O, LET me seize thy pen sublime
That paints, in melting dulcet rhyme,
The glowing pow'r, the magic art,
Th' extatic raptures of the Heart;
Soft Beauty's timid smile serene,
The dimples of Love's sportive mien;
The sweet descriptive tale to trace;
To picture Nature's winning grace;
To steal the tear from Pity's eye;
To catch the sympathetic sigh;
O teach me, with swift light'nings force
To watch wild passion's varying course;
To mark th' enthusiast's vivid fire,
Or calmly touch thy golden lyre,
While gentle Reason mildly sings
Responsive to the trembling strings.
SWEET Nymph, enchanting Poetry!
I dedicate my mind to Thee.
Oh! from thy bright Parnassian bow'rs
Descend, to bless my sombre hours;
Bend to the earth thy eagle wing,
And on its glowing plumage bring
Blithe FANCY, from whose burning eye
The young ideas sparkling fly;
O, come, and let us fondly stray,
Where rosy Health shall lead the way,
And soft FAVONIUS lightly spread
A perfum'd carpet as we tread;
Ah! let us from the world remove,
The calm forgetfulness to prove,
Which at the still of evening's close,
Lulls the tir'd peasant to repose;
Repose, whose balmy joys o'er-pay
The sultry labours of the day.
And when the blue-ey'd dawn appears,
Just peeping thro' her veil of tears;
Or blushing opes her silver gate,
And on its threshold, stands elate,
And flings her rosy mantle far
O'er every loit'ring dewy star;
And calls the wanton breezes forth,
And sprinkles diamonds o'er the earth;
While in the green-wood's shade profound,
The insect race, with buzzing sound
Flit o'er the rill,–a glitt'ring train,
Or swarm along the sultry plain.
Then in sweet converse let us rove,
Where in the thyme-embroider'd grove,
The musky air its fragrance pours
Upon the silv'ry scatter'd show'rs;
To hail soft Zephyr, as she goes
To fan the dew-drop from the rose;
To shelter from the scorching beam,
And muse beside the rippling stream.
Or when, at twilight's placid hour,
We stroll to some sequester'd bow'r;
And watch the haughty Sun retire
Beneath his canopy of fire;
While slow the dusky clouds enfold
Day's crimson curtains fring'd with gold;
And o'er the meadows faintly fly
Pale shadows of the purpling sky:
While softly o'er the pearl-deck'd plain,
Cold Dian leads the sylvan train;
In mazy dance and sportive glee,
SWEET MUSE, I'll fondly turn to thee;
And thou shalt deck my couch with flow'rs,
And wing with joy my silent hours.
When Sleep, with downy hand, shall spread
A wreath of poppies round my head;
Then, FANCY, on her wing sublime,
Shall waft me to the sacred clime
Where my enlighten'd sense shall view,
Thro' ether realms of azure hue,
That flame, where SHAKESPEARE us'd to fill,
With matchless fire, his "golden quill."
While, from its point bright Genius caught
The wit supreme, the glowing thought,
The magic tone, that sweetly hung
About the music of his tongue.
Then will I skim the floating air,
On a light couch of gossamer,
While with my wonder-aching eye,
I contemplate the spangled sky,
And hear the vaulted roof repeat
The song of Inspiration sweet;
While round the winged cherub train,
Shall iterate the aëry strain:
Swift, thro' my quiv'ring nerves shall float
The tremours of each thrilling note;
And every eager sense confess
Extatic transport's wild excess:
'Till, waking from the glorious dream,
I hail the morn's refulgent beam.
DEAR Maid! of ever-varying mien,
Exulting, pensive, gay, serene,
Now, in transcendent pathos drest,
Now, gentle as the turtle's breast;
Where'er thy feath'ry steps shall lead,
To side-long hill, or flow'ry mead;
To sorrow's coldest, darkest cell,
Or where, by Cynthia's glimm'ring ray,
The dapper fairies frisk and play
About some cowslip's golden bell;
And, in their wanton frolic mirth,
Pluck the young daisies from the earth,
To canopy their tiny heads,
And decorate their verdant beds;
While to the grass-hopper's shrill tune,
They quaff libations to the moon,
From acorn goblets, amply fill'd
With dew, from op'ning flow'rs distill'd.
Or when the lurid tempest pours,
From its dark urn, impetuous show'rs,
Or from its brow's terrific frown,
Hurls the pale murd'rous lightnings down;
To thy enchanting breast I'll spring,
And shield me with thy golden wing.
Or when amidst ethereal fire,
Thou strik'st thy DELLA CRUSCAN lyre,
While round, to catch the heavenly song,
Myriads of wond'ring seraphs throng:
Whether thy harp's empassioned strain
Pours forth an OVID's tender pain;
Or in PINDARIC flights sublime,
Re-echoes thro' the starry clime;
Thee I'll adore; transcendent guest,
And woe thee to my burning breast.
But, if thy magic pow'rs impart
One soft sensation to the heart,
If thy warm precepts can dispense
One thrilling transport o'er my sense;
Oh! keep thy gifts, and let me fly,
In APATHY's cold arms to die.
O THOU, whose sober precepts can controul
The wild impatience of the troubled soul,
Sweet Nymph serene! whose all-consoling pow'r
Awakes to calm delight the ling'ring hour;
O hear thy suppliant's ardent pray'r!
Chase from my pensive mind corroding care,
Steal thro' the heated pulses of the brain,
Charm sorrow to repose–and lull the throb of pain.
O, tell me, what are life's best joys?
Are they not visions that decay,
Sweet honey'd poisons, gilded toys,
Vain glitt'ring baubles of a day?
O say what shadow do they leave behind,
Save the sad vacuum of the sated mind?
Borne on the eagle wings of Fame,
MAN soars above calm Reason's sway,
"Vaulting AMBITION" mocks each tender claim,
Plucks the dear bonds of social life away;
As o'er the vanquish'd slave she wields her spear,
COMPASSION turns aside---REFLECTlON drops a tear.
Behold the wretch, whose sordid heart,
Steep'd in Content's oblivious balm,
Secure in Luxury's bewitching calm,
Repels pale Mis'ry's touch, and mocks Affliction's smart;
Unmov'd he marks the bitter tear,
In vain the plaints of woe his thoughts assail,
The bashful mourner's pitious tale
Nor melts his flinty soul, nor vibrates on his ear,
O blest REFLECTION! let thy magic pow'r
Awake his torpid sense, his slumb'ring thought,
Tel1 him ADVERSITY'S unpitied hour
A brighter lesson gives, than Stoics taught:
Tell him that WEALTH no blessing can impart
So sweet as PITY'S tear–that bathes the wounded Heart.
Go tell the vain, the insolent, and fair,
That life's best days are only days of care;
That BEAUTY, flutt'ring like a painted fly,
Owes to the spring of youth its rarest die;
When Winter comes, its charms shall fade away,
And the poor insect wither in decay:
Go bid the giddy phantom learn from thee,
That VIRTUE only braves mortality.
Then come, REFLECTION, soft-ey'd maid!
I know thee, and I prize thy charms;
Come, in thy gentlest smiles array'd,
And I will press thee in my eager arms:
Keep from my aching heart the "fiend DESPAIR,"
Pluck from my brow her THORN, and plant the OLIVE there.
DEEP in th' abyss where frantic horror bides,
In thickest mists of vapours fell,
Where wily Serpents hissing glare
And the dark Demon of Revenge resides,
At midnight's murky hour
Thy origin began:
Rapacious MALICE was thy sire;
Thy Dam the sullen witch, Despair;
Thy Nurse, insatiate Ire.
The FATES conspir'd their ills to twine,
About thy heart's infected shrine;
They gave thee each disastrous spell,
Each desolating pow'r,
To blast the fairest hopes of man.
Soon as thy fatal birth was known,
From her unhallow'd throne
With ghastly smile pale Hecate sprung;
Thy hideous form the Sorc'ress press'd
With kindred fondness to her breast;
Her haggard eye
Short forth a ray of transient joy,
Whilst thro' th' infernal shades exulting clamours rung.
Above thy fellow fiends thy tyrant hand
Grasp'd with resistless force supreme command:
The dread terrific crowd
Before thy iron sceptre bow'd.
Now, seated in thy ebon cave,
Around thy throne relentless furies rave:
A wreath of ever-wounding thorn
Thy scowling brows encompass round,
Thy heart by knawing Vultures torn,
Thy meagre limbs with deathless scorpions bound.
Thy black associates, torpid IGNORANCE,
And pining JEALOUSY–with eye askance,
With savage rapture execute thy will,
And strew the paths of life with every torturing ill
Nor can the sainted dead escape thy rage;
Thy vengeance haunts the silent grave,
Thy taunts insult the ashes of the brave;
While proud AMBITION weeps thy rancour to assuage.
The laurels round the POET's bust,
Twin'd by the liberal hand of Taste,
By thy malignant grasp defac'd,
Fade to their native dust:
Thy ever-watchful eye no labour tires,
Beneath thy venom'd touch the angel TRUTH expires.
When in thy petrifying car
Thy scaly dragons waft thy form,
Then, swifter, deadlier far
Than the keen lightning's lance,
That wings its way across the yelling storm,
Thy barbed shafts fly whizzing round,
While every with'ring glance
Inflicts a cureless wound.
Thy giant arm with pond'rous blow
Hurls genius from her glorious height,
Bends the fair front of Virtue low,
And meanly pilfers every pure delight.
Thy hollow voice the sense appalls,
Thy vigilance the mind enthralls;
Rest hast thou none,–by night, by day,
Thy jealous ardour seeks for prey–
Nought can restrain thy swift career;
Thy smile derides the suff'rer's wrongs;
Thy tongue the sland'rers tale prolongs;
Thy thirst imbibes the victim's tear;
Thy breast recoils from friendship's flame;
Sick'ning thou hear'st the trump of Fame;
Worth gives to thee, the direst pang;
The Lover's rapture wounds thy heart,
The proudest efforts of prolific art
Shrink from thy poisonous fang.
In vain the Sculptor's lab'ring hand
Calls fine proportion from the Parian stone;
In vain the Minstrel's chords command
The soft vibrations of seraphic tone;
For swift thy violating arm
Tears from perfection ev'ry charm;
Nor rosy YOUTH, nor BEAUTY's smiles
Thy unrelenting rage beguiles,
Thy breath contaminates the fairest name,
And binds the guiltless brow with ever-blist'ring shame.
COME, bright-eyed maid,
Pure offspring of the tranquil mind,
Haste, my fev'rish temples bind
With olive wreaths of em'rald hue
Steep'd in morn's ethereal dew,
Where in mild HELVETIA's shade,
Blushing summer round her flings
Warm gales and sunny show'rs that hang upon her wings.
I'll seek thee in ITALIA's bow'rs,
Where supine on beds of flow'rs
Melody's soul-touching throng
Strike the soft lute or trill the melting song:
Where blithe FANCY, queen of pleasure,
Pours each rich luxuriant treasure.
For thee I'll climb the breezy hill,
While the balmy dews distill
Odours from the budding thorn,
Drop'd from the lust'rous lids of morn;
Who, starting from her shad'wy bed,
Binds her gold fillet round the mountain's head.
There I'll press from herbs and flow'rs
Juices bless'd with opiate pow'rs,
Whose magic potency can heal
The throb of agonizing pain,
And thro' the purple swelling vein
With subtle influence steal:
Heav'n opes for thee its aromatic store
To bathe each languid gasping pore;
But where, O where, shall cherish'd sorrow find
The lenient balm to soothe the feeling mind.
O, mem'ry! busy barb'rous foe,
At thy fell touch I wake to woe:
Alas! the flatt'ring dream is o'er,
From thee the bright illusions fly,
Thou bidst the glitt'ring phantoms die,
And hope, and youth, and fancy, charm no more.
No more for me the tip-toe SPRING
Drops flowrets from her infant wing;
For me in vain the wild thymes bloom
Thro' the forest flings perfume;
In vain I climb th'embroider'd hill
To breathe the clear autumnal air;
In vain I quaff the lucid rill
Since jocund HEALTH delights not there
To greet my heart:–no more I view,
With sparkling eye, the silv'ry dew
Sprinkling May's tears upon the folded rose,
As low it droops its young and blushing head,
Press'd by grey twilight to its mossy bed:
No more I lave amidst the tide,
Or bound along the tufted grove,
Or o'er enamel'd meadows rove,
Where, on Zephyr's pinions, glide
Salubrious airs that waft the nymph repose.
Lightly o'er the yellow heath
Steals thy soft and fragrant breath,
Breath inhal'd from musky flow'rs
Newly bath'd in perfum'd show'rs.
See the rosy-finger'd morn
Opes her bright refulgent eye,
Hills and valleys to adorn,
While from her burning glance the scatter'd vapours fly.
Soon, ah soon! the painted scene,
The hill's blue top, the valley's green,
Midst clouds of snow, and whirlwinds drear,
Shall cold and comfortless appear:
The howling blast shall strip the plain,
And bid my pensive bosom learn,
Tho' NATURE's face shall smile again,
And, on the glowing breast of Spring
Creation all her gems shall fling,
YOUTH's April morn shall ne'er return.
Then come, Oh quickly come, Hygeian Maid!
Each throbbing pulse, each quiv'ring nerve pervade.
Flash thy bright fires across my languid eye,
Tint my pale visage with thy roseate die,
Bid my heart's current own a temp'rate glow,
And from its crimson source in tepid channels flow.
O HEALTH, celestial Nymph! without thy aid
Creation sickens in oblivions shade:
Along the drear and solitary gloom
We steal on thorny footsteps to the tomb;
Youth, age, wealth, poverty alike agree
To live is anguish, when depriv'd of Thee.
To THEE indulgent Heav'n benignly gave
The touch to heal, the extacy to save.
The balmy incense of thy fost'ring breath
Wafts the wan victim from the fangs of Death,
Robs the grim Tyrant of his trembling prize,
Cheers the faint soul, and lifts it to the skies.
Let not the gentle rose thy bounty drest
To meet the rising son with od'rous breast,
Which glow'd with artless tints at noon-tide hour,
And shed soft tears upon each drooping flower,
With with'ring anguish mourn the parting Day,
Shrink to the Earth, and sorrowing fade away.
INSATIATE TYRANT OF THE MIND;
Fantastic, aëry, empty thing;
Borne on Illusion's flutt'ring wing,
Fallacious as the wanton wind;
Capricious Goddess!–Beauty's foe;
THOU–who no settled home dost know;
The busy World, the sylvan Plain,
Alike confess thy potent reign.
Queen of the motley garb–at thy command
FASHION waves her flow'ry wand;
See she kindles Fancy's flame,
Around her dome thy incense flies,
The curling fumes ascend the skies,
And fill the "Trump of Fame."
When Heaven's translucent ray
Unveil'd the mighty work of GOD;
When the Promethean spark of day
Awoke his Image from a torpid clod;
When radiance pour'd on human sight,
And the illumin'd Soul beam'd with celestial light;
EXULTING MAN, sole Potentate below,
First felt thy pois'nous glow;
He gaz'd upon his wond'rous frame;
The self-approving conscious flame
Thrill'd in each trembling vein with subtle art,
Then fix'd its baneful source within his godlike Heart.
Thy breath accurs'd brought deathless woe
On Man's devoted race;
Hurl'd th' aspiring FIEND to realms below,
Who, plung'd in fell disgrace,
There deep enthrall'd in adamantine spells,
In chains of scorpions bound, for ever, ever dwells.
In ev'ry scene of social joy,
Amidst the rude unpolish'd train,
From the low offspring of the barren plain,
To him whose lofty bosom owns
Descent sublime from scepter'd thrones,
All, all thy laws obey.
Thy light hand plumes the warrior's brow,
Trims the fierce war with tinsel show,
E'en in the tented fields thy banners flow,
To thee illustrious Chieftans bow;
'Tis thy capricious influence forms
All that mad ambition warms;
The laurel wreath, tho' steep'd in blood,
Plac'd by thy fickle hand appears
Radiant as the sunny spheres,
When Morn's proud beams roll in a golden flood.
AH, VANITY! avert thine eye;
Check thy fell exulting joy;
With burning drops thy flush'd cheek lave.
Nor gloat upon the carnag'd brave:
For what can trophied wreaths supply,
To drown the desolating cry,
That, o'er th' empurpled fields afar,
Proclaims the dread-destructive pow'r of War?
E'en amidst the SAVAGE race,
The untam'd INDIAN owns thy sway;
For THEE he paints his tawny face,
And decks his shaggy hair with fragments gay:
For THEE he marks his sun-burnt breast,
With beads and feathers idly drest:–
His hardy limbs with gaudy tints imbru'd,
Reeking and mangled with the pointed dart,
Vainly he vaunts–nor heeds the smart,
Tho' pitying NATURE weeps with tears of blood.
Then turn my MUSE, where milder joys
The village hero's mind employs;
Where gentler sports delight the breast,
And soften'd Nature smiles confest.
Let me paint the rural scene,
The white-wash'd hut–the velvet green,
May's blithe morn–exulting glee,
The chaplet pendant on each tree,
The shining hat with tawdry ribbands bound,
The lofty may-pole and the well-swept ground,
Where valiant combats speak the thirst of Fame,
And the loud shout proclaims the victor's name.
O VANITY, thy potent reign
Spreads its influence o'er the plain–
For thee, the blushing maids prepare
Garlands wove with nicest care,
For thee, they dress their festive bow'rs
With waving wreaths of scented flow'rs,
Where the bold Youth that wins the prize
Reads his best Victory in his Sweetheart's Eyes.
Such is thy pow'r–thy mandate rules
Above the laws of Pedant Schools;
REASON, in vain contends with Thee,
TRIUMPHANT, DEATHLESS VANITY!
E'en now, I feel thy vivid sparks infuse
A warmth that guides my hand, and bids me court the MUSE.
SORC'RESS of the Cave profound!
Hence, with thy pale, and meagre train,
Nor dare my roseate bow'r profane,
Where light-heel'd mirth despotic reigns,
Slightly bound in feath'ry chains,
And scatt'ring blisses round.
Hence, to thy native Chaos–where
Nurs'd by thy haggard Dam, DESPAIR,
Shackled by thy numbing spell,
Mis'ry's pallid children dwell;
Where, brooding o'er thy fatal charms,
FRENZY rolls the vacant eye;
Where hopeless LOVE, with folded arms,
Drops the tear, and heaves the sigh;
Till cherish'd Passion's tyrant sway
Chills the warm pulse of Youth, with premature decay.
O, fly Thee, to some Church-yard's gloom,
Where beside the mould'ring tomb,
Restless Spectres glide away,
Fading in the glimpse of Day;
Or, where the Virgin ORB of Night,
Silvers o'er the Forest wide,
Or across the silent tide,
Flings her soft, and quiv'ring light:
Where, beneath some aged Tree,
Sounds of mournful Melody
Caught from the NIGHTINGALE's enamour'd Tale,
Steal on faint Echo's ear, and float upon the gale.
DREAD POW'R! whose touch magnetic leads
O'er enchanted spangled meads,
Where by the glow-worm's twinkling ray,
Aëry Spirits lightly play;
Where around some Haunted Tow'r,
Boding Ravens wing their flight,
Viewless, in the gloom of Night,
Warning oft the luckless hour;
Or, beside the Murd'rer's bed,
From thy dark, and morbid wing,
O'er his fev'rish, burning head,
Drops of conscious auguish fling;
While freezing HORROR's direful scream,
Rouses his guilty soul from kind oblivion's dream.
Oft, beneath the witching Yew,
The trembling MAID, steals forth unseen;
With true-love wreaths, of deathless green,
Her Lover's grave to strew;
Her downcast Eye, no joy illumes,
Nor on her Cheek, the soft Rose blooms;
Her mourning Heart, the victim of thy pow'r,
Shrinks from the glare of Mirth, and hails the MURKY HOUR.
O, say what FIEND first gave thee birth,
In what fell Desart, wert thou born;
Why does thy hollow voice, forlorn,
So fascinate the Sons of Earth;
That once encircled in thy icy arms,
They court thy torpid touch, and doat upon thy Charms?
HATED IMP,–I brave thy Spell,
REASON shuns thy barb'rous sway;
Life, with mirth should glide away,
Despondency, with guilt should dwell;
For conscious TRUTH's unruffled mien,
Displays the dauntless Eye, and patient smile serene.
TERRIFIC FIEND! thou Monster fell,
Condemn'd in haunts profane to dwell,
Why quit thy solitary Home,
O'er wide Creation's paths to roam?
Pale Tyrant of the timid Heart,
Whose visionary spells can bind
The strongest passions of the mind,
Freezing Life's current with thy baneful Art.
Nature recoils when thou art near,
For round thy form all plagues are seen;
Thine is the frantic tone, the sullen mien,
The glance of petrifying fear,
The haggard Brow, the low'ring Eye,
The hollow Cheek, the smother'd Sigh,
When thy usurping fangs assail,
The sacred Bonds of Friendship fail.
Meek-bosom'd Pity sues in vain;
Imperious Sorrow spurns relief,
Feeds on the luxury of Grief,
Drinks the hot Tear, and hugs the galling Chain.
AH! plunge no more thy ruthless dart,
In the dark centre of the guilty Heart;
The POW'R SUPREME, with pitying eye,
Looks on the erring Child of Misery;
MERCY arrests the wing of Time;
To expiate the wretch's crime;
Insulted HEAV'N consign'd thy brand
To the first Murd'rer's crimson hand.
Swift o'er the earth the Monster flew,
And round th' ensanguin'd Poisons threw,
By CONSCIENCE goaded–driven by FEAR,
Till the meek Cherub HOPE subdued his fell career.
Thy Reign is past, when erst the brave
Imbib'd contagion o'er the midnight lamp,
Close pent in loathsome cells, where poisons damp
Hung round the confines of a Living Grave; *
Where no glimm'ring ray illum'd
The flinty walls, where pond'rous chains
Bound the wan Victim to the humid earth,
Where VALOUR, GENIUS, TASTE, and WORTH,
In pestilential caves entomb'd,
Sought thy cold arms, and smiling mock'd their pains.
THERE,–each procrastinated hour
The woe-worn suff'rer gasping lay,
While by his side in proud array
Stalk'd the HUGE FIEND, DESPOTIC POW'R.
There REASON clos'd her radiant eye,
And fainting HOPE retir'd to die,
Truth shrunk appall'd,
In spells of icy Apathy enthrall'd;
Till FREEDOM spurn'd the ignominious chain,
And roused from Superstition's night,
Exulting Nature claim'd her right,
And call'd dire Vengeance from her dark domain.
Now take thy solitary flight
Amid the turbid gales of night,
Where Spectres starting from the tomb,
Glide along th' impervious gloom;
Or, stretch'd upon the sea-beat shore,
Let the wild winds, as they roar,
Rock Thee on thy Bed of Stone;
Or, in gelid caverns pent,
Listen to the sullen moan
Of subterranean winds;–or glut thy sight
Where stupendous mountains rent
Hurl their vast fragments from their dizzy height.
At Thy approach the rifted Pine
Shall o'er the shatter'd Rock incline,
Whose trembling brow, with wild weeds drest,
Frowns on the tawny EAGLE's nest;
THERE enjoy the 'witching hour,
And freeze in Frenzy's dire conceit,
Or seek the Screech-owl's lone retreat,
On the bleak rampart of some nodding Tow'r.
In some forest long and drear,
Tempt the fierce BANDITTI's rage,
War with famish'd Tygers wage,
And mock the taunts of Fear.
When across the yawning deep,
The Demons of the Tempest sweep,
Or deaf'ning Thunders bursting cast
Their red bolts on the shivering mast,
While fix'd below the sea-boy stands,
As threat'ning Death his soul dismays,
He lifts his supplicating hands,
And shrieks, and groans, and weeps, and prays,
Till lost amid the floating fire
The agonizing crew expire;
THEN let thy transports rend the air,
For mad'ning Anguish feeds DESPAIR.
When o'er the couch of pale Disease
The MOTHER bends, with tearful eye,
And trembles, lest her quiv'ring sigh,
Should wake the darling of her breast,
Now, by the taper's feeble rays,
She steals a last, fond, eager gaze.
Ah, hapless Parent! gaze no more,
Thy CHERUB soars among the Blest,
Life's crimson Fount begins to freeze,
His transitory scene is o'er.
She starts–she raves–her burning brain,
Consumes, unconscious of its fires,
Dead to the Heart's convulsive Pain,
Bewilder'd Memory retires.
See! See! she grasps her flowing hair,
From her fix'd eye the big drops roll,
Her proud Affliction mocks controul,
And riots in DESPAIR,
Such are thy haunts, malignant Pow'r,
There all thy murd'rous Poisons pour;
But come not near my calm retreat,
Where Peace and holy FRIENDSHIP meet;
Where SCIENCE sheds a gentle ray,
And guiltless Mirth beguiles the day,
Where Bliss congenial to the MUSE
Shall round my Heart her sweets diffuse,
Where, from each restless Passion free,
I give my noiseless hours, BLESS'D POETRY, TO THEE.
