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THE FARMER OF TILSBURY VALE.
"Ts not for the unfeeling, the falsely refined,
The squeamish in taste, and the narrow of mind,
And the small critic wielding his delicate pen,
That I sing of old Adam, the pride of old men.
He dwells in the centre of London's wide Town;
His staff is a sceptre — his gray hairs a crown;
Erect as a sunflower he stands, and the streak
Of the unfaded rose still enlivens his cheek.
'Mid the dews, in the sunshine of morn,-'mid the joy Of the fields, he collected that bloom, when a Boy; There fashioned that countenance, which, in spite of a
That his life hath received, to the last will remain.
A Farmer he was; and his house far and near
Was the boast of the Country for excellent cheer:
How oft have I heard in sweet Tilsbury Vale
Of the silver-rimmed horn whence he dealt his
And turnips, and corn-land, and meadow, and lea,
All caught the infection- as generous as he.
Yet Adam prized little the feast and the bowl, -
The fields better suited the ease of his Soul:
He strayed through the fields like an indolent Wight,
The quiet of nature was Adam's delight.
For Adam was simple in thought, and the Poor,
Familiar with him, made an inn of his door:
He gave them the best that he had; or, to say
What less may mislead you, they took it away.
Thus thirty smooth years did he thrive on his farm:
The Genius of Plenty preserved him from harm:
At length, what to most is a season of sorrow,
His means are run out, he must beg, or must borrow.
To the neighbours he went,—all were free with their
Yet Adam was far as the farthest from ruin,
His fields seemed to know what their Master was This gives him the fancy of one that is young,
More of soul in his face than of words on his tongue;
Like a Maiden of twenty he trembles and sighs,
And tears of fifteen will come into his eyes.
He paid what he could with this ill-gotten pelf,
And something, it might be, reserved for himself:
Then, (what is too true) without hinting a word,
Turned his back on the Country-and off like a Bird.
You lift up your eyes!
- but I guess that you
A judgment too harsh of the sin and the shame;
In him it was scarcely a business of art,
For this he did all in the ease of his heart.
He seems ten birthdays younger, is green and is stout;
Twice as fast as before does his blood run about;
You would say that each hair of his beard was alive,
And his fingers are busy as bees in a hive.
For he's not like an Old Man that leisurely goes
About work that he knows, in a track that he knows;
But often his mind is compelled to demur,
And you guess that the more then his body must stir.
In the throng of the Town like a Stranger is he,
Like one whose own Country's far over the sea;
And Nature, while through the great City he hies,
Full ten times a day takes his heart by surprise.
What's a tempest to him, or the dry parching heats?
Yet he watches the clouds that pass over the streets;
With a look of such earnestness often will stand,
You might think he'd twelve Reapers at work in the
Where proud Covent-garden, in desolate hours
Of snow and hoar-frost, spreads her fruit and her
Old Adam will smile at the pains that have made
Poor winter look fine in such strange masquerade.
For his hive had so long been replenished with honey, That they dreamt not of dearth; - He continued his rounds, Knocked here - and knocked there, pounds still add- He thinks of the fields he so often hath mown ing to pounds. And is happy as if the rich freight were his own.
Up the Haymarket hill he oft whistles his way, Thrusts his hands in the Waggon, and smells at the hay;
'Mid coaches and chariots, a Waggon of straw,
Like a magnet, the heart of old Adam can draw;
With a thousand soft pictures his memory will teem,
And his hearing is touched with the sounds of a dream.
I KNOW an aged man constrained to dwell
In a large house of public charity,
Where he abides, as in a prisoner's cell,
With numbers near, alas! no company.
When he could creep about, at will, though poor
And forced to live on alms, this old man fed
A redbreast, one that to his cottage door
Came not, but in a lane partook his bread.
There at the root of one particular tree,
An easy seat this worn-out labourer found,
While robin pecked the crumbs upon his knee
Laid one by one, or scattered on the ground.
Dear intercourse was theirs, day after day; What signs of mutual gladness when they met ! Think of their common peace, their simple play, The parting moment and its fond regret.
Months passed in love that failed not to fulfil, In spite of seasons' change, its own demand, By fluttering pinions here and busy bill; There by caresses from a tremulous hand.
Thus in the chosen spot a tic so strong
Was formed between the solitary pair,
That when his fate had housed him mid a throng
The captive shunned all converse proffered there.
Wife, children, kindred, they were dead and gone, But if no evil hap his wishes crossed,
"The Farmer of Tilsbury Vale," (p. 455.) With this picture, which was taken from real life,
One living stay was left, and on that one Some recompense for all that he had lost.
Oh that the good old man had power to prove
By message sent through air, or visible token
That still he loves the bird, and still must love;
That friendship lasts though fellowship is broken!
(TO AN OCTOGENARIAN.)
AFFECTIONS lose their object; Time brings forth
No successors; and, lodged in memory,
If love exist no longer, it must die,-
Wanting accustomed food, must pass from earth,
Or never hope to reach a second birth.
This sad belief, the happiest that is left
To thousands, share not thou; howe'er bereft,
Scorned, or neglected, fear not such a dearth.
Though poor and destitute of friends thou art,
Perhaps the sole survivor of thy race,
One to whom Heaven assigns that mournful part
The utmost solitude of age to face,
Still shall be left some corner of the heart
Where love for living thing can find a place.
compare the imaginative one of "The Reverie of Poor Susan," p. 169; and see (to make up the deficiencies of this class) "The Excursion," passim.
