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- The Borough - 2/45 -


Not distant far, a house commodious made, (Lonely yet public stands) for Sunday-trade; Thither, for this day free, gay parties go, Their tea-house walk, their tippling rendezvous; There humble couples sit in corner-bowers, Or gaily ramble for th' allotted hours; Sailors and lasses from the town attend, The servant-lover, the apprentice-friend; With all the idle social tribes who seek And find their humble pleasures once a week. Turn to the watery world!--but who to thee (A wonder yet unview'd) shall paint--the Sea? Various and vast, sublime in all its forms, When lull'd by zephyrs, or when roused by storms, Its colours changing, when from clouds and sun Shades after shades upon the surface run; Embrown'd and horrid now, and now serene, In limpid blue, and evanescent green; And oft the foggy banks on ocean lie, Lift the fair sail, and cheat th' experienced eye. Be it the summer--noon: a sandy space The ebbing tide has left upon its place; Then just the hot and stony beach above, Light twinkling streams in bright confusion move; (For heated thus, the warmer air ascends, And with the cooler in its fall contends) Then the broad bosom of the ocean keeps An equal motion; swelling as it sleeps, Then slowly sinking; curling to the strand, Faint, lazy waves o'ercreep the rigid sand, Or tap the tarry boat with gentle blow, And back return in silence, smooth and slow. Ships in the calm seem anchor'd; for they glide On the still sea, urged solely by the tide: Art thou not present, this calm scene before, Where all beside is pebbly length of shore, And far as eye can reach, it can discern no more? Yet sometimes comes a ruffing cloud to make The quiet surface of the ocean shake; As an awaken'd giant with a frown Might show his wrath, and then to sleep sink down. View now the Winter-storm! above, one cloud, Black and unbroken, all the skies o'ershroud: Th' unwieldy porpoise through the day before Had roll'd in view of boding men on shore; And sometimes hid and sometimes show'd his form, Dark as the cloud, and furious as the storm. All where the eye delights, yet dreads to roam, The breaking billows cast the flying foam Upon the billows rising--all the deep Is restless change; the waves so swell'd and steep, Breaking and sinking, and the sunken swells, Nor one, one moment, in its station dwells: But nearer land you may the billows trace, As if contending in their watery chase; May watch the mightiest till the shoal they reach, Then break and hurry to their utmost stretch; Curl'd as they come, they strike with furious force, And then re-flowing, take their grating course, Raking the rounded flints, which ages past Roll'd by their rage, and shall to ages last. Far off the Petrel in the troubled way Swims with her brood, or flutters in the spray; She rises often, often drops again, And sports at ease on the tempestuous main. High o'er the restless deep, above the reach Of gunner's hope, vast flights of Wild-ducks stretch; Far as the eye can glance on either side, In a broad space and level line they glide; All in their wedge-like figures from the north, Day after day, flight after flight, go forth. In-shore their passage tribes of Sea-gulls urge, And drop for prey within the sweeping surge; Oft in the rough opposing blast they fly Far back, then turn, and all their force apply, While to the storm they give their weak complaining cry; Or clap the sleek white pinion to the breast, And in the restless ocean dip for rest. Darkness begins to reign; the louder wind Appals the weak and awes the firmer mind; But frights not him whom evening and the spray In part conceal--yon Prowler on his way: Lo! he has something seen; he runs apace, As if he fear'd companion in the chase; He sees his prize, and now he turns again, Slowly and sorrowing--"Was your search in vain?" Gruffly he answers, "'Tis a sorry sight! A seaman's body: there'll be more to-night!" Hark! to those sounds! they're from distress at sea; How quick they come! What terrors may there be! Yes, 'tis a driven vessel: I discern Lights, signs of terror, gleaming from the stern; Others behold them too, and from the town In various parties seamen hurry down; Their wives pursue, and damsels urged by dread, Lest men so dear be into danger led; Their head the gown has hooded, and their call In this sad night is piercing like the squall; They feel their kinds of power, and when they meet, Chide, fondle, weep, dare, threaten, or entreat. See one poor girl, all terror and alarm, Has fondly seized upon her lover's arm; "Thou shalt not venture;" and he answers "No! I will not:"--still she cries, "Thou shalt not go." No need of this; not here the stoutest boat Can through such breakers, o'er such billows float, Yet may they view these lights upon the beach, Which yield them hope whom help can never reach. From parted clouds the moon her radiance throws On the wild waves, and all the danger shows; But shows them beaming in her shining vest, Terrific splendour! gloom in glory dress'd! This for a moment, and then clouds again Hide every beam, and fear and darkness reign. But hear we not those sounds? Do lights appear? I see them not! the storm alone I hear: And lo! the sailors homeward take their way; Man must endure--let us submit and pray. Such are our Winter-views: but night comes on - Now business sleeps, and daily cares are gone; Now parties form, and some their friends assist To waste the idle hours at sober whist; The tavern's pleasure or the concert's charm Unnumber'd moments of their sting disarm: Play-bills and open doors a crowd invite, To pass off one dread portion of the night; And show and song and luxury combined, Lift off from man this burthen of mankind. Others advent'rous walk abroad and meet Returning parties pacing through the street, When various voices, in the dying day, Hum in our walks, and greet us in our way; When tavern-lights flit on from room to room, And guide the tippling sailor staggering home: There as we pass, the jingling bells betray How business rises with the closing day: Now walking silent, by the river's side, The ear perceives the rippling of the tide; Or measured cadence of the lads who tow Some entered hoy, to fix her in her row; Or hollow sound, which from the parish-bell To some departed spirit bids farewell! Thus shall you something of our BOROUGH know, Far as a verse, with Fancy's aid, can show. Of Sea or River, of a Quay or Street, The best description must be incomplete; But when a happier theme succeeds, and when Men are our subjects and the deeds of men, Then may we find the Muse in happier style, And we may sometimes sigh and sometimes smile.

LETTER II.

. . . . . . . . Festinat enim decurrere velox Flosculus angustae miseraeque brevissima vitae Portio! dum bibimus, dum serta, unguenta, puellas Poscimus, obrepit non intellecta senectus. JUVENAL, Satires

And when at last thy Love shall die, Wilt thou receive his parting breath? Wilt thou repress each struggling sigh, And cheer with smiles the bed of death? PERCY.

---------------

THE CHURCH.

Several Meanings of the word Church--The Building so called, here intended--Its Antiquity and Grandeur--Columns and Aisles--The Tower: the Stains made by Time compared with the mock antiquity of the Artist--Progress of Vegetation on such Buildings--Bells--Tombs: one in decay--Mural Monuments, and the Nature of their Inscriptions--An Instance in a departed Burgess--Churchyard Graves--Mourners for the Dead--A Story of a betrothed Pair in humble Life, and Effects of Grief in the Survivor.

"WHAT is a Church?"--Let Truth and Reason speak, They would reply, "The faithful, pure, and meek; From Christian folds, the one selected race, Of all professions, and in every place." "What is a Church?"--"A flock," our Vicar cries, "Whom bishops govern and whom priests advise; Wherein are various states and due degrees, The Bench for honour, and the Stall for ease; That ease be mine, which, after all his cares, The pious, peaceful prebendary shares." "What is a Church?"--Our honest Sexton tells, "'Tis a tall building, with a tower and bells; Where priest and clerk with joint exertion strive To keep the ardour af their flock alive; That, by its periods eloquent and grave; This, by responses, and a well-set stave: These for the living; but when life be fled, I toll myself the requiem for the dead."


The Borough - 2/45

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