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Cottage Poems, by Patrick Brontё
 

The Project Gutenberg eBook, Cottage Poems, by Patrick Bronte This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Cottage Poems Author: Patrick Bronte Release Date: November 16, 2005 [eBook #17081] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII) ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK COTTAGE POEMS***

Transcribed from the 1893 J. M. Dent edition of "Poems of Charlotte, Emily & Anne Brontë with Cottage Poems by Patrick Brontë” by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk
 
 
COTTAGE POEMS.
p. 191EPISTLE TO THE REV. J--- B---, WHILST JOURNEYING FOR THE RECOVERY OF HIS HEALTH.

When warm’d with zeal, my rustic Muse
Feels fluttering fain to tell her news,
And paint her simple, lowly views
With all her art,
And, though in genius but obtuse,
May touch the heart.
Of palaces and courts of kings
She thinks but little, never sings,
But wildly strikes her uncouth strings
In some pool cot,
Spreads o’er the poor hen fostering wings,
And soothes their lot.
Well pleased is she to see them smile,
And uses every honest wile
To mend then hearts, their cares beguile,
With rhyming story,
And lend them to then God the while,
And endless glory.
p. 192Perchance, my poor neglected Muse
Unfit to harass or amuse,
Escaping praise and loud abuse,
Unheard, unknown,
May feed the moths and wasting dews,
As some have done.
Her aims are good, howe’er they end—
Here comes a foe, and there a friend,
These point the dart and those defend,
Whilst some deride her;
But God will sweetest comforts blend,
Whate’er betide her.
Thus heaven-supported, forth she goes
Midst flatterers, critics, friends, and foes;
Secure, since He who all things knows
Approves her aim,
And kindly fans, or fostering blows
Her sinking flame.
Hence, when she shows her honest face,
And tells her tale with awkward grace,
Importunate to gain a place
Amongst your friends,
To ruthless critics leave her case,
And hail her ends.
To all my heart is kind and true,
But glows with ardent love for you;
Though absent, still you rise in view,
And talk and smile,
Whilst heavenly themes, for ever new,
Our cares beguile.
p. 193The happy seasons oft return,
When love our melting hearts did burn,
As we through heavenly themes were borne
With heavenward eyes,
And Faith this empty globe would spurn,
And sail the skies.
Or, when the rising sun shines bright,
Or, setting, leaves the world in night,
Or, dazzling, sheds his noon-day light,
Or, cloudy, hides,
My fancy, in her airy flight,
With you resides.
Where far you wander down the vale,
When balmy scents perfume the gale,
And purling rills and linnets hail
The King of kings,
To muse with you I never fail,
On heavenly things.
Where dashing cataracts astound,
And foaming shake the neighbouring ground,
And spread a hoary mist around,
With you I gaze!—
And think, amid’st the deaf’ning sound,
On wisdom’s ways.
Where rocky mountains prop the skies,
And round the smiling landscape lies,
Whilst you look down with tearful eyes
On grovelling man,
My sympathetic fancy flies,
The scene to scan.
p. 194From Pisgah’s top we then survey
The blissful realms of endless day,
And all the short but narrow way
That lies between,
Whilst Faith emits a heavenly ray,
And cheers the scene.
With you I wander on the shore
To hear the angry surges roar,
Whilst foaming through the sands they pour
With constant roll,
And meditations heavenward soar,
And charm the soul.
On life’s rough sea we’re tempest-driven
In crazy barks, our canvas riven!
Such is the lot to mortals given
Where sins resort:
But he whose anchor’s fixed in heaven
Shall gain the port.
Though swelling waves oft beat him back,
And tempests make him half a wreck,
And passions strong, with dangerous tack,
Retard his course,
Yet Christ the pilot all will check,
And quell their force.
So talk we as we thoughtful stray
Along the coast, where dashing spray
With rising mist o’erhangs the day,
And wets the shore,
And thick the vivid flashes play
And thunders roar!
p. 195Whilst passing o’er this giddy stage,
A pious and a learned sage
Resolved eternal war to wage
With passions fell;
How oft you view with holy rage
These imps of hell!
See! with what madd’ning force they sway
The human breast and lead astray,
Down the steep, broad, destructive way,
The giddy throng;
Till grisly death sweeps all away
The fiends among!
As when the mad tornado flies,
And sounding mingles earth and skies,
And wild confusion ’fore the eyes
In terrors dressed.
So passions fell in whirlwinds rise,
And rend the breast!
But whilst this direful tempest raves,
And many barks are dashed to staves,
I see you tower above the waves
Like some tall rock,
Whose base the harmless ocean laves
Without a shock!
’Tis He who calmed the raging sea,
Who bids the waves be still in thee,
And keeps you from all dangers free
Amidst the wreck;
All sin, and care, and dangers flee
E’en at His beck.
p. 196And on that great and dreadful day
When heaven and earth shall pass away,
Each soul to bliss He will convey,
That knows His name;
And give the giddy world a prey
To quenchless flame.
So oft when Sabbaths bade us rest,
And heavenly zeal inspired your breast,
Obedient to the high behest
You preached to all,
Whilst God your zealous efforts blessed,
And owned your call.
The very thought my soul inspires,
And kindles bright her latent fires;
My Muse feels heart-warm fond desires,
And spreads her wing,
And aims to join th’ angelic choirs,
And sweetly sing.
May rosy Health with speed return,
And all your wonted ardour burn,
And sickness buried in his urn,
Sleep many years!
So, countless friends who loudly mourn,
Shall dry their tears!
Your wailing flock will all rejoice
To hear their much-loved shepherd’s voice,
And long will bless the happy choice
Their hearts have made,
And tuneful mirth will swell the noise
Through grove and glade.
p. 197Your dearer half will join with me
To celebrate the jubilee,
And praise the Great Eternal Three
With throbbing joy,
And taste those pleasures pure and free
Which never cloy.
 
