by William Shenstone
HE ARRIVES AT HIS RETIREMENT IN THE COUNTRY, AND TAKES OCCASION TO EXPATIATE IN PRAISE OF SIMPLICITY.--TO A FRIEND.
For rural virtues, and for native skies,
I bade Augusta's venal sons farewell;
Now 'mid the trees I see my smoke arise,
Now hear the fountains bubbling round my cell.
O may that Genius, which secures my rest,
Preserve this villa for a friend that's dear!
Ne'er may my vintage glad the sordid breast,
Ne'er tinge the lip that dares be insincere!
Far from these paths, ye faithless Friends, depart!
Fly my plain board, abhor my hostile name!
Hence the faint verse that flows not from the heart,
But mourns, in labour'd strains, the price of fame!
O loved Simplicity! be thine the prize!
Assiduous Art correct her page in vain!
His be the palm, who, guiltless of disguise,
Contemns the power the dull resource to feign!
Still may the mourner, lavish of his tears
For lucre's venal need, invite my scorn!
Still may the bard, dissembling doubts and fears,
For praise, for flattery sighing, sigh forlorn!
Soft as the line of lovesick Hammond flows,
'Twas his fond heart effused the melting theme;
Ah! never could Aonia's hill disclose
So fair a fountain, or so loved a stream.
Ye loveless Bards! intent with artful pains
To form a sigh, or to contrive a tear!
Forego your Pindus, and on ---- plains
Survey Camilla's charms, and grow sincere.
But thou, my Friend! while in thy youthful soul
Love's gentle tyrant seats his awful throne,
Write from thy bosom--let not art control
The ready pen, that makes his edicts known.
Pleasing, when youth is long expired, to trace
The forms our pencil or our pen design'd!
"Such was our youthful air, and shape, and face!
Such the soft image of our youthful mind!"
Soft, whilst we sleep beneath the rural bowers,
The Loves and Graces steal unseen away;
And where the turf diffused its pomp of flowers,
We wake to wintry scenes of chill decay!
Curse the sad fortune that detains thy fair;
Praise the soft hours that gave thee to her arms;
Paint thy proud scorn of every vulgar care,
When hope exalts thee, or when doubt alarms.
Where with Oenone thou hast worn the day,
Near fount or stream, in meditation, rove;
If in the grove Oenone loved to stray,
The faithful Muse shall meet thee in the grove.
ON POSTHUMOUS REPUTATION--TO A FRIEND
O grief of griefs! that Envy's frantic ire
Should rob the living virtue of its praise;
O foolish Muses! that with zeal aspire
To deck the cold insensate shrine with bays.
When the free spirit quits her humble frame,
To tread the skies with radiant garlands crown'd;
Say, will she hear the distant voice of Fame?
Or, hearing, fancy sweetness in the sound?
Perhaps even Genius pours a slighted lay;
Perhaps even Friendship sheds a fruitless tear;
Even Lyttleton but vainly trims the bay,
And fondly graces Hammond's mournful bier.
Though weeping virgins haunt his favour'd urn,
Renew their chaplets, and repeat their sighs;
Though near his tomb Sabæan odours burn,
The loit'ring fragrance will it reach the skies?
No; should his Delia votive wreaths prepare,
Delia might place the votive wreaths in vain:
Yet the dear hope of Delia's future care
Once crown'd his pleasures, and dispell'd his pain.
Yes--the fair prospect of surviving praise
Can every sense of present joys excel;
For this, great Hadrian chose laborious days;
Through this, expiring, bade a gay farewell.
Shall then our youths, who Fame's bright fabric raise,
To life's precarious date confine their care?
O teach them you to spread the sacred base,
To plan a work through latest ages fair!
Is it small transport, as with curious eye
You trace the story of each Attic sage,
To think your blooming praise shall time defy?
Shall waft, like odours, through the pleasing page?
To mark the day when, through the bulky tome,
Around your name the varying style refines?
And readers call their lost attention home,
Led by that index where true genius shines?
Ah! let not Britons doubt their social aim,
Whose ardent bosoms catch this ancient fire;
Cold interest melts before the vivid flame,
And patriot ardours but with life expire.
ON THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF A CERTAIN LEARNED ACQUAINTANCE.
If proud Pygmalion quit his cumbrous frame,
Funereal pomp the scanty tear supplies;
Whilst heralds loud, with venal voice, proclaim,
Lo! here the brave and the puissant lies.
When humbler Alcon leaves his drooping friends,
Pageant nor plume distinguish Alcon's bier;
The faithful Muse with votive song attends,
And blots the mournful numbers with a tear.
He little knew the sly penurious art;
That odious art which Fortune's favourites know:
Form'd to bestow, he felt the warmest heart,
But envious Fate forbade him to bestow.
He little knew to ward the secret wound;
He little knew that mortals could ensnare:
Virtue he knew; the noblest joy he found
To sing her glories, and to paint her fair.
Ill was he skill'd to guide his wandering sheep;
And unforeseen disaster thinn'd his fold;
Yet at another's loss the swain would weep;
And, for his friend, his very crook was sold.
Ye sons of Wealth! protect the Muses' train;
From winds protect them, and with food supply:
Ah! helpless they, to ward the threaten'd pain,
The meagre famine, and the wintry sky!
He loved a nymph; amidst his slender store
He dared to love, and Cynthia was his theme:
He breathed his plaints along the rocky shore;
They only echo'd o'er the winding stream!
His nymph was fair! the sweetest bud that blows
Revives less lovely from the recent shower;
So Philomel enamour'd eyes the rose
Sweet bird! enamour'd of the sweetest flower.
He loved the Muse; she taught him to complain;
He saw his timorous loves on her depend:
He loved the Muse, although she taught in vain;
He loved the Muse, for she was Virtue's friend.
She guides the foot that treads on Parian floors;
She wins the ear when formal pleas are vain;
She tempts Patricians from the fatal doors
Of Vice's brothel, forth to Virtue's fane.
He wish'd for wealth, for much he wish'd to give;
He grieved that virtue might not wealth obtain:
Piteous of woes, and hopeless to relieve,
The pensive prospect sadden'd all his strain.
I saw him faint! I saw him sink to rest!
Like one ordain'd to swell the vulgar throng;
As though the Virtues had not warm'd his breast,
As though the Muses not inspired his tongue.
I saw his bier ignobly cross the plain;
Saw peasant hands the pious rite supply:
The generous rustics mourn'd the friendly swain,
But Power and Wealth's unvarying cheek was dry!
Such Alcon fell; in meagre want forlorn!
Where were ye then, ye powerful Patrons, where?
Would ye the purple should your limbs adorn?
Go wash the conscious blemish with a tear.
OPHELIA'S URN. TO MR. GRAVES.
Through the dim veil of evening's dusky shade,
Near some lone fane, or yew's funereal green,
What dreary forms has magic Fear survey'd!
What shrouded spectres Superstition seen!
But you, secure, shall pour your sad complaint,
Nor dread the meagre phantom's wan array;
What none but Fear's officious hand can paint,
What none, but Superstition's eye, survey.
The glimmering twilight and the doubtful dawn
Shall see your step to these sad scenes return:
Constant, as crystal dews impearl the lawn,
Shall Strephon's tear bedew Ophelia's urn.
Sure nought unhallow'd shall presume to stray
Where sleep the relics of that virtuous maid;
Nor aught unlovely bend its devious way,
Where soft Ophelia's dear remains are laid.
Haply thy Muse, as with unceasing sighs
She keeps late vigils, on her urn reclined,
May see light groups of pleasing visions rise,
And phantoms glide, but of celestial kind.
Then Fame, her clarion pendent at her side,
Shall seek forgiveness of Ophelia's shade;
"Why has such worth, without distinction, died?
Why, like the desert's lily, bloom'd to fade?"
Then young Simplicity, averse to feign,
Shall, unmolested, breathe her softest sigh,
And Candour with unwonted warmth complain,
And Innocence indulge a wailful cry.
Then Elegance, with coy judicious hand,
Shall cull fresh flowerets for Ophelia's tomb;
And Beauty chide the Fate's severe command,
That show'd the frailty of so fair a bloom!
And Fancy then, with wild ungovern'd woe,
Shall her loved pupil's native taste explain;
For mournful sable all her hues forego,
And ask sweet solace of the Muse in vain!
Ah! gentle Forms! expect no fond relief;
Too much the sacred Nine their loss deplore:
Well may ye grieve, nor find an end of grief--
Your best, your brightest favourite is no more.
HE COMPARES THE TURBULENCE OF LOVE WITH THE TRANQUILLITY OF FRIENDSHIP. TO MELISSA HIS FRIEND.
From Love, from angry Love's inclement reign
I pass awhile to Friendship's equal skies;
Thou, generous Maid! reliev'st my partial pain,
And cheer'st the victim of another's eyes.
'Tis thou, Melissa, thou deserv'st my care;
How can my will and reason disagree?
How can my passion live beneath despair?
How can my bosom sigh for aught but thee?
Ah! dear Melissa! pleased with thee to rove,
My soul has yet survived its dreariest time
Ill can I bear the various clime of Love!
Love is a pleasing, but a various clime.
So smiles immortal Maro's favourite shore,
Parthenope, with every verdure crown'd;
When straight Vesuvio's horrid cauldrons roar,
And the dry vapour blasts the regions round.
Oh, blissful regions, oh, unrivall'd plains,
When Maro to these fragrant haunts retired!
Oh, fatal realms, and oh, accursed domains,
When Pliny, 'mid sulphureous clouds, expired!
So smiles the surface of the treacherous main,
As o'er its waves the peaceful halcyons play;
When soon rude winds their wonted rule regain,
And sky and ocean mingle in the fray.