* The Bastile
SWEET BIRD OF SORROW!–why complain
In such soft melody of Song,
That ECHO, am'rous of thy Strain,
The ling'ring cadence doth prolong?
Ah! tell me, tell me, why,
Thy dulcet Notes ascend the sky.
Or on the filmy vapours glide
Along the misty moutain's side?
And wherefore dost Thou love to dwell,
In the dark wood and moss-grown cell,
Beside the willow-margin'd stream–
Why dost Thou court wan Cynthia's beam?
Sweet Songstress–if thy wayward fate
Hath robb'd Thee of thy bosom's mate,
Oh, think not thy heart-piercing moan
Evap'rates on the breezy air,
Or that the plaintive Song of Care
Steals from THY Widow'd Breast alone.
Oft have I heard thy mournful Tale,
On the high Cliff, that o'er the Vale
Hangs its dark brow, whose awful shade
Spreads a deep gloom along the glade:
Led by its sound, I've wander'd far,
Till crimson evening's flaming Star
On Heav'n's vast dome refulgent hung,
And round ethereal vapours flung;
And oft I've sought th'HYGEIAN MAID,
In rosy dimply smiles array'd,
Till forc'd with every HOPE to part,
Resistless Pain subdued my Heart.
Oh then, far o'er the restless deep
Forlorn my poignant pangs I bore,
Alone in foreign realms to weep,
Where ENVY's voice could taunt no more.
I hop'd, by mingling with the gay,
To snatch the veil of Grief away;
To break Affliction's pond'rous chain;
VAIN was the Hope–in vain I sought
The placid hour of careless thought,
Where Fashion wing'd her light career,
And sportive Pleasure danc'd along,
Oft have I shunn'd the blithsome throng,
To hide th'involuntary tear,
For e'en where rapt'rous transports glow,
From the full Heart the conscious tear will flow,
When to my downy couch remov'd,
FANCY recall'd my wearied mind
To scenes of FRIENDSHIP left behind,
Scenes still regretted, still belov'd!
Ah, then I felt the pangs of Grief,
Grasp my warm Heart, and mock relief;
My burning lids Sleep's balm defied,
And on my fev'rish lip imperfect murmurs died.
Restless and sad–I sought once more
A calm retreat on BRITAIN's shore;
Deceitful HOPE, e'en there I found
That soothing FRIENDSHIP's specious name
Was but a short-liv'd empty sound,
And LOVE a false delusive flame.
Then come, Sweet BIRD, and with thy strain,
Steal from my breast the thorn of pain;
Blest solace of my lonely hours,
In craggy caves and silent bow'rs,
When HAPPY Mortals seek repose,
By Night's pale lamp we'll chaunt our woes,
And, as her chilling tears diffuse
O'er the white thorn their silv'ry dews,
I'll with the lucid boughts entwine
A weeping Wreath, which round my Head
Shall by the waning Cresent shine,
And light us to our leafy bed,–
But ah! nor leafy beds nor bow'rs
Fring'd with soft MAY's enamell'd flow'rs,
Nor pearly leaves, nor Cynthia's beams,
Nor smiling Pleasure's shad'wy dreams,
Sweet BIRD, not e'en THY melting Strains
Can calm the Heart, where TYRANT SORROW REIGNS.
BLEST be thy song, sweet NIGHTINGALE,
Lorn minstrel of the lonely vale!
Where oft I've heard thy dulcet strain
In mournful melody complain;
When in the POPLAR'S trembling shade,
At Evening's purple hour I've stray'd,
While many a silken folded flow'r
Wept on its couch of Gossamer,
And many a time in pensive mood
Upon the upland mead I've stood,
To mark grey twilight's shadows glide
Along the green hill's velvet side;
To watch the perfum'd hand of morn
Hang pearls upon the silver thorn,
Till rosy day with lustrous eye
In saffron mantle deck'd the sky,
And bound the mountain's brow with fire,
And ting'd with gold the village spire:
While o'er the frosted vale below
The amber tints began to glow:
And oft I seek the daisied plain
To greet the rustic nymph and swain,
When cowslips gay their bells unfold,
And flaunt their leaves of glitt'ring gold,
While from the blushes of the rose
A tide of musky essence flows,
And o'er the odour-breathing flow'rs
The woodlands shed their diamond show'rs,
When from the scented hawthorn bud
The BLACKBIRD sips the lucid flood,
While oft the twitt'ring THRUSH essays
To emulate the LINNET'S lays;
While the poiz'd LARK her carol sings
And BUTTERFLIES expand their wings,
And BEES begin their sultry toils
And load their limbs with luscious spoils,
I stroll along the pathless vale,
And smile, and bless thy soothing tale.
But ah! when hoary winter chills
The plumy race–and wraps the hills
In snowy vest, I tell my pains
Beside the brook in icy chains
Bound its weedy banks between,
While sad I watch night's pensive queen,
Just emblem of MY weary woes:
For ah! where'er the virgin goes,
Each flow'ret greets her with a tear
To sympathetic sorrow dear;
And when in black obtrusive clouds
The chilly MOON her pale cheek shrouds,
I mark the twinkling starry train
Exulting glitter in her wane,
And proudly gleam their borrow'd light
To gem the sombre dome of night.
Then o'er the meadows cold and bleak,
The glow-worm's glimm'ring lamp I seek.
Or climb the craggy cliff to gaze
On some bright planet's azure blaze,
And o'er the dizzy height inclin'd
I listen to the passing wind,
That loves my mournful song to seize,
And bears it to the mountain breeze.
Or where the sparry caves among
Dull ECHO sits with aëry tongue,
Or gliding on the ZEPHYR'S wings
From hill to hill her cadence flings,
O, then my melancholy tale
Dies on the bosom of the gale,
While awful stillness reigning round
Blanches my cheek with chilling fear;
Till from the bushy dell profound,
The woodman's song salutes mine ear.
When dark NOVEMBER'S boist'rous breath
Sweeps the blue hill and desart heath,
When naked trees their white tops wave
O'er many a famish'd REDBREAST'S grave,
When many a clay-built cot lays low
Beneath the growing hills of snow,
Soon as the SHEPHERD's silv'ry head
Peeps from his tottering straw-roof'd shed,
To hail the glimm'ring glimpse of day,
With feeble steps he ventures forth
Chill'd by the bleak breath of the North,
And to the forest bends his way,
To gather from the frozen ground
Each branch the night-blast scatter'd round.–
If in some bush o'erspread with snow
He hears thy moaning wail of woe,
A flush of warmth his cheek o'erspreads,
With anxious timid care he treads,
And when his cautious hands infold
Thy little breast benumb'd with cold,
"Come, plaintive fugitive," he cries,
While PITY dims his aged eyes,
"Come to my glowing heart, and share
"My narrow cell, my humble fare,
"Tune thy sweet carol–plume thy wing,
"And quaff with me the limpid spring,
"And peck the crumbs my meals supply,
"And round my rushy pillow fly."
O, MINSTREL SWEET, whose jocund lay
Can make e'en POVERTY look gay,
Who can the poorest swain inspire
And while he fans his scanty fire,
When o'er the plain rough Winter pours
Nocturnal blasts, and whelming show'rs,
Canst thro' his little mansion fling
The rapt'rous melodies of spring.
To THEE with eager gaze I turn,
Blest solace of the aching breast;
Each gaudy, glitt'ring scene I spurn,
And sigh for solitude and rest,
For art thou not, blest warbler, say,
My mind's best balm, my bosom's friend?
Didst thou not trill thy softest lay,
And with thy woes my sorrows blend?
YES, darling Songstress! when of late
I sought thy leafy-fringed bow'r,
The victim of relentless fate,
Fading in life's dark ling'ring hour,
Thou heard'st my plaint, and pour'd thy strain
Thro' the sad mansion of my breast,
And softly, sweetly lull'd to rest
The throbbing anguish of my brain.
AH! while I tread this vale of woe,
Still may thy downy measures flow,
To wing my solitary hours
With kind, obliterating pow'rs;
And tho' my pensive, patient heart
No wild, extatic bliss shall prove,
Tho' life no raptures shall impart,
No boundless joy, or, madd'ning love,
Sweet NIGHTINGALE, thy lenient strain
Shall mock Despair, AND BLUNT THE SHAFT OF PAIN.
WHERE o'er my head, the deaf'ning Tempest blew,
And Night's cold lamp cast forth a feeble ray;
Where o'er the woodlands, vivid light'nings flew,
Cleft the strong oak, and scorch'd the blossom'd spray;
At morn's approach, I mark the sun's warm glow
O'er the grey hill a crimson radiance throw;
I mark the silv'ry fragrant dew,
Give lustre to the vi'let's hue;
The shallow rivers o'er their pebbly way,
In slow meanders murmuring play;
Day spreads her beams, the lofty forest tree,
Shakes from its moisten'd head the pearly show'r,
All nature, feels the renovating hour,
All, but the sorrowing child of cold ADVERSITY;
For her, the linnet's downy throat
Breathes harmony in vain;
Unmov'd, she hears the warbling note
In all the melody of song complain;
By her unmark'd the flowret's bloom,
In vain the landscape sheds perfume;
Her languid form, on earth's damp bed,
In coarse and tatter'd garb reclines;
In silent agony she pines;
Or, if she hears some stranger's tread,
To a dark nook, ashamed she flies,
And with her scanty robe, o'er-shades her weeping eyes.
Her hair, dishevel'd, wildly plays
With every freezing gale;
While down her cold cheek, deadly pale,
The tear of pensive sorrow strays;
She shuns, the PITY of the proud,
Her mind, still triumphs, unsubdu'd
Nor stoops, its misery to obtrude,
Upon the vulgar croud.
Unheeded, and unknown,
To some bleak wilderness she flies;
And seated on a moss-clad stone,
Unwholesome vapours round her rise,
And hang their mischiefs on her brow;
The ruffian winds, her limbs expose;
Still, still, her heart disdains to bow,
She cherishes her woes.
NOW FAMINE spreads her sable wings;
INGRATITUDE insults her pangs;
While from a thousand eager fangs,
Madd'ning she flies;–The recreant crew
With taunting smiles her steps pursue;
While on her burning, bleeding heart,
Fresh wounded by Affliction's dart,
NEGLECT, her icy poison flings;
From HOPE's celestial bosom hurl'd,
She seeks oblivion's gloom,
Now, now, she mocks the barb'rous world,
AND TRIUMPHS IN THE TOMB.
EXULTING BEAUTY,–phantom of an hour,
Whose magic spells enchain the heart,
Ah! what avails thy fascinating pow'r,
Thy thrilling smile, thy witching art?
Thy lip, where balmy nectar glows;
Thy cheek, where round the damask rose
A thousand nameless Graces move,
Thy mildly speaking azure eyes,
Thy golden hair, where cunning Love
In many a mazy ringlet lies?
Soon as thy radiant form is seen,
Thy native blush, thy timid mien,
Thy hour is past! thy charms are vain!
ILL-NATURE haunts thee with her sallow train,
Mean JEALOUSY deceives thy list'ning ear,
And SLANDER stains thy cheek with many a bitter tear.
In calm retirement form'd to dwell,
NATURE, thy handmaid fair and kind,
For thee, a beauteous garland twin'd;
The vale-nurs'd Lily's downcast bell
Thy modest mien display'd,
The snow-drop, April's meekest child,
With myrtle blossoms undefil'd,
Thy mild and spotless mind pourtray'd;
Dear blushing maid, of cottage birth,
'Twas thine, o'er dewy meads to stray,
While sparkling health, and frolic mirth
Led on thy laughing Day.
Lur'd by the babbling tongue of FAME,
Too soon, insidious FLATT'RY came;
Flush'd VANITY her footsteps led,
To charm thee from thy blest repose,
While Fashion twin'd about thy head
A wreath of wounding woes;
See Dissipation smoothly glide,
Cold Apathy, and puny Pride,
Capricious Fortune, dull, and blind,
O'er splendid Folly throws her veil,
While Envy's meagre tribe assail
Thy gentle form, and spotless mind.
Their spells prevail! no more those eyes
Shoot undulating fires;
On thy wan cheek, the young rose dies,
Thy lip's deep tint expires;
Dark Melancholy chills thy mind;
Thy silent tear reveals thy woe;
TIME strews with thorns thy mazy way,
Where'er thy giddy footsteps stray,
Thy thoughtless heart is doom'd to find
An unrelenting foe.
'Tis thus, the infant Forest flow'r
Bespangled o'er with glitt'ring dew,
At breezy morn's refreshing hour,
Glows with pure tints of varying hue,
Beneath an aged oak's wide spreading shade,
Where no rude winds, or beating storms invade.
Transplanted from its lonely bed,
No more it scatters perfumes round,
No more it rears its gentle head,
Or brightly paints the mossy ground;
For ah! the beauteous bud, too soon,
Scorch'd by the burning eye of day;
Shrinks from the sultry glare of noon,
Droops its enamell'd brow, and blushing, dies away.
HAIL! GODDESS of persuasive art!
The magic of whose tuneful tongue
Lulls to soft harmony the wand'ring heart
With fascinating song;
O, let me hear thy heav'n-taught strain,
As thro' my quiv'ring pulses steal
The mingling throbs of joy and pain,
Which only sensate minds can feel;
Ah! let me taste the bliss supreme,
Which thy warm touch unerring flings
O'er the rapt sense's finest strings,
When GENIUS, darting frown the sky,
Glances across my wond'ring eye,
Her animating beam.
SWEET ELOQUENCE! thy mild controul,
Awakes to REASON's dawn, the IDIOT soul;
When mists absorb the MENTAL sight,
'Tis thine, to dart CREATIVE LIGHT;
'Tis thine, to chase the filmy clouds away,
And o'er the mind's deep bloom, spread a refulgent ray.
Nor is thy wond'rous art confin'd,
Within the bounds of MENTAL space,
For thou canst boast exterior grace,
Bright emblem of the fertile mind;
Yes; I have seen thee, with persuasion meek,
Bathe in the lucid tear, on Beauty's cheek,
Have mark'd thee in the downcast eye,
When suff'ring Virtue claim'd the pitying sigh.
Oft, by thy thrilling voice subdued,
The meagre fiend INGRATITUDE
Her treach'rous fang conceals;
Pale ENVY hides her forked sting;
And CALUMNY, beneath the wing
Of dark oblivion steals.
Before thy pure and lambent fire
Shall frozen Apathy expire;
Thy influence warm and unconfin'd,
Shall rapt'rous transports give,
And in the base and torpid mind,
Shall bid the fine Affections live;
When JEALOUSY's malignant dart,
Strikes at the fondly throbbing heart;
When fancied woes, on every side assail,
Thy honey'd accents shall prevail;
When burning Passion withers up the brain,
And the fix'd lids, the glowing drops sustain,
Touch'd by thy voice, the melting eye
Shall pour the balm of yielding SYMPATHY.
'Tis thine, with lenient Song to move
The dumb despair of hopeless LOVE;
Or when the animated soul
On Fancy's wing shall soar,
And scorning Reason's soft controul,
Untrodden paths explore;
'Till by distracting conflicts tost,
The intellectual source is lost:
E'en then, the witching music of thy tongue
Stealing thro' Mis'ry's DARKEST GLOOM,
Weaves the fine threads of FANCY's loom,
'Till every slacken'd nerve new strung,
Bids renovated NATURE shine,
Amidst the fost'ring beams of ELOQUENCE DIVINE.
PALE GODDESS of the witching hour;
Blest Contemplation's placid friend;
Oft in my solitary bow'r,
I mark thy lucid beam
From thy crystal car descend,
Whitening the spangled heath, and limpid sapphire stream.
And oft, amidst the shades of night
I court thy undulating light;
When Fairies dance around the verdant ring,
Or frisk beside the bubbling spring,
When the thoughtless SHEPHERD'S song
Echoes thro' the silent air,
As he pens his fleecy care,
Or plods with saunt'ring gait, the dewy meads along.
CHASTE ORB! as thro' the vaulted sky
Feath'ry clouds transparent sail;
When thy languid, weeping eye,
Sheds its soft tears upon the painted vale;
As I ponder o'er the floods,
Or tread with listless step, th'embow'ring woods,
O, let thy transitory beam,
Soothe my sad mind, with FANCY'S aëry dream.
Wrapt in REFLECTION, let me trace
O'er the vast ethereal space,
Stars, whose twinkling fires illume
Dark-brow'd NIGHT'S obtrusive gloom;
Where across the concave wide;
Flaming METEORS swiftly glide;
Or along the milky way,
Vapours shoot a silvery ray;
And as I mark, thy faint reclining head,
Sinking on Ocean's pearly bed;
Let REASON tell my soul, thus all things fade.
The Seasons change, the "garish SUN"
When Day's burning car hath run
Its fiery course, no more we view,
While o'er the mountain's golden head,
Streak'd with tints of crimson hue,
Twilight's filmy curtains spread,
Stealing o'er Nature's face, a desolating shade.
Yon musky FLOW'R, that scents the earth;
The SOD, that gave its odours birth;
The ROCK, that breaks the torrent's force;
The VALE, that owns its wand'ring course;
The woodlands where the vocal throng
Trill the wild melodious song;
Thirsty desarts, sands that glow,
Mountains, cap'd with flaky snow;
Luxuriant groves, enamell'd fields,
All, all, prolific Nature yields,
Alike shall end; the sensate HEART,
With all its passions, all its fire,
Touch'd by FATE'S unerring dart,
Shall feel its vital strength expire;
Those eyes, that beam with FRIENDSHIP'S ray,
And glance ineffable delight,
Shall shrink from LIFE'S translucid day,
And close their fainting orbs, in DEATH'S impervious night.
Then what remains for mortal pow'r;
But TIME'S dull journey to beguile;
To deck with joy, the winged hour,
To meet its sorrows with a patient smile;
And when the toilsome pilgrimage shall end,
To greet the tyrant, as a welcome friend.
SWEET CHILD OF REASON! maid serene;
With folded arms, and pensive mien,
Who wand'ring near yon thorny wild,
So oft, my length'ning hours beguil'd;
Thou, who within thy peaceful call,
Canst laugh at LIFE'S tumultuous care,
While calm repose delights to dwell
On beds of fragrant roses there;
Where meek-ey'd PATIENCE waits to greet
The woe-worn Trav'ller's weary feet,
'Till by her blest and cheering ray
The clouds of sorrow fade away;
Where conscious RECTITUDE retires;
Instructive WISDOM; calm DESIRES;
Prolific SCIENCE,–lab'ring ART;
And GENIUS, with expanded heart.
Far from thy lone and pure domain,
Steals pallid GUILT, whose scowling eye
Marks the rack'd soul's convulsive pain,
Tho' hid beneath the mask of joy;
Madd'ning AMBITION'S dauntless band;
Lean AVARICE with iron hand;
HYPOCRISY with fawning tongue;
Soft FLATT'RY with persuasive song;
Appall'd in gloomy shadows fly,
From MEDITATION'S piercing eye.
How oft with thee I've stroll'd unseen
O'er the lone valley's velvet green;
And brush'd away the twilight dew
That stain'd the cowslip's golden hue;
Oft, as I ponder'd o'er the scene,
Would mem'ry picture to my heart,
How full of grief my days have been,
How swiftly rapt'rous hours depart;
Then would'st thou sweetly reas'ning say,
"TIME journeys thro' the roughest day."
THE HERMIT, from the world retir'd,
By calm Religion's voice inspir'd,
Tells how serenely time glides on,
From crimson morn, 'till setting sun;
How guiltless, pure, and free from strife,
He journeys thro' the vale of Life;
Within his breast nor sorrows mourn,
Nor cares perplex, nor passions burn;
No jealous fears, or boundless joys,
The tenor of his mind destroys;
And when revolving mem'ry shows
The thorny world's unnumber'd woes;
He blesses HEAV'N's benign decree,
That gave his days to PEACE and THEE.
The gentle MAID, whose roseate bloom
Fades fast within a cloyster's gloom;
Far by relentless FATE remov'd,
From all her youthful fancy lov'd;
When her warm heart no longer bleeds,
And cool Reflection's hour succeeds;
Led by THY downy hand, she strays
Along the green dell's tangled maze;
Where thro' dank leaves, the whisp'ring show'rs
Awake to life the fainting flow'rs;
Absorb'd by THEE, she hears no more
The distant torrent's fearful roar;
The well-known VESPER's silver tone;
The bleak wind's desolating moan;
No more she sees the nodding spires,
Where the dark bird of night retires;
While Echo chaunts her boding song
The cloyster's mould'ring walls among;
No more she weeps at Fate's decree,
But yields her pensive soul to THEE.
THE SAGE, whose palsy'd head bends low
'Midst scatter'd locks of silv'ry snow;
Still by his MIND's clear lustre tells,
What warmth within his bosom dwells;
How glows his heart with treasur'd lore,
How rich in Wisdom's boundless store;
In fading Life's protracted hour,
He smiles at Death's terrific pow'r;
He lifts his radiant eyes, which gleam
With Resignation's sainted beam:
And, as the weeping star of morn,
Sheds lustre on the wither'd thorn,
His tear benign, calm comfort throws,
O'er rugged Life's corroding woes;
His pious soul's enlighten'd rays
Dart forth, to gild his wint'ry days;
He smiles serene at Heav'n's decree,
And his last hour resigns to THEE.
When Learning, with Promethean art,
Unveils to light the youthful heart;
When on the richly-budding spray,
The glorious beams of Genius play;
When the expanded leaves proclaim
The promis'd fruits of rip'ning Fame;
O MEDITATION, maid divine!
Proud REASON owns the work is THINE.
Oft, have I known thy magic pow'r,
Irradiate sorrow's wint'ry hour;
Oft, my full heart to THEE hath flown,
And wept for mis'ries not its own;
When pinch'd with agonizing PAIN,
My restless bosom dar'd complain;
Oft have I sunk upon THY breast,
And lull'd my weary mind to rest;
'Till I have own'd the blest decree,
That gave my soul to PEACE and THEE.
ENLIGHTEN'D Patron of the sacred Lyre?
Whose ever-varying, ever-witching song
Revibrates on the heart
With magic thrilling touch,
Till ev'ry nerve with quiv'ring throb divine,
In madd'ning tumults, owns thy wondrous pow'r;
For well thy dulcet notes
Can wind the mazy song,
In labyrinth of wild fantastic form;
Or with empassion'd pathos woo the soul
With sounds more sweetly mild,
Than SAPPHO's plaint forlorn,
When bending o'er the wave she sung her woes,
While pitying ECHO hover'd o'er the deep,
Till in their coral caves,
The tuneful NEREIDES wept.
AH! whither art thou flown? where pours thy song?
The model and the pride of British bards!
Sweet STAR of FANCY's orb,
"O, tell me, tell me, where?"
Say, dost thou waste it on the viewless air
That bears it to the confines of high Heav'n?
Or does it court the meed
Of proud pre-eminence?
Or steals it o'er the glitt'ring Sapphire wave,
Calming the tempest with its silver sounds?
Or does it charm to love
The fond believing maid?
Or does it hover o'er the ALPINE steep,
Or softly breathing under myrtle shades,
With SYMPATHY divine,
Solace the child of woe?
Where'er thou art, Oh! let thy gentle strain
Again with magic pow'r delight mine ear,
Untutor'd in the spells,
And mysteries of song.
Then, on the margin of the deep I'll muse,
And bless the rocking bark ordain'd to bear
My sad heart o'er the wave,
From this ungrateful isle;
When the wan queen of night, with languid eye,
Peeps o'er the mountain's head, or thro' the vale
Illumes the glassy brook,
Or dew-besprinkled heath,
Or with her crystal lamp, directs the feet
Of the benighted TRAV'LLER, cold, and sad,
Thro' the long forest drear,
And pathless labyrinth,
To the poor PEASANT's hospitable cot,
For ever open to the wretch forlorn;
O, then I'll think on THEE,
And iterate thy strain,
And chaunt thy matchless numbers o'er and o'er,
And I will court the sullen ear of night,
To bear the rapt'rous sound,
On her dark shad'wy wing,
To where encircled by the sacred NINE,
Thy LYRE awakes the never-dying song!
Now, BARD admir'd, farwel!
The white sail flutters loud,
The gaudy streamers lengthen in the gale,
Far from my native shore I bend my way;
Yet, as my aching eye
Shall view the less'ning cliff,
'Till its stupendous head shall scarce appear
Above the surface of the swelling deep;
I'll snatch a ray of hope,
For HOPE's the lamp divine
That lights and vivifies the fainting soul,
With extacies beyond the pow'rs of song!