EPITAPHS AND ELEGIAC POEMS.
TRANSLATED FROM CHIABRERA.
PERHAPS Some needful service of the State
Drew TITUS from the depth of studious bowers,
And doomed him to contend in faithless courts,
Where gold determines between right and wrong.
Yet did at length his loyalty of heart,
Arò his pure native genius, lead him back
To wait upon the bright and gracious Muses,
Whom he had early loved. And not in vain
Such course he held! Bologna's learned schools
Were gladdened by the Sage's voice, and hung
With fondness on those sweet Nestorian strains.
There pleasure crowned his days; and all his thoughts
A roseate fragrance breathed.*-O human life,
That never art secure from dolorous change!
Behold a high injunction suddenly
To Arno's side conducts him, and he charmed
A Tuscan audience: but full soon was called
To the perpetual silence of the grave.
Mourn, Italy, the loss of him who stood
A Champion steadfast and invincible,
To quell the rage of literary War!
O THOU who movest onward with a mind
Intent upon thy way, pause, though in haste!
'T will be no fruitless moment. I was born
Within Savona's walls, of gentle blood.
On Tiber's banks my youth was dedicate
To sacred studies; and the Roman Shepherd
Gave to my charge Urbino's numerous Flock.
Much did I watch, much laboured, nor had power
To escape from many and strange indignities;
Was smitten by the great ones of the World,
But did not fall; for Virtue braves all shocks,
Ivi vivea giocondo e i suoi pensieri
Erano tutti rose.
The Translator had not skill to come nearer to his original.
Upon herself resting immoveably.
Me did a kindlier fortune then invite
To serve the glorious Henry, King of France,
And in his hands I saw a high reward
Stretched out for my acceptance-but Death came.
Now, Reader, learn from this my fate — how false,
How treacherous to her promise, is the World,
And trust in God-to whose eternal doom
Must bend the sceptred Potentates of Earth.
THERE never breathed a man who, when his life
Was closing, might not of that life relate
Toils long and hard. - The Warrior will report
of wounds, and bright swords flashing in the field,
And blast of trumpets. He who hath been doomed
To bow his forehead in the courts of kings,
Will tell of fraud and never-ceasing hate,
Envy and heart-inquietude, derived
From intricate cabals of treacherous friends.
I, who on Shipboard lived from earliest youth,
Could represent the countenance horrible
Of the vexed waters, and the indignant rage
Of Auster and Bootes. Forty years
Over the well-steered Galleys did I rule:
From huge Pelorus to the Atlantic pillars,
Rises no mountain to mine eyes unknown;
And the broad gulfs I traversed oft — and -- oft:
Of every cloud which in the Heavens might stir
I knew the force; and hence the rough sea's pride
Availed not to my Vessel's overthrow.
What noble pomp and frequent have not I
On regal decks beheld! yet in the end
I learnt that one poor moment can suffice
To equalise the lofty and the low.
We sail the sea of life—a Calm One finds,
And One a Tempest - and, the voyage o'er,
Death is the quiet haven of us all.
If more of my condition ye would know,
Savona was my birth-place, and I sprang
Of noble parents: sixty years and three
Lived I- then yielded to a slow disease.
DESTINED to war from very infancy
Was I, Roberto Dati, and I took
In Malta the white symbol of the Cross.
Nor in life's vigorous season did. I shun
Hazard or toil; among the Sands was seen
Of Libya, and not seldom, on the Banks
Of wide Hungarian Danube, 't was my lot
To hear the sanguinary trumpet sounded.
So lived I, and repined not at such fate;
This only grieves me, for it seems a wrong,
That stripped of arms I to my end am brought
On the soft down of my paternal home.
Yet haply Arno shall be spared all cause
To blush for me. Thou, loiter not nor halt
In thy appointed way, and bear in mind
How fleeting and how frail is human life!
NOT without heavy grief of heart did He
On whom the duty fell (for at that time
The Father sojourned in a distant Land)
Deposit in the hollow of this Tomb
A Brother's Child, most tenderly beloved!
FRANCESCO was the name the Youth had borne,
POZZOBONNELLI his illustrious House;
And, when beneath this stone the Corse was laid,
The eyes of all Savona streamed with tears.
Alas! the twentieth April of his life
Had scarcely flowered: and at this early time,
By genuine virtue he inspired a hope
That greatly cheered his Country: to his Kin
He promised comfort; and the flattering thoughts
His Friends had in their fondness entertained,*
He suffered not to languish or decay.
Now is there not good reason to break forth
Into a passionate lament?-O Soul!
Short while a Pilgrim in our nether world,
Do thou enjoy the calm empyreal air;
And round this earthly tomb let roses rise,
An everlasting spring! in memory
Of that delightful fragrance which was once
From thy mild manners, quietly exhaled.
TRUE is it that Ambrosio Salinero
With an untoward fate was long involved
In odious litigation; and full long,
Fate harder still! had he to endure assaults
Of racking malady. And true it is
That not the less a frank courageous heart
And buoyant spirit triumphed over pain;
And he was strong to follow in the steps
Of the fair Muses. Not a covert path
Leads to the dear Parnassian forest's shade,
That might from him be hidden; not a track
Mounts to pellucid Hippocrene, but he
Had traced its windings. This Savona krows,
Yet no sepulchral honours to her son
She paid, for in our age the heart is ruled
Only by gold. And now a simple stone