But let or air contend, or ocean rave,
Even Hope subside, amid the billows tost;
Hope, still emergent, still contemns the wave,
And not a feature's wonted smile is lost.
TO A LADY, ON THE LANGUAGE OF BIRDS.
Come then, Dione, let us range the grove,
The science of the feather'd choirs explore
Hear linnets argue, larks descant of love,
And blame the gloom of solitude, no more.
My doubt subsides--'tis no Italian song,
Nor senseless ditty, cheers the vernal tree:
Ah! who that hears Dione's tuneful tongue,
Shall doubt that music may with sense agree?
And come, my Muse! that lov'st the sylvan shade,
Evolve the mazes, and the mist dispel;
Translate the song; convince my doubting maid
No solemn dervise can explain so well--
Pensive beneath the twilight shades I sate,
The slave of hopeless vows and cold disdain!
When Philomel address'd his mournful mate,
And thus I construed the mellifluent strain.
"Sing on, my bird!--the liquid notes prolong;
At every note a lover sheds his tear;
Sing on, my bird!--'tis Damon hears thy song,
Nor doubt to gain applause, when lovers hear.
"He the sad source of our complaining knows!
A foe to Tereus, and to lawless love!
He mourns the story of our ancient woes;
Ah! could our music his complaints remove!
"Yon plains are govern'd by a peerless maid;
And see! pale Cynthia mounts the vaulted sky;
A train of lovers court the chequer'd shade:
Sing on, my bird! and hear thy mate's reply.
"Erewhile no shepherd to these woods retired,
No lover bless'd the glow-worm's pallid ray;
But ill-starr'd birds, that, listening, not admired;
Or, listening, envied our superior lay.
"Cheer'd by the sun, the vassals of his power,
Let such by day unite their jarring strains!
But let us choose the calm; the silent hour,
Nor want fit audience while Dione reigns."
Cætera per terras omnes animalia, &c.
All animals beside, o'er all the earth, &c.
On distant heaths, beneath autumnal skies,
Pensive I saw the circling shade descend;
Weary and faint I heard the storm arise,
While the sun vanish'd, like a faithless friend.
No kind companion led my steps aright;
No friendly planet lent its glimmering ray;
Even the lone cot refused its wonted light,
Where Toil in peaceful slumber closed the day.
Then the dull bell had given a pleasing sound;
The village cur 'twere transport then to hear;
In dreadful silence all was hush'd around,
While the rude storm alone distress'd mine ear.
As led by Orwell's winding banks I stray'd,
Where towering Wolsey breathed his native air,
A sudden lustre chased the flitting shade,
The sounding winds were hush'd, and all was fair.
Instant a grateful form appear'd confest;
White were his locks, with awful scarlet crown'd,
And livelier far than Tyrian seem'd his vest,
That with the glowing purple tinged the ground.
"Stranger," he said, "amid this pealing rain,
Benighted, lonesome, whither wouldst thou stray?
Does wealth, or power, thy weary step constrain?
Reveal thy wish, and let me point the way.
"For know, I trod the trophied paths of power,
Felt every joy that fair Ambition brings,
And left the lonely roof of yonder bower
To stand beneath the canopies of kings.
"I bade low hinds the towering ardour share,
Nor meanly rose to bless myself alone;
I snatch'd the shepherd from his fleecy care,
And bade his wholesome dictate guard the throne.
"Low at my feet the suppliant peer I saw;
I saw proud empires my decision wait;
My will was duty, and my word was law,
My smile was transport, and my frown was fate."
Ah me! said I, nor power I seek, nor gain;
Nor urged by hope of fame these toils endure;
A simple youth, that feels a lover's pain,
And from his friend's condolence hopes a cure.
He, the dear youth! to whose abodes I roam,
Nor can mine honours nor my fields extend;
Yet for his sake I leave my distant home,
Which oaks embosom, and which hills defend.
Beneath that home I scorn the wintry wind;
The Spring, to shade me, robes her fairest tree!
And if a friend my grass-grown threshold find,
O how my lonely cot resounds with glee!
Yet though averse to gold in heaps amass'd,
I wish to bless, I languish to bestow;
And though no friend to Fame's obstreperous blast,
Still to her dulcet murmurs not a foe.
Too proud with servile tone to deign address;
Too mean to think that honours are my due;
Yet should some patron yield my stores to bless,
I sure should deem my boundless thanks were few.
But tell me, thou! that like a meteor's fire
Shott'st blazing forth, disdaining dull degrees,
Should I to wealth, to fame, to power aspire,
Must I not pass more rugged paths than these?
Must I not groan beneath a guilty load--
Praise him I scorn, and him I love betray?
Does not felonious Envy bar the road?
Or Falsehood's treacherous foot beset the way?
Say, should I pass through Favour's crowded gate,
Must not fair Truth inglorious wait behind?
Whilst I approach the glittering scenes of state,
My best companion no admittance find?
Nursed in the shades by Freedom's lenient care,
Shall I the rigid sway of Fortune own?
Taught by the voice of pious Truth, prepare
To spurn an altar, and adore a throne?
And when proud Fortune's ebbing tide recedes,
And when it leaves me no unshaken friend,
Shall I not weep that e'er I left the meads,
Which oaks embosom, and which hills defend?
Oh! if these ills the price of power advance,
Check not my speed where social joys invite!
The troubled vision cast a mournful glance,
And, sighing, vanish'd in the shades of night.
HE DESCRIBES HIS EARLY LOVE OF POETRY, AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.--TO MR. GRAVES, 1745.
Ah me! what envious magic thins my fold?
What mutter'd spell retards their late increase?
Such lessening fleeces must the swain behold,
That e'er with Doric pipe essays to please.
I saw my friends in evening circles meet;
I took my vocal reed, and tuned my lay;
I heard them say my vocal reed was sweet:
Ah, fool! to credit what I heard them say.
Ill-fated Bard! that seeks his skill to show,
Then courts the judgment of a friendly ear;
Not the poor veteran, that permits his foe
To guide his doubtful step, has more to fear.
Nor could my Graves mistake the critic's laws,
Till pious Friendship mark'd the pleasing way:
Welcome such error! ever bless'd the cause!
E'en though it led me boundless leagues astray.
Couldst thou reprove me, when I nursed the flame,
On listening Cherwell's osier banks reclined?
While, foe to Fortune, unseduced by Fame,
I soothed the bias of a careless mind?
Youth's gentle kindred, Health and Love, were met;
What though in Alma's guardian arms I play'd?
How shall the Muse those vacant hours forget?
Or deem that bliss by solid cares repaid?
Thou know'st how transport thrills the tender breast
Where Love and Fancy fix their opening reign;
How Nature shines, in livelier colours drest,
To bless their union, and to grace their train.
So first when Phœbus met the Cyprian queen,
And favour'd Rhodes beheld their passion crown'd,
Unusual flowers enrich'd the painted green,
And swift spontaneous roses blush'd around.
Now sadly lorn, from Twitnam's widow'd bower
The drooping Muses take their casual way,
And where they stop, a flood of tears they pour;
And where they weep, no more the fields are gay.
Where is the dappled pink, the sprightly rose?
The cowslip's golden cup no more I see:
Dark and discolour'd every flower that blows,
To form the garland, Elegy! for thee.
Enough of tears has wept the virtuous dead;
Ah! might we now the pious rage control!
Hush'd be my grief ere every smile be fled,
Ere the deep-swelling sigh subvert the soul!
If near some trophy spring a stripling bay,
Pleased we behold the graceful umbrage rise;
But soon too deep it works its baneful way,
And low on earth the prostrate ruin lies.
HE DESCRIBES HIS DISINTERESTEDNESS TO A FRIEND.
I ne'er must tinge my lip with Celtic wines;
The pomp of India must I ne'er display;
Nor boast the produce of Peruvian mines;
Nor with Italian sounds deceive the day.
Down yonder brook my crystal beverage flows;
My grateful sheep their annual fleeces bring;
Fair in my garden buds the damask rose,
And from my grove I hear the throstle sing.
My fellow swains! avert your dazzled eyes;
In vain allured by glittering spoils they rove;
The Fates ne'er meant them for the shepherd's prize,
Yet gave them ample recompence in love.
They gave you vigour from your parents' veins;
They gave you toils, but toils your sinews brace;
They gave you nymphs, that own their amorous pains;
And shades, the refuge of the gentle race.
To carve your loves, to paint your mutual flames,
See, polish'd fair, the beech's friendly rind!
To sing soft carols to your lovely dames,
See vocal grots and echoing vales assign'd!
Wouldst thou, my Strephon, Love's delighted slave!
Though sure the wreaths of chivalry to share,
Forego the riband thy Matilda gave,
And, giving, bade thee in remembrance wear?
Ill fare my peace, but every idle toy,
If to my mind my Delia's form it brings,
Has truer worth, imparts sincerer joy,
Than all that bears the radiant stamp of kings.
O my soul weeps, my breast with anguish bleeds,
When Love deplores the tyrant power of Gain!
Disdaining riches as the futile weeds,
I rise superior, and the rich disdain.
Oft from the stream, slow-wandering down the glade,
Pensive I hear the nuptial peal rebound:
"Some miser weds," I cry, "the captive maid,
And some fond lover sickens at the sound."
Not Somerville, the Muse's friend of old,
Though now exalted to yon ambient sky,
So shunn'd a soul distain'd with earth and gold,
So loved the pure, the generous breast, as I.
Scorn'd be the wretch that quits his genial bowl,
His loves, his friendships, even his self resigns;
Perverts the sacred instinct of his soul,
And to a ducat's dirty sphere confines.
