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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 ;
And his consort, the Fair Imogene!”
334. Horace Smith 1780-1849.
ADDRESS TO A MUMMY.
And thou hast walked about (how strange a story!)
In Thebes's streets three thousand years ago,
And time had not begun to overthrow
Thou hast a tongue, come, let us hear its tune;
Revisiting the glimpses of the moon.
To whom we should assign the Sphinx's fame?
Of either Pyramid that bears his name?
By oath to tell the secrets of thy trade-
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 doffed thine own to let Queen Dido pass,
Has any Roman soldier mauled and knuckled,
Ere Romulus and Remus had been suckled :
Might tell us what those sightless orbs have seen,
And the great deluge still had left it green;
Art sworn to secrecy ? then keep thy vows;
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,
O'erthrew Osiris, Orus, Apis, Isis.
The nature of thy private life unfold :
And tears adown that dusky cheek have rollid;
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,
If its undying guest be lost for ever?
In living virtue, that, when both must sever,
335. George Canning, 1770-1827.
FROM THE ANTIJACOBIN.'
THE FRIEND OF HUMANITY AND THE KNIFE-GRINDER.
Friend of Humanity.
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!”
Or the attorney ?
(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
Torn in a scuffile.
Stocks for a vagrant.
With politics, Sir.
Friend of Humanity.
Spiritless outcast !
a transport of republican enthusiasm and universal philanthropy.]
336. John Wilson. 1785-1854. (Manual, p. 488.)
FROM THE CITY OF THE PLAGUE.'
The passing storm hath left the silent streets.
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.
“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.