To A Friend
May never more of pensive melancholy
Within thy heart, beneath thy roof appear,
Than just to break the charm of idle folly,
And prompt for others' woes the melting tear;
No more than just that tender gloom to spread
Where thy beloved Muses wont to stray,
To lift the thought from this low earthy bed,
Or bid hope languish for a brighter day;
And deeper sink within thy feeling heart
Love's pleasing wounds, or friendship's polished dart!
Epitaph On The Same
Farewell, mild saint!—meek child of love, farewell!
Ill can this stone thy finished virtues tell.
Rest, rest in peace! the task of life is o'er;
Sorrows shall sting, and sickness waste no more.
But hard our task from one so loved to part,
While fond remembrance clings round every heart,—
Hard to resign the sister, friend, and wife,
And all that cheers, and all that softens life.
Farewell! for thee the gates of bliss unclose,
And endless joy succeeds to transient woes.
To Dr. A.
Within the cot the Muses love,
May Peace reside, that household dove!
Beneath this roof, around this hearth,
Mild Wisdom mix with social Mirth!
May Friendship often seek the door
Where Science pours her varied store!
Her richest dyes may Flora spread,
And early paint the garden's bed!
May Health descend with healing wing,
Bright days and balmy nights to bring!
And tried Affection still be by,
Love's watchful ear and anxious eye;
And Sport and Laughter hither move,
To bless the cot the Muses love!
To Miss F. B.: On Her Asking For Mrs. B's Love And Time
Of Love and Time say what would Fanny know?
That Time is precious, and that Love is sweet?
That both, the choicest blessings lent below,
With gay Sixteen in envied union meet?
Time without Love is tasteless, dull, and cold,
Love out of Time will fond and doting prove;
To bright sixteen are all their treasures told,
Love suits the Time, and Time then favours Love.
No longer then of matron brows inquire
For sprightly Love, or swiftly-wasting Time;
Look but at home, you have what you require,—
With gay sixteen they both are in their prime.
To A Dog
Dear faithful object of my tender care,
Whom but my partial eyes none fancy fair;
May I unblamed display thy social mirth,
Thy modest virtues, and domestic worth:
Thou silent, humble flatterer, yet sincere,
More swayed by love than interest or fear;
Solely to please thy most ambitious view,
As lovers fond, and more than lovers true.
Who can resist those dumb beseeching eyes,
Where genuine eloquence persuasive lies?
Those eyes, where language fails, display thy heart
Beyond the pomp of phrase and pride of art.
Thou safe companion, and almost a friend,
Whose kind attachment but with life shall end,—
Blest were mankind if many a prouder name
Could boast thy grateful truth and spotless fame!
O WISDOM! if thy soft controul
Can sooth the sickness of the soul,
Can bid the warring passions cease,
And breathe the balm of tender peace,
WISDOM! I bless thy gentle sway,
And ever, ever will obey.
But if thou com'st with frown austere
To nurse the brood of care and fear;
To bid our sweetest passions die,
And leave us in their room a sigh;
Of if thine aspect stern have power
To wither each poor transient flower,
That cheers the pilgrimage of woe,
And dry the springs whence hope should flow;
WISDOM, thine empire I disclaim,
Thou empty boast of pompous name!
In gloomy shade of cloisters dwell,
But never haunt my chearful cell.
Hail to pleasure's frolic train;
Hail to fancy's golden reign;
Festive mirth, and laughter wild,
Free and sportful as the child;
Hope with eager sparkling eyes,
And easy faith, and fond surprise:
Let these, in fairy colours drest,
Forever share my careless breast;
Then, tho' wise I may not be,
The wise themselves shall envy me.
Behold, where breathing love divine,
Our dying Master stands!
His weeping followers gathering round
Receive his last commands.
From that mild teacher's parting lips
What tender accents fell!
The gentle precept which he gave
Became its author well.
“Blest is the man whose softening heart
Feels all another's pain;
To whom the supplicating eye
Was never raised in vain.
“Whose breast expands with generous warmth
A stranger's woes to feel;
And bleeds in pity o'er the wound
He wants the power to heal.
“He spreads his kind supporting arms
To every child of grief;
His secret bounty largely flows,
And brings unasked relief.
“To gentle offices of love
His feet are never slow;
He views through mercy's melting eye
A brother in a foe.
“Peace from the bosom of his God,
My peace to him I give;
And when he kneels before the throne,
His trembling soul shall live.
“To him protection shall be shown,
And mercy from above
Descend on those who thus fulfill
The perfect law of love.”
On The Death Of Mrs. Jennings
'TIS past: dear venerable shade, farewel!
Thy blameless life thy peaceful death shall tell.
Clear to the last thy setting orb has run;
Pure, bright, and healthy like a frosty sun:
And late old age with hand indulgent shed
Its mildest winter on thy favour'd head.
For Heaven prolong'd her life to spread its praise,
And blest her with a Patriarch's length of days.
The truest praise was hers, a chearful heart,
Prone to enjoy, and ready to impart.
An Israelite indeed, and free from guile,
She show'd that piety and age could smile.
Religion had her heart, her cares, her voice;
'Twas her last refuge, as her earlieft choice.
To holy Anna's spirit not more dear
The church of Israel, and the house of prayer.
Her spreading offspring of the fourth degree
Fill'd her fond arms, and clasp'd her trembling knee.
Matur'd at length for some more perfect scene,
Her hopes all bright, her prospects all serene,
Each part of life sustain'd with equal worth,
And not a wish left unfulfill'd on earth,
Like a tir'd traveller with sleep opprest,
Within her childrens' arms she dropt to rest.
Farewell! thy cherish'd image, ever dear,
Shall many a heart with pious love revere:
Long, long shall mine her honour'd memory bless,
Who gave the dearest blessing I possess.
OH! born to sooth distress, and lighten care;
Lively as soft, and innocent as fair;
Blest with that sweet simplicity of thought
So rarely found, and never to be taught;
Of winning speech, endearing, artless, kind,
The loveliest pattern of a female mind;
Like some fair spirit from the realms of rest
With all her native heaven within her breast;
So pure, so good, she scarce can guess at sin,
But thinks the world without like that within;
Such melting tenderness, so fond to bless,
Her charity almost becomes excess.
Wealth may be courted, wisdom be rever'd,
And beauty prais'd, and brutal strength be fear'd;
But goodness only can affection move;
And love must owe its origin to love.
OF gentle manners, and of taste refin'd,
With all the graces of a polish'd mind;
Clear sense and truth still shone in all she spoke,
And from her lips no idle sentence broke.
Each nicer elegance of art she knew;
Correctly fair, and regularly true :
Her ready fingers plied with equal skill
The pencil's task, the needle, or the quill.
So pois'd her feelings, so compos'd her soul,
So subject all to reason's calm controul,
One only passion, strong, and unconfin'd,
Disturb'd the balance of her even mind:
One passion rul'd despotic in her breast,
In every word, and look, and thought confest;
But that was love, and love delights to bless
The generous transports of a fond excess.
For Easter Sunday
Again the Lord of life and light
Awakes the kindling ray;
Unseals the eyelids of the morn,
And pours increasing day.
O what a night was that, which wrapt
The heathen world in gloom!
O what a sun which broke this day,
Triumphant from the tomb!
This day be grateful homage paid,
And loud hosannas sung;
Let gladness dwell in every heart,
And praise on every tongue.
Ten thousand differing lips shall join
To hail this welcome morn,
Which scatters blessings from its wings,
To nations yet unborn.
Jesus, the friend of human kind,
With strong compassion moved,
Descended like a pitying God,
To save the souls he loved.
The powers of darkness leagued in vain
To bind his soul in death;
He shook their kingdom when he fell,
With his expiring breath.
Not long the toils of hell could keep
The hope of Judah's line;
Corruption never could take hold
On aught so much divine.
And now his conquering chariot-wheels
Ascend the lofty skies;
While broke beneath his powerful cross,
Death's iron sceptre lies.
Exalted high at God's right hand,
The Lord of all below,
Through him is pardoning love dispensed,
And boundless blessings flow.
And still for erring, guilty man,
A brother's pity flows;
And still his bleeding heart is touched
With memory of our woes.
To thee, my Saviour and my King,
Glad homage let me give;
And stand prepared like thee to die,
With thee that I may live.
Peace And Shepherd
Low in a deep sequestered vale,
Whence Alpine heights ascend,
A beauteous nymph, in pilgrim garb,
Is seen her steps to bend.
Her olive garland drops with gore;
Her scattered tresses torn,
Her bleeding breast, her bruised feet,
Bespeak a maid forlorn.
“From bower, and hall, and palace driven,
To these lone wilds I flee;
My name is Peace,—I love the cot;
O Shepherd, shelter me!”
“O beauteous pilgrim, why dost thou
From bower and palace flee?
So soft thy voice, so sweet thy look,
Sure all would shelter thee.”
“Like Noah's dove, no rest I find;
The din of battle roars
Where once my steps I loved to print
Along the myrtle shores:
“For ever in my frighted ears
The savage war-whoop sounds;
And, like a panting hare, I fly
Before the opening hounds.”
“Pilgrim, those spiry groves among,
The mansions thou mayst see,
Where cloistered saints chaunt holy hymns,—
Sure such would shelter thee!”
“Those roofs with trophied banners stream,
There martial hymns resound;—
And, shepherd, oft from crosiered hands
This breast has felt a wound.”
“Ah! gentle pilgrim, glad would I
Those tones for ever hear!
With thee to share my scanty lot,
That lot to me were dear.
“But lo, along the vine-clad steep,
The gleam of armour shines;
His scattered flock, his straw-roofed hut,
The helpless swain resigns.
“And now the smouldering flames aspire;
Their lurid light I see;
I hear the human wolves approach:
To A Little Invisible Being
WHO IS EXPECTED SOON TO BECOME VISIBLE
Germ of new life, whose powers expanding slow
For many a moon their full perfection wait,-
Haste, precious pledge of happy love, to go
Auspicious borne through life's mysterious gate.
What powers lie folded in thy curious frame,-
Senses from objects locked, and mind from thought!
How little canst thou guess thy lofty claim
To grasp at all the worlds the Almighty wrought!
And see, the genial season's warmth to share,
Fresh younglings shoot, and opening roses glow!
Swarms of new life exulting fill the air,-
Haste, infant bud of being, haste to blow!
For thee the nurse prepares her lulling songs,
The eager matrons count the lingering day;
But far the most thy anxious parent longs
On thy soft cheek a mother's kiss to lay.
She only asks to lay her burden down,
That her glad arms that burden may resume;
And nature's sharpest pangs her wishes crown,
That free thee living from thy living tomb.
