William Cullen Bryant.

A new library of poetry and song, Volume 2 online

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Admit it true, the consequence is clear.
Our polished manners are a mask we wear,
And, at the bottom, barbarous still and rude,
We are restrained, indeed, but not subdued.
The very remedy, however sure,
Springs from the mischief it intends to cure,
And savage in its principle appears.
Tried, as it should be, by the fruit it bears.
'T is hard, indeed, if nothing will defend
Mankind from quarrels but their fatal end ;
That now and then a hero must decease.
That the surviving world may live in peace.
Perhaps at last close scrutiny may show
The practice dastaitlly and mean and low ;
That men engage in it compelled by force,
And fear, not courage, is its proper source ;
The fear of tyrant custom, and Uie fear
Lest fops should censure us, and fools should sneer ;
At least, to trample on our Maker's laws,
And hazard life for any or no cause,
To rush into a fixed eternal state
Out of the very flames of rage and hate,
Or send another shivering to the bar
With all the guilt of such unnatural war,
Whatever Use may urge, or Honor plead.
On Reason's verdict is a madman's deed.
Am I to set my life upon a throw
Because a bear is rude and surly ? No, —
A moral, sensible, and well-bred man
Will not affi-ont me ; and no other can.
Were I emi^wered to regulate the lists.
They should encounter with well -loaded fists ;
A Trojan combat would be something new,
Let Dares beat EniclIiLS black and blue :
Then each might show, to his admiring friends,
In honorable bumps his rich amends,
And carry, in contusions of his skull,
A satisfactory receipt in full.

William Cowper.



Gold ! gold ! gold ! gold !
Bright and yellow, hard and cold,
Molten, graven, hammered and rolled ;
Heavy to get, and light to hold ;
Hoarded, bartered, bought, and sold.
Stolen, borrowed, squandered, doled :
Spumed by the young, but hugge<l by the old
To the very verge of the churchyard mold ;
Price of many a crime untold :

Gold ! gold ! gold ! gold !
Good or bad a thousand-fold !

How widely its agencies vary, —
To save, to ruin, to curse, to bless, —
As even its minted coins express.
Now stamped with the image of good Queen Bess,

And now of a Bloody Idary.

Thomas Huod.


Laws, as we read in ancient sages.
Have been like cobwebs in all ages.
Cobwebs for little flies are spread.
And laws for little folks are made ;
But if an insect of renown,
Hornet or beetle, wasp or drone.
Be caught in quest of sport or plunder.
The flimsy fetter flies in sunder.

James BEAma



In this one passion man can strength enjoy,
As fits give vigor just when they destroy.
Time, that on all things lays his lenient hand.
Yet tames not this ; it sticks to our last sand.
Consistent in our follies and our sins.
Here honest Nature ends as she begins.

Old politicians chew on wisdom past.
And tottar on in business to the last ;
As weak, as earnest ; and as gravely out.
As solder Lanesborow dancing in the gout

Behold a reverend sire, whom want of grace
Has made the father of a nameless race.
Shoved from the wall perhaps, or rudely pressed
By his own son, that passes by imblessed :
Still to his wench he crawls on knocking knees.
And envies every sparrow that he soes.

A salmon's belly, Helluo, was thy fate.
The doctor, called, declares all help too late.
** Mercy ! " cries Helluo, ** mercy on my soul !
Is there no hope ? — Alas ! — then bring the jowl. "

The frugal crone, whom prayincj priests attend,
Still tries to save the hallowed taper's end,
Collects her breath, as ebbing life retires.
For one pufi" more, and in that puff expires.

" Odious ! in woolen ! 't would a saint provoke,"
Were the last words that poor Narcissa spoke ;
** No, let a cfiarming chintz and Bnissels lace
Wrap my cold limbs, and shade my lifeless face :
One would not, sure, be frightfiil when one 'a

dead, —
And — Betty — give this cheek a little red."

The courtier smooth, who forty years had shined
An humble servant to all human-kind.

Digitized by


Just brought out this,

could stir,
•*If^ where I'm going-
** I give and I devise
And sighed) " my lands
Your money, sir? "My
Why— if 1 must" (then
The manor, sir? "The
" Not that, — I cannot


when scarce his tongue

— I could serve you, si r ? '*
" (old Euclio said,
and tenements to Ned."
money, sir ! what, all ?
wept) — "I give it Paul. "
manor ! hold," he cried,
part with that," — and
Alexander Pope.



