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268

LADY CLARA VERE DE VERE.

Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

Some meeker pupil you must find ;
For were you queen of all that is,

I could not stoop to such a mind.
You sought to prove how I could love,

And my disdain is my reply ;
The lion on your old stone gates

Is not more cold to you than I.
Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

You put strange memories in my head;
Not thrice your branching limes have blows

Since I beheld young Laurence dead.
Oh, your sweet eyes, your low replies !

A great enchantress you may be ;
But there was that across his throat

Which you had hardly cared to see.
Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

When thus he met his mother's view,
She had the passions of her kind,

She spake some certain truths of you.
Indeed, I heard one bitter word,

That scarce is fit for you to hear ;
Her manners had not that repose

Which stamps the caste of Vere de Vere
Lady Clara Vere de Vere,

There stands a spectre in your hall :
The guilt of blood is at your door :

You changed a wholesome heart to gall.
You held your course without remorse,

To make him trust his modest worth ;
And, last, you fix'd a vacant stare,

And slew him with your noble birth.
Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere,
From yon

blue heavens above us bent,
The grand old gardener and his wife

Smile at the claims of long descent.
Howe'er it be, it seems to me,

'Tis only noble to be good ;
Kind hearts are more than coronets,

And simple faith than Norman blood.

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I know you, Clara Vere de Vere :

You pine among your halls and towers;
The languid light of your proud eyes

Is wearied of the rolling hours.
In glowing health, with boundless wealth,

But sickening of a vague disease,
You know so ill to deal with time,

You needs must play such pranks as these.
Clara, Clara Vere de Vere,

If time be heavy on your hands,
Are there no beggars at your gate,
Nor any poor

about

your lands? Oh! teach the orphan boy to read,

Or teach the orphan girl to sew, Pray heaven for a human heart, And let the foolish yeoman go.

Tennysos

CARACTACUS.

BEFORE proud Rome's imperial throne,

In mind's unconquer'd mood,
As if the triumph were his own,

The dauntless captive stood.
None, to have seen his freeborn air,
Had fancied him a prisoner there.
Through all the crowded streets of Rome,

With slow and stately tread,
Far from his own loved island-home,

That day in triumph led ;
Unbow'd his head, unbent his knee,
Undimm’d his eye, his aspect free.
A free and fearless glance he cast

On temple, arch, and tower,
By which the long procession pass'd

Of Rome's victorious power ;
And somewhat of a scornful smile
Upcurl'd his haughty lip the while.

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And now he stood, with brow serene,

Where slaves might prostrate fall,
Bearing a Briton's manly mien,

In Cæsar's palace hall ;
Claiming, with kindling brow and cheek,
The privilege e'en there to speak.

Nor could Rome's haughty lord withstand

The claim that look preferr’d,
But motion’d, with uplifted hand,

The suppliant should be heard :
If he, indeed, a suppliant were
Whose glance demanded audience there.

Deep stillness fell on all the crowd,

From Claudius on his throne
Down to the meanest slave that bow'd

At his imperial tone ;
Silent his fellow-captives' grief,
As fearless spoke the Island Chief :

“Think not, thou eagle Lord of Rome,

And master of the world,
Though victory's banner o'er thy dome

In triumph now is furld,
I would address thee as thy slave,
But as the bold should greet the brave.

I might, perchance, could I have deign'd

To hold a vassal's throne,
Even now in Briton's isle have reign'd

A king-in name alone;
Yet holding, as thy meek ally,
A monarch's mimic pageantry.

Then through Rome's crowded streets this day

I might have rode with thee;
Not in a captive's base array,

But fetterless and free :
If freedom he could hope to find
Whose bondage is, of heart and mind.

271

THE ONE-LEGGED GOOSE.

“ But canst thou marvel that, free born,

With heart and hope unquell’d,
Throne, crown, and sceptre I should scorn,

By thy permission held ?
Or that I should retain my right,

Till wrested by a conqueror's might?
“Rome, with her palaces and towers,

By us unwish’d, unreft,
Her homely huts and woodland bowers

To Britain might have left :
Worthless to you their wealth must be,
But dear to us, for they were free!
I might have bow'd before—but where

Had been thy triumph now?
To my resolve no yoke to bear

Thou owest thy laureli'd brow :
Inglorious victory had been thine,

And more inglorious bondage mine.
“ Now I have spoken, do thy will ;

Be life or death my lot,
Since Britain's throne no more I fill,

To me it matters not;
My fame is clear ; but on my fate
Thy glory or thy shame must wait.”
He ceased. From all around upsprang

A murmur of applause;
For well had Truth and Freedom's tongue

Maintain'd their holy cause :
The conqueror was their captive then-
He bade the slave be free again.

Anon.

THE ONE-LEGGED GOOSE.

A WEALTHY gentleman of Hertfordshire,

Not troubled with an overplus of brains, Like many a worthy country squire,

Whose craniums give them very little pains,

272

THE ONE-LEGGED GOOSE,

Liv'd quietly upon his own estate :
He was a bachelor, but whether that
Argues in favour of his understanding,

or militates against it, is a question That I would wish to have no hand in, But leave it to your cool digestion.

He ne'er perplexed his pate

With the af irs state,
But led a calm domestic life,
Far from the noise of town and party strife.
He loved to smoke his pipe with jovial souls,
Prided himself upon his skill at bowls,
At which he left his neighbour in the lurch;
On Sundays, too, he always went to church

(As should each penitential sinner), Took, during service-time, his usual snore, And gave his sixpence at the door,

And then walk'd comfortably home to dinner. As there are many, I dare say,

Who into such affairs have never look’d, I think I'd better mention, by the way,

That dinners, ere they're eaten, should be cook'd! At least our squire's were so before he took 'em, And consequently he'd a cook to cook 'em. Now, as I shall have work enough For this most gracious queen of kitchen-stuff, It

may not be amiss to tell you, that (Of lusty beauty quite a masterpiece)

This modern maid of Fat
Surpass'd the famous ancient dames of Greece.
Of course, then, she had lovers plenty-
Aye, that she had, sir, nearly twenty !
But none did she so doat upon
As our squire's lusty gardner, John.
It chanc'd one year, as almanacks can tell,
St. Michael's day on Sunday fell ;
The squire the night before, as was his use,
Gave Peggy orders to procure a goose ;
Then went to church next morning cheerfully,
And order'd dinner to be done by three.
'Twas half-past two, the cloth was laid,
Peggy the apple-sauce had made,

The bird was done, and she for master wishing,

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