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At midnight, four times in each year does her sprite,

When mortals in slumber are bound, Arrayed in her bridal apparel of white, Appear in the hall with the skeleton knight,

And shriek as he whirls her around !

While they drink out of skulls newly torn from the grave,

Dancing round them the spectres are seen ;
Their liquor is blood, and this horrible stave
They howl :—“To the health of Alonzo the Brave,

And his consort, the Fair Imogene!”

334. Horace Smith 1780-1849.


And thou hast walked about (how strange a story!)

In Thebes's streets three thousand years ago,
When the Memnonium was in all its glory,

And time had not begun to overthrow
Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous,
Of which the very ruins are tremendous !
Speak! for thou long enough hast acted dumby :

Thou hast a tongue, come, let us hear its tune;
Thou`rt standing on thy legs above ground, mummy!

Revisiting the glimpses of the moon.
Not like thin ghosts or disembodied creatures,
But with thy bones and flesh, and limbs, and features.
Tell us—for doubtless thou canst recollect

To whom we should assign the Sphinx's fame?
Was Cheops or Cephrenes architect

Of either Pyramid that bears his name?
Is Pompey's Pillar really a misnomer?
Had Thebes a hundred gates, as sung by Homer ?
Perhaps thou wert a mason, and forbidden

By oath to tell the secrets of thy trade-
Then say, what secret melody was hidden

In Memnon's statue, which at sunrise played ? Perhaps thou wert a Priest-if so, my struggles Are vain, for priestcraft never owns its juggles.

Perchance that very hand, now pinioned flat,

Has hob-a-nobbed with Pharaoh, glass to glass;
Or dropped a halfpenny in Homer's hat,

Or doffed thine own to let Queen Dido pass,
Or held, by Solomon's own invitation,
A torch at the great Temple's dedication.
I need not ask thee if that hand, when armed,

Has any Roman soldier mauled and knuckled,
For thou wert dead, and buried, and embalmed

Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled :
Antiquity appears to have begun
Long after thy primeval race was run.
Thou couldst develope, if that withered tongue

Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen,
How the world looked when it was fresh and young,

And the great deluge still had left it green;
Or was it then so old, that history's pages
Contained no record of its early ages ?
Still silent, incommunicative elf !

Art sworn to secrecy ? then keep thy vows;
But prythee tell us something of thyself,

Reveal the secrets of thy prison-house ; Since in the world of spirits thou hast slumbered, What hast thou seen—what strange adventures numbered ? Since first thy form was in this box extended,

We have, above ground, seen some strange mutations; The Roman empire has begun and ended,

New worlds have risen-we have lost old nations, And countless kings have into dust been humbled, Whilst not a fragment of thy flesh has crumbled. Didst thou not hear the pother o'er thy head,

When the great Persian conqueror, Cambyses,
Marched armies o'er thy tomb with thundering tread,

O'erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis.
And shook the pyramids with fear and wonder,
When the gigantic Memnon fell asunder ?
If the tomb's secrets may not be confessed,

The nature of thy private life unfold :
A heart has throbbed beneath that leathern breast,

And tears adown that dusky cheek have rollid;
Have children climbed those knees and kissed that face?
What was thy name and station, age and race ?

Statue of flesh-immortal of the dead !

Imperishable type of evanescence ! Posthumous man, who quitt'st thy narrow bed,

And standest undecayed within our presence,
Thou wilt hear nothing till the judgment morning,
When the great trump shall thrill thee with its warning.
Why should this worthless tegument endure,

If its undying guest be lost for ever?
Oh, let us keep the soul embalmed and pure

In living virtue, that, when both must sever,
Although corruption may our frame consume,
The immortal spirit in the skies may bloom.

