ?
From the throng, with sudden start.
See there springs an Indian maid.
Quick she stands before the knight :
" Loose the chain, unbind the ring ;
I am daughter of the king.
And I claim the Indian right 1"
Dauntlessly aside she flings
Lifted axe and thirsty knife ;
Fondly to his heart she clings.
And her bosom guards his life !
In the woods of Powhattan,
Still 'tis told by Indian fires.
How a daughter of their sires
Saved the captive Englishman.
Returning from the cruel fight
How pale and faint appears my knight !
He sees me anxious at his side ;
" Why seek, my love, your wounds to hide ?
Or deem your English girl afraid
To emulate the Indian maid?"
Be mine my husband's grief to cheer,
In peril to be ever near ;
Whate'er of ill or woe betide,
To bear it clinging at his side ;
The poisoned stroke of fate to ward,
His bosom with my own to guard :
Ah ! could it spare a pang to his.
It could not know a purer bliss !
'Twould gladden as it felt the smart,
And thank the hand that flung the dart !
THE LEGEND OF ST. SOPHIA OF
AN EPIC POEM, IN TWENTY BOOKS.
[The poet describes the city and spelling of Kiovv, KiofTi
A THOUSAND years ago, or more,
A city filled with burghers stout.
And girt with ramparts round about,
Stood on the rocky Dnieper shore.
THE GREAT COSSACK EPIC. 79
In armor bright, by day and night,
The sentries they paced to and fro.
Well guarded and walled was this town, and
By different names, I'd have you to know ;
For if you looks in the g'ography books,
In those dictionaries the name it varies,
And they write it off Kieff or Kioff,
Kiova or Kiow.
[Its buildings, public v/orks, and ordinances, religious
and civil. ā The poet shows how a certain priest dwelt
at KiofF, a godly clergyman, and one lliat preached
rare good sermons.]
Thus guarded without by wall and redoubt,
Kiova within was a place of renown,
With more advantages than in those dark ages
Were commonly known to belong to a town.
There were places and squares, and each year
And regular aldermen and regular lord mayors ;
And streets, and alleys, and a bishop's palace ;
And a church with clocks for the orthodox ā
With clocks and with spires, as religion desires ;
And beadles to whip the bad little boys
Over their poor little corduroys.
In service-time when they didnt make a noise ;
And a chapter and dean, and a cathedral-green
With ancient trees, underneath whose shades
Wandered nice young nursery-maids.
Ding-dong, ding-dong, ding-ding-a-ring-ding,
The bells they made a merry merry ring,
From the tall tall steeple ; and all the people
(Except the Jews) came and filled the pews ā
Poles, Russians and Germans,
To hear the sermons
8o . BALLADS.
Which Hyacinth preached to those Germans
For the safety of their souls.
[How this priest was short and fat of body ;]
A worthy priest he was and a stout ā
You've seldom looked on such a one ;
For, though he fasted thrice in a week.
Yet nevertheless his skin was sleek ;
His waist it spanned two yards about.
And he weighed a score of stone.
[And like unto the author of " Plymley's Letter-,." ]
A worthy priest for fasting and prayer
And mortification most deserving,
And as for preaching beyond compare :
He'd exert his powers for three or four hours
With greater pith than Sydney Smith
Or the Reverend Edward Irving.
[Of what convent he was prior, and when the convent
He was the prior of Saint Sophia
(A Cockney rhyme, but no better I know) ā
Of St. Sophia, that Church in Kiow,
Built by missionaries I can't tell when ;
Who by their discussions converted the Russians,
And made them Christian men.
THE GREAT COSSACK EPIC.
[Of Saint Sophia of Kioff ; and how her statue miracu-
lously travelled thither. ]
Sainted Sophia (so the legend vows)
With special favor did regard this house ;
And to uphold her converts' new devotion
Her statue (needing but her legs for Iier ship)
Walks of itself across the German Ocean ;
And of a sudden perches
In this the best of churches,
Whither all Kiovites come and pay it grateful
[And how Kioff should have been a happy city ; but that]
Thus with her patron-saints and pious preachers
Recorded here in catalogue precise,
A goodly city, worthy magistrates,
You would have thought in all the Russian states
The citizens the happiest of all creatures,ā
The town itself a perfect Paradise.
[Certain wicked Co'><;ar:ks did besiege it, miirderinf; the
citizens, until they agreed to pay a tribute yearly. ā
How they paid the tribute, and then suddenly refused
it, to the wonder of the Cossack envoy. ā Of a m'sjhty
gallant speech that the lord-mayor m.ide, exhortiu^
the burghers to pay no longer.]