 
THE HAPPY COTTAGERS.

One sunny morn of May,
When dressed in flowery green
The dewy landscape, charmed
With Nature’s fairest scene,
In thoughtful mood
I slowly strayed
O’er hill and dale,
Through bush and glade.
Throughout the cloudless sky
Of light unsullied blue,
The larks their matins raised,
Whilst on my dizzy view,
Like dusky motes,
They winged their way
Till vanished in
The blaze of day.
The linnets sweetly sang
On every fragrant thorn,
Whilst from the tangled wood
The blackbirds hailed the morn;
And through the dew
Ran here and there,
But half afraid,
The startled hare.
p. 198The balmy breeze just kissed
The countless dewy gems
Which decked the yielding blade
Or gilt the sturdy stems,
And gently o’er
The charmed sight
A deluge shed
Of trembling light.
A sympathetic glow
Ran through my melting soul,
And calm and sweet delight
O’er all my senses stole;
And through my heart
A grateful flood
Of joy rolled on
To Nature’s God.
Time flew unheeded by,
Till wearied and oppressed,
Upon a flowery bank
I laid me down to rest;
Beneath my feet
A purling stream
Ran glittering in
The noontide beam.
I turned me round to view
The lovely rural scene;
And, just at hand, I spied
A cottage on the green;
The street was clean,
The walls were white,
The thatch was neat,
The window bright.
p. 199Bold chanticleer, arrayed
In velvet plumage gay,
With many an amorous dame,
Fierce strutted o’er the way;
And motley ducks
Were waddling seen,
And drake with neck
Of glossy green.
The latch I gently raised,
And oped the humble door;
An oaken stool was placed
On the neat sanded floor;
An aged man
Said with a smile,
"You’re welcome, sir:
Come rest a while.”
His coarse attire was clean,
His manner rude yet kind:
His air, his words, and looks
Showed a contented mind;
Though mean and poor,
Thrice happy he,
As by our tale
You soon shall see.
But don’t expect to hear
Of deeds of martial fame,
Or that our peasant mean
Was born of rank or name,
And soon will strut,
As in romance,
A knight and all
In armour glance.
p. 200I sing of real life;
All else is empty show—
To those who read a source
Of much unreal woe:
Pollution, too,
Through novel-veins,
Oft fills the mind
With guilty stains.
Our peasant long was bred
Affliction’s meagre child,
Yet gratefully resigned,
Loud hymning praises, smiled,
And like a tower
He stood unmoved,
Supported by
The God he loved.
His loving wife long since
Was numbered with the dead
His son, a martial youth,
Had for his country bled;
And now remained
One daughter fair,
And only she,
To soothe his care.
The aged man with tears
Spoke of the lovely maid;
How earnestly she strove
To lend her father aid,
And as he ran
Her praises o’er,
She gently oped
The cottage-door.
p. 201With vegetable store
The table soon she spread,
And pressed me to partake;
Whilst blushes rosy-red
Suffused her face—
The old man smiled,
Well pleased to see
His darling child.
With venerable air
He then looked up to God,
A blessing craved on all,
And on our daily food;
Then kindly begged
I would excuse
Their humble fair,
And not refuse.—
The tablecloth, though coarse,
Was of a snowy white,
The vessels, spoons, and knives
Were clean and dazzling bright;
So down we sat
Devoid of care,
Nor envied kings
Their dainty fare.
When nature was refreshed,
And we familiar grown;
The good old man exclaimed,
"Around Jehovah’s throne,
Come, let us all
Our voices raise,
And sing our great
Redeemer’s praise!”
p. 202Their artless notes were sweet,
Grace ran through every line;
Their breasts with rapture swelled,
Their looks were all divine:
Delight o’er all
My senses stole,
And heaven’s pure joy
O’erwhelmed my soul.
When we had praised our God,
And knelt around His throne,
The aged man began
In deep and zealous tone,
With hands upraised
And heavenward eye,
And prayed loud
And fervently:
He prayed that for His sake,
Whose guiltless blood was shed
For guilty ruined man,
We might that day be fed
With that pure bread
Which cheers the soul,
And living stream,
Where pleasures roll.
He prayed long for all,
And for his daughter dear,
That she, preserved from ill,
Might lead for many a year
A spotless life
When he’s no more;
Then follow him
To Canaan’s shore.
p. 203His faltering voice then fell,
His tears were dropping fast,
And muttering praise to God
For all His mercies past,
He closed his prayer
Midst heavenly joys,
And tasted bliss
Which never cloys.
In sweet discourse we spent
The fast declining day:
We spoke of Jesus’ love,
And of that narrow way
Which leads, through care
And toil below,
To streams where joys
Eternal flow.
The wondrous plan of Grace,
Adoring, we surveyed,
The birth of heavenly skill—
In Love Eternal laid—
Too deep for clear
Angelic ken,
And far beyond
Dim-sighted men.
To tell you all that passed
Would far exceed my power;
Suffice it, then, to say,
Joy winged the passing hour,
Till, ere we knew,
The setting day
Had clad the world
In silver grey.
p. 204I kindly took my leave,
And blessed the happy lot
Of those I left behind
Lodged in their humble cot;
And pitied some
In palace walls,
Where pride torments,
And pleasure palls.
The silver moon now shed
A flood of trembling light
On tower, and tree, and stream;
The twinkling stars shone bright,
Nor misty stain
Nor cloud was seen
O’er all the deep
Celestial green.
Mild was the lovely night,
Nor stirred a whispering breeze.
Smooth was the glassy lake,
And still the leafy trees;
No sound in air
Was heard afloat,
Save Philomel’s
Sweet warbling note.
My thoughts were on the wing,
And back my fancy fled
To where contentment dwelt
In the neat humble shed;
To shining courts
From thence it ran,
Where restless pride
Oppresses man.
p. 205In fame some search for bliss,
Some seek content in gain,
In search of happiness
Some give the slackened rein
To passions fierce,
And down the stream
Through giddy life,
Of pleasures dream.
These all mistake the way,
As many more have done:
The narrow path of bliss
Through God’s Eternal Son
Directly tends;
And only he
Who treads this path
Can happy be.
Who anchors all above
Has still a happy lot,
Though doomed for life to dwell
E’en in a humble cot,
And when he lays
This covering down
He’ll wear a bright
Immortal crown.
 
 
THE RAINBOW.

