« AnteriorContinuar »
Doina De Clyde! yet thy clansmen shall glory,
When their brave chieftain's descendant they view: Oft shall they think of that Highlander's story,
True to his prince, when 'twas death to be true. When to my thoughts red Culloden arises,
Thon, and the Stuart, my breast shall divide: Woe to the wretch, who the tartans despises,
Since they are dear to sweet Doina De Clyde.
Oh! had I lived in the tempest of battle,
When the war-feuds on the borders were high— Dear to me, then, were the musketry's rattle,
Daring each danger for Doina's bright eye. Blest were I, then, with her white arm around me,
Slinging my father's claymore at my side: Blest were I, then, when each night-fall had found me
Locked in the arms of my Doina De Clyde.
WANTON drole, whose harmless play
Beguiles the rustic's closing day,
When drawn the evening fire about,
Sit aged Crone, and thoughtless Lout,
And child upon his three-foot stool,
Waiting till his supper cool;
And maid, whose cheek outblooms the rose,
As bright the blazing faggot glows,
Who, bending to the friendly light,
Plies her task with busy sleight;
Come, show thy tricks and sportive graces
Thus circled round with merry faces.
Backward coil'd, and crouching low,
With glaring eye-balls watch thy foe,
The housewife's spindle whirling round,
Or thread, or straw, that on the ground
Its shadow throws, by urchin sly
Held out to lure thy roving eye;
Then, onward stealing, fiercely spring
Upon the futile, faithless thing,
Now, wheeling round, with bootless skill,
Thy bo-peep tail provokes thee still,
As oft beyond thy curving side
Its jetty tip is seen to glide;
Till, from thy centre starting far,
Thou sidelong rear'st with rump in air,
Erected stiff, and gait awry,
Like Madam in her tantrums high:
Though ne'er a Madam of them all
Whose silken kirtle sweeps the hall,
More varied trick and whim displays,
To catch the admiring stranger's gaze.
Doth power in measured verses dwell,
All thy vagaries wild to tell?
Ah no! the start, the jet, the bound,
The giddy scamper round and round,
With leap, and jerk, and high curvet,
And mapy a whirling somerset,
(Permitted be the modern Muse
Expression technical to use)
These mock the deftest rhymester's skill,
But poor in art, though rich in will.
The featest tumbler, stage-bedight,
To thee is but a clumsy wight,
Who every limb and sinew strains
To do what costs thee little pains,
For which, I trow, the gaping crowd
Requites him oft with plaudits loud.
But, stopped the while thy wanton play,
Applauses, too, thy feats repay:
For then, beneath some urchin's hand,
With modest pride thou tak'st thy stand,
While many a stroke of fondness glides
Along thy back and tabby sides.
Dilated swells thy glossy fur,
And loudly sings thy busy pur;
As, timing well the equal sound,
Thy clutching feet bepat the ground,
And all their harmless claws disclose,
Like prickles of an early rose;
While softly from thy whiskered cheek
Thy half-closed eyes peer mild and meek.
But, not alone by cottage (ire l)o rustics rude thy feats admire: 'Clio learned sage, whose thoughts exploit The widest range of human lore,
Or, with unfettered fancy, fly
Through airy heights of poesy,
Pausing, smiles with altered air
To see thee climb his elbow chair,
Or, struggling on the mat below,
Hold warfare with his slipper'd toe.
The widow'd dame, or lonely maid,
Who in the still, but cheerless shade
Of home unsocial, spends her age,
And rarely turns a lettered page;
Upon her hearth for thee lets fall
The rounded cork, or paper ball,
Nor chides thee on thy wicked watch
The ends of ravell'd skein to catch,
But lets thee have thy wayward will,
Perplexing oft her sober skill.
Even he, whose mind of gloomy bent,
In lonely tower or prison pent,
Reviews the wit of former days,
And loaths the world and all its ways;
What time the lamp's unsteady gleam
Doth rouse him from his moody dream,
Feels, as thou gambol'st round his seat,
His heart with pride less fiercely beat,
And smiles, a link in thee to find
That joins him still to living kind.
Whence hast thou then, thou witless puss,
The magic power to charm us thus?
Is it, that in thy glaring eye,
And rapid movements, we descry,
While we at ease, secure from ill,
The chimney corner snugly fill,
A lion, darting on the prey,
A tyger, at his ruthless play?
Or, is it, that in thee we trace,
With all thy varied wanton grace,
An emblem view'd with kindred eye,
Of tricksy, restless infancy?
Ah! many a lightly-sportive child,
Who hath, like thee, our wits beguij'd,
To dull and sober manhood grown,
With strange recoil our hearts disown.
Even so, poor Kit! must thou endure,
When thou becom'st a cat demure,
Full many a cuff and angry word,
Chid roughly from the tempting board.
And yet, for that thou hast, I ween,
So oft our favoured playmate been,
Soft be the change which thou shalt prove,
When time hath spoiled thee of our love;
Still be thou deem'd, by housewife fat,
A comely, careful, mousing cat,
Whose dish is, for the public good,
Replenished oft with sav'ry food.
Nor, when thy span of life is past,
Be thou to pond or dunghill cast,
But gently borne on good man's spade.
Beneath the decent sod be laid,
And children show, with glist'ning eye*,
The place where poor old Pussy lies.