No, alas ! this well-built city
Was in a perpetual fidget ;
For the Tartars, without pity.
Did remorselessly besiege it.
Tartars fierce, with swords and sabres,
Huns and Turks, and such as these.
Envied much their peaceful neighbars
By the blue Borysthenes.
Down they came, these ruthless Russians,
From their steppes, and woods, and fens.
For to levy contributions
On the peaceful citizens.
Winter, Summer, Spring, and Autumn,
Down they came to peaceful Kioff,
Killed the burghers when they caught 'em.
If their lives they would not buy off.
Till the city, quite confounded
By the ravages they made.
Humbly with their chief compounded.
And a yearly tribute paid.
Which (because their courage lax was)
They discharged while they were able :
Tolerated thus the tax was,
Till it grew intolerable.
And the Calmuc envoy sent.
As before to take their dues all.
Got, to his astonishment,
A unanimous refusal !
" Men of Kioff !" thus courageous
Did the stout lord-mayor harangue them,
" Wherefore pay these sneaking wages
To the hectoring Russians ? hang them !
" Hark ! I hear the awful crj' of
Our forefathers in their graves ;
" ' Fight, yc citizens of Kioff !
Kioff was not made for slaves.'
THE GREAT COSSACK EPIC. 83
" All too long have ye betrayed her ;
Rouse, ye men and aldermen,
Send the insolent invader ā
Send him star\'ing back again."
[Of their thanks and heroic resolves. ā They dismiss the
envoy, nml set about drilling. ā Of the city guard :
viz. militia, dragoons, and bombardiers, and their
commanders. ā Of the majors and captains, the fortifi-
cations and artillery. ā Of the conduct of the .ictors and
the clergy. ā Of the ladies ; and, finally, of the taylors.]
lie spoke and he sat down ; the people of the
Who were fired with a brave emulation.
Now rose with one accord, and voted thanks
unto the lord-
Mayor for his oration :
The envoy they dismissed, never placing in his
So much as a single shilling ;
And all with courage fired, as his lordship he
At once set about their drilling.
Then every city ward established a guard.
Diurnal and nocturnal :
Militia volunteers, light dragoons, and bombar-
\Vith an alderman for colonel.
There was muster and roll-calls, and repairing
And filling up of fosses :
And the captains and the majors, so gallant and
A-riding about on their hosses.
To be guarded at all hours they built themselves
With every tower a man on ;
And surely and secure, each from out his embra-
Looked down the iron cannon !
A battle-song was writ for the theatre, where it
Was sung with vast energy
And rapturous applause ; and besides, the public
W^as supported by the clergy.
The pretty ladies'-maids were pinning of cock-
And tying on of sashes ;
And dropping gentle tears, while their lovers
About gun-shot and gashes ;
The ladies took the hint, and all day were scrap-
As became their softer genders ;
And got bandages and beds for the limbs and for
Of the city's brave defenders.
The men, both young and old, felt resolute and
And panted hot for glory ;
Even the tailors 'gan to brag, and embroidered
on their flag,
" AUT WINCERE AUT MORI."
THE GREAT COSSACK EPIC. 85
[Of the Cossack chief ā his stratagem ; and the burghers'
sillie victorie. ā What prisoners they took, and how
cnnceited they were of the Cossack chief ā his orders ;
and how lie feigned a retreat. ā The warder proclayms
the Cosaacks' retreat, and the citic greatly rejoyccs.]
Seeing the city's resolute condition,
The Cossack chief, too cunninjr to despise it,
Said to himself, " Not having ammunition
Wherewith to batter the place in proper form,
Some of these nights I'll carry it by storm.
And sudden escalade it or surprise it.
" Let's see, however, if the cits stand firmish."
He rode up to the city gales ; for answers.
Out rushed an eager troop of the town i'UU\
vVnd straightway did begin a gallant skirmish :
The Cossack hereupon did sound retreat.
Leaving the victory with the city lancers.
They took two prisoners and as many horses.
And the whole town grew quickly so elate
With this small victory of their virgin forces.
That they did deem their privates and command-
So many Cresars, Pompej's, Alexanders,
Napoleons, or Fredericks the Great.
And puffing with inordinate conceit
They utterly despised these Cossack thieves ;
And thought the ruffians easier to beat
Than porters carpets think, or ushers boys.
Meanwhile, a sly spectator of their joys.
The Cossack captain giggled in his sleeves.
" Whene'er you meet yon stupid city hogs"
(He bade his troops precise this order keep),
" Don't stand a moment ā run away, you dogs !"
'Twas done ; and when they met the town bat-
The Cossacks, as if frightened at their valiance,
Turned tail, and bolted like so many sheep.