Shut, shut the door, good John ! fatigued I said.
Tie up the knocker, say 1 'm sick, 1 'm dead.
The Dog-star rages ! nay, 't is past a doubt.
All Bedlam, or Parnassus, is let out :
Fire in each eye, and papers in each hand.
They rave, recite, and madden round the land.
What walls can guard me, or what shades can hide?
They pierce my thickets, through my grot they

By land, by water, they renew the charge.
They stop the chariot, and they boai-d the barge.
No place is sacred, not the church is free,
Even Sunday shines no Sabbath-day to me :
Then from the Mint walks forth the man of rhyme,
Happy to catch me, just at dinner-time.

Is there a parson much be-raused in beer,
A maudlin poetess, a rhyming peer,
A clerk, foredoomed his father's soul to cross,
Who pens a stanza, when he should engi'oss ?
Is there, who, locked from ink and paper, semwls
With desperate charcoal-round his darkened walls?
All fly to Twit'nam, and in humble strain
Apply to me, to keep them mad or vain

A dire dilemma ! either way I 'm sped,

If foes, they write, — if friends, they read me dead.

Seized and tied down to judge, how wretched I !

Who can't be silent, and who will not lie :

To laugh were want of goodness and of grace,

And to be grave exceeds all power of face.

I sit with sad civility, I read

With honest anguish and an aching head ;

And drop at last, but in unwilling ears,

This saving counsel, "Keepyourpieccnineyears."

** Nine years !" cries he who, high in Diury Lane,
Lulled by soft zephyrs through the broken pane,
Rhymes ere he wakes, and prints before Term ends.
Obliged by hunger, and request of friends. —
"The piece, you think, is incorrect ? why, take it,
I'm all submission ; whatyou'dhave it, make it."

Three things another's modest wishes bound,
My friendship, and a prologue, and ten pound.

Pitholeon sends to me : "You know his Grace,
I want a patron ; ask him for a place. "

Pitholeon libelled me — " But here 's a letter
Informs you, sir, *t was when he knew no better.
Dare you refuse him ? Curl invites to dine.
He 'U write a,joumaly or he '11 turn divine."
Bless me ! a packet. — " *T is a stranger sues,
A virgin tragedy, an orphan muse."
If 1 dUike it, " Furies, death, and rage ! "
If I approve, "Commend it to the stage."
There (thank my stars) my w^hole commission ends,
The players and I are, luckily, no friends.
Fired that the house reject him, " 'Sdeath, I 'U

print it,
And shame the fools. — Your interest, sir, \^ith

Lintot, dull rogue! will think youvprice too much:
" Not, sir, if you revise it, and retouch."
All my demurs but double his attacks ;
At last he whispers, " Do ; and we go snacks."
Glad of a quarrel, straight I clap the door.
Sir, let me see your works and you no more.

Who shames a scribbler? break one cobweb

He spins the slight, self-pleasing thread anew :
Destroy his fib or sophistry, in vain.
The creature 's at his dirty work again.
Throned in the center of his thin designs.
Proud of a vast extent of flimsy lines !

I Of all mad creatures, if the learned are right,
It is the slaver kills, and not the bite.

' A fool quite angry is quite innocent,

I Alas ! *t is ten times woi-se when they repent.

I One dedicates in high heroic prose.
And ridicules beyond a hundred foes :
One from all Grub Street will my fame defend.
And, more abusive, calls himself my friend.
This prints my Lcttei-Sy that expects a bribe.
And others roar aloud, "Suliscribe, subscribe."
There are, who to my person pay their court :
I cough like Horctce^ and, though lean, am short ;
Amnions great son one shoulder had too higli.
Such Ovid's nose, and "Sii- ! you have an eye." —
Go on, obliging creatures, make me see
All that disgraced my betters met in me.
Say for my comfort, languishing in bed,
" Just so immortal Maro held his head " :
And when I die, be sure you let me know
Great Ilonier died three thousand yeai-s ago.

Why did I write ? what sin to me unknown
Dipped me in ink, — my parents', or my own ?
As yet a child, nor yet a fool to fame,
1 lisped in numbers, for the numbers came.
1 left no calling for this idle trade,
No duty broke, no father disobeyed.
The muse but served to ease some friend, not wife,
To help me through this long disease, my life.


Digitized by

Google I

quack: medicines.


But now our Quacks are gamesters, and they

With craft and skill to ruin and betray ;
With monstrous promise they delude the mind,
And thrive on all that tortures human-kind.

