1825
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Desultory.

American Athenaeum or Repository of the Arts, Sciences, and Belles Lettres 1 (8 September 1825) 188.

C.


This desultory ode consists of three verse characters in three stanzas signed "C." The first, a sonnet, describes a love-lorn maiden, while the second and third, Prior Spenserians, sketch the characters of a miser and an impoverished coxcomb.

The American Athenaeum, edited by George Bond, was published weekly in New York from 21 April 1825 to 2 March 1826.



See, on yon cliff that lifts its hoary brow
High to the tempest which its pride assails,
A maiden sits, and pays her parting vow,
Nightly, to Him who o'er the storm prevails.
She thinks of that lone hour when, on the strand
Her William parted from his lovely Jane—
Of that last look, when, grasping her fair hand,
He bade adieu! and hastened to the main.
Now sporting with the blast, her wakeful eyes
Watch every billow as it mounts to view,
And fond desire bids the hope arise,
That all her dreams of bliss may yet be true:
Poor, hapless one! she dreams and hopes in vain
The youth for whom she sighs is by the pirate slain!

Behold the miser at his evening board,
With haggard face and robes of filth bedeck'd;
His one desire is to increase his hoard;
To this he sacrifices health, respect:
And every comfort which in man is given
By bounteous Providence, to make him blest
Is from old Graball's habitation driven
By hellish usury, of life the pest:
He dies, and carries with him nought but clay;
Some spendthrift heirs his stores, and melts their rust away.

View the gay coxcomb at the airy ball,
Where mirth and frolic bid him drown all care;
Here every moment he's at beauty's call—
His every accent seems a smile to wear.
For one short hour he revels in disguise;
Pursue him, in the next, in his retreat,
And there discover how his glory dies—
How all his honours lie beneath your feet;
For sure a garret has not much to please,
Nor can fell poverty the appetite appease.

[p. 188]