British Women Romantic Poets Project

Holkham, the Scenes of my Childhood and Other Poems.

Biller, Sarah Kilham.


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British Women Romantic Poets Project
Shields Library, University of California, Davis, California 95616
2001
I.D. No. BillSHolkh

Copyright (c) 2001, University of California

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Davis British Women Romantic Poets Series

I.D. No. 53
Nancy Kushigian, -- General Editor
Charlotte Payne, -- Managing Editor


Holkham, the scenes of my childhood: and other poems

Biller, Sarah Kilham


Foster and Hextall, 268, Strand; Tyzack, Wells
Norfolk,
London,
1839

[This text was scanned from its original in the Shields Library Kohler Collection, University of California, Davis. Kohler ID no. I:100. Another copy available on microfilm as Kohler I:100mf.]


The editors thank the Shields Library, University of California, Davis, for its support for this project.

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HOLKHAM,
THE SCENES OF MY CHILDHOOD: And other Poems.

BY

SARAH BILLER.


SECOND EDITION. LONDON:

FOSTER AND HEXTALL, 268, STRAND;
TYZACK, WELLS, NORFOLK.
1839.
Page [2]

PALMER & CLAYTON, 9, Crane-court, Fleet-street.



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TO
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE THE
EARL OF LEICESTER,

THIS
LITTLE WORK,
IS,
BY PERMISSION,
MOST RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED.


Page [4]


Page [5]

SUBSCRIBERS' NAMES.

[The list in the original printed edition is printed in two columns.]


Page [9]

CONTENTS.


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ADDRESS.

IT has formed part of the writings of many eminent authors to eulogize the place of their nativity; and although I cannot hope that my feeble effusions will ever rise even to the mediocrity of literature, yet as no other native of HOLKHAM has made any poetical effort to describe it, I trust I may be pardoned the presumption of attempting it myself. As regards the poetry, I know my verse to be very inharmonious: I likewise know that it falls short--very short, in delineating the beauties of that favoured spot. And I should as soon expect, by holding up a lighted candle, to add lustre to the sun, as to suppose that any production


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of my humble muse would add one item to the highly, justly attained reputation of the Earl of Leicester: nevertheless, deficient as I am conscious it is in all parts, I am persuaded to forward the manuscript to Holkham, relying solely on the indulgence of those to whom it is sent. I had not the advantages of much education in youth, nor have I had time or opportunity for improving myself in literary pursuits in after years, as my calling in life requires my close application to services of a very different nature: this, I hope, will be some excuse for the many errors that will be found in this work. HOLKHAM has chiefly been written "when labour's children sleep." Although but few months have elapsed since I completed this poem, yet, during that brief space of time, such important changes have taken place, as render it necessary I should mention its date (April, 1837). I need scarcely say, that it was written before the commence-


Page 13

ment of the present reign, and consequently before Mr. Coke was created Earl of Leicester. Had these things taken place previous to my writing HOLKHAM , they would have made some difference in the composition.
THE AUTHORESS.

n            London, September 2nd, 1837.


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Page [15]

TO T. W. COKE, ESQ.

                "Why was an independent wish
                E'er planted in my mind?"

I'M proud to know the muses deign to raise
Poetic themes to Holkham's rightful praise:
But why select a stranger, to impart
Feelings that flow in every native's heart?
Had she no son to whom they could assign
The pleasing task, the eulogizing line?
Must Holkham be dependent for their praise,
Upon a stranger's energetic lays? *
If her hale sons permit an alien's muse,
Wholly to sing the bliss her charms diffuse;
If they unmoved can hear another's lyre
Sound the sweet strains their native views inspire;
The softer sex must try their feeble skill
To assert th' independence of their Ville.


Page 16

Roused by the thought, the following lines I send,
By Holkham's free-born child in secret penned.
'Tis not for lucre, nor for empty praise,
That I have dared to meet the public gaze;
'Tis but to show that Holkham's pen is free,
Nor needs a stranger's brief topography.
My partial friends some merit may descry,
Though yet in embryo Holkham's beauties lie.
My confined knowledge, and my humble sphere,
May plead excuse for many errors here;
But this indulgence cannot far expand,
Our polished times more finished works demand.
My first attempt, perhaps, may prove my last;
On your decision shall "the die be cast."
If your approving smiles my labours crown,
My point is gained, my humble verse I'll own.
If spurned by you then let oblivion's cloud
Shield my weak efforts from the censuring crowd:
But should my noble patron deign to laud,
The public may condemn, or may applaud.
* Alluding to a poem written previously by Mr. Cundall.


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HOLKHAM.

        "Pictured in memory's mellowing glass, how sweet
        Our infant days, our infant joys to greet;
        To roam in fancy in each cherished scene,
        The village churchyard, and the village green."
WHITE.

HOLKHAM, I hail thee! hail, my native hearth!
While strangers rise to celebrate thy worth
Shall I be mute? Nay, rather be it known,
That Holkham claims a rhymster of her own.
As the fond mother of an absent boy
Receives his first address 'mid tears of joy,
Wilt thou, dear Holkham, deign to look on me,
And be as I have always pictured thee?
The most indulgent, dearest spot on earth.
Scenes of fraternal love, and rural mirth;
Hope's fairy visions vanished from my view,
When first I bade thy fragrant shades adieu.
    I can recall, from reason's early dawn,
The splendid mansion, and the stately lawn;