That ere I reach those banks
Where the loud TIBER flows,
Or milder ARNO slowly steals along,
To the soft music of the summer breeze,
The wafting wing of TIME
May bear this last ADIEU,
This wild untutor'd picture of the heart,
To HIM, whose magic verse INSPIR'D THE STRAIN.
COLONEL BANASTRE TARLETON.
TRANSCENDENT VALOUR!–godlike Pow'r!
Lord of the dauntless breast, and stedfast mien!
Who, rob'd in majesty sublime,
Sat in thy eagle-wafted car,
And led the hardy sons of war,
With head erect, and eye serene,
Amidst the arrowy show'r;
When unsubdued, from clime to clime,
YOUNG AMMON taught exulting Fame
O'er earth's vast space to sound the glories of thy name.
ILLUSTRIOUS VALOUR! from whose glance,
Each recreant passion shrinks dismay'd;
To whom benignant Heaven consign'd,
All that can elevate the mind;
'Tis THINE, in radiant worth array'd,
To rear thy glitt'ring helmet high,
And with intrepid front, defy
Stern FATE's uplifted arm, and desolating lance,
When, from the CHAOS of primeval Night,
This wond'rous ORB first sprung to light;
And pois'd amid the sphery clime
By strong Attraction's pow'r sublime,
Its whirling course began;
With sacred spells encompass'd round,
Each element observ'd its bound,
Earth's solid base, huge promontories bore;
Curb'd OCEAN roar'd, clasp'd by the rocky shore;
And midst metallic fires, translucent rivers ran.
All nature own'd th'OMNIPOTENT's command!
Luxuriant blessings deck'd the vast domain;
HE bade the budding branch expand;
And from the teeming ground call'd forth the cherish'd grain;
Salubrious springs from flinty caverns drew;
Enamell'd verdure o'er the landscape threw;
HE taught the scaly host to glide
Sportive, amidst the limpid tide;
HIS breath sustain'd the EAGLE's wing;
With vocal sounds bade hills and valleys ring;
Then, with his Word supreme, awoke to birth
THE HUMAN FORM SUBLIME! THE SOV'REIGN LORD OF EARTH!
VALOUR! thy pure and sacred flame
Diffus'd its radiance o'er his mind;
From THEE he learnt the fiery STEED to tame;
And with a flow'ry band, the speckled PARD to bind;
Guarded by Heaven's eternal shield,
He taught each living thing to yield;
Wond'ring, yet undismay'd he stood,
To mark the SUN's fierce fires decay;
Fearless, he saw the TYGER play;
While at his stedfast gaze, the LION crouch'd subdued!
From age to age on FAME's bright roll,
Thy glorious attributes have shone!
Thy influence soothes the soldier's pain,
Whether beneath the freezing pole,
Or basking in the torrid zone,
Upon the barren thirsty plain.
Led by thy firm and daring hand,
O'er wastes of snow, o'er burning sand,
INTREPID TARLETON chas'd the foe,
And smil'd in DEATH's grim face, and brav'd his with'ring blow!
When late on CALPE's rock, stern VICT'RY stood,
Hurling swift vengeance o'er the bounding flood;
Each winged bolt illum'd a flame,
IBERIA's vaunting sons to tame;
While o'er the dark unfathom'd deep,
The blasts of desolation blew,
Fierce lightnings hov'ring round the frowning steep,
'Midst the wild waves their fatal arrows threw;
Loud roar'd the cannon's voice with ceaseless ire,
While the vast BULWARK glow'd,–a PYRAMID OF FIRE!
Then in each BRITON's gallant breast,
Benignant VIRTUE shone confest!
When Death spread wide his direful reign,
And shrieks of horror echoed o'er the main;
Eager they flew, their wretched foes to save
From the dread precincts of a whelming grave;
THEN, VALOUR was thy proudest hour!
THEN, didst thou, like a radiant GOD,
Check the keen rigours of th' avenging rod,
And with soft MERCY's hand subdue the scourge of POW'R!!
When fading, in the grasp of Death,
ILLUSTRIOUS WOLFE on earth's cold bosom lay;
His anxious soldiers thronging round,
Bath'd with their tears each gushing wound;
As on his pallid lip the fleeting breath,
In faint, and broken accents, stole away,
Loud shouts of TRIUMPH fill'd the skies!
To Heaven he rais'd his gratelul eyes;
"'TIS VIC'TRY'S VOICE," the Hero cried!
"I THANK THEE, BOUNTEOUS HEAVEN,"–then smiling, DIED!
TARLETON, thy mind, above the POET's praise
Asks not the labour'd task of flatt'ring lays!
As the rare GEM with innate lustre glows,
As round the OAK the gadding Ivy grows,
So shall THY WORTH, in native radiance live!
So shall the MUSE spontaneous incense give!
Th' HISTORIC page shall prove a lasting shrine,
Where Truth and Valour shall THY laurels twine;
Where,with thy name, recording FAME shall blend
The ZEALOUS PATRIOT, and the FAITHFUL FRIEND!
HIM WHO WILL UNDERSTAND THEM.
THOU art no more my bosom's FRIEND;
Here must the sweet delusion end,
That charm'd my senses many a year,
Thro' smiling summers, winters drear.–
O, FRIENDSHIP! am I doom'd to find
Thou art a phantom of the mind?
A glitt'ring shade, an empty name,
An air-born vision's vap'rish flame?
And yet, the dear DECEIT so long
Has wak'd to joy my matin song,
Has bid my tears forget to flow,
Chas'd ev'ry pain, soothed ev'ry woe;
That TRUTH, unwelcome to my ear,
Swells the deep sigh, recalls the tear,
Gives to the sense the keenest smart,
Checks the warm pulses of the Heart,
Darkens my FATE and steals away
Each gleam of joy thro' life's sad day.
BRITAIN, FAREWEL! I quit thy shore,
My native Country charms no more;
No guide to mark the toilsome road;
No destin'd clime; no fix'd abode;
Alone and sad, ordain'd to trace
The vast expanse of endless space;
To view, upon the mountain's height,
Thro' varied shades of glimm'ring light,
The distant landscape fade away
In the last gleam of parting day:–
Or, on the quiv'ring lucid stream,
To watch the pale moon's silv'ry beam;
Or when, in sad and plaintive strains
The mournful PHILOMEL complains,
In dulcet notes bewails her fate,
And murmurs for her absent mate;
Inspir'd by SYMPATHY divine,
I'll weep her woes–FOR THEY ARE MINE.
Driven by my FATE, where'er I go
O'er burning plains, o'er hills of snow,
Or on the bosom of the wave,
The howling tempest doom'd to brave,
Where'er my lonely course I bend,
Thy image shall my steps attend;
Each object I am doom'd to see,
Shall bid remem'brance PICTURE THEE.
Yes; I shall view thee in each FLOW'R,
That changes with the transient hour:
Thy wand'ring Fancy I shall find
Borne on the wings of every WIND:
Thy wild impetuous passions trace
O'er the white wave's tempestuous space:
In every changing season prove
An emblem of thy wav'ring LOVE.
Torn from my country, friends, and you,
The World lies open to my view;
New objects shall my mind engage;
I will explore th' HISTORIC page;
Sweet POETRY shall soothe my soul;
PHILOSOPHY each pang controul:
The MUSE I'll seek, her lambent fire
My soul's quick senses shall inspire;
With finer nerves my heart shall beat,
Touch'd by Heaven's own PROMETHEAN heat;
ITALIA'S gales shall bear my song
In soft-link'd notes her woods among;
Upon the blue hill's misty side,
Thro' trackless desarts waste and wide,
O'er craggy rocks, whose torrents flow
Upon the silver sands below.
Sweet Land of MELODY! 'tis thine
The softest passions to refine;
Thy myrtle groves, thy melting strains,
Shall harmonize and soothe my pains,
Nor will I cast one thought behind,
On foes relentless, FRIENDS unkind;
I feel, I feel their poison'd dart
Pierce the life-nerve within my heart;
'Tis mingled with the vital heat,
That bids my throbbing pulses beat;
Soon shall that vital heat be o'er,
Those throbbing pulses beat no more!
No–I will breathe the spicy gale;
Plunge the clear stream, new health exhale;
O'er my pale cheek diffuse the rose,
And drink OBLIVION to my woes.
THE knell of death, that on the twilight gale,
Swells its deep murmur to the pensive ear;
In awful sounds repeats a mournful tale,
And claims the tribute of a tender tear.
The dreadful hour is past! the mandate giv'n!
The gentle MIDDLETON shall breathe no more,
Yet who shall blame the wise decrees of Heaven,
Or the dark mysteries of Fate explore?
No more her converse shall delight the heart;
No more her smile benign spread pleasure round;
No more her liberal bosom shall impart
The balm of pity to Affliction's wound.
Her soul above the pride of noble birth,
Above the praises of an empty name,
By graceful MEEKNESS mark'd superior worth,
By peerless VIRTUES claim'd the fairest fame,
Nor did those Virtues flaunt their innate rays,
To court applause, or charm the vulgar throng,
No ostentatious glare illum'd her days,
No idle boast escap'd her tuneful tongue.
When FAME, ambitious to record her praise,
On glitt'ring pinions spread her name afar,
Her gentle nature shunn'd the dazzling blaze,
Mild as the lustre of the morning star!
DIVINE BENEVOLENCE around her shone!
The chastest manners spoke her spotless mind;
That Pow'r who gave now claims her for his own,
Pure as the cherub she has left behind. †
As round her couch the winged darts of death
Reluctant flew from Fate's unerring bow,
Immortal angels claim'd her quivering breath,
And snatch'd her spirit from a world of woe.
Calm resignation smil'd upon her cheek,
And HOPE'S refulgent beam illum'd her eye;
While FAITH, celestial VIRTUE'S handmaid meek,
On wings of seraphs bore her to the sky.
Ye poor, who from her gen'rous bounty fed;
Oh! to HER mem'ry give the fame that's due;
For oft, from pleasure's blithe meanders led,
Her pensive bosom felt a pang for YOU.
Yet, cease to mourn a sainted Spirit gone
To seek its resting place, beyond the skies;
Where 'midst the glories of TH' ETERNAL's throne,
She tastes celestial bliss–THAT NEVER DIES! *
† Lady Middleton died in childbed.
* This accomplished comment to human nature was the widow of the late Willoughby lord Middleton of Woolaton in Nottinghamshire, and wife of Edward Miller Mundy, Esq. of Shipley in the county of Derby, by whom her ladyship had one daughter now living.
RICHARD BOYLE, ESQ. *
Who died at Bristol, October, 1788.
NEAR yon bleak mountain's dizzy height,
That hangs o'er AVON's silent wave;
By the pale Crescent's glimm'ring light,
I sought LORENZO's lonely grave.
O'er the long grass the silv'ry dew,
Soft Twilight's tears spontaneous shone;
And the dank bough of baneful yew
Supply'd the place of sculptured stone.
Oft, as my trembling steps drew near,
The aëry voice of FANCY gave
The plaint of GENIUS to mine ear,
That, lingering, murmur'd on his grave.
"Cold is that heart, where honour glow'd,
And Friendship's flame sublimely shone,
And clos'd that eye where Pity flow'd,
For ev'ry suff'ring but HIS OWN.
"That form where youth and grace conspir'd,
To captivate admiring eyes,
No more belov'd, no more admir'd,
A torpid mass neglected lies.
"Mute is the music of that tongue,
Once tuneful as the voice of love,
When ORPHEUS, by his magic song,
Taught trees, and flinty rocks to move.
"Oft shall the pensive MUSE be found,
Sprinkling with flow'rs his mould'ring clay;
While soft-eyed SORROW wand'ring round,
Shall pluck intruding weeds away."
Sad victim of the sordid mind,
That doom'd THEE to an early grave;
Ne'er shall HER breast that pity find,
Which thy forgiveness nobly gave!
Thou, who, when SORROW'S icy hand
Forbad the healthsome pulse to flow,
Obedient to HER stern command,
With meek submission bow'd thee low!
And when thy faded cheek proclaim'd
The thorn that rankled in thy breast,
Thy steady soul that pride maintain'd,
Which marks the godlike mind distress'd!
Nor was thy mental strength subdu'd,
When HOPE's last ling'ring shadows fled,
Unchang'd, thy dauntless spirit view'd
The dreary confines of the dead!
And when thy penetrating mind,
Life's thorny maze presum'd to scan,
In ev'ry path condemn'd to find
"The low ingratitude of man."
Indignant would'st thou turn away,
And smiling raise thy languid eye,
And oft thy feeble voice would say,
"TO ME 'TIS HAPPINESS TO DIE." *
And tho' thy FRIEND, † with skilful art,
To heal thy woes, each balm apply'd;
Tho' the fine feelings of his heart,
Nor cost nor studious care deny'd!
He saw the fatal hour draw near,
He saw THEE fading to the grave;
He gave his last kind gift, A TEAR,
And mourn'd the worth he could not save.
Nor could the ruthless breath of FATE
Snatch from thy grave the tender sigh;
Nor a relentless monster's hate
Impede thy passage to the sky.
And tho' no kindred tears were shed,
No tribute to thy memory giv'n;
Sublime in death, thy spirit fled,
To seek its best reward–IN HEAVEN!
* Son of Mrs. Walsingham.
* An expression he frequently made use of, previous to his dissolution.
† Doctor Moseley whose disinterested and unremitting attentions to the melancholy situation of his dying Friend, are too well known to require any comment; the very polished language of his intelligent medical work will best describe his feelings on the occasion; and can alone do justice to the exquisite sensations of a heart devoted to philanthropy!
DAVID GARRICK, ESQ.
DEAR SHADE OF HIM, who grac'd the mimick scene,
And charm'd attention with resistless pow'r;
Whose wond'rous art, whose fascinating mien,
Gave glowing rapture to the short-liv'd hour!
Accept the mournful verse, the ling'ring sigh,
The tear that faithful Mem'ry stays to shed;
The SACRED TEAR, that from Reflection's eye,
Drops on the ashes of the sainted dead.
Lov'd by the grave, and courted by the young,
In social comforts eminently blest;
All hearts rever'd the precepts of thy tongue,
And Envy's self thy eloquence confess'd.
Who could like thee the soul's wild tumults paint,
Or wake the torpid ear with lenient art?
Touch the nice sense with pity's dulcet plaint,
Or soothe the sorrows of the breaking heart?
Who can forget thy penetrating eye,
The sweet bewitching smile, th' empassion'd look?
The clear deep whisper, the persuasive sigh,
The feeling tear that Nature's language spoke?
Rich in each treasure bounteous Heaven could lend,
For private worth distinguish'd and approv'd,
The pride of WISDOM,–VIRTUE's darling friend,
By MANSFIELD honor'd–and by CAMDEN lov'd!
The courtier's cringe, the flatt'rer's abject smile,
The subtle arts of well-dissembled praise,
Thy soul abhorr'd;–above the gloss of guile,
Truth lead thy steps, and Friendship crown'd thy days.
Oft in thy HAMPTON's dark embow'ring shade
The POET's hand shall sweep the trembling string;
While the proud tribute §to thy mem'ry paid,
The voice of GENIUS on the gale shall fling.
Yes, SHERIDAN! thy soft melodious verse
Still vibrates on a nation's polish'd ear;
Fondly it hover'd o'er the sable hearse,
Hush'd the loud plaint, and triumph'd in a tear.
In life united by congenial minds,
Dear to the MUSE, to sacred friendship true;
Around her darling's urn a wreath SHE binds,
A deathless wreath–immortaliz'd by YOU!
But say, dear shade, is kindred mem'ry flown?
Has widow'd love at length forgot to weep?
That no kind verse, or monumental stone,
Marks the lone spot where thy cold relics sleep!
Dear to a nation, grateful to thy muse,
That nation's tears upon thy grave shall flow,
For who the gentle tribute can refuse,
Which thy fine feeling gave to fancied woe?
Thou who, by many an anxious toilsome hour,
Reap'd the bright harvest of luxuriant Fame,
Who snatch'd from dark oblivion's barb'rous pow'r
The radiant glories of a SHAKSPERE's name!
Rembrance oft shall paint the mournful scene
Where the slow fun'ral spread its length'ning gloom,
Where the deep murmur, and dejected mien,
In artless sorrow linger'd round thy tomb.
And tho' no laurel'd bust, or labour'd line,
Shall bid the passing stranger stay to weep;
Thy SHAKSPERE's hand shall point the hallow'd shrine,
And Britain's genius with thy ashes sleep. §
Then rest in peace, O ever sacred shade!
Your kindred souls exulting FAME shall join;
And the same wreath thy hand for SHAKSPERE made,
Gemm'd with her tears about THY GRAVE SHALL TWINE.
§ See Mr. Sheridan's Monody on the death of Mr. Garrick.
§ Mr Garrick's remains lie in Poet's corner, at the foot of Shakspere's monument, in Westminter-Abbey.
Chill penury repress'd his noble rage,
And froze the genial current of his soul.
IF GRIEF can deprecate the wrath of Heaven,
Or human frailty hope to be forgiven!
Ere now thy sainted spirit bends its way
To the bland regions of celestial day;
Ere now, thy soul, immers'd in purest air
Smiles at the triumphs of supreme Despair;
Or bath'd in seas of endless bliss, disdains
The vengeful memory of mortal pains;
Yet shall the MUSE a fond memorial give
To shield thy name, and bid thy GENIUS live.
Too proud for pity, and too poor for praise,
No voice to cherish, and no hand to raise;
Torn, stung, and sated, with this "mortal coil,"
This weary, anxious scene of fruitless toil;
Not all the graces that to youth belong,
Nor all the energies of sacred song;
Nor all that FANCY, all that GENIUS gave,
Could snatch thy wounded spirit from the grave.
Hard was thy lot, from every comfort torn;
In POVERTY'S cold arms condemn'd to mourn;
To live by mental toil, e'en when the brain
Could scarce its trembling faculties sustain;
To mark the dreary minutes slowly creep:
Each day to labour, and each night to weep;
'Till the last murmur of thy frantic soul,
In proud concealment from its mansion stole,
While ENVY springing from her lurid cave,
Snatch'd the young LAURELS from thy rugged grave.
So the pale primrose, sweetest bud of May,
Scarce wakes to beauty, ere it feels decay;
While baleful weeds their hidden n poisons pour,
Choke the green sod, and wither every flow'r.
Immur'd in shades, from busy scenes remov'd;
No sound to solace,–but the verse he lov'd:
No soothing numbers harmoniz'd his ear;
No feeling bosom gave his griefs a tear;
Obscurely born–no gen'rous friend he found
To lead his trembling steps o'er classic ground.
No patron fill'd his heart with flatt'ring hope,
No tutor'd lesson gave his genius scope;
Yet, while poetic ardour nerv'd each thought,
And REASON sanction'd what AMBITION taught;
He soar'd beyond the narrow spells that bind
The slow perceptions of the vulgar mind;
The fire once kindled by the breath of FAME,
Her restless pinions fann'd the glitt'ring flame;
Warm'd by its rays, he thought each vision just;
For conscious VIRTUE seldom feels DISTRUST.
Frail are the charms delusive FANCY shows,
And short the bliss her fickle smile bestows;
Yet the bright prospect pleas'd his dazzled view,
Each HOPE seem'd ripened, and each PHANTOM true;
Fill'd with delight, his unsuspecting mind
Weigh'd not the grov'ling treach'ries of mankind;
For while a niggard boon his Savants supply'd,
And NATURE'S claims subdued the voice of PRIDE:
His timid talents own'd a borrow'd name,
And gain'd by FICTION what was due to FAME.
With secret labour, and with taste refin'd,
This son of mis'ry form'd his infant mind!
When op'ning Reason's earliest scenes began,
The dawn of childhood mark'd the future man!
He scorn'd the puerile sports of vulgar boys,
His little heart aspir'd to nobler joys;
Creative Fancy wing'd his few short hours,
While soothing Hope adorn'd his path with flow'rs,
Yet FAME'S recording hand no trophy gave,
Save the sad TEAR–to decorate his grave.
Yet in this dark, mysterious scene of woe,
Conviction's flame shall shed a radiant glow;
His infant MUSE shall bind with nerves of fire
The sacrilegious hand that stabs its sire.
Methinks, I hear his wand'ring shade complain,
While mournful ECHO lingers on the strain;
Thro' the lone aisle his restless spirit calls,
His phantom glides along the minster's § walls;
Where many an hour his devious footsteps trod,
Ere Fate resign'd him TO HIS PITYING GOD.
Yet, shall the MUSE to gentlest sorrow prone
Adopt his cause, and make his griefs her own;
Ne'er shall her CHATTERTON's neglected name,
Fade in inglorious dreams of doubtful fame;
Shall he, whose pen immortal GENIUS gave,
Sleep unlamented in an unknown grave?
No,–the fond MUSE shall spurn the base neglect,
The verse she cherish'd she shall still protect.
And if unpitied pangs the mind can move,
Or graceful numbers warm the heart to love;
If the fine raptures of poetic fire
Delight to vibrate on the trembling lyre;
If sorrow claims the kind embalming tear,
Or worth oppress'd, excites a pang sincere?
Some kindred soul shall pour the song divine,
And with the cypress bough the laurel twine,
Whose weeping leaves the wint'ry blast shall wave
In mournful murmurs o'er thy unbless'd grave.
And tho' no lofty VASE or sculptur'd BUST
Bends o'er the sod that hides thy sacred dust;
Tho' no long line of ancestry betrays
The PRIDE of RELATIVES, or POMP of PRAISE.
Tho' o'er thy name a blushing nation rears
OBLIVION'S wing–to hide REFLECTION'S tears!
Still shall thy verse in dazzling lustre live,
And claim a brighter wreath THAN WEALTH CAN GIVE.
§ Bristol Cathedral.
WRITTEN IN GERMANY, IN THE YEAR 1786.
"With female Fairies will thy tomb be haunted
"And worms will not come to thee."
WHEN from Day's closing eye the lucid tears
Fall lightly on the bending lily's head;
When o'er the blushing sky night's curtains spread,
And the tall mountain's summit scarce appears;
When languid Evening, sinking to repose,
Her filmy mantle o'er the landscape throws;
Of THEE I'll sing; and as the mournful song
Glides in slow numbers the dark woods among;
My wand'ring steps shall seek the lonely shade,
Where all thy virtues, all thy griefs are laid!
Yes, hopeless suff'rer, friendless and forlorn,
Sweet victim of love's power; the silent tear
Shall oft at twilight's close, and glimm'ring morn
Gem the pale primrose that adorns thy bier,
And as the balmy dew ascends to heaven,
Thy crime shall steal away, thy frailty be forgiv'n.
Oft by the moon's wan beam the love-lorn maid,
Led by soft SYMPATHY, shall stroll along;
Oft shall she listen in the Lime-tree's * shade,
Her cold blood freezing at the night-owl's song:
Or, when she hears the death-bell's solemn sound,
Her light steps echoing o'er the hollow ground;
Oft shall the trickling tear adorn her cheek,
Thy pow'r, O SENSIBILITY! in magic charms to speak!
For the poor PILGRIM, doom'd afar to roam
From the dear comforts of his native home,
A glitt'ring star puts forth a silv'ry ray,
Soothes his sad heart, and marks his tedious way;
The short-liv'd radiance cheers the gloom of night,
And decks Heaven's murky dome with transitory light.
So from the mournful CHARLOTTE's dark-orb'd lids,
The sainted tear of pitying VIRTUE flows;
And the last boon, the "churlish priest" forbids,
On thy lone grave the sacred drop bestows;
There shall the sparkling dews of Evening shine,
AND HEAVEN'S OWN INCENSE CONSECRATE THE SHRINE.
|* "At the corner of the church-yard are two Lime-trees, 'tis there I wish to rest."|
|SORROWS OF WERTER.|
TO HER GRACE THE
DUTCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE.
CLOSE in a woodbine's tangled shade,
The BLOOMING GOD asleep was laid;
His brows with mossy roses crown'd;
His golden darts lay scatter'd round;
To shade his auburn, curled head,
A purple canopy was spread,
Which gently with the breezes play'd,
And shed around a soften'd shade.
Upon his downy smiling cheek,
Adorned with many a "dimple sleek,"
Beam'd glowing health and tender blisses,
His coral lip which teem'd with kisses
Ripe, glisten'd with ambrosial dew,
That mock'd the rose's deepest hue.–
His quiver on a bough was hung,
His bow lay carelessly unstrung:
His breath mild odour scatter'd round,
His eyes an azure fillet bound:
On every side did zephyrs play,
To fan the sultry beams of day;
While the soft tenants of the grove,
Attun'd their notes to plaintive Love.
Thus lay the Boy–when DEVONS feet
Unknowing reach'd the lone retreat;
Surpriz'd, to see the beauteous child
Of every dang'rous pow'r beguil'd!
