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WILL WATERPROOF'S LYRICAL MONOLOGUE.

127

For, something duller than at first,

Nor wholly comfortable,
I sit, my empty glass reversed,

And thrumming on the table :

He looks not like the common breed

That with the napkin dally ;
I think he came like Ganymede,

From some delightful valley.
The Cock was of a larger egg

Than modern poultry drop, Stept forward on a firmer leg,

And cramm'd a plumper crop ;
Upon an ampler dunghill trod,

Crowd lustier late and early,
Sipt wine from silver, praising God,

And raked in golden barley.
A private life was all his joy,

Till in a court he saw
A something-pottle-bodied boy

That knuckled at the taw : Hestoop’dand clutch'd him, fair and good,

Flew over roof and casement : His brothers of the weather stood

Stock-still for sheer amazement.

Half fearful that, with self at strife,

I take myself to task ;
Lest of the fullness of my life

I leave an empty flask :
For I had hope, by something rare,

To prove myself a poet : But, while I plan and plan, my hair

Is gray before I know it.

So fares it since the years began,

Till they be gather'd up ; The truth, that flies the flowing can,

Will haunt the vacant cup : And others' follies teach us not,

Nor much their wisdom teaches; And most, of sterling worth, is what

Our own experience preaches.

But he, by farmstead, thorpe and spire,

And follow'd with acclaims, Å sign to many a staring shire

Came crowing over Thames. Right down by smoky Paul's they bore,

Till, where the street grows straiter, One fix'd for ever at the door,

And one became head-waiter.

Ah, let the rusty theme alone !

We know not what we know. But for my pleasant hour, 'tis gone ;

'Tis gone, and let it go. 'Tis gone : a thousand such have slipt

Away from my embraces, And fall'n into the dusty crypt

Of darken'd forms and faces.

But whither would my fancy go?

How out of place she makes The violet of a legend blow

Among the chops and steaks ! 'Tis but a steward of the can,

One shade more plump than common ; As just and mere a serving-man

As any born of woman.
I ranged too high : what draws me down

Into the common day?
Is it the weight of that half-crown,

Which I shall have to pay ?

Go, therefore, thou ! thy betters went

Long since, and came no more ; With peals of genial clamour sent

From many a tavern-door, With twisted quirks and happy hits,

From misty men of letters; The tavern-hours of mighty wits

Thine elders and thy betters.

Hours, when the Poet's words and looks

Had yet their native glow : Nor yet the fear of little books

Had made him talk for show ;

THE CAPTAIN.

A LEGEND OF THE NAVY.

He that only rules by terror

Doeth grievous wrong.
Deep as Hell I count his error,

Let him hear my song.
Brave the Captain was : the seamen

Made a gallant crew,
Gallant sons of English freemen,

Sailors bold and true.
But they hated his oppression,

Stern he was and rash;
So for every light transgression

Doom'd them to the lash.
Day by day more harsh and cruel

Seem'd the Captain's mood.
Secret wrath like smother'd fuel

Burnt in each man's blood. Yet he hoped to purchase glory,

Hoped to make the name
Of his vessel great in story,

Wheresoe'er he came.
So they past by capes and islands,

Many a harbour-mouth,
Sailing under palmy highlands

Far within the South.
On a day when they were going

O'er the lone expanse,
In the north, her canvas flowing,

Rose a ship of France.
Then the Captain's colour heighten'd,

Joyful came his speech :
But a cloudy gladness lighten'd

In the eyes of each. • Chase,' he said : the ship flew forward,

And the wind did blow;
Stately, lightly, went she Norward,

Till she near'd the foe.
Then they look'd at him they hated,

Had what they desired :

Mute with folded arms they waited

Not a gun was fired.
But they heard the foeman's thunder

Roaring out their doom ;
All the air was torn in sunder,

Crashing went the boom, Spars were splinter'd, decks were shat

ter'd, Bullets fell like rain; Over mast and deck were scatter'd

Blood and brains of men. Spars were splinter'd; decks were broken :

Every mother's son-
Down they dropt-no word was spoken-

Each beside his gun.
On the decks as they were lying,

Were their faces grim.
In their blood, as they lay dying,

Did they smile on him.
Those, in whom he had reliance

For his noble name,
With one smile of still defiance

Sold him unto shame.
Shame and wrath his heart confounded,

Pale he turn'd and red,
Till himself was deadly wounded

Falling on the dead.
Dismal error ! fearful slaughter !

Years have wander'd by,
Side by side beneath the water

Crew and Captain lie ;
There the sunlit ocean tosses

O'er them mouldering,
And the lonely seabird crosses

With one wast of the wing.

THE LORD OF BURLEIGH.

In her ear he whispers gaily,

• If my heart by signs can tell, Maiden, I have watch'd thee daily,

And I think thou lov'st me well.'

THE CAPTAIN.

A LEGEND OF THE NAVY.

He that only rules by terror

Doeth grievous wrong.
Deep as Hell I count his error.

Let him hear my song.
Brave the Captain was : the seamen

Made a gallant crew,
Gallant sons of English freemen,

Sailors bold and true.
But they hated his oppression,

Stern he was and rash ;
So for every light transgression

Doom'd them to the lash.
Day by day more harsh and cruel

Seem'd the Captain's mood.
Secret wrath like smother'd fuel

Burnt in each man's blood. Yet he hoped to purchase glory,

Hoped to make the name
Of his vessel great in story,

Wheresoe'er he came.
So they past by capes and islands,

Many a harbour-mouth,
Sailing under palmy highlands

Far within the South.
On a day when they were going

O'er the lone expanse,
In the north, her canvas flowing,

Rose a ship of France.
Then the Captain's colour heighten'd,

Joyful came his speech :
But a cloudy gladness lighten'd

In the eyes of each. •Chase,' he said : the ship flew forward,

And the wind did blow;
Stately, lightly, went she Norward,

Till she neard the foe.
Then they look'd at him they hated,

Had what they desired :

Mute with folded arms they waited

Not a gun was fired.
But they heard the foeman's thunder

Roaring out their doom ;
All the air was torn in sunder,

Crashing went the boom, Spars were splinter'd, decks were shat

ter'd, Bullets fell like rain ; Over mast and deck were scatter'd

Blood and brains of men. Spars were splinter'd ; decks were broken :

Every mother's son-
Down they dropt-no word was spoken-

Each beside his gun.
On the decks as they were lying,

Were their faces grim.
In their blood, as they lay dying,

Did they smile on him.
Those, in whom he had reliance

For his noble name,
With one smile of still defiance

Sold him unto shame.
Shame and wrath his heart confounded,

Pale he turn'd and red,
Till himself was deadly wounded

Falling on the dead.
Dismal error ! fearful slaughter !

Years have wander'd by,
Side by side beneath the water

Crew and Captain lie ;
There the sunlit ocean tosses

O'er them mouldering,
And the lonely seabird crosses

With one waft of the wing.

THE LORD OF BURLEIGH.

In her ear he whispers gaily,

• If my heart by signs can tell, Maiden, I have watch'd thee daily,

And I think thou lov'st me well.'

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