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ON SOME SKULLS IN BEAULEY ABBEY,
In silent barren synod met
Within these roofless walls, where yet
The sever'd arch and carved fret
Cling to the ruin,
The brethren's skulls mourn, dewy wet,
Their creed's undoing.
The mitred ones of Nice and Trent
Were not so tonguetied; no, they went
Hot to their councils, scarce content
But ye, poor tongueless things, were meant
To speak by proxy.
Your chronicles no more exist,
For Knox, the revolutionist,
Destroy'd the work of every fist
That scrawl'd black letter;
Well! I'm a craniologist,
And may do better.
This skull-cap wore the cowl from sloth,
Or discontent, perhaps from both;
And yet one day, against his oath,
He tried escaping;
For men, though idle, may be loath
To live on gaping.
A toper this ! he plied his glass
More strictly than he said the mass,
And loved to see a tempting lass
Come to confession,
Letting her absolution pass
O'er fresh transgression.
ON SOME SKULLS IN BEAULEY ABBEY.
29 This crawld through life in feebleness, Boasting he never knew excess, Cursing those crimes he scarce could guess,
Or feel but faintly, With prayers that Heaven would cease to bless
Men so unsaintly.
Here's a true churchman!-he'd affect
Much charity, and ne'er neglect
mercy on the elect,
But thought no evil
In sending heathen, Turk, and sect
All to the devil.
Poor skull, thy fingers set a-blaze,
With silver saint in golden rays,
The holy missal; thou didst craze
'Mid bead and spangle, While others pass'd their idler days,
In coil and wrangle.
Long time this sconce a helmet wore,–
But sickness smites the conscience sore;
He broke his sword, and hither bore
His gear and plunder,
Took to the cowl,—then raved and swore
At his damn'd blunder!
This lily-colour'd skull, with all
The teeth complete, so white and small,
Belong'd to one whose early pall
A lover shaded;
He died ere superstition's gall
His heart invaded.
Ha! here is . undivulged crime !'
Despair forbade his soul to climb
ON SOME SKULLS IN BEAU LEY ABBEY.
Beyond this world, this mortal time
Of fever'd sadness,
Until their monkish pantomime
Dazzled his madness.
A younger brother this,-a man
Aspiring as a Tartar Khan,
But, curb’d and baffled, he began
The trade of frightening; It smack'd of power !—and here he ran
To deal Heaven's lightning. This idiot skull belong'd to one, A buried miser's only son, Who penitent, ere he'd begun
To taste of pleasure,
And hoping Heaven's dread wrath to shun,
Gave hell his treasure.
Here is the forehead of an ape,
A robber's mark,—and near the nape
That bone, fie on't! bears just the shape
Of carnal passion;
Ah! he was one for theft and rape,
In monkish fashion.
This was the porter! he could sing,
Or dance, or play,—do any thing,
And what the friars bade him bring
They ne'er were balk'd of, Matters not worth remembering,
And seldom talk'd of.
Enough! why need I farther pore?
This corner holds at least a score,
And yonder twice as many more
Of reverend brothers;
'Tis the same story o'er and o'er,
They're like the others.
A SKETCH FROM REAL LIFE*.
What now to her is all the world esteems?
She is awake, and cares not for its dreams;
But moves, while yet on earth, as one above
Its hopes and fears-its loathing and its love.-CRABBE.
'Tis said she once was beautiful;—and still
(For 'tis not years that can have wrought her ill)
Deep rays of loveliness around her form
Beam, as the rainbow that succeeds the storm
Brightens a glorious ruin. In her face,
Though something touch'd by sorrow, you may trace
The all she was, when first in life's young spring,
Like the gay bee-bird on delighted wing,
She stoop'd to cull the honey from each flower
That bares its breast in joy's luxuriant bower !
O'er her pure forehead, pale as moonlit snow,
Her ebon locks are parted;—and her brow
Stands forth like morning from the shades of night,
Serene, though clouds hang over it. The bright
And searching glance of her Ithuriel eye,
Might even the sternest hypocrite defy
To meet it unappalld;-'twould almost seem,
As though, epitomized in one deep beam,
Her full collected soul upon the heart,
Whate'er its mask, she strove at once to dart :
And few may brave the talisman that's hid
'Neath the dark fringes of her drooping lid.
Patient in suffering, she has learn'd the art
To bleed in silence and conceal the smart,