Approaching near his mossy bed,
Soft whisp'ring to herself she said:–
" Thou little imp, whose potent art
" Bows low with grief the FEELING HEART;
" Whose thirst insatiate, loves to sip
" The nectar from the ruby lip;
" Whose barb'rous joy is prone to seek
" The soft carnation of the cheek;
" Now, bid thy tyrant sway farewell,
" As thus I break each magic spell: "
Snatch'd from the bough, where high it hung,
O'er her white shoulder straight she flung
The burnish'd quiver, golden dart,
And each vain emblem of his art;
Borne from his pow'r they now are seen,
The attributes of BEAUTY'S QUEEN!
While LOVE in secret hides his tears;
DIAN the form of VENUS wears!
SWEET blushing Nymph, who loves to dwell
In the dark forest's silent gloom;
Who smiles within the Hermit's cell,
And sighs upon the rustic's tomb;
Who, pitying, sees the busy throng,
The slaves of fashion's giddy sway;
Who in a wild and artless song,
Warbles the feath'ry hours away.
Oft have I flown thy steps to trace,
In the low valley's still retreat,
Oft have I view'd thy blooming face,
In the small cottage, proudly neat!
I've seen thee, veil'd in vestal lawn,
In the cold cloyster's hallow'd shade;
I've seen thee, at the peep of dawn,
In simple, russet garb array'd.
I've seen thee, crowned with APRIL flow'rs,
Light bounding o'er the rural mead;
I've heard thee in sequester'd bow'rs
Sing to the SHEPHERD'S past'ral reed;
When pleasure led the nymphs along
In moonlight gambols o'er the green,
I've mark'd THEE, fairest of the throng,
With modest eye and timid mien.
No more my eager gaze shall trace
Thy varying footsteps, blithe and free;
For what art thou, but native grace,
Soft Beauty's child, SIMPLICITY?
'Tis thine in every path to dwell,
Where TRUTH and INNOCENCE are seen,
In cottage low, or Hermit's cell,
Or splendid dome, or rural green.
The spotless MIND, the brow serene,
'Tis THINE, enchanting Maid, to boast!
The sweet, benignant, humble mien,
And all that VIRTUE values most!
Thy blushes paint DUNCANNONS's cheek,
Thy light hand weaves her golden hair,
Around her form, THY charms I'll seek,
FOR ALL THE GRACES REVEL THERE!
WHEN from the craggy mountain's pathless steep,
Whose flinty brow hangs o'er the raging sea,
My wand'ring eye beholds the foamy deep,
I mark the restless surge–and think of THEE.
The curling waves, the passing breezes move,
Changing and treach'rous as the breath of LOVE;
The "sad similitude" awakes my smart,
And thy dear image twines about my heart.
When at the sober hour of sinking day,
Exhausted Nature steals to soft repose,
When the hush'd linnet slumbers on the spray,
And scarce a ZEPHYR fans the drooping ROSE;
I glance o'er scenes of bliss to friendship dear,
And at the fond remembrance drop a tear;
Nor can the balmy incense soothe my smart,
Still cureless sorrow preys upon my heart.
When the loud gambols of the village throng,
Drown the lorn murmurs of the ring-dove's throat;
I think I hear thy fascinating song,
Join the melodious minstrel's tuneful note–
My list'ning ear soon tells me –'tis not THEE,
Nor THY lov'd song–nor THY soft minstrelsy;
In vain I turn away to hide my smart,
Thy dulcet numbers vibrate in my heart.
When with the Sylvan train I seek the grove,
Where MAY'S soft breath diffuses incense round,
Where VENUS smiles serene, and sportive LOVE
With thornless ROSES spreads the fairy ground;
The voice of pleasure dies upon mine ear,
My conscious bosom sighs–THOU ART NOT HERE!
Soft tears of fond regret reveal its smart,
And sorrow, restless sorrow, chills my heart.
When at my matin pray'rs I prostrate kneel,
And Court RELIGION's aid to soothe my woe,
The meek-ey'd saint who pities what I feel,
Forbids the sigh to heave, the tear to flow;
For ah! no vulgar passion fills my mind,
Calm REASON's hand illumes the flame refin'd,
ALL the pure feelings FRIENDSHIP can impart,
Live in the centre of my aching heart.
When at the still and solemn hour of night,
I press my lonely couch to find repose;
Joyless I watch the pale moon's chilling light,
Where thro' the mould'ring tow'r the north-wind blows;
My fev'rish lids no balmy slumbers own,
Still my sad bosom beats for thee alone:
Nor shall its aching fibres cease to smart,
'Till DEATH's cold SPELL is twin'd about my HEART.
FAIR was this blushing ROSE of May,
And fresh it hail'd morn's breezy hour,
When ev'ry spangled leaf look'd gay,
Besprinkled with the twilight show'r;
When to its mossy buds so sweet,
The BUTTERFLY enamour'd flew,
And hov'ring o'er the fragrant treat,
Oft bath'd its silken wings in dew.
SWEET was this PRIMROSE of the dale,
When on its native turf it grew;
And deck'd with charms this LILY pale,
And rich this VIOLET'S purple hue;
This od'rous WOODBINE fill'd the grove
With musky gales of balmy pow'r;
When with the MYRTLE interwove
It hung luxuriant round my bow'r.
ROSE, forgive the hand severe,
That snatch'd thee from thy scented bed;
Where, bow'd with many a pearly tear,
Thy widow'd partner droops its head;
And thou, sweet VI'LET, modest flow'r,
O! take my sad, relenting sigh;
Nor stain the breast whose glowing pow'r,
With too much fondness bade thee die.
SWEET LILY had I never gaz'd
With rapture on your gentle form;
You might have dy'd, unknown, unprais'd,
The victim of some ruthless storm;
Where fickle LOVE his altar rears,
Your little bells had learnt to wave;
Or sadly gemm'd with kindred tears,
Had deck'd some hapless MAIDEN's grave.
Inconstant WOODBINE, wherefore rove
With gadding stem about my bow'r?
Why, with my darling MYRTLE wove,
In bold defiance mock my pow'r?
Why quit thy native, lonely vale,
To flaunt thy buds, thy odours fling;
And idly greet the passing gale,
On ev'ry wanton zephyr's wing?
Yet, yet, repine not, tho' stern FATE
Hath nipp'd thy leaves of varying hue;
Since all that's lovely, soon or late,
Shall sick'ning, fade,–and die like you.
The fire of YOUTH–the frost of AGE,
Nor WISDOM S voice–nor BEAUTY'S bloom,
Th' insatiate tyrant can assuage,
Or stop the hand that seal'd YOUR DOOM.
P. DE LOUTHERBOURG, ESQ. R. A.
On seeing his Views in Switzerland, &c. &c.
WHERE on the bosom of the foamy RHINE,
In curling waves the rapid waters shine;
Where tow'ring cliffs in awful grandeur rise,
And midst the blue expanse embrace the skies;
The wond'ring eye beholds yon craggy height,
Ting'd with the glow of Evening's fading light:
Where the fierce cataract swelling o'er its bound,
Bursts from its source, and dares the depth profound.
On ev'ry side the headlong currents flow,
Scatt'ring their foam like silv'ry sands below:
From hill to hill responsive echoes sound,
Loud torrents roar, and dashing waves rebound:
Th' opposing rock, the azure stream divides
The white froth tumbling down its sparry sides;
From fall to fall the glitt'ring channels flow,
'Till lost, they mingle in the Lake below.
Tremendous spot! amid thy views sublime,
The mental sight ethereal realms may climb,
With wonder rapt the mighty work explore,
Confess TH' ETERNAL'S pow'r! and pensively adore!
ALL VARYING NATURE! oft the outstretch'd eye
Marks o'er the WELKIN's brow the meteor fly:
Marks, where the COMET with impetuous force,
O'er Heaven's wide concave, skims its fiery course:
While on the ALPINE steep thin vapours rise,
Float on the blast–or freeze amidst the skies:
Or half congeal'd in flaky fragments glide
Along the gelid mountain's breezy side;
Or mingling with the waste of yielding snow,
From the vast height in various currents flow.
Now pale-ey'd MORNING, at thy soft command,
O'er the rich landscape spreads her dewy hand:
Swift o'er the plain the lucid rivers fly,
Imperfect mirrors of the dappled sky:
On the fring'd margin of the dimpling tide,
Each od'rous bud, by FLORA'S pencil dy'd,
Expands its velvet leaves of lust'rous hue,
Bath'd in the essence of celestial dew:
While from the METEOR to the simplest FLOW R,
Prolific Nature! we behold thy pow'r!
Yet has mysterious Heaven with care consign'd
Thy noblest triumphs to the human mind;
MAN feels the proud preeminence impart
Intrepid firmness to his swelling heart;
Creation's lord! where'er HE bends his way,
The torch of REASON spreads its godlike ray.
As o'er SIClLlAN sands the Trav'ler roves,
Feeds on its fruits, and shelters in its groves,
Sudden amidst the calm retreat he hears
The pealing thunders in the distant spheres;
He sees the curling fumes from ETNA rise,
Shade the green vale, and blacken all the skies.
Around his head the forked lightnings glare,
The vivid streams illume the stagnant air:
The nodding hills hang low'ring o'er the deep,
The howling winds the clust'ring vineyards sweep;
The cavern'd rocks terrific tremours rend;
Low to the earth the tawny forests bend:
While He an ATOM in the direful scene,
Views the wild CHAOS, wond'ring, and serene;
Tho' at his feet sulphureous rivers roll,
No touch of terror shakes his conscious soul:
His MIND! enlighten'd by PROMETHEAN rays
Expanding, glows with intellectual blaze!
Such scenes, long since, th' immortal POET charm'd,
His MUSE enraptur'd, and his FANCY warm'd:
From them he learnt with magic eye t' explore,
The dire ARCANUM of the STYGIAN shore!
Where the departed spirit trembling, hurl'd
"With restless violence round the pendent world," *
On the swift wings of whistling whirlwinds flung,
Plung'd in the wave, or on the mountain hung.
While o'er yon cliff the ling'ring fires of day,
In ruby shadows faintly glide away;
The glassy source that feeds the CATARACT's stream,
Bears the last image of the solar beam:
Wide o'er the Landscape Nature's tints disclose,
The softest picture of sublime repose;
The sober beauties of EVE'S hour serene,
The scatter'd village, now but dimly seen,
The neighb'ring rock, whose flinty brow inclin'd,
Shields the clay cottage from the northern wind:
The variegated woodlands scarce we view,
The distant mountains ting'd with purple hue:
Pale twilight flings her mantle o'er the skies,
From the still lake, the misty vapours rise;
Cold show'rs descending on the western breeze,
Sprinkle with lucid drops the bending trees,
Whose spreading branches o'er the glade reclin'd,
Wave their dank leaves, and murmur to the wind.
Such scenes, O LOUTHERBOURG! thy pencil fir'd,
Warm'd thy great mind, and every touch inspir'd:
Beneath thy hand the varying colours glow,
Vast mountains rise, and crystal rivers flow:
Thy wond'rous Genius owns no pedant rule,
Nature's thy guide, and Nature's works thy school:
Pursue her steps, each rival's art defy,
For while she charms, THY NAME shall never die.
* Shakspere's Measure for Measure.
ON HEARING IT DECLARED TAHT
WERE SO HANDSOME AS THE ENGLISH.
BEAUTY, the attribute of Heaven!
In various forms to mortals given,
With magic skill enslaves mankind,
As sportive fancy sways the mind.
Search the wide world, go where you will,
VARIETY pursues you still;
Capricious Nature knows no bound,
Her unexhausted gifts are found
In ev'ry clime, in ev'ry face,
Each has its own peculiar grace.
To GALLIA's frolic scenes repair,
There reigns the tyny DEBONAIRE;
The mincing step–the slender waist,
The lip with bright vermilion grac'd:
The short pert nose–the pearly teeth,
With the small dimpled chin beneath,–
The social converse, gay and free,
The smart BON-MOT–and REPARTEE.
ITALIA boasts the melting fair,
The pointed step–the haughty air,
Th' empassion'd tone, the languid eye,
The song of thrilling harmony;
Insidious LOVE conceal'd in smiles
That charms–and as it charms beguiles.
View GRECIAN MAIDS, whose finish'd forms
The wond'ring sculptor's fancy warms!
There let thy ravish'd eye behold
The softest gems of Nature's mould;
Each charm, that REYNOLDS learnt to trace,
From SHERIDAN's * bewitching face.
Imperious TURKEY's pride is seen
In Beauty's rich luxuriant mien;
The dark and sparkling orbs that glow
Beneath a polish'd front of snow:
The auburn curl that zephyr blows
About the cheek of brightest rose:
The shorten'd zone, the swelling breast,
With costly gems profusely drest;
Reclin'd in softly-waving bow'rs,
On painted beds of fragrant flow'rs;
Where od'rous canopies dispense
ARABIA's spices to the sense;
Where listless indolence and ease,
Proclaim the sov'reign wish, to please.
'Tis thus, capricious FANCY shows
How far her frolic empire goes!
On ASIA's sands, on ALPINE snow,
We trace her steps where'er we go;
The BRITISH Maid with timid grace;
The tawny INDIAN 's varnish'd face;
The jetty AFRICAN; the fair
Nurs'd by EUROPA's softer air;
With various charms delight the mind,
For FANCY governs ALL MANKIND.
* Mrs. Sheridan's portrait, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, in the chapter of St. Cecilia.
AH! think no more that Life's delusive joys,
Can charm my thoughts from FRIENDSHIP'S dearer claim;
Or wound a heart, that scarce a wish employs,
For age to censure, or discretion blame.
Tir'd of the world, my weary mind recoils
From splendid scenes, and transitory joys;
From fell Ambition's false and fruitless toils,
From hope that flatters, and from bliss that cloys.
With THEE, above the taunts of empty pride,
The rigid frowns to youthful error given;
Content in solitude my griefs I'll hide,
Thy voice my counsellor–thy smiles my Heaven.
With thee I'll hail the morn's returning ray,
Or climb the dewy mountain bleak and cold;
On the smooth lake observe the sun-beams play,
Or mark the infant flow'rs their buds unfold.
Pleas'd will I watch the glitt'ring queen of Night
Spread her white mantle o'er the face of Heaven;
And from thy converse snatch the pure delight,
By truth sublime to MENTAL feeling given.
And as the varying seasons glide away,
This moral lesson shall my bosom learn,
How TIME steals on, while blissful hours decay
Like fleeting shadows;–NEVER to return.
And when I see thy warm unspotted mind,
Torn with the wound of broken FRIENDSHIP'S dart;
When sickness chills thy breast with pangs unkind,
Or ruthless sorrow preys upon thy heart;
The task be MINE to soothe thee to repose,
To check the sigh, and wipe the trickling tear,
Or with soft SYMPATHY to share thy woes;
O, proudest rapture of the soul sincere!
And ye who flutter thro' the vacant hour,
Where tasteless Apathy's empoison'd wand
Arrests the vagrant sense with numbing pow'r,
While vanquish'd REASON bows at her command.
O say, what bliss can transient Life bestow,
What balm so grateful to the social mind,
As FRIENDSHIP'S voice–where gentle precepts flow
From the blest source of sentiment refin'd?
When FATE'S stern hand shall close my weeping eye,
And seal, at length, my wand'ring spirit's doom;
Oh! may kind FRIENDSHIP catch my parting sigh,
And cheer with HOPE the terrors of the TOMB.
The Reader will perceive the propriety of introducing this charming Composition from the pen of Robert Merry, Esq. the exquisite beauty of the Lines will justify the liberty, at the same time that they will explain the two following poems.
THOU! whose sublime poetic art
Can pierce the pulses of the heart,
Can force the treasur'd tear to flow
In prodigality of woe;
Or lure each jocund bliss to birth
Amid the sportive bow'rs of mirth:
LAURA DIVINE! I call thee now
To yonder promontory's brow
That props the skies; while at its feet
With fruitless ire the billows beat,
There let my fainting sense behold
Those sapphire orbs their heaven unfold,
While from thy lips vermilion bow
Sweet melody her shafts shall throw–
Yet do not, do not yield delight,
Nor with dear visions bless my sight.
Grant me despair, thou mightiest Muse!
O'er the vast scene thy spells diffuse,
And with a mad terrific strain
Conjure up demons from the main:
Storms upon storms indignant heap,
Bid Ocean howl, and Nature weep;
'Till the Creator blush to see
How horrible His World can be;
While I will glory to blaspheme,
And make the joys of hell my theme.
Hah! check this frenzy, spare my soul,
O'er my parch'd cheek soft sorrows roll,
Subdue this vain impassion'd rage,
An atom's energies assuage;
Nor let a mortal wretch presume
To invocate so dire a doom.
What tho' the EAGLE sits forlorn
And swoln and sad awaits the morn,
When he may wave his golden wing,
From Night's detested gloom to spring,
And with the Sun's advancement fly,
In full meridian blaze to die:
Yet shall the chirping FINCH decay,
Upon the hedgerow's wither'd spray,
Ere the first beam of light is found,
And drop unnotic'd to the ground.
So I alas! shall never see
The dawn of hope awake for me,
Still as I turn, new storms appear,
And darker lours this mental sphere.
Ah, who shall one short comfort give,
Or teach my struggling thought to live;
What hand my bleeding bosom bind,
What MOSELEY medicate my mind?
What Star disperse the thick'ning shade,
That bids my restless Being fade?
Yet I have seen the Lord of Day
Dart from his car the burning ray,
And rush a hero to the fight,
Across the pendant plains of light:
I've seen the bashful Moon aspire
To bind her brow with mimic fire,
And o'er the calm translucent air
Diffusive shake her silver hair.
I've paus'd enraptur'd at the tone
That from the Evening Copse is thrown
By the wild Poet of the glade,
Who rests his wing beneath the shade,
And I have prov'd th' unequal bliss
That burns upon the crimson kiss,
When true adoring souls unite
To perish in the proud delight.
These now are lost to me–I stand
Alone in ev'ry peopled land,
No pleasure now my cold heart cheers,
The future points a vale of tears–
Love rends my name from his bright page,
And yields it to approaching age–
Then lead me, LAURA! to the bow'r
Where sadly droops each with'ring flow'r,
Where pois'nous shrubs disease exhale,
And fev'rish vapours load the gale;
There sink me to the sordid grief
That meanly supplicates relief;
There tell me I am most despis'd,
E'en by thyself, whom most I priz'd,
So shall I gladly welcome fate,
And perish in thy perfect hate:
So shall I better bear th' eternal pain,
Never to see thy Form, or hear thy Voice again.
SOFT is the balmy breath of May,
When from the op'ning lids of day
Meek twilight steals; and from its wings
Translucent pearls of ether flings.
MILD is the chaste Moon's languid eye,
When gliding down the dappled sky
She feebly lifts her spangled bow,
Around her glitt'ring darts to throw.–
SWEET are the aromatic bowers,
When Night sends forth refreshing showers
O'er every thirsty fainting bud,
That drinks with joy the grateful flood.
Yet, can the deeply wounded Mind,
From these, no lenient balsam find.–
What can the force of anguish quell,
Where sullen Sorrow loves to dwell,
Where round the bosom's burning throne,
HOPELESS, the mingling PASSIONS groan?
While thro' each guiv'ring, scorching vein,
Rolls a revolving tide of pain;
That struggling with the Storms of FATE,
Provokes her darkest, direst, HATE.
O, BARD ADMIR'D! if ought could move
The soul of Apathy to love;
If, o'er my aching, bleeding breast,
Ought could diffuse the balm of rest,
The pow'r is thine –for oh! thy lays
Warm'd by thy Mind's transcendent blaze,
Dart thro' my frame with force divine,
While all my rending woes combine,
And thronging round thy glorious LYRE,
In momentary bliss EXPIRE.
So, the meek ROSE, that droops forlorn,
Opes its cold breast to meet the morn,
And shaking round a brilliant show'r,
Tempts the bright SUN'S meridian pow'r;
Trembling, its blushing cheek receives
The glowing kiss warms PHOEBUS gives;
Yet, to his fire unconscious flies,
And midst his burning glances, DIES.
Why wilt thou fly?–why give thy form
To the pale phantoms of the storm,
And from the dizzy madd'ning steep
Dash thy proud harp–while o'er the deep
Each envious FIEND shall fiercely glare,
And howling, mock thy RASH DESPAIR!
Ah! wherefore, prodigal of FAME,
Damp with thy tears the MUSE'S flame?
Say, dost thou think, as the soft show'r
Checks the wing'd lightning's fervid pow'r,
To quell the transports of Thy Lyre,
And with cold Sorrow quench its fire?
Know, BARD SUPREME! thy wond'rous song
Doth not to mortal power belong;
The flame, that to thy care is giv'n,
Owns an eternal source in Heav'n;
And like thy PURE, ILLUSTRIOUS Soul,
SHALL LIVE, beyond thy weak controul.
YES, I will lead thee to some rock,
Whose frowns the dashing billows mock;
While the fierce LORD OF LIGHT shall reign
DESPOTIC o'er th' ethereal plain.–
Or when his fiery coursers fly
On red wings down the Western sky;
While Ocean's curling waves unfold,
In one vast sheet of liquid gold;
Then shalt thou mark CREATION'S pride
In slow and trembling tints subside,
'Till darkness stealing o'er the globe,
Unfurls its sable spangled robe.
Then shall thy conscious feelings find
An emblem of the Human Mind;
How grand, ineffable and bright,
When all its lustrous fires unite:
But when chill sorrow spreads its snare,
And tempts its victim to DESPAIR,
All, all its proud perfections fade
In black, oblivion's baneful shade.
O, SUN OF GENIUS! pierce the cloud
That dares thy radiant glories shroud;
Turn, turn thy course to bowers of joy,
Where rob'd in Bliss, the Angel Boy
Shall spread each witching, nameless sweet,
Thy truant, wand'ring heart to greet;
There, pour thy soul in faithful vows,
While thy own LAUREL'S deathless boughs
From each blest leaf shall drop a tear
To bathe the wounds of love sincere.
There, some chaste maid shall list thy lays
In speechless eloquence of praise;
And with her soft eye's melting glance
Infold thee in delicious trance.
And when her heart's celestial shrine
Shall burn with passion warm as thine,
Then, shalt thou feel the rapt'rous glow,
Which none, but souls like THINE, CAN KNOW;
Then, shalt thou hear her tongue declare,
THOU ART NOT FORM'D FOR COLD DESPAIR.
From ME the barb'rous fates unite
To wrest each vision of delight;
No gleam of joy my sad-heart knows,
No interval of calm repose;
Save, when thy LOV'D SERAPHIC Strain
Thrills thro' my breast, with quiv'ring pain;
And bids each throbbing pulse deplore,
That "IF I E'ER COULD PLEASE,–I PLEASE NO MORE."
"But ah, beware how thou shalt fling|
"Thy hot pulse o'er the quiv'ring string,
"How thou another's name shalt raise,
"How gild another with thy praise! "
|ARMIDA TO RINALDO.|
|ORACLE, Jan. 5th, |
THE MUSE OF POETRY.
EXULT MY MUSE! exult to see
Each envious, waspish, jealous thing,
Around its harmless venom fling,
And dart its powerless fangs at THEE!
Ne'er shalt THOU bend thy radiant wing,
To sweep the dark revengeful string;
Or meanly stoop, to steal a ray,
E'en from RINALDO'S glorious lay,
Tho' his transcendent Verse should twine
About thy heart, each bliss divine.
O MUSE ADOR'D, I woo thee now
From yon bright Heaven, to hear my vow;
From thy blest wing a plume I'll steal,
And with its burning point record
Each firm indissoluble word,
And with my lips the proud oath seal!
I SWEAR;–OH, YE, whose souls like mine
Beam with poetic rays divine,
Attend my voice;–whate'er my FATE
In this precarious wild'ring state,
Whether the FIENDS with rancorous ire
Strike at my heart's unsullied fire:
While busy ENVY'S recreant guile
Calls from my cheek THE PITYING SMILE;
Or jealous SLANDER mean and vain,
Essays my mind's BEST BOAST to stain;
Should all combine to check my lays,
And tear me from thy fost'ring gaze,
Ne'er will I quit thy burning eye,
'Till my last, eager, gasping sigh,
Shall, from its earthly mansion flown,
Embrace THEE on thy STARRY THRONE.
Sweet soother of the pensive breast,
Come in thy softest splendours dress'd;
Bring with thee, REASON, chastely mild;
And CLASSIC TASTE–her loveliest child;
And radiant FANCY'S offspring bright,
Then bid them all their charms unite,
My mind's wild rapture to inspire,
With thy own SACRED, GENUINE FIRE.
I ask no fierce terrific strain,
That rends the breast with tort'ring pain,
No frantic flight, no labour'd art,
To wring the fibres of the heart!