She longs to fold to her maternal breast
Part of herself, yet to herself unknown;
To see and to salute the stranger guest,
Fed with her life through many a tedious moon.
Come, reap thy rich inheritance of love!
Bask in the fondness of a Mother's eye!
Nor wit nor eloquence her heart shall move
Like the first accents of thy feeble cry.
Haste, little captive, burst thy prison doors!
Launch on the living world, and spring to light!
Nature for thee displays her various stores,
Opens her thousand inlets of delight.
If charmed verse or muttered prayers had power,
With favouring spells to speed thee on thy way,
Anxious I'd bid my beads each passing hour,
Till thy wished smile thy mother's pangs o'erpay.
On The Death Of Mrs. Martineau, Senr.
Ye who around this venerated bier
In pious anguish pour the tender tear,
Mourn not!—'Tis Virtue's triumph, Nature's doom,
When honoured Age, slow bending to the tomb,
Earth's vain enjoyments past, her transient woes,
Tastes the long sabbath of well-earned repose.
No blossom here, in vernal beauty shed,
No lover lies, warm from the nuptial bed;
Here rests “the full of days,”—each task fulfilled,
Each wish accomplished, and each passion stilled.
You raised her languid head, caught her last breath,
And cheered with looks of love the couch of death.
Yet mourn!—for sweet the filial sorrows flow,
When fond affection prompts the gush of woe;
No bitter drop, 'midst nature's kind relief,
Sheds gall into the fountain of your grief;
No tears you shed for patient love abused,
And counsel scorned, and kind restraints refused;
Not yours the pang the conscious bosom wrings,
When late Remorse inflicts her fruitless stings.
Living you honoured her, you mourn for dead;
Her God you worship, and her path you tread:
Your sighs shall aid reflection's serious hour,
And cherished virtues bless the kindly shower:
On the loved theme your lips unblamed shall dwell;
Your lives, more eloquent, her worth shall tell.—
Long may that worth, fair Virtue's heritage,
From race to race descend, from age to age!
Still purer with transmitted lustre shine,
The treasured birthright of the spreading line!
—For me, as o'er the frequent grave I bend,
And pensive down the vale of years descend;—
Companions, parents, kindred called to mourn,
Dropt from my side, or from my bosom torn;
A boding voice, methinks, in Fancy's ear
Speaks from the tomb, and cries “Thy friends are here!”
On The King's Illness
Rest, rest, afflicted spirit, quickly pass
Thine hour of bitter suffering! Rest awaits thee,
There, where, the load of weary life laid down,
The peasant and the king repose together:
There peaceful sleep, thy quiet grave bedewed
With tears of those who loved thee. Not for thee,
In the dark chambers of the nether world,
Shall spectre kings rise from their burning thrones
And point the vacant seat, and scoffing say,
Art thou become like us?—O not for thee!
For thou hadst human feelings, and hast lived
A man with men; and kindly charities,
Even such as warm the cottage hearth, were thine.
And therefore falls the tear from eyes not used
To gaze on kings with admiration fond.
And thou hast knelt at meek Religion's shrine
With no mock homage, and hast owned her rights
Sacred in every breast: and therefore rise,
Affectionate, for thee, the orisons
And mingled prayers, alike from vaulted domes
Whence the loud organ peals, and raftered roofs
Of humbler worship.—Still remembering this,
A nation's pity and a nation's love
Linger beside thy couch, in this the day
Of thy sad visitation, veiling faults
Of erring judgement, and not will perverse.
Yet, O that thou hadst closed the wounds of war!
That had been praise to suit a higher strain.
Farewell the years rolled down the gulf of time!
Thy name has chronicled a long bright page
Of England's story; and perhaps the babe
Who opens, as thou closest thine, his eyes
On this eventful world, when aged grown,
Musing on times gone by, shall sigh and say,
Shaking his thin grey hairs, whitened with grief,
Our fathers' days were happy. Fare thee well!
My thread of life has even run with thine
For many a lustre; and thy closing day
I contemplate, not mindless of my own,
Nor to its call reluctant.
To Miss R.: On Her Attendance On Her Mother At Buxton
When blooming beauty in the noon of power,
While offered joys demand each sprightly hour,
With all that pomp of charms and winning mien
Which sure to conquer needs but to be seen;
When she, whose name the softest love inspires,
To the hushed chamber of Disease retires,
To watch and weep beside a parent's bed,
Catch the faint voice, and raise the languid head,
What mixt delight each feeling heart must warm!—
An angel's office suits an angel's form.
Thus the tall column graceful rears its head
To prop some mouldering tower with moss o'erspread,
Whose stately piles and arches yet display
The venerable graces of decay:
Thus round the withered trunk fresh shoots are seen
To shade their parent with a cheerful green.
More health, dear maid! thy soothing presence brings
Than purest skies, or salutary springs.
That voice, those looks such healing virtues bear,
Thy sweet reviving smiles might cheer despair;
On the pale lips detain the parting breath,
And bid hope blossom in the shades of death.
Beauty, like thine, could never reach a charm
So powerful to subdue, so sure to warm.
On her loved child behold the mother gaze,
In weakness pleased, and smiling through decays,
And leaning on that breast her cares assuage;—
How soft a pillow for declining age!
For this, when that fair frame must feel decay,—
Ye Fates protract it to a distant day,—
When thy approach no tumults shall impart,
Nor that commanding glance strike through the heart,
When meaner beauties shall have leave to shine,
And crowds divide the homage lately thine,
Not with the transient praise those charms can boast
Shall thy fair fame and gentle deeds be lost:
Some pious hand shall thy weak limbs sustain,
And pay thee back these generous cares again;
Thy name shall flourish, by the good approved,
Thy memory honoured, and thy dust beloved,
To Mr. S. T. Coleridge
Midway the hill of science, after steep
And rugged paths that tire the' unpractised feet,
A grove extends; in tangled mazes wrought,
And filled with strange enchantment:—dubious shapes
Flit through dim glades, and lure the eager foot
Of youthful ardour to eternal chase.
Dreams hang on every leaf: unearthly forms
Glide through the gloom; and mystic visions swim
Before the cheated sense. Athwart the mists,
Far into vacant space, huge shadows stretch,
And seem realities; while things of life,
Obvious to sight and touch, all glowing round,
Fade to the hue of shadows—Scruples here,
With filmy net, most like the autumnal webs
Of floating gossamer, arrest the foot
Of generous enterprise; and palsy hope
And fair ambition with the chilling touch
Of sickly hesitation and blank fear.
Nor seldom Indolence these lawns among
Fixes her turf-built seat; and wears the garb
Of deep philosophy, and museful sits,
In dreamy twilight of the vacant mind,
Soothed by the whispering shade; for soothing soft
The shades; and vistas lengthening into air,
With moonbeam rainbows tinted.—Here each mind
Of finer mould, acute and delicate,
In its high progress to eternal truth
Rests for a space, in fairy bowers entranced;
And loves the softened light and tender gloom;
And, pampered with most unsubstantial food,
Looks down indignant on the grosser world,
And matter's cumbrous shapings. Youth beloved
Of Science—of the Muse beloved,—not here,
Not in the maze of metaphysic lore,
Build thou thy place of resting! lightly tread
The dangerous ground, on noble aims intent;
And be this Circe of the studious cell
Enjoyed, but still subservient. Active scenes
Shall soon with healthful spirit brace thy mind;
And fair exertion, for bright fame sustained,
For friends, for country, chase each spleen-fed fog
That blots the wide creation.—
Now Heaven conduct thee with a parent's love!
Verses On Mrs Rowe
SUCH were the notes our chaster SAPPHO sung,
And every muse dropt honey on her tongue.
Blest shade ! how pure a breath of praise was thine,
Whose spotless life was faultless as thy line:
In whom each worth and every grace conspire,
The Christian's meekness and the Poet's fire.
Learn'd without pride, a woman without art;
The sweetest manners and the gentlest heart.
Smooth like her verse her passions learnt to move,
And her whole soul was harmony and love:
Virtue that breast without a conflict gain'd,
And easy like a native monarch reign'd.
On earth still favour'd as by heaven approv'd,
The world applauded, and ALEXIS lov'd.
With love, with health, with fame, and friendship blest,
And of a chearful heart the constant feast,
What more of bliss sincere could earth bestow?
What purer heaven could angels taste below?
But bliss from earth's vain scenes too quickly flies;
The golden chord is broke, ALEXIS dies.
Now in the leafy shade, and widow'd grove,
Sad PHILOMELA mourns her absent love.
Now deep retir'd in FROME's enchanting vale,
She pours her tuneful sorrows on the gale;
Without one fond reserve the world disclaims,
And gives up all her soul to heavenly flames.
Yet in no useless gloom she wore her days;
She lov'd the work, and only shun'd the praise.
Her pious hand the poor, the mourner blest;
Her image liv'd in every kindred breast.
THYNN, CARTERET, BLACKMORE, ORRERY approv'd,
And PRIOR prais'd, and noble HERTFORD lov'd;
Seraphic KENN, and tuneful WATTS were thine,
And virtue's noblest champions fill'd the line.
Blest in thy friendships! in thy death too blest !
Receiv'd without a pang to endless rest.
Heaven call'd the Saint matur'd by length of days,
And her pure spirit was exhal'd in praise.
Bright pattern of thy sex, be thou my muse;
Thy gentle sweetness thro' my soul diffuse:
Let me thy palm, tho' not thy laurel share,
And copy thee in charity and prayer.
Tho' for the bard my lines are yet too faint,
Yet in my life let me transcribe the saint.
Hymn: Ye Are The Salt Of The Earth
Salt of the earth, ye virtuous few,
Who season human-kind;
Light of the world, whose cheering ray
Illumes the realms of mind:
Where Misery spreads her deepest shade,
Your strong compassion glows;
From your blest lips the balm distils,
That softens mortal woes.
By dying beds, in prison glooms,
Your frequent steps are found;
Angels of love! you hover near,
To bind the stranger's wound.
You wash with tears the bloody page
Which human crimes deform;
When vengeance threats, your prayers ascend,
And break the gathering storm.
As down the summer stream of vice
The thoughtless many glide;
Upward you steer your steady bark,
And stem the rushing tide.
Where guilt her foul contagion breathes,
And golden spoils allure;
Unspotted still your garments shine—
Your hands are ever pure.
Whene'er you touch the poet's lyre,
A loftier strain is heard;
Each ardent thought is yours alone,
And every burning word.
Yours is the large expansive thought,
The high heroic deed;
Exile and chains to you are dear—
To you 'tis sweet to bleed.