But come, my Friend! with taste, with science blest,
Ere age impair me, and ere gold allure:
Restore thy dear idea to my breast,
The rich deposit shall the shrine secure.
Let others toil to gain the sordid ore,
The charms of independence let us sing:
Bless'd with thy friendship, can I wish for more?
I'll spurn the boasted wealth of Lydia's king.
TO FORTUNE, SUGGESTING HIS MOTIVE FOR REPINING AT HER DISPENSATIONS.Ask not the cause why this rebellious tongue
'Tis not, that in my shed I lurk forlorn,
Nor see my roof on Parian columns rise;
That, on this breast, no mimic star is borne,
Revered, ah! more than those that light the skies.
'Tis not, that on the turf supinely laid,
I sing or pipe but to the flocks that graze;
And, all inglorious, in the lonesome shade
My finger stiffens, and my voice decays.
Not, that my fancy mourns thy stern command,
When many an embryo dome is lost in air;
While guardian Prudence checks my eager hand,
And, ere the turf is broken, cries, "Forbear:
"Forbear, vain Youth! be cautious, weigh thy gold,
Nor let yon rising column more aspire:
Ah! better dwell in ruins, than behold
Thy fortunes mouldering, and thy domes entire.
"Honorio built, but dared my laws defy;
He planted, scornful of my sage commands;
The peach's vernal bud regaled his eye,
The fruitage ripen'd for more frugal hands."
See the small stream, that pours its murmuring tide
O'er some rough rock, that would its wealth display;
Displays it aught but penury and pride?
Ah! construe wisely what such murmurs say.
How would some flood, with ampler treasures blest,
Disdainful view the scantling drops distil!
How must Velino shake his reedy crest!
How every cygnet mock the boastive rill!
Fortune! I yield; and see, I give the sign;
At noon the poor mechanic wanders home,
Collects the square, the level, and the line,
And, with retorted eye, forsakes the dome.
Yes, I can patient view the shadeless plains;
Can unrepining leave the rising wall;
Check the fond love of art that fired my veins,
And my warm hopes, in full pursuit, recall.
Descend, ye Storms! destroy my rising pile;
Loosed be the Whirlwind's unremitting sway;
Contented I, although the gazer smile
To see it scarce survive a winter's day.
Let some dull dotard bask in thy gay shrine,
As in the sun regales his wanton herd;
Guiltless of envy, why should I repine
That his rude voice, his grating reed's, preferr'd?
Let him exult, with boundless wealth supplied,
Mine and the swain's reluctant homage share;
But, ah! his tawdry shepherdess's pride,
Gods! must my Delia, must my Delia, bear?
Must Delia's softness, elegance, and ease,
Submit to Marian's dress? to Marian's gold?
Must Marian's robe from distant India please?
The simple fleece my Delia's limbs enfold?
"Yet sure on Delia seems the russet fair;
Ye glittering daughters of Disguise, adieu!"
So talk the wise, who judge of shape and air,
But will the rural thane decide so true?
Ah! what is native worth esteem'd of clowns?
'Tis thy false glare, O Fortune! thine they see:
'Tis for my Delia's sake I dread thy frowns,
And my last gasp shall curses breathe on thee.
HE COMPLAINS HOW SOON THE PLEASING NOVELTY OF LIFE IS OVER. TO MR. JAGO.
Ah me, my Friend! it will not, will not last,
This fairy scene, that cheats our youthful eyes;
The charm dissolves; th' aerial music's past;
The banquet ceases, and the vision flies.
Where are the splendid forms, the rich perfumes?
Where the gay tapers, where the spacious dome?
Vanish'd the costly pearls, the crimson plumes,
And we, delightless, left to wander home!
Vain now are books, the sage's wisdom vain!
What has the world to bribe our steps astray?
Ere Reason learns by studied laws to reign,
The weaken'd passions, self-subdued, obey.
Scarce has the sun seven annual courses roll'd,
Scarce shown the whole that Fortune can supply,
Since, not the miser so caress'd his gold,
As I, for what it gave, was heard to sigh.
On the world's stage I wish'd some sprightly part,
To deck my native fleece with tawdry lace!
'Twas life, 'twas taste, and--oh! my foolish heart!
Substantial joy was fix'd in power and place.
And you, ye works of Art! allured mine eye,
The breathing picture, and the living stone:
"Though gold, though splendour, Heaven and Fate deny,
Yet might I call one Titian stroke my own!"
Smit with the charms of Fame, whose lovely spoil,
The wreath, the garland, fire the poet's pride,
I trimm'd my lamp, consumed the midnight oil--
But soon the paths of health and fame divide!
Oft, too, I pray'd; 'twas Nature form'd the prayer,
To grace my native scenes, my rural home;
To see my trees express their planter's care,
And gay, on Attic models, raise my dome.
But now 'tis o'er, the dear delusion's o'er!
A stagnant breezeless air becalms my soul;
A fond aspiring candidate no more,
I scorn the palm before I reach the goal.
O Youth! enchanting stage, profusely bless'd!
Bliss even obtrusive courts the frolic mind;
Of health neglectful, yet by health caress'd,
Careless of favour, yet secure to find.
Then glows the breast, as opening roses fair;
More free, more vivid, than the linnet's wing;
Honest as light, transparent e'en as air,
Tender as buds, and lavish as the Spring.
Not all the force of manhood's active might,
Not all the craft to subtle age assign'd,
Not Science shall extort that dear delight,
Which gay Delusion gave the tender mind.
Adieu, soft raptures! transports void of care!
Parent of raptures, dear Deceit, adieu!
And you, her daughters, pining with despair,
Why, why so soon her fleeting steps pursue?
Tedious again to curse the drizzling day!
Again to trace the wintry tracks of snow!
Or, soothed by vernal airs, again survey
The self-same hawthorns bud, and cowslips blow!
O Life! how soon of every bliss forlorn!
We start false joys, and urge the devious race;
A tender prey; that cheers our youthful morn,
Then sinks untimely, and defrauds the chase.
No more the Muse obtrudes her thin disguise,
No more with awkward fallacy complains
How every fervour from my bosom flies,
And Reason in her lonesome palace reigns.
Ere the chill winter of our days arrive,
No more she paints the breast from passion free;
I feel, I feel one loitering wish survive--
Ah! need I, Florio, name that wish to thee?
The star of Venus ushers in the day,
The first, the loveliest of the train that shine!
The star of Venus lends her brightest ray,
When other stars their friendly beams resign.
Still in my breast one soft desire remains,
Pure as that star, from guilt, from interest, free
Has gentle Delia tripp'd across the plains,
And need I, Florio, name that wish to thee?
While, cloy'd to find the scenes of life the same,
I tune with careless hand my languid lays,
Some secret impulse wakes my former flame,
And fires my strain with hopes of brighter days.
I slept not long beneath yon rural bowers,
And, lo! my crook with flowers adorn'd I see:
Has gentle Delia bound my crook with flowers,
And need I, Florio, name my hopes to thee?
TO A FRIEND, ON SOME SLIGHT OCCASION ESTRANGED FROM HIM.
Health to my friend, and many a cheerful day!
Around his seat may peaceful shades abide!
Smooth flow the minutes, fraught with smiles, away,
And, till they crown our union, gently glide!
Ah me! too swiftly fleets our vernal bloom!
Lost to our wonted friendship, lost to joy!
Soon may thy breast the cordial wish resume,
Ere wintry doubt its tender warmth destroy!
Say, were it ours, by Fortune's wild command,
By chance to meet beneath the Torrid Zone,
Wouldst thou reject thy Damon's plighted hand?
Wouldst thou with scorn thy once loved friend disown?
Life is that stranger land, that alien clime;
Shall kindred souls forego their social claim?
Launch'd in the vast abyss of space and time,
Shall dark suspicion quench the generous flame?
Myriads of souls, that knew one parent mould,
See sadly sever'd by the laws of Chance!
Myriads, in Time's perennial list enroll'd,
Forbid by Fate to change one transient glance!
But we have met--where ills of every form,
Where passions rage, and hurricanes descend;
Say, shall we nurse the rage, assist the storm,
And guide them to the bosom--of a friend?
Yes, we have met--through rapine, fraud, and wrong:
Might our joint aid the paths of peace explore!
Why leave thy friend amid the boisterous throng,
Ere death divide us, and we part no more?
For, oh! pale Sickness warns thy friend away;
For me no more the vernal roses bloom!
I see stern Fate his ebon wand display,
And point the wither'd regions of the tomb.
Then the keen anguish from thine eye shall start,
Sad as thou followest my untimely bier;
"Fool that I was--if friends so soon must part,
To let suspicion intermix a fear."
DECLINING AN INVITATION TO VISIT FOREIGN COUNTRIES, HE TAKES OCCASION TO INTIMATE THE ADVANTAGES OF HIS OWN. TO LORD TEMPLE.
While others, lost to friendship, lost to love,
Waste their best minutes on a foreign strand,
Be mine, with British nymph or swain to rove,
And court the Genius of my native land.
Deluded Youth! that quits these verdant plains,
To catch the follies of an alien soil!
To win the vice his genuine soul disdains,
Return exultant, and import the spoil!
In vain he boasts of his detested prize;
No more it blooms, to British climes convey'd;
Cramp'd by the impulse of ungenial skies,
See its fresh vigour in a moment fade;
Th' exotic folly knows its native clime;
An awkward stranger, if we waft it o'er;
Why then these toils, this costly waste of time,
To spread soft poison on our happy shore?
I covet not the pride of foreign looms;
In search of foreign modes I scorn to rove;
Nor, for the worthless bird of brighter plumes,
Would change the meanest warbler of my grove.