335. George Canning, 1770-1827.



Friend of Humanity.
Needy Knife-grinder! whither are you going?
Rough is your road, your wheel is out of order;
Bleak blows the blast-your hat has got a hole in't,

So have


breeches. Weary Knife-Grinder; little think the proud ones, Who, in their coaches, roll along the turnpikeRoad, what hard work ’tis crying all day, “Knives and

Scissors to grind, O!”
Tell me, Knife-grinder, how came you to grind knives?
Did some rich man tyrannically use you ?
Was it the squire or parson of the parish,

Or the attorney ?
Was it the squire, for killing of his game ? or
Covetous parson, for his tithes distraining ?
Or roguish lawyer, made you

All in a lawsuit ?

lose your

(Have you not read the Rights of Man, by Tom Paine ?) Drops of compassion tremble on my eyelids, Ready to fall, as soon as you have told your

Pitiful story.

Story! God bless you, I have none to tell, Sir;
Only last night, a-drinking at the Chequers,
This poor old hat and breeches, as you see, were

Torn in a scuffile.
Constables came up for to take me into
Custody; they took me before the justice ;
Justice Oldmixon put me in the parish

Stocks for a vagrant.
I should be glad to drink your honour's health in
A pot of beer, if you will give me sixpence;
But, for my part, I never love to meddle

With politics, Sir.

Friend of Humanity.
I give thee sixpence! I will see thee hanged first-
Wretch, whom no sense of wrongs can rouse to vengeance-
Sordid, unfeeling, reprobate, degraded,

Spiritless outcast !
[Kicks the Knife-grinder, overturns his wheel, and exit in

a transport of republican enthusiasm and universal philanthropy.]

336. John Wilson. 1785-1854. (Manual, p. 488.)

Together will ye walk through long, long streets,
All standing silent as a midnight church.
You will hear nothing but the brown-red grass
Rustling beneath your feet; the very beating
Of your own hearts will awe you ; the small voice
Of that vain bauble, idly counting time,
Will speak a solemn language in the desert.
Look up to Heaven, and there the sultry clouds,
Still threatening thunder, lour with grim delight,
As if the Spirit of the Plague dwelt there,
Darkening the city with the shadows of death.
Know ye that hideous hubbub? Hark, far off
A tumult like an echo! On it comes,
Weeping and wailing, shrieks and groaning prayer;
And, louder thản all, outrageous blasphemy.

The passing storm hath left the silent streets.
But are these houses near you tenantless ?
Over your heads, from a window, suddenly
A ghastly face is thrust, and yells of death
With voice not human. Who is he that flies,
As if a demon dogg'd him on his path ?
With ragged hair, white face, and bloodshot eyes,
Raving, he rushes past you ; tiil he falls,
As if struck by lightning, down upon the stones,
Or, in blind madness, dash'd against the wall,
Sinks backward into stillness. Stand aloof,
And let the Pest's triumphant chariot
Have open way advancing to the tomb.
See how he mocks the pomp and pageantry
Of earthly kings! a miserable cart,
Heap'd up with human bodies; dragg'd along
By pale steeds, skeleton-anatomies !
And onwards urged by a wan meagre wretch,
Doom'd never to return from the foul pit,
Whither, with oaths, he drives his load of horror.


look in? Gray hairs and golden tresses, Wan shrivelled cheeks that have not smild for years, And many a rosy visage smiling still ; Bodies in the noisome weeds of beggary wrapt, With age decrepit, and wasted to the bone ; And youthful frames, august and beautiful, In spite of mortal pangs,—there lie they all, Embraced in ghastliness! But look not long, For haply, ʼmid the faces glimmering there, The well-known cheek of some beloved friend Will meet thy gaze, or some small snow-white hand, Bright with the ring that holds her lover's hair. Let me sit down beside you. I am faint Talking of horrors that I look'd upon At last without a shudder.

337. John Gibson Lockhart. 1794-1854.

Zara's EAR-RINGS.1

“My ear-rings! my ear-rings ! they've dropt into the well, And what to say to Muça, i cannot, cannot tell.”—

1 A Moorish ballad.

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