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THE GROANS OF THE TANKARD.

Dulci digne mero!

HORAT.

OF strange events I sing, and portents dire;
The wondrous themes a reverent ear require :
Though strange the tale, the faithful Muse believe,
And what she says, with pious awe receive.

'T was at the solemn, silent, noon-tide hour,
When hunger rages with despotic power,
When the lean student quits his Hebrew roots
For the gross nourishment of English fruits,
And throws unfinished airy systems by
For solid pudding and substantial pie;

When hungry poets the glad summons own,
And leave spare Fast to dine with Gods alone :
Our sober meal dispatched with silent haste,
The decent grace concludes the short repast :
Then, urged by thirst, we cast impatient eyes
Where deep, capacious, vast, of ample size,
The Tankard stood, replenished to the brink
With the cold beverage blue-eyed Naiads drink.
But lo! a sudden prodigy appears,
And our chilled hearts recoil with startling fears :
Its yawning mouth disclosed the deep profound,
And in low murmurs breathed a sullen sound;
Cold drops of dew did on the sides appear;
No finger touched it, and no hand was near.
At length the’ indignant vase its silence broke,
First heaved deep hollow groans, and then distinctly spoke.

“How changed the scene!—for what unpardoned crimes “ Have I survived to these degenerate times ?

“I, who was wont the festal board to grace,

“And 'midst the circle lift my honest face

“ White o'er with froth, like Etna crowned with snow,

“ Which mantled o’er the brown abyss below, “ Where Ceres mingled with her golden store The richer spoils of either India's shore,

The dulcet reed the Western islands boast,

“ And spicy fruit from Banda's fragrant coast.
“ At solemn feasts the nectared draught I poured,
“ And often journeyed round the ample board :
“ The portly Alderman, the stately Mayor,
" And all the furry tribe my worth declare ;
“And the keen Sportsman oft, his labours done,
“ To me retreating with the setting sun,

Deep draughts imbibed, and conquered land and sea, And overthrew the pride of France-by me.

“ Let meaner clay contain the limpid wave,

The clay for such an office nature gave;

“ Let China's earth, enriched with coloured stains,

“ Penciled with gold, and streaked with azure veins, “ The grateful flavour of the Indian leaf, “ Or Mocho's sunburnt berry glad receive :

“ The nobler metal claims more generous use,

“ And mine should flow with more exalted juice.

“ Did I for this my native bed resign

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In the dark bowels of Potosi's mine?

“ Was I for this with violence torn away,

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And dragged to regions of the upper day? " For this the rage of torturing furnace bore, “ From foreign dross to purge the brightening ore? “ For this have I endured the fiery test,

And was I stamped for this with Britain's lofty crest?

“ Unblest the day, and luckless was the hour,
“ Which doomed me to a Presbyterian's power :

Fated to serve the Puritanic race,

Whose slender meal is shorter than their

grace;

“ Whose moping sons no jovial orgies keep; “ Where evening brings no summons--but to sleep;

“ No Carnival is even Christmas here,

And one long Lent involves the meagre year. “ Bear me, ye powers ! to some more genial scene,

Where on soft cushions lolls the gouty Dean, “Or rosy Prebend with cherubic face, “ With double chin, and paunch of portly grace, “ Who lulled in downy slumbers shall agree To own no inspiration but from me. “ Or to some spacious mansion, Gothic, old, “ Where Comus' sprightly train their vigils hold; “ There oft exhausted, and replenished oft, “ O let me still supply the' eternal draught, “ Till Care within the deep abyss be drowned,

And Thought grows giddy at the vast profound !"

More had the goblet spoke; but lo! appears
An ancient Sibyl, furrowed o’er with years.

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