No distant clime shall servile airs impart,
Or form these limbs with pliant ease to play;
Trembling I view the Gaul's illusive art,
That steals my loved rusticity away.
'Tis long since Freedom fled th' Hesperian clime,
Her citron groves, her flower-embroider'd shore;
She saw the British oak aspire sublime,
And soft Campania's olive charms no more.
Let partial suns mature the western mine,
To shed its lustre o'er th' Iberian maid;
Mien, beauty, shape, O native soil! are thine;
Thy peerless daughters ask no foreign aid.
Let Ceylon's envied plant perfume the seas,
Till torn to season the Batavian bowl;
Ours is the breast whose genuine ardours please,
Nor need a drug to meliorate the soul.
Let the proud Soldan wound th' Arcadian groves,
Or with rude lips th' Aonian fount profane;
The Muse no more by flowery Ladon roves,
She seeks her Thomson on the British plain.
Tell not of realms by ruthless war dismay'd;
Ah, hapless realms! that war's oppression feel;
In vain may Austria boast her Noric blade,
If Austria bleed beneath her boasted steel.
Beneath her palm Idume vents her moan;
Raptured, she once beheld its friendly shade;
And hoary Memphis boasts her tombs alone,
The mournful types of mighty power decay'd!
No Crescent here displays its baneful horns;
No turban'd host the voice of Truth reproves;
Learning's free source the sage's breast adorns,
And poets, not inglorious, chant their loves.
Boast, favour'd Media! boast thy flowery stores;
Thy thousand hues by chemic suns refined;
'Tis not the dress or mien my soul adores,
'Tis the rich beauties of Britannia's mind.
While Grenville's breast could virtue's stores afford,
What envied flota bore so fair a freight?
The mine compared in vain its latent hoard,
The gem its lustre, and the gold its weight.
Thee, Grenville! thee, with calmest courage fraught!
Thee, the loved image of thy native shore!
Thee, by the Virtues arm'd, the Graces taught!
When shall we cease to boast or to deplore?
Presumptuous War, which could thy life destroy,
What shall it now in recompence decree?
While friends that merit every earthly joy,
Feel every anguish; feel--the loss of thee!
Bid me no more a servile realm compare,
No more the Muse of partial praise arraign;
Britannia sees no foreign breast so fair,
And, if she glory, glories not in vain.
IN MEMORY OF A PRIVATE FAMILY IN WORCESTERSHIRE.
From a lone tower, with reverend ivy crown'd,
The pealing bell awaked a tender sigh;
Still, as the village caught the waving sound,
A swelling tear distream'd from every eye.
So droop'd, I ween, each Briton's breast of old,
When the dull curfew spoke their freedom fled;
For, sighing as the mournful accent roll'd,
"Our hope," they cried, "our kind support, is dead!"
'Twas good Palemon--Near a shaded pool,
A group of ancient elms umbrageous rose;
The flocking rooks, by Instinct's native rule,
This peaceful scene for their asylum chose.
A few small spires, to Gothic fancy fair,
Amid the shades emerging, struck the view;
'Twas here his youth respired its earliest air;
'Twas here his age breathed out its last adieu.
One favour'd son engaged his tenderest care;
One pious youth his whole affection crown'd;
In his young breast the virtues sprung so fair,
Such charms display'd, such sweets diffused around.
But whilst gay transport in his face appears,
A noxious vapour clogs the poison'd sky,
Blasts the fair crop--the sire is drown'd in tears,
And, scarce surviving, sees his Cynthio die!
O'er the pale corse we saw him gently bend:
Heart-chill'd with grief--"My thread," he cried, "is spun!
If Heaven had meant I should my life extend,
Heaven had preserved my life's support, my son.
"Snatch'd in thy prime! alas! the stroke were mild,
Had my frail form obey'd the Fates' decree!
Bless'd were my lot, O Cynthio! O my child!
Had Heaven so pleased, and had I died for thee."
Five sleepless nights he stemm'd this tide of woes
Five irksome suns he saw, through tears, forlorn!
On his pale corse the sixth sad morning rose
From yonder dome the mournful bier was borne.
'Twas on those Downs, by Roman hosts annoy'd,
Fought our bold fathers, rustic, unrefined!
Freedom's plain sons, in martial cares employ'd!
They tinged their bodies, but unmask'd their mind.
'Twas there, in happier times, this virtuous race,
Of milder merit, fix'd their calm retreat:
War's deadly crimson had forsook the place,
And freedom fondly loved the chosen seat.
No wild ambition fired their tranquil breast,
To swell with empty sounds a spotless name;
If fostering skies, the sun, the shower, were blest,
Their bounty spread; their fie1ds' extent the same.
Those fields, profuse of raiment, food, and fire,
They scorn'd to lessen, careless to extend;
Bade Luxury to lavish courts aspire,
And Avarice to city breasts descend.
None to a virgin's mind preferr'd her dower,
To sire with vicious hopes a modest heir:
The sire, in place of titles, wealth, or power,
Assign'd him virtue; and his lot was fair.
They spoke of Fortune, as some doubtful dame,
That sway'd the natives of a distant sphere;
From Lucre's vagrant sons had learn'd her fame,
But never wish'd to place her banners here.
Here youth's free spirit, innocently gay,
Enjoy'd the most that Innocence can give;
Those wholesome sweets that border Virtue's way;
Those cooling fruits that we may taste, and live.
Their board no strange ambiguous viand bore
From their own streams their choicer fare they drew;
To lure the scaly glutton to the shore,
The sole deceit their artless bosom knew!
Sincere themselves, ah! too secure to find
The common bosom, like their own, sincere!
'Tis its own guilt alarms the jealous mind;
'Tis her own poison bids the viper fear.
Sketch'd on the lattice of th' adjacent fane,
Their suppliant busts implore the reader's prayer
Ah, gentle souls! enjoy your blissful reign,
And let frail mortals claim your guardian care.
For sure, to blissful realms the souls are flown,
That never flatter'd, injured, censured, strove;
The friends of science--music, all their own;
Music, the voice of Virtue and of Love!
The journeying peasant, through the secret shade,
Heard their soft lyres engage his listening ear,
And haply deem'd some courteous angel play'd:
No angel play'd--but might with transport hear.
For these the sounds that chase unholy strife!
Solve Envy's charm, Ambition's wretch release!
Raise him to spurn the radiant ills of life,
To pity pomp, to be content with peace.
Farewell, pure Spirits! vain the praise we give,
The praise you sought from lips angelic flows;
Farewell! the virtues which deserve to live
Deserve an ampler bliss than life bestows.
Last of his race, Palemon, now no more,
The modest merit of his line display'd;
Then pious Hough, Vigornia's mitre wore--
Soft sleep the dust of each deserving shade!
HE SUGGESTS THE ADVANTAGE OF BIRTH TO A PERSON OF MERIT; AND THE FOLLY OF A SUPERCILIOUSNESS THAT IS BUILT UPON THAT SOLE FOUNDATION.
When genius, graced with lineal splendour, glows,
When title shines, with ambient virtues crown'd,
Like some fair almond's flowery pomp it shows,
The pride, the perfume, of the regions round.
Then learn, ye Fair! to soften splendour's ray;
Endure the swain, the youth of low degree;
Let meekness join'd its temperate beam display;
'Tis the mild verdure that endears the tree.
Pity the sandall'd swain, the shepherd's boy;
He sighs to brighten a neglected name;
Foe to the dull applause of vulgar joy,
He mourns his lot; he wishes, merits fame.
In vain to groves and pathless vales we fly;
Ambition there the bowery haunt invades;
Fame's awful rays fatigue the courtier's eye,
But gleam still lovely through the chequer'd shades.
Vainly, to guard from Love's unequal chain,
Has Fortune rear'd us in the rural grove;
Should ----'s eyes illume the desert plain,
Even I may wonder, and even I must love.
Not unregarded sighs the lowly hind;
Though you contemn, the gods respect his vow;
Vindictive rage awaits the scornful mind,
And vengeance, too severe! the gods allow.
On Sarum's plain I met a wandering fair;
The look of sorrow, lovely still, she bore;
Loose flow'd the soft redundance of her hair,
And on her brow a flowery wreath she wore.
Oft stooping as she stray'd, she cull'd the pride
Of every plain; she pillaged every grove!
The fading chaplet daily she supplied,
And still her hand some various garland wove.
Erroneous Fancy shaped her wild attire:
From Bethlem's walls the poor lymphatic stray'd;
Seem'd with her air, her accent, to conspire,
When, as wild Fancy taught her, thus she said:
"Hear me, dear Youth! oh, bear an hapless maid,
Sprung from the scepter'd line of ancient kings!
Scorn'd by the world, I ask thy tender aid;
Thy gentle voice shall whisper kinder things.
"The world is frantic--fly the race profane--.
Nor I, nor you, shall its compassion move:
Come, friendly let us wander and complain;
And tell me, Shepherd! hast thou seen my love?
"My love is young--but other loves are young;
And other loves are fair, and so is mine;
An air divine discloses whence he sprung;
He is my love, who boasts that air divine.
"No vulgar Damon robs me of my rest;
Ianthe listens to no vulgar vow;
A prince, from gods descended, fires her breast;
A brilliant crown distinguishes his brow.
"What! shall I stain the glories of my race,
More clear, more lovely bright, than Hesper's beam?
The porcelain pure with vulgar dirt debase?
Or mix with puddle the pellucid stream?
"See through these veins the sapphire current shine!
'Twas Jove's own nectar gave th' ethereal hue:
Can base plebeian forms contend with mine,
Display the lovely white, or match the blue?
"The painter strove to trace its azure ray;
He changed his colours, and in vain he strove:
He frown'd--I, smiling, view'd the faint essay:
Poor youth! he little knew it flow'd from Jove.