The shower is past, and the sky
O’erhead is both mild and serene,
Save where a few drops from on high,
Like gems, twinkle over the green:
p. 206And glowing fair, in the black north,
The rainbow o’erarches the cloud;
The sun in his glory comes forth,
And larks sweetly warble aloud.
That dismally grim northern sky
Says God in His vengeance once frowned,
And opened His flood-gates on high,
Till obstinate sinners were drowned:
The lively bright south, and that bow,
Say all this dread vengeance is o’er;
These colours that smilingly glow
Say we shall be deluged no more.
Ever blessed be those innocent days,
Ever sweet their remembrance to me;
When often, in silent amaze,
Enraptured, I’d gaze upon thee!
Whilst arching adown the black sky
Thy colours glowed on the green hill,
To catch thee as lightning I’d fly,
But aye you eluded my skill.
From hill unto hill your gay scene
You shifted—whilst crying aloud,
I ran, till at length from the green,
You shifted, at once to the cloud!
So, vain worldly phantoms betray
The youths who too eager pursue,
When ruined and far led astray,
Th’ illusion escapes from their view.
Those peaceable days knew no care,
Except what arose from my play,
My favourite lambkin and hare,
And cabin I built o’er the way.
p. 207No cares did I say? Ah! I’m wrong:
Even childhood from cares is not free:
Far distant I see a grim throng
Shake horrible lances at me!
One day—I remember it still—
For pranks I had played on the clown
Who lived on the neighbouring hill,
My cabin was trod to the ground.
Who ever felt grief such as I
When crashed by this terrible blow?
Not Priam, the monarch of Troy,
When all his proud towers lay low.
And grief upon grief was my lot:
Soon after, my lambkin was slain;
My hare, having strayed from its cot,
Was chased by the hounds o’er the plain.
What countless calamities teem
From memory’s page on my view!—
How trifling soever you seem,
Yet once I have wept over you.
Then cease, foolish heart, to repine;
No stage is exempted from care:
If you would true happiness find,
Come follow! and I’ll show you where.
But, first, let us take for our guide
The Word which Jehovah has penned;
By this the true path is descried
Which leads to a glorious end.
How narrow this path to our view!
How steep an ascent lies before!
Whilst, foolish fond heart, laid for you
Are dazzling temptations all o’er.
p. 208What bye-ways with easy descent
Invite us through pleasures to stray!
Whilst Satan, with hellish intent,
Suggests that we ought to obey.
But trust not the father of lies,
He tempts you with vanity’s dream;
His pleasure, when touched, quickly dies,
Like bubbles that dance on the stream.
Look not on the wine when it glows
All ruddy, in vessels of gold;
At last it will sting your repose,
And death at the bottom unfold. {208}
But lo! an unnatural night
Pours suddenly down on the eye;
The sun has withdrawn all his light,
And rolls a black globe o’er the sky!
And hark! what a cry rent the air!
Immortal the terrible sound!—
The rocks split with honible tear,
And fearfully shakes all the ground!
The dead from their slumbers awake,
And, leaving their mouldy domain,
Make poor guilty mortals to quake
As pallid they glide o’er the plain!
Sure, Nature’s own God is oppressed,
And Nature in agony cries;—
The sun in his mourning is dressed,
To tell the sad news through the skies!
Yet surely some victory’s gained,
Important, and novel, and great,
p. 209Since Death has his captives unchained,
And widely thrown open his gate!
Yes, victory great as a God
Could gain over hell, death, and sin,
This moment’s achieved by the blood
Of Jesus, our crucified King.
But all the dread conflict is o’er;
Lo! cloud after cloud rolls away;
And heaven, serene as before,
Breaks forth in the splendour of day!
And all the sweet landscape around,
Emerged from the ocean of night,
With groves, woods, and villages crowned,
Astonish and fill with delight!
But see! where that crowd melts away,
Three crosses sad spectacles show!
Our Guide has not led us astray;
Heart! this is the secret you’d know—
Two thieves, and a crucified God
Hangs awfully mangled between!
Whilst fast from His veins spouting blood
Runs, dyeing with purple the green!
Behold! the red flood rolls along,
And forming a bason below,
Is termed in Emanuel’s song
The fount for uncleanness and woe.
Immerged in that precious tide,
The soul quickly loses its stains,
Though deeper than crimson they’re dyed,
And ’scapes from its sorrows and pains.
This fountain is opened for you:
Go, wash, without money or price;
p. 210And instantly formed anew,
You’ll lose all your woes in a trice.
Then cease, foolish heart, to repine,
No stage is exempted from care;
If you would true happiness find,
’Tis on Calvary—seek for it there.
 
 
WINTER-NIGHT MEDITATIONS.

