« ZurückWeiter »
SONG OF THE SPIRIT OF POVERTY.
BY ELIZA COOK.
A song, a song, for the beldame Queen,
A Queen that the world knows well, Whose portal of state is the workhouse gate,
And throne the prison cell.
I have been crown'd in every land,
With nightshade steep'd in tears,
Which the proudest mortal fears.
No gem I wear in my tangled hair,
No golden vest I own,
Yet say, who dares my frown?
Oh, I am Queen of a ghastly court,
And tyrant sway I hold,
With the bloodhounds of Hunger and Cold.
My power can change the purest clay
From its first and beautiful mould, Till it hideth from the face of day,
Too hideous to behold.
the wretch who has cloven and cleft The skull of the lonely one, And quail'd not at purpling his blade to the heft,
To make sure that the deed was done.
Fair seeds were sown in his infant breast,
That held goodly blossom and fruit, But I trampled them down-Man did the rest
And God's image grew into the brute.
He hath been driven, and hunted, and scourged,
For the sin I bade him do,
Till blood seem'd fair to his view.
I shriek with delight to see him bedight
In fetters that chink and gleam, “ He is mine,” I shout, as they lead him out
From the dungeon to the beam.
See the lean boy clutch his rough-hewn crutch,
With limbs all warp'd and worn, While he hurries along through a noisy throng,
The theme of their gibing scorn.
Wealth and Care would have rear'd him straight
As the towering mountain pine,
And wither'd his marrowless spine.
Where's the escutcheon of blazon'd worth?
Who is heir to the famed rich man?
And hide him as soon as ye can.
Oh, I am Queen of a ghastly court,
And the handmaids that I keep,
To haunt the fitful sleep.
See, see, they come in my haggard train,
With jagg'd and matted locks Hanging round them as rough as the wild steed's mane,
Or the black weed on the rocks.
They come with broad and horny palms,
They come in maniac guise,
And hollow staring eyes.
They come to be girded with leather and link,
And away at my bidding they go,
In the deep, damp caverns below.
Daughters of Beauty, they like ye,
Are of gentle womankind,
Of angel form and mind.
If I'd held your cheeks by as close a pinch,
Would that flourishing rose be found ? If I'd doled you a crust out, inch by inch,
Would your arms have been so round ?
Oh, I am Queen with a despot rule,
That crushes to the dust;
Though ruthless and unjust.
With the might of the demon's skill ;
As I grapple it harder still.
Oh, come with me and ye shall see,
How well I begin the day,
And snatch his loaf away.
Oh, come with me and ye shall see,
How my skeleton victims fall ;
And the coffins without a pall.
Then a song, a song for the beldame Queen
A Queen that ye fear right well;
And my throne the prison cell.
BY MRS, TROLLOPE.
“Nature has many such."
"It is singular," said William Morton, to his friend and fellow-collegian, Charles Wilmot, " to see such a family as the Belmonts. Amongst them all there is not one, no, not a single one, male or female, that is not essentially witty."
“I think I should be afraid of them,” replied his friend. “Wit so often shows itself in satire, that it is sometimes dangerous to come near it.” “That is not the case with the Belmonts," said Morton.
They are, without exception, the best tempered set of people I ever came near. Their conversation is one perpetual flow of goodhumoured pleasantry-no biting, carping, discontented harshness among them. And then they are all so handsome! Upon my honour, I never saw such a set of people in my life.”
“All handsome? Father, mother, sons, and daughters ?" demanded Wilmot.
“Yes," returned the other, after a pause. “Father, mother, sons, and daughters, all handsome. I do not exactly mean that Mrs. Belmont's eyes are as bright as her daughter Fanny's, or that the gentlemanlike looking old man, her husband, is as striking in appearance as his son William ; but Mrs. Belmont is particularly well-looking for a middle-aged woman, and Mr. Belmont is exactly the sort of person I should like to be myself, if I live to be as old. In short, I tell you that it is a very singular thing to meet with such a family.”
“I wish you joy of your good luck, Morton,” returned Charles Wilmot. “ It will make your first season of real liberty in London pass very pleasantly-provided always that you do not fall so seriously in love with either mother or daughters as to make your heart ache."
“ Mother! Nonsense! And as to the daughters, I see no reason in the world why I should not fall in love with either of them. Only that I don't think I should be ever able to decide which."
“There is always safety in numbers," replied Charles. “But you have quite forgotten that I came here to drive you to the Park. Are you still sufficiently your own master to go there? Or will it be necessary to ask the Belmont family if they can spare you ?”
“ If I thought they would answer' No,' I would ask them directly," said Morton. “But how can you be such a fool, Charles, as to let me talk of them to you as I have done, over and over again, and yet never ask me to introduce you? You are either too proud, I suppose, to ask a favour of your friend, or else you are thinking of High-Field Park, and its dependencies, and are afraid of being caught. But you are quite mistaken if you fancy that the Belmonts are fortune-hunting misses. You would see in a moment, if you knew them, that they are quite in another line. They all seem to enjoy the present too keenly, charming creatures, to trouble themselves much about the future. Why do you not wish to be introduced to them ?”
“I have not said that I did not wish it, Morton,” replied Charles.
“ But will you tell me with proper emphasis and accent that you do ?" demanded Morton.
“ You are very exigeant, my good friend," returned the other, laughing. “I never saw you so difficult before.”
“ I am not exigeant for myself, but for my charming friends,” he replied. “I am such a goodnatured fool, Wilmot, that I cannot endure to think of what you lose by not knowing them; and yet I don't quite like, either, going about begging young men to be introduced to them."
“ Well !" replied Wilmot," I will satisfy you if I can. do me the honour of introducing me to your friends the Belmonts ?”
“Yes, Mr. Wilmot, I will," returned Morton," and the deed shall be done at once. Instead of taking me to the Park, let us immediately drive to Bolton-street."
“Agreed !" was the reply, and in a few minutes the two young men were ushered into a handsome drawing-room, in which was seated a Jady of some forty-five or fifty years of age, surrounded by four younger ones.
William Morton had not exaggerated the facts, when he said that the Belmonts were a handsome race. They really were very handsome. The mother was a tall, well-made woman, with regular features, fine eyes, and a natural residue of a fine complexion, that had had neither illoess, sorrow, intemperate dissipation, nor an intemperate table to convert it into either yellow or purple.
of the girls, the eldest was very like the mother, only not quite so tall. The second was rather less regularly handsome, but was favoured by nature with a pair of peculiarly fine eyes, the sparkling brightness of which lighted up her whole countenance, and caused her to be often accounted the most attractive of the family, though perhaps the least