"Pitying his toil, the wondrous truth I told,
How amorous Jove trepann'd a mortal fair;
How through the race the generous current roll'd,
And mocks the poet's art and painter's care.
"Yes, from the gods, from earliest Saturn, sprung
Our sacred race, through demi-gods convey'd,
And he, allied to Phœbus, ever young,
My godlike boy! must wed their duteous maid.
"Oft, when a mortal vow profanes my ear,
My sire's dread fury murmurs through the sky;
And should I yield--his instant rage appears;
He darts th' uplifted vengeance--and I die.
"Have you not heard unwonted thunders roll?
Have you not seen more horrid lightnings glare?
'Twas then a vulgar love ensnared my soul;
'Twas then--I hardly 'scaped the fatal snare.
"'Twas then a peasant pour'd his amorous vow,
All as I listen'd to his vulgar strain;--
Yet such his beauty--would my birth allow,
Dear were the youth, and blissful were the plain.
"But, oh, I faint! why wastes my vernal bloom,
In fruitless searches ever doom'd to rove?
My nightly dreams the toilsome path resume,
And I shall die--before I find my love.
"When last I slept, methought my ravish'd eye
On distant heaths his radiant form survey'd;
Though night's thick clouds encompass'd all the sky,
The gems that bound his brow dispell'd the shade.
"O how this bosom kindled at the sight!
Led by their beams I urged the pleasing chase,
Till, on a sudden, these withheld their light--
All, all things envy the sublime embrace.
"But now no more--Behind the distant grove
Wanders my destined youth, and chides my stay:
See, see! he grasps the steel--Forbear, my Love--
Ianthe comes; thy princess hastes away."
Scornful she spoke, and, heedless of reply,
The lovely maniac bounded o'er the plain,
The piteous victim of an angry sky!
Ah me! the victim of her proud disdain.
HE INDULGES THE SUGGESTIONS OF SPLEEN.--AN ELEGY TO THE WINDS.
Æole! namque tibi divûm Pater atque hominum rex,
Et mulcere dedit mentes et tollere vento.
O Æolus! to thee the Sire supreme
Of gods and men the mighty power bequeath'd
To rouse or to assuage the human mind.
Stern Monarch of the winds! admit my prayer;
Awhile thy fury check, thy storms confine;
No trivial blast impels the passive air,
But brews a tempest in a breast like mine.
What bands of black ideas spread their wings!
The peaceful regions of Content invade!
With deadly poison taint the crystal springs!
With noisome vapour blast the verdant shade!
I know their leader, Spleen, and the dread sway
Of rigid Eurus, his detested sire;
Through one my blossoms and my fruits decay;
Through one my pleasures and my hopes expire.
Like some pale stripling, when his icy way
Relenting, yields beneath the noontide beam,
I stand aghast; and, chill'd with fear, survey
How far I've tempted life's deceitful stream.
Where, by remorse impell'd, repulsed by fears,
Shall wretched Fancy a retreat explore?
She flies the sad presage of coming years,
And sorrowing dwells on pleasures now no more.
Again with patrons and with friends she roves;
But friends and patrons never to return;
She sees the Nymphs, the Graces, and the Loves,
But sees them weeping o'er Lucinda's urn.
She visits, Isis! thy forsaken stream,
Oh! ill forsaken for Bœotian air;
She deems no flood reflects so bright a beam,
No reed so verdant, and no flower so fair.
She dreams beneath thy sacred shades were peace,
Thy bays might even the civil storm repel;
Reviews thy social bliss, thy learned ease,
And with no cheerful accent cries, Farewell!
Farewell, with whom to these retreats I stray'd,
By youthful sports, by youthful toils, allied;
Joyous we sojourn'd in thy circling shade,
And wept to find the paths of life divide.
She paints the progress of my rival's vows.
Sees every muse a partial ear incline,
Binds with luxuriant bays his favour'd brow,
Nor yields the refuse of his wrath to mine.
She bids the flattering mirror, form'd to please,
Now blast my hope, now vindicate despair;
Bids my fond verse the lovesick parley cease,
Accuse my rigid fate, acquit my fair.
Where circling rocks defend some pathless vale,
Superfluous mortal! let me ever rove;
Alas! there Echo will repeat the tale--
Where shall I find the silent scenes I love?
Fain would I mourn my luckless fate alone,
Forbid to please, yet fated to admire;
Away, my friends! my sorrows are my own!
Why should I breathe around my sick desire?
Bear me, ye winds, indulgent to my pains,
Near some sad ruin's ghastly shade to dwell!
There let me fondly eye the rude remains,
And from the mouldering refuse build my cell!
Genius of Rome! thy prostrate pomp display!
Trace every dismal proof of Fortune's power;
Let me the wreck of theatres survey,
Or pensive sit beneath some nodding tower.
Or where some duct, by rolling seasons worn,
Convey'd pure streams to Rome's imperial wall,
Near the wide breach in silence let me mourn,
Or tune my dirges to the water's fall.
Genius of Carthage! paint thy ruin'd pride;
Towers, arches, fanes, in wild confusion strewn;
Let banish'd Marius, lowering by thy side,
Compare thy fickle fortunes with his own.
Ah no! thou monarch of the storms! forbear;
My trembling nerves abhor thy rude control,
And scarce a pleasing twilight soothes my care,
Ere one vast death, like darkness, shocks my soul
Forbear thy rage--on no perennial base
Is built frail Fear, or Hope's deceitful pile;
My pains are fled--my joy resumes its places
Should the sky brighten, or Melissa smile.
HE REPEATS THE SONG OF COLIN, A DISCERNING SHEPHERD, LAMENTING THE STATE OF THE WOOLLEN MANUFACTORY.
Ergo omni studio glaciem ventosque nivales,
Quo minus est illis curæ mortalis egestas,
Avertes: victumque feres.
Near Avon's bank, on Arden's flowery plain,
A tuneful shepherd charm'd the listening wave,
And sunny Cotsol' fondly loved the strain;
Yet not a garland crowns the shepherd's grave!
Oh! lost Ophelia! smoothly flow'd the day,
To feel his music with my flames agree,
To taste the beauties of his melting lay,
To taste, and fancy it was dear to thee.
When, for his tomb, with each revolving year,
I steal the musk-rose from the scented brake,
I strew my cowslips, and I pay my tear,
I'll add the myrtle for Ophelia's sake.
Shivering beneath a leafless thorn he lay,
When Death's chill rigour seized his flowing tongue;
The more I found his faltering notes decay,
The more prophetic truth sublimed the song.
"Adieu, my Flocks!" he said, "my wonted care,
By sunny mountain, or by verdant shore;
May some more happy hand your fold prepare,
And may you need your Colin's crook no more!
"And you, ye Shepherds! lead my gentle sheep,
To breezy hills, or leafy shelters lead;
But if the sky with showers incessant weep,
Avoid the putrid moisture of the mead.
"Where the wild thyme perfumes the purpled heath,
Long loitering, there your fleecy tribes extend--
But what avail the maxims I bequeath?
The fruitless gift of an officious friend!
"Ah! what avails the timorous lambs to guard,
Though nightly cares with daily labours join,
If foreign sloth obtain the rich reward,
If Gallia's craft the ponderous fleece purloin?
Was it for this, by constant vigils worn,
I met the terrors of an early grave?
For this I led them from the pointed thorn?
For this I bathed them in the lucid wave?
"Ah! heedless Albion! too benignly prone
Thy blood to lavish, and thy wealth resign!
Shall every other virtue grace thy throne,
But quick-eyed Prudence never yet be thine?
From the fair natives of this peerless hill
Thou gav'st the sheep that browse Iberian plains;
Their plaintive cries the faithless region fill,
Their fleece adorns an haughty foe's domains.
"Ill-fated flocks! from cliff to cliff they stray;
Far from their dams, their native guardians, far!
Where the soft shepherd, all the livelong day,
Chaunts his proud mistress to his hoarse guitar.
"But Albion's youth her native fleece despise;
Unmoved they hear the pining shepherd's moan;
In silky folds each nervous limb disguise,
Allured by every treasure but their own.
"Oft have I hurried down the rocky steep,
Anxious to see the wintry tempest drive;
Preserve, said I, preserve your fleece, my Sheep!
Ere long will Phillis, will my love, arrive.
"Ere long she came: ah! woe is me! she came,
Robed in the Gallic loom's extraneous twine;
For gifts like these they give their spotless fame,
Resign their bloom, their innocence resign.
"Will no bright maid, by worth, by titles known,
Give the rich growth of British hills to Fame?
And let her charms, and her example, own
That Virtue's dress and Beauty's are the same?
"Will no famed chief support this generous maid?
Once more the patriot's arduous path resume?
And, comely from his native plains array'd,
Speak future glory to the British loom?
"What power unseen my ravish'd fancy fires?
I pierce the dreary shade of future days;
Sure 'tis the genius of the land inspires,
To breathe my latest breath in ---- praise.
"O might my breath for ---- praise suffice,
How gently should my dying limbs repose!
O might his future glory bless mine eyes,
My ravish'd eyes! how calmly would they close!
" ---- was born to spread the general joy;
By virtue rapt, by party uncontroll'd;
Britons for Britain shall the crook employ;
Britons for Britain's glory shear the fold."
WRITTEN IN SPRING, 1743.
Again the labouring hind inverts the soil;
Again the merchant ploughs the tumid wave;
Another spring renews the soldier's toil,
And finds me vacant in the rural cave.
As the soft lyre display'd my wonted loves,
The pensive pleasure and the tender pain,
The sordid Alpheus hurried through my groves,
Yet stopp'd to vent the dictates of disdain.