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The fields, the woods, the temple, and the lake,
The arch, the pillar, village, too, partake
In that fond dream, which oft my hours beguile;
But, far above them all, that sacred pile
Which rears its gothic tower sublimely high
O'er where our kindred relics mouldering lie,
Rising majestic, 'mid a lofty wood,
While in the distance rolls the briny flood;
So far the trackless waves unbounded run,
That sea and sky seem mingling into one.
Upon the coast appalling wrecks were cast,
The sad memorials of the northern blast;
When the rude winds contended with the waves,
And valiant seamen doomed to watery graves;
Deep in the sands the shattered hulks are left,
Of sails, of masts, of all their cargoes, reft.
In vain tempestuous storms about them rise,
Unmoved they brook the thunders of the skies;
And when the dreadful lightning's vivid glare
Makes the most daring spirit shake with fear,
They stand undaunted, as the stable rock,
Sublime in ruins 'mid the o'erwhelming shock.
    But, when the gentle zephyrs fill the sails,
A tranquil sweetness o'er the scene prevails;
The freighted vessels seem to ride at ease
Upon the bosom of the azure seas;


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The tide receding, gently laves the shore,
Bestrewed with shells and minor fossils o'er;
The banks, (the precincts of the swelling tide,)
With mountain force the land and sea divide.
Here prattling children chase their hours away;
Here youthful swains, at eve, are wont to stray,
To pour their dulcet notes to please the fair,
Rude as they are, they charm the listening ear;
Terraqueous echo mellows every sound,
And spreads a pleasing harmony around.
    Far from the summit of the rising mound,
The artists sketch the glowing scenery round;
Scenes of delight, of various charms possessed,
In nature's blooming robes superbly dressed;
One view pourtrays the merchant's hopes and fears,
His thriving craft, and wrecks of former years;
The opening prospect, on the other hand,
Displays the varied beauties of the land.
Low at the base the weeping willows bow,
Rushes and reeds in wild profusion grow;
The grazing cattle in th' adjacent mead,
With playful lambkins, near the streamlets feed.
The peaceful village meets th' excursive eye,
And fields of golden grain more distant lie;
Perspective woods with lofty foliage crowned,
And choice plantations mantling o'er the ground;


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Arcadian groves, and meads of waving grass,
And fertile plots to help the labouring class;
Delicious fruits that scent the odorous gale,
And flowers of every tint, perfume the vale.
    As a fine painting worthy Raphael's name,
Looks still more splendid in a gilded frame,
So these fair views are more serenely bright,
When nature's lamp illumes the shades of night;
More brilliant far in memory's mine they glow,
Than all the busy scenes I witness now.
Here where no glowing landscape claims a rhyme,
Gather the refugees of every clime,
The sons of honour, and the slaves of crime.
Here servile courtiers nominally great,
And kings and princes move in gorgeous state.
Here noble mansions rise on every side,
With gothic air, or not less modern pride.
Here too dramatic talent brings to view,
Scenes which in ages past our fathers drew,
With all that tends to illustrate or refine,
Th' enlightened times in one vast concourse join.
Yet from all this the truant heart will roam,
To trace the former joys of early home.
    Sweet smiling Spring's reanimating powers
Strew the wide lawns with variegated flowers,


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And bid the woods their vernal foliage wave,
And gentle showers the rising harvests lave.
Earth's teeming plants luxuriant odour shed,
And cheerful plenty rears her welcome head.
The feathered songsters tune their grateful lays,
And echo swells the universal praise.
    Approaching Summer's riper bloom succeeds,
When the rich clover of the verdant meads
In blushing beauty stands, or prostrate lies,
In green mown swaths beneath the cloudless skies,
Where many a youthful swain and village fair,
In mutual love their healthsome labours share.
Blithe as the lark that greets the coming day,
With dext'rous skill they spread the new mown hay;
Till duly scattered 'neath the noon tide beams,
The arid produce waits the reeking teams;
Soon from the fields the fragrant piles are cleared,
And round the farm the ponderous hay stacks reared;
Turnips and beet, rude Norfolk's annual pride,
Partly imbedded, grow on either side,
And yield a portion of the farmer's store
For flocks and herds, when meadows give no more.
And should our worthy critics prove severe,
That aught so mean should find admission here;
Let it be understood, in their reviews,
That I awhile confine my humble muse


Page 22

To scenes where these nutritious roots abound,
In vast exuberance o'er the teeming ground.
    And when bright Sol, in summer's grand array,
With more than wonted radiance gilds the day,
And timorous fish unguarded briskly play,
Beside the streams the angling parties watch,
With hook and bait the finny tribe to catch.
While o'er the winding lake's majestic sway,
The gentle breeze, and cheerful sunbeams play,
Wafting sweet odour from selected flowers,
Sweet as e'er bloomed in Eden's sacred bowers,
Breathing ambrosial air without alloy,
Till all creation seems replete with joy;
While over all the fleecy clouds arise,
In all the splendour of Italian skies.
    When heaven's high Artist shades the fields with gold,
Holkham's fair views are beauteous to behold:
Autumnal stores in rustic grandeur spread,
Till the weak stem scarce bears its nodding head.
The yellow harvests far and wide expand,
Till the bold peasants, rising hand in hand,
With scythe and sickle clear the glutted land:
Beneath the scorching sun's meridian light,
And broad full moon that gilds the arch by night,


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The jocund reaper binds the brittle sheaves,
And humble gleaners pick the ears he leaves,
'Till weary grown, with heat and thirst opprest,
The languid parties seek a transient rest
Beneath the branches of the spreading oaks,
Where ale goes round as freely as their jokes:
But soon refreshed, the invigorated train,
With zealous haste, pursue their work again,
Nor deem the Fates unkind that they must bear
The suns and showers of each revolving year,
But feel a pride to exert their utmost power
How best to employ the present shining hour,
Ere storms contend, or howling tempests lour.
Load after load propitious nature gives,
Load after load each spacious barn receives;
'Till every field is cleared; when onward come
The joyful swains, and shout the harvest home.
The feast is spread with England's boasted fare,
And home-brewed ale; and all who bore a share
In the warm harvest field, are welcome there.
    But oh, how changed those late fair prospects seem!
Their former beauties vanished like a dream;
The barren stubble, and the fading bough,
Are all that grace the face of nature now:
The rustling leaves in every path we tread,
Mourn e'en the verdure of the shrubberies fled;


