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Then say not this our weak attempt is vain,
For frequent practice will perfection gain;
The fear to speak in public it destroys,
And drives away the bashfulness of boys.
Various the pieces we to-night repeat,
And in them various excellencies meet,
Some rouse the soul-some gently soothe the ear,
"From grave to gay, from lively to severe."
We would your kind indulgence then bespeak,
For awkward manner, and for utterance weak,
Our powers, indeed are feeble;—but our aim,
Is not to rival Greek or Roman fame;
Our sole ambition aims at your applause,
We are but young-let youth then plead our cause,
And if your approbation be obtained,
Our wish is answered and our end is gained.
32. OCCASIONAL EPILOGUE.-Anonymous.
Our parts are perform'd and our speeches are ended,-
We are monarchs, and courtiers, and heroes no more;
To a much humbler station again we've descended,
And are now but the schoolboys you've known us before.
Farewell then our greatness-'tis gone like a dream,
'Tis gone-but remembrance will often retrace
The indulgent applause which rewarded each theme,
And the heart-cheering smiles that enlivened each face.
We thank you!-Our gratitude words cannot tell,
But deeply we feel it—to you it belongs;
With heartfelt emotion we bid you farewell,
And our feelings now thank you much more than our tongues.
We will strive to improve, since applauses thus cheer us,
That our juvenile efforts may gain your kind looks;
And we hope to convince you the next time you hear us,
That praise has but sharpen'd our relish for books.
THE MODERN RAKE'S PROGRESS.-Hurdis.
The young Tobias was his father's joy;
He trained him, as he thought, to deeds of praise;
He taught him virtue, and he taught him truth,
And sent him early to a public school.
Here, as it seemed, but he had none to blame,
Virtue forsook him, and habitual vice
Grew in her stead. He laughed at honesty,
Became a sceptic, and could raise a doubt
E'en of his father's truth. "Twas idly done
To tell him of another world, for wits
Knew better; and the only good on earth
Was pleasure; not to follow that was sin.
"Sure He that made us, made us to enjoy ;
And why," said he, "should my fond father prate
Of virtue and religion? They afford
No joys, and would abridge the scanty few
Of nature. Nature be my deity;
Her let me worship, as herself enjoins,
At the full board of plenty." Thoughtless boy!
So to a libertine he grew, a wit,
A man of honor; boastful empty names,
That dignify the villain.
His father thought
He grew in wisdom as he grew in years.
He fondly deemed he could perceive the growth
Of goodness and of learning, shooting up,
Like the young offspring of the sheltered hop,
Unusual progress in a summer's night.
He called him home, with great applause dismissed
By his glad tutors-gave him good advice-
Blessed him, and bade him prosper. With warm heart
He drew his purse-strings, and the utmost doit
Placed in the youngster's palm. "Away," he cries,
"Go to the seat of learning, boy. Be good,
Be wise, be frugal, for 'tis all I can.”
"I will," said Toby, as he banged the door,
And winked, and snapped his finger. "Sir, I will."
So joyful he to Alma Mater went
A sturdy freshman. See him just arrived,
Received, matriculated, and resolved
To drown his freshness in a pipe of port.
"Quick, Mr. Vintner, twenty dozen more;
Here's to our friends at home.
There let them doze. Be it our nobler aim
To live-where stands the bottle?" Then to town
Hies the gay spark, for futile purposes,
And deeds, my bashful muse disclaims to name.
From town to college, till a fresh supply
Sends him again from college up to town.
The weekly post to the vexed parent brings,
Of college impositions, heavy dues,
Demands enormous, which the wicked son
Declares he does his utmost to prevent.
So blaming, with good cause, the vast expense,
Bill after bill he sends, and pens the draft
Till the full inkhorn fails. With grateful heart
Toby receives, short leave of absence begs,
Obtains it by a lie,-gallops away,
And no one knows what charming things are done
Till the gulled boy returns without his pence,
And prates of deeds unworthy of a brute :
Vile deeds, but such as in these polished days
None blames or hides.
So Toby fares, nor heeds
Till terms are wasted, and the proud degree,
Soon purchased, comes his learned toils to crown.
He swears, and swears he knows not what, nor cares,
Becomes a perjured graduate, and thinks soon
To be a candidate for orders.
Vain was the hope. Though many a wolf as fell
Deceive the shepherd, and devour the flock,
Thou none shalt injure. On a luckless day,
Withdrawn to taste the pleasure of the town,
Heated with wine, a vehement dispute
With a detested rival, shook the roof:
He penned a challenge, sent it, fought, and fell!
34. THE MAGPIE; OR BAD COMPANY.—Anonymous.
Let others, with poetic fire,
In raptures praise the tuneful choir,
The linnet, chaffinch, goldfinch, thrush,
And every warbler of the bush;
I sing the mimic magpie's fame,
In wicker cage, well fed and tame.
In Fleet-street dwelt, in days of yore,
A jolly tradesman named Tom More;
Generous and open as the day,
But passionately fond of play;
No sounds to him such sweets afford
As dice-box rattling o'er the board;
Bewitching hazard is the game
For which he forfeits health and fame.
In basket-prison hung on high,
With dappled coat and watchful eye,
A favorite magpie sees the play,
And mimics every word they say;
“Oh, how he nicks us!" Tom More cries;
"Oh, how he nicks us!" Mag replies.
Tom throws, and eyes the glittering store,
And as he throws, exclaims "Tom More!"
"Tom More!" the mimic bird replies;
The astonished gamesters lift their eyes,
And wondering stare, and look around,
As doubtful whence proceeds the sound.
This dissipated life, of course, Soon brought poor Tom from bad to worse; Nor prayers nor promises prevail,
To keep him from a dreary jail.
And now, between each heartfelt sigh,
Tom oft exclaims "Bad company!"
Poor Mag, who shares his master's fate,
Exclaims from out his wicker grate,
"Bad company! Bad company!"
Then views poor Tom with curious eye,—
And cheers his master's wretched hours
By this display of mimic powers;
The imprisoned bird, though much caressed,
Is still by anxious cares oppressed;
In silence mourns its cruel fate,
And oft explores his prison gate.
Observe through life you'll always find
A fellow-feeling makes us kind;
So Tom resolves immediately
To give poor Mag his liberty;
Now Mag, once more with freedom blest, Looks round to find a place of rest; To Temple Gardens wings his way, There perches on a neighboring spray.
The gardener now, with busy cares,
A curious seed for grass prepares :
Yet spite of all his toil and pain,
The hungry birds devour the grain.
A curious net he does prepare,
And lightly spreads the wily snare;
The feathered plunderers come in view,
And Mag soon joins the thievish crew.
The watchful gardener now stands by,
With nimble hand and wary eye;
The birds begin their stolen repast,
The flying net secures them fast.
The vengeful clown, now filled with ire,
Does to a neighboring shed retire,
And, having fast secured the doors
And windows, next the net explores.
Now, in revenge for plundered seed,
Each felon he resolves shall bleed;
Then twists their little necks around,
And casts them breathless on the ground.
Mag, who with man was used to herd, Knew something more than common bird; He therefore watched with anxious care, And slipped himself from out the snare, Then, perched on nail remote from ground, Observes how deaths are dealt around. "Oh, how he nicks us!" Maggy cries; The astonished gardener lifts his eyes; With faltering voice and panting breath, Exclaims, "Who's there?"—All still as death. His murderous work he does resume, And casts his eye around the room