You lift on high the warning voice,
When public ills prevail;
Yours is the writing on the wall
That turns the tyrant pale.
The dogs of hell your steps pursue,
With scoff, and shame, and loss;
The hemlock bowl 'tis yours to drain,
To taste the bitter cross.
E'en yet the steaming scaffolds smoke,
By Seine's polluted stream;
With your rich blood the fields are drenched,
Where Polish sabres gleam.
E'en now, through those accursed bars,
In vain we send our sighs;
Where, deep in Olmutz' dungeon glooms,
The patriot martyr lies.
Yet yours is all through History's rolls
The kindling bosom feels;
And at your tomb, with throbbing heart,
The fond enthusiast kneels.
In every faith, through every clime,
Your pilgrim steps we trace;
And shrines are dressed, and temples rise,
Each hallowed spot to grace;
And pæans loud, in every tongue,
And choral hymns resound;
And lengthening honours hand your name
To time's remotest bound.
Proceed! your race of glory run,
Your virtuous toils endure!
You come, commissioned from on high,
And your reward is sure.
Prologue To A Drama
PERFORMED BY A FAMILY PARTY ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF MR. AND MRS. C.'S MARRIAGE
“To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,
To raise the genius, and to mend the heart,”—
Hold, hold! that's not my cue, we 've no intention
By “tender strokes” to sharpen girls' invention:
The soul will waken time enough, ne'er fear;
No lines shall rouse the slumbering passions here.
O! ever sacred be the deep repose
Which Youth, on Innocence' pure bosom, knows;
Before a wish, a throb, a care, have taught
The pangs of feeling or the lines of thought.
O happy period! soon to pass away,
Soon will the swelling gales assert their sway,
And drive the vessel from the sheltered port,—
O guide it Heaven!—of winds and waves the sport.
Nor yet “to raise the genius” is our aim,
With Shakespear's high-wrought scenes and words of flame.
A little story, drawn from fairy lore,
A nursery tale, this evening we explore:
“To mend the heart,” indeed, we mean to try,
And show what poison lurks in flattery.
'Tis true our hero was a prince—what then!
Believe me, Flattery stoops to common men.
A little dose, made up with skill and care,
A grain or two of incense, all can bear:
'Tis life's first rule,—by complaisance we live;
All flatter all, and to receive we give.
Myself, for instance, am sent here tonight
With soothing speech your favour to invite;
And when our piece is done, perhaps e'en you,
My gentle auditors, may flatter too,
And make us boast our talents and our skill,
When all the merit is in your good will.
But there's a theme which asks a verse this day,
Where Flattery has no power her tints to lay;
This hallowed day, in Hymen's golden bands
Which joined consenting hearts and willing hands.
How many years ago should any ask,
Look round,—to count them is an easy task;
Each tiptoe girl, and each aspiring boy,
Date, as they pass, the years of love and joy.
O happy state! where blessings number years,
And smiles are only quenched in more delicious tears.
Here, should my willing lips the theme pursue,
And draw the lovely scene in colours due,
Paint the well-ordered home, the sacred seat
Where social joys and active virtues meet;
These wield in love, and those in love obey
The peaceful sceptre of domestic sway;
Where sparkling Fancy weaves her airy dream,
And Science sheds around her steady beam,—
Each answering heart the faithful sketch would own,
And glow with feelings raised by truth alone.
Epistle To Dr. Enfield
ON HIS REVISITING WARRINGTON IN 1789
Friend of those years which from Youth's sparkling fount
With silent lapse down Time's swift gulf have run!
Friend of the years, whate'er be their amount,
Which yet remain beneath life's evening sun!
O when thy feet retrace that western shore
Where Mersey winds his waters to the main,
When thy fond eyes familiar haunts explore,
And paths well-nigh effaced are tracked again;
Will not thy heart with mixed emotions thrill,
As scenes succeeding scenes arise to view?
While joy or sorrow past alike shall fill
Thy glistening eyes with Feeling's tender dew.
Shades of light transient Loves shall pass thee by,
And glowing Hopes, and Sports of youthful vein;
And each shall claim one short, half pleasing sigh,
A farewell sigh to Love's and Fancy's reign.
Lo there the seats where Science loved to dwell,
Where Liberty her ardent spirit breathed;
While each glad Naiad from her secret cell
Her native sedge with classic honours wreathed.
O seats beloved in vain! Your rising dome
With what fond joy my youthful eyes surveyed;
Pleased by your sacred springs to find my home,
And tune my lyre beneath your growing shade!
Does Desolation spread his gloomy veil
Your grass-grown courts and silent halls along?
Or busy hands there pile the cumbrous sail,
And Trade's harsh din succeed the Muse's song?
Yet still, perhaps, in some sequestered walk
Thine ear shall catch the tales of other times;
Still in faint sounds the learned echoes talk,
Where unprofaned as yet by vulgar chimes.
Do not the deeply-wounded trees still bear
The dear memorial of some infant flame?
And murmuring sounds yet fill the hallowed air,
Once vocal to the youthful poet's fame?
For where her sacred step impressed the Muse,
She left a long perfume through all the bowers;
Still mayst thou gather thence Castalian dews
In honeyed sweetness clinging to the flowers.
Shrowded in stolen glance, here timorous Love
The grave rebuke of careful Wisdom drew,
With wholesome frown austere who vainly strove
To shield the sliding heart from Beauty's view.
Go fling this garland in fair Mersey's stream,
From the true lovers that have trod his banks;
Say, Thames to Avon still repeats his theme;
Say, Hymen's captives send their votive thanks.
Visit each shade and trace each weeping rill
To holy Friendship or to Fancy known,
And climb with zealous step the fir-crowned hill,
Where purple foxgloves fringe the rugged stone:
And if thou seest on some neglected spray
The lyre which soothed my careless hours so much;
The shattered relic to my hands convey,—
The murmuring strings shall answer to thy touch.
Were it, like thine, my lot once more to tread
Plains now but seen in distant perspective,
With that soft hue, that dubious gloom o'erspread,
That tender tint which only time can give;
How would it open every secret cell
Where cherished thought and fond remembrance sleep!
How many a tale each conscious step would tell!
How many a parted friend these eyes would weep!
But O the chief!—If in thy feeling breast
The tender charities of life reside,
If there domestic love have built her nest,
And thy fond heart a parent's cares divide;
Go seek the turf where worth, where wisdom lies,
Wisdom and worth, ah, never to return!
There, kneeling, weep my tears, and breathe my sighs,
A daughter's sorrows o'er her father's urn!
The Origin Of Song Writing
WHEN Cupid, wanton boy, was young,
His wings unfledg'd, and rude his tongue,
He loiter'd in Arcadian bowers,
And hid his bow in wreaths of flowers;
Or pierc'd some fond unguarded heart,
With now and then a random dart;
But heroes scorned the idle boy,
And love was but a shepherd's toy:
When Venus, vex'd to see her child
Amidst the forests thus run wild,
Would point him out some nobler game,
Gods, and godlike men to tame.
She seiz'd the boy's reluctant hand,
And led them to the virgin band,
Where the sister muses round
Swell the deep majestic sound;
And in solemn strains unite,
Breathing chaste, severe delight:
Songs of chiefs, and heroes old,
In unsubmitting virtue bold;
Of even valour's temperate heat,
And toils to stubborn patience sweet;
Of nodding plumes, and burnish'd arms,
And glory's bright terrific charms.
The potent sounds like light'ning dart
Resistless thro' the glowing heart;
Of power to lift the fixed soul
High o'er fortune's proud controul;
Kindling deep, prophetic musing;
Love of beauteous death infusing;
Scorn, and unconquerable hate
Of tyrant pride's unhallow'd state.
The boy abash'd, and half afraid,
Beheld each chaste immortal maid:
Pallas spread her Egis there;
Mars stood by with threat'ning air;
And stern Diana's icy look
With sudden chill his bosom struck.
Daughters of Jove receive the child,
The queen of beauty said, and smil'd:
(Her rosy breath perfum'd the air,
And scatter'd sweet contagion there;
Relenting nature learnt to languish,
And sicken'd with delightful anguish; )
Receive him, artless yet and young;
Refine his air and smooth his tongue;
Conduct him thro' your fav'rite bowers,
Enrich'd with fair perennial flowers,
To solemn shades and springs that lie
Remote from each unhallow'd eye;
Teach him to spell those mystic names
That kindle bright immortal flames;
And guide his young unpractis'd feet
To reach coy learning's lofty seat.
Ah, luckless hour! mistaken maids!
When Cupid sought the Muses shades :
Of their sweetest notes beguil'd,
By the sly insidious child,
Now of power his darts are found
Twice ten thousand times to wound.
Now no more the slacken'd strings
Breathe of high immortal things,
But Cupid tunes the Musis lyre,
To languid notes of soft desire:
In every clime, in every tongue,
'Tis love inspires the poet's song.
Hence Sappho's soft infectious page;
Monimia's woe; Othello's rage;
Abandon'd Dido's fruitless prayer;
And Eloisa's long despair;
The garland bless'd with many a vow,
For haughty Sacharissa's brow;
And wash'd with tears the mournful verse
That Petrarch laid on Laura's herse.
But more than all the sister quire,
Music confess'd the pleasing fire.
Here sovereign Cupid reign'd alone;
Music and song were all his own.
Sweet as in old Arcadian plains,
The British pipe has caught the strains:
And where the Tweed's pure current glides,
Or Lissy rolls her limpid tides,
Or Thames his oozy waters leads
Thro' rural bowers or yellow meads,
With many an old romantic tale
Has cheer'd the lone sequester'd vale;
With many a sweet and tender lay
Deceiv'd the tiresome summer-day.
'Tis yours to cull with happy art
Each meaning verse that speaks the heart;
And fair array'd, in order meet,
To lay the wreath at beauty's feet.
Delia, An Elegy
YES, DELIA loves! My fondest vows are blest;
Farewel the memory of her past disdain;
One kind relenting glance has heal'd my breast,
And balanc'd in a moment years of pain.
O'er her soft cheek consenting blushes move,
And with kind stealth her secret soul betray;
Blushes, which usher in the morn of love,
Sure as the red'ning east foretells the day.
Her tender smiles shall pay me with delight
For many a bitter pang of jealous fear;
For many an anxious day, and sleepless night,
For many a stifled sigh, and silent tear.
DELIA shall come, and bless my lone retreat;
She does not scorn the shepherd's lowly life;
She will not blush to leave the splendid seat,
And own the title of a poor man's wife.