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Save the rough holly, which, through winter's gloom,
Retains its verdant leaves and coral bloom.
    Although great nature's beauties seem decayed,
And Winter comes, in snowy vest arrayed,
Yet old and young, and rich and poor, may find
Much to employ and recreate mankind;
Congenial pleasures and pursuits abound,
As varying nature takes her annual round.
'Mid winter's frowns, from morn till setting sun,
The fearless sportsman points the deadly gun:
Quick through the woods the thundering echoes ring,
Ensanguine sports, that mar the fairest wing.
Another healthy pleasure, too, is found
To chase the timid hare with horn and hound,
Until the exhausted creature stands aghast,
And falls a victim to the hounds at last.
Master and man the like diversions court,
Horses and dogs enjoy the general sport;
Till all fatigued, when weary nobles come
To share the greater joys that wait at home;
Where song, or dance, with beauty's cheering smile
And music's charms, the evening hours beguile.
    And, when the frost congeals the silvery lake,
Thither the village swains themselves betake;
Some nimbly skate, while others swiftly glide,
With careless mien, along the glassy slide;


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While others, mere spectators of the feat,
Loiter awhile, and then for home retreat.
Unless, perchance, some reckless youths begin
Their wanton freaks, and heedless falling in,
With hideous cries implore the needful aid,
Which those who render seem themselves afraid
Lest they likewise partake the 'numbing bath,
With cautious steps they tread the dangerous path.
The luckless wights, once more upon the ice,
Listen awhile to sober, sage advice,
With grateful hearts perceive their dangers o'er,
And soon appear as happy as before.
    And while the park with flocks and herds abound,
And fruitful crops o'erspread the fertile ground;
The spacious Hall is nothing less renowned,
For those fine arts which ancient sages sought,
Which Michael Angelo and Raphael taught.
Relics of ancient Greece, and fallen Rome,
Beneath this princely roof have found a home;
Sculpture and paintings, modern and antique,
Which taste refined and elegance bespeak.
Here amateurs and antiquaries find
Instructive stores to feast the docile mind.
    Still higher praise the libraries command,
Where costly piles of literature stand,


Page 26

Volumes, and manuscripts, of pristine lore,
Which the great fathers wrote in days of yore;
Classics, and histories from early times,
Of native bards, and those of foreign climes:
Beside the modern works, in verse and prose,
With which the public press now overflows:
Forming a choice voluminous resource,
For those who love a literary course;
Selected works of every class and age,
Since Homer sung, and Roscius trod the stage:
Here may the living commune with the dead,
Learn how their gallant fathers nobly bled;
Bled for those rights to every Briton dear--
Deeds of renown which crown the hero's bier.
    The sacred chapel (whence the voice of prayer
To heaven ascends, and finds acceptance there,)
Now meets the view, while monitors around,
Though silent, yet in eloquence profound,
Bid man awhile the toys of life resign,
And bow devoutly at his Maker's shrine;
The solemn aspect of this holy place
Impress more deep the Word of saving grace.
    Hail, Holkham! hail, by sovereign smiles caressed,
Great Britain's king has been thy honoured guest;
The gentle princess whom the nations own
Presumptive heiress to the British throne;


Page 27

And royal dukes, and England's staunch allies,
Find here the pleasures which a court denies.
The reverend teachers of the sacred Word,
The patriot statesman, and the martial lord,
Th' experienced traveller, and the rustic 'squire,
Thy matchless charms with magic thrall inspire;
Would some high gifted genius write thy part,
And picture thee all beauteous as thou art!
Thy spreading fame would reach through every clime,
And rise triumphant on the wings of time;
Save Eden's groves no shades more blest than ours,
Not e'en "sweet Auburn's" once enchanting bowers.
    Long may the lord of Holkham live to share
Whate'er can render his existence dear!
Just four-score times and four yon dazzling sun
O'er worlds below his annual course has run,
Since first our patriot's useful life begun;
For fifty years he in the senate stood,
Nor bought, nor sold, but sought his country's good;
Retiring then, his jubilee was hailed,
And public thanks thro' Norfolk's courts prevailed;
His graceful portrait decks the county hall,
And e'en the canvas claims respect from all;
Crowned with a patriarch's lengthened years he lives,
Blest in the blessings which he freely gives;


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His rising children, "to the fourth degree,"
Cheer his fond heart, and climb his aged knee;
Dear sacred pledges! which his sainted wife
Left as mementos of her virtuous life.
Ah, left too soon; but God, who gives us all,
Knows better when His blessings to recall.
    'Mid rural scenes which time but more endears,
Our patron lives, released from public cares,
With the fair partner of his latter years:
Her pure example of connubial love,
And youthful smiles, his dearer comforts prove;
Her blooming offspring future joys presage,
Their father's pride, the children of his age;
Heirs of his substance, may they likewise prove
Heirs of his country's patriotic love.
One lovely cherub from this world is flown
To join the hallelujah round the throne.
    Long may the lord of Holkham honoured live!
With all that wealth and virtue have to give;
'Mid dear domestic joys of social life,
With love, and peace, and plenty ever rife,
Dispensing blessings with a liberal hand,
In meek accordance with divine command;
'Till his winged soul shall soar through realms above,
And meet the partner of his early love;


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When heaven's full bliss is his where joys ne'er sate,
May the young heir be good, as he'll be great.
    Nor are the rosy peasantry a race
Less ornamental to this lovely place,
Or less essential to preserve its grace:
Though fortune only gilds her favourite few,
Nature's endearing charms--like morning dew--
Impartial spread, and form a fairer part
Of native elegance untouched by art;
Ceres' rude sons in beauty's combat wage
With all the polished courtiers of the age.
    Those foreign tours of which our poor complain;
Those foibles fashion's votaries must maintain,
Are here unfelt--here flows that source of joy,
That bliss which long possession cannot cloy;
Here, 'mid those sweets unsparing nature gives,
Content at home an honoured master lives;
The native peasants share his bounteous lot,
Nor is a suffering stranger e'er forgot.
The hoary husbandman, whose vigorous hand,
Has toiled for years to till the fertile land,
Has ploughed its furrows, sown the golden seeds,
And swept the scythe along the flowery meads,
Has reaped the corn 'neath autumn's sultry sun,
And pitched the ponderous load, 'till all was done.


