Page images
PDF
EPUB

loved and reverenced him, and would by God's help follow his steps in life and death, he could have borne it all without a murmur. But that he should have gone away for ever without knowing it all, was too much to bear.”- “But am I sure that he does not know it all ?”—the thought made him start—"May he not even now be near me, in this very chapel ? If he be, am I sorrowing as he would have me sorrow-as I should wish to have sorrowed when I shall meet him

again ?"

He raised himself up and looked round; and after a minute rose and walked humbly down to the lowest bench, and sat down on the very seat which he had occupied on his first Sunday at Rugby. And then the old memories rushed back again, but softened and subdued, and soothing him as he let himself be carried away by them. And he looked up at the great painted window above the altar, and remembered how when a little boy he used to try not to look through it at the elm-trees and the rooks, before the painted glass came -and the subscription for the painted glass, and the letter he wrote home for money to give to it. And there, down below, was the very name of the boy who sat on his right hand on that first day, scratched rudely in the oak paneling.

And then came the thought of all his old schoolfellows; and form after form of boys, nobler, and braver, and purer than he, rose up and seemed to rebuke him. Could he not think of them, and what they had felt and were feeling, they who had honoured and loved from the first the man whom he had taken years to know and love ? Could he not think of those yet dearer to him who was gone, who bore his name and shared his blood, and were now without a husband or a father?

Then the grief which he began to share with others became gentle and holy, and he rose up once more, and walked up the steps to the altar; and while the tears flowed freely down his cheeks, knelt down humbly and hopefully, to lay down there his share

of a burden which had proved itself too heavy for him to bear in his own strength.

Here let us leave him—where better could we leave him, than at the altar, before which he had first caught a glimpse of the glory of his birthright, and felt the drawing of the bond which links all living souls together in one brotherhood—at the grave beneath the altar of him who had opened his eyes to see that glory, and softened his heart till it could feel that bond ?

(By permission of Messrs. Macmillan.)

IN A GONDOL A.

ARTHUR HUGH CLOUGH.

AFLOAT, we move; delicious, ah!
What else is like the gondola ?
This level floor of liquid glass
Begins beneath it swift to pass :
It goes as though it went alone
By some impulsion of its own.
How light it moves, how softly! ah,
Were all things like the gondola !
How light it moves, how softly! ah,
Could life as does our gondola,
Unvex'd with quarrels, aims, and cares,
And moral duties and affairs,
Unswaying, noiseless, swift, and strong,
For ever thus, thus glide along !
(How light we move, how softly! ah,
Were life but as the gondola!)-
With no more motion than should bear
Freshness to the languid air:
"With no more effort than expressed
The ease and naturalness of rest,

Which we beneath a grateful shade
Should take, on peaceful billows laid!
How light we move, how softly! ah,
Were life but as the gondola!

In one unbroken passage borne
To closing night from opening morn,
We lift at whiles slow eyes to mark
Some palace front, some passing bark,
Through windows catch the varying shore,
And hear the soft turns of the oar.
How light we move, how softly! ah,
Were life but as the gondola!

How light we go, how softly skim,
And all in moonlight seem to swim;
The South side rises o'er our bark,
A wall impenetrably dark;
The North is seen profusely bright;
The water, is it shade or light?
Say, gentle moon, which conquers now,
The flood those massy hulls, or thou ?
How light we go, how softly! ah,
Were life but as a gondola !

How light we go, how softly skim,
And all in moonlight seem to swim !
Reclining, that white dome I mark
Against bright clouds projected dark,
And catch, by brilliant lamps displayed,
The Doge's columns, and arcade:
Over smooth waters mildly come
The distant laughter and the hum.
On to the landing, onward—nay,
Sweet dream, a little longer stay.
On to the landing-here—and ah,
Life is not as the gondola.
(By permission of Messrs. Macmillan.)

193

THE FARMER'S WIFE AND THE GASCON.

HORACE SMITH.

Ar Neufchatel, in France, where they prepare
Cheeses that set us longing to eat mites,
There dwelt a farmer's wife, famed for her rare
Skill in these small quadrangular delights.
Where they were made, they sold for the imme'.se
Price of three sous a-piece ;
But as salt water made their charms increase,
In England the fixed rate was eighteen-pence.

This damsel had to help her in the farm,
To milk her cows and feed her hogs,
A Gascon peasant, with a sturdy arm
For digging or for carrying logs,
But in his noddle weak as any baby,

In fact a gaby,
And such a glutton, when you came to feed him,
That Wantly's Dragon, who "ate barns and churches,"
As if they were geese and turkeys,
(Vide the ballad) scarcely could exceed him.
One morn she had prepared a monstrous bowl

Of cream like nectar,
And would not go to church (good careful soul !)
Till she had left it safe with a protector :
So she gave strict injunctions to the Gascon
To watch it while his mistress was to mass gone.
Watch it he did-he never took his eyes off,
But lick'd his upper, then his under lip,
And doubled up his fist to drive the flies off,
Begrudging them the smallest sip,

Which if they got,
Like
my

Lord Salisbury, he heaved a sigh,
And cried, “Oh happy, happy fly,
How I do envy you your lot!"
Each moment did his appetite grow stronger ;

His bowels yearn'd;
At length he could not bear it any longer;

But on all sides his looks he turn'd,
And finding that the coast was clear, he quaffd
The whole up at a draught.
Scudding from church, the farmer's wife

Flew to the dairy;
But stood aghast, and could not for her life
One sentence mutter,
Until she muster'd breath enough to utter

Holy St. Mary !"
And shortly, with a face of scarlet,
The vixen (for she was a vixen) flew

Upon the varlet,
Asking the when, and where, and how, and who
Had gulp'd her cream, nor left an atom?
To which he gave—not separate replies,
But, with a look of excellent digestion,
One answer made to every question,

" The flies!” "The flies, you rogue! the flies, you guttling dog! Behold, your whiskers still are covered thickly; Thief !-villain !- liar !-gormandizer!—hog! I'll make you tell another story quickly!" So out she bounc'd, and brought, with loud alarms,

Two stout gens-d'armes,
Who bore him to the judge-a little prig,

With angry bottle nose,

Like a red cabbage rose, While lots of white ones flourish'd on his wig ! Looking at once both stern and wise, He turn'd to the delinquent, And 'gan to question him, and catechise, As to which way the drink went ? Still the same dogged answers rise, “The flies, my Lord--the flies, the flies!" “Pshaw!" quoth the judge, half peevish and half

pompous, “Why, you're non compos! You should have watch'd the bowl, as she desired, And kill'd the flies, you stupid clown.”

« PreviousContinue »