The simple knot shall bind her gather'd hair,
The russet garment clasp her lovely breast:
DELIA shall mix amongst the rural fair,
By charms alone distinguish'd from the rest.
And meek Simplicity, neglected maid,
Shall bid my fair in native graces shine:
She, only she, shall lend her modest aid,
Chaste, sober priestess, at sweet beauty's shrine!
How sweet to muse by murmuring springs reclin'd;
Or loitering careless in the shady grove,
Indulge the gentlest feelings of the mind,
And pity those who live to aught but love!
When DELIA's hand unlocks her shining hair,
And o'er her shoulder spreads the flowing gold,
Base were the man who one bright tress would spare
For all the ore of India's coarser mold.
By her dear side with what content I'd toil,
Patient of any labour in her sight;
Guide the slow plough, or turn the stubborn soil,
Till the last, ling'ring beam of doubtful light.
But softer tasks divide my DELIA's hours;
To watch the firstlings at their harmless play;
With welcome shade to screen the languid flowers,
That sicken in the summer's parching ray.
Oft will she stoop amidst her evening walk,
With tender hand each bruised plant to rear;
To bind the drooping lily's broken stalk,
And nurse the blossoms of the infant year.
When beating rains forbid our feet to roam,
We'll shelter'd sit, and turn the storied page;
There see what passions shake the lofty dome
With mad ambition or ungovern'd rage:
What headlong ruin oft involves the great;
What conscious terrors guilty bosoms prove;
What strange and sudden turns of adverse fate
Tear the sad virgin from her plighted love.
DELIA shall read, and drop a gentle tear;
Then cast her eyes around the low-roof'd cot,
And own the fates have dealt more kindly here,
That blest with only love our little lot.
For love has sworn (I heard the awful vow)
The wav'ring heart shall never be his care,
That stoops at any baser shrine to bow :
And what he cannot rule, he scorns to share.
My heart in DELIA is so fully blest,
It has not room to lodge another joy;
My peace all leans upon that gentle breast,
And only there misfortune can annoy.
Our silent hours shall steal unmark'd away
In one long tender calm of rural peace;
And measure many a fair unblemish'd day
Of chearful leisure and poetic ease.
The proud unfeeling world their lot shall scorn
Who 'midst inglorious shades can poorly dwell:
Yet if some youth, for gentler passions born,
Shall chance to wander near our lowly cell,
His feeling breast with purer flames shall glow;
And leaving pomp, and state, and cares behind,
Shall own the world has little to bestow
Where two fond hearts in equal love are join'd.
To Love And Time
TO MRS. MULSO.
On Stella's brow as lately envious Time
His crooked lines with iron pencil traced,
That brow, erewhile like ivory tablets smooth,
With Love's high trophies hung, and victories graced,
Digging him little caves in every cell,
And every dimple, once where Love was wont to dwell;
He spied the God: and wondered still to spy,
Who higher held his torch in Time's despite;
Nor seemed to care for aught that he could do.
Then sternly thus he sought him thence to' affright:
The sovereign boy entrenched in a smile,
At his sour crabbed speech sat mocking all the while.
“What dost thou here, fond boy? Away, for shame!
Mine is this field, by conquest fairly won;
Love cannot reap his joys where Time has ploughed,
Thou and thy light-winged troop should now begone.
Go revel with fresh Youth in scenes of folly,
Sage Thought I bring, and Care, and pale-eyed Melancholy.
“Thy streams are froze, that once so briskly ran,
Thy bough is shaken by the mellow year;
Boreas and Zephyr dwell not in one cave,
And swallows spread their wings when winter's near;
See where Florella's cheeks soft bloom disclose,
Go seek the springing bud, and leave the faded rose.”
Thus spake old Time, of Love the deadliest foe,—
Ah me, that gentle Love such foes should meet!
But nothing daunted he returned again,
Tempering with looks austere his native sweet;
And, “Fool!” said he, “to think I e'er shall fly
From that rich palace where my choicest treasures lie.
“Dost thou not see,—or art thou blind with age,—
How many Graces on her eyelids sit,
Linking those viewless chains that bind the soul,
And sharpening smooth discourse with pointed wit;
How many where she moves attendant wait,
The slow smooth step inspire, or high commanding gait?
“Each one a several charm around her throws,
Some to attract, some powerful to repell,
Some mix the honeyed speech with winning smiles,
Or call wild Laughter from his antic cell;
Severer some, to strike with awful fear
Each rude licentious tongue that wounds the virtuous ear.
“Not one of them is of thy scythe in dread,
Or for thy cankered malice careth aught,
Thy shaking fingers never can untwist
The magic cæstus by their cunning wrought;
And I, their knight, their bidding must obey,
For where the Graces are, will Love for ever stay.
“In my rich fields now boast the ravage done,
Those lesser spoils,—her brow, her cheek, her hair,
All that the touches of decay can feel,—
Take these, she has enough besides to spare;
I cannot thee dislodge, nor shalt thou me,
So thou and I, old Time, perforce must once agree.
“Nor is the boasted ravage all thine own,
Nor was the field by conquest fairly gained;
For leagued with Sickness, Life and Nature's foe,
That fiend accurst thy savage wars maintained;
His hand the furrows sunk where thou didst plough,
He undermined the tree, where thou didst shake the bough.
“But both unite, for both I here defy;
Spoil ye have made, but have no triumphs won;
And though the daffodil more freshly blooms,
Spreading her gay leaves to the morning sun,
Yet never will I leave the faded rose,
Whilst the pale lovely flower such sweetness still bestows.”
This said, exulting Cupid clapped his wings.
The sullen power, who found his rage restrained,
And felt the strong controul of higher charms,
Shaking his glass, vowed while the sands would run
For many a year the strife should be maintained:
But Jove decreed no force should Love destroy,
Nor time should quell the might of that immortal boy.
Deep in Sabea's fragrant groves retired,
Long had the Eastern Sages studious dwelt,
By love sublime of sacred science fired:
Long had they trained the' inquiring youth,
With liberal hand the bread of wisdom dealt,
And sung in solemn verse mysterious truth.
The sacred characters they knew to trace
Derived from Egypt's elder race;
And all that Greece, with copious learning fraught,
Thro' different schools by various masters taught;
And all Arabia's glowing store
Of fabled truths and rich poetic lore:
Stars, plants and gems, and talismans they knew,
And far was spread their fame and wide their praises grew.
The' admiring East their praises spread:
But with uncheated eyes themselves they viewed;
Mourning they sat with dust upon their head,
And oft in melancholy strain
The fond complaint renewed,
How little yet they knew, how much was learned in vain.
For human guilt and mortal woe
Their sympathizing sorrows flow;
Their hallowed prayers ascend in incense pure;
They mourned the narrow bounds assigned
To the keen glances of the searching mind,
They mourned the ills they could not cure,
They mourned the doubts they could not clear,
They mourned that prophet yet, nor seer,
The great Eternal had made known,
Or reached the lowest step of that immortal throne.
And oft the starry cope of heaven beneath,
When day's tumultuous sounds had ceased to breathe,
With fixed feet, as rooted there,
Through the long night they drew the chilly air;
While sliding o'er their head,
In solemn silence dread,
The' ethereal orbs their shining course pursued,
In holy trance enwrapt the sages stood,
With folded arms laid on their reverend breast,
And to that Heaven they knew, their orisons addresst.
A Star appears; they marked its kindling beam
O'er night's dark breast unusual splendours stream:
The lesser lights that deck the sky,
In wondering silence softly gliding by,
At the fair stranger seemed to gaze,
Or veiled their trembling fires and half withdrew their rays.
The blameless men the wonder saw,
And hailed the joyful sign with pious awe;
They knew 'twas none of all the train
With which in shadowy forms and shapes uncouth,
Monsters of earth and of the main,
Remote from nature as from truth,
Their learned pens the sky had figured o'er:
No star with such kind aspect shone before;
Nor e'er did wandering planet stoop so low
To guide benighted pilgrims through this vale of woe.
The heavenly impulse they obey,
The new-born light directs their way;
Through deserts never marked by human tread,
And billowy waves of loose, unfaithful sand,
O'er many an unknown hill and foreign strand
The silver clue unerring led,
And peopled towns they pass, and glittering spires;
No cloud could veil its light, no sun could quench its fires.
Thus passed the venerable pilgrims on,
Till Salem's stately towers before them shone,
And soon their feet her hallowed pavements presst;
Not in her marble courts to rest,—
From pomp and royal state aloof,
Their shining guide its beams withdrew;
And points their path, and points their view,
To Bethlehem's rustic cots, to Mary's lowly roof.
There the bright sentinel kept watch,
While other stars arose and set;
For there, within its humble thatch,
Weakness and power, and heaven and earth were met.
Now, sages, now your search give o'er,
Believe, fall prostrate, and adore!
Here spread your spicy gifts, your golden offerings here;
No more the fond complaint renew,
Of human guilt and mortal woe,
Of knowledge checked by doubt, and hope with fear:
What angels wished to see, ye view;
What angels wished to learn, ye know;—
Peace is proclaimed to man, and heaven begun below.
--- and their voice,
Turning again towards childish treble, pipes
And whistles in its sound. ---
The Muses are turned gossips; they have lost
The buskined step, and clear high-sounding phrase,
Language of gods. Come then, domestic Muse,
In slipshod measure loosely prattling on
Of farm or orchard, pleasant curds and cream,
Or drowning flies, or shoe lost in the mire
By little whimpering boy, with rueful face;
Come, Muse, and sing the dreaded Washing-Day.
Ye who beneath the yoke of wedlock bend,
With bowed soul, full well ye ken the day
Which week, smooth sliding after week, brings on
Too soon;—for to that day nor peace belongs
Nor comfort;—ere the first gray streak of dawn,
The red-armed washers come and chase repose.
Nor pleasant smile, nor quaint device of mirth,
E'er visited that day: the very cat,
From the wet kitchen scared and reeking hearth,
Visits the parlour,—an unwonted guest.
The silent breakfast-meal is soon dispatched;
Uninterrupted, save by anxious looks
Cast at the lowering sky, if sky should lower.
From that last evil, O preserve us, heavens!
For should the skies pour down, adieu to all
Remains of quiet: then expect to hear
Of sad disasters,—dirt and gravel stains
Hard to efface, and loaded lines at once
Snapped short,—and linen-horse by dog thrown down,
And all the petty miseries of life.
Saints have been calm while stretched upon the rack,
And Guatimozin smiled on burning coals;
But never yet did housewife notable
Greet with a smile a rainy washing-day.