He glanced contemptuous o'er my ruin'd fold;
He blamed the graces of my favourite bower;
My breast, unsullied by the lust of gold;
My time, unlavish'd in pursuit of power.
Yes, Alpheus! fly the purer paths of Fate;
Abjure these scenes, from venal passions free;
Know, in this grove, I vow'd perpetual hate,
War, endless war, with lucre and with thee.
Here, nobly zealous, in my youthful hours,
I dress'd an altar to Thalia's name:
Here, as I crown'd the verdant shrine with flowers,
Soft on my labours stole the smiling dame.
"Damon," she cried, "if, pleased with honest praise,
Thou court success by virtue or by song,
Fly the false dictates of the venal race;
Fly the gross accents of the venal tongue.
"Swear that no lucre shall thy zeal betray;
Swerve not thy foot with fortune's votaries more;
Brand thou their lives, and brand their lifeless day--"
The winning phantom urged me, and I swore.
Forth from the rustic altar swift I stray'd;
"Aid my firm purpose, ye celestial Powers!
Aid me to quell the sordid breast," I said;
And threw my javelin towards their hostile towers.
Think not regretful I survey the deed,
Or added years no more the zeal allow;
Still, still observant, to the grove I speed,
The shrine embellish, and repeat the vow.
Sworn from his cradle Rome's relentless foe,
Such generous hate the Punic champion bore;
Thy lake, O Thrasimene! beheld it glow,
And Cannæ's walls and Trebia's crimson shore.
But let grave annals paint the warrior's fame;
Fair shine his arms in history enroll'd;
Whilst humbler lyres his civil worth proclaim,
His nobler hate of avarice and gold.
Now Punic pride its final eve survey'd;
Its hosts exhausted, and its fleets on fire:
Patient the victor's lucid frown obey'd,
And saw th' unwilling elephants retire.
But when their gold depress'd the yielding scale,
Their gold in pyramidic plenty piled,
He saw the unutterable grief prevail;
He saw their tears, and in his fury smiled.
"Think not," he cried, "ye view the smiles of ease,
Or this firm breast disclaims a patriot's pain;
I smile, but from a soul estranged to peace,
Frantic with grief, delirious with disdain.
"But were it cordial, this detested smile,
Seems it less timely than the grief ye show?
O Sons of Carthage! grant me to revile
The sordid source of your indecent woe.
"Why weep ye now? ye saw with tearless eye
When your fleet perish'd on the Punic wave:
Where lurk'd the coward tear, the lazy sigh,
When Tyre's imperial state commenced a slave?
"'Tis past--O Carthage! vanquish'd, honour'd shade!
Go, the mean sorrows of thy sons deplore;
Had freedom shared the vow to Fortune paid,
She ne'er, like Fortune, had forsook thy shore."
He ceased--abash'd the conscious audience hear,
Their pallid cheeks a crimson blush unfold,
Yet o'er that virtuous blush distreams a tear,
And falling, moistens their abandon'd gold.
HE COMPARES HIS HUMBLE FORTUNE WITH THE DISTRESS OF OTHERS; AND HIS SUBJECTION TO DELIA WITH THE MISERABLE SERVITUDE OF AN AFRICAN SLAVE.
Why droops this heart with fancied woes forlorn?
Why sinks my soul beneath this wintry sky?
What pensive crowds, by ceaseless labours worn,
What myriads, wish to be as blessed as I!
What though my roofs, devoid of pomp, arise,
Nor tempt the proud to quit his destined way?
Nor costly art my flowery dales disguise,
Where only simple friendship deigns to stray?
See the wild sons of Lapland's chill domain,
That scoop their couch beneath the drifted snows!
How void of hope they ken the frozen plain,
Where the sharp east for ever, ever blows!
Slave though I be, to Delia's eyes a slave,
My Delia's eyes endear the bands I wear;
The sigh she causes well becomes the brave,
The pang she causes 'tis even bliss to bear.
See the poor native quit the Libyan shores,
Ah! not in Love's delightful fetters bound!
No radiant smile his dying peace restores,
Nor love, nor fame, nor friendship, heals his wound.
Let vacant bards display their boasted woes;
Shall I the mockery of grief display?
No; let the Muse his piercing pangs disclose,
Who bleeds and weeps his sum of life away!
On the wild beach in mournful guise he stood,
Ere the shrill boatswain gave the hated sign;
He dropp'd a tear unseen into the flood;
He stole one secret moment, to repine.
Yet the Muse listen'd to the plaints he made,
Such moving plaints as Nature could inspire;
To me the Muse his tender plea convey'd,
But smooth'd and suited to the sounding lyre.
"Why am I ravish'd from my native strand?
What savage race protects this impious gain?
Shall foreign plagues infest this teeming land,
And more than seaborn monsters plough the main?
"Here the dire locusts' horrid swarms prevail;
Here the blue asps with livid poison swell;
Here the dry dipsa writhes his sinuous mail;
Can we not here secure from envy dwell?
"When the grim Lion urged his cruel chase,
When the stern Panther sought his midnight prey,
What fate reserved me for this Christian race?
A race more polish'd, more severe than they!
"Ye prowling Wolves! pursue my latest cries;
Thou hungry Tiger! leave thy reeking den;
Ye sandy Wastes! in rapid eddies rise;
Tear me from the whips and scorns of men!
"Yet in their face superior beauty glows;
Are smiles the mien of Rapine and of Wrong?
Yet from their lip the voice of mercy flows,
And even religion dwells upon their tongue.
"Of blissful haunts they tell, and brighter climes,
Where gentle maids, convey'd by Death, repair,
But stain'd with blood, and crimson'd o'er with crimes,
Say, shall they merit what they paint so fair?
"For them our tusky elephant expires;
For them we drain the mine's embowell'd gold;
Where rove the brutal nation's wild desires?--
Our limbs are purchased, and our life is sold!
"Yet shores there are, bless'd shores for us remain,
And favour'd isles, with golden fruitage crown'd,
Where tufted flowerets paint the verdant plain,
Where every breeze shall med'cine every wound.
"There the stern tyrant that embitters life,
Shall, vainly suppliant, spread his asking hand;
There shall we view the billows' raging strife,
Aid the kind breast, and waft his boat to land."
TAKING A VIEW OF THE COUNTRY FROM HIS RETIREMENT, HE IS LED TO MEDITATE ON THE CHARACTER OF THE ANCIENT BRITONS. WRITTEN AT THE TIME OF A RUMOURED TAX UPON LUXURY, 1746.
Thus Damon sung--What though unknown to praise,
Umbrageous coverts hide my Muse and me,
Or mid the rural shepherds flow my days?
Amid the rural shepherds, I am free.
To view sleek vassals crowd a stately hall,
Say, should I grow myself a solemn slave?
To find thy tints, O Titian! grace my wall,
Forego the flowery fields my fortune gave?
Lord of my time, my devious path I bend
Through fringy woodland, or smooth-shaven lawn,
Or pensile grove, or airy cliff ascend,
And hail the scene by Nature's pencil drawn.
Thanks be to Fate--though nor the racy vine,
Nor fattening olive, clothe the fields I rove,
Sequester'd shades and gurgling founts are mine,
And every sylvan grot the Muses love.
Here if my vista point the mouldering pile,
Where hood and cowl Devotion's aspect wore,
I trace the tottering relics with a smile,
To think the mental bondage is no more.
Pleased if the glowing landscape wave with corn,
Or the tall oaks, my country's bulwark, rise;
Pleased if mine eye, o'er thousand valleys borne,
Discern the Cambrian hills support the skies.
And see Plinlimmon! even the youthful sight
Scales the proud hill's ethereal cliffs with pain!
Such, Caer-Caradoc! thy stupendous height,
Whose ample shade obscures th' Iernian main.
Bleak, joyless regions! where, by Science fired,
Some prying sage his lonely step may bend;
There, by the love of novel plants inspired,
Invidious view the clambering goats ascend.
Yet for those mountains, clad with lasting snow,
The freeborn Briton left his greenest mead,
Receding sullen from his mightier foe,
For here he saw fair Liberty recede.
Then if a chief perform'd a patriot's part,
Sustain'd her drooping sons, repell'd her foes,
Above all Persian luxe or Attic art
The rude majestic monument arose.
Progressive ages caroll'd forth his fame,
Sires, to his praise, attuned their children's tongue;
The hoary Druid fed the generous flame,
While in such strains the reverend wizard sung:
"Go forth, my Sons!--for what is vital breath,
Your gods expell'd, your liberty resign'd?
Go forth, my Sons!--for what is instant death
To souls secure perennial joys to find?
"For scenes there are, unknown to war or pain,
Where drops the balm that heals a tyrant's wound;
Where patriots, bless'd with boundless freedom, reign,
With misletoe's mysterious garlands crown'd.
"Such are the names that grace your mystic songs;
Your solemn woods resound their martial fire;
To you, my Sons, the ritual meed belongs,
If in the cause you vanquish or expire.
"Hark! from the sacred oak, that crowns the groves,
What awful voice my raptured bosom warms!
This is the favour'd moment Heaven approves,
Sound the shrill trump; this instant sound, to arms."
Theirs was the science of a martial race,
To shape the lance, or decorate the shield
Even the fair virgin stain'd her native grace
To give new horrors to the tented field.
Now, for some cheek where guilty blushes glow,
For some false Florimel's impure disguise,
The listed youth nor War's loud signal know,
Nor Virtue's call, nor Fame's imperial prize.
Then, if soft concord lull'd their fears to sleep,
Inert and silent slept the manly car,
But rush'd horrific o'er the fearful steep,
If Freedom's awful clarion breathed to war.
