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- Tales - 3/52 -


He seem'd just then to question if he dared: "He may resist, although his power be small, And growing desperate may defy us all; One dog attack, and he prepares for flight - Resist another, and he strives to bite; Nor can I say, if this rebellious cur Will fly for safety, or will scorn to stir." Alarm'd by this, he lash'd his soul to rage, Burn'd with strong shame, and hurried to engage. As a male turkey straggling on the green, When by fierce harriers, terriers, mongrels seen, He feels the insult of the noisy train And skulks aside, though moved by much disdain; But when that turkey, at his own barn-door, Sees one poor straying puppy and no more, (A foolish puppy who had left the pack, Thoughtless what foe was threat'ning at his back) He moves about, as ship prepared to sail, He hoists his proud rotundity of tail, The half-seal'd eyes and changeful neck he shows, Where, in its quick'ning colours, vengeance glows; From red to blue the pendent wattles turn, Blue mix'd with red, as matches when they burn; And thus th' intruding snarler to oppose, Urged by enkindling wrath, he gobbling goes. So look'd our hero in his wrath, his cheeks Flush'd with fresh fires and glow'd in tingling streaks, His breath by passion's force awhile restrain'd, Like a stopp'd current greater force regain'd; So spoke, so look'd he, every eye and ear Were fix'd to view him, or were turn'd to hear. "My friends, you know me, you can witness all, How, urged by passion, I restrain my gall; And every motive to revenge withstand - Save when I hear abused my native land. "Is it not known, agreed, confirm'd, confess'd, That, of all people, we are govern'd best? We have the force of monarchies; are free, As the most proud republicans can be; And have those prudent counsels that arise In grave and cautious aristocracies; And live there those, in such all-glorious state. Traitors protected in the land they hate? Rebels, still warring with the laws that give To them subsistence?--Yes, such wretches live. "Ours is a Church reformed, and now no more Is aught for man to mend or to restore; 'Tis pure in doctrines, 'tis correct in creeds, Has nought redundant, and it nothing needs; No evil is therein--no wrinkle, spot, Stain, blame, or blemish: --I affirm there's not. "All this you know--now mark what once befell, With grief I bore it, and with shame I tell: I was entrapp'd--yes, so it came to pass, 'Mid heathen rebels, a tumultuous class; Each to his country bore a hellish mind, Each like his neighbour was of cursed kind; The land that nursed them, they blasphemed; the laws, Their sovereign's glory, and their country's cause: And who their mouth, their master-fiend, and who Rebellion's oracle?--You, catiff, you!" He spoke, and standing stretch'd his mighty arm, And fix'd the Man of Words, as by a charm. "How raved that railer! Sure some hellish power Restrain'd my tongue in that delirious hour, Or I had hurl'd the shame and vengeance due On him, the guide of that infuriate crew; But to mine eyes, such dreadful looks appear'd, Such mingled yell of lying words I heard, That I conceived around were demons all, And till I fled the house, I fear'd its fall. "Oh! could our country from our coasts expel Such foes! to nourish those who wish her well: This her mild laws forbid, but we may still From us eject them by our sovereign will; This let us do."--He said, and then began A gentler feeling for the silent man; E'en in our hero's mighty soul arose A touch of pity for experienced woes; But this was transient, and with angry eye He sternly look'd, and paused for a reply. 'Twas then the Man of many Words would speak - But, in his trial, had them all to seek: To find a friend he look'd the circle round, But joy or scorn in every feature found; He sipp'd his wine, but in those times of dread Wine only adds confusion to the head; In doubt he reason'd with himself--"And how Harangue at night, if I be silent now?" From pride and praise received, he sought to draw Courage to speak, but still remain'd the awe; One moment rose he with a forced disdain, And then, abash'd, sunk sadly down again; While in our hero's glance he seem'd to read, "Slave and insurgent! what hast thou to plead?" By desperation urged, he now began: "I seek no favour--I--the rights of man! Claim; and I--nay!--but give me leave--and I Insist--a man--that is--and in reply, I speak,"--Alas! each new attempt was vain: Confused he stood, he sate, he rose again; At length he growl'd defiance, sought the door, Cursed the whole synod, and was seen no more. "Laud we," said Justice Bolt, "the Powers above: Thus could our speech the sturdiest foe remove." Exulting now, he gain'd new strength of fame, And lost all feelings of defeat and shame. "He dared not strive, you witness'd--dared not lift His voice, nor drive at his accursed drift: So all shall tremble, wretches who oppose Our Church or State--thus be it to our foes." He spoke, and, seated with his former air, Look'd his full self, and fill'd his ample chair; Took one full bumper to each favourite cause, And dwelt all night on politics and laws, With high applauding voice, that gain'd him high applause.

TALE II.

THE PARTING HOUR.

. . . . I did not take my leave of him, but had Most pretty things to say: ere I could tell him How I would think of him, at certain hours Such thoughts and such;--or ere I could Give him that parting kiss, which I had set Betwixt two charming words--comes in my father. SHAKESPEARE, Cymbeline.

Grief hath changed me since you saw me last, And careful hours with Time's deformed hand Have written strange defeatures o'er my face. Comedy of Errors.

Oh! if thou be the same Egean, speak, And speak unto the same Emilia. Comedy of Errors.

I ran it through, ev'n from my boyish days To the very moment that she bade me tell it, Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances, Of moving accidents by flood and field Of being taken by the insolent foe, And sold to slavery. Othello.

An old man, broken with the storms of fate, Is come to lay his weary bones among you: Give him a little earth for charity. Henry VIII.

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Minutely trace man's life; year after year, Through all his days let all his deeds appear, And then though some may in that life be strange, Yet there appears no vast nor sudden change: The links that bind those various deeds are seen, And no mysterious void is left between. But let these binding links be all destroyed, All that through years he suffer'd or enjoy'd, Let that vast gap be made, and then behold - This was the youth, and he is thus when old; Then we at once the work of time survey, And in an instant see a life's decay; Pain mix'd with pity in our bosoms rise, And sorrow takes new sadness from surprise. Beneath yon tree, observe an ancient pair - A sleeping man; a woman in her chair, Watching his looks with kind and pensive air; Nor wife, nor sister she, nor is the name Nor kindred of this friendly pair the same; Yet so allied are they, that few can feel Her constant, warm, unwearied, anxious zeal; Their years and woes, although they long have loved, Keep their good name and conduct unreproved: Thus life's small comforts they together share, And while life lingers for the grave prepare. No other subjects on their spirits press, Nor gain such int'rest as the past distress: Grievous events, that from the mem'ry drive Life's common cares, and those alone survive, Mix with each thought, in every action share, Darken each dream, and blend with every prayer. To David Booth, his fourth and last-born boy, Allen his name, was more than common joy; And as the child grew up, there seem'd in him A more than common life in every limb; A strong and handsome stripling he became, And the gay spirit answer'd to the frame; A lighter, happier lad was never seen, For ever easy, cheerful, or serene; His early love he fix'd upon a fair And gentle maid--they were a handsome pair. They at an infant-school together play'd, Where the foundation of their love was laid:


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