—But grant the welkin fair, require not thou
Who call'st thyself perchance the master there,
Or study swept, or nicely dusted coat,
Or usual 'tendance;—ask not, indiscreet,
Thy stockings mended, though the yawning rents
Gape wide as Erebus; nor hope to find
Some snug recess impervious: shouldst thou try
The 'customed garden walks, thine eye shall rue
The budding fragrance of thy tender shrubs,
Myrtle or rose, all crushed beneath the weight
Of coarse checked apron,—with impatient hand
Twitched off when showers impend: or crossing lines
Shall mar thy musings, as the wet cold sheet
Flaps in thy face abrupt. Woe to the friend
Whose evil stars have urged him forth to claim
On such a day the hospitable rites!
Looks, blank at best, and stinted courtesy,
Shall he receive. Vainly he feeds his hopes
With dinner of roast chicken, savoury pie,
Or tart or pudding:—pudding he nor tart
That day shall eat; nor, though the husband try,
Mending what can't be helped, to kindle mirth
From cheer deficient, shall his consort's brow
Clear up propitious:—the unlucky guest
In silence dines, and early slinks away.
I well remember, when a child, the awe
This day struck into me; for then the maids,
I scarce knew why, looked cross, and drove me from them:
Nor soft caress could I obtain, nor hope
Usual indulgencies; jelly or creams,
Relic of costly suppers, and set by
For me their petted one; or buttered toast,
When butter was forbid; or thrilling tale
Of ghost or witch, or murder—so I went
And sheltered me beside the parlour fire:
There my dear grandmother, eldest of forms,
Tended the little ones, and watched from harm,
Anxiously fond, though oft her spectacles
With elfin cunning hid, and oft the pins
Drawn from her ravelled stocking, might have soured
One less indulgent.—
At intervals my mother's voice was heard,
Urging dispatch: briskly the work went on,
All hands employed to wash, to rinse, to wring,
To fold, and starch, and clap, and iron, and plait.
Then would I sit me down, and ponder much
Why washings were. Sometimes through hollow bowl
Of pipe amused we blew, and sent aloft
The floating bubbles; little dreaming then
To see, Mongolfier, thy silken ball
Ride buoyant through the clouds—so near approach
The sports of children and the toils of men.
Earth, air, and sky, and ocean, hath its bubbles,
And verse is one of them—this most of all.
Ovid To His Wife
MY aged head now stoops its honours low,
Bow'd with the load of fifty winters' snow;
And for the raven's glossy black assumes
The downy whiteness of the cygnet's plumes:
Loose scatter'd hairs around my temples stray,
And spread the mournful shade of sickly grey:
I bend beneath the weight of broken years,
Averse to change, and chill'd with causeless fears.
The season now invites me to retire
To the dear lares of my household fire;
To homely scenes of calm domestic peace,
A poet's leisure, and an old man's ease;
To wear the remnant of uncertain life
In the fond bosom of a faithful wife;
In safe repose my last few hours to spend,
Nor fearful nor impatient of their end.
Thus a safe port the wave-worn vessels gain,
Nor tempt again the dangers of the main;
Thus the proud steed, when youthful glory fades,
And creeping age his stiffening limbs invades,
Lies stretch'd at ease on the luxuriant plain,
And dreams his morning triumphs o'er again:
The hardy veteren from the camp retires,
His joints unstrung, and feeds his household fires,
Satiate with same enjoys well-earn'd repose,
And sees his stormy day serenely close.
Not such my lot: Severer fates decree
My shatter'd bark must plough an unknown sea.
Forc'd from my native seats and sacred home,
Friendless, alone, thro' Scythian wilds to roam;
With trembling knees o'er unknown hills I go,
Stiff with blue ice and heap'd with drifted snow:
Pale suns there strike their feeble rays in vain,
Which faintly glance against the marble plain;
Red Ister there, which madly lash'd the shore,
His idle urn seal'd up, forgets to roar;
Stern winter in eternal tr umph reigns,
Shuts up the bounteous year and starves the plains.
My failing eyes the weary waste explore,
The savage mountains and the dreary shore,
And vainly look for scenes of old delight;
No lov'd familiar objects meet my fight;
No long remember'd streams, or conscious bowers,
Wake the gay memory of youthful hours.
I fondly hop'd, content with learned ease,
To walk amidst cotemporary trees;
In every scene some fav'rite spot to trace,
And meet in all some kind domestic face;
To stretch my limbs upon my native soil,
With long vacation from unquiet toil;
Resign my breath where first that breath I drew,
And sink into the spot from whence I grew.
But if my feeble age is doom'd to try
Unusual seasons and a foreign sky,
To some more genial clime let me repair,
And taste the healing balm of milder air;
Near to the glowing sun's directer ray,
And pitch my tent beneath the eye of day.
Could not the winter in my veins suffice,
Without the added rage of Scythian skies?
The snow of time my vital heat exhaust,
And hoary age, without Sarmatian frost?
Ye tuneful maids! who once, in happier days,
Beneath the myrtle grove inspir'd my lays,
How shall I now your wonted aid implore;
Where seek your footsteps on this savage shore,
Whose ruder echoes ne'er were taught to bear
The poet's numbers or the lover's care?
Yet storm and tempest are of ills the least
Which this inhospitable land infest:
Society than solitude is worse,
And man to man is still the greatest curse.
A savage race my fearful steps surround,
Practis'd in blood and disciplin'd to wound;
Unknown alike to pity as to fear,
Hard as their soil, and as their skies severe.
Skill'd in each mystery of direst art,
They arm with double death the poison'd dart:
Uncomb'd and horrid grows their spiky hair;
Uncouth their vesture, terrible their air:
The lurking dagger at their side hung low,
Leaps in quick vengeance on the hapless foe:
No stedfast faith is here, no sure repose;
An armed truce is all this nation knows:
The rage of battle works, when battles cease;
And wars are brooding in the lap of peace.
Since CÆSAR wills, and I a wretch must be,
Let me be safe at least in misery!
To my sad grave in calm oblivion steal,
Nor add the woes I fear to all I feel !
Yet here, forever here, your bard must dwell,
Who sung of sports and tender loves so well.
Here must he live: but when he yields his breath
O let him not be exil'd even in death!
Lest mix'd with Scythian shades, a Roman ghost
Wander on this inhospitable coast.
CÆSAR no more shall urge a wretch's doom;
The bolt of JOVE pursues not in the tomb.
To thee, dear wife, some friend with pious care
All that of OVID then remains shall bear;
Then wilt thou weep to see me so return,
And with fond passion clasp my silent urn.
O check thy grief, that tender bosom spare,
Hurt not thy cheeks, nor soil thy flowing hair.
Press the pale marble with thy lips, and give
One precious tear, and bid my memory live:
The silent dust shall glow at thy command,
And the warm ashes feel thy pious hand.
Ode To Remorse
Dread offspring of the holy light within,
Offspring of Conscience and of Sin,
Stern as thine awful sire, and fraught with woe
From bitter springs thy mother taught to flow,—
Remorse! To man alone 'tis given
Of all on earth, or all in heaven,
To wretched man thy bitter cup to drain,
Feel thy awakening stings, and taste thy wholesome pain.
Midst Eden's blissful bowers,
And amaranthine flowers,
Thy birth portentous dimmed the orient day,
What time our hapless sire,
O'ercome by fond desire,
The high command presumed to disobey;
Then didst thou rear thy snaky crest,
And raise thy scorpion lash to tear the guilty breast:
And never, since that fatal hour,
May man, of woman born, expect to' escape thy power.
Thy goading stings the branded Cain
Cross the' untrodden desert drove,
Ere from his cradling home and native plain
Domestic man had learnt to rove.
By gloomy shade or lonely flood
Of vast primeval solitude,
Thy step his hurried steps pursued,
Thy voice awoke his conscious fears,
For ever sounding in his ears
A father's curse, a brother's blood;
Till life was misery too great to bear,
And torturing thought was lost in sullen, dumb despair.
The king who sat on Judah's throne,
By guilty love to murder wrought,
Was taught thy searching power to own,
When, sent of Heaven, the seer his royal presence sought.
As, wrapt in artful phrase, with sorrow feigned,
He told of helpless, meek distress,
And wrongs that sought from power redress,
The pity-moving tale his ear obtained,
And bade his better feelings wake:
Then, sudden as the trodden snake
On the scared traveller darts his fangs,
The prophet's bold rebuke aroused thy keenest pangs.
And O that look, that soft upbraiding look!
A thousand cutting, tender things it spoke,—
The sword so lately drawn was not so keen,—
Which, as the injured Master turned him round,
In the strange solemn scene,
And the shrill clarion gave the' appointed sound,
Pierced sudden through the reins,
Awakening all thy pains,
And drew a silent shower of bitter tears
Down Peter's blushing cheek, late pale with coward fears.
Cruel Remorse! where Youth and Pleasure sport,
And thoughtless Folly keeps her court,—
Crouching midst rosy bowers thou lurk'st unseen;
Slumbering the festal hours away,
While Youth disports in that enchanting scene;
Till on some fated day
Thou with a tiger-spring dost leap upon thy prey,
And tear his helpless breast, o'erwhelmed with wild dismay.
Mark that poor wretch with clasped hands!
Pale o'er his parent's grave he stands,—
The grave by his ingratitude prepared;
Ah then, where'er he rests his head,
On roses pillowed or the softest down,
Though festal wreaths his temples crown,
He well might envy Guatimozin's bed,
With burning coals and sulphur spread,
And with less agony his torturing hour have shared.
For Thou art by to point the keen reproach;
Thou draw'st the curtains of his nightly couch,
Bring'st back the reverend face with tears bedewed,
That o'er his follies yearned;
The warnings oft in vain renewed,
The looks of anguish and of love,
His stubborn breast that failed to move,
When in the scorner's chair he sat, and wholesome counsel spurned.
Lives there a man whose labouring breast
Is with some dark and guilty secret prest,
Who hides within its inmost fold
Strange crimes to mortal ear untold?
In vain to sad Chartreuse he flies,
Midst savage rocks and cloisters dim and drear,
And there to shun thee tries:
In vain untold his crime to mortal ear,
Silence and whispered sounds but make thy voice more clear.
Lo, where the cowled monk with frantic rage
Lifts high the sounding scourge, his bleeding shoulders smites!
Penance and fasts his anxious thoughts engage,
Weary his days and joyless are his nights,
His naked feet the flinty pavement tears,
His knee at every shrine the marble wears;—
Why does he lift the cruel scourge?
The restless pilgrimage why urge?
'Tis all to quell thy fiercer rage,
'Tis all to soothe thy deep despair,
He courts the body's pangs, for thine he cannot bear.