No frenzy'd GUIDE, that madd'ning flies
O'er cloud-wrapp'd hills–thro' burning skies;
That sails upon the midnight blast,
Or on the howling wild wave cast,
Plucks from their dark and rocky bed
The yelling DEMONS of the deep,
Who soaring o'er the COMET'S head,
The bosom of the WELKIN sweep!
Ne'er shall MY hand, at Night's full noon,
Snatch from the tresses of the moon
A sparkling crown of silv'ry hue,
Besprent with studs of frozen dew,
To deck my brow with borrow'd rays,
That feebly imitate the SUN'S RICH BLAZE.
AH lead ME not, dear gentle Maid,
To poison'd bow'r or haunted glade;
Where beck'ning spectres shrieking, glare
Along the black infected air;
While bold "fantastic thunders " leap
Indignant, midst the clam'rous deep,
As envious of its louder tone,
While lightnings shoot, and mountains groan
With close pent fires, that from their base
Hurl them amidst the whelming space;
Where OCEAN'S yawning throat resounds,
And gorg'd with draughts of foamy ire,
Madly o'er-leaps its crystal bounds,
And soars to quench the SUN'S proud fire.
While NATURE'S self shall start aghast,
Amid the desolating blast,
That grasps the sturdy OAK'S firm breast,
And tearing off its shatter'd vest,
Presents its gnarled bosom, bare,
To the hot light'ning's with'ring glare!
TRANSCENDENT MUSE! assert thy right,
Chase from thy pure PARNASSIAN height
Each bold usurper of thy LYRE,
Each phantom of phosphoric fire,
That dares, with wild fantastic flight
The timid child of GENIUS fright;
That dares with pilfer'd glories shine
Along the dazzling frenzy'd line,
Where tinsel splendours cheat the mind,
While REASON, trembling far behind,
Drops from her blushing front thy BAYS,
And scorns to share the wreath of praise.
But when DIVINE RINALDO flings
Soft rapture o'er the bounding strings;
When the bright flame that fills HIS soul,
Bursts thro' the bonds of calm controul,
And on enthusiastic wings
To Heaven's Eternal Mansion springs,
Or darting thro' the yielding skies,
O'er earth's disastrous valley flies;
Forbear his glorious flight to bind;
YET o'er his TRUE POETIC Mind
Expand thy chaste celestial ray,
Nor let fantastic fires diffuse
Deluding lustre round HIS MUSE,
To lead HER glorious steps astray!
AH! let his matchless HARP prolong
The thrilling Tone, the classic song,
STILL bind his Brow with deathless Bays,
STILL GRANT HIS VERSE–A NATION'S PRAISE.
But, if by false persuasion led,
His varying FANCY e'er should tread
The paths of vitiated Taste,
Where folly spreads a "weedy waste;"
OH! may HE feel no more the genuine fire,
That warms HIS TUNEFUL SOUL, and prompts THY SACRED LYRE.
LOVE, I renounce thy tyrant sway,
I mock thy fascinating art,
MINE, be the calm unruffled day,
That brings no torment to the heart;
The tranquil mind, the noiseless scene,
Where FANCY, with enchanting mien,
Shall in her right-hand lead along
The graceful patroness of Song;
Where HARMONY shall softly fling
Her light tones o'er the dulcet string;
And with her magic LYRE compose
Each pang that throbs, each pulse that glows;
Till her resistless strains dispense,
The balm of blest INDIFFERENCE.
LOVE, I defy thy vaunted pow'r!
In still Retirement's sober bow'r
I'll rest secure;–no fev'rish pain
Shall dart its hot-shafts thro' my brain,
No start'ling dreams invade my mind
No spells my stagnate pulses bind;
No jealous agonies impart
Their madd'ning poisons to my heart
But sweetly lull'd to placid rest,
The sensate tenant of my breast
Shall one unshaken course pursue,
Such as thy vot'ries never knew.–
SWEET SOLITUDE! pure Nature's child,
Fair pensive daughter of the wild;
Nymph of the Forest; thee I press
My weary sick'ning soul to bless;
To give my heart the dear repose,
That smiles unmov'd at transient woes;
That shelter'd from Life's trivial cares,
Each calm delicious comfort shares;
While conscious rectitude of mind,
Blends with each thought a bliss refin'd,
And scorning fear's soul-chilling pow'r,
Dares court REFLECTION'S dang'rous hour,
To scrutinize with cautious art,
Each hidden channel of the heart.–
Ah, gentle maiden, let me stray,
Where Innocence for ever gay,
Shall lead me to her loveliest bow'rs
And crown my brow with thornless flow'rs;
And strew the weedy paths of time
With Resignation's balm sublime;
While Rosy SPRING, shall smiling haste,
On light steps o'er the dewy waste,
Eager her brightest gems to shed
Around my verdant perfum'd bed;
And in her train the glowing hours
Shall bathe their wings in scented show'rs;
And shake the fost'ring drops to earth,
To nurse meek blossoms into birth;
And when autumnal zephyrs fly
Sportive, beneath the sapphire sky,
Or in the stream their pinions lave,
Or teach the golden sheaves to wave;
I'll watch the ruby eye of day
In awful lustre glide away,
And closing sink to transient rest,
On panting Ocean's pearly breast.
O SOLITUDE! how blest the lot
Of her who shares thy silent cot!
Who with celestial peace, pursues
The pensive wand'rings of the MUSE;
To stray unseen where'er she leads,
O'er grassy hills and sunny meads,
Or at the still of Night's cold noon
To gaze upon the chilly Moon,
While PHILOMELA'S mournful Song
Meanders fairy haunts among,
To tell the hopeless LOVER'S ear,
That SYMPATHY'S FOND BIRD is near;
Whose note shall soothe his aching heart,
Whose grief shall emulate his smart;
And by its sadly proud excess,
Make every pang he suffers less;
For oft in passion's direst woes,
The veriest wretch can yield repose;
While from the voice of kindred grief,
We gain a sad, but kind relief.
AH LOVE! thou barb'rous fickle boy,
Thou semblance of delusive joy,
Too long my heart has been thy slave:
For thou hast seen me wildly rave,
And with impetuous frenzy haste,
Heedless across the thorny waste,
And drink the cold dews, ere they fell
On my bare bosom's burning swell;
When bleak the wintry whirlwinds blew;
And swift the sultry meteors flew;
Yes, thou hast seen me, tyrant pow'r,
At freezing midnight's witching hour,
Start from my couch, subdu'd, oppres'd,
While jealous anguish wrung my breast,
While round my eager senses flew,
Dark brow'd Suspicion's wily crew,
Taunting my soul with restless ire,
That set my pulsate brain on fire.
What didst thou then? Inhuman Boy!
Didst thou not paint each well-feign'd joy,
Each artful smile, each study'd grace
That deck'd some sordid rival's face;
Didst thou not feed my madd'ning sense
With Love's delicious eloquence,
While on my ear thy accents pour'd
The voice of him my soul ador'd,
His rapt'rous tones–his strains divine,
And all those vows that once were mine.
But mild Reflection's piercing ray,
Soon chas'd the fatal dream away,
And with it all my rending woes,
While in its place majestic rose
The Angel TRUTH!–her stedfast mien
Bespoke the conscious breast serene;
Her eye more radiant than the day
Beam'd with persuasion's temper'd ray;
Sweet was her voice, and while she sung
Myriads of Seraphs hover'd round,
Eager to iterate the sound,
That on her heav'n-taught accents hung.
Wond'ring I gaz'd! my throbbing breast,
Celestial energies confest;
Transports, before unfelt, unknown,
Throng'd round my bosom's tremb'ling throne,
While ev'ry nerve with rapture strange,
Seem'd to partake the blissful change.
Now with unmov'd and dauntless Eye,
I mark thy winged arrows fly;
No more thy baneful spells shall bind
The purer passions of my mind;
No more, false Love, shall jealous fears
Inflame my check with scalding tears;
Or shake my vanquish'd sense, or rend
My aching heart with poignant throes,
Or with tumultuous fevers blend,
Self-wounding, visionary woes.–
No more I'll waste the midnight hour
In expectation's silent bow'r;
And musing o'er thy transcripts dear,
Efface their sorrows with a tear.
No more with timid fondness wait
Till morn unfolds her glitt'ring gate,
When thy lov'd song's seraphic sound,
Wou'd on my quiv'ring nerves rebound
With proud delight;–no more thy blush
Shall o'er my cheek unbidden rush,
And scorning ev'ry strong controul,
Unveil the tumults of my soul.
No more when in retirement blest,
Shalt thou obtrude upon my rest;
And tho' encircled with delight,
Absorb my sense, obscure my sight,
Give to my eye the vacant glance,
The mien that marks the mental trance;
The fault'ring tone–the sudden start,
The trembling hand, the bursting heart;
The devious step, that strolls along
Unmindful of the gazing throng;
The feign'd indiff'rence prone to chide;
That blazons–what it seeks to hide.
Nor do I dread thy vengeful wiles,
Thy soothing voice, thy winning smiles,
Thy trick'ling tear, thy mien forlorn,
Thy pray'r, thy sighs, thy oaths I scorn;
No more on ME thy arrows show'r,
Capricious Love–I BRAVE THY POW'R.
LET OTHERS wreaths of ROSES twine
With scented leaves of EGLANTINE;
Enamell'd buds and gaudy flow'rs,
The pride of FLORA'S painted bow'rs;
Such common charms shall ne'er be wove
Around the brows of him I LOVE.
Fair are their beauties for a day,
But swiftly do they fade away;
Each PINK sends forth its choicest sweet
AURORA'S warm embrace to meet;
And each inconstant breeze, that blows,
Steals essence from the musky ROSE.
Then lead me, FLORA, to some vale,
Where, shelter'd from the fickle gale,
In modest garb, amidst the gloom,
The constant MYRTLE sheds perfume;
And hid secure from prying eyes,
In spotless beauty BLOOMS and DIES.
And should its velvet leaves dispense
No pow'rful odours to the sense;
Should no proud tints of gaudy hue,
With dazz'ling lustre pain the view;
Still shall its verdant boughs defy
The northern blast, and wintry sky.
AH, VENUS! should this hand of mine
Steal from thy tree a wreath divine,
Assist me, while I fondly bind
Two Hearts, by holy FRIENDSHIP join'd;
Thy cherish'd branches then shall prove,
Sacred to TRUTH, as well as LOVE.
"If haply, these wild simple flowers|
"To thee some lov'd Image convey;
"Ah! me, then the neighbouring bowers
"Yield none half so lovely as they."
|CESARIO TO LAURA.|
ORACLE, Jan. 18,|
CESARIO, thy Lyre's dulcet measure,
So sweetly, so tenderly flows;
That could my sad soul taste of pleasure,
Thy music would soften its woes.
But ah, gentle soother, where anguish
Takes root in the grief-stricken heart;
'Tis the triumph of sorrow to languish,
'Tis rapture to cherish the smart.
The mind where pale Mis'ry sits brooding,
Repels the soft touch of repose;
Shrinks back when blest Reason intruding,
The balm of mild comfort bestows.
There is luxury oft in declining,
What pity's kind motives impart;
And to bear hapless fate, unrepining,
Is the proudest delight of the heart.
Still, still shall thy Lyre's gentle measure,
In strains of pure melody flow;
While each heart beats with exquisite pleasure,
SAVE MINE–the doom'd VICTIM OF WOE.
"What power like Laura's scornful eye|
"Awakes the ruthless rage of pain?
"What terror bursting from the sky,
"Like Love distracts the tortur'd brain? "
|IGNOTUS * TO LAURA.|
ORACLE, June 25,|
HIM WHO COMPLAINS.
O FLY thee from the shades of night,
Where the loud tempests yelling rise;
Where horrror wings her sullen flight
Beneath the bleak and lurid skies.
As the pale light'ning swiftly gleams
O'er the scorch'd wood, thy well-known form
More radiant than an angel seems,
Contending with the ruthless storm.
I see the scowling witch, DESPAIR
Drink the big tear that scalds thy cheek;
While thro' the dark and turbid air,
The screams of haggard ENVY break.
From the cold mountain's flinty steep,
I hear the dashing waters roar;
Ah! turn thee, turn thee, cease to weep,
Thou hast no reason to deplore.
See fell DESPAIR expiring fall,
See ENVY from thy glances start;
No more shall howling blasts appall,
Or with'ring grief corrode thy heart.
See FRIENDSHIP from her azure eye
Drops the fond balm for ev'ry pain
She comes, the offspring of the sky,
"TO RAZE THE TROUBLES OF THE brain."
* Della Crusca.
WHEN fragrant gales and summer show'rs
Call'd forth the sweetly scented flow'rs;
When ripen'd sheaves of golden grain,
Strew'd their rich treasures o'er the plain;
When the full grape did nectar yield,
In tepid drops of purple hue;
When the thick grove, and thirsty field,
Drank the soft show'r and bloom'd a-new;
O then my joyful heart did say,
"Sure this is Nature's Holy-day!"
But when the yellow leaf did fade,
And every gentle flow'r decay'd;
When whistling winds, and drenching rain,
Swept with rude force the naked plain;
When o'er the desolated scene,
I saw the drifted snow descend;
And sadness darken'd all the green,
And Nature's triumphs seem'd to end;
O! then, my mourning heart did say,
"Thus Youth shall vanish, Life decay."
When Beauty blooms, and Fortune smiles,
And wealth the easy breast beguiles;
When pleasure from her downy wings,
Her soft bewitching incense flings;
THEN, Friends look kind–and round the heart
The brightest flames of passion move,
False Flatt'ry's soothing strains impart
The warmest Friendship–fondest Love;
But when capricious FORTUNE flies,
Then FRIENDSHIP fades;–and PASSION dies.
SWIFT o'er the bounding deep the VESSEL glides,
Its streamers flutt'ring in the summer gales,
The lofty mast the breezy air derides,
As gaily o'er the glitt'ring surf she sails.
Now beats each gallant heart with innate joys,
Bright hopes and tender fears alternate vie,
Dear schemes of pure delight the mind employs,
And the soul glistens in the tearful eye.
The fond expecting Maid delighted stands
On the bleak summit of yon chalky bourn,
With waving handkerchief and lifted hands
She hails her darling Sailor's safe return.
Ill-fated Maid, ne'er shall thy gentle breast
The chaste reward of constant passion prove,
Ne'er shall that timid form again be press'd
In the dear bondage of unsullied love:
Stern Heaven forbids–the dark o'erwhelming deep
Mocks the poor pilot's skill, and braves his sighs;
O'er the high deck the frothy billows sweep,
And the fierce tempest drowns the sea boy's cries.
The madd'ning ocean swells with furious roar,
See the devoted bark, the shatter'd mast,
The splitting hulk dash'd on the rocky shore,
Rolls 'midst the howlings of the direful blast.
O'er the vex'd deep the vivid sulphur flies,
The jarring elements their clamours blend,
The deaf'ning thunder roars along the skies,
And whistling winds from lurid clouds descend.
The lab'ring wreck, contending with the wave,
Mounts to the blast, or plunges in the main,
The trembling wretch suspended o'er his grave,
Clings to the tatter'd shrouds, the pouring rain
Chills his sad breast, methinks I see him weep,
I hear his fearful groan his mutter'd pray'r,
O, cease to mourn, behold the yawning deep
Where soon thy weary soul shall mock Despair,
Yes, soon thy aching heart shall rest in peace,
For in the arms of Death all human sorrows cease.
"Enough for me, that to the list'ning swains
"First in these fields I sung the sylvan strains."
Written under an Oak in Windsor Forest, bearing the following Inscription.
"HERE POPE FIRST SUNG!" O, hallow'd Tree!
Such is the boast thy bark displays;
Thy branches, like thy Patron's lays,
Shall ever, ever, sacred be;
Nor with'ring storm, nor woodman's stroke,
Shall harm the POET'S favourite Oak.
'Twas HERE, he woo'd his MUSE of fire,
While Inspiration's wond'rous art,
Sublimely stealing thro' his heart
Did Fancy's proudest themes inspire:
'Twas HERE he wisely learnt to smile
At empty praise, and courtly guile.
Retir'd from flatt'ring, specious arts.
From fawning sycophants of state,
From knaves, with ravag'd wealth elate,
And little SLAVES with TYRANT Hearts;
In conscious freedom nobly proud,
He scorn'd the envious, grov'ling crowd.
Tho' splendid DOMES around them rise,
And pompous TITLES lull to rest
Each strugg'ling Virtue in the breast,
'Till POW'R the place of WORTH supplies;
The wretched herd can never know
The sober joys these haunts bestow.
Does the fond MUSE delight to dwell,
Where freezing Penance spreads its shade?
When scarce the Sun's warm beams pervade
The hoary HERMIT'S dreary cell?
Ah! no–THERE, Superstition blind,
With torpid languor chills the mind.
Or, does she seek Life's busy scene,
Ah! no, the sordid, mean, and proud,
The little, trifling, flutt'ring crowd,
Can never taste her bliss serene;
She flies from Fashion's tinsel toys,
Nor courts her smile, nor shares her joys.
Nor can the dull pedantic mind,
E'er boast her bright creative fires;
Above constraint her wing aspires,
Nor rigid spells her flight can bind;
The narrow track of musty schools,
She leaves to plodding VAPID FOOLS.
To scenes like THESE she bends her way,
HERE the best feelings of the soul
Nor interest taints, nor threats controul,
Nor vice allures, nor snares betray;
HERE from each trivial hope remov'd,
Our BARD first sought the MUSE he lov'd.
Still shall thy pensive gloom diffuse,
The verse sublime, the dulcet song;
While round the POET'S seat shall throng,
Each rapture sacred to the MUSE;
Still shall thy verdant branches be
The bow'r of wond'rous minstrelsy.
When glow-worms light their little fires,
The am'rous SWAIN and timid MAID
Shall sit and talk beneath thy shade,
AS EVE'S last rosy tint expires;
While on thy boughs the plaintive DOVE,
Shall learn from them the tale of LOVE.
When round the quiv'ring moon-beams play,
And FAIRIES form the grassy ring,
'Till the shrill LARK unfurls his wing,
And soars to greet the blushing day;
The NIGHTINGALE shall pour to THEE,
Her Song of Love-lorn Melody.
When, thro' the forest dark and drear,
Full oft, as ancient stories say,
Old HERNE THE HUNTER † loves to stray,
While village damsels quake with fear;
Nor sprite or spectre, shall invade
The still repose that marks THY shade.
BLEST OAK! thy mossy trunk shall be
As lasting as the LAUREL'S bloom
That deck's immortal VIRGIL'S tomb,
And fam'd as SHAKSPERE'S hallow'd Tree;
For every grateful MUSE shall twine
A votive Wreath to deck THY SHRINE.
† Shakspere's Merry Wives of Windsor.
SWEET PICTURE of Life's chequer'd hour!
Ah, wherefore droop thy blushing head?
Tell me, oh tell me, hap'less flow'r,
Is it because thy charms are fled?
Come, gentle ROSE, and learn from me
A lesson of Philosophy.
Thy scented buds, LIFE'S joys disclose;
They strew our paths with magic sweets;
Where many a thorn like thine, fair ROSE,
Full oft the weary wand'rer meets;
And when he sees thy charms depart,
He feels thy thorn within his heart.
When Morn's bright torch illum'd the sky,
Vainly thy flaunting buds display'd
Enamell'd leaves of crimson die,
Ill-fated blossoms doom'd to fade;
So 'tis with BEAUTY, hapless flow'r,
Its lustre blooms but for an hour.
Come blushing ROSE, and on my breast
Recline thy gentle head, and die;
Thy scatter'd leaves shall there be press'd,
Bath'd with a tear from PITY'S eye;
There shall thy balmy sweets impart
An essence grateful to my heart.
Thus SYMPATHY, with lenient pow'r,
Shall bid thy fading charms bestow
Soft odours for life's happy hour,
Kind, healing balsam for its woe!
If such thy virtues, ROSE DIVINE!
OH! MAY THY ENVIED FATE BE MINE.
UNFADING branch of verdant hue,
In modest sweetness drest,
Shake off thy pearly tears of dew,
And decorate my breast.
Dear emblem of the constant mind,
Truth's consecrated tree,
Still shall thy trembling blossoms find
A faithful friend in me.
Nor chilling breeze, nor drizzling rain
Thy glossy leaves can spoil,
Their sober beauties fresh remain
In every varying soil.
If e'er this aching heart of mine
A wand'ring thought should prove;
O, let thy branches round it twine,
And bind it fast to Love.
For ah! the little fluttering thing,
Amidst LIFE'S tempest rude;
Has felt Affliction's sharpest sting,
YET TRIUMPHS UNSUBDUED.
Like THEE it braves the wintry wind,
And mocks the storm's fierce pow'r,
Tho' from its HOPES the blast unkind,
Has torn each promis'd flow'r.
Tho' round its fibres barb'rous fate
Has twin'd an icy spell;
Still in its central fires elate,
The purest passions dwell.
When LIFE'S disast'rous scene is fled,
This humble boon I crave;
Oh! bind your branches round my head,
AND BLOSSOM ON MY GRAVE.
LADY WILLIAM RUSSELL.
NATURE, to prove her heav'n-taught pow'r,
That gems the earth, and paints the flow'r;
That bids the soft enchanting note
Steal from the LINNET'S downy throat;
That from young MAY'S ambrosial wings,
The balmy dew of HYBLA flings;
With partial hand, each charm combin'd,
To deck THY Form, and grace THY Mind.
She gave her ROSE, to tint thy cheek,
Her witching smile, her blushes meek;
She bade thy ruby lips impart
The chastest precepts of the heart;
She taught thy dulcet voice to prove,
The soothing softness of the DOVE;
While thro' each wond'rous beauty stole
THE PERFECT IMAGE OF THY SOUL.
O'ER fallow plains and fertile meads,
AURORA lifts the torch of day;
The shad'wy brow of Night recedes,
Cold dew-drops fall from every spray;
Now o'er the thistle's rugged head,
Thin veils of filmy vapour fly,
On ev'ry violet's perfum'd bed
The sparkling gems of Nature lie.
The hill's tall brow is crown'd with gold,
The Milk-maid trills her jocund lay,
The Shepherd-boy unpens his fold,
The Lambs along the meadows play;
The pilf'ring LARK, with speckled breast,
From the ripe sheaf's rich banquet flies;
And lifting high his plumy crest,
Soars the proud tenant of the skies.
The PEASANT steals with timid feet,
And gently taps the cottage door;
Or on the green sod takes his seat,
And chaunts some well-known ditty o'er;
Wak'd by the strain, the blushing MAID,
Unpractis'd in Love's mazy wiles,
In clean, but homely garb array'd,
From the small casement peeps–and smiles.
Proud CHANTICLEER unfolds his wing,
And flutt'ring struts in plumage gay;
The glades with vocal echoes ring,
Soft odours deck the hawthorn spray;
The SCHOOL-BOY saunters o'er the green,
With satchel, fill'd with Learning's store;
While with dejected, sullen mien,
He cons his tedious lesson o'er.
When WINTER spreads her banner chill,
And sweeps the vale with freezing pow'r;
And binds in spells the vagrant rill,
And shrivels ev'ry ling'ring flow'r;
When NATURE quits her verdant dress,
And drops to earth her icy tears;
E'EN THEN thy tardy glance can bless,
And soft thy weeping eye appears.
Then at the Horn's enliv'ning peal,
Keen Sportsmen for the chase prepare;
Thro' the young Copse shrill echoes steal,
Swift flies the tim'rous, panting hare;
From ev'ry straw-thatch'd cottage soars
Blue curling smoke in many a cloud;
Around the Barn's expanded doors,
The feather'd throng impatient crowd.
Such are thy charms! health-breathing scene!
Where Nature's children revel gay;
Where Plenty smiles with radiant mien,
And Labour crowns the circling day;
Where Peace, in conscious Virtue blest,
Invites the Heart to joy supreme;
While polish'd Splendour pants for rest
And pines in Fashion's fev'rish dream.
"What is this world?–thy school, O misery!
"Our only lesson is to learn to suffer."
LOVE, thou sportive fickle boy,
Source of anguish, child of joy,
Ever wounding–ever smiling,
Soothing still, and still beguiling;
What are all thy boasted treasures,
Tender sorrows, transient pleasures?
Anxious hopes, and jealous fears,
LAUGHING HOURS, and MOURNING YEARS.
What is FRIENDSHIP'S soothing name?
But a shad'wy, vap'rish flame;
Fancy's balm for ev'ry wound,
Ever sought, but rarely found;
What is BEAUTY? but a flow'r,
Blooming, fading in an hour;
Deck'd with brightest tints at morn,
At twilight with'ring on a thorn;
Like the gentle Rose of spring,
Chill'd by ev'ry zephyr's wing,
Ah! how soon its colour flies,
Blushes, trembles, falls, and dies.
