Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

Oft may you see him when he tends the sheep,
His winter charge, beneath the hillock weep;
Oft hear him murmur to the winds that blow
O'er his white locks, and bury them in snow;
When roused by rage, and muttering in the morn,
He mends the broken hedge with icy thorn.

'' Why do I live, when I desire to be
At once from life and life's long labour free?
Like leaves in spring, the young are blown away.
Without the sorrows of a slow decay;
I, like yon withered leaf, remain behind,
Nipt by the frost, and shivering in the wind:
There it abides till younger buds come on,
As I, now all my fellow-swains are gone;
Then, from the rising generation thrust,
It falls, like me, unnoticed in the dust.

"These fruitful fields, these numerous flocks I see,
Are others' gain, but killing cares to me;
To me the children of my youth are lords,
Cool in their looks, but hasty in their words:
Wants of their own demand their care; and who
Feels his own want and succours others' too?
A lonely, wretched man, in pain I go,
None need my help, and none relieve my woej
Then let my bones beneath the turf be laid,
And men forget the wretch they would not aid."

Thus groan the old, till, by disease opprest, They taste a final woe, and then they rest.

Theirs is yon house that holds the parish poor, Whose walls of mud scarce bear the broken doorj There, where the putrid vapours flagging play, And the dull wheel hums doleful through the dayj There children dwell who know no parents' care; Parents, who know no children's love, dwell there; Heart-broken matrons on their joyless bed. Forsaken wives, and mothers never wed, Dejected widows with unheeded tears, And crippled age with more than childhood-fears; The lame, the blind, and, far the happiest they! The moping idiot and the madman gay. Here, too, the sick their final doom receive, Here brought amid the scenes of grief to grieve, Where the loud groans from some sad chamber flow, Mixed with the clamours of the crowd below;

Here, sorrowing, they each kindred sorrow scan,

And the cold charities of man to man:

Whose laws indeed for ruined age provide.

And strong compulsion plucks the scrap from pride;

But still that scrap is bought with many a sigh,

And pride embitters what it can't deny.

Say ye, oppressed by some fantastic woes,

Some jarring nerve that baffles your reposo;

Who press the downy couch, while slaves advance,

With timid eye, to read the distant glance;

Who with sad prayers the weary doctor tease.

To namo tho nameless ever-new disease;

Who with mock patience dire complaints endure,

Which real pain, and that alone, can cure;

How would ye bear in real pain to lie,

Despised, neglected, left alone to die?

How would ye bear to draw your latest breath

Where all that's wretched paves the way for death?

Such is that room which one rude beam divides.
And naked rafters form the sloping sides;
Where the vile bands that bind the thatch are seen,
And lath and mud are all that lie between;
Save one dull pane, that, coarsely patched, gives way
To the rude tempest, yet excludes the day:
Here, on a matted flock, with dust o'erspread,
The drooping wretch reclines his languid head;
For him no hand the cordial cup applies,
Or wipes the tear that stagnates in his eyes;
No friends with soft discourse his pain beguile,
Or promise hope till sickness wears a smile.

SPELL AND PRONOUNCE— transient, passing. alter'nate, changing. compul sion, force.

A WONDERFUL DOG.—London Spectator.

1. "Minos" is a small Maltese dog, like a Skye of the longhaired, silky kind, only that he turns his little feathered forepaws out in an odd way. He was deposited on a large table by his mistress, and she conversed with him cheerfully, as she arranged a number of cards bearing the numerals 1, 2, 3, and so on, and several double figures. With a gentle shake of one paw, the little creature began his " exercises." He picked out a dozen cards in succession, named by various persons among the audience, the number being distinctly repeated to him by his mistress, and then she asked any one present to name a sum in addition which "Minos," who had just brought the card marked 6 in his mouth to her, should work. A lady said, " Let him add 12 to it." He gave his mistress a long look, twitched his nose, ambled gently over the spread cards, without displacing them, and presently returned, carrying in his mouth the card marked 18.

2. Several experiments of the same kind were suggested, and in every instance " Minos " made the calculation correctly. Then came exercises in subtraction, during which his gravity, consideration, and frequent reference by questioning looks to his mistress were very pretty to see. He never once failed to bring her the correct card, though some puzzling numbers were proposed to him, and only once did he " give it up," on which occasion he had all the sympathies of the audience with him. This was when a gentleman requested him to find "the half of 27." "Minos" paused, looked at his mistress, shook his right paw, twitched his right car, and walked straight across the table with 0 upon it, and laid it before Madame Hager. He would sometimes sit up, with his funny forepaws turned out in front of him, and survey the audience with a benignant gaze, as of a dog who said, " Good people, you are amused because you do not understand me, and my kind. We know all about you, but you know little about us. You might learn a great deal from the mere fact that a little creature like myself exists.