Rude winter’s come, the sky’s o’ercast,
The night is cold and loud the blast,
The mingling snow comes driving down,
Fast whitening o’er the flinty ground.
Severe their lots whose crazy sheds
Hang tottering o’er their trembling heads:
Whilst blows through walls and chinky door
The drifting snow across the floor,
Where blinking embers scarcely glow,
And rushlight only serves to show
What well may move the deepest sigh,
And force a tear from pity’s eye.
You there may see a meagre pair,
Worn out with labour, grief, and care:
Whose naked babes, in hungry mood,
Complain of cold and cry for food;
Whilst tears bedew the mother’s cheek,
And sighs the father’s grief bespeak;
For fire or raiment, bed or board,
Their dreary shed cannot afford.
Will no kind hand confer relief,
And wipe away the tear of grief?
A little boon it well might spare
Would kindle joy, dispel their care,
p. 211Abate the rigour of the night
And warm each heart—achievement bright.
Yea, brighter far than such as grace
The annals of a princely race,
Where kings bestow a large domain
But to receive as much again,
Or e’en corrupt the purest laws,
Or fan the breath of vain applause.
Peace to the man who stoops his head
To enter the most wretched shed:
Who, with his condescending smiles,
Poor diffidence and awe beguiles:
Till all encouraged, soon disclose
The different causes of their woes—
The moving tale dissolves his heart:
He liberally bestows a part
Of God’s donation. From above
Approving Heaven, in smiles of love,
Looks on, and through the shining skies
The great Recording Angel flies
The doors of mercy to unfold,
And write the deed in lines of gold;
There, if a fruit of Faith’s fair tree,
To shine throughout eternity,
In honour of that Sovereign dread,
Who had no place to lay His head,
Yet opened wide sweet Mercy’s door
To all the desolate and poor,
Who, stung with guilt and hard oppressed,
Groaned to be with Him, and at rest.
Now, pent within the city wall,
They throng to theatre and hall,
Where gesture, look, and words conspire,
To stain the mind, the passions fire;
p. 212Whence sin-polluted streams abound,
That whelm the country all around.
Ah! Modesty, should you be here,
Close up the eye and stop the ear;
Oppose your fan, nor peep beneath,
And blushing shun their tainted breath.
Here every rake exerts his art
T’ ensnare the unsuspecting heart.
The prostitute, with faithless smiles,
Remorseless plays her tricks and wiles.
Her gesture bold and ogling eye,
Obtrusive speech and pert reply,
And brazen front and stubborn tone,
Show all her native virtue’s flown.
By her the thoughtless youth is ta’en,
Impoverished, disgraced, or slain:
Through her the marriage vows are broke,
And Hymen proves a galling yoke.
Diseases come, destruction’s dealt,
Where’er her poisonous breath is felt;
Whilst she, poor wretch, dies in the flame
That runs through her polluted frame.
Once she was gentle, fair, and kind,
To no seducing schemes inclined,
Would blush to hear a smutty tale,
Nor ever strolled o’er hill or dale,
But lived a sweet domestic maid,
To lend her aged parents aid—
And oft they gazed and oft they smiled
On this their loved and only child:
They thought they might in her be blest,
And she would see them laid at rest.
p. 213A blithesome youth of courtly mien
Oft called to see this rural queen:
His oily tongue and wily art
Soon gained Maria’s yielding heart.
The aged pair, too, liked the youth,
And thought him naught but love and truth.
The village feast at length is come;
Maria by the youth’s undone:
The youth is gone—so is her fame;
And with it all her sense of shame:
And now she practises the art
Which snared her unsuspecting heart;
And vice, with a progressive sway,
More hardened makes her every day.
Averse to good and prone to ill,
And dexterous in seducing skill;
To look, as if her eyes would melt:
T’ affect a love she never felt;
To half suppress the rising sigh;
Mechanically to weep and cry;
To vow eternal truth, and then
To break her vow, and vow again;
Her ways are darkness, death, and hell:
Remorse and shame and passions fell,
And short-lived joy, with endless pain,
Pursues her in a gloomy train.
O Britain fair, thou queen of isles!
Nor hostile arms nor hostile wiles
Could ever shake thy solid throne
But for thy sins. Thy sins alone
Can make thee stoop thy royal head,
And lay thee prostrate with the dead.
In vain colossal England mows,
With ponderous strength, the yielding foes;
p. 214In vain fair Scotia, by her side,
With courage flushed and Highland pride,
Whirls her keen blade with horrid whistle
And lops off heads like tops of thistle;
In vain brave Erin, famed afar,