Page 30

And he, whose less laborious task has proved
A source of pleasure 'mid the scenes he loved;
To show with pride the fair exotic flowers,
Reared by his skill to deck the sylvan bowers;
Where foreign fruits to great perfection rise,
Fair as the produce of the southern skies;
And shrubs and plants that grace our favoured Isle
In native loveliness unrivalled smile;
And every branch of horticulture rise
In vernal green, or autumn's richer dyes.
And, likewise, all who round their master wait,
As stewards, servants, or whate'er their state,
If they with diligence their course pursue,
Will not go unrewarded. Very few,
Whom fortune's niggard hand has left to gain
Their daily sustenance through toil and pain,
Can vie with those, who, 'neath fair Holkham's towers,
Have gained a shelter, ere misfortune lours.
No rigorous workhouse here the poor oppress,
In life's decline, in sickness, or distress;
But, when old age, with all its joyless train,
Press on their meagre forms recurrent pain,
When all the charms of early life are fled,
Some friends estranged, some numbered with the dead,


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Th' almshouses, then, their drooping frames protect
From chill adversity, from cold neglect.
Widows and widowers share this kind bequest,
Released from toil, with every comfort blest;
Here are they sheltered, clothed, in plenty fed,
By her who long since calmly joined the dead,*
She, like a guardian angel from on high,
Supports their tottering footsteps till they die.
Nor were the feelings of her liberal mind,
To this munificence alone confined;
She thought of all within her little sphere,
Her bounty still provides their Christmas fare.
Thus does benevolence extend its power
Far, far beyond this transitory hour
Of mortal life; much to the dead we owe,
Whose good examples, and whose precepts show,
That they were not unmindful of mankind,
When they, themselves, should be to dust consigned.
    Last, but not least, the lovely village glows
With blessings which the poor man rarely knows:
Conscious of this, the peasants seldom roam,
Nor seek for aught beyond their native home;


Page 32

The master feels a pride to see them blessed,
And renders help whene'er they are distressed:
His worthy consort, though by all caressed,
Yet kindly deigns to visit the oppressed.
The scented woodbine and the fragrant rose
Adorn the cots where health and peace repose;
Or else perchance the tendrils of the vine
Clasp the firm walls, and round the casements twine;
Both fruits and flowers each humble cot commands,
A theme of general praise the village stands;
The wealthy landlord, provident and kind,
Has to each cot a garden plot assigned,
Where flowerets grow, and useful plants and roots,
And trees ingrafted with prolific shoots;
The annual fruitage serves the neighbouring poor,
For summer dainties, and for winter's store.
Here, when their daily labours are complete,
The humble tenants in their gardens meet,
The scene is pleasing, and the change is sweet;
Some plant the soil, and some at ease recline
Beneath the shades where sweet wild briers entwine;
A whitethorn hedge divides each neighbour's lot,
And gives a rural finish to the spot.
And, if disputes from any cause abound
In Holkham village, or for miles around,


Page 33

Soon at the Hall the differing parties meet
To seek redress where Justice holds her seat.
To Coke's judicious voice they all attend,
And in their judge behold a guardian friend;
Of course the guilty bear his just reproof--
For petty crimes deemed punishment enough;
The just commended, soon their tumults cease,
He bids them go, and henceforth live in peace.
    The village school, which crowns the village green,
Gives double interest to the opening scene;
Here moral worth, and fundamental lore,
Are early taught among the rising poor;--
Infantile genius struggling into light
Here learns to read--here first attempts to write;
While young accountants, with pedantic air,
Complete the studies deemed essential here:
Save that the sacred truths are strictly taught,
Ere worldly cares contaminate a thought.
    The village green, where spreading elms o'ershade
The spot where once our hoary fathers played,
Is still the play-ground where the young repair;
Hoop, ball, or taw, alternate triumph here.
The humble students of the village school,
Released awhile from academic rule,
Here uncontrolled pursue their healthy play,--
Each strives to be the hero of the day.


Page 34

Their sportive innocence, their gambols wild
Amuse alike the parent and the child:
The village alehouse here appears in view,
Where older children have their gambols too.
    Amid these scenes I drew my earliest breath,
And here, I hope, to close my eyes in death;--
Upon yon hill I hope to rest in peace
With kindred dust when mortal life shall cease:
But should Omnipotence this wish deny,
Doom me in distant scenes to droop and die,
Ev'n then, dear native shades, though thrilling pain
Waste this weak frame--distract my feverish brain;
To thee amid life's parting throes I'll turn,
And Holkham's name shall grace my mouldering urn;
When I, through Christ, to heaven shall wing my way,
Let Holkham rise the Auburn of the day;
All that fair village was, let Holkham stand,
The cherished Eden of our valiant land.
    But nought against the wreck of years can shield
Yon spacious dome; yon gilded towers must yield
When reckless time his reckless sword shall wield;
That stately pile shall then be more sublime,
More beauteous in its ruin than its prime.
There future bards of every rank and clime,
Shall find a gorgeous subject for their rhyme;