Void of all honor, avaricious, rash.
The daring tribe compound their boasted trash, —
Tincture or syrup, lotion, drop or pill ;
All tempt the sick to trust the lyiug bill ;
And twenty names of cobblers turned to squires
Aid the bold language of these blushless liars.
There are among them those who cannot read.
And yet they '11 buy a patent, and succeed ;
"Will dare to promise dying sufferers aid.
For who, when dead, can threaten or upbraid ?
With ciuel avarice still they recommend
More draughts, more syrup, to the journey's end.
" I feel it not." " Then take it every hour."
** It makes me worse." ** Why, then it shows

its power."
"I fear to die." ** Let not your spirits sink,
You 're always safe while you believe and drink."

How strange to add, in this nefarious trade.
That men of parts are dupes by dunces made :
That creatures nature meant should clean our

Have purchased lands and mansions, parks and

seats :
Wretches with conscience so obtuse, they leave
Their untaught sons tlieir parents to deceive ;
And when they 're laid upon their dying bed,
*No thought of murder comes into their head ;

And then in many a paper through the year,
Must cures and cases, oaths and proofs, appear ;
Men snatched from graves as they were d ropping in.
Their lungs coughed up, their bones pierced

through their skin ;
Their liver all one scirrhus, and the frame
Poisoned with evils which they dare not name ;
Men who spent all upon physicians' fees.
Who never slept, nor had a moment's ease.
Are now as roaches sound, and all as brisk as bees.

Troubled with something in your bile or blood.
You think your doctor does you little good ;
And, grown impatient, you require in haste
The nervous conlial, nor dislike the taste ;
It comforts, heals, and strengthens ; nay, you

It makes you better every time you drink ;
Who tipples brandy will .some comfort feel.
But will he to the medicine set his seal ?

No class escapes them — from the poor man's

The nostrum takes no trifling pai-t away ;

See ! those square patent bottles from the shop

Now decoration to the cupboaixl's top ;

And there a favorite hoard you '11 find within,

Companions meet I the julep and the gin.

Suppose the case surpasses human skill,
There comes a quack to flatter weakness still ;
What greater evil can a flatterer do.
Than from himself to take the sufferer's view ?
To turn from sacred thoughts his reasoning

And rob a sinner of his dying hours ?
Yet this they dare, and, craving to the last.
In hope's strong bondage hold their victim fast :
For soul or body no concern have they.
All their inquiry, " Can the patient pay ?
And will he swallow draughts until his dying

day ? "
Observe what ills to nervous fem?iles flow.
When the heart flutters and the pulse is low ;
If once induced these cordial sips to try,
All feel the ease, and few the danger fly ;
For, while obtained, of drams they *ve all the

And when denied, then drams are the resource.

Who would not lend a sympathizing sigh,
To hear yon infant's pity-moving cry ?
Then the good nurse (who, had she borne a brain,
Had sought the cause that made her babe com-
Has all her eflbrts, loving soul 1 applied
To set the cr}', and not the cause, aside ;
She gave her powerful sweet without remorse.
The sleeping cordial^ — she had tried its force,
Reyieating oft ; the infant, freed from pain.
Rejected food, but took the dose again.
Sinking to sleep, while she her joy expressed.
That her dear charge could sweetly take his rest.
Soon may she spare her cordial ; not a doubt
Remains but quickly he will rest without.
What then our hojjes ? — perhaps there may

by law
Be method found these pests to curb and awe ;
Yet, in this land of freedom, law is slack
With any being to commence attack :
Then let us trust to science, — there are those
Who can their falsehoods and their frauds disclose.
All their vile trash detect, and their low tricks

Perhaps their numbers may in time confound
Their arts, — as scorpions give themselves the

wound ;
For when these curers dwell in every place,
While of the cured we not a man can trace.
Strong truth may then the public mind persuade,
And spoil the fruits of this nefarious trade.


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Girt in dark growths, yet glimmering with one

night desirous as the night of youth 1

Why should my heart within thy spell, forsooth,
Now heat, as the bride's finger-pulses are
Quickeneil within the girdling golden bar ?

What wings are these that fan my pillow smooth ?

And why does Sleep, waved back by Joy and
Tread softly round and gaze at me from far ?

Nay, uight deep-leaved ! And would Love feign
in thee
Some shadowy palpitating grove that bears
Rest for man's eyes and music for his ears ?
lonely night ! art thou not known to me,
A thicket hung with masks of mockery

And watered with the wasteful warmth of tears ?
Dante Gabriel Rossettl


The cunning hand that carved this face,

A little helmeted Minerva, —
The hand, I say, ere Phidias wrought.

Had lost its subtile skill and fervor.

Who was he ? Was he glad or sad,
Who know to carve in such a fashion ?