Now the sleek courtier, indolent and vain,
Throned in the splendid carriage, glides supine,
To taint his virtue with a foreign stain,
Or at a favourite board his faith resign.
Leave then, O Luxury! this happy soil;
Chase her, Britannia! to some hostile shore
Or fleece the baneful pest with annual spoil,
And let thy virtuous offspring weep no more.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR ----, WHEN THE RIGHTS OF SEPULTURE WERE SO FREQUENTLY VIOLATED.
Say, gentle Sleep! that lov'st the gloom of night,
Parent of dreams! thou great Magician! say,
Whence my late vision thus endures the light,
Thus haunts my fancy through the glare of day?
The silent moon had scaled the vaulted skies,
And anxious Care resign'd my limbs to rest;
A sudden lustre struck my wondering eyes,
And Silvia stood before my couch confest.
Ah! not the nymph so blooming and so gay,
That led the dance beneath the festive shade,
But she that, in the morning of her day,
Entomb'd beneath the grass-green sod was laid.
No more her eyes their wonted radiance cast,
No more her breast inspired the lover's flame;
No more her cheek the Pæstan rose surpass'd,
Yet seem'd her lip's ethereal smile the same.
Nor such her hair as deck'd the living face,
Nor such her voice as charm'd the listening crowd;
Nor such her dress as heighten'd every grace;
Alas! all vanish'd for the mournful shroud!
Yet seem'd her lip's ethereal charm the same;
That dear distinction every doubt removed;
Perish the lover, whose imperfect flame
Forgets one feature of the nymph he loved!
"Damon," she said, "mine hour allotted flies;
Oh! do not waste it with a fruitless tear!
Though grieved to see thy Sylvia's pale disguise,
Suspend thy sorrow, and attentive hear.
"So may thy Muse with virtuous fame be blest!
So be thy love with mutual love repaid!
So may thy bones in sacred silence rest!
Fast by the relics of some happier maid!
"Thou know'st how, lingering on a distant shore,
Disease invidious nipt my flowery prime;
And, oh, what pangs my tender bosom tore,
To think I ne'er must view my native clime!
"No friend was near to raise my drooping head;
No dear companion wept to see me die;
Lodge me within my native soil, I said,
There my fond parents' honour'd relics lie.
"Though now debarr'd of each domestic tear,
Unknown, forgot, I meet the fatal blow;
There many a friend shall grace my woful bier,
And many a sigh shall rise, and tear shall flow.
"I spoke, nor Fate forbore his trembling spoil;
Some venal mourner lent his careless aid,
And soon they bore me to my native soil,
Where my fond parents' dear remains were laid.
"'Twas then the youths, from every plain and grove,
Adorn'd with mournful verse thy Sylvia's bier;
'Twas then the nymphs their votive garlands wove,
And strew'd the fragrance of the youthful year.
But why, alas! the tender scene display?
Could Damon's foot the pious path decline?
Ah, no! 'twas Damon first attuned his lay,
And sure no sonnet was so dear as thine.
"Thus was I bosom'd in the peaceful grave;
My placid ghost no longer wept its doom;
When savage robbers every sanction brave,
And with outrageous guilt defraud the tomb!
"Shall my poor corse, from hostile realms convey'd,
Lose the cheap portion of my native sands?
Or, in my kindred's dear embraces laid,
Mourn the vile ravage of barbarian hands?
"Say, would thy breast no deathlike torture feel,
To see my limbs the felon's gripe obey?
To see them gash'd beneath the daring steel?
To crowds a spectre, and to dogs a prey?
"If Pæan's Sons these horrid rites require,
If Health's fair science be by these refined,
Let guilty convicts, for their use, expire,
And let their breathless corse avail mankind.
"Yet hard it seems, when Guilt's last fine is paid,
To see the victim's corse denied repose;
Now, more severe, the poor offenceless maid
Dreads the dire outrage of inhuman foes.
"Where is the faith of ancient Pagans fled?
Where the fond care the wand'ring Manes claim?
Nature, instinctive, cries, Protect the dead,
And sacred be their ashes, and their fame!
"Arise, dear Youth! even now the danger calls;
Even now the villain snuffs his wonted prey;
See! see!I lead thee to yon sacred walls--
Oh! fly to chase these human wolves away."
REFLECTIONS SUGGESTED BY HIS SITUATION.
Born near the scene for Kenelm's fate renown'd,
I take my plaintive reed, and range the grove,
And raise my lay, and bid the rocks resound
The savage force of empire, and of love.
Fast by the centre of yon various wild,
Where spreading oaks embower a Gothic fane,
Kendria's arts a brother's youth beguiled;
There nature urged her tenderest pleas in vain.
Soft o'er his birth, and o'er his infant hours,
The ambitious maid could every care employ;
Then with assiduous fondness cropt the flowers,
To deck the cradle of the princely boy.
But soon the bosom's pleasing calm is flown;
Love fires her breast; the sultry passions rise;
A favour'd lover seeks the Mercian throne,
And views her Kenelm with a rival's eyes.
How kind were Fortune! ah, how just were Fate!
Would Fate or Fortune Mercia's heir remove!
How sweet to revel on the couch of state!
To crown at once her lover and her love!
See, garnish'd for the chase, the fraudful maid
To these lone hills direct his devious way;
The youth, all prone, the sister-guide obey'd;
Ill-fated youth! himself the destined prey!
But now, nor shaggy hill, nor pathless plain,
Forms the lone refuge of the sylvan game,
Since Lyttleton has crown'd the sweet domain
With softer pleasures, and with fairer fame.
Where the rough bowman urged his headlong steed,
Immortal bards, a polish'd race, retire;
And where hoarse scream'd the strepent horn, succeed
The melting graces of no vulgar lyre.
See Thomson, loitering near some limpid well,
For Britain's friend the verdant wreath prepare!
Or, studious of revolving seasons, tell
How peerless Lucia made all seasons fair!
See ---- from civic garlands fly,
And in those groves indulge his tuneful vein!
Or from yon summit, with a guardian's eye,
Observe how Freedom's hand attires the plain!
Here Pope!--ah! never must that towering mind
To his loved haunts, or dearer friend return!
What art, what friendships! oh, what fame resign'd
--In yonder glade I trace his mournful urn.
Where is the breast can rage or hate retain,
And these glad streams and smiling lawns behold?
Where is the breast can hear the woodland strain,
And think fair Freedom well exchanged for gold?
Through these soft shades delighted let me stray,
While o'er my head forgotten suns descend!
Through these dear valleys bend my casual way,
Till setting life a total shade extend!
Here, far from courts, and void of pompous cares,
I'll muse how much I owe mine humbler fate,
Or shrink to find how much Ambition dares,
To shine in anguish, and to grieve in state!
Canst thou, O Sun! that spotless throne disclose,
Where her bold arm has left no sanguine stain?
Where, show me where, the lineal sceptre glows,
Pure as the simple crook that rules the plain!
Tremendous pomp! where hate, distrust, and fear,
In kindred bosoms solve the social tie;
There not the parent's smile is half sincere,
Nor void of art the consort's melting eye.
There, with the friendly wish, the kindly flame,
No face is brighten'd, and no bosoms beat;
Youth, manhood, age, avow one sordid aim,
And even the beardless lip essays deceit.
There coward Rumours walk their murderous round;
The glance, that more than rural blame instils;
Whispers that, tinged with friendship, doubly wound;
Pity that injures, and concern that kills.
There anger whets, but love can ne'er engage;
Caressing brothers part but to revile;
There all men smile, and Prudence warns the wise
To dread the fatal stroke of all that smile.
There all are rivals! sister, son, and sire,
With horrid purpose hug destructive arms;
There soft-eyed maids in murderous plots conspire,
And scorn the gentler mischief of their charms.
Let servile minds one endless watch endure;
Day, night, nor hour, their anxious guard resign;
But lay me, Fate! on flowery banks secure,
Though my whole soul be, like my limbs, supine.
Yes; may my tongue disdain a vassal's care;
My lyre resound no prostituted lay;
More warm to merit, more elate to wear
The cap of Freedom than the crown of bay.
Soothed by the murmurs of my pebbled flood,
I wish it not o'er golden sands to flow;
Cheer'd by the verdure of my spiral wood,
I scorn the quarry, where no shrub can grow.
No midnight pangs the shepherd's peace pursue;
His tongue, his hand, attempts no secret wound;
He sings his Delia, and, if she be true,
His love at once, and his ambition's crown'd.
HE TAKES OCCASION, FROM THE FATE OF ELEANOR OF BRETAGNE, TO SUGGEST THE IMPERFECT PLEASURES OF A SOLITARY LIFE.
When Beauty mourns, by Fate's injurious doom,
Hid from the cheerful glance of human eye,
When Nature's pride inglorious waits the tomb,
Hard is that heart which checks the rising sigh.
Fair Eleonora! would no gallant mind,
The cause of Love, the cause of Justice, own?
Matchless thy charms, and was no life resign'd
To see them sparkle from their native throne?
Or had fair Freedom's hand unveil'd thy charms,
Well might such brows the regal gem resign;
Thy radiant mien might scorn the guilt of arms,
Yet Albion's awful empire yield to thine.
O shame of Britons! in one sullen tower
She wet with royal tears her daily cell;
She found keen anguish every rose devour;
They sprung, they shone, they faded, and they fell.
Through one dim lattice, fringed with ivy round,
Successive suns a languid radiance threw,
To paint how fierce her angry guardian frown'd,
To mark how fast her waning beauty flew.
This, age might bear; then sated Fancy palls,
Nor warmly hopes what splendour can supply;
Fond Youth incessant mourns if rigid walls
Restrain its listening ear, its curious eye.
