Young Hopeful,”—The Village Boy.

You mark the plan of God, in “ mercy” laid,1
That plan in Heaven devised, on earth displayed,2
You see the Saviour meek, and low, and mild,3
In power a Deity—in heart a child ;4
You drink his words in “ meekness” as they flow,5
Breathing compassion for a world of woe ;6
Forgive’—the lesson ever taught by Heaven,7
Forgive,” vindictive man, and be forgiven8
As you by God’s free proferred “ mercy” live, 9
Oh learn the heavenly wisdom to “ forgive ;”10
In harsher bosoms pain shall never cease,11
But mercy’s ways are pleasantness and peace.” 12
Thus from the cross, the words of mercy fall13
On all mankind, for they were meant for all,—14
But “ vengeance” steps between, and high in air15
Exultant waves the signal of despair,16
O’er dale and heath her fiery steps have passed,17
More swift than cataract, or mountain blast,18
Nor stops she short, till through the peaceful vale,19
Of horror burst the scream, of death ascend the wail !20
Beneath that fading beam, what deeds are done,21
To startle solitude, and veil the sun !22
Around that livid flame, what shapes of hell,23
At studied interval repeat the yell !—24
Here stalks the Indian in his native garb,25
Armed with the scalping knife, and poisoned barb,26
Around the broiling captive takes his walk,27
And deep in “ Vengeance” bathes his tomahawk,28
The spirit of his Father smiles on high,29
Beams from his fleecy cloud, and passes by !—30
Beneath our eyes, amidst the “ village crew,”31
What kindred characters arise to view.—32
A Lusty Boy !” —the midwife hands him round,33
The listening gossips chuckle at the sound,34
And to augment a fondling mother’s joy,35
Each “ queasy dame” repeats,— “ A Lusty Boy.”36
Now twelvemonths old, this lusty little man,37
To stand erect, and mark his feet, began38
Anon he walks, with veering trembling pace,39
Now forward shooting, falls upon his face,40
Laments his woes in sorrow-breathing squalls,41
And for “ commiseration” loudly calls :42
Commiseration is a mother’s part,43
’Tis her’s to sooth the grief, to heal the smart,44
’Tis her’s to punish what can feel no pain,45
’Tis her’s to strike what cannot strike again,46
And thus with thoughtless cure, and method strange,47
In her own infant’s breast implant “ revenge,”48
Thus early sow the thistle seeds of strife,49
And make a howling wilderness of life.50
Not quite an infant, and not quite a boy, 51
How will this tiny youth his hours employ ? 52
Let him remain in combat, game, or race,53
The little boisterous tyrant of the place.54
O’er cats and kittens daringly prevail55
Of drowning puppy laugh to hear the wail56
Of chirping sparrows’ brood arrest the breath,57
Rejoicing in the agonies of death !—58
And should he scorn his mother, where’s the crime;59
These “ little errors”’—will correct in time,60
One cannot always beat, and if one could,61
Eternal beating, might do little good.62
And now to school he plods his noisy way,63
To spell, to count, to trifle, and to play,64
To scorn the teacher, disregard the laws,65
Revenge” to meditate beneath the “ taws,”66
To combat fiercely, his address to shew,67
And fairly prove his talents by “ a blow.”68
Determined, bold, impetuous, and strong,69
His youth like mountain-torrent sweeps along,70
O’er Nature’s sweets the poisoned waters flow,71
And where the daisy bloom’d unseemly briars grow.72
Now is he smith apprenticed, and he knows73
On heated iron to descend in blows74
The bellows pour their breath, with brightening glow75
The metal softens into wax below.76
Awhile his youth and inexperience bind77
The native darings of a restless mind ;78
Awhile his couch in nightly sleep is pressed,79
And, tired with ten hours’ work, he sinks to rest;80
Awhile he bears reproof, nor risks reply,81
Beneath the lourings of a master’s eye ;82
But nature will return, although you strive,83
With fork to ward her off, with force to drive.84
A “ cock-fight” was announced, and caught the ear85
Of one to whom all “ cruelties” were dear.86
The distance great—but then such sports were rare ;87
The day was short—his master had a mare ;88
His master saw no cause, nor would he lend89
Consent or aid to such unworthy end.90
Denial in my need !— but time shall try,91
Who shall repent this usage—you or I.”92
These accents struggled in the swelling throat,93
Nor was this lowly-muttered threat forgot ;94
For scarce three weeks had passed, when, with a glare95
Of dumb affright, a horror-speaking stare,96
The master’s eye bespoke “ his mangled mare!”97
We may not reach perfection in a day98
The moon of night succeeds the twilight ray99
And, step by step, the ladder we ascend,100
Whether to heaven we rise, or towards a scaffold tend.101
Our hero—what’s his name ?— (why, that is true,102
’Tis fit he had a name—so call him “ Hugh,”)—103
Hugh stood amazed : “ The act he would not deem104
A human act—did he behold, or dream ?105
Some wandering miscreant sure, some Irish rogue,106
He marked indeed last night, a surly dog ;107
He did not like his aspect at the time,108
But little thought he then of such a crime.”109
And thus the villain’s wondering part he plays,110
By downright artifice his guilt betrays ;111
Disgraced, dismissed, where can he now repair !112
He seeks a secret pass, and “ murders” there113
His master—basely “ murders”—shrieks, and flies ;114
Is taken—tried—convicted—shrieved—and dies !115
Dies on a scaffold, cursing, in his death,116
The breast that gave him strength, the hour that gave him breath !117