Perchance he shaped this dainty head
For some brown girl that scorned his passion.

But he is dust : we may not know

His happy or unhappy story :
Nameless, and dead these thousand years.

His work outlives him, — there 's his glory !

Both man and jewel lay in earth

Beneath a lava-buried city ;
The thousand summers came and went.

With neither haste nor hate nor pity.

The years wiped out the man, but left

The jewel fresh as any blossom,
Till yome Vlseonti dug it up, —

To lise and fall on Mabel's bosom I

O Roman brother ! see how Time

Your gracious handiwork has guarded,

See how your luvincr, patient art
Has come, at last, to be rewarded !

Who would not suffer slights of men.
And pangs of hopeless passion also.

To have his cansn agate-stone
On such a bosom rise and fall so !



When Lesbia first I saw so heavenly fair.
With eyes so bright, and with that awful air,
I thought my heart which durst so high aspire
As bold as his who snatched celestial fire.
But soon as e'er the beauteous idiot spoke
Forth from her coral lips such nonsense broke.
Like balm the trickling nonsense healed my

And what her eyes enthralled her tongue unbound.
William Congrevb.


My curse upon thy venomed stang
That shoots my tortured gums alaug ;
An' through my lugs gies mony a twang,

Wi' gnawing vengeance !
Tearing my nerves wi' bitter pang.

Like racking engines.

When fevers bum, or ague freezes.
Rheumatics gnaw, or colic squeezes.
Our neighbor's sympathy may ease us,

Wi' pitying moan ;
But thee, — thou hell o' a' diseases.

Aye mocks our groan.

Adown my beard the slavers trickle ;
I throw the wee stools o'er the mickle.
As round the fire the giglets keckle

To see me loup ;
While, raving mad, I wish a heckle

Were in their doup.

0' a' the numerous human dools,

111 har'sts, daft bargains, cutty-stools.

Or worthy friends raked i' the mools,

(Sad sight to see ! )
The tricks o* knaves or fash o* fools.

Thou bear'st the gree.



My 900. these maxims make a nil*

And lump them aye thegither:
The Rigid Righteous is a fool.

The Rigid Wise anither :
The cleanest com that e'er was dight

May hae some pyles o' caff* in ;
Sae ne'er a fellow-creature slight

For random fits o' dnifin.

Solomon, EccUs. tU. i6.

YE wha are sae guid yoursel*,

Sae pious and sae holy.
Ye 've nought to do but mark and tell

Your neebor's fauts and folly : —

Digitized by







Whase life is like a weel-gaun mill,


Supplied wi' store o' water,

The heap^t happer 's ebbing still,

Hence, loathed Melancholy,

And still the clap plays clatter.

Of Cerberus and blackest Midnight bom.
In Stygian cave forlorn.

Hear me, ye yeneraWe core,

'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights

As counsel for poor mortals.

unholy !

That frequent pass donee Wisdom's door,

Find out some uncouth cell.

For gkikit Folly's portals !

Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous

I, for their thoughtless, careless sakes.


Would here propone defenses.

And the night-raven sings ;

Their donsie tricks, their black Tnistakes,

There under ebon shades, and low-browed rocks,

Their failings and mischances.

As ragged as thy locks.

In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwelL

Ye see your state wi' theirs compared.

But come, thou goddess fair and free,

And shudder at the niffer ;

In heaven ycleped Euphrosyne,

But cast a moment's fair regard.

Antl, by men, heart-easing Mirth ;

W^hat maks the mighty differ ?

Whom lovely Venus, at a birth.

Discount what scant occasion gave

With two sister Graces more.

That purity ye pride in.

To ivy-crownfed Bacchus bore ;

And (what 's aft mair than a' the lave)

Or whether (as some sager sing)

Your better art o* hidin*.

The frolic wind that breathes the spring,
Zephyr, with Aurora playing, —

Think, when your castigated pulse

As he met her once a-Maying, —

Gies now and then a wallop.

There, on bods of violets blue

What ragings must his veins convulse,

And fresh-blown roses washed in dew.

That still eternal gallop :

Filled her with thee, a daughter fair.

Wi* wind and tide fair i' your tail.

So buxom, blithe, and debonair.

Right on ye scud your sea-way ;

But in the teeth o' haith to sail,

Haste thee, nymph, and bring with the*

It makes an unco leeway.

Jest, and youthful Jollity, —

Ye hi^, exalted, virtuous dames.
Tied up in godly laces.

Quips and cranks and wanton wiles.
Nods and becks and wreathM smiles.

Such as hang on Hebe's cheek.