What is YOUTH? a smiling sorrow,
Blithe to day, and sad to-morrow;
Never fix'd, for ever ranging,
Laughing, weeping, doating, changing;
Wild, capricious, giddy, vain,
Cloy'd with pleasure, nurs'd with pain;
AGE steals on with wint'ry face,
Ev'ry rapt'rous Hope to chase;
Like a wither'd, sapless tree,
Bow'd to chilling Fate's decree;
Strip'd of all its foliage gay,
Drooping at the close of day;
What of tedious Life remains?
Keen regrets and cureless pains;
Till DEATH appears, a welcome friend,
To bid the scene of sorrow end.
RICHARD BOYLE, ESQ.
SON OF MRS. WALSINGHAM.
"Fate snatch'd him early to the pitying sky." POPE.
IF WORTH, too early to the grave consign'd,
Can claim the pitying tear, or touch the mind?
If manly sentiments unstain'd by art,
Could waken FRIENDSHIP, or delight the heart?
Ill-fated youth! to THEE the MUSE shall pay
The last sad tribute of a mournful lay;
On thy lone grave shall MAY'S soft dews be shed,
And fairest flowrets blossom o'er thy head;
The drooping lily, and the snow-drop pale,
Mingling their fragrant leaves, shall there recline,
While CHERUBS hov'ring on th' ethereal gale,
Shall chaunt a requiem o'er the hallow'd shrine.
And if Reflection's piercing eye should scan
The trivial frailties of imperfect MAN;
If in thy generous heart those passions dwelt,
Which all should own, and all that live have felt;
Yet was thy polish'd mind so pure, so brave,
The young admir'd thee, and the old forgave.
And when stern FATE, with ruthless rancour, press'd
Thy withering graces to her flinty breast;
Bright JUSTICE darted from her bless'd abode,
And bore thy VIRTUES to the throne of GOD;
While cold OBLIVION stealing o'er thy mind,
Each youthful folly to the grave consign'd.
O, if thy purer spirit deigns to know
Each thought that passes in this vale of woe,
Accept the incense of a tender tear,
By PITY wafted on a sigh sincere.
And if the weeping MUSE a wreath could give
To grace thy tomb, and bid thy VIRTUES live;
THEN Wealth should blush the gilded mask to wear,
And Avarice shrink the victim of Despair.
While GENIUS bending o'er thy sable bier,
Should mourn her darling SON with many a tear,
While in her pensive form the world should view
The ONLY PARENT that thy SORROWS knew.
TELL ME, LOVE, when I rove o'er some far distant plain,
Shall I cherish the passion that dwells in my breast?
Or will ABSENCE subdue the keen rigours of pain,
And the swift wing of TIME bring the balsam of rest?
Shall the image of HIM I was born to adore,
Inshrin'd in my bosom my idol still prove?
Or seduced by caprice shall fine feeling no more,
With the incense of TRUTH gem the altar of LOVE?
When I view the deep tint of the dew-dropping Rose,
Where the bee sits enamour'd its nectar to sip;
Then, ah say, will not memory fondly disclose
The softer vermilion that glow'd on HIS lip?
Will the SUN when he rolls in his chariot of fire,
So dazzle my mind with the glare of his rays,
That my senses one moment shall cease to admire
The more perfect refulgence that beam'd in HIS lays?
When the shadows of twilight steal over the plain,
And the NIGHTINGALE pours its lorn plaint in the grove,
Ah! will not the fondness that thrills thro' the strain,
Then recall to my mind HIS dear accents of Love!
When I gaze on the STARS that bespangle the sky,
Ah! will not their mildness some pity inspire;
Like the soul-touching softness that beam'd in HIS eye,
When the tear of REGRET chill'd the flame of DESIRE?
Then spare, thou dear Urchin, thou soother of pain,
Oh! spare the sweet PICTURE engrav'd on my heart;
As a record of LOVE let it ever remain;
My bosom thy tablet–thy pencil A DART.
"My OBERON, with ev'ry sprite|
"That gilds the vapours of the night,
"Shall dance and weave the verdant ring
"With joy that mortals thus can sing;
"And when thou sigh'st MARIA'S name,
"And mourn'st to feel a hopeless flame,
"Eager they'll catch the tender note
"Just parting from thy tuneful throat,
"And bear it to the careless ear
"Of her who scorn'd a lover's tear. "
|QUEEN OF THE FARIES TO IL FERITO.|
ORACLE, June 2,|
THE QUEEN OF THE FAIRIES.
SWEET MAB! at thy command I flew
O'er glittering floods of midnight dew,
O'er many a silken violet's head,
Unpress'd by vulgar mortal tread;
Eager to execute thy will,
I mounted on the ZEPHYR'S wing,
And bid her whisp'ring tongue be still,
Nor thro' the air its murmurs fling.
Cold CYNTHIA hid her silver bow
Beneath her azure spangled vest;
No gentle ray my wand'rings blest,
Save the small night-worm's twinkling glow.
Upon the budding thorn I found
A veil of gossamer, which bound
My tiny head;–about my waist
A scarf of magic pow'r I threw,
With many a crystal dew-drop grac'd,
And deck'd with leaves of various hue.
Thus, gaily dress'd, I reach'd the grove,
Where, like the Paphian Queen of Love
Upon a bank of lillies fair
MARIA slept; the am'rous air
Snatch'd nectar from her balmy lips,
Sweeter than haughty JUNO sips,
When GANYMEDE her goblet fills
With juice, the citron bud distills.
Her breast was whiter than the down
That on the RING-DOVE'S bosom grows;
Her cheek, more blushing than the rose
That blooms on FLORA'S May-day crown!
Beneath her dark and "fringed lid,"
I spy'd LOVE'S glittering arrows hid;
I listen'd to the dulcet song
That trembled on her tuneful tongue;
And, "IL FERITO †" was the sound
The babbling echo whisper'd round:
The blissful moment swift I caught,
And to the maiden's slumb'ring thought
Pictur'd the graces of his mind,
His taste, his eloquence refin'd!
His polish'd manners sweetly mild!
His soft poetic warblings wild!
His warm impassion'd verse, that fills
The soul with Love's extatic thrills.
I mark'd the blush upon her cheek,
Her spotless bosom's language speak;
I mark'd the tear of pity roll,
Sweet emblem of her feeling soul:
I heard the sympathetic sigh
Upon her lips vermilion die.
When busy LOVE too eager sped
His light steps near the charmer's bed;
His pinions rustling thro' the air
Awoke the trembling spotless fair;
Swiftly her radiant eyes unclose,
When, on my filmy wing I rose
Sweet MAB the rapt'rous tale to bear,
TO "IL FERITO'S" GRATEFUL EAR.
ORACLE, June 3,
† Della Crusca.
THE SIDE OF A RIVER.
FLOW soft RIVER, gently stray,
Still a silent waving tide
O'er thy glitt'ring carpet glide,
While I chaunt my ROUNDELAY,
As I gather from thy bank,
Shelter'd by the poplar dank,
King-cups, deck'd in golden pride,
Harebells sweet, and daisies pied;
While beneath the evening sky,
Soft the western breezes fly.
Gentle RIVER, should'st thou be
Touch'd with mournful sympathy,
When reflection tells my soul,
Winter's icy breath shall quell
Thy sweet bosom's graceful swell,
And thy dimpling course controul;
Should a crystal tear of mine,
Fall upon thy lucid breast,
Oh receive the trembling guest,
For 'tis PITY'S drop divine!
GENTLE ZEPHYR, softly play,
Shake thy dewy wings around,
Sprinkle odours o'er the ground,
While I chaunt my ROUNDELAY.
While the woodbine's mingling shade,
Veils my pensive, drooping head;
Fan, oh fan, the busy gale,
That rudely wantons round my cheek,
Where the tear of suff'rance meek,
Glitters on the LILY pale:
Ah! no more the damask ROSE,
There in crimson lustre glows;
Thirsty fevers from my lip
Dare the ruddy drops to sip;
Deep within my burning heart,
Sorrow plants an icy dart;
From whose point the soft tears flow,
Melting in the vivid glow;
Gentle Zephyr, should'st thou be
Touch'd with tender sympathy;
When reflection calls to mind,
The bleak and desolating wind,
That soon thy silken wing shall tear,
And waft it on the freezing air;
Zephyr, should a tender sigh
To thy balmy bosom fly,
Oh! receive the flutt'ring thing,
Place it on thy filmy wing,
Bear it to its native sky,
For 'tis PITY'S softest sigh.
O'er the golden lids of day
Steals a veil of sober grey;
Now the flow'rets sink to rest,
On the moist earth's glitt'ring breast;
Homeward now I'll bend my way,
AND CHAUNT MY PLAINTIVE ROUNDELAY.
"Yes, LAURA, yes, pure as the virgin snow's |
"That on the bosom of the whirlwind move,
"For thee my faithful endless passion glows.
|LEONARDO † TO LAURA.|
COLD blows the wind upon the mountain's brow;
In murmuring cadence wave the leafless woods;
The feath'ry tribe mope on the frozen bough,
And icy fetters hold the silent floods;
But endless spring the POET'S breast shall prove,
Whose GENIUS kindles at the torch of LOVE.
For HIM, unfading, blooms the fertile mind,
The current of the heart for ever flows;
Fearless His bosom braves the wintry wind,
While thro' each nerve, eternal summer glows;
In vain would chilling apathy controul,
The lambent fire that warms the lib'ral soul!
To me the limped brook, the painted mead,
The crimson dawn, the twilight's purple close;
The mirthful dance, the shepherd's tuneful reed,
The musky fragrance of the opening rose;
To me, alas! all pleasures senseless prove,
Save the sweet converse of the FRIEND I love.
† Della Crusca.
BEE AND THE BUTTERFLY.
UPON a garden's perfum'd bed
With various gaudy colours spread,
Beneath the shelter of a ROSE
A BUTTERFLY had sought repose;
Faint, with the sultry beams of day,
Supine the beauteous insect lay.
A BEE, impatient to devour
The nectar sweets of ev'ry flow'r,
Returning to her golden store,
A weight of fragrant treasure bore;
With envious eye, she mark'd the shade,
Where the poor BUTTERFLY was laid,
And resting on the bending spray,
Thus murmur'd forth her drony lay:–
"Thou empty thing, whose merit lies
In the vain boast of orient dies;
Whose glittering form the slightest breath
Robs of its gloss, and fades to death;
Who idly rov'st the summer day,
Flutt'ring a transient life away,
Unmindful of the chilling hour,
The nipping frost, the drenching show'r;
Who heedless of "to-morrow's fare,"
Mak'st present bliss thy only care;
Is it for THEE, the damask ROSE
With such transcendent lustre glows?
Is it for such a giddy thing
Nature unveils the blushing spring?
Hence, from thy lurking place, and know,
'Tis not for THEE her beauties glow."
The BUTTERFLY, with decent pride,
In gentle accents, thus reply'd:
"'Tis true, I flutter life away
In pastime, innocent and gay;
The SUN that decks the blushing spring
Gives lustre to my painted wing;
'Tis NATURE bids each colour vie,
With rainbow tints of varying die;
I boast no skill, no subtle pow'r
To steal the balm from ev'ry flow'r;
The ROSE, that only shelter'd ME,
Has pour'd a load of sweets on THEE;
Of merit we have both our share,
Heav'n gave thee ART, and made me FAIR;
And tho' thy cunning can despise
The humble worth of harmless flies;
Remember, envious, busy thing,
Thy honey'd form conceals a sting;
Enjoy thy garden, while I rove
The sunny hill, the woodbine grove,
And far remov'd from care and THEE,
Embrace my humble destiny;
While in some lone sequester'd bow'r,
I'll live content beyond thy pow'r;
For where ILL-NATURE holds her reign
TASTE, WORTH, and BEAUTY, plead in vain;
E'en GENIUS must to PRIDE submit
When ENVY wings the shaft of WIT.
CAPRICIOUS foe to human joy,
Still varying with the fleeting day;
With thee the purest raptures cloy,
The fairest prospects fade away;
Nor worth, nor pow'r thy wings can bind,
All earthly pleasures fly with THEE;
Inconstant as the wav'ring wind
That plays upon the summer sea.
I court thee not, ungentle guest,
For I have e'er been doom'd to find
Life's gayest hours but idly drest,
With sweets that pall the sick'ning mind:
When smiling HOPE with placid mien,
Around my couch did fondly play;
Too oft thy aëry form I've seen,
On DOWNY pinions glide away.
But when, perplex'd with pain or care,
My couch with THORNS was scatter'd round;
When the pale priestess of DESPAIR
My mind in fatal spells had bound;
When the dull hours no joy could bring,
No bliss my weary fancy prove;
I mark'd thy leaden, pond'rous wing,
With TARDY pace, unkindly move.
IF SUCH THY GIFTS, O Time! for thee
My sated heart shall ne'er repine;
I bow content to FATE'S decree,
And with thy thorns thy roses twine;
Yet e'er thy fickle reign shall end,
The balmy sweets of FRIENDSHIP'S hour,
I'll with my cup of sorrow blend,
And smile, REGARDLESS OF THY POW'R.
SLOW the limpid currents twining,
Brawl along the lonely dell,
'Till in one wild stream combining,
Nought its rapid course can quell;
So at first LOVE'S poisons stealing,
Round the heart unheeded play,
While we hope our pangs concealing,
Vainly hope to check his sway.
If amidst the glassy river
Aught impedes its placid course,
Ah! it glides more swift than ever,
While opposing gives it force;
So when HOPE and PASSION blending,
Warm the feeble trembling frame;
REASON sickens by contending,
Fanning only feeds the flame.
"Can not my favouring power prolong|
"The lovely lesson of thy song;
"Can not I deck thy bust with bays,
"And lift thee to immortal praise?
"Then check, sweet Nymph, that angry rhyme,
"That wounds thy fond adorer–TIME.
ORACLE, March 13, |
O TIME, forgive the mournful song
That on thy pinions stole along,
When the rude hand of pain severe
Chas'd down my cheek the burning tear;
When sorrow chill'd each warm desire
That kindles FANCY'S lambent fire;
When HOPE, by fost'ring FRIENDSHIP rear'd,
A phantom of the brain appear'd;
Forgive the song, devoid of art,
That stole spontaneous from my heart;
For when that heart shall throb no more,
And all its keen regrets be o'er;
Should kind remembrance shed one tear
To sacred FRIENDSHIP o'er my bier;
When the dark precincts of the tomb,
Shall hide me in its deepest gloom;
O! should'st thou on thy wafting wing
The sigh of gentle sorrow bring;
Or fondly deign to bear the name
Of one, alas! unknown to fame;
Then, shall my weak untutor'd rhyme,
Exulting boast the gifts of TIME.
But while I feel youth's vivid fire
Fann'd by the breath of care expire;
While no blest ray of HOPE divine,
O'er my chill'd bosom deigns to shine:
While doom'd to mark the vapid day
In tasteless languor waste away:
Still, still, my sad and plaintive rhyme
Must blame the ruthless pow'r of TIME.
Each infant flow'r of rainbow hue,
That bathes its head in morning dew,
At twilight droops; the mountain PINE,
Whose high and waving brows incline
O'er the white cataract's foamy way,
Shall at THY withering touch decay!
The craggy cliffs that proudly rise
In awful splendour 'midst the skies,
Shall to the vale in fragments roll,
Obedient to thy fell controul!
The loftiest fabric rear'd to fame;
The sculptur'd BUST, the POET'S name;
The softest tint of TITIAN die;
The boast of magic MINSTRELSY;
The vows to holy FRIENDSHIP dear;
The sainted smile of LOVE sincere,
The flame that warms th' empassion'd heart;
All that fine feeling can impart;
The wonders of exterior grace;
The spells that bind the fairest face;
Fade in oblivion's torpid hour
The victims of thy TYRANT POW'R!
WHY, if perchance thy gaze I meet,
Glows my wan cheek with crimson die?
Why do my languid pulses beat
With quick'ning throbs when thou art nigh?
Why does my fault'ring language fail;
My trembling form its strength forego;
Why does my quiv'ring lip turn pale,
Chill'd by the touch of secret woe?
Say, when thy tuneful voice I hear,
Why does my panting bosom swell?
Why steals the fond, unbidden tear,
The soul's dire agony to tell?
Why, when my feeble hand you press,
And whisper Passion's transports sweet
Why do I shun the dear caress,
And dread thy ardent flame to meet?
Ah! 'tis because too well I know,
LOVE is a tyrant, fickle boy;
His smiles conceal the pangs of woe,
His dearest gift is short-liv'd joy.
He soars aloft on LOVER'S sighs;
In breaking HEARTS his temple rears;
With barb'rous pow'r he BLINDS our EYES,
Then laughing MOCKS OUR FALLING TEARS.
The two following little Poems were written at a very early period of the Author's life.
WHEN AURORA'S soft blushes o'erspread the blue hill,
And the mist dies away at the glances of morn;
When the birds join the music that floats on the rill,
And the beauties of spring the young woodlands adorn.
To breathe the pure air and enliven my soul,
I bound from my cottage exulting and gay;
No care to molest me, no pow'r to controul,
I sport with my lambkins, as thoughtless as they.
Yet, the bright tear of pity bedews my fond eyes,
When I think that for MAN the dear victims must fall,
While nature such stores of provision supplies,
And the bounties of Heaven are common to all.
Ah! tell me, Reflection, why custom decreed
That the sweet feather'd songsters so slaughter'd should be?
For the board of the rich the poor minstrels may bleed,
But the fruits of the field are sufficient for me.
When I view the proud palace, so pompously gay,
Whose high gilded turrets peep over the trees;
I pity its greatness and mournfully say,
Can mortals delight in such trifles as these!
Can a pillow of down sooth the woe-stricken mind,
Can the sweets of Arabia calm sickness and pain;
Can fetters of gold Love's true votaries bind,
Or the gems of Peru Time's light pinions restrain?
Can those limbs which bow down beneath sorrow and age,
From the floss of the silk-worm fresh vigour receive;
Can the pomp of the proud, death's grim tyrant assuage,
Can it teach you to die, or instruct you to live?
Ah, no! then sweet PEACE, lovely offspring of Heav'n,
Come dwell in my cottage, thy handmaid I'll be;
Thus my youth shall pass on, unmolested and even,
And the winter of age be enliven'd by thee!
BY the side of a mountain, o'er-shadow'd with trees,
With thick clusters of vine intermingled and wove;
I behold my thatch'd cottage, dear mansion of ease,
The seat of contentment, of friendship, and love!
Each morn when I open the latch of my door,
My heart throbs with rapture to hear the birds sing;
And at night, when the dance in the village is o'er,
On my pillow I strew the fresh roses of spring.
When I hide in the forest from noon's scorching beam,
While the torrent's deep murmurs re-echoing sound;
When the herds quit their pasture to quaff the clear stream,
And the flocks in the vale lie extended around:
I muse, but my thoughts are contented and free,
I regret not the splendours of riches and pride;
The delights of retirement are dearer to me
Than the proudest appendage to greatness ally'd.
I sing, and my song is the carol of joy;
My cheek glows with health, like the wild rose in bloom;
I dance; yet forget not tho' blithesome and gay,
That I measure the footsteps which lead to the tomb.
Contented to live–yet not fearful to die,
With a conscience unspotted I pass thro' life's scene;
On the wings of delight every moment shall fly,
And the end of my days be resign'd and serene.
ORIGIN OF CUPID.
ON IDA'S mount the gods were met,
A sportive, jolly, noisy set,
Resolving nectar bowls to quaff,
To revel, riot, sing and laugh;
For gods will frolic now and then,
And err like earth-born sons of men.
From early dawn till setting day
The jocund hours had roll'd away,
When midst the group Apollo rose
This serious question to propose,
Who should succeed upon the throne–
When Jupiter their king was gone?
MARS first his best excuses made,
War his delight and ancient trade;
Old NEPTUNE vow'd at such an age,
In state affairs he'd not engage:
BACCHUS preferr'd a draught of nectar
To any monarch's crown and sceptre.
At length fatigu'd with idle prating,
With contradiction and debating;
It was propos'd, and straight agreed,
A new-form'd monarch should succeed,
And each, to make the plan expedient,
Should of offer some DIVINE ingredient.
MARS offer'd courage–train'd to arms;
VENUS her soft bewitching charms:
HERCULES strength; proud JUNO grace;
MOMUS his laughing, dimpled face;
APOLLO and the SISTERS NINE,
Gave polish'd manners, wit divine!
At length the infant was completed,
And on a throne of ether seated;
His beauty aw'd the gazing crowd;
Before his feet each veteran bow'd;
Each hop'd his gentle smiles to prove,
And hail'd the little monarch LOVE.
When lo, to check the mirthful hour,
Old TIME appear'd, with aspect sour;
His hoary locks like silver thread
Upon his stooping shoulders spread;
"Vain are your wishes" cried the sage;
"In useless toil you now engage,
Think ye, with all this vain parade,
To form a god without MY aid?
In all debates am I alone,
For age, and wise experience known;
Presumptuous wretches, you shall prove,
That TIME has pow'r TO CONQUER LOVE!
No settled bliss the Boy shall taste,
My pinions to his shoulders plac'd
Shall bear him to the world below;
Each change of fortune there to know;
While in each state the wretch shall be
A SUBJECT VASSAL STILL TO ME."
TO HER GRACE THE
DUTCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE.
'TIS NOT thy flowing hair of orient gold,
Nor those bright eyes, like sapphire gems that glow;
Nor cheek of blushing rose, nor breast of snow,
The varying passions of the heart could hold:
Those locks, too soon, shall own a silv'ry ray,
Those radiant orbs their magic fires forego;
Insatiate TIME shall steal those tints away,
Warp thy fine form, and bend thy beauties low:
But the rare wonders of thy polish'd MIND
Shall mock the empty menace of decay;
The GEM, that in thy SPOTLESS BREAST enshrin'd,
Glows with the light of intellectual ray;
Shall, like the Brilliant, scorn each borrow'd aid,
And deck'd with native lustre NEVER FADE!
WHOE'ER thou art, whose soul-enchanting song
Steals on the sullen ear of pensive woe;
To whom the sounds of melody belong,
Sounds, that can more than human bliss bestow;
Like the wak'd God of day, whose rays pervade
The spangled veil of night, and fling their fires
O'er the cold bosom of the em'rald glade,
While bath'd in tears, the virgin orb retires.
Thy glowing verse illumes my path of care,
And warms each torpid fibre of my heart,
And tho' my MUSE exults thy smiles to share,
She feels the force of thy superior art;
YET, shall she proudly own her timid lays,
The cherish'd darlings of thy ENVIED PRAISE.
† See the beautiful Sonnet in the Morning Herald, Oct. 27, 1790.
MISS MARIA LINLEY.
So bends beneath the storm yon balmy flow'r,
Whose spicy blossoms once perfum'd the gale;
So press'd with tears reclines yon lily pale,
Obedient to the rude and beating show'r.
Still is the LARK, that hov'ring o'er yon spray,
With jocund carol usher'd in the morn;
And mute the NIGHTINGALE, whose tender lay
Melted the feeling mind with sounds forlorn:
More sweet, MARIA, was thy plaintive strain!
That strain is o'er; but mem'ry ne'er shall fade,
When erst it cheer'd grey twilight's dreary shade,
And charm'd the sorrow-stricken soul from pain;
STILL, STILL, melodious maid, thy dulcet song
Shall breathe, immortal, on an ANGEL'S TONGUE!
Written under a tree in the woods of St. Amand, in Flanders.
SWEET BALMY HOUR!–dear to the pensive mind,
Oft have I watch'd thy dark and weeping shade,
Oft have I hail'd thee in the dewy glade,
And drop'd a tear of SYMPATHY refin'd.
When humming bees, hid in their golden bow'rs,
Sip the pure nectar of MAY'S blushing rose,
Or faint with noon-day toils, their limbs repose,
In Baths of Essence stol'n from sunny flow'rs.
Oft do I seek thy shade dear with'ring tree,
Sad emblem of my OWN disast'rous state;
Doom'd in the spring of life, alas! like THEE
To fade, and droop beneath the frowns of FATE;
Like THEE, may Heaven to ME the meed bestow,
To shelter Sorrow's tear, and sooth THE CHILD OF WOE.
He that's ungrateful, has no guilt but one;
All other crimes may pass for virtues in him.
I COULD have borne affliction's sharpest thorn;
The sting of malice–poverty's deep wound;
The sneers of vulgar pride, the idiot's scorn;
Neglected Love, false Friendship's treach'rous sound;
I could, with patient smile, extract the dart
Base calumny had planted in my heart;
The fangs of envy; agonizing pain;
ALL, ALL, nor should my steady soul complain:
E'en had relentless FATE, with cruel pow'r,
Darken'd the sunshine of each youthful day;
While from my path she snatch'd each transient flow'r.
