Obrázky stránek

Give them to the king

And queen wassailing;
And though with ale ye be wet, here,

Yet part ye from hence,

As free from offence,
As when ye innocent met here.



Partly work, and partly play
Ye must on St. Distaff's day;
From the plough soon free your team,
Then come home and fother them.
If the maids a spinning go,
Burn the flax, and fire the tow;
Scorch their plackets, but beware
That you singe no maiden-bair.
Bring in pails of water then,
Let the maids bewash the men :
Give St. Distaff all the night,
Then bid Christmas sport good night,
And next morrow, every one
To his own vocation.


Down with the rosemary, and so
Down with the bays and mistletoe,
Down with the holly, ivy, all
Wherewith ye dressed the Christmas hall:
That so the superstitious find
No one least branch there left behind;
For look, how many leaves there be
Neglected there, maids, trust to me,
So many goblins you shall see.


St. Agnes' Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was !
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold ;

The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Numb were the beadsman's fingers while he told.

and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censor old,

Seem'd taking a flight for heaven without a death, Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith.

They told her how, upon St. Agnes' Eve,
Young virgins might have visions of delight.
And soft adorings from their loves receive
Upon the honey'd middle of the night,
If ceremonies due they did aright;
As, supperless to bed they must retire,
And couch supine their beauties, lily white;

Nor look behind, nor sideways, but require
Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that they desire.



Farewell rewards and Fairies !

Good housewives now may say ;
For now foul sluts in dairies,

Do fare as well as they :
And, though they sweep their hearths no less

Than maids were wont to do,
Yet who of late, for cleanliness,

Finds sixpence in her shoe?

Lament, lament, old abbies,

The fairies' lost command;
They did but change priest babies,

But some have changed your land :
And all your children stol'n from thence

Are now grown Puritans,
Who live as changelings ever since,

For love of your domains.

At morning and at evening both,

You merry were and glad,
So little care of sleep and sloth

These pretty ladies had.
When Tom came home from labor,

Or Ciss to milking rose,
Then merrily went their tabor,

And nimbly went their toes.
Witness, those rings and roundelays

Of theirs, which yet remain,
Were footed in Queen Mary's days

On many a grassy plain.
But since of late Elizabeth,

And, later, James came in,
They never danced on any heath,

As when the time hath bin. By which we note the fairies

Were of the old profession: Their songs were Eve Maries,

Their dances were procession. But now, alas ! they all are dead,

Or gone beyond the seas, Or farther for religion fled,

Or else they take their ease. A tell-tale in their company

They never could endure; And whoso kept not secretly

Their mirth, was punished sure:
It was a just and Christian deed

To pinch such black and blue;
Oh, how the commonwealth doth need

Such justices as you!
Now they have left our quarters;

A Register they have,
Who can preserve their charters;

A man both wise and grave.

An hundred of their merry pranks,

By one that I could name,
Are kept in store; con twenty thanks

To William for the same.

To William Churne of Staffordshire

Give laud and praises due,
Who every meal can mend your cheer

With tales both old and true :
To William all give audience,

And pray ye for his noddle,
For all the fairies' evidence

Were lost, if it were addle.




JANE AUSTEN. [Of the hundreds of Novels that have been published since the beginning of the present century, who can remember even the names of a twentieth part? The larger number are quietly sleeping on the shelves of the circulating libraries of the country towns, destined only to see the light when some voracious spinster has exhausted all that is new of a teeming press, and in desperation plunges into the antiquities of a past generation. But there are kix novels that can never be old-the works of the inimitable Jane Austen. No dust will ever settle on them even in the libraries of the least tasteful of communities. Old and young, learned and unlearned, equally delight in the productions of the marvellous young woman, who drew the commonest incidents and characters of the most ordinary domestic life, with a skilfulness that manifests more than anything we know, the surpassing power of that Art which makes realities more true than the thing itself beheld through a common medium. This is, indeed, genius. Jane Austen, the daughter of the rector of Steventon, in Hampshire, was born in 1775; died 1817.]

Miss Bates and Miss Fairfax, escorted by the two gentleman, walked into the room. Everybody's words were soon lost under the incessant flow of Miss Bates, who came in talking, and had not finished her speech under many minutes after her being admitted into the circle at the fire. As the door opened she was heard,

“ So very obliging of you !—No rain at all. Nothing to signify.

I do not care for myself. Quite thick shoes. And Jane declares

-Well! (as soon as she was within the door), well! This is brilliant indeed! This is admirable. Excellently contrived, upon my word. Nothing wanting. Could not have imagined it. So well lighted up! Jane, Jane, look! did you ever see anything? Oh! Mr. Weston, you must really have had Aladdin's lamp. Good Mrs. Stokes would not know her own room again. I saw her as I came in; she was standing in the entrance. Oh! Mrs. Strokes,' said 1-but I had not time for more.” She was now met by Mrs. Weston. “Very we I, I thank you, ma’am. I hope you are quite well. Very happy to hear it. So afraid you might have a headache ! seeing you pass by so often, and knowing how much trouble you must have. Delighted to hear it indeed.—Ah! dear Mrs. Elton, so obliged to you for the carriage; excellent time; Jane and I quite ready. Did not keep the horses a moment. Most comfortable carriage. Oh! and I am sure our thanks are due to you, Mrs. Weston, on that score. Mrs. Elton had most kindly sent Jane a note, or we should have been. But two such offers in one day! Never were such neighbors. I said to my mother, Upon my word, ma’am.' Thank you, my mother is remarkably well. Gone to Mr. Woodhouse's. I made her take her shawl,—for the evenings are not warm,—her large new shawl, Mrs. Dixon's wedding-present. So kind of her to think of my mother! Bought at Weymouth, you know; Mr. Dixon's choice. There were three others, Jane says, which they hesitated about some time. Colonel Campbell rather preferred an oliye.--My dear Jane, are you sure you did not wet your feet? It was but a drop or two, but I am so afraid: but Mr. Frank Churchill was so extremely—and there was a mat to step upon. I shall never forget his extreme politeness. Oh! Mr. Frank Churchill, I must tell you my mother's spectacles have never been in fault since ; the rivet never came out again. My mother often talks of your good-nature : does not she, Jane? Do not we often talk of Mr. Frank Churchill ? Ah! here's Miss Woodhouse. Dear Miss Woodhouse, how do you do? Very well, I thank you, quite well. This is meeting quite in fairy-land. Such a transformation! Must not compliment, I know (eyeing Emma most complacently)—that would be rude; but upon my word, Miss Woodhouse, you do look

« PředchozíPokračovat »