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ALEXANDER AND DIOGENES.

223

There's nothing but the common slime
Of human clay and human crime !
My rags are not so rich, but they
Will serve as well to cloak decay.
And ever round thy jewelled brow,
False slaves and false friends will bow;
And Flattery, as varnish flings
A baseness on the brightest things,
Will make the monarch's deeds appear
All worthless to the monarch's ear,
Till thou wilt turn and think that Fame,
So vilely drest, is worse than shame!
The gods be thanked for all their mercies,
Diogenes hears nought but curses !
“And thou wilt banquet! air and sea
Will render up their hoards for thee;
And golden cups for thee will hold
Rich nectar, richer than the gold.
The cunning caterer still must share
The dainties which his toils prepare;
The page's lip must taste the wine
Before he fills the cup for thine !
Wilt feast with me on Hecate's cheer?
I dread no royal hemlock here !
“ And night will come ; and thou wilt lie
Beneath a purple canopy,
With lutes to lull thee, flowers to shed
Their feverish fragrance round thy bed,
A princess to unclasp thy crest,
A Spartan spear to guard thy rest.
Dream, happy one! thy dreams will be
Of danger and of perfidy-
The Persian lance, the Carian club :
I shall sleep sounder in my tub!
“ And thou wilt pass away and have
A marble mountain o'er thy grave,
With pillars tall, and chambers vast
Fit palace for the worm's repast !
I, too, shall perish ! let them call
The vulture to my funeral :

224

THE LIVING TOMBSTONE

The cynic's staff, the cynic's den,
Are all he leaves his fellow-men--
Heedless how this corruption fares,
Yea, heedless, though it mix with theirs !”

W. M. Praed.

THE LIVING TOMBSTONE.

Such tropes

SOME twenty miles from London (more or less
Is immaterial, so you need not guess)
A couple dwelt in harmony, .

That is, in chords,

I don't mean ropes,
May hang in others'

memory,
But I mean words;
Words of soft import, gently soothing,
Like oil the ocean's tempests smoothing.
My lady's voice would soft piano sing,
But if it touched the master string,
In double bass he grumbled ;

That is, if she was too profuse,

And of his purse made too free use,
Like distant thunder, much he mumbled ;
But ne'er broke out in downright swearing,
The passions into fritters tearing ;

No, his were softer tones,

Not like the harsh trombones,
Or rolling of the double drums.

Such instruments you can't endure,
Save in an opera overture.
His notes were like the evening bees' soft hums.
But love, that sweet, that noble passion,
From Eve and Adam's days in fashion;
That wings its way through scenes of bliss,
And lives in raptures on a kiss ;
That flies the dreary hermit's cell,
In social intercourse to dwell
That is the theme I'll prove,
Shall all your tender feelings move.

THE LIVING TOMBSTONE.

225

My couple tasted very sweet,
When love and life thus blandly meet,
And very oft the village quoted
Their mutual love-so very noted.
Thus year succeeded pleasant year,
And Time rolld round his annual sphere.
No children had they, but they'd friends,
And prov'd ones may make some amends
For want of offspring-true, they may;

But dada loves his darling boy,

And little miss is mamma's joy; And these are dearer ties you'll say.

Yes, beyond doubt,

But these without,
They liv'd a comfortable life
Till sickness seized the suffering wife.

In vain they tried the doctor's skill :
Pill followed draught—draught followed pill ;
Poor soul ! she took them all, for much
She wish'd to recover, but vain
Was every effort, and such
The malady's increasing strength
That nature could no more sustain ;

And at length,
Her feeble frame gave way-

That is, she died one day.
How can I tell you all the widower felt ?
O! it would make each tender bosom melt,

Each eye with weeping swell;
So much he suffered, people thought that grim
Death had got a hankering after him ;

He into such deep sorrow fell,
Condoling friends could not assuage his woe;

In fact, so much was he

Afflicted with grief's agony,
That more than once he tried to throw
Himself into the grave below,

And there to lie

With his dear wife and die. But this his friends prevented,

nd, with much pe sion, he consented

1

226

THE LIVING TOMBSTONE.

To go with one to London, there to havo
A tombstone, which he'd place upon the grave,
And on it should be carved, in good black letter,

Her saint-like virtues as a sample,

To other wives a fine example ;
For surely never man had better !
His friend in London had a sister fair,
Who showed the widower much attentive care.
Oft they consulted what were best
As epitaph to have exprest,
Till doubts within his mind arose,
And cropp'd the cypress on his brows.
Her worth while living was well-known,
Then why engrave it upon stone ?
Besides, in village churchyards, very few
Who look'd at epitaphs could read 'em too.

He often thought of Adam's case,
Who, having one rib ta'en away,
Had, on a certain day,

Another put in'ts place,
And of the two, the second
Might better than the first be reckoned.

The lady, too, in reas'ning faltered,
And hers to his opinion altered.
From courtesy she now gave way:

It came with better grace,
Than if the silly word obey

Had taken place.
In fine, the lady gave consent.
Quick to a neighb’ring church they went,

And tied upon my life!
The knot that made them man and wife !

Just the day fortnight that he left
His village of all joy bereft,
And came the saddest mourner up to town,
He took his second wifea Living Tombstone down!

Anon.

THE DYING SAILOR.

227

THE DYING SAILOR,

He call’d his friend, and prefaced with a sigh
A lover's message :

“ Thomas, I must die.
Would I could see my Sally, and could rest
My throbbing temples on her faithful breast,
And gazing, go! If not, this trifie take,
And say, till death I wore it for her sake:
Yes; I must die. Blow on, sweet breeze, blow on!
Give me one look before my life be gone ;
Oh! give me that, and let me not despair,
One last fond look, and now repeat the prayer.”

He had his wish-had more. I will not paint
The lovers' meeting : she beheld him faint-
With tender fears she took a nearer view,
Her terrors doubling as her hopes withdrew;
He tried to smile, and, half succeeding, said,
“Yes, I must die;” and hope for ever fled.
Still long she nurs'd him; tender thoughts, meantime,
Were interchanged, and hopes and views sublime.
To her he came to die, and every day
She took some portion of the dread away:
With him she pray'd, to him his Bible read,
Soothed the faint heart, and held the aching head;
She came with smiles the hour of pain to cheer;
Apart, she sigh’d; alone, she shed the tear;
Then, as if breaking from a cloud, she gave
Fresh light, and gilt the prospect of the grave.

One day he lighter seemed, and they forgot
The care, the dread, the anguish of their lot;
They spoke with cheerfulness, and seem'd to think,
Yet said not so, “perhaps he will not sink;”
A sudden brightness in his look appear'd,
A sudden vigour in his voice was heard.
She had been reading in the book of prayer,
And led him forth, and placed him in his chair:
Lively he seem'd, and spoke of all he knew,
The friendly many and the favourite few;

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