The flaming thunderbolt of war,
Profuse of life, through blood does wade,
To lend her sister kingdom aid:
Our conquering thunders vainly roar
Terrific round the Gallic shore;
Profoundest statesmen vainly scheme—
’Tis all a vain, delusive dream,
If treacherously within our breast
We foster sin, the deadly pest.
Where Sin abounds Religion dies,
And Virtue seeks her native skies;
Chaste Conscience hides for very shame,
And Honour’s but an empty name.
Then, like a flood, with fearful din,
A gloomy host comes pouring in.
First Bribery, with her golden shield,
Leads smooth Corruption o’er the field;
Dissension wild, with brandished spear,
And Anarchy bring up the rear:
Whilst Care and Sorrow, Grief and Pain
Run howling o’er the bloody plain.
O Thou, whose power resistless fills
The boundless whole, avert those ills
We richly merit: purge away
The sins which on our vitals prey;
Protect, with Thine almighty shield
Our conquering arms by flood and field,
Wheel round the time when Peace shall smile
O’er Britain’s highly-favoured Isle;
p. 215When all shall loud hosannas sing
To Thee, the great Eternal King!
But hark! the bleak, loud whistling wind!
Its crushing blast recalls to mind
The dangers of the troubled deep;
Where, with a fierce and thundering sweep,
The winds in wild distraction rave,
And push along the mountain wave
With dreadful swell and hideous curl!
Whilst hung aloft in giddy whirl,
Or drop beneath the ocean’s bed,
The leaky bark without a shred
Of rigging sweeps through dangers dread.
The flaring beacon points the way,
And fast the pumps loud clanking play:
It ’vails not—hark! with crashing shock
She’s shivered ’gainst the solid rock,
Or by the fierce, incessant waves
Is beaten to a thousand staves;
Or bilging at her crazy side,
Admits the thundering hostile tide,
And down she sinks!—triumphant rave
The winds, and close her wat’ry grave!
The merchant’s care and toil are vain,
His hopes He buried in the main—
In vain the mother’s tearful eye
Looks for its sole remaining joy—
In vain fair Susan walks the shore,
And sighs for him she’ll see no more—
For deep they lie in ocean’s womb,
And fester in a wat’ry tomb.
Now, from the frothy, thundering main,
My meditations seek the plain,
p. 216Where, with a swift fantastic flight,
They scour the regions of the night,
Free as the winds that wildly blow
O’er hill and dale the blinding snow,
Or, through the woods, their frolics play,
And whirling, sweep the dusty way,
When summer shines with burning glare,
And sportive breezes skim the air,
And Ocean’s glassy breast is fanned
To softest curl by Zephyr bland.
But Summer’s gone, and Winter’s here—
With iron sceptre rules the year—
Beneath this dark inclement sky
How many wanderers faint and die!
One, flouncing o’er the treacherous snow,
Sinks in the pit that yawns below!
Another numbed, with panting lift
Inhales the suffocating drift!
And creeping cold, with stiffening force,
Extends a third, a pallid corse!
Thus death, in varied dreadful form,
Triumphant rides along the storm:
With shocking scenes assails the sight,
And makes more sad the dismal night!
How blest the man, whose lot is free
From such distress and misery;
Who, sitting by his blazing fire,
Is closely wrapt in warm attire;
Whose sparkling glasses blush with wine
Of mirthful might and flavour fine;
Whose house, compact and strong, defies
The rigour of the angry skies!
The ruffling winds may blow their last,
And snows come driving on the blast;
p. 217And frosts their icy morsels fling,
But all within is mild as spring!
How blest is he!—blest did I say?
E’en sorrow here oft finds its way.
The senses numbed by frequent use,
Of criminal, absurd abuse
Of heaven’s blessings, listless grow,
And life is but a dream of woe.
Oft fostered on the lap of ease,
Grow racking pain and foul disease,
And nervous whims, a ghastly train,
Inflicting more than corp’ral pain:
Oft gold and shining pedigree
Prove only splendid misery.
The king who sits upon his throne,
And calls the kneeling world his own,
Has oft of cares a greater load
Than he who feels his iron rod.
No state is free from care and pain
Where fiery passions get the rein,
Or soft indulgence, joined with ease,
Begets a thousand ills to tease:
Where fair Religion, heavenly maid,
Has slighted still her offered aid.
Her matchless power the will subdues,
And gives the judgment clearer views:
Denies no source of real pleasure,
And yields us blessings out of measure;
Our prospect brightens, proves our stay,
December turns to smiling May;
Conveys us to that peaceful shore,
By raging billows lashed no more,
Where endless happiness remains,
And one eternal summer reigns. p. 218
 
