Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

there be players, that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly, not to speak it profanely, that, neither having the accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, or man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, -they imitated humanity so abominably !-SHAKSPEARE.

THE BOYS.

This selection is a poem addressed to the class of 1829, in Harvard College, some thirty years after their graduation. The author, who retains, in a high degree, the freshness and joyousness of youth, addresses his classmates as “boys."

UAS there any old fellow got mixed with the boys ?
1 If there has, take him out, without making a noise.
Hang the almanac's cheat and the catalogue's spite!
Old Time is a liar! we're twenty to-night!

We're twenty! We're twenty! Who says we are more ?
He's tipsy,-young jackanapes !-show him the door!
“Gray temples at twenty ?”—Yes! white if we please ;
Where the snow-flakes fall thickest there's nothing can

freeze!

Was it snowing I spoke of? Excuse the mistake!
Look close, —you will see not a sign of a flake!
We want some new garlands for those we have shed,
And these are white roses in place of the red.

We've a trick, we young fellows, you may have been told,
Of talking (in public) as if we were old;
That boy we call “ Doctor," and this we call “ Judge;">
It's a neat little fiction,—of course it's all fudge.

That fellow's the “Speaker," the one on the right;
“ Mr. Mayor,” my young one, how are you to-night?
That's our“ Member of Congress,” we say when we chaft;
There's the “Reverend”—what's his name?-don't make

me laugh.

That boy with the grave mathematical look
Made believe he had written a wonderful book,
And the Royal Society thought it was true!
So they chose him right in,-a good joke it was too.
There's a boy, we pretend, with a three-decker brain,
That could harness a team with a logical chain;
When he spoke for our manhood in syllabled fire,
We called him“ The Justice,” but now he's the “Squire."

And there's a nice youngster of excellent pith ;
Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Smith;
But he shouted a song for the brave and the free,
Just read on his medal, “My country,” “ of thee !"
You hear that boy laughing? You think he's all fun;
But the angels laugh, too, at the good he has done;
The children laugh loud as they troop to his call,
And the poor man that knows him laughs loudest of all!
Yes, we're boys, -always playing with tongue or with pen;
And I sometimes have asked, shall we ever be men ?
Shall we always be youthful, and laughing, and gay,
Till the last dear companion drops smiling away?
Then here's to our boyhood, its gold and its gray!
The stars of its winter, the dews of its May!
And when we have done with our life-lasting toys,
Dear Father, take care of Thy children, The Boys !

( W. HOLMES

SCROOGE AND MARLEY.

MARLEY was dead to begin with. There is no doubt UT whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don't mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a doornail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country's done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a doornail.

Scrooge knew he was dead? Of course he did. How could it be otherwise ? Scrooge and he were partners for I don't know how many years. Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and sole mourner. And even Scrooge was not so dreadfully cut up by the sad event but that he was an excellent man of business on the very day of the funeral, and solemnized it with an undoubted bargain.

Scrooge never painted out old Marley's name. There it stood, years afterward, above the warehouse door: Scrooge and Marley. The firm was known as Scrooge and Marley. Sometimes people new to the business called Scrooge Scrooge, and sometimes Marley, but he answered to both names: it was all the same to him.

Oh! But he was a tight-fisted band at the grindstone, Scrooge!a squeezing, wrenching, grasping,scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struckout generous fire; secret and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue; and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice. A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin. He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge. No warmth could warm, nor wintry weather chill him. No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty. Foul weather didn't know where to have him. The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect. They often “came down” handsomely, and Scrooge never did.

Nobody ever stopped him in the street to say, with gladsome looks, "My dear Scrooge, how are you? when will you come to see me?" No beggars implored him to bestow a trifle, no children asked him what it was o'clock, no man or woman ever once in all his life inquired the way to such and such a place, of Scrooge. Even the blind-men's dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on, would tug their owners into doorways and up courts; and then would wag their tails as though they said, “No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master !”

But what did Scrooge care? It was the very thing he liked. To edge his way along the crowded paths of life, warning all human sympathy to keep its distance, was what the knowing ones call “nuts” to Scrooge.

CHARLES DICKENS

THE RELIEF OF LUCKNOW.

NH! that last day in Lucknow fort;

We knew that it was the last,
That the enemy's mines had crept surely in,

And the end was coming fast.
To yield to that foe meant worse than death,

And the men and we all worked on;
It was one day more of smoke and roar,

And then it would all be done. There was one of us, a corporal's wife,

A fair young gentle thing,
Wasted with fever in the siege,

And her mind was wandering.
She lay on the ground, in her Scottish plaid,

And I took her head on my knee; “When my father comes hame frae the pleugh,” she said,

“Oh! please then waken me.”
She slept like a child on her father's floor,

In the flecking of woodbine shade,
When the house dog sprawls by the half open door,

And the mother's wheel is stayed.
It was smoke and roar and powder stench,

And hopeless waiting for death ;
But the soldier's wife, like a full tired child,

Seemed scarce to draw her breath. [ sank to sleep and I had my dream

Of an English village lane and wall and garden-till a sudden scream

Brought me back to the rear again.

her father de

n en door

« ZurückWeiter »