They fled, obedient to their captain's order ;
And now this bloodless siege a month had
When, viewing the country round, the city warder
(Who, like a faithful weathercock, did perch
Upon the steeple of St. Sophy's church).
Sudden his trumpet took, and a mighty blast
Ilis voice it might be heard through all the streets
(He was a warder wondrous strong in lung),
" Victory, victory ! the foe retreats !"
" The foe retreats !" each cries to each he meets ;
" The foe retreats !" each in his turn repeats.
Gods ! how the guns did roar, and how the joy-
bells rung !
Arming in haste his gallant city lancers.
The mayor, to learn if true the news might be,
A league or two out issued with his prancers.
The Cossacks (something had given their cour-
age a damper)
Hastened their flight, and 'gan like mad to scam-
Blessed be all the saints, Kiova town was free !
[I'he manner of ihe citic's rtjoycinus, and its impiety. ā
How tlie priest, Hy.iciiith, waited at church, and
nobody came thither.]
Now, puffed with pride, the mayor grew vain.
Fought all his battles o'er again ;
THE GREAT COSSACK EPIC. 87
And thrice he routed all his foes, and thrice ho
slew the slain.
'Tis true he might amuse himself thus,
And not be very murderous ;
For as of those who to death were done
The number was exactly none.
His lordship, in his soul's elation.
Did take a bloodless recreation ā
Going home again, he did ordain
A very splendid cold collation
For the magistrates and the corporation ;
Likewise a grand illumination
For the amusement of the nation.
That night the theatres were free,
The conduits they ran Malvoisie ;
Each house that night did beam with light
And sound with mirth and jollity :
But shame, O shame ! not a soul in the town.
Now the city was safe and the Cossacks liown.
Ever thought of the bountiful saint by whose
The town had been rid of these terrible Turks ā
Said even a prayer to that patroness fair
For these her wondrous works !
Lord Hyacinth waited, the meekest of priors ā
He waited at church with the rest of his friars ;
He went there at noon and he waited till ten.
Expecting in vain the lord-mayor and his men.
He waited and waited from mid-day to dark ;
But in vain ā you might search through the whole
of the church.
Not a layman, alas ! to the city's disgrace,
From mid-day to dark showed his nose in the
The pew-woman, organist, beadle, and clerk.
Kept away from their work, and were dancing
Away in the streets with the other mad people.
Not thinking to pray, but to guzzle and tipple
Wherever the drink might be had.
[How he went forth to bid them to prsyer. ā How the
grooms and lackeys jeered him. ā And the mayor,
mayoress, and aldermen, be!n^ tipsie, refused to go to
Amidst this din and revelry throughout the city
The silver moon rose silently, and high in heaven
Prior Hyacinth was fervently upon his knees
' ' Toward my precious patroness this conduct
sure unfair is ;
I cannot think, I must confess, what keeps the
And our good mayor away, unless some business
He puts his long white mantle on, and forth the
prior sallies ā
(His pious thoughts were bent upon good deeds
and not on malice):
Heavens ! how the banquet lights they shone
about the mayor's palace !
About the hall the scullions ran with meats both
fresh and potted ;
The pages came with cup and can, all for the
guests allotted ;
Ah, how they jeered that good fat man as up the
stairs he trotted !
He entered in the ante-rooms where sat the may-
or's court in ;
THE GREAT COSSACK EPIC. 89
He found a pack of drunken grooms a-dicing and
The horrid wine and 'bacco fumes, they set the
prior a-snorting !
The prior thought he'd speak about their sins
before he went hence,
And histily began to shout of sin and of repent-
The rogues, they kicked the prior out before he'd
done a sentence !
And having got no portion small of buffeting
At last he reached the banquet-hall, where sat
the mayor a-guzzling,
And by his side his lady tall dressed out in whito
Around the table in a ring the guests were drink-
ing heavy ;
They drunk the church, and drunk the king, and
the army and the navy ;
In fact they'd toasted everything. The prior
said, " God save ye !"
The mayor cried, " Bring a silver cup ā there's
one upon the buffet ;
And, Prior, have the venison up ā it's capital
And so, Sir Priest, you've come to sup ? And
pray you, how's Saint Sophy ?"
The prior's face quite red was grown with horror
and with anger ;
He flung the proffered goblet down ā it made a
hideous clangor ;
And 'gan a-preaching with a frown ā he was a
He tried the mayor and aldermen ā they all set up
He tried the common-councilmen ā they too be-
gan a-snecring :
He turned toward the may'rcss then, and hoped
to get a hearing.