 
VERSES SENT TO A LADY ON HER
BIRTHDAY.


The joyous day illumes the sky
That bids each care and sorrow fly
To shades of endless night:
E’en frozen age, thawed in the fires
Of social mirth, feels young desires,
And tastes of fresh delight.
In thoughtful mood your parents dear,
Whilst joy smiles through the starting tear,
Give approbation due.
As each drinks deep in mirthful wine
Your rosy health, and looks benign
Are sent to heaven for you.
But let me whisper, lovely fair,
This joy may soon give place to care,
And sorrow cloud this day;
Full soon your eyes of sparkling blue,
And velvet lips of scarlet hue,
Discoloured, may decay.
As bloody drops on virgin snows,
So vies the lily with the rose
Full on your dimpled cheek;
But ah! the worm in lazy coil
May soon prey on this putrid spoil,
Or leap in loathsome freak.
Fond wooers come with flattering tale,
And load with sighs the passing gale,
And love-distracted rave:
p. 219But hark, fair maid! whate’er they say,
You’re but a breathing mass of clay,
Fast ripening for the grave.
Behold how thievish Time has been!
Full eighteen summers you have seen,
And yet they seem a day?
Whole years, collected in Time’s glass,
In silent lapse how soon they pass,
And steal your life away!
The flying hour none can arrest,
Nor yet recall one moment past,
And what more dread must seem
Is, that to-morrow’s not your own—
Then haste! and ere your life has flown
The subtle hours redeem.
Attend with care to what I sing:
Know time is ever on the wing;
None can its flight detain;
Then, like a pilgrim passing by,
Take home this hint, as time does fly,
"All earthly things are vain.”
Let nothing here elate your breast,
Nor, for one moment, break your rest,
In heavenly wisdom grow:
Still keep your anchor fixed above,
Where Jesus reigns in boundless love,
And streams of pleasure flow.
So shall your life glide smoothly by
Without a tear, without a sigh,
And purest joys will crown
p. 220Each birthday, as the year revolves,
Till this clay tenement dissolves,
And leaves the soul unbound.
Then shall you land on Canaan’s shore,
Where time and chance shall be no more,
And joy eternal reigns;
There, mixing with the seraphs bright,
And dressed in robes of heavenly light,
You’ll raise angelic strains.
 
 
THE IRISH CABIN.

