Imagens das páginas

my legs, that they were no longer under restraint, but might tread where and how they pleased; and that I myself was in reality abroad again in the world, not gazing at a section of landscape over stone walls that might not be scaled; nor, when, in the Castle-yard, the ponderous gates, or the small wicket, happened to be opened to let in or out visitors or captives, looking up the street from a particular point within the enclosure which might not be passed. Now to some wise people this may appear very childish, even in such a stripling as I then was; but the feeling was pure and natural, and the expression innocent and graceful, as every unsophisticated emotion, and its spontaneous manifestation, must be; however much, on cool reflection, a prudent man, with the eyes of all the world upon him, might choose to conceal the one and repress the other. Be this as it may, having once or twice mentioned the frolic in company, I know not through how many mouths it may have transmigrated before it reached Mr. Hazlitt in the form under which he has presented it.

After the foregoing narratives and statements of my juvenile delinquencies and sufferings, one sentence from the original Preface to the following "Confessions" will be sufficient:

"These pieces were composed in bitter moments, amid the horrors of a gaol, under the pressure of sickness. They were the transcripts of melancholy

feelings, the warm effusions of a bleeding heart. The writer amused his imagination with attiring his sorrows in verse, that, under the romantic appearance of fiction, he might sometimes forget that his misfortunes were real."

November 10, 1840.




WELCOME, pretty little stranger!

Welcome to my lone retreat! Here, secure from every danger, Hop about, and chirp, and eat: Robin! how I envy thee, Happy child of Liberty!

Now, though tyrant Winter, howling,

Shakes the world with tempests round, Heaven above with vapors scowling, Frost imprisons all the ground;Robin! what are these to thee? Thou art blest with liberty.

Though yon fair majestic river*

Mourns in solid icy chains;

*The Ouse.

Though yon flocks and cattle shiver,
On the desolated plains ; —

Robin! thou art gay and free,
Happy in thy liberty.

Hunger never shall distress thee,

While my cates one crumb afford; Colds nor cramps shall e'er oppress thee; Come and share my humble board: Robin! come and live with me, Live-yet still at liberty.

Soon shall Spring in smiles and blushes
Steal upon the blooming year;
Then, amid the enamor'd bushes,
Thy sweet song shall warble clear;
Then shall I, too, join'd with thee,
Swell the Hymn of Liberty.

Should some rough unfeeling Dobbin,
In this iron-hearted age,
Seize thee on thy nest, my Robin!

And confine thee in a cage,

Then, poor prisoner! think of me,
Think and sigh for liberty.

February 2, 1795.


GENTLE Moon! a captive calls;
Gentle Moon! awake, arise;
Gild the prison's sullen walls;
Gild the tears that drown his eyes.

Throw thy veil of clouds aside;

Let those smiles that light the pole
Through the liquid ether glide,
Glide into the mourner's soul.

Cheer his melancholy mind ;

Soothe his sorrows, heal his smart : Let thine influence, pure, refined,

Cool the fever of his heart.

Chase despondency and care,

Fiends that haunt the GUILTY breast:

Conscious virtue braves despair;

Triumphs most when most oppress'd.

Now I feel thy power benign

Swell my bosom, thrill my veins ; As thy beams the brightest shine When the deepest midnight reigns.

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