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THE PILGRIM AND THE PEAS.

1

A nostrum famous in old Popish times
For purifying souls when foul with crimes ;

A sort of apostolic salt

That Popish priests did for its powers exalt,
For keeping souls of sinners sweet,
Just as our kitchen-salt keeps meat.
The knaves set off on the same day,
Peas in their shoes, to go

and

pray;
But very different was their speed, I wot.
One of the sinners galloped on,
Light as a bullet from a gun;

The other limped as if he had been shot.
One saw the virgin soon, "peccavi” cried

Had his soul whitewashed all so clever ; Then home again he nimbly hied,

Made fit, with saints above, to live for ever. In coming back, however, let me say, He met his brother rogue about half-way, Hobbling, with outstretched neck, and bending knees, And muttering—not blessings-on the peas ; His eyes in tears, bis weary limbs dead beat, And sympathising with his aching feet. “How now?" the light-toed, whitewashed pilgrim broke,

“You lazy lubber!”
“Oh, mercy !" cried the other, “’tis no joke!
My feet, once hard as any rock,

Are now as soft as blubber!
Excuse me, Virgin Mary, if I swear;
As for Loretto, I shall not go there ;
No! though unshrived my sinful soul should go;
For, hang me, if I han't lost

every

toe. But, brother sinner, do explain How 'tis that you are not in pain ; What power

hath worked a wonder for your toes ; While I just like a snail am crawling, Now swearing, now on saints devoutly calling,

Whilst not a rascal comes to ease my woes ? How is't that you can like a greyhound go,

Merry, as if that nought had happen'd, burn ye?" “Why," said the other, grinning, "you must know,

That just before I ventured on my journey, To walk a little more at ease, I took the liberty to boil 90peas.” Peter Pindar.

MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.

(131

MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.

PART I.

I LOOK'D far back into other years, and lo ! in bright array
(saw, as in a dream, the forms of ages passed away.
It was a stately convent, with its old and lofty walls,
And gardens, with their broad green walks, where soft the

footstep falls ;
And o'er the antique dial-stone the creeping shadow pass'd,
And all around the noon-day sun a drowsy radiance cast.
No sound of busy life was heard, save from the cloister dim,
The tinkling of the silver bell, or the sisters' holy hymn.
And there five noble maidens sat, beneath the orchard trees,
In that first budding spring of youth, when all its prospects

please ; And little reck'd they, when they sang, or knelt at vesper

prayers, That Sootland knew no prouder names, held none more

dear than theirs ; And little even the loveliest thought, before the Virgin's

shrine, Of royal blood, and high descent from the ancient Stuart line. Calmly her happy days flew on, uncounted in the flight, And, as they flew, they left behind a long-continuing light. The scene was changed. It was the court-the gay court

of Bourbon ; And 'neath a thousand silver lamps a thousand courtiers

throng ; And proudly kindles Henry's eye-well pleased I ween to The land assemble all its wealth of grace and chivalry. Grey Montmorency, o'er whose head had passed a storm Strong in himself and children, stands the first among his

peers ; And next the Guises, who so well fame's steepest heights

assailed, And walked ambition's diamond ridge, where bravest

hearts have fail'd ; And higher yet their path shall be stronger shall wax

their might,

see

of years,

132

MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.

For before 'hem Montmorency's star shall pale its waning

light. Here Louis, Prince of Condé, wears his all unconquered

sword, With great Coligni by his side-each name a household

word ! And there walks she of Medici— that proud Italian line, The mother of a race of kings—the haughty Catherine ! The forms that follow in her train a glorious sunshine

makeA milky way of stars that grace a glittering comet's

wake; But fairer far than all the rest who bask on Fortune's tide, Effulgent in the light of youth is she, the new-made bride! The homage of a thousand hearts—the fond deep love of The hopes that dance around a life whose charms are but

begunThey lighted up her chestnut eye, they mantle o'er her

cheek, They sparkle on her open brow, and high-sould joy bespeak. Ah! who shall blame, if scarce that day, through all its

brilliant hours, She thought of that quiet convent's calm, its sunshine and

its flowers ?

one

PART II.

It was a labouring barque that slowly held its way,
And o’er its lee the coast of France in the light of evening

lay ;
And on its deck a lady sat, who gazed with tearful eyes
Upon the fast-receding hills that dim and distant rise.
No marvel that the lady wept there was no land on earth
She loved like that dear land, although she owed it not

her birth; It was her mother's land, the land of childhood and of

friends It was the land where she had found for all her griefs

amendsThe land where her dead husband slept—the land where

she had known The tranquil convent's hushed repose, and the splendours

of a throne.

MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.

133

No marvel that the lady wept—it was the land of France, The chosen home of chivalry—the garden of romance ! The past was bright, like those dear hills so far behind her

barque, The future, like the gathering night, was ominous and

dark !

One gaze again-one long, last gaze—“Adieu, fair France,

to thee !" The breeze comes forth-she is alone on the unconscious

sea.

The scene was changed. It was an eve of raw and surly

mood, And in a turret-chamber high of ancient Holyrood Sat Mary, listening to the rain, and sighing with the winds, That seem'd to suit the stormy state of men's uncertain

minds. The touch of care had blanch'd her cheek-her smile was

sadder nowThe weight of royalty had press’d too heavy on her brow; And traitors to her councils came, and rebels to the field. The Stuart sceptre well she sway'd, but the sword she could

not wield. She thought of all her blighted hopes—the dreams of

youth's brief day, And summoned Rizzio with his lute, and bade the minstrel

play The songs she loved in early years—the songs of gay

Navarre, The songs perchance that erst were sung by gallant

Chatelar. They half beguiled her of her cares, they sooth'd her into

smiles, They won her thought from bigot zeal and fierce domestic

broils. But hark ! the tramp of armédmen, the Douglas' battle-cry! They come—they come—and lo ! the scowl of Ruthven's

hollow eye! And swords are drawn, and daggers gleam, and tears and

words are vain The ruffian steel is in his heart-the faithful Rizzio's slain! 134

MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.

Then Mary Stuart brush'd aside the tears that trickling

fell ! “Now for my father's arm !” she said ; " my woman's

heart farewell !”

The scene was changed. It was a lake with one small

lonely isle, And there, within the prison walls of its baronial pile, Stern men stood menacing their queen, till she should

stoop to sign The traitorous scrol: that snatch'd the crown from her

ancestral line : My lords, my lords !” the captive said, “were I but

once more free, With ten good knights on yonder shore to aid my cause That parchment would I scatter wide to every breeze that

blows, And once more reign a Stuart queen o'er my remorse

less foes !" A red spot burn’d upon her cheek-stream’d her rich

tresses downShe wrote the words--she stood erect-a queen without a

and me,

crown.

PART III

s-it dies away ;

The scene was changed. A royal host a royal banner bore, And the faithful of the land stood round their smiling

queen once more ; She staid her steedupon a hill, she saw them marching byShe heard their shouts—she read success in every fiashing

eye. The tumult of the strife begins—it roarsAnd Mary's troops, and banners now, and courtiers—where

are they? Scattered and strewn, and Aying far, defenceless and

undone. Oh, God ! to see what she has lost, and think what guilt

has won ! Away! away! thy gallant steed must act no laggard's

part; Yet vain his speed, for thou dost bear the arrows in thy

heart.

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