Should poverty, modest and clean,
E’er please, when presented to view,
Should cabin on brown heath, or green,
Disclose aught engaging to you,
Should Erin’s wild harp soothe the ear
When touched by such fingers as mine,
Then kindly attentive draw near,
And candidly ponder each line.
One day, when December’s keen breath
Arrested the sweet running rill,
And Nature seemed frozen in death,
I thoughtfully strolled o’er the hill:
The mustering clouds wore a frown,
The mountains were covered with snow,
And Winter his mantle of brown
Had spread o’er the landscape below.
Thick rattling the footsteps were heard
Of peasants far down in the vale;
p. 221From lakes, bogs, and marshes debarred,
The wild-fowl, aloft on the gale,
Loud gabbling and screaming were borne,
Whilst thundering guns hailed the day,
And hares sought the thicket forlorn,
Or, wounded, ran over the way.
No music was heard in the grove,
The blackbird and linnet and thrush,
And goldfinch and sweet cooing dove,
Sat pensively mute in the bush:
The leaves that once wove a green shade
Lay withered in heaps on the ground:
Chill Winter through grove, wood, and glade
Spread sad desolation around.
But now the keen north wind ’gan whistle,
And gusty, swept over the sky;
Each hair, frozen, stood like a bristle,
And night thickened fast on the eye.
In swift-wheeling eddies the snow
Fell, mingling and drifting amain,
And soon all distinction laid low,
As whitening it covered the plain.
A light its pale ray faintly shot
(The snow-flakes its splendour had shorn),
It came from a neighbouring cot,
Some called it the Cabin of Mourne: {221}
A neat Irish Cabin, snow-proof,
Well thatched, had a good earthen floor,
One chimney in midst of the roof,
One window, and one latched door.
p. 222Escaped from the pitiless storm,
I entered the humble retreat;
Compact was the building, and warm,
Its furniture simple and neat.
And now, gentle reader, approve
The ardour that glowed in each breast,
As kindly our cottagers strove
To cherish and welcome their guest.
The dame nimbly rose from her wheel,
And brushed off the powdery snow:
Her daughter, forsaking the reel,
Ran briskly the cinders to blow:
The children, who sat on the hearth,
Leaped up without murmur or frown,
An oaken stool quickly brought forth,
And smilingly bade me sit down.
Whilst grateful sensations of joy
O’er all my fond bosom were poured,
Resumed was each former employ,
And gay thrifty order restored:
The blaze flickered up to the crook,
The reel clicked again by the door,
The dame turned her wheel in the nook,
And frisked the sweet babes round the floor.
Released from the toils of the barn,
His thrifty, blithe wife hailed the sire,
And hanging his flail by her yarn,
He drew up his stool to the fire;
Then smoothing his brow with his hand,
As if he would sweep away sorrow,
He says, "Let us keep God’s command,
And never take thought for the morrow.”
p. 223Brisk turning him round with a smile,
And freedom unblended by art,
And affable manners and style,
Though simple, that reached to my heart,
He said (whilst with ardour he glowed),
"Kind sir, we are poor, yet we’re blest:
We’re all in the steep, narrow road
That leads to the city of rest.
"’Tis true, I must toil all the day,
And oft suffer cold through the night,
Though silvered all over with grey,
And dimly declining my sight:
And sometimes our raiment and food
Are scanty—ah! scanty indeed:
But all work together for good,
So in my blest Bible I read.
"I also have seen in that Book
(Perhaps you can tell me the place?)
How God on poor sinners does look
In pity, and gives them His grace—
Yea, gives them His grace in vast store,
Sufficient to help them quite through,
Though troubles should whelm them all o’er;
And sure this sweet promise is true!