Page 35

And unborn artists paint the works of time,
When round its turrets creeping ivies climb.
Then like a Roman temple shall it stand,
The honoured relic of its native land.
    Thus shall thy fame, immortal Holkham, rise,
'Till all shall fade beneath the vaulted skies.
    Should native friends, or strangers e'er peruse
This lovely picture, these enchanting views,
They must not think I deem them free from care,
Man's perfect bliss is not made perfect here;
Where'er we are, while in this trying state,
We have our cares, must share one common fate;
Th' intrinsic joys of heaven would lose their worth
If man could find a Paradise on earth.
* The almshouses were built and endowed by the late Countess of Leicester: she likewise bequeathed funds for the purchase of beef, flour, and coals, to be distributed annually at Christmas among the inhabitants of Holkham.
April , 1837.


Page [36]


Page [37]

MISCELLANEOUS POEMS.

TO THE
REV. THOMAS DALE, A. M.,

VICAR OF ST. BRIDE'S,
AND
EVENING LECTURER AT ST. SEPULCHRE'S, SKINNER-STREET.
                "Let your light so shine before men."

OH , Dale! once from thy reverend lips,
    Whilst glory round thee shone;
I heard thy soothing voice exclaim--
    ''If I have saved but one:

"If I have saved but one poor soul
    From hell's eternal pain,
My preaching will not then be lost:
    I have not lived in vain."

Know then this truth, that thou, through Christ,
    Hast shown my soul the way
To those bright realms where joys ne'er cease--
    The realms of endless day.


Page 38

Saint Sepulchre's through thee shall prove
    A sepulchre for sin;
Sin buried here shall rise no more,
    Salvation shall begin.

The glorious light of gospel grace,
    To thee is largely given;
'Tis thine to guide the saints below,
    And light the path to heaven.

When thou before the eternal Throne,
    At God's right hand shall stand,
May I be found among thy flock,
    An heir for Canaan's land.

On that great day, the Lord of Hosts
    Shall freely bid thee take
The kingdom He's prepared for those,
    Who labour for His sake.

The numerous flock that thou shalt save,
    Shall shout thy triumph then;
The spacious firmament above,
    Shall echo the--Amen.


Page 39

THE
REWARD OF THE RIGHTEOUS.

AH , what will it avail the silent dead,
    That they are brought within the house of God;
That they are near His sacred altars laid,
    Or moulder 'neath a consecrated sod.

(Yet let me not be here misunderstood,
    A fellow-creature's bones I would not know
Interred without our solemn funeral rites,
    Though vain the sable honours we bestow.)

In vain the widow's tears, the orphan's sighs--
    In vain the wreaths that friendly mourners weave:
Since nought can aid the spirit in its flight,
    Nor aught avail the tenant of the grave.

Then let us ere the sun of life shall set,
    Or ere the waning lamp shall dimly burn,
Provide ourselves a lasting monument,
    That shall survive the bust, the sculptured urn.

'Tis not the cloister, nor the hermit's cell,
    That best can prove the virtues men possess;
Where'er temptation is but seldom thrown,
    There's little merit if men ne'er transgress.


Page 40

But 'tis amid the busy scenes of life,
    Where bribes and emulation bear a sway;
Where lucre spreads her tempting snares for all,
    To intercept fair honour's upright way,--

That men are tried, and those who shall withstand,
    Whatever a righteous conscience would condemn;
If high or low their station be on earth,
    A lasting monument is raised for them;

A crown of glory, holy writ declares,
    The high reward of righteousness shall be:
Like as the angels are in heaven above,
    So man may be to all eternity.

THY WILL BE DONE.

THE man who daily kneels in prayer
    Before the eternal Throne,
Who bows devoutly to his God,
    And says, "Thy will be done,"

Shall feel the influence of that prayer
    Through life's uncertain course;
'Twill 'gainst the tempting wiles of sin,
    Redouble virtue's force.


Page 41

'Twill heighten every earthly joy,
    While health and pleasure last;
And o'er affliction's gloomy shades
    A ray of glory cast.

And when the hour of trial comes,
    When none can help save One;
He'll fear no ill, but trust in Christ,
    And say, "Thy will be done."

Each lisping babe now learns, by rote,
    The prayer the Saviour taught;
Nor can the sagest of mankind
    Define its vast import.

"Thy will be done," reflect, O man!
    What on that Will depend--
Life, death, and immortality,
    And all creation's end.

The dear Redeemer of the world,
    When bleeding to atone
For man's transgressions, humbly said,
    "Thy will, not mine, be done."

When Thou shalt in "Thy kingdom come,"
    With angels round Thy throne,
Oh, may I join the heavenly choir,
    And sing, "Thy will be done."


Page 42

CHRISTMAS DAY.

HARK , the glad sound, that vibrates round
    From every sacred tower;
Like th' angel's voice, it says Rejoice!
    All hail the natal hour!

Let music sound in strains profound,
    Let all with pious mirth,
In songs sublime, through every clime,
    Proclaim the Saviour's birth.

Let all mankind rejoice to find,
    Our fallen hopes revive;
For on this morn the Lord was born,
    To save our souls alive.

GOOD FRIDAY, 1836.

ALL nature seems to feel again
    The anguish of that hour,
When Christ, the mighty Lord, resigned
    To man's malignant power.

The weeping heavens, the cheerless earth,
    Th' incessant heavy showers;
The gloom that veils the face of day,
    And mist that round us lours,


Page 43

Combine to 'waken in the mind,
    The gloom that overspread
The regions round Mount Calvary,
    When Christ the Saviour bled.

Awake, O God! and from the shades of night,
In mercy rise the world's eternal Light.

