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SOME NAMES OF LITTLE NOTE
RECORDED IN THE BIOGRAPHIA BRITANNICA.
OH, fond attempt to give a deathless lot
To names ignoble, born to be forgot!
In vain, recorded in historic page,
They court the notice of a future age:
Those twinkling tiny lustres of the land,
Drop one by one from Fame's neglecting hand;
Lethæan gulphs receive them as they fall,
And dark oblivion soon absorbs them all.
So when a child, as playful children use,
Has burnt to tinder a stale last year's news,
The flame extinct, he views the roving firem
There goes my lady, and there goes the squire,
There goes the parson, oh! illustrious spark,
And there, scarce less illustrious, goes the clerk!
By ceaseless action all that is subsists.
Constant rotation of th' unwearied wheel
That nature rides upon, maintains her health,
Her beauty, her fertility. She dreads
An instant's pause, and lives but while she moves.
Its own revolvency upholds the world.
Winds from all quarters agitate the air,
And fit the limpid element for use,
Else noxious: oceans, rivers, lakes, and streams,
All feel the fresh’ning impulse, and are cleans'd
By restless undulation: ev’n the oak
Thrives by the rude concussion of the storm:
He seems indeed indignant, and to feel
Th' impression of the blast with proud disdain,
Frowning, as if in hiş unconscious arm
He held the thunder: but the monarch owes
His firm stability to what he scorns-
More fixt below, the more disturb’d above.
The law, by which all creatures else are bound,
Binds man the lord of all. Himself derives
No mean advantage from a kindred cause,
From strenuous, toil his hours of sweetest ease,
The sedentary stretch their lazy length
When custom bids, but no refreshment find,
For none they need: the languid eye, the cheek
Deserted of its bloom, the flaccid, shrunk,
And wither'd muscle, and the vapid soul,
Reproach their owner with that love of rest
To which he forfeits ev’n the rest he loves.
Not such th' alert and active, Measure life
By its true worth, the comforts it affords,
And their’s alone seems worthy of the name.
Good health, and, its associate in most,
Good temper; spirits prompt to undertake,
And not soon spent, though in an arduous task;
The pow'rs of fancy and strong thought are their's;
Ev'n age itself seems privileg'd in them,
With clear exemption from its own defects.
A sparkling eye beneath a wrinkled front
The vetran shows, and, gracing a gray beard
With youthful smiles, descends toward the grave
Sprightly, and old almost without decay,
Be it a weakness, it deserves some praise ;
We love the play-place of our early days--
The scene is touching, and the heart is stone
That feels not at that sight, and feels at none.
The wall on which we tried our graving skill,
The very name we carv’d, subsisting still;
The bench on which we sat while deep employ'd,
Though mangled, hack’d, and hew'd, not yet
The little ones, unbutton'd, glowing hot,
Playing our games, and on the very spot;
As happy as we once, to kneel and draw
The chalky ring, and knuckle down at taw;
To pitch the ball into the grounded hat,
Or drive it devious with a dext'rous pat-
The pleasing spectacle at once excites
Such recollection of our own delights,
That, viewing it, we seem almost t'obtain
Our innocent sweet simple years again.
OH, 'tis a sight to be with joy perus’d,
By all whom sentiment has not abus'd;
New-fangled sentiment, the boasted grace
Of those who never feel in the right place;
A sight surpass’d by none that we can show,
Though Vestris on one leg still shine below ;
A father blest with an ingenious son-
Father, and friend, and tutor, all in one.
How !-turn again to tales long since forgot,
Æsop, and Phædrus, and the rest ? Why not?
He will not blush that has a father's heart,
To take in childish plays a childish part;
But bends his sturdy back to any toy
That youth takes pleasure in, to please his boy:
Then why resign into a stranger's hand
A task as much within your own command,