Page images

Theirs is but a summer's song
Thine endures the winter long,
Unimpair'd, and shrill, and clear,
Melody throughout the year.
Neither night, nor dawn of day,
Puts a period to thy play:
Sing then-and extend thy span
Far beyond the date of man.
Wretched man, whose years are spent
In repining discontent,

Lives not, aged though he be,
Half a span, compar'd with thee.



IN painted plumes superbly dress'd.
A native of the gorgeous east,
By many a billow toss'd,

Poll gains at length the British shore,
Part of the captain's precious store,
A present to his toast,

Belinda's maids are soon preferr'd,
To teach him now and then a word,
As Poll can master it;

But 'tis her own important charge,
To qualify him more at large,

And make him quite a wit.

"Sweet Poll!" his doating mistress cries, "Sweet Poll!" the mimic bird replies;

And calls aloud for sack.

She next instructs him in the kiss; "Tis now a little one like Miss,

And now a hearty smack.

At first he aims at what he hears;
And, list'ning close with both his ears,
Just catches at the sound;
But soon articulates aloud,

Much to th' amusement of the crowd,
And stuns the neighbours round.
A querulous old woman's voice
His hum'rous talent next employs;
He scolds, and gives the lie.
And now he sings, and now is sick,
Here Sally, Susan, come, come quick,
Poor Poll is like to die!

Belinda and her bird! 'tis rare,
To meet with such a well-match'd pair,
The language and the tone,
Each character in ev'ry part
Sustain❜d with so much grace and art,
And both in unison.

When children first begin to spell,
And stammer out a syllable,

We think them tedious creatures;

But difficulties soon abate,

When birds are to be taught to prate,
And women are the teachers.




JOHN GILPIN was a citizen

Of credit and renown,

A train-band captain eke was he
Of famous London town.


John Gilpin's spouse said to her dear,
Though wedded we have been
These twice ten tedious years, yet we
No holiday have seen.
"To-morrow is our wedding-day,
And we will then repair
Unto the Bell at Edmonton
All in a chaise and pair.

66 My sister and my sister's child,
Myself, and children three,
Will fill the chaise; so you must ride
On horseback after we."
He soon replied, " I do admire
Of womankind but one,
And you are she, my dearest dear,
Therefore it shall be done.

"I am a linendraper bold,

As all the world doth know,
And my good friend, the calender,
Will lend his horse to go."

Quoth Mrs. Gilpin, "That's well said;
And for that wine is dear,
We will be furnished with our own,
Which is both bright and clear."
John Gilpin kiss'd his loving wife;
O'erjoy'd was he to find,

That, though on pleasure she was bent,
She had a frugal mind.

The morning came, the chaise was brought,
But yet was not allow'd

To drive up to the door, lest all

Should say that she was proud.

So three doors off the chaise was stay'd,
Where they did all get in,

Six precious souls, and all agog
To dash through thick and thin,

Smack went the whip, round went the wheels,
Were never folk so glad,
The stones did rattle underneath,
As if Cheapside were mad.
John Gilpin at his horse's side
Seiz'd fast the flowing mane,
And up he got in haste to ride,
But soon came down again;
For saddletree scarce reach'd had he,
His journey to begin,

When, turning round his head, he saw
Three customers come in.

So down he came; for loss of time,
Although it griev'd him sore,
Yet loss of pence, full well he knew
Would trouble him much more.
'Twas long before the customers
Were suited to their mind,

When Betty screaming came down stairs,
"The wine is left behind!"

"Good lack!" quoth he-" yet bring it me,
My leathern belt likewise,
In which I bear my trusty sword,
When I do exercise."

Now mistress Gilpin (careful soul!)
Had two stone bottles found,
To hold the liquor that she lov'd,
And keep it safe and sound.
Each bottle had a curling ear,
Through which the belt he drew,
And hung a bottle on each side,
To make his balance true.
Then over all, that he might be
Equipp'd from top to toe,

His long red cloak, well brush'd and neat,
He manfully did throw.

Now see him mounted once again
Upon his nimble steed,

Full slowly pacing o'er the stones,
With caution and good heed.
But finding soon a smoother road,
Beneath his well-shod feet,
The snorting beast began to trot,
Which gall'd him in his seat.


So, fair and softly," John he cried,
But John he cried in vain :

That trot became a gallop soon,
In spite of curb and rein.

So stooping down, as needs he must,
Who cannot sit upright,

He grasp'd the mane with both his hands,
And eke with all his might.

His horse, who never in that sort
Had handled been before,
What thing upon his back had got
Did wonder more and more.
Away went Gilpin, neck or naught;
Away went hat and wig;

He little dreamt, when he set out,
Of running such a rig.

The wind did blow, the cloak did fly,
Like streamer long and gay,
Till, loop and button failing both,
At last it flew away.

Then might all people well discern
The bottles he had slung;

A bottle swinging at each side,

As hath been said or sung.

The dogs did bark, the children scream'd,
Up flew the windows all;

And ev'ry soul cried out, "Well done!"
As loud as he could bawl.

« PreviousContinue »