EASTER DAY.

HIS enemies awhile prevailed,
    The faithful were dismayed;
The grave was sealed, the watch was set,
    The Lord in darkness laid.

But ere the third day's morning dawn
    Had shed its earliest ray,
The seal was broke, the stone removed,
    The watch, as dead men, lay.

An angel from on high appeared,
    In shining vest arrayed;
The prophecies were just fulfilled,
    And man's full ransom paid.

The first-fruits of the dead arose
    Triumphant from the grave;
The Victor over sin and death,
    To succour and to save.


Page 44

THE DIGNITY OF MAN LOST IN
EBRIETY.

ON man, and man alone, has God conferred
Wisdom and power, and soul surpassing all,
To feel and know the wonders he has wrought.
    Would man consider this, and know himself
The image of his God, creation's king,
A little lower than the angels made,
With retrospective reason, to retrace
Ere time commenced, when all in chaos laid,
To trace the records since the world begun,
Through every age, e'en to the present day;
To hold, through faith, high converse with the Lord,
To ask and to receive; to man is given
To send his thoughts unfettered to his friend,
Though vast expanse of ocean rolls between;
Gifted to learn, and to instruct mankind,
To teach the future ages yet unborn,
E'en as the ancient fathers teach us now
By deeds of worth recorded; more than all,
The soul which now invigorates his frame
Must live through endless ages with his God,
Or must, to all eternity, endure
Such pangs as human hearts can ne'er conceive.


Page 45

    Would man reflect on this, and learn why he
Was over all creation placed supreme,
Would life be as it is? tumultuous, oft
The voice which should be raised in songs of praise,
Too frequent heard in oaths and blasphemy.
Or, would the Bacchanalian feasts (which break
Night's soft repose, and bring unnumbered ills
On human kind,) be cherished as they are,
Could man behold himself when thus debased,
To every grace, to every virtue lost?
    Tell me, ye votaries of the noisy god,
What is the sweet enchantment he bestows,
For which ye forfeit all that's dear in life?
Health, wealth, and honour at his shrine must bow,
And love and friendship, nature's dearest ties,
Beneath the baneful cup seem banished quite.
What compensation can the loss retrieve?
Alas! chill poverty too oft ensues;
And if kind fortune smiles, can gold renew
A frame unsound, by inebriation broke?
A wounded conscience, and a soul impure.
Ah, no! the wreck is hopeless, nought can save
The emaciated body from the grave,
Whilst the poor soul, in regions yet unknown,
Must stand before an angry Father's throne;


Page 46

Where all must give account, whate'er they've done:
Nor hope for pardon, save through Christ his Son.
Read this! reflect! repent! whilst time is given;
And Christ will sign thy passport into heaven.

ON THE DEATH OF MRS. STYLE.

OH ! fatal, momentary change;
From rosy health, from pleasure's range,
    In writhing pain to lie.
Deprived of speech and mental powers,
And, in the space of six short hours,
    To breathe life's latest sigh.

The morning saw her robed in health,
    As blithesome as the day;
Amid the lovely flowers of spring,
    As fresh and fair as they.

But when the shades of evening came,
    (Reflect! ye young and gay,)
A coffin, and a winding-sheet,
    Enclosed her lifeless clay.

Great God! in her behalf I raise
    My feeble voice to thee;
Who fell, ere she had time to say,
    "Have mercy, Lord, on me!"


Page 47

Thou, all Omnipotent to save,
    Receive her soul in heaven;
And, through the merits of thy Son,
    Be all her sins forgiven.

And let her dissolution be
A timely warning sent to me,
    To live, prepared to die;
And if, like her, I'm snatched away,
Ere I have time, or power to pray,
    Receive my soul on high.

May 15th , 1838.

LINES ON AN AGED FEMALE.*

* The above lines were addressed to Mr. Edward Gregory, who accompanied a friend and myself to visit a Mrs. Crow (an inmate of St. Margaret's Workhouse, Westminster). I wished Mr. G. to take the old lady's portrait, and to commence immediately, as the poor old creature was very infirm, and we did not suppose she could survive much longer, being at this time 104 years of age. Mr. G., who was then only 25 years old, and in good health, died within three weeks: the old lady lived several years after.

The mimic art to me is quite denied,
Oh! let it be this once by thee supplied.
Go trace the relics of a century past,
Go, quickly go, this day may be her last.


Page 48

Go paint from nature all that now remain
Of her who has lived (I hope not lived in vain)
A hundred years and four: this tattered form,
Which has so long endured life's dreary storm,
Cannot much longer last--the task be thine
To paint her withered face, to trace each line
Which pain and sorrow, more than we can know,
And rankling care, have left upon her brow.
If antique figures please the painter's art,
Surely this one of nature claims her part.

TO THE MEMORY OF MR. EDWARD
GREGORY.

Could parents' tears or prayers, or beauty's charm,
Or human skill, the tyrant death disarm,
Edward might still have lived; but all were vain,
Death only could alleviate his pain.
Since health declined but three short days are o'er,
Our hopes are vanquished--Edward is no more;
No more on earth, but with the saints in heaven,
To his young soul a patriarch's bliss is given.

Brief was the warning of his early doom,
From life's fair promise to the loathsome tomb;
Within the confines of his narrow grave
Lie prospects buried bright as man could have:


Page 49

His lamp's extinguished ere the midnight hour;
Decrepit age o'er him has lost its power.
Accept these lines to his dear honoured shade,
I loved him living, and I mourn him dead.

March, 1834.

LINES

WRITTEN DURING THE PREVALENCE OF THE CHOLERA.--
JULY, 1832.

AGAIN th' appalling knell of death
    Sounds doleful through the air;
Another friend is onward borne,
    Beyond the reach of care.