Before ye gie poor Frailty names.

And love to live in dimple sleek, —

Suppose a change o' cases ;
A dear-loved lad, convenience snug,

A treacherous inclination, —
But, let me whisper i' your lug.

Sport, that wrinkled Care derides.

And Laughter, holding both his sides.
Come ! and trip it, as you go.
On the light fantastic toe ;

Ye 're aiblins nae temptation.

And in thy right hand lead with thee

Then gently scan your brother man.
Still gentler sister woman ;

The mountain nymph, sweet Liberty ;
And if I give thee honor due,

Though they may gang a kennin* wrang.
To step aside is human.

Mirth, admit me of thy crew.

To live with her, and live with thee,

One point must still be greatly dark.
The moving why they do it ;

And just as lamely can ye mark
How far perhaps they rue it.

In unreprovM pleasures free, —
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing st^irtle the dull Night,

From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise ;

Who made the heart, 't is He alone

Then to come, in spite of sorrow.

Decidedly can try us ;

And at my window bid good morrow.

He knows each chord, — its various tone.

Through the sweet-brier, or the vine,

Each spring, — its various bias :

Or the twisted eglantine ;
While the cock with lively din

Then at the balance let 's be mute.

We never can adjust it ;

Scatters the rear of darkness thin;

What *s done we partly may compute,

And to the stack, or the bam door,

But know not what 'a resisted.

Stoutly strata his dames before ;


Oft listening how the hounds and horn



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Cheerly rouse the slumbering Mom,
From the side of some hoar hill
Through the high wood echoing shrill ;
Sometime walking, not unseen,
By hedgerow elms, on hillocks green.
Right against the eastern gate,
Wliere the great Sun begins his state,
Robed in flames, and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight ;
While the plowman, near at hand,
Whistles o'er the furrowed land.
And the milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the dale.

Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures,
Whilst the landscape round it measures
Ruaset lawns, and fallows gray.
Where the nibbling flocks do stray, —
Mountains, on whose barren breast
The laboring clouds do often rest, —
Meadows trim with daisies pied,
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide.
Towers and battlements it sees
Bosomed high in tufted trees,
Where perhaps some beauty lies.
The cynosure of neighboring eyes.
Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes
From betwixt two aged oaks,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis, met,
Are at their savory dinner set
Of herbs, and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phillis dresses ;
^nd then in haste her bower she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves ;
Or, if the earlier season lead,
To the tanned haycock in the mead.
Sometimes with secure delight
The upland hamlets will invito,
When the meiTy bells ring round.
And the jocund rebecks sound
To many a youth and many a maid.
Dancing in the checkered shade ;
And young and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holiday,
Till the livelong daylight fail ;
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale
With stories told of many a feat :
How fairy Mab the junkets eat, —
She was pinched and pulled, she said,
And he, by friar's lantern led ;
Tells how the dnidging goblin sweat ^
To earn his cream-bowl duly set.
When in one night, ere glimpse of mom.
His shadowy flail hath thrashed the com
That ten day-laborers could not end ;
Then lies him down the lubber fiend.

And, stretched out all the chimney's length.
Basks at the fire his hairy strength.
And, crop-full, out of doors he flings
Ere the first cock his matin rings.

Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,

By whispering winds soon lulled asleep.

Towered cities please us then.

And the busy hum of men.

Where throngs of knights and barons bold

In weeds of peace high triumphs hold, —

With stor^ of ladies, whose bright eyes

Rain influence, and judge the prize

Of wit or arms, while both contend

To win her grace whom all commend.

There let Hymen oft appear

In safi*ron robe, with taper dear,

And pomp and feast and revelry,

With masque, and antique pageantry, —

Such sights as youthful poets dream

On summer eves by haunted stream ;

Then to the well-trod stage anon.

If Jonson's leamM sock be on,

Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child,

Warble his native wood-notes wild.

And ever, against eating cares,

Lap me in soft Lydian airs,

Marrietl to immortal verse, —

Such as the meeting soul may pierce,

In notes with many a winding bout

Of linked sweetness long drawn out.

With wanton heed and giddy cunning

The melting voice through mazes running,

Untwisting all the chains that tie

The hidden soul of harmony, —

That Orpheus* self may heave his head

From golden slumber on a bed

Of heaped Elysian flowers, and hear

Such strains as would have won the ear

Of Pluto, to have quite set free

His half-regained Eurydice.

These delights if thou canst give.
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.

Online LibraryWilliam Cullen BryantA new library of poetry and song, Volume 2 → online text (page 42 of 81)