Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

No bearer of burdens like Caliban,
No runner of errands like Ariel,
He comes in the shape of a fat old man,
Without rap of knuckle or pull of bell;
And whence he comes, or whither he goes,
I know as I do of the wind which blows.

A stout old man with a greasy hat
Slouched heavily down to his dark, red nose,
And two gray eyes enveloped in fat,
Looking through glasses with iron bows.
Read ye, and heed ye, and ye who can,
Guard well your doors from that old man I

He comes with a careless “how d'ye do,”
And seats himself in my elbow chair;
And my morning paper and pamphlet new
Fall forthwith under his special care,
And he wipes his glasses and clears his throat,
And, button by button, unfolds his coat.

And then he reads from paper and book,
In a low and husky asthmatic tone,
With the stolid sameness of posture and look
Of one who reads to himself alone;
And hour after hour on my senses come
That husky wheeze and that dolorous hum.

The price of stocks, the auction sales,
The poet's song and the lover's glee,
The horrible murders, the seaboard gales,
The marriage list, and the jeu d'esprit,
All reach my ear in the self-same tone,—
I shudder at each, but the fiend reads on 1

Oh! sweet as the lapse of water at noon
O'er the mossy roots of some forest tree,

The sigh of the wind in the woods of June,
Or sound of flutes o'er a moonlight sea,

Or the low soft music, perchance which seems To float through the slumbering singer's dreams,

So sweet, so dear is the silvery tone
Of her in whose features I sometimes look,
As I sit at eve by her side alone,
And we read by turns from the self-same book—
Some tale perhaps of the olden time,
Some lover's romance or quaint old rhyme.

Then when the story is one of woe,
Some prisoner's plaint through his dungeon-bar,
Her blue eye glistens with tears, and low
Her voice sinks down like a moan afar;
And I seem to hear that prisoner's wail,
And his face looks on me worn and pale.

And when she reads some merrier song,
Her voice is glad as an April bird's,
And when the tale is of war and wrong,
A trumpet's summons is in her words,
And the rush of the hosts I seem to hear,
And see the tossing of plume and spear!—

Oh, pity me then, when, day by day,
The stout fiend darkens my parlour door;
And reads me perchance the self-same lay
Which melted in music the night before,
From lips as the lips of Hylas sweet,
And moved like twin roses which zephyrs meet !

Ucross my floor with a nervous tread,
I whistle and laugh and sing and shout,
I flourish my cane above his head,
And stir up the fire to roast him out;
I topple the chairs, and drum on the pane,
And press my hands on my ears, in vain l

I’ve studied Glanville and James the wise,
And wizard black-letter tomes which treat

Of demons of every name and size,
Which a Christian man is presumed to meet,

But never a hint and never a line

Can I find of a reading fiend like mine.

I’ve crossed the Psalter with Brady and Tate,
And laid the Primer above them all,

I’ve nailed a horseshoe over the grate,
And hung a wig to my parlour wall

Once worn by a learned Judge, they say,
At Salem court in the witchcraft day !

“Conjuro te, scleratissime,
Abire ad tuum locum !”—still
Like a visible nightmare he sits by me—
The exorcism has lost its skill ;
And I hear again in my haunted room
The husky wheeze and the dolorous hum !

Ah!—commend me to Mary Magdalen will, her seven-fold plagues—to the wandering ew, To the terrors which haunted Orestes when The furies his midnight curtains drew, But charm him off, ye who charm him can, That reading demon, that fat old man –

THE PUMPKIN.

OH ! greenly and fair in the lands of the sun,

The vines of the gourd and the rich melon run,

And the rock and the tree and the cottage enfold,

With broad leaves all greenness and blossoms all old,

Like o which o'er Nineveh's prophet once grew,

While he waited to know that his warning was true, And longed for the storm-cloud, and listened in Val]]

For the rush of the whirlwind and red fire-rain.

On the banks of the Xenil the dark Spanish maiden
Comes up with the fruit of the tangled vine laden;
And the Creole of Cuba laughs out to behold
Through orange-leaves shining the broad spheres
of gold;
Yet with dearer delight from his home in the North,
On the fields of his harvest the Yankee looks forth,
Where crook-necks are coiling and yellow fruit
shines,
And the sun of September melts down on his vines.

Ah!—on Thanksgiving Day, when from East and from West, From North and from South come the pilgrim and

est, When #. gray-haired New Englander sees round his board y The old broken links of affection restored, When the care-wearied man seeks his mother once more, And the worn matron smiles where the girl smiled before, What moistens the lip and what brightens the

eye” What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?

Oh!--fruit loved of boyhood —the old days recalling,

When wo were purpling and brown nuts were falling !

When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,

Glaring out through the dark with a candle within

When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,

Our chair abroad pumpkin—our lantern the moon

Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam, In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team

Then thanks for thy present l—none sweeter or better E’er smoked from an oven or circled a platter! Fairer hands never wrought at a pastry more fine, Brighter eyes never watched o'er its baking than thine ! And the prayer, which my mouth is too full to express, Swells my heart that thy shadow may never be less That the days of thy lot may be lengthened below, And the fame of thy worth like a pumpkin-vine row, And thy life be as sweet, and its last sunset sky Golden-tinted and fair as thy own Pumpkin Pie

EXTRACT FROM “ A NEW ENGLAND LEGEND.”

How has New England's romance fled,
Even as a vision of the morning !
Its rites fordone—its guardians dead—
Its priestesses, bereft of dread,
Waking the veriest urchin's scorning !—
Gone like the Indian wizard's yell
And fire-dance round the magic rock,
Forgotten like the Druid's spell
At moonrise by his holy oak
No more along the shadowy glen,
Glide the dim ghosts of murdered men;
No more the unquiet churchyard dead
Glimpse upward from their turfy bed,
Startling the traveller, late and lone

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »