Grief hath changed me since you saw me last,
And careful hours with Time’s deformed hand
Have written strange defeatures o’er my face.
Comedy of Errors.
Oh! if thou be the same Egean, speak,
And speak unto the same Emilia.
Comedy of Errors.
I ran it through, ev’n from my boyish days
To the very moment that she bade me tell it,
Wherein I spake of most disastrous chances,
Of moving accidents by flood and field
Of being taken by the insolent foe,
And sold to slavery.
An old man, broken with the storms of fate,
Is come to lay his weary bones among you:
Give him a little earth for charity.
Minutely trace man’s life; year after year,
Through all his days let all his deeds appear,
And then though some may in that life be strange,
Yet there appears no vast nor sudden change:
The links that bind those various deeds are seen,
And no mysterious void is left between.
But let these binding links be all destroyed,
All that through years he suffer’d or enjoy’d,
Let that vast gap be made, and then behold —
This was the youth, and he is thus when old;
Then we at once the work of time survey,
And in an instant see a life’s decay;
Pain mix’d with pity in our bosoms rise,
And sorrow takes new sadness from surprise.
Beneath yon tree, observe an ancient pair —
A sleeping man; a woman in her chair,
Watching his looks with kind and pensive air;
Nor wife, nor sister she, nor is the name
Nor kindred of this friendly pair the same;
Yet so allied are they, that few can feel
Her constant, warm, unwearied, anxious zeal;
Their years and woes, although they long have loved,
Keep their good name and conduct unreproved:
Thus life’s small comforts they together share,
And while life lingers for the grave prepare.
No other subjects on their spirits press,
Nor gain such int’rest as the past distress:
Grievous events, that from the mem’ry drive
Life’s common cares, and those alone survive,
Mix with each thought, in every action share,
Darken each dream, and blend with every prayer.
To David Booth, his fourth and last-born boy,
Allen his name, was more than common joy;
And as the child grew up, there seem’d in him
A more than common life in every limb;
A strong and handsome stripling he became,
And the gay spirit answer’d to the frame;
A lighter, happier lad was never seen,
For ever easy, cheerful, or serene;
His early love he fix’d upon a fair
And gentle maid—they were a handsome pair.
They at an infant-school together play’d,
Where the foundation of their love was laid:
The boyish champion would his choice attend