Not one soft sigh my sorrow should betray;
But where INGRATITUDE'S fell poisons pour,
HOPE shrinks subdued–and LIFE'S BEST JOYS DECAY.
IN early youth, blithe Spring's exulting day,
Each hour put forth new raptures to my view;
Each sunny morn on downy pinions flew,
And swift the jocund minutes danc'd away!
Ere Summer's breath matur'd my ripening mind,
I found the blissful scene begin to fade;
Cold sorrow hover'd round with wings unkind,
And o'er my bosom spread a dreary shade;
An early Winter chills my glowing breast,
Frost-nipp'd too soon my fondest hopes decay;
My cheek no more with rosy graces bless'd,
Smiles with the freshness of returning May;
So freezing gales in sunny splendours drest,
Fade the young blossoms of the infant spray.
MY BELOVED DAUGHTER.
WHEN FATE in ruthless rage assail'd my breast,
And Heaven relentless seal'd the harsh decree;
HOPE, placid soother of the mind distress'd;
To calm my rending sorrows–gave me THEE.
In all the charms of innocence array'd,
'Tis thine to sprinkle patience on my woes;
As from thy voice celestial comfort flows,
Glancing bright lustre o'er each dreary shade.
Still may thy growing REASON's light divine,
Illume with joy my melancholy bow'rs;
Still may the beams of sacred VIRTUE shine,
To deck thy spring of youth with thornless flow'rs;
So shall their splendid attributes combine,
To shed soft sunshine on MY WINTRY HOURS.
WHEN the loud torrent rushing from the rock,
Spreads desolation o'er the plain below;
In vain the SHEPHERD seeks his little flock,
Where o'er the meadows foaming waters flow;
Fix'd in Despair he wildly gazes round,
He sees his plenteous fields o'erwhelm'd and lost;
His golden harvest by the whirlwind tost;
And his neat cottage levell'd with the ground.
No trace exists of forest, hut, or green,
Still the high CASTLE mocks the fateful hour;
Tow'ring it stands amidst the delug'd scene,
Scorns the wild wave, and mocks the tempest's pow'r.
So to Oppression bows the hapless swain,
WHILE THE PROUD TYRANT LORDS IT O'ER THE PLAIN!
THE SEA-BEAT MARINER, whose watchful eye
Full many a boist'rous night hath wak'd to weep;
When the keen blast descending from the sky,
Snatch'd his warm tear-drop from the rav'nous deep.
Drench'd by the chilling rain, his dreary hour
Creeps slowly onward to the dawn of day;
Till burning PHOEBUS darting thro' the show'r,
Warms with his golden beam the frothy spray:
With lightning's swiftness he ascends the mast,
And cries, "another tedious night is o'er;"
He spreads the swelling sail, he sees at last
His darling MISTRESS, and his NATIVE SHORE;
The restless wand'rer then forgets past pain,
Steals a fond kiss, and BRAVES HIS FATE AGAIN.
NIGHT'S dewy Orb, that o'er yon limpid stream
Its silent light in soft refulgence throws;
Yon limpid stream, whose quiv'ring bosom shows
The tender radiance of the silv'ry beam:
Yon tangled wood, whose high and waving head
Hangs o'er the dashing torrent's frothy source;
Which wildly bounding from its pebbly bed,
Thro' the lone valley winds its dimpling course;
Have oft, full oft, been witness to my woe,
When cold neglect, false hopes, and jealous fears,
The RUBY DROPS that in my bosom glow,
With icy touch transform'd to CRYSTAL TEARS;
DEAR PRECIOUS GEMS, still shall your rays impart,
The brightest lustre of THE FEELING HEART.
WIDE o'er the barren plain the bleak wind flies,
Sweeps the high mountain's top, and with its breath
Swells the curl'd river o'er the plain beneath,
Where many a clay-built hut in ruin lies.
The hardy PEASANT in his little cot,
Lights his small fire, his homely meal prepares;
No pamper'd luxury, no splendid cares
Invade the comforts of his humble lot.
Born to endure, he labours thro' the day,
And when the midnight storm o'er spreads the skies,
On a clean pallet peacefully he lies,
And sweetly sleeps the lonely hours away;
Till at the peep of dawn he wakes to find,
HEALTH in his veins, and RAPTURE IN HIS MIND.
Written among the Ruins of an ancient Castle in Germany, in the year 1786.
YE mould'ring walls where Titian colours glow'd,
And the soft minstrel's echo charm'd the ear;
Alas! how chang'd your dreary haunts appear,
The solitary Screech-owl's dark abode.
Where in yon gothic hall fair forms divine,
Trip'd with light heel, or swam with graceful ease;
Now clasping ivy round the columns twine,
And loathsome weeds infect the midnight breeze.
Those turrets, wasting in the northern blast,
No more with burnish'd radiance proudly glow,
But in small fragments on the pavement cast,
Heap the wild ruin on the plain below;
Mingling with dust thy mighty roofs are laid,
So MAN, the grandest work of Heav'n, SHALL FADE.
AH! LUST'ROUS GEM, bright emblem of the Heart,
That nobly scorns a borrow'd ray to share,
Whose gentle pow'r can break the spells of care,
And sooth, with lenient balm, the keenest smart.
Whether from holy FRIENDSHIP'S vow profan'd,
Or the dire frenzy of unpitied LOVE;
Whether from cherish'd passion unrestrain'd,
Or the worst pang the jealous mind can prove.
Yet, if sad mem'ry ling'ring o'er past woe,
Calls THEE, soft trembler, from thy crystal throne,
And sternly bids thy pearly incence flow,
E'en when the treach'rous phantom, HOPE, is flown;
How fickle are the gifts thy rays impart,
At once the BALM and POISON OF THE HEART.
THE SNOW DROP.
THOU meekest emblem of the infant year,
Why droops so cold and wan thy fragrant head?
Ah! why retiring to thy frozen bed,
Steals from thy silky leaves the trembling tear?
Day's op'ning eye shall warm thy gentle breast,
Revive thy timid charms and sickly hue;
Thy drooping buds shall drink the morning dew,
And bloom again by glowing PHOEBUS drest;
Or should the midnight damp, with icy breath,
Nip thy pale check, and bow thee to the ground,
Or the bleak winds thy blossoms scatter round,
And all thy modest beauties fade to death;
E'en in decay thy spotless sweets shall rise,
And midst AURORA'S TEARS evap'rate IN THE SKIES.
WHERE, thro' the starry curtains of the night,
Soft whisp'ring breezes wake the ruddy morn,
Whose sparkling eye darts forth returning light,
Whose golden brows refulgent beams adorn:
Where gaudy blossoms o'er the tufted vale,
Fling their soft breathings on the spicy gale,
From the lorn NIGHTINGALE on yonder spray,
In melting murmurs steals the love-fraught lay;
Stranger to joy and hopeless of relief,
At morn's proud glow–and twilight's pensive hour,
Her widow'd breast its plaintive song shall pour,
In all the luxury of tender grief:
For ah! nor morn, nor fragrant gales can move
The faithful heart that MOURNS A TRUANT LOVE.
"Ere such a soul regains its peaceful state,|
"How often must it love, how often hate,
"How often hope, despair, resent, regret,
"Conceal, disdain, do all things, but forget."
PETRARCH TO LAURA.
Supposed to have been written during his retirement at Vaucluse a short time before her death.
YE silent haunts, ye dark embow'ring shades,
Lone shaggy wilds and melancholy glades;
Ye mountains black'ning o'er the thorny vale;
Ye lucid lakes that trembling meet the gale;
Ye gloomy avenues of dire despair,
Dear last asylums of long-cherish'd care;
Eternal solitudes! where LOVE retires
To bathe his wounds, and quench his fatal fires;
Where frantic, lost, forlorn, and sad I go
A wand'ring pilgrim in a maze of woe;
Oh! to your deepest caverns let me fly,
Breathe a fond pray'r, and 'MIDST YOUR HORRORS DIE.
Ye sparry grots, ye once ador'd retreats,
Ye tinkling rills, ye consecrated seats,
Whose velvet sod embroider'd o'er with flow'rs,
On the charm'd sense celestial odour pours;
Ye roseate banks o'erhung with waving trees,
That moan responsive to the murm'ring breeze;
How cold, how desolate your shade appears,
A path of mis'ry thro' a vale of tears.
Now pale Despair hangs brooding o'er your bow'rs,
Absorbs your sweets, and withers all your flow'rs;
Strips the thick foliage from your verdant shades,
And spreads eternal darkness o'er your glades;
No more for ME your sunny banks shall pour
In purple tides ripe Autumn's luscious store;
No more for ME your lust'rous tints shall glow,
Your forests wave, your silv'ry channels flow;
Yet 'midst your heav'n my wounded breast shall crave
One narrow cell, my SOLACE and my GRAVE.
Subdu'd, o'erwhelm'd, a with'ring shade I stray,
Shrink from myself; and shudder at the day:
No more fond HOPE sustains my sick'ning soul,
Resistless passion spurns her meek controul;
Corroding anguish o'er each prospect low'rs,
Bends my weak frame, my lusty youth devours;
Clings to my breast where ev'ry fibre bleeds,
And on its vital throne insatiate feeds.
Where shall I fly? what path untrod explore,
Where love can wound, and memory live no more;
Where, LAURA, shall I turn, what balsam find
To soothe the throbbings of my fev'rish mind?
What blest relief can life's dull round impart,
What rapture vivify the hopeless heart;
What pitying star its beamy stream dispense,
To light my soul, and cheer my vagrant sense;
To gild the gloom of desolating woes,
And lead my wand'ring footsteps to repose?
When wild with passion, madd'ning with remorse,
From AVIGNON'S lov'd walls I bent my course;
While roll'd in crimson clouds the orb of day,
O'er seas of ether shed his parting ray;
As to his western goal he journey'd forth,
Leaving pale twilight weeping o'er the earth;
Oft did I pause, oft turn my longing eyes
To the tall spire that pierc'd the evening skies;
All was serene! save when the curfew's sound
Struck on my pensive heart with knell profound;
While Fancy bade my frantic mind explore,
Those scenes of holy joy I taste no more;
Unsullied altars, consecrated shrines,
Where curling incense round each taper twines;
Where, thro' long aisles, seraphic PÆANS ring,
And meek-ey'd virgins choral anthems sing!
Where, like a being of celestial mould,
My LAURA'S beauteous form I dar'd behold * !
While at the shrine her orisons she pour'd,
Pure as the spirit of the saint ador'd!
Oft as the cross her snowy fingers press'd,
Her auburn tresses veil'd her spotless breast!
A shade transparent deck'd her brow divine,
And bade her eyes with temper'd lustre shine!
As low she bow'd before the throne of Grace,
A cherub's softness harmoniz'd her face;
A smile benign reveal'd her tranquil soul,
While from her lips devotion's fervour stole;
Each conscious rapture to her share was giv'n,
Her form was virtue, and her mind was heav'n.
Fix'd to the earth with trembling zeal I gaz'd.
Each passion waken'd, and each sense amaz'd!
Involuntary sighs, too soon confess'd
The struggling tumults lab'ring in my breast;
No thought sublime on my rapt feelings hung,
No sacred eloquence unchain'd my tongue;
ALL, ALL WAS LOVE! while thro' my burning brain
Rush'd a fierce torrent of convulsive pain;
From my dim eyes celestial radiance stole,
While howling demons grasp'd my sinking soul,
Guilt's writhing scorpions twining round my heart,
Enflam'd each wound, and heighten'd every smart;
In vain I sought Religion's calm domain,
And at her footstool pour'd my hopeless pain;
The priestess frowning on my impious pray'r,
Check'd the bold suit, and hurl'd me to despair.
AH, LAURA! canst thou seal the dread decree
That tears thy PETRARCH from his GOD and THEE?
That gives his mental hopes, his fond desires
To conscious anguish and consuming fires?
Canst thou with unrelenting vengeance urge
A trembling soul to fate's extremest verge;
And while subdu'd it supplicates relief,
Dash the doom'd suff'rer to eternal grief?
Why, soft enchantress, spread the fatal snare
That lures thy struggling victim to despair?
Why with meek smiles my wand'ring sense reclaim?
Why feed with pitying looks my hopeless flame? †
Ah! rather come in awful lustre drest,
Calm my touch'd sense, and lull the fiends to rest;
Teach me each rebel passion to disown,
Chill my hot pulse, and freeze my heart to stone:
With contrite sighs devotion's flame illume;
With holy tear-drops gem this mental gloom:
Come in transcendent VIRTUE'S sacred form,
Stem the fierce torrent, and appease the storm;
Grasp the dire bolt suspended o'er my head,
And o'er my quiv'ring heart-strings patience shed;
Check with thy councils ev'ry madd'ning flight,
Direct me trembling to the paths of light;
Bow my parch'd dip to kiss the chast'ning rod,
And lead me blushing to the throne of GOD!
Where'er I fly, where'er my frenzy roves,
To pine-clad summits, or low bending groves:
Still on my shatter'd brain thy form appears,
Steals to my heart, and glistens thro' my tears:
Thy voice I hear in ev'ry whispering gale,
Thy fragrant breath from Citron buds inhale;
I mark the ROSE in native sweetness drest,
I snatch the blushing emblem to my breast;
Thy burnish'd ringlets float across my sight,
In the last glowing stream of orient light;
And as the star of morn unfolds its fire,
Stolen from the glances of its burning sire:
Thy beaming eyes emit translucent rays,
The lust'rous heralds of thy soul's rich blaze!
A matron's purity thy smiles impart,
And Heav'n's best splendours brighten in thy heart;
Ah! wherefore PETRARCH, wherefore rashly dare
The dang'rous magic of a form so fair?
Yet ere thy pow'r supreme my soul confess'd,
Ere fainting Virtue fled my burning breast;
While in its veins one ling'ring spark remain'd,
One heavenly spark by trembling hope sustain'd;
VAUCLUSE thy sylvan solitudes I chose
To cure my passion, or conceal my woes;
And oft beneath thy melancholy shade
Reluctant, pensive, half-resolv'd I stray'd;
And trembling, fault'ring, frequent sighs I pour'd
Before the shrine of HIM but half ador'd:
While as the sacred Virgin's form I view'd
A brighter IDOL, every sense subdu'd!
While holy vows were lost in warm desires
LOVE drop'd a tear that quench'd religion's fires:
While thro' my eyes my heart's true fervour shone,
And my fond soul, dear Saint, WAS ALL THY OWN!
Now o'er some craggy peak when frowning night
Grasps the last shad'wy tint of ruby light;
When o'er the vast expanse I seek in vain
The tawny vineyard and the yellow plain;
Heedless I wander, while the tempest flies,
Brave the bleak winds, and mock the threat'ning skies.
Where from the wild romantic cliffs around
The headlong torrents fall with hollow sound;
And stealing thro' the winding vale below,
Unseen, thro' mid-day glooms incessant flow;
While sullen echo's aëry tongue betrays,
Where round her seat each brawling channel strays;
While the lone owl her lurid haunts among,
To the pale moon repeats her nightly song;
While rocks acute, my fev'rish limbs sustain,
Chill'd by the freezing blast and drizzling rain;
Madd'ning I see thy glitt'ring phantom rise,
Spring from the steep, and hover 'midst the skies.
I rave, I howl, from point to point I start,
While hell's worst torments riot in my heart;
I court the fiends my rending pangs to share,
And prove the PROUDEST TRANSPORTS OF DESPAIR,
When first to these calm shades I bent my way,
Led by the light of intellectual ray;
I mark'd soft peace her gentlest balm diffuse,
To sooth the hapless HERMIT OF VAUCLUSE!
Where 'midst the foliage of my laurel † bow'rs,
The MUSE had sprinkled never-fading flow'rs;
Where mild PHILOSOPHY unveil'd her shrine,
Each care to solace, and each wish refine;
Whole years my studious eye intent explor'd
The treasur'd gems by hoary wisdom stor'd!
Each truth sublime by ancient sages taught,
Grac'd with the glossy charm of polish'd thought:
And oft the sickly taper's feeble rays
Shrunk from the splendours of the solar blaze,
While o'er the classic page absorb'd I hung,
Where HOMER breath'd, or tuneful VIRGIL sung!
When all was rapture, all was peace, my breast
No pang endur'd, no wayward thought confess'd!
Swiftly thy beauty gleam'd across my sight,
Dim'd the bright flame of transitory light,
Spurn'd each weak barrier trembling Reason gave,
And plung'd me vanquish'd in affliction's wave.
Yet, yet once more, my aching bosom sought
A lenient pause from agonizing thought;
I left these bow'rs o'er foreign realms to stray,
LOVE lit his torch to guide my thorny way!
Mournful I journey'd o'er ITALIA'S lands,
And moisten'd with my tears SICILIAN sands,
Where the proud DANUBE'S rushing waters roll,
I pour'd the madd'ning anguish of my soul.
O'er ALPINE hills in solitary woe,
I wept and wander'd 'midst eternal snow.
Oft did I mark the RHONE'S impetuous stream
By the faint lustre of pale Cynthia's beam;
And as the foamy current curl'd along,
Heard the rocks echo with my frantic song!
Where ROME'S majestic ruins tott'ring stand
The hourly victims of Time's mould'ring hand;
Whole nights I've trod the tessellated stone,
While scarce a glimm'ring star in pity shone;
And starting 'midst th' impenetrable gloom,
Grasp'd the cold fragment of some MARTYR'S tomb,
And tore the crawling ivy from its bed,
To weave a pillow for my burning head:
Then rais'd my eyes to GOD in fervent pray'r,
To end my BEING and my SORROWS there.
For O! eternal MARTYRDOM I prove,
Heav'n's doom'd APOSTATE–my fell tyrant, LOVE!
When ROME her proud applause exulting gave,
And round my car her laurels stoop'd to wave!
When borne triumphant o'er the sacred ground,
By holy hands with flow'ry chaplets crown'd!
While clanking cymbals echo'd thro' the sky;
And rosy infants bade the censers † fly!
When nation's throng'd THY POET'S Fame to share,
And shouts of rapture fill'd the perfum'd air!
No flush'd delight from adulation caught,
No selfish joy with false ambition fraught
Could draw my prostrate soul from LOVE and THEE;
Still at THY shrine I bent the trembling knee!
For who but THEE, transcendent Angel! taught
The flame to live, which kindled every thought?
For who, like THEE, could heavenly themes inspire,
Or touch the sensate mind with hallow'd fire,
Mingling with mortal dust the spark divine,
That bade my verse with deathless glories shine.
In yon cool grot emboss'd with shells and flow'rs,
Where the hot stream of noon-day light scarce pours;
Where silence reigns, save when the shallow rill
With gurgling sound steals o'er the mossy sill;
While 'midst the shadows of the twilight gleam,
I tun'd my LYRE–thy FATAL CHARMS my theme;
O'er my chill'd form sleep's sable curtain hung,
Veil'd my sad eyes, and chain'd my fault'ring tongue.
Each sense absorb'd, yet my fond SOUL was free,
Its thoughts, its faculties, all dwelt with thee;
Celestial visions hover'd o'er my breast,
And rose lip'd Angels sooth'd my pangs to rest.
Their silver harps hung pendant on the sky,
Bound with unfading wreaths of em'rald die,
While the wing'd choristers inscrib'd thy name
On Heav'n's blue tablet with etherial flame.
In the bland portal of the rosy East
AURORA sat in golden mantle drest;
The silent air in crystal fetters bound,
Slept on the folded clouds that glisten'd round;
When to my ravish'd sight thy form was shown,
The guardian spirit of the sphery throne!
A crown of orient pearls thy brow compress'd,
A zone of myrtle clasp'd thy iv'ry breast!
The tear of PITY trembled in thine eye
Like a bright PLANET in the morning sky!
The blush of HEBE mantled o'er thy cheek,
When thus thy voice seraphic seem'd to speak:
"Freed from the goading chain of mortal care,
I rove a bless'd inhabitant of air;
Yet, in delicious extacy I wait,
Till my lov'd PETRARCH shall partake my fate:
Death's but a messenger that brings relief
To the last pang of sublunary grief.
THE SOUL, once purified, awaits on those
Who toil amidst a wilderness of woes:
It guards the partners of its mortal hours,
When anguish threatens, or despair devours,
Shields the frail bosom with a cherub's wing,
And robs thy tyrant DEATH of EV'RY STING.
But see the ruddy dawn's advancing blaze,
Tears my fond shadow from thy eager gaze;
I leave thee in life's wild'ring vale to rove,
The mourning victim of disast'rous love:
Farewell, thy LAURA'S last fond hope is this,
To meet her PETRARCH in the realms of bliss."
The vision vanish'd, while my frantic mind
"Awoke to all the griefs it left behind!"
Now driven from each vain hope, each fond delight,
My SUN of glory saddens into night;
My once bright laurels doom'd, alas! to fade
On the pale forehead of a ling'ring shade.
A living spectre drooping and forlorn,
A star obscur'd of all its lustre shorn:
I count my midnight beads, and kneeling, rave,
On the damp sod my PALLET and my GRAVE.
Toiling thro' tedious years unseen, unblest,
Eternal thorns corroding in my breast;
I fast, I pray, and yet no comfort find;
Heaven on my lips, but hell within my mind!
I feel THEE ever on my heated brain;
I weep, I sigh, I supplicate in vain!
Or, if by chance one pitying ray of rest
Warms the sad inmate of my throbbing breast;
'Tis but a gleam of INTELLECTUAL light
That feebly glances o'er my MENTAL sight,
And for a moment dissipates the gloom,
To point my weary footsteps TO THE TOMB.
† "Petrarch first beheld Laura at Matins on the sixth of April, 1327, in the church of St. Clair at Avignon."
See Mrs. Dobson's Life of Petrarch.
† "Laura wished to be beloved by Petrarch, but with such refinement, that he should never speak of his love: whenever he attempted the most distant expression of this kind, she treated him with excessive rigour; but when she saw him in despair, his countenance languishing, and his spirits drooping, she then re-animated him by some trifling kindness."
See Mrs. Dobson's Life of Petrarch, Vol. I. Page 116.
† Petrarch dedicated this Tree to his beloved Laura.
† Small Vases suspended by silver or gold chains, and filled with burning incense; they are generally carried by children at religious ceremonies in Catholic countries.
As a Tribute of Esteem and Admiration this Poem is inscribed to ROBERT MERRY, Esq. A. M. Member of the Royal Academy at Florence, and Author of the Laurel of Liberty, and the Della Crusca Poems.
AINSI VA LE MONDE
O THOU, to whom superior worth's allied,
Thy Country's honour–and the MUSES' pride;
Whose pen gives polish to the varying line
That blends instruction with the song divine;
Whose fancy, glancing o'er the hostile plain,
Plants a fond trophy o'er the mighty slain; †
Or to the daisied lawn directs its way,
Blithe as the songstress of returning day;
Who deign'd to rove where twinkling glow-worms lead
The tiny legions o'er the glitt'ring mead;
Whose liquid notes in sweet meand'rings flow,
Mild as the murmurs of the Bird of Woe;
Who gave to Sympathy its softest pow'r,
The charm to wing Affliction's sable hour;
Who in Italia's groves, with thrilling song,
Call'd mute attention from the minstrel throng;
Gave proud distinction to the Poet's name,
And claim'd, by modest worth, the wreath of fame–
Accept the Verse thy magic harp inspires,
Nor scorn the Muse that kindles at its fires.
O, justly gifted with the Sacred Lyre,
Whose sounds can more than mortal thoughts inspire,
Whether its strings HEROIC measures move,
Or lyric numbers charm the soul to love;
Whether thy fancy "pours the varying verse"
In bow'rs of bliss, or o'er the plumed hearse;
Whether of patriot zeal, or past'ral sports,
The peace of hamlets, or the pride of courts:
Still Nature glows in ev'ry classic line–
Still Genius dictates–still the verse is thine.
Too long the Muse, in ancient garb array'd,
Has pin'd neglected in oblivion's shade;
Driv'n from the sun-shine of poetic fame,
Stripp'd of each charm she scarcely boasts a name:
Her voice no more can please the vapid throng,
No more loud Pæans consecrate her song,
Cold, faint, and sullen, to the grove she flies,
A faded garland veils her radiant eyes:
A with'ring laurel on her breast she wears,
Fann'd by her sighs, and spangled with her tears;
From her each fond associate early fled,
She mourn'd a MILTON lost, a SHAKSPERE dead:
Her eye beheld a CHATTERTON oppress'd,
A famish'd OTWAY–ravish'd from her breast;
Now in their place a flutt'ring form appears,
Mocks her fall'n pow'r, and triumphs in her tears:
A flippant, senseless, aëry thing, whose eye
Glares wanton mirth, and fulsome ribaldry.