Believe me ---- the pretence is vain!
This boasted calm that smooths our early day;
For never yet could youthful mind restrain
The alternate pant for pleasure and for praise.
Even me, by shady oak or limpid spring,
Even me, the scenes of polish'd life allure!
Some genius whispers, "Life is on the wing,
And hard his lot that languishes obscure.
"What though thy riper mind admire no more--
The shining cincture, and the broider'd fold,
Can pierce like lightning thorough the figured ore,
And melt to dross the radiant forms of gold.
"Furs, ermines, rods, may well attract thy scorn,
The futile presents of capricious Power!
But wit, but worth, the public sphere adorn,
And who but envies then the social hour?
"Can Virtue, careless of her pupil's meed,
Forget how ---- sustains the shepherd's cause?
Content in shades to tune a lonely reed,
Nor join the sounding pæan of applause?
For public haunts, impell'd by Britain's weal,
See Grenville quit the Muse's favourite ease;
And shall not swains admire his noble zeal?
Admiring praise, admiring strive to please?
"Life," says the sage, "affords no bliss sincere,
And courts and cells in vain our hopes renew:
But, ah! where Grenvile charms the listening ear,
'Tis hard to think the cheerless maxim true.
"The groves may smile; the rivers gently glide;
Soft through the vale resound the lonesome lay;
Even thickets yield delight, if taste preside,
But can they please, when Lyttleton's away?
"Pure as the swain's the breast of ---- glows;
Ah! were the shepherd's phrase, like his, refined!
But, how improved the generous dictate flows
Through the clear medium of a polish'd mind!
"Happy the youths who, warm with Britain's love,
Her inmost wish in ---- periods hear!
Happy that in the radiant circle move,
Attendant orbs, where Lonsdale gilds the sphere!
"While rural faith, and every polish'd art,
Each friendly charm, in ---- conspire,
From public scenes all pensive must you part;
All joyless to the greenest fields retire!
"Go, plaintive Youth! no more by fount or stream,
Like some lone halcyon, social pleasures shun;
Go, dare the light, enjoy its cheerful beam,
And hail the bright procession of the sun.
"Then, cover'd by thy ripen'd shades, resume
The silent walk, no more by passion tost;
Then seek thy rustic haunts, the dreary gloom,
Where every art, that colours life, is lost."
In vain! the listening Muse attends in vain!
Restraints in hostile bands her motions wait--
Yet will I grieve, and sadden all my strain,
When injured Beauty mourns the Muse's fate.
TO DELIA, WITH SOME FLOWERS; COMPLAINING HOW MUCH HIS BENEVOLENCE SUFFERS ON ACCOUNT OF HIS HUMBLE FORTUNE.
Whate'er could Sculpture's curious art employ,
Whate'er the lavish hand of Wealth can shower,
These would I give--and every gift enjoy,
That pleased my fair--but Fate denies the power.
Bless'd were my lot to feed the social fires!
To learn the latent wishes of a friend!
To give the boon his native taste admires,
And, for my transport, on his smile depend!
Bless'd, too, is he whose evening ramble strays
Where droop the sons of Indigence and Care!
His little gifts their gladden'd eyes amaze,
And win, at small expence, their fondest prayer!
And, oh! the joy, to shun the conscious light;
To spare the modest blush; to give unseen!
Like showers that fall behind the veil of night,
Yet deeply tinge the smiling vales with green.
But happiest they who drooping realms relieve!
Whose virtues in our cultured vales appear!
For whose sad fate a thousand shepherds grieve,
And fading fields allow the grief sincere.
To call lost Worth from its oppressive shade
To fix its equal sphere, and see it shine,
To hear it grateful own the generous aid:
This, this is transport--but must ne'er be mine.
Faint is my bounded bliss; nor I refuse
To range where daisies open, rivers roll,
While prose or song the languid hours amuse,
And sooth the fond impatience of my soul.
Awhile I'll weave the roofs of jasmine bowers,
And urge with trivial cares the loitering year;
Awhile I'll prune my grove, protect my flowers,
Then, unlamented, press an early bier!
Of those loved flowers the lifeless corse may share,
Some hireling hand a fading wreath bestow;
The rest will breathe as sweet, will glow as fair,
As when their master smiled to see them glow.
The sequent morn shall wake the sylvan quire;
The kid again shall wanton ere 'tis noon;
Nature will smile, will wear her best attire;
O let not gentle Delia smile so soon!
While the rude hearse conveys me slow away,
And careless eyes my vulgar fate proclaim,
Let thy kind tear my utmost worth o'erpay,
And, softly sighing, vindicate my fame.--
O Delia! cheer'd by thy superior praise,
I bless the silent path the Fates decree;
Pleased, from the list of my inglorious days,
To raise the moments crown'd with bliss and thee.
DESCRIBING THE SORROW OF AN INGENUOUS MIND ON THE MELANCHOLY EVENT OF A LICENTIOUS AMOUR.
Why mourns my friend? why weeps his downcast eye,
That eye where mirth, where fancy, used to shine?
Thy cheerful meads reprove that swelling sigh;
Spring ne'er enamell'd fairer meads than thine.
Art thou not lodged in Fortune's warm embrace?
Wert thou not form'd by Nature's partial care?
Bless'd in thy song, and bless'd in every grace
That wins the friend, or that enchants the fair?
"Damon," said he, "thy partial praise restrain;
Not Damon's friendship can my peace restore:
Alas! his very praise awakes my pain,
And my poor wounded bosom bleeds the more.
"For, O that Nature on my birth had frown'd,
Or Fortune fix'd me to some lowly cell!
Then had my bosom 'scaped this fatal wound,
Nor had I bid these vernal sweets farewell.
"But, led by Fortune's hand, her darling child,
My youth her vain licentious bliss admired;
In Fortune's train the syren Flattery smiled,
And rashly hallow'd all her queen inspired.
"Of folly studious, even of vices vain,
Ah, vices gilded by the rich and gay!
I chased the guileless daughters of the plain,
Nor dropp'd the chase till Jessy was my prey.
"Poor artless maid! to stain thy spotless name,
Expense, and Art, and Toil united strove;
To lure a breast that felt the purest flame,
Sustain'd by Virtue, but betray'd by Love.
"School'd in the science of Love's mazy wiles,
I clothed each feature with affected scorn;
I spoke of jealous doubts, and fickle smiles,
And, feigning, left her anxious and forlorn.
"Then while the fancied rage alarm'd her care,
Warm to deny, and zealous to disprove,
I bade my words the wonted softness wear,
And seized the minute of returning love.
"To thee, my Damon, dare I paint the rest?
Will yet thy love a candid ear incline?
Assured that virtue, by misfortune press'd,
Feels not the sharpness of a pang like mine.
"Nine envious moons matured her growing shame,
Erewhile to flaunt it in the face of day,
When scorn'd of Virtue, stigmatized by Fame,
Low at my feet desponding Jessy lay.
"'Henry,' she said, 'by thy dear form subdued,
See the sad relics of a nymph undone!
I find, I find this rising sob renew'd;
I sigh in shades, and sicken at the sun.
"'Amid the dreary gloom of night, I cry,
When will the morn's once pleasing scenes return?
Yet what can morn's returning ray supply,
But foes that triumph, or but friends that mourn?
"'Alas! no more that joyous morn appears
That led the tranquil hours of spotless fame,
For I have steep'd a father's couch in tears,
And tinged a mother's glowing cheek with shame.
"'The vocal birds that raise their matin strain,
The sportive lambs, increase my pensive moan;
All seem to chase me from the cheerful plain,
And talk of truth and innocence alone.
"'If through the garden's flowery tribes I stray,
Where bloom the jasmines that could once allure,
"Hope not to find delight in us," they say,
"For we are spotless, Jessy; we are pure."
"'Ye flowers! that well reproach a nymph so frail,
Say, could you with my virgin fame compare?
The brightest bud that scents the vernal gale
Was not so fragrant; and was not so fair.
"'Now the grave old alarm the gentler young,
And all my fame's abhorr'd contagion flee;
Trembles each lip, and falters every tongue,
That bids the morn propitious smile on me.
"'Thus for your sake I shun each human eye,
I bid the sweets of blooming youth adieu:
To die I languish, but I dread to die,
Lest my sad fate should nourish pangs for you.
"'Raise me from earth; the pains of want remove,
And let me, silent, seek some friendly shore;
There only, banish'd from the form I love,
My weeping virtue shall relapse no more.
"'Be but my friend; I ask no dearer name;
Be such the meed of some more artful fair;
Nor could it heal my peace, or chase my shame,
That Pity gave what Love refused to share.
"'Force not my tongue to ask its scanty bread,
Nor hurl thy Jessy to the vulgar crew;
Not such the parent's board at which I fed!
Not such the precepts from his lips I drew!
"'Haply, when age has silver'd o'er my hair,
Malice may learn to scorn so mean a spoil;
Envy may slight a face no longer fair,
And Pity welcome to my native soil.'
"She spoke--nor was I born of savage race,
Nor could these hands a niggard boon assign;
Grateful she clasp'd me in a last embrace,
And vow'd to waste her life in prayers for mine.
"I saw her foot the lofty bark ascend,
I saw her breast with every passion heave;
I left her--torn from every earthly friend;
Oh, my hard bosom! which could bear to leave!
"Brief let me be: the fatal storm arose;
The billows raged, the pilot's art was vain;
O'er the tall mast the circling surges close;
My Jessy--floats upon the watery plain!
"And--see my youth's impetuous fires decay:
Seek not to stop Reflection's bitter tear;
But warn the frolic, and instruct the gay,
From Jessy floating on her watery bier."
Copyright © 2002, Shropshire County
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