3. He conversed with his mistress freely, in short barks, in winks, in twitches, perfectly to their mutual satisfaction, and was penitently sensible that he had slightly committed himself by lying down before company, in an idle moment, during the substitution of photographs for the numbered cards. Madame Hager explained that " Minos " was susceptible to the drowsy influence of the weather, and had been going out a good deal. From that moment he assumed a delightful briskness, and he entered into the game of picking out the photographs which were named in succession, with much spirit, turning his soft brown head about in eager expectation of the next order, and exchanging looks with his mistress which people present said were " quite human."

4. Every one wanted to know " how it was done." A favourite theory was that Madame Hager conveyed an indication to him by changes of voice. But even if it were so, that would be a more surprising exercise of memory, because it would require its employment on countless inflexions of one voice, and the connection of them with the pictures, of which he is said to recognize four hundred. He picked out twenty-five without any difficulty, and when the titles of the Queen of England and the Princess of Wales were changed to " the august mamma " and the " august wife" of the Prince of Wales, he found the portraits just as readily.

5. The spectacle was a charming one, not only because of the extraordinary sagacity and memory of the little performer, but because of something exquisitely gentle, trustful, and loving in his look, and movements which went to people's hearts. When he

■ had found every photograph that was asked for, a pack of playingcards was produced, a handkerchief was thrown over the dog's head, and three persons among the audience were asked to select cards, which were afterwards replaced in the pack, unseen by Madame Hager—and the whole distributed over the surface of the table. As she withdrew the handkerchief, the brown eyes and black nose turned up again, and "Minos" started on the first of the three perquisitions, which were all successful.

6. A French lady was requested to write a word in their common language on a sheet of paper, to be shown to "Minos." She, with the neat politeness of her nation, wrote "esprit," and "Minos," having attentively inspected the writing, brought the letters e, s, p, r, i, t, in their proper succession, and arranged them on a book. This achievement terminated the performance, and then the little dog, with unabated gravity and gentleness, received the personal congratulations of the audience, who afterwards had the pleasure of seeing him running about on a croquet-lawn, sniffing at the balls, inspecting the mallets, and inspiring all observers with the conviction that he could croquet everybody, if he only gave his very superior mind to it.

7. "Minos " was born at Vienna in 1870, and his early experience was not altogether happy. His mother, who still lives, and is now exceedingly proud of him, was a strong-minded parent of the advanced order of thought; and as "Minos" was the sickly one of three, his brother and sister being fine, healthy puppies, and she considered that her nutritive powers would only suffice to maintain two in creditable condition, she promptly resolved to reduce the theory of the survival of the fittest to action, and endeavoured to put an end to "Minos." But the tiny weakling had already found its way to the heart of a young girl, Madame Hager's only child, who had a strong affinity for animals, and a peculiar faculty for teaching dogs. Her chief method was by perpetually talking to them, and she adopted it at once with "Minos," whom she rescued with great difficulty from the economic purposes of " Biri," his mamma.

8. So ruthless was " Biri's " animosity to the useless mouth in her family, that she was one day discovered in the act of trying to press the life from out the young heart of " Minos," by forcibly inserting him between the iron springs of a bedstead. After that they were separated until times changed, and the intelligence and accomplishments of "Minos" had rendered him the chief ornament of his family. He takes much of his talent from "Biri," who is, we fancy, the only animal in existence who has been photographed, poised on all four legs on the rim of a champagne-glass, and looking perfectly comfortable in that position.

9. From the hour of her adoption of " Minos," Marie Hager had no companion except the dog; he was her doll, her playfellow, her confidant; she talked to him incessantly, and about every, thing; she showed him everything, she took him everywhere; her friends were his friends; she educated him to his present pitch of erudition, and taught him one accomplishment which he has since lost, or perhaps declines to practice (who can tell the mystery of the doggish heart ?) because his young teacher is no 2iore. In her time, " Minos " played the piano—she taught him a tune of a few notes—but when Marie Hager died, of consumption, brought on by the miseries of the terrible year, and her mother recovered from the fever which prostrated her three months afterwards, the deft little paws had lost their cunning, the silky brown ears twitched no more to music.

10. The despair of the dog when the girl's coffin was removed was terrible. He had not left her side for a moment, and no one had the heart to take him away, when, after desperate efforts to warm and to waken her, he lay down by her, moaning, and cried himself to sleep. But this was not until he had essayed one last resource, which ought to immortalize his memory. One by one, he carried all the little "properties" of the performance, which until then had been merely used for the girl's pleasure—it is now the mother's provision—and laid them on the bed. Then he took up his accustomed attitude, and went solemnly through the whole of his tricks, pausing occasionally to lay his nose against his dead friend's cheek, or to touch with a little despairing paw the closed eyelids and the mouth, which would not speak let him do what he would. After a while, he came to love the girl's mother

« AnteriorContinuar »