“Sweet Memory, wafted by thy gentle gale,
Oft up the stream of time I turn my sail.”— ROGERS.
Come, my Crony, let’s think upon far-away days,
And lift up a little Oblivion’s veil;
Let’s consider the past with a lingering gaze,
Like a peacock whose eyes are inclined to his tail.
Aye, come, let us turn our attention behind,
Like those critics whose heads are so heavy, I fear,
That they cannot keep up with the march of the mind,
And so turn face about for reviewing the rear.
Looking over Time’s crupper and over his tail,
Oh, what ages and pages there are to revise!
And as farther our back-searching glances prevail,
Like the emmets, “how little we are in our eyes!”
What a sweet pretty innocent, half-a-yard long,
On a dimity lap of true nursery make!
I can fancy I hear the old lullaby song
That was meant to compose me, but kept me awake.
Methinks I still suffer the infantine throes,
When my flesh was a cushion for any long pin —
Whilst they patted my body to comfort my woes,
Oh! how little they dreamt they were driving them in!
Infant sorrows are strong — infant pleasures as weak —
But no grief was allow’d to indulge in its note;
Did you ever attempt a small “bubble and squeak,”
Through the Dalby’s Carminative down in your throat?
Did you ever go up to the roof with a bounce?
Did you ever come down to the floor with the same?
Oh! I can’t but agree with bath ends, and pronounce
“Heads or tails,” with a child, an unpleasantish game!
Then an urchin — I see myself urchin indeed —
With a smooth Sunday face for a mother’s delight;
Why should weeks have an end? — I am sure there was need
Of a Sabbath, to follow each Saturday night.
Was your face ever sent to the housemaid to scrub?
Have you ever felt huckaback soften’d with sand?
Had you ever your nose towell’d up to a snub,
And your eyes knuckled out with the back of the hand?
Then a school-boy — my tailor was nothing in fault,
For an urchin will grow to a lad by degrees —
But how well I remember that “pepper-and-salt”
That was down to the elbows, and up to the knees!
What a figure it cut when as Norval I spoke!
With a lanky right leg duly planted before;
Whilst I told of the chief that was kill’d by my stroke,
And extended my arms as “the arms that he wore!”
Next a Lover — Oh! say, were you ever in love?
With a lady too cold — and your bosom too hot?
Have you bow’d to a shoe-tie, and knelt to a glove,
Like a beau that desired to be tied in a knot?
With the Bride all in white, and your body in blue,
Did you walk up the aisle — the genteelest of men?
When I think of that beautiful vision anew,
Oh! I seem but the biffin of what I was then!
I am withered and worn by a premature care,
And wrinkles confess the decline of my days;
Old Time’s busy hand has made free with my hair,
And I’m seeking to hide it — by writing for bays!
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:55