See o'er the bleeding corse of her he loved,
The jealous murderer bends unmoved,
Trembling with rage, his livid lips express
His frantic passion's wild and rash excess.
O God, she's innocent!—transfixt he stands,
Pierced thro' with shafts from thine avenging hands;
Down his pale cheek no tear will flow,
Nor can he shun, nor can he bear, his woe.
'Twas phantoms summoned by thy power
Round Richard's couch at midnight hour,
That scared the tyrant from unblest repose;
With frantic haste, “To horse! to horse!” he cries,
While on his crowned brow cold sweat-drops rise,
And fancied spears his spear oppose;
But not the swiftest steed can bear away
From thy firm grasp thine agonizing prey,
Thou wast the fiend, and thou alone;
That stood'st by Beaufort's mitred head,
With upright hair and visage ghastly pale:
Thy terrors shook his dying bed,
Past crimes and blood his sinking heart assail,
His hands are clasped,—hark to that hollow groan!
See how his glazed, dim eye-balls wildly roll,
'Tis not dissolving Nature's pains; that pang is of the soul.
Where guilty souls are doomed to dwell,
'Tis thou that mak'st their fiercest hell,
The vulture thou that on their liver feeds,
As rise to view their past unhallowed deeds;
With thee condemned to stay,
Till time has rolled away
Long æras of uncounted years,
And every stain is washed in soft repentant tears.
Servant of God—but unbeloved—proceed,
For thou must live and ply thy scorpion scourge;
Thy sharp upbraidings urge
Against the' unrighteous deed,
Till thine accursed mother shall expire,
And a new world spring forth from renovating fire.
O! when the glare of day is fled,
And calm, beneath the evening star,
Reflection leans her pensive head,
And calls the passions to her solemn bar;
Reviews the censure rash, the hasty word,
The purposed act too long deferred,
Of time the wasted treasures lent,
And fair occasions lost and golden hours misspent:
When anxious Memory numbers o'er
Each offered prize we failed to seize;
Or friends laid low, whom now no more
Our fondest love can serve or please,
And thou, dread power! bring'st back in terrors drest,
The' irrevocable past, to sting the careless breast;—
O! in that hour be mine to know,
While fast the silent sorrows flow,
And wisdom cherishes the wholesome pain,
No heavier guilt, no deeper stain,
Than tears of meek contrition may atone,
Shed at the mercy-seat of Heaven's eternal throne.
COME here fond youth, whoe'er thou be,
That boasts to love as well as me;
And if thy breast have felt so wide a wound,
Come hither and thy flame approve;
I'll teach thee what it is to love,
And by what marks true passion may be found.
It is to be all bath'd in tears;
To live upon a smile for years;
To lie whole ages at a beauty's feet:
To kneel, to languish and implore;
And still tho' she disdain, adore:
It is to do all this, and think thy sufferings sweet.
It is to gaze upon her eyes
With eager joy and fond surprise;
Yet temper'd with such chaste and awful fear
As wretches feel who wait their doom;
Nor must one ruder thought presume
Tho' but in whispers breath'd, to meet her ear.
It is to hope, tho' hope were loft;
Tho' heaven and earth thy passion crost;
Tho' she were bright as sainted queens above,
And thou the least and meanest swain
That folds his flock upon the plain,
Yet if thou dar'st not hope, thou dost not love.
It is to quench thy joy in tears:
To nurse strange doubts and groundless fears:
If pangs of jealousy thou hast not prov'd,
Tho' she were fonder and more true
Than any nymph old poets drew,
Oh never dream again that thou hast lov'd.
If when the darling maid is gone,
Thou dost not seek to be alone,
Wrapt in a pleasing trance of tender woe;
And muse, and fold thy languid arms,
Feeding thy fancy on her charms,
Thou dost not love, for love is nourish'd so.
If any hopes thy bosom share
But those which love has planted there,
Or any cares but his thy breast enthrall,
Thou never yet his power hast known;
Love sits on a despotic throne,
And reigns a tyrant, if he reigns at all.
Now if thou art so lost a thing,
Here all thy tender sorrows bring,
And prove whose patience longest can endure:
We'll strive whose fancy shall be lost
In dreams of fondest passion most;
For if thou thus hast lov'd, oh! never hope a cure.
S O N G II
IF ever thou dist joy to bind
Two hearts in equal passion join'd,
O son of VENUS! hear me now,
And bid FLORELLA bless my vow.
If any bliss reserv'd for me
Thou in the leaves of fate should'st see;
If any white propitious hour,
Pregnant with hoarded joys in store;
Now, now the mighty treasure give,
In her for whom alone I live:
In sterling love pay all the sum,
And I'll absolve the fates to come.
In all the pride of full-blown charms
Yield her, relenting, to my arms:
Her bosom touch with soft desires,
And let her feel what she inspires.
But, CUPID, if thine aid be vain
The dear reluctant maid to gain;
If still with cold averted eyes
She dash my hopes, and scorn my sighs;
O! grant ('tis all I ask of thee)
That I no more may change than she;
But still with duteous zeal love on,
When every gleam of hope is gone.
Leave me then alone to languish,
Think not time can heal my anguish;
Pity the woes which I endure;
But never, never grant a cure.
S O N G III
Leave me, simple shepherd, leave me;
Drag no more a hopeless chain:
I cannot like, nor would deceive thee;
Love the maid that loves again.
Tho' more gentle nymphs surround me,
Kindly pitying what I feel,
Only you have power to wound me;
SYLVIA, only you can heal.
Corin, cease this idle teazing;
Love that's forc'd is harsh and sour:
If the lover be displeasing,
To persist disgusts the more.
'Tis in vain, in vain to fly me,
Sylvia, I will still pursue;
Twenty thousand times deny me,
I will kneel and weep anew.
Cupid ne'er shall make me languish,
I was born averse to love;
Lovers' sighs, and tears, and anguish,
Mirth and pastime to me prove.
Still I vow with patient duty
Thus to meet your proudest scorn;
You for unrelenting beauty,
I for constant love was born.
But the fates had not consented,
Since they both did fickle prove;
Of her scorn the maid repented,
And the shepherd of his love.
S O N G IV
WHEN gentle CELIA first I knew,
A breast so good, so kind, so true,
Reason and taste approv'd;
Pleas'd to indulge so pure a flame,
I call'd it by too soft a name,
And fondly thought I lov'd.
Till CHLORIS came, with sad surprise
I felt the light'ning of her eyes
Thro' all my senses run;
All glowing with resistless charms,
She fill'd my breast with new alarms,
I saw, and was undone.
O CELIA! dear unhappy maid,
Forbear the weakness to upbraid
Which ought your scorn to move;
I know this beauty false and vain,
I know she triumphs in my pain,
Yet still I feel I love.
Thy gentle smiles no more can please,
Nor can thy softest friendship ease
The torments I endure;
Think what that wounded breast must feel
Which truth and kindness cannot heal,
Nor even thy pity cure.
Oft shall I curse my iron chain,
And wish again thy milder reign
With long and vain regret ;
All that I can, to thee I give,
And could I still to reason live
I were thy captain yet.
But passion's wild impetuous sea
Hurries me far from peace and thee ;
'Twere vain to struggle more:
Thus the poor sailor slumbering lies,
While swelling tides around him rise,
And push his bark from shore.
In vain he spreads his helpless arms,
His pitying friends with fond alarms
In vain deplore his state;
Still far and farther from the coast,
On the high surge his bark is tost,
And foundering yields to fate.
S O N G V
AS near a weeping spring reclin'd
The beauteous ARAMINTA pin'd,
And mourn'd a false ungrateful youth;
While dying echoes caught the sound,
And spread the soft complaints around
Of broken vows and alter'd truth;
An aged shepherd heard her moan,
And thus in pity's kindest tone
Address'd the lost despairing maid:
Cease, cease unhappy fair to grieve,
For sounds, tho' sweet, can ne'er relieve
A breaking heart by love betray'd.
Why shouldst thou waste such precious showers,
That fall like dew on wither'd flowers,
But dying passion ne'er restor'd?
In beauty's empire is no mean,
And woman, either slave or queen,
Is quickly scorn'd when not ador'd.
Those liquid pearls from either eye,
Which might an eastern empire buy,
Unvalued here and fruitless fall;
No art the season can renew
When love was young, and DAMON true;
No tears a wandering heart recall.
Cease, cease to grieve, thy tears are vain,
Should those fair orbs in drops of rain
Vie with a weeping southern sky:
For hearts o'ercome with love and grief
All nature yields but one relief;
Die, hapless ARAMINTA, die.
S O N G VI
WHEN first upon your tender cheek
I saw the morn of beauty break
With mild and chearing beam,
I bow'd before your infant shrine,
The earliest sighs you had were mine,
And you my darling heme.
I saw you in that opening morn
For beauty's boundless empire born,
And first confess'd your sway;
And e'er your thoughts, devoid of art,
Could learn the value of a heart,
I gave my heart away.
I watch'd the dawn of every grace,
And gaz'd upon that angel face,
While yet 'twas safe to gaze;
And fondly blest each rising charm,
Nor thought such innocence could harm
The peace of future days.
But now despotic o'er the plains
The awful noon of beauty reigns,
And kneeling crowds adore;
These charms arise too fiercely bright,
Danger and death attend the fight,
And I must hope no more.
Thus to the rising God of day
Their early vows the Persians pay,
And bless the spreading fire;
Whose glowing chariot mounting soon
Pours on their heads the burning noon;
They sicken, and expire.
HEALTH to my friend, and long unbroken years,
By storms unruffled and unstain'd by tears:
Wing'd by new joys may each white minute fly;
Spring on her cheek, and sunshine in her eye:
O'er that dear breast, where love and pity springs,
May peace eternal spread her downy wings:
Sweet beaming hope her path illumine still,
And fair ideas all her fancy fill.
From glittering scenes which strike the dazzled sight
With mimic grandeur and illusive light,
From idle hurry, and tumultuous noise,
From hollow friendships, and from sickly joys,
Will DELIA, at the muse's call retire
To the pure pleasures rural scenes inspire?
Will she from crowds and busy cities fly,
Where wreaths of curling smoke involve the sky,
To taste the grateful shade of spreading trees,
And drink the spirit of the mountain breeze?
When winter's hand the rough'ning year deforms,
And hollow winds foretel approaching storms,
Then Pleasure, like a bird of passage, flies
To brighter climes, and more indulgent skies;
Cities and courts allure her sprightly train,
From the bleak mountain and the naked plain;
And gold and gems with artificial blaze,
Supply the sickly sun's declining rays:
But soon returning on the western gale
She seeks the bosom of the grassy vale;
There, wrapt in careless ease, attunes the lyre
To the wild warblings of the woodland quire;
The daisied turf her humble throne supplies,
And early primroses around her rise.