"Yes, true as the snow blows without,
And winds whistle keen through the air,
His grace can remove every doubt,
And chase the black gloom of despair:
It often supports my weak mind,
And wipes the salt tear from my eye,
It tells me that Jesus is kind,
And died for such sinners as I.
p. 224"I once rolled in wealth, without grace,
But happiness ne’er was my lot,
Till Christ freely pitied my case,
And now I am blest in a cot:
Well knowing things earthly are vain,
Their troubles ne’er puzzle my head;
Convinced that to die will be gain,
I look on the grave as my bed.
"I look on the grave as my bed,
Where I’ll sleep the swift hours away,
Till waked from their slumbers, the dead
Shall rise, never more to decay:
Then I, with my children and wife,
Shall get a bright palace above,
And endlessly clothed with life,
Shall dwell in the Eden of love.
"Then know, gentle stranger, though poor,
We’re cheerful, contented, and blest;
Though princes should pass by our door
King Jesus is ever our guest;
We feel, and we taste, and we see
The pleasures which flow from our Lord,
And fearless, and wealthy, and free,
We live on the joys of His word.”
He ceased: and a big tear of joy
Rolled glittering down to the ground;
Whilst all, having dropped their employ,
Were buried in silence profound;
A sweet, solemn pause long ensued—
Each bosom o’erflowed with delight;
Then heavenly converse renewed,
Beguiled the dull season of night.
p. 225We talked of the rough narrow way
That leads to the kingdom of rest;
On Pisgah we stood to survey
The King in His holiness dressed—
Even Jesus, the crucified King,
Whose blood in rich crimson does flow,
Clean washing the crimson of sin,
And rinsing it whiter that snow. {225}
But later and later it’s wearing,
And supper they cheerfully bring,
The mealy potato and herring,
And water just fresh from the spring.
They press, and they smile: we sit down;
First praying the Father of Love
Our table with blessings to crown,
And feed us with bread from above.
The wealthy and bloated may sneer,
And sicken o’er luxury’s dishes,
And loathe the poor cottager’s cheer,
And melt in the heat of their wishes:
But luxury’s sons are unblest,
A prey to each giddy desire,
And hence, where they never know rest,
They sink in unquenchable fire.
Not so, the poor cottager’s lot,
Who travels the Zion-ward road,
He’s blest in his neat little cot,
He’s rich in the favour of God;
By faith he surmounts every wave
That rolls on this sea of distress:
p. 226Triumphant, he dives in the grave,
To rise on the ocean of bliss.
Now supper is o’er and we raise
Our prayers to the Father of light
And joyfully hymning His praise,
We lovingly bid a good-night.—
The ground’s white, the sky’s cloudless blue,
The breeze flutters keen through the air,
The stars twinkle bright on my view,
As I to my mansion repair.
All peace, my dear cottage, be thine!
Nor think that I’ll treat you with scorn;
Whoever reads verses of mine
Shall hear of the Cabin of Mourne;
And had I but musical strains,
Though humble and mean in your station
You should smile whilst the world remains,
The pride of the fair Irish Nation.
In friendship, fair Erin, you glow;
Offended, you quickly forgive;
Your courage is known to each foe,
Yet foes on your bounty might live.
Some faults you, however, must own;
Dissensions, impetuous zeal,
And wild prodigality, grown
Too big for your income and weal.
Ah! Erin, if you would be great,
And happy, and wealthy, and wise,
And trample your sorrows, elate,
Contend for our cottager’s prize;
p. 227So error and vice shall decay,
And concord add bliss to renown,
And you shall gleam brighter than day,
The gem of the fair British Crown.
 
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© Митрофанова Екатерина Борисовна, 2009 |