On a sick bed I lay, through the flesh
my bones started,
My grief-wasted frame to a skeleton fell;
My physicians foreboding took leave and departed,
And they wish’d me dead now, who wished me well.
Life and soul were kept in by a mother’s
Who struggled with faith, and prevail’d ’gainst despair;
Like an angel she watch’d o’er the lamp of existence,
And never would leave while a glimmer was there.
By her care I’m alive now—but
Can I for a life twice bestow’d thus confer?
Were I to be silent, each year’s revolution
Proclaims—each new birth-day is owing to her.
The chance-rooted tree that by way-sides
Where no friendly hand will watch o’er its young shoots,
Has less blame if in autumn, when produce is wanted,
Enrich’d by small culture it put forth small fruits.
But that which with labour in hot-beds
Secur’d by nice art from the dews and the rains,
Unsound at the root may with justice be feared,
If it pay not with int’rest the tiller’s hard pains.
THE BEASTS IN THE TOWER
Within the precincts of this yard,
Each in his narrow confines barr’d,
Dwells every beast that can be found
On Afric or on Indian ground.
How different was the life they led
In those wild haunts where they were bred,
To this tame servitude and fear,
Enslav’d by man, they suffer here!
In that uneasy close recess
Couches a sleeping Lioness;
The next den holds a Bear; the next
A Wolf, by hunger ever vext;
There, fiercer from the keeper’s lashes,
His teeth the fell Hyena gnashes;
That creature on whose back abound
Black spots upon a yellow ground,
A Panther is, the fairest beast
That haunteth in the spacious East.
He underneath a fair outside
Does cruelty and treach’ry hide.
That cat-like beast that to and fro
Restless as fire does ever go,
As if his courage did resent
His limbs in such confinement pent,
That should their prey in forests take,
And make the Indian jungles quake,
A Tiger is. Observe how sleek
And glossy smooth his coat: no streak
On sattin ever match’d the pride
Of that which marks his furry hide.
How strong his muscles! he with ease
Upon the tallest man could seize,
In his large mouth away could bear him,
And into thousand pieces tear him:
Yet cabin’d so securely here,
The smallest infant need not fear.
That lordly creature next to him
A Lion is. Survey each limb.
Observe the texture of his claws,
The massy thickness of those jaws;
His mane that sweeps the ground in length,
Like Samson’s locks, betok’ning strength.
In force and swiftness he excels