We'll follow where the smiling goddess leads,
Thro' tangled forests or enamel'd meads;
O'er pathless hills her airy form we'll chase,
In silent glades her fairy footsteps trace:
Small pains there needs her footsteps to pursue,
She cannot fly from friendship, and from you.
Now the glad earth her frozen zone unbinds,
And o'er her bosom breathe the western winds:
Already now the snow-drop dares appear,
The first pale blossom of th' unripen'd year;
As FLORA's breath, by some transforming power,
Had chang'd an icicle into a flower:
Its name, and hue, and scentless plant retains,
And winter lingers in its icy veins.
To these succeed the violet's dusky blue,
And each inferior flower of fainter hue;
Till riper months the perfect year disclose,
And FLORA cries exulting, See my Rose!
The Muse invites, my DELIA haste away,
And let us sweetly waste the careless day.
Here gentle summits lift their airy brow;
Down the green slope here winds the labouring plow;
Here bath'd by frequent show'rs cool vales are seen,
Cloath'd with fresh verdure, and eternal green;
Here smooth canals, across th' extended plain,
Stretch their long arms, to join the distant main :
The sons of toil with many a weary stroke
Scoop the hard bosom of the solid rock;
Resistless thro' the stiff opposing clay
With steady patience work their gradual way;
Compel the genius of th' unwilling flood
Thro' the brown horrors of the aged wood;
Cross the lone waste the silver urn they pour,
And chear the barren heath or sullen moor:
The traveller with pleasing wonder sees
The white sail gleaming thro' the dusky trees ;
And views the alter'd landscape with surprise,
And doubts the magic scenes which round him rise.
Now, like a flock of swans, above his head
Their woven wings the flying vessels spread;
Now meeting streams in artful mazes glide,
While each unmingled pours a separate tide;
Now through the hidden veins of earth they flow,
And visit sulphurous mines and caves below;
The ductile streams obey the guiding hand,
And social plenty circles round the land.
But nobler praise awaits our green retreats;
The Muses here have fixt their sacred seats.
Mark where its simple front yon mansion rears,
The nursery of men for future years:
Here callow chiefs and embryo statesmen lie,
And unfledg'd poets short excursions try:
While Mersey's gentle current, which too long
By fame neglected, and unknown to song,
Between his rushy banks, (no poet's theme)
Had crept inglorious, like a vulgar stream,
Reflects th' ascending seats with conscious pride,
And dares to emulate a classic tide.
Soft music breathes along each op'ning shade,
And sooths the dashing of his rough cascade.
With mystic lines his sands are figur'd o'er,
And circles trac'd upon the letter'd shore,
Beneath his willows rove th' inquiring youth,
And court the fair majestic form of truth.
Here nature opens all her secret springs,
And heav'n-born science plumes her eagle wings:
Too long had bigot rage, with malice swell'd,
Crush'd her strong pinions, and her flight witheld;
Too long to check her ardent progress strove:
So writhes the serpent round the bird of Jove;
Hangs on her flight, restrains her tow'ring wing,
Twists its dark folds, and points its venom'd sting.
Yet still (if aught aright the Muse divine)
Her rising pride shall mock the vain design;
On sounding pinions yet aloft shall soar,
And thro' the azure deep untravel'd paths explore.
Where science smiles, the Muses join the train;
And gentlest arts and purest manners reign.
Ye generous youth who love this studious shade,
How rich a field is to your hopes display'd!
Knowledge to you unlocks the classic page;
And virtue blossoms for a better age.
Oh golden days! oh bright unvalued hours!
What bliss (did ye but know that bliss) were yours?
With richest stores your glowing bosoms fraught,
Perception quick, and luxury of thought;
The high designs that heave the labouring soul,
Panting for fame, impatient of controul;
And fond enthusiastic thought, that feeds
On pictur'd tales of vast heroic deeds;
And quick affections, kindling into flame
At virtue's, or their country's honour'd name;
And spirits light to every joy in tune;
And friendship ardent as a summer's noon;
And generous scorn of vice's venal tribe;
And proud disdain of interest's sordid bribe;
And conscious honour's quick instinctive sense;
And smiles unforc'd; and easy confidence;
And vivid fancy, and clear simple truth ;
And all the mental bloom of vernal youth.
How bright the scene to fancy's eye appears,
Thro' the long perspective of distant years,
When this, this little group their country calls
From academic shades and learned halls,
To fix her laws, her spirit to sustain,
And light up glory thro' her wide domain!
Their various tastes in different arts display'd,
Like temper'd harmony of light and shade,
With friendly union in one mass shall blend,
And this adorn the state, and that defend.
These the sequester'd shade shall cheaply please,
With learned labour and inglorious ease:
With those, impell'd by some resistless force,
O'er seas and rocks shall urge their vent'rous course;
Rich fruits matur'd by glowing suns behold,
And China's groves of vegetable gold;
From every land the various harvest spoil,
And bear the tribute to their native soil:
But tell each land (while every toil they share,
Firm to sustain, and resolute to dare,)
MAN is the nobler growth our realms supply,
And SOULS are ripen'd in our northern sky.
Some pensive creep along the shelly shore;
Unfold the silky texture of a flower;
With sharpen'd eyes inspect an hornet's sting,
And all the wonders of an insect's wing.
Some trace with curious search the hidden cause
Of nature's changes, and her various laws;
Untwist her beauteous web, disrobe her charms,
And hunt her to her elemental forms:
Or prove what hidden powers in herbs are found
To quench disease and staunch the burning wound;
With cordial drops the fainting head sustain,
Call back the flitting soul, and still the throbs of pain.
The patriot passion this shall strongly feel,
Ardent, and glowing with undaunted zeal;
With lips of fire shall plead his country's cause,
And vindicate the majesty of laws.
This cloath'd with Britain's thunder, spread alarms
Thro' the wide earth, and shake the pole with arms.
That to the sounding lyre his deeds rehearse,
Enshrine his name in some immortal verse,
To long posterity his praise consign,
And pay a life of hardships by a line.
While others, consecrate to higher aims,
Whose hallow'd bosoms glow with purer flames,
Love in their heart, persuasion in their tongue,
With words of peace shall charm the list'ning throng,
Draw the dread veil that wraps th' eternal throne,
And launch our souls into the bright unknown.
Here cease my song. Such arduous themes require
A master's pencil, and a poet's fire:
Unequal far such bright designs to paint,
Too weak her colours, and her lines too faint,
My drooping Muse folds up her fluttering wing,
And hides her head in the green lap of spring.
Eighteen Hundred And Eleven
Still the loud death drum, thundering from afar,
O'er the vext nations pours the storm of war:
To the stern call still Britain bends her ear,
Feeds the fierce strife, the' alternate hope and fear;
Bravely, though vainly, dares to strive with Fate,
And seeks by turns to prop each sinking state.
Colossal power with overwhelming force
Bears down each fort of Freedom in its course;
Prostrate she lies beneath the Despot's sway,
While the hushed nations curse him—and obey.
Bounteous in vain, with frantic man at strife,
Glad Nature pours the means—the joys of life;
In vain with orange-blossoms scents the gale,
The hills with olives clothes, with corn the vale;
Man calls to Famine, nor invokes in vain,
Disease and Rapine follow in her train;
The tramp of marching hosts disturbs the plough,
The sword, not sickle, reaps the harvest now,
And where the soldier gleans the scant supply,
The helpless peasant but retires to die;
No laws his hut from licensed outrage shield,
And war's least horror is the' ensanguined field.
Fruitful in vain, the matron counts with pride
The blooming youths that grace her honoured side;
No son returns to press her widowed hand,
Her fallen blossoms strew a foreign strand.
—Fruitful in vain, she boasts her virgin race,
Whom cultured arts adorn and gentlest grace;
Defrauded of its homage, Beauty mourns,
And the rose withers on its virgin thorns.
Frequent, some stream obscure, some uncouth name,
By deeds of blood is lifted into fame;
Oft o'er the daily page some soft one bends
To learn the fate of husband, brothers, friends,
Or the spread map with anxious eye explores,
Its dotted boundaries and penciled shores,
Asks where the spot that wrecked her bliss is found,
And learns its name but to detest the sound.
And think'st thou, Britain, still to sit at ease,
An island queen amidst thy subject seas,
While the vext billows, in their distant roar,
But soothe thy slumbers, and but kiss thy shore?
To sport in wars, while danger keeps aloof,
Thy grassy turf unbruised by hostile hoof?
So sing thy flatterers;—but, Britain, know,
Thou who hast shared the guilt must share the woe.
Nor distant is the hour; low murmurs spread,
And whispered fears, creating what they dread;
Ruin, as with an earthquake shock, is here,
There, the heart-witherings of unuttered fear,
And that sad death, whence most affection bleeds,
Which sickness, only of the soul, precedes.
Thy baseless wealth dissolves in air away,
Like mists that melt before the morning ray:
No more on crowded mart or busy street
Friends, meeting friends, with cheerful hurry greet;
Sad, on the ground thy princely merchants bend
Their altered looks, and evil days portend,
And fold their arms, and watch with anxious breast
The tempest blackening in the distant West.
Yes, thou must droop; thy Midas dream is o'er;
The golden tide of Commerce leaves thy shore,
Leaves thee to prove the' alternate ills that haunt
Enfeebling Luxury and ghastly Want;
Leaves thee, perhaps, to visit distant lands,
And deal the gifts of Heaven with equal hands.
Yet, O my Country, name beloved, revered,
By every tie that binds the soul endeared,
Whose image to my infant senses came
Mixt with Religion's light and Freedom's holy flame!
If prayers may not avert, if 'tis thy fate
To rank amongst the names that once were great,
Not like the dim, cold Crescent shalt thou fade,
Thy debt to Science and the Muse unpaid;
Thine are the laws surrounding states revere,
Thine the full harvest of the mental year,
Thine the bright stars in Glory's sky that shine,
And arts that make it life to live are thine.
If westward streams the light that leaves thy shores,
Still from thy lamp the streaming radiance pours.
