« PreviousContinue »
The world's something bigger,
And speckled with mountains and seas;
Your heroes are overgrown schoolboys
Who scuffle for empires and toys,
And kick the poor ball as they please.
Now Cæsar, now Pompey, gives law;
And Pharsalia's plain,
Though heaped with the slain,
Was only a game at taw.
Hist, William ! hist! what means that air so gay?
Thy looks, thy dress, bespeak some holiday :
Thy hat is brushed; thy hands, with wondrous pains,
Are cleansed from garden mould and inky stains;
Thy glossy shoes confess the lacquey's care;
And recent from the comb shines thy sleek hair.
What god, what saint, this prodigy has wrought* ?
Declare the cause, and ease my labouring thought?
John, faithful John, is with the horses come;
Mamma prevails, and I am sent for home.
* Sed tamen, ille Deus qui sit, da Tityre nobis.
Thrice happy whom such welcome tidings greet * !
Thrice happy who reviews his native seat!
For him the matron spreads her candied hoard,
And early strawberries crown the smiling board ;
For him crushed gooseberries with rich cream combine,
And bending boughs their fragrant fruit resign:
Custards and sillabubs his taste invite ;
Sports fill the day, and feasts prolong the night.
Think not I envy, I admire thy fatet:
Yet, ah! what different tasks thy comrades wait !
Some in the grammar's thorny maze to toil,
Some with rude strokes the snowy paper soil,
Some o'er barbaric climes in maps to roam,
Far from their mother-tongue, and dear loved home I.
Harsh names, of uncouth sound, their memories load,
And oft their shoulders feel the' unpleasant goad.
Doubt not our turn will come some future time.
Now, William, hear us twain contend in rime;
For yet thy horses have not eat their hay,
And unconsumed as yet the' allotted hour of play.
Then spout alternate, I consent to hear*,
Let no false rime offend
But say, what prizes shall the victor hold?
guess your pockets are not lined with gold !
A ship these hands have built, in every part
Carved, rigged, and painted, with the nicest art;
The ridgy sides are black with pitchy store,
From stem to stern 't is twice ten inches o’er.
The lofty mast, a straight smooth hazel framed,
The tackling silk, the Charming Sally named ;
And, --but take heed lest thou divulge the tale,-
The lappet of my shirt supplied the sail;
An azure ribband for a pendant flies :-
Now, if thy verse excell, be this the prize.
For me at home the careful housewives make,
With plums and almonds rich, an ample cake.
Smooth is the top, a plain of shining ice,
The West its sweetness gives, the East its spice :
From soft Ionian isles, well known to fame,
Ulysses' once, the luscious currant came.
The green transparent citron Spain bestows,
And from her golden groves the orange glows.
So vast the heaving mass, it scarce has room
Within the oven's dark capacious womb;