The awful epidemic rage
    Is felt on every side;
Both old and young, both rich and poor,
    Beneath its scourge have died.

Thousands who late with cheerful smiles,
    In youth or manhood's bloom,
Who shone like meteors on our earth,
    Are hid within the tomb.

While those who now in rosy health
    Dread the impending ire,
Lest they should ere to-morrow's dawn
    Beneath its rage expire.


Page 50

Alas! how many souls are fled
    To regions yet unknown,
Ere they had time to raise a prayer
    To God's eternal throne.

Yet grant us grace, O Lord, to bear
    With faith thy chastening rod;
And whether life or death be ours,
    Forsake us not, O God.

But deign to hear the sinner's prayer;
    Say with thy saving breath--
''It is enough: stay now thine hand,"
    And stop the sword of death.

As thou in holy David's time
    Vouchsafed thy healing power,
Oh, send thy blessing to our land,
    In this malignant hour;

And grant that all by thee preserved
    May praise thy holy name,
May to thy sacred courts repair,
    And every vice disclaim.


Page 51

FOR A HAPPY DEATH.

            "Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last
end be like his."

WHEN on the bed of death I lie,
    Never to rise again,
Oh, let thy mercy, love, and truth
    My feeble frame sustain.

And let the blessings I receive
    My faith and hope increase;
And in my last, last dying hour,
    Let conscience whisper peace.

Pardon whate'er I've done amiss,
    Through Christ's redeeming love,
And send Thy guardian spirit down
    To waft my soul above.

CHARITY.

THE present moment is our own,
    The past none can recall;
And what the future may bring forth
    Is yet unknown to all.

Therefore improve the present time,
    Nor mar the boon that's given,
By pining for what is denied
    Against the will of heaven.


Page 52

If ye have nought of worldly wealth
    To others to impart,
Let little kindnesses display
    The virtues of the heart.

There's no one placed so low in life,
    But he may sometimes prove
A blessing to his fellow-men,
    By offices of love.

A cup of water from the hand
    That has no more to give,
Will sometimes cheer the drooping soul,
    The fainting heart revive.

There's none so poor on earth as he
    Who hoards his sordid pelf,
Imparting bliss to none below,
    Enjoying none himself.

So if kind fortune smiles on you,
    And bounteous stores are given,
Then let your fellow-creatures share
    The gracious gifts of heaven.

So shall ye gather to yourselves
     The exceeding great reward,
The blessing of eternal life
     In the kingdom of the Lord


Page 53

TO ANNA.

THOU hast asked me, dear Anna, to greet with a song
    The day when we hail thee of age;
'Tis the season by nature when blithesome and young
    We little save pleasure presage.
And, oh! may that bosom so guileless and meek
    Never brook disappointment severe,
Nor blighted affection e'er wither thy cheek,
    Or thy breast be the seat of despair.
May all that is lovely encircle thy brow,
    May thy heart be the throne of content,
May the bonds of true friendship incessantly grow,
    And virtue that friendship cement.
And mayst thou reflect when with age growing grey
    On the past without cause for regret,
And the last ray of life as it fadeth away
    In glory eternal be set.

LINES

WRITTEN ON MY MOTHER'S GRAVE.

WHILST hovering o'er thy lowly grave,
    With no intruder near;
Sweet the indulgence now I have,
    To shed the silent tear.


Page 54

Though many years are now gone by
    Since I beheld thy face,
Yet oft in faithful memory's eye
    Can I thy form retrace.

Thy dying hour I oft recall,
    That agonizing look
Thou cast around upon us all,
    Ere mental powers forsook.

Nor will those wild delirious strains,
    Which flowed with thy last breath,
Be e'er forgot, 'till my remains
    Are laid with thee in death.

Perhaps I rather ought to tell
    The kindness thou hast shown,
Than thus so mournfully to dwell
    On sorrow now my own.

But this last scene, appalled with fears,
    My youth so much imprest,
That even in maturer years
    'Tis foremost in my breast.

Years must elapse ere I review
    This consecrated earth:
To living friends I bid adieu--
    The dead who gave me birth.


Page 55

But ere I go, accept this strain
    To thy dear mouldering clay;
Perhaps I may return again--
    Perhaps I never may.

This stone, which marks thy resting-place,
    Shall guard its sacred trust,
'Till lengthened years thy name erase,
    And crumble it to dust.

THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING.

'TIS nature's resurrection dawn
    Beams through the eastern skies;
Reviving Spring perfumes the air,
    Earth's new-born beauties rise.

Reanimated nature is
    A type what man shall be,
When he is risen from the dead
    To immortality.

As fruits and flowers appear again
    In all their vernal bloom,
So man in glory then shall burst
    The confines of the tomb;
His sins through Christ shall be forgiven,
And man shall rise to live in heaven.


Page 56

SPRING.

EMBLEM of youth, Spring's fragrant blooms
    Our fondest hopes allure,
Not all the guardian care of man
    One blossom can insure:

But subjected to withering blights,
    The flowery orchards fade;
Oft ere the infant fruits appear,
    Lie half their beauties dead.

So youth in all its loveliness
    No human power can save,
When God decrees that man should meet
    With an untimely grave.
But he who trusts the Lord of Host
Will never find a blossom lost.

SUMMER.

'TIS like that lovely age in life
    When man is in his prime,
Ere hurrying care upon his brow
    Has set the seal of time.

We see the landscapes decked with gems
    In nature's best array,
No rustling leaves about our path
    Proclaim the least decay.


Page 57

But these bright prospects must give place
    To Autumn's sombre page,
And graceful manhood's vigorous frame
    Must feel th' effects of age.
Like as the flowers that scent the glade,
His youth and beauty soon must fade.

AUTUMN.