Wide spreads thy race from Ganges to the pole,
O'er half the western world thy accents roll:
Nations beyond the Apalachian hills
Thy hand has planted and thy spirit fills:
Soon as their gradual progress shall impart
The finer sense of morals and of art,
Thy stores of knowledge the new states shall know,
And think thy thoughts, and with thy fancy glow;
Thy Lockes, thy Paleys shall instruct their youth,
Thy leading star direct their search for truth;
Beneath the spreading platan's tent-like shade,
Or by Missouri's rushing waters laid,
“Old father Thames” shall be the poet's theme,
Of Hagley's woods the' enamoured virgin dream,
And Milton's tones the raptured ear enthrall,
Mixt with the roaring of Niagara's fall;
In Thomson's glass the' ingenuous youth shall learn
A fairer face of Nature to discern;
Nor of the bards that swept the British lyre
Shall fade one laurel, or one note expire.
Then, loved Joanna, to admiring eyes
Thy storied groups in scenic pomp shall rise;
Their high-souled strains and Shakespear's noble rage
Shall with alternate passion shake the stage.
Some youthful Basil from thy moral lay
With stricter hand his fond desires shall sway;
Some Ethwald, as the fleeting shadows pass,
Start at his likeness in the mystic glass;
The tragic Muse resume her just controul,
With pity and with terror purge the soul,
While wide o'er transatlantic realms thy name
Shall live in light, and gather all its fame.
Where wanders Fancy down the lapse of years
Shedding o'er imaged woes untimely tears?
Fond moody power! as hopes—as fears prevail,
She longs, or dreads, to lift the awful veil,
On visions of delight now loves to dwell,
Now hears the shriek of woe or Freedom's knell:
Perhaps, she says, long ages past away,
And set in western waves our closing day,
Night, Gothic night, again may shade the plains
Where Power is seated, and where Science reigns;
England, the seat of arts, be only known
By the grey ruin and the mouldering stone;
That Time may tear the garland from her brow,
And Europe sit in dust, as Asia now.
Yet then the' ingenuous youth whom Fancy fires
With pictured glories of illustrious sires,
With duteous zeal their pilgrimage shall take
From the Blue Mountains, or Ontario's lake,
With fond adoring steps to press the sod
By statesmen, sages, poets, heroes trod;
On Isis' banks to draw inspiring air,
From Runnymede to send the patriot's prayer;
In pensive thought, where Cam's slow waters wind,
To meet those shades that ruled the realms of mind;
In silent halls to sculptured marbles bow,
And hang fresh wreaths round Newton's awful brow.
Oft shall they seek some peasant's homely shed,
Who toils, unconscious of the mighty dead,
To ask where Avon's winding waters stray,
And thence a knot of wild flowers bear away;
Anxious inquire where Clarkson, friend of man,
Or all-accomplished Jones his race began;
If of the modest mansion aught remains
Where Heaven and Nature prompted Cowper's strains;
Where Roscoe, to whose patriot breast belong
The Roman virtue and the Tuscan song,
Led Ceres to the black and barren moor
Where Ceres never gained a wreath before:
With curious search their pilgrim steps shall rove
By many a ruined tower and proud alcove,
Shall listen for those strains that soothed of yore
Thy rock, stern Skiddaw, and thy fall, Lodore;
Feast with Dun Edin's classic brow their sight,
And “visit Melross by the pale moonlight.”
But who their mingled feelings shall pursue
When London's faded glories rise to view?
The mighty city, which by every road,
In floods of people poured itself abroad;
Ungirt by walls, irregularly great,
No jealous drawbridge, and no closing gate;
Whose merchants (such the state which commerce brings)
Sent forth their mandates to dependent kings;
Streets, where the turban'd Moslem, bearded Jew,
And woolly Afric, met the brown Hindu;
Where through each vein spontaneous plenty flowed,
Where Wealth enjoyed, and Charity bestowed.
Pensive and thoughtful shall the wanderers greet
Each splendid square, and still, untrodden street;
Or of some crumbling turret, mined by time,
The broken stairs with perilous step shall climb,
Thence stretch their view the wide horizon round,
By scattered hamlets trace its ancient bound,
And, choked no more with fleets, fair Thames survey
Through reeds and sedge pursue his idle way.
With throbbing bosoms shall the wanderers tread
The hallowed mansions of the silent dead,
Shall enter the long isle and vaulted dome
Where Genius and where Valour find a home;
Awe-struck, midst chill sepulchral marbles breathe,
Where all above is still, as all beneath;
Bend at each antique shrine, and frequent turn
To clasp with fond delight some sculptured urn,
The ponderous mass of Johnson's form to greet,
Or breathe the prayer at Howard's sainted feet.
Perhaps some Briton, in whose musing mind
Those ages live which Time has cast behind,
To every spot shall lead his wondering guests
On whose known site the beam of glory rests:
Here Chatham's eloquence in thunder broke,
Here Fox persuaded, or here Garrick spoke;
Shall boast how Nelson, fame and death in view,
To wonted victory led his ardent crew,
In England's name enforced, with loftiest tone,
Their duty,—and too well fulfilled his own:
How gallant Moore,
as ebbing life dissolved,
But hoped his country had his fame absolved.
Or call up sages whose capacious mind
Left in its course a track of light behind;
Point where mute crowds on Davy's lips reposed,
And Nature's coyest secrets were disclosed;
Join with their Franklin, Priestley's injured name,
Whom, then, each continent shall proudly claim.
Oft shall the strangers turn their eager feet
The rich remains of ancient art to greet,
The pictured walls with critic eye explore,
And Reynolds be what Raphael was before.
On spoils from every clime their eyes shall gaze,
Egyptian granites and the' Etruscan vase;
And when midst fallen London, they survey
The stone where Alexander's ashes lay,
Shall own with humbled pride the lesson just
By Time's slow finger written in the dust.
There walks a Spirit o'er the peopled earth,
Secret his progress is, unknown his birth;
Moody and viewless as the changing wind,
No force arrests his foot, no chains can bind;
Where'er he turns, the human brute awakes,
And, roused to better life, his sordid hut forsakes:
He thinks, he reasons, glows with purer fires,
Feels finer wants, and burns with new desires:
Obedient Nature follows where he leads;
The steaming marsh is changed to fruitful meads;
The beasts retire from man's asserted reign,
And prove his kingdom was not given in vain.
Then from its bed is drawn the ponderous ore,
Then Commerce pours her gifts on every shore,
Then Babel's towers and terraced gardens rise,
And pointed obelisks invade the skies;
The prince commands, in Tyrian purple drest,
And Egypt's virgins weave the linen vest.
Then spans the graceful arch the roaring tide,
And stricter bounds the cultured fields divide.
Then kindles Fancy, then expands the heart,
Then blow the flowers of Genius and of Art;
Saints, heroes, sages, who the land adorn,
Seem rather to descend than to be born;
Whilst History, midst the rolls consigned to fame,
With pen of adamant inscribes their name.
The Genius now forsakes the favoured shore,
And hates, capricious, what he loved before;
Then empires fall to dust, then arts decay,
And wasted realms enfeebled despots sway;
Even Nature's changed; without his fostering smile
Ophir no gold, no plenty yields the Nile;
The thirsty sand absorbs the useless rill,
And spotted plagues from putrid fens distill.
In desert solitudes then Tadmor sleeps,
Stern Marius then o'er fallen Carthage weeps;
Then with enthusiast love the pilgrim roves
To seek his footsteps in forsaken groves,
Explores the fractured arch, the ruined tower,
Those limbs disjointed of gigantic power;
Still at each step he dreads the adder's sting,
The Arab's javelin, or the tiger's spring;
With doubtful caution treads the echoing ground,
And asks where Troy or Babylon is found.
And now the vagrant Power no more detains
The vale of Tempe, or Ausonian plains;
Northward he throws the animating ray,
O'er Celtic nations bursts the mental day:
And, as some playful child the mirror turns,
Now here now there the moving lustre burns;
Now o'er his changeful fancy more prevail
Batavia's dykes than Arno's purple vale,
And stinted suns, and rivers bound with frost,
Than Enna's plains or Baia's viny coast;
Venice the Adriatic weds in vain,
And Death sits brooding o'er Campania's plain;
O'er Baltic shores and through Hercynian groves,
Stirring the soul, the mighty impulse moves;
Art plies his tools, and Commerce spreads her sail,
And wealth is wafted in each shifting gale.
The sons of Odin tread on Persian looms,
And Odin's daughters breathe distilled perfumes
Loud minstrel bards, in Gothic halls, rehearse
The Runic rhyme, and “build the lofty verse:”
The Muse, whose liquid notes were wont to swell
To the soft breathings of the' Æolian shell,
Submits, reluctant, to the harsher tone,
And scarce believes the altered voice her own.
And now, where Cæsar saw with proud disdain
The wattled hut and skin of azure stain,
Corinthian columns rear their graceful forms,
And light varandas brave the wintry storms,
While British tongues the fading fame prolong
Of Tully's eloquence and Maro's song.
Where once Bonduca whirled the scythed car,
And the fierce matrons raised the shriek of war,
Light forms beneath transparent muslins float,
And tutored voices swell the artful note.
Light-leaved acacias and the shady plane
And spreading cedar grace the woodland reign;
While crystal walls the tenderer plants confine,
The fragrant orange and the nectared pine;
The Syrian grape there hangs her rich festoons,
Nor asks for purer air, or brighter noons:
Science and Art urge on the useful toil,
New mould a climate and create the soil,
Subdue the rigour of the northern Bear,
O'er polar climes shed aromatic air,
On yielding Nature urge their new demands,
And ask not gifts but tribute at her hands.
London exults:—on London Art bestows
Her summer ices and her winter rose;
Gems of the East her mural crown adorn,
And Plenty at her feet pours forth her horn;
While even the exiles her just laws disclaim,
People a continent, and build a name:
August she sits, and with extended hands
Holds forth the book of life to distant lands.
But fairest flowers expand but to decay;
The worm is in thy core, thy glories pass away;
Arts, arms and wealth destroy the fruits they bring;
Commerce, like beauty, knows no second spring.
Crime walks thy streets, Fraud earns her unblest bread,
O'er want and woe thy gorgeous robe is spread,
And angel charities in vain oppose:
With grandeur's growth the mass of misery grows.
For see,—to other climes the Genius soars,
He turns from Europe's desolated shores;
And lo, even now, midst mountains wrapt in storm,
On Andes' heights he shrouds his awful form;
On Chimborazo's summits treads sublime,
Measuring in lofty thought the march of Time;
Sudden he calls:—“'Tis now the hour!” he cries,
Spreads his broad hand, and bids the nations rise.
La Plata hears amidst her torrents' roar;
Potosi hears it, as she digs the ore:
Ardent, the Genius fans the noble strife,
And pours through feeble souls a higher life,
Shouts to the mingled tribes from sea to sea,
And swears—Thy world, Columbus, shall be free.