Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

THE DIFFICULTY OF PLEASING.

23

For a' that, and a' that,

Their tinsel show, and a' that ;
The honest man, though ne'er sae poor,

Is king o' men for a' that.
Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,

Wha struts, and stares, and a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,

He's but a coof for a that:
For a' that, and a' that,

His riband, star, and a' that.
The man of independent mind,

He looks an' laughs at a' that.
A king can mak a belted knight,

A marquis, duke, and a' that;
But an honest man's aboon his might,

Guid faith, he maunna fa' that!
For a' that, and a' that,

Their dignities, and a’ that,
The pith o' sense, and pride o' worth,

Are higher ranks than a' that.
Then let us pray that come it may,

As come it will, for a' that
That sense and worth, o'er a' the earthy

May bear the gree, and a' that;
For a' that, and a' that,

A man's a man for a' that;
That man to man, the warld o'er,

Shall brothers be for a' that.

Burns

THE DIFFICULTY OF PLEASING.

A COUNTRY fellow and his son, they tell
In modern fables, had an ass to sell :
For this intent they turned it out to play,
And fed so well, that, by the destined day,
They brought the creature into sleek repair
And drove it gently to a neigh'bring fair.

24

THE DIFFICULTY OF PLEASING.

As they were jogging on, a rural class
Was heard to say, “ Look! look there at that ass !
And those two blockheads, trudging on each side,
That have not either of them sense to ride ;
Asses all three !” And thus the country folks
On man and boy began to cut their jokes.

Th’ old fellow minded nothing that they said,
But every word stuck in the young one's head;
And thus began their comment thereupon :
“Ne'er heed 'em, lad.” “Nay, father, do get on.”
“ Not I, indeed.” “Why then, let me, I pray.”
“Well do; and see what prating tongues will say.”

The boy was mounted, and they had not got
Much farther on, before another knot,
Just as the ass was pacing by, pad, pad,
Cried, “ O, that lazy booby of a lad!
How unconcernedly the gaping brute
Lets his poor aged father walk a-foot !"

Down came the son on hearing this acoount, And begg’d and pray'd, and made his father mount : 'Till a third party, on a farther stretch, “See ! see !” exclaim'd, “ that old hard-hearted wretch ! How like a justice there he sits, or 'squire, While the poor lad keeps wading through the mire.”

Stop,” cried the lad, still deeper vex'd in mind, “Stop! father, stop ! let me get up behind.” This done, they thought they certainly should please, Escape reproaches, and be both at ease; For having tried each practicable way, What could be left for jokers now to say?

Still disappointed by succeeding tone,
“Harke ye, you fellows ! is that ass your own ?
Get off ; for shame ! or one of you at least-
You both deserve to carry the poor beast,
Ready to drop down upon the road,
With such a large unconscionable load.”

[blocks in formation]

On this they both dismounted ; and some say
Contrived to carry, like a truss of hay,
The ass between 'em. Prints, they add, are seen,
With man and lad slinging the ass between !
Others omit that fancy in the print,
As overstraining an ingenious hint.

The copy that we follow says : The man
Rubb'd down the ass, and took to his first plan ;
Walk'd to the fair, and sold him, got his price,
And gave his son this pertinent advice:
“Let talkers talk; stick thou to what is best ;
To think of pleasing all is but a jest.”

Pindar.

OUR COTTAGE.

The brook is rippling gently by,
The breeze sends forth its plaintive sigh ;
Care does no longer hover nigh

Our Cottage.
Our peaceful home from strife is free;
Then who can ever happier be,
While we with joy can daily see

Our Cottage ?
Here peace and plenty reign around,
In ev'ry bosom love is found,
And God's best blessing spread around

Our Cottage.
No vile deceit shall enter here,
From scenes of crime we'll seek to steer ;
Then tranquil joy will linger near

Our Cottage.
Let those who are to blessings blind
Be warn'd! The right path ever mind,
And then a heaven on earth they'll find
Their Cottage.

Anon.

B

26

ABSALOM.

ABSALOM.

THE waters slept. Night's silvery veil hung low
On Jordan's bosom, and the eddies curld
Their glassy rings beneath it, like the still,
Unbroken heating of the sleeper's pulse.
The reeds bent down the stream ; the willow leaves,
With a soft cheek upon the lulling tide,
Forgot the lifting winds; and the long stems,
Whose flowers the water, like a gentle nurse,
Bears on its bosom, quietly gave way,
And lean'd in graceful attitudes to rest.
How strikingly the course of nature tells,
By its light heed of human suffering,
That it was fashion’d for a happier world !
King David's limbs were weary. He had fled
From far Jerusalem ; and now he stood,
With his faint people, for a little rest
Upon the shores of Jordan. The light wind
Of morn was stirring, and he bared his brow
To its refreshing breath ; for he had worn
The mourner's covering, and he had not felt
That he could see his people until now.
They gatherd round him on the fresh green bank,
And spoke their kindly words; and, as the sun
Rose up in heaven, he knelt among them there,
And bow'd his head upon his hands to pray.
Oh! when the heart is full—when bitter thoughts
Come crowding quickly up for utterance,
And the poor common words of courtesy
Are such an empty mockery-how much
The bursting heart may pour itself in prayer !
He pray'd for Israel—and his voice went up
Strongly and fervently. He pray'd for those
Whose love had been his shield--and his deep tones
Grew tremulous. But, oh ! for Absalom-
For his estranged, misguided Absalom-
The proud, bright being who had burst away,
In all his princely beauty, to defy
The heart that cherish'd him—for him he pour'd,
In agony that would not be controll’d,

[blocks in formation]

Strong supplication, and forgave him there,
Before his God, for his deep sinfulness.

The pall was settled. He who slept beneath
Was straighten'd for the grave; and, as the folds
Sank to the still proportions, they betray'd
The matchless symmetry of Absalom.
His hair was yet unshorn, and silken curls
Were floating round the tassels as they sway'd
To the admitted air, as glossy now
As when, in hours of gentle dalliance, bathing
The snowy fingers of Judea's daughters.
His helm was at his feet; his banner, soil'd
With trailing through Jerusalem, was laid,
Reversed, beside him; and the jewell’d hilt,
Whose diamonds lit the passage of his blade,
Rested, like mockery, on his cover'd brow.
The soldiers of the king trod to and fro,
Clad in the garb of battle ; and their chief,
The mighty Joab, stood beside the bier,
And gazed upon the dark pall steadfastly,
As if he feard the slumberer might stir.
A slow step startled him. He grasp'd his blade
As if a trumpet rang ; but the bent form
Of David enter'd, and he gave command,
In a low tone, to his few followers,
And left him with his dead. The king stood still
Till the last echo died ; then, throwing off
The sackcloth from his brow, and laying back
The pall from the still features of his child,
He bow'd his head upon him, and broke forth,
In the resistless eloquence of woe.

“Alas ! my noble boy ! that thou should'st die !

Thou, who wert made so beautifully fair ! That death should settle in thy glorious eye,

And leave his stillness in this clustering hair ! How could he mark thee for the silent tomb,

My proud boy, Absalom ? “Cold is thy brow, my son, and I am chill,

As to my bosom I have tried to press thee :

« AnteriorContinuar »