He knelt and seized her dinner-dress, made of the
" To church, to church, my sweet mistress !"
he cried ; " the way I'll show ye."
Alas, the lady-mayoress fell back as drunk as
[How the prior went back alonf, and shut himself into
Saint Sophia's chapel with his brethren.]
Out from this dissolute and drunken court
Went the good prior, his eyes with weeping
He tried the people of a meaner sort ā
They too, alas, were bent upon their sport,
And not a single soul would follow him !
But all were swigging schnapps and guzzling
He found the cits, their daughters, sons, and
Spending the live-long night in fierce carouses :
Alas, unthinking of the danger near !
One or two sentinels the ramparts guarded,
The rest were sharing in the general feast :
" God wot, our tipsy town is poorly warded ;
Sweet Saint Sophia help us !" cried the priest.
Alone he entered the cathedral gate.
Careful he locked the mighty oaken door ;
THE GREAT COSSACK EPIC. 9 1
Within his company of monks did wait,
A dozen poor old pious men ā no more.
Oh, but it grieved the gentle prior sore,
To think of those lost souls, given up to drink
and fate !
The mighty outer gate well barred and fast.
The poor old friars stirred their poor old bones,
And pattering swiftly on the damp cold stones.
They through the solitary chancel passed.
The chancel walls looked black and dim and vast,
And rendered, ghost-like, melancholy tones.
Onward the fathers sped, till coming nigh a
Small iron gate, the which they entered quick at.
They locked and double-locked the inner wicket
And stood within the chapel of Sophia.
Vain were it to describe this sainted place.
Vain to describe that celebrated trophy.
The venerable statue of Saint Sophy,
Which formed its chiefest ornament and grace.
Here the good prior, his personal griefs and
In his extreme devotion quickly merging.
At once began to pray with voice sonorous ;
The other friars joined in pious chorus.
And passed the night in singing, praying,
In honor of Sophia, that sweet virgin.
[The episode of Sneezoff and Katinka. ā How the sentrie
Sneezoff was surprised and slayn.]
Leaving thus the pious priest in
Humble penitence and prayer,
And the greedy cits a-feasting,
Let us to the walls repair.
Walking by the sentr}-boxes,
Underneath the silver moon,
Lo ! the sentrj' boldly cocks his ā =
Boldly cocks his musketoon.
Sneezoff was his designation,
Fair-haired boy, forever pitied ;
For to take his cruel station,
He but now Katinka quitted.
Poor in purse were both, but rich in
Tender love's delicious plenties ;
She a damsel of the kitchen,
He a haberdasher's 'prentice.
'Tinka, maiden tender-hearted,
Was dissolved in tearful fits.
On that fatal night she parted
From her darling, fair-haired Fritz.
Warm her soldier lad she wrapt in
Comforter and muffettee ;
Called him "general" and " captain,"
Though a simple private he.
"On your bosom wear this plaster,
'Twill defend you from the cold ;
In your pipe smoke this canaster ā
Smuggled 'tis, my love, and old.
" All the night, my love, I'll miss you.
Thus she spoke ; and from the door
Fair-haired Sneezoff made his issue,
To return, alas, no more.
THE GREAT COSSACK EPIC. 93
He it is who calmly walks his
Walk beneath the silver moon ;
He it is who boldly cocks his
He the bland canaster puffing,
As upon his round he paces,
Sudden sees a ragamuffin
Clambering swiftly up the glacis.
" Who goes there ?" exclaims the sentr}' ;
' ' When the sun has once gone down
No one ever makes an entr}'
Into this here fortified town !"
Shouted thus the watchful Sneezoff ;
But, ere any one replied,
Wretched youth ! he fired his piece off,
Started, staggered, groaned, and died !
[How the Cossacks rushed in suddenly and tooTc ihe citle.
ā Of the Cossack troops, and of their manner of
burning, murdering, and ravishing. ā How they burned
the whole citie down, save the church, whereof the
bells began to ring.]
Ah, full well might the sentinel crj-, " Who goes
But echo was frightened too much to declare.
Who goes there ? who goes there ? Can any one
To the number of sands sttr ks hords de la mer.
Or the whiskers of D'Orsay count down to a hair ?
As well might you tell of the sands the amount.
Or number each hair in each curl of the Count,
As ever proclaim the number and name
Of the hundreds and thousands that up the wall
Down, down the knaves poured witli fire and with
There were thieves from the Danube and rogues
from the Don ;
There were Turks and Wallacks, and shouting
Of all nations and regions, and tongues and
Jew, Christian, idolater, Frank, Mussulman :
Ah, a horrible sight was Kioff that night !
The gates were all taken ā no chance e'en of flight ;