While motley mumm'ry holds her tinsel reign,
SHAKSPERE might write, and GARRICK act in vain:
True Wit recedes, when blushing Reason views
This spurious offspring of the banish'd Muse.
The task be thine to check the daring hand
That leads fantastic folly o'er the land;
The task be thine with witching spells to bind
The feath'ry shadows of the fickle mind;
To strew with deathless flow'rs the dreary waste;
To pluck the weeds of vitiated taste;
To cheer with smiles the Muse's glorious toil,
And plant perfection on her native soil:
The Arts, that thro' dark centuries have pin'd,
Toil'd without fame, in sordid chains confin'd,
Burst into light with renovated fire,
Bid Envy shrink, and Ignorance expire.
No more prim KNELLER'S simp'ring beauties vie,
Or LELY'S genius droops with languid eye:
No more prepost'rous figures pain the view,
Aliens to Nature, yet to Fancy true,
The wild chimeras of capricious thought,
Deform'd in fashion, and with errors fraught;
The gothic phantoms sick'ning fade away,
And native Genius rushes into day.
REYNOLDS, 'tis thine with magic skill to trace
The perfect semblance of exterior grace;
Thy hand, by Nature guided, marks the line
That stamps perfection on the form divine.
'Tis thine to tint the lip with rosy die,
To paint the softness of the melting eye;
With auburn curls luxuriantly display'd,
The ivory shoulders polish'd fall to shade;
To deck the well-turn'd arm with matchless grace,
To mark the dimpled smile on Beauty's face:
The task is thine, with cunning hand to throw
The veil transparent on the breast of snow:
The Statesman's thought, the Infant's cherub mien,
The Poet's fire, the Matron's eye serene,
Alike with animated lustre shine
Beneath thy polish'd pencil's touch divine.
As BRITAIN'S Genius glories in thy Art,
Adores thy virtues, and reveres thy heart,
Nations unborn shall celebrate thy name,
And waft thy mem'ry on the wings of Fame.
Oft when the mind, with sick'ning pangs oppress'd,
Flies to the Muse, and courts the balm of rest,
When Reason, sated with life's weary woes,
Turns to itself –and finds a blest repose,
A gen'rous pride that scorns each petty art,
That feels no envy rankling in the heart,
No mean deceit that wings its shaft at Fame,
Or gives to pamper'd Vice a pompous Name;
Then, calm reflection shuns the sordid crowd,
The senseless chaos of the little proud,
Then, indignation stealing through the breast,
Spurns the pert tribe in flimsy greatness drest;
Who, to their native nothingness consign'd,
Sink in contempt–nor leave a trace behind.
Then Fancy paints, in visionary gloom,
The sainted shadows of the laurel'd tomb,
The Star of Virtue glist'ning on each breast,
Divine insignia of the spirit blest!
Then MILTON smiles serene, a beauteous shade,
In worth august–in lust'rous fires array'd.
Immortal SHAKSPERE gleams across the sight,
Rob'd in ethereal vest of radiant light.
Wing'd Ages picture to the dazzled view
Each mark'd perfection–of the sacred few,
POPE, DRYDEN, SPENSER, all that Fame shall raise,
From CHAUCER'S gloom–till MERRY'S lucid days:
Then emulation kindles fancy's fire,
The glorious throng poetic flights inspire;
Each sensate bosom feels the god-like flame,
The cherish'd harbinger of future fame.
Yet timid genius, oft in conscious ease,
Steals from the world, content the few to please:
Obscur'd in shades, the modest Muse retires,
While sparkling vapours emulate her fires.
The proud enthusiast shuns promiscuous praise,
The Idiot's smile condemns the Poet's lays.
Perfection wisely courts the lib'ral few,
The voice of kindred genius must be true.
But empty witlings sate the public eye
With puny jest and low buffoonery,
The buzzing hornets swarm about the great,
The poor appendages of pamper'd state;
The trifling, flutt'ring insects of a day,
Flit near the sun, and glitter in its ray;
Whose subtle fires with charms magnetic burn,
Where every servile fool may have his turn.
Lull'd in the lap of indolence, they boast
Who best can fawn–and who can flatter most;
While with a cunning arrogance they blend
Sound without sense–and wit that stabs a friend;
Slanders oblique–that check ambition's toil,
The pois'nous weeds, that mark the barren soil.
So the sweet blossoms of salubrious spring
Thro the lone wood their spicy odours fling;
Shrink from the sun, and bow their beauteous heads
To scatter incense o'er their native beds,
While coarser flow'rs expand with gaudy ray,
Brave the rude wind, and mock the burning day.
Ah! gentle Muse, from trivial follies turn,
Where Patriot souls with god-like passions burn;
Again to MERRY dedicate the line,
So shall the envied boast of taste be thine;
So shall thy song to glorious themes aspire,
"Warm'd with a spark" of his transcendent fire.
Thro' all the scenes of Nature's varying plan,
Celestial Freedom warms the breast of man;
Led by her daring hand, what pow'r can bind
The boundless efforts of the lab'ring mind.
The god-like fervour, thrilling thro' the heart,
Gives new creation to each vital part;
Throbs rapture thro' each palpitating vein,
Wings the rapt thought, and warms the fertile brain;
To her the noblest attributes of Heav'n,
Ambition, valour, eloquence, are giv'n.
She binds the soldier's brow with wreaths sublime,
From her, expanding reason learns to climb,
To her the sounds of melody belong,
She wakes the raptures of the Poet's song;
'Tis god-like Freedom bids each passion live,
That truth may boast, or patriot virtue give;
From her, the Arts enlighten'd splendours own,
She guides the peasant–She adorns the throne;
To mild Philanthropy extends her hand,
Gives Truth pre-eminence, and Worth command;
Her eye directs the path that leads to Fame,
Lights Valour's torch, and trims the glorious flame;
She scatters joy o'er Nature's endless scope,
Gives strength to Reason–extacy to Hope;
Tempers each pang Humanity can feel,
And binds presumptuous Power with nerves of steel;
Strangles each tyrant Phantom in its birth,
And knows no title–but SUPERIOR WORTH.
Enlighten'd Gallia! what were all your toys,
Your dazzling splendours–your voluptuous joys?
What were your glitt'ring villas–lofty tow'rs,
Your perfum'd chambers, and your painted bow'rs?
Did not insidious Art those gifts bestow,
To cheat the prying eye–with tinsel show?
Yes; luxury diffus'd her spells to bind
The deep researches of the restless mind?
To lull the active soul with witching wiles,
To hide pale Slav'ry in a mask of smiles:
The tow'ring wings of reason to restrain,
And lead the victim in a flow'ry chain:
Cold Superstition favour'd the deceit,
And e'en Religion lent her aid to cheat,–
When warlike LOUIS, † arrogant and vain,
Whom worth could never hold, or fear restrain;
The soul's last refuge, in repentance sought,
An artful MAINTENON absolv'd each fault;
She who had led his worldly steps astray,
Now, "smooth'd his passage to the realms of day!"
O, monstrous hypocrite!–who vainly strove
By pious fraud, to win a people's love;
Whose coffers groan'd with reliques from the proud,
The pompous off'rings of the venal crowd,
The messy hecatombs of dire disgrace,
To purchase titles, or secure a place.–
And yet–so sacred was the matron's fame,
Nor truth, nor virtue, dar'd assail her name;
None could approach but with obsequious breath,
To smile was TREASON–and to speak was DEATH.
In meek and humble garb, she veil'd command,
While helpless millions shrunk beneath her hand.
And when Ambition's idle dream was o'er,
And art could blind, and beauty charm no more;
She, whose luxurious bosom spurn'd restraint,
Who liv'd the slave of passion–died a saint! †
What were the feelings of the hapless throng,
By threats insulted, and oppress'd with wrong?
While grasping avarice, with skill profound,
Spread her fell snares, and dealt destruction round;
Each rising sun some new infringement saw,
While pride was consequence–and pow'r was law;
A people's suff'rings hop'd redress in vain,
Subjection curb'd the tongue that dar'd complain.
Imputed guilt each virtuous victim led
Where all the fiends their direst mischiefs spread;
Where, thro' long ages past, with watchful care,
THY TYRANTS, GALLIA, nurs'd the witch DESPAIR.
Where in her black BASTILE the harpy fed
On the warm crimson drops, her fangs had shed;
Where recreant malice mock'd the suff'rer's sigh,
While regal lightnings darted from her eye.–
Where deep mysterious whispers murmur'd round,
And death stalk'd sullen o'er the treach'rous ground.
O DAY–transcendent on the page of Fame!
When from her Heav'n, insulted Freedom came;
Glancing o'er earth's wide space, her beaming eye
Mark'd the dread scene of impious slavery,
Warm'd by her breath, the vanquish'd, trembling race,
Wake from the torpid slumber of disgrace.;
Rous'd by oppression, Man his birth-right claims,
O'er the proud battlements red vengeance flames;
Exulting thunders rend the turbid skies;–
In sulph'rous clouds the gorgeous ruin lies!–
The angel, PITY, now each cave explores,
Braves the chill damps, and fells the pond'rous doors,
Plucks from the flinty walls the clanking chains,
Where many a dreadful tale of woe remains,
Where many a sad memorial marks the hour,
That gave the rights of man to rav'nous pow'r;
Now snatch'd from death, the wond'ring wretch shall prove
The rapt'rous energies of social love;
Whose limbs each faculty denied–whose sight
Had long resign'd all intercourse with light;
Whose wasted form the humid earth receiv'd,
Who numb'd with anguish–scarcely felt he liv'd;
Who when the midnight bell assail'd his ears,
From fev'rish slumbers woke–to drink his tears:
While slow-consuming grief each sense enthrall'd,
'Till Hope expir'd, and Valour shrunk–appall'd:
Where veil'd suspicion lurk'd in shrewd disguise,
While eager vengeance op'd her thousand eyes;
While the hir'd slave, the fiend of wrath, design'd
To lash, with scorpion scourges, human-kind–
Dragg'd with ingenious pangs, the tardy hour,
To feed the rancour of insatiate Pow'r.
Blest be the favor'd delegates of Heav'n,
To whose illustrious souls the task was giv'n
To wrench the bolts of tyranny–and dare
The petrifying confines of despair;
With Heav'n's own breeze to cheer the gasping breath,
And spread broad sun-shine in the caves of death.
What is the charm that bids mankind disdain
The Tyrant's mandate, and th' Oppressor's chain;
What bids exulting Liberty impart
Extatic raptures to the Human Heart;
Calls forth each hidden spark of glorious fire,
Bids untaught minds to valiant feats aspire;
What gives to Freedom its supreme delight?
'Tis Emulation, Instinct, Nature, Right.
When this revolving Orb's first course began,
Heav'n stamp'd divine pre-eminence on man;
To him it gave the intellectual mind,
Persuasive Eloquence and Truth refin'd;
Humanity to harmonize his sway,
And calm Religion to direct his way;
Courage to tempt Ambition's lofty flight,
And Conscience to illume his erring sight.
Who shall the nat'ral Rights of Man deride,
When Freedom spreads her fost'ring banners wide?
Who shall contemn the heav'n-taught zeal that throws
The balm of comfort on a Nation's woes?
That tears the veil from superstition's eye,
Bids despots tremble, scourg'd oppression die?
Wrests hidden treasure from the sordid hand,
And flings profusion o'er a famish'd land?–
Nor yet, to GALLIA are her smiles confin'd,
She opes her radiant gates to all mankind;
Sure on the peopled earth there cannot be
A foe to Liberty–that dares be free.
Who that has tasted bliss will e'er deny
The magic power of thrilling extacy?
Who that has breath'd Health's vivifying breeze,
Would tempt the dire contagion of Disease?
Or prodigal of joy, his birth-right give
In shackled slavery–a wretch to live?
Yet let Ambition hold a temp'rate sway,
When Virtue rules–'tis Rapture to obey;
Man can but reign his transitory hour,
And love may bind–when fear has lost its pow'r.
Proud may he be who nobly acts his part,
Who boasts the empire of each subject's heart,
Whose worth, exulting millions shall approve,
Whose richest treasure–IS A NATION'S LOVE.
Freedom–blithe Goddess of the rainbow vest,
In dimpled smiles and radiant beauties drest,
I court thee from thy azure-spangled bed
Where Ether floats about thy winged head;
Where tip-toe pleasure swells the choral song,
While gales of odour waft the Cherub throng;
On every side the laughing loves prepare
Enamel'd wreaths to bind thy flowing hair:
For thee the light-heel'd graces fondly twine,
To clasp thy yielding waist, a zone divine!
Venus for thee her crystal altar rears,
Deck'd with fresh myrtle–gemm'd with lovers tears;
Apollo strikes his lyre's rebounding strings,
Responsive notes divine Cecilia sings,
The tuneful sisters prompt the heavenly choir,
Thy temple glitters with Promethean fire.
The sacred Priestess in the centre stands,
She strews the sapphire floor with flow'ry bands.
See! from her shrine electric incense rise;
Hark! "Freedom" echoes thro' the vaulted skies.
The Goddess speaks! O mark the blest decree,–
TYRANTS SHALL FALL–TRIUMPHANT MAN BE FREE!
† See the Elegy written on the plains of Fontenoy, by Mr. Merry.
† Louis XIV.
† Madame de Maintenon died a perfect devotee at the Convent of St. Cyr.
The following little Poems are written after the Model of the Old English Ballads, and are inscribed to those who admire the simplicity of that kind of versification.
Taken from the French.
NEAR GLARIS, on a mountain's side,
Beneath a shad'wy wood,
With walls of ivy compass'd round,
An ancient Castle stood.
By all rever'd, by all ador'd,
There dwelt a wealthy dame;
One peerless daughter bless'd her age,
A maid of spotless fame!
While one fair son, a gallant boy,
Whose VIRTUE was his shield,
Led on the dauntless sons of war,
Amidst the crimson'd field:
For o'er the land dissension reign'd
Full many a direful year,
And many a heart's best blood had stain'd
The proud oppressor's spear.
Young ELLA'S charms had spread her fame
O'er all the country wide;
And youths of high descent and brave,
Had sought her for their bride!
Amongst the rest SIR RAYMOND came,
Sprung from a princely race;
Right valiant in each warlike art,
And blest with ev'ry grace!
In tournaments renown'd afar,
For manly feats admir'd;
His brilliant fame, his bold exploits,
The damsel's bosom fir'd.
Her blushing cheek, her down-cast eye
Her secret flame confess'd;
The gallant RAYMOND'S circling arm,
The beauteous ELLA press'd.
From her fond mother's doating eyes
The radiant gem he bore;
The weeping maids and village swains
Beheld her charms no more.
Where the swift billows of the RHINE
Their shining curls disclose;
With many a gilded turret crown'd
His splendid Palace rose.
The festive scene had scarce began,
When near the Castle wall,
A messenger of warlike mein,
On RAYMOND'S name did call;
"Come forth thou valiant Knight," he said,
"Thy prowess quickly show,
With speed prepare thy lance and shield
To meet the dauntless foe:
"The blood of many a noble Swiss
Doth stain the country round,
And many a brave aspiring youth
Lies vanquish'd on the ground.
"The daring Chief, whose shining spear
With purple gore is dy'd;
Oh! direful news, prepare to meet
THE BROTHER OF THY BRIDE."
Enrag'd, the haughty RAYMOND cried,
"Base wretch receive thy doom,
For thy bold errand thou shalt die
Within a dungeon's gloom."
Speechless the mournful ELLA stood,
Despair her heart did wound;
When from the echoing tow'r she heard,
Th' larum-bell's dreadful sound!
Her cold wan cheek, her quiv'ring lip,
Bespoke her soul's deep woe,
From her blue eye the crystal drop
In silent grief did flow,
"For shame, shake off those woman's tears,"
The frowning bridegroom cried,
"And know, SIR RAYMOND'S warlike breast
Disdains a timid bride.
"In vain you weep, ignoble dame,
Behold yon neighing steed;
My soldiers wait, my bosom burns
TO CONQUER or to BLEED."
Forth went the Knight;–the frantic bride
To the high rampart flew;
With trembling knee she climb'd the wall,
Th' embattled plain to view.
On either side, by turns she thought
Proud vict'ry grac'd the field;
'Till vanquish'd by her BROTHER'S sword,
She saw her HUSBAND yield.
For refuge to his Castle gate,
The bleeding warrior flew;
And from the battlements on high,
His daring gauntlet threw!
Three days from dawn to setting sun,
The hardy soldiers stood,
'Till faint with toil, by famine press'd,
They saw their chief subdu'd.
"Oh! haste my page," SIR RAYMOND said,
"The captive youth set free,
And bid him to the conqu'rer's feet
This message bear from me.
"Treasures immense of massy gold,
Rich gems, and jewels rare,
As ransom will I freely give,
If he our lives will spare;
"If he consents, let garlands green
His peaceful brows adorn;
If hostile yet, beneath our walls,
Thrice sound his bugle horn."
Gaily he pass'd the outward gate;
But sadly he return'd;
His bugle horn he sounded thrice,
—No wreath his brows adorn'd.
"Thy gold" he cried "the conqu'ror scorns,
He claims thy forfeit LIFE,
Thy precious gems, and jewels rare,
He gives thy beauteous wife."
"Your lands are free, your soldiers too,
And for young ELLA'S sake
To prove his truth, the gen'rous chief
This solemn vow did make:"
"That whatsoe'er she holds most dear,
At morrow's dawn of day:
Her pages, to some distant place,
May safely bear away;"
At dawn of light fair ELLA came,
Fresh as the rose of May;
SIR RAYMOND in a chest of gold,
Her pages bore away!
She pass'd the gate with throbbing heart,
She pass'd the ranks among;
The praises of her peerless charms,
Fell fast from ev'ry tongue!
"Halt, halt," they cried, "right noble dame,
'Tis fit we should behold
Whether thy coffer ought contains
But gems and messy gold;"
"O stay me not ye gallant youths,
For soon it shall appear;
This burnish'd coffer doth contain
ALL THAT I HOLD MOST DEAR!"
"Take heed, my Brother, ah, take heed,
Nor break thy sacred word;
Nor let thy kinsman's blood degrade
The glories of thy sword!"
The Hero smil'd–fair ELLA'S cheek
Glow'd with vermilion dye;
Fear chill'd her heart, the starting tear
Stood trembling in her eye.
Subdu'd, abash'd, her brother flew
And clasp'd her to his breast,
Then with an angel's pitying voice,
The vanquish'd chief address'd:
"Come forth SIR RAYMOND, valiant knight,
Behold thy peerless wife;
Receive thy sword, and from HER hand
Accept thy forfeit life.
"Here shall the bloody contest end,
Let peace o'erspread the land;
More homage than the conqueror's sword
CAN BEAUTY'S TEARS COMMAND!"
LEWIN AND GYNNETH.
"WHEN will my troubled soul have rest?"
The beauteous LEWIN cried;
As thro' the murky shade of night
With frantic step she hied.
"When shall those eyes my GYNNETH'S face,
My GYNNETH'S form survey?
When shall those longing eyes again
Behold the dawn of day?"
Cold are the dews that wet my cheek,
The night-mist damps the ground;
Appalling echoes strike mine ear,
And spectres gleam around.
The vivid lightning's transient rays
Around my temples play;
'Tis all the light my fate affords,
To mark my thorny way.
From the black mountain's awful height,
Where LATHRYTH'S turrets rise;
The dark owl screams a direful song,
And warns me as she flies!
The chilling blast, the whistling winds,
The mould'ring ramparts shake;
The hungry tenants of the wood,
Their cavern'd haunts forsake.
Those tender limbs unus'd to stray
Beyond a father's door;
Full many a mile have journey'd forth,
Each footstep mark'd with gore.
No costly sandals deck those feet,
By thorns and briars torn;
The cold rain chills my rosy cheek,
Whose freshness sham'd the morn!
Slow steals the life-stream at my heart;
Dark clouds o'ershade my eyes;
Foreboding sorrow tells my soul,
My captive Lover dies.
Yet if one gentle ray of hope
Can sooth the soul to rest;
Oh! may it pierce yon flinty tow'r,
And warm my GYNNETH's breast:
And if soft pity's tearful eye
A Tyrant's heart can move;
Ill-fated LEWIN yet may live
To clasp her vanquish'd Love.
And tho' stern war with bonds of steel
His graceful form shall bind;
No earthly spell has pow'r to hold
The freedom of his mind!
And tho' his warm and gallant heart
Now yields to fate's decree;
Its feelings spurn the base constraint,
And fly to LOVE and ME!
Then, BRANWORTH, Lion of the field!
O, hear a maiden plead;
Sheath not thy sword in GYNNETH'S breast,
Or too, let LEWIN'S bleed?
To valiant feats of arms renown'd
Shall earthly praise be giv'n;
But deeds of MERCY, mighty Chief,
Are register'd in HEAV'N!
Thy praises shall resounding fill
The Palace of thy foe;
While down the joyful LEWIN'S cheek
The grateful tear shall flow.
And sure the tear that VIRTUE sheds,
Some rapture can impart;
What gem can deck a victor's throne
Like incense from the heart?
Now the grey Morning's silv'ry light,
Dawn'd in the eastern skies,
When at the lofty lattice grate
Her Lover's form she spies:
"He lives," she cried, "My GYNNETH lives!"
Youth of the crimson shield!
The graceful Hero of my heart,
The glory of the field!
"Come down, my soul's delight," she said,
"Thy blue-ey'd LEWIN see;
YRGANVY'S Daughter, thy true Love,
Who only breathes for THEE:
"Then haste THEE from thy prison house
Ere yet the Foe doth rise!
Oh! haste, ere yet the Morning Sun
Doth flame along the skies.
"Ah, speak! my heart is chill'd with fear,
My fault'ring voice doth fail;
Why are thy darling eyes so dim,
Thy cheek so deathly pale?"
"I am THY GYNNETH'S GHOST, sweet maid,
Avoid the madd'ning sight;
Those eyes that doated on thy charms,
Are lock'd in endless night.
"This loyal heart which beat for thee,
Is rent with many a wound;
Cleft is my shield, my glitt'ring spear
Lies broken on the ground!
"My bones the eagle hath convey'd
To feed her rav'nous brood;
The savage BRANWORTH'S cruel hand
Hath spilt my purple blood.
"Then hie thee hence, ill-fated maid,
Ere greater woes betide;
To where LLANGADOC'S silver streams
Along the vallies glide.
"There, where the modest PRIMROSE blooms,
Pale as thy lover's shade;
My mangled relics shalt thou find
Upon the green turf laid.
"Then hie thee hence, with holy hands,
Build up a sacred shrine,
And oh! chaste maid, thy faith to prove,
Mingle thy dust with mine?"
Ah! have you seen a mother's joy
In cherub sweetness dress'd,
Seiz'd by the numbing hand of death,
Expiring at her breast?
Or the fond maid, whom morrow's dawn
Had hail'd a wedded fair;
Doom'd to behold her lover's corse
Scorch'd by the lightning's glare?
So stood the hopeless, frantic maid,
YRGANVY's graceful child,
Cold was her cheek, her dove-like eyes
Fix'd in amazement wild!
"This panting heart," at length she cried
"A sharper pang doth feel,
Than thine, brave youth, when rent in twain
By BRANWORTH'S poison'd steel.
"No more these sad and weeping eyes,
My father's house shall see;
Thy kindred spirit calls me hence.
I haste to follow thee."
Beside thy tomb the TRAV'LLER'S tear
Shall join the crystal spring;
Around the solemn dirge of woe
Shall sainted DRUIDS sing;
The weary PILGRIM faint and sad,
Shall stay his steps awhile;
The memory of his OWN hard fate,
THY story shall beguile;
There wet with many a holy tear,
The sweetest buds shall blow,
There LEWIN'S ghost shall mark the shrine
A monument of woe!
Thrice did he ope the lattice grate,
And thrice he bade adieu;
When lo, to join the parting shade,
The MAIDEN'S SPIRIT FLEW!
|Page 10,||line 11, for "scrowling," read "scowling."|
|18,||line 16, for "and polish'd," read "unpolish'd."|
|69,||line 6, for "at," read "as."|
|70,||in the Note, for "intetelligent," read "intelligent."|
|78,||line 21, for "sublime," read "divine."|
|98,||line 25, for "grateful precepts," read "gentle precepts."|
|110,||line 10, for "Bespent," read "Besprent."|
|138,||line 11, for "impens," read "unpens."|
|146,||line 10, for "dear," read "sweet."|
|167,||line 19, for "the," read "tho'."|
|171,||line 1, for "persumptuous," read "presumptuous."|
|172,||line 6, for "radient," read "radiant."|
|176,||line 3, for "snears," read "sneers."|
|185,||line 1, for "tear," read "year."|
|192,||line 1 and 2, for "e're," read "ere."|