EARTH'S produce now is ripening fast
    'Neath Autumn's sultry skies,
The luscious fruit and golden ear
    In rustic grandeur rise.

But nature soon must yield her stores,
    Disrobe her beauteous vest,
And in the garb of Winter's gloom
    Retire awhile to rest.

The blossoms that survived the blight
    The harvest of the field,
And man, creation's noblest work,
    Alike to time must yield:
Must in the bed of earth a while remain
'Till God shall call them into life again.


Page 58

WINTER.

    LET'S welcome now the aged year,
        And treat our hoary guest
    With all respect that's due to age,
        'Till he shall sink to rest.

    When numbered with his forefathers
        His memory we'll revere,
    Nor then forget the happy hours
        We spent when he was here.

    The Spring and Summer of his life,
        And Autumn's golden rays,
    He gave the produce of them all
        To cheer his wintry days.
And thus should man provide for life's decline,
And for those realms where all their virtues shine.

WALBROOK CHURCH.

OH , Wren! what noble monuments of fame
Hast thou designed; these shall preserve thy name,
Whilst London stands, from dark oblivion's shade;
Thy practical and mental powers have made
Thy name immortal; to thy plastic hand
We owe such beauties as shall long demand


Page 59

Our admiration. E'en a foreign land,*
E'en Italy's proud self, could not withstand
Thy power to please: with eager eye she sought
Thy master-piece; with due respect she thought
Thee worthy imitation. What honour
Should England pay thee, who brought upon her
Such proof of approbation! Ere I go
From whence the public praise has brought me to,
Hear me, in justice to the painter's art,
Which has so powerfully moved each heart;
To pity the forbearing martyred saint,
Whose youthful form with bleeding wounds grows faint,
And dies;--the lifeless corse is borne away,
Whilst weeping beauty press the deadly clay.
The stones lie scattered where the victim fell,
Sufficient proof the martyr's name to tell:
Thus is the altar-piece so well designed
By West, that every quick enquiring mind
Will readily perceive this work of thine
Was dedicated to St. Stephen's shrine.
* It is related that an English gentleman who was travelling in Italy, so much admired one of the churches that he began taking the plan, at which time he was informed the original design was St. Stephen's, Walbrook--"Something at Home worth seeing. "


Page 60

LINES

SUPPOSED TO BE WRITTEN BY A YOUNG MAN ON COMING
OF AGE.

        AND now to youth I bid adieu,
            To all its heedless joys,
        For manhood brings a different view
            To that of reckless boys.
        Alas, how transient was the past!
        Will future years go by as fast?

        Just twenty-one have past away
            From whence I date my birth;
        Ah, how precarious is our stay,
            Ere we return to earth!
        Ere I arrive at man's full bloom
        I may be mouldering in the tomb.

        The Spring of life with me is sealed,
            And Summer is but brief;
        She in her turn must quickly yield
            To Autumn's withering leaf;
        Then, hoary Winter, what can save
        Thy relics from oblivion's grave?


Page 61

        A noble mind, a matchless force,
            A hero's valiant day,
        May for a while retard a course
            Which tends but to decay.
        But these, alas! must fall a prey
        Ere sun and moon shall pass away.

        The only thing that shall survive
            The wreck of human fate,
        Of all the honours we derive
            In high or low estate,
        Is mute obedience to His will
        Who bade the raging seas be still.

        Then why does man at will neglect
            The only needful thing?
        In life, in death, God will protect,
            And heaven's high arch shall ring
        With praise to Him whom I adore,
        When heaven and earth shall be no more.

        Teach me, O God, while life shall last,
            To bend my mind to thee,
        And when my fleeting hours are past,
            Then set my spirit free.
        Then let me sing thy praise above
        With those on earth I dearly love.


Page 62

THE TREES ON THE VILLAGE GREEN.

THE ancient trees on the village green,
And rude old stocks that stood between,
Once formed an interesting scene,
                Which memory still reveres.
A distant home has been my lot,
But though long absent from the spot,
These relics ne'er will be forgot--
They've charms which fairer views have not,
                Which change can ne'er erase.

The ancient trees on the village green,
Though many a weary mile's between,
In memory's eye are frequent seen,
                And bring the past to mind.
They bear the marks of some who played
(In humble rustic garb arrayed)
Beneath the sweet salubrious shade;
Who now in death's embrace are laid,
                And all their feats forgot.

The ancient trees on the village green,
Of lofty height and stately mein,
Whose umbrage forms a graceful screen
                'Gainst sun and stormy weather,


Page 63

Shall not unnoticed pass away;
For 'neath their shade when young and gay,
When labour "lent its turn to play,"
I've trifled many an hour away,
                Upon my native green.

And when the ruthless hand of fate,
Which spareth neither small nor great,
Shall seal my probatory state,
                These trees shall flourish still:
Spring shall renew the sweet alcove,
For youthful sports and harmless love,
Where rural nymphs and swains may rove,
And ages yet unborn shall love
                The trees on the village green.

OUR QUEEN AND COUNTRY.

WELL may Britannia's sons extol
    Victoria's peaceful reign,
If they compare their own dear land,
    With Portugal and Spain;

Where brothers against brothers rise,
    And civils wars are seen;
While we with one consent all join
    And hail our youthful Queen.


Page 64

The magnanimity she shows,
    We deem a brighter gem
Than all the costly ornaments
    That form her diadem.

Though crowns and stately robes may be
    Of royalty a part,
They are but cumbrous, dangerous things
    Without a nation's heart.

Then long may our most gracious Queen
    (All other Queens above),
By acting well her royal part
    Secure her people's love.

And long may England's gallant sons,
    With hand in hand defend
Their country and their lovely Queen,
    And be each other's friend.

THE END. PALMER & CLAYTON, 9, Crane-court, Fleet-street.