Mary Darby Robinson
To the Myrtle
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.
Sonnet IV: Why, When I Gaze
Why, when I gaze on Phaon's beauteous eyes,
Why does each thought in wild disorder stray?
Why does each fainting faculty decay,
And my chill'd breast in throbbing tumults rise?
Mute, on the ground my Lyre neglected lies,
The Muse forgot, and lost the melting lay;
My down-cast looks, my faultering lips betray,
That stung by hopeless passion,--Sappho dies!
Now, on a bank of Cypress let me rest;
Come, tuneful maids, ye pupils of my care,
Come, with your dulcet numbers soothe my breast;
And, as the soft vibrations float on air,
Let pity waft my spirit to the blest,
To mock the barb'rous triumphs of despair!
Sonnet XII: Now, O'er the Tesselated Pavement
Now, o'er the tessellated pavement strew
Fresh saffron, steep'd in essence of the rose,
While down yon agate column gently flows
A glitt'ring streamlet of ambrosial dew!
My Phaon smiles! the rich carnation's hue,
On his flush'd cheek in conscious lustre glows,
While o'er his breast enamour'd Venus throws
Her starry mantle of celestial blue!
Breathe soft, ye dulcet flutes, among the trees
Where clust'ring boughs with golden citron twine;
While slow vibrations, dying on the breeze,
Shall soothe his soul with harmony divine!
Then let my form his yielding fancy seize,
And all his fondest wishes, blend with mine.
Sonnet XXXIX: Prepare Your Wreaths
Prepare your wreaths, Aonian maids divine,
To strew the tranquil bed where I shall sleep;
In tears, the myrtle and the laurel steep,
And let Erato's hand the trophies twine.
No parian marble, there, with labour'd line,
Shall bid the wand'ring lover stay to weep;
There holy silence shall her vigils keep.
Save, when the nightingale such woes as mine
Shall sadly sing; as twilight's curtains spread,
There shall the branching lotos widely wave,
Sprinkling soft show'rs upon the lily's head,
Sweet drooping emblem for a lover's grave!
And there shall Phaon pearls of pity shed,
To gem the vanquish'd heart he scorn'd to save!
Elegy to the Memory of 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'dand 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 wreathimmortaliz'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.
The Negro Girl
Dark was the dawn, and o'er the deep
The boist'rous whirlwinds blew;
The Sea-bird wheel'd its circling sweep,
And all was drear to view--
When on the beach that binds the western shore
The love-lorn ZELMA stood, list'ning the tempest's roar.
Her eager Eyes beheld the main,
While on her DRACO dear
She madly call'd, but call'd in vain,
No sound could DRACO hear,
Save the shrill yelling of the fateful blast,
While ev'ry Seaman's heart, quick shudder'd as it past.
White were the billows, wide display'd
The clouds were black and low;
The Bittern shriek'd, a gliding shade
Seem'd o'er the waves to go !
The livid flash illum'd the clam'rous main,
While ZELMA pour'd, unmark'd, her melancholy strain.
"Be still!" she cried, "loud tempest cease!
"O ! spare the gallant souls:
"The thunder rolls--the winds increase--
"The Sea, like mountains, rolls!
"While, from the deck, the storm worn victims leap,
"And o'er their struggling limbs, the furious billows sweep.
"O! barb'rous Pow'r! relentless Fate!
"Does Heav'n's high will decree
"That some should sleep on beds of state,--
"Some, in the roaring Sea ?
"Some, nurs'd in splendour, deal Oppression's blow,
"While worth and DRACO pine--in Slavery and woe!
"Yon Vessel oft has plough'd the main
"With human traffic fraught;
"Its cargo,--our dark Sons of pain--
"For worldly treasure bought !
"What had they done?--O Nature tell me why--
"Is taunting scorn the lot, of thy dark progeny?
"Thou gav'st, in thy caprice, the Soul
"Nor from the ebon Casket stole
"The Jewel of the mind!
"Then wherefore let the suff'ring Negro's breast
"Bow to his fellow, MAN, in brighter colours drest.
"Is it the dim and glossy hue
"That marks him for despair?--
"While men with blood their hands embrue,
"And mock the wretch's pray'r?
"Shall guiltless Slaves the Scourge of tyrants feel,
"And, e'en before their GOD ! unheard, unpitied kneel.
"Could the proud rulers of the land
"Our Sable race behold;
"Some bow'd by torture's Giant hand
"And others, basely sold !
"Then would they pity Slaves, and cry, with shame,
"Whate'er their TINTS may be, their SOULS are still the same!
"Why seek to mock the Ethiop's face?
"Why goad our hapless kind?
"Can features alienate the race--
"Is there no kindred mind?
"Does not the cheek which vaunts the roseate hue
"Oft blush for crimes, that Ethiops never knew?
"Behold ! the angry waves conspire
"To check the barb'rous toil!
"While wounded Nature's vengeful ire--
"Roars, round this trembling Isle!
"And hark ! her voice re-echoes in the wind--
"Man was not form'd by Heav'n, to trample on his kind!
"Torn from my Mother's aching breast,
"My Tyrant sought my love--
"But, in the Grave shall ZELMA rest,
"E'er she will faithless prove--
"No DRACO!--Thy companion I will be
"To that celestial realm, where Negros shall be free!
"The Tyrant WHITE MAN taught my mind--
"The letter'd page to trace;--
"He taught me in the Soul to find
"No tint, as in the face:
"He bade my Reason, blossom like the tree--
"But fond affection gave, the ripen'd fruits to thee.
"With jealous rage he mark'd my love
"He sent thee far away;--
"And prison'd in the plantain grove--
"Poor ZELMA pass'd the day--
"But ere the moon rose high above the main,
"ZELMA, and Love contriv'd, to break the Tyrant's chain.
"Swift, o'er the plain of burning Sand
"My course I bent to thee;
"And soon I reach'd the billowy strand
"Which bounds the stormy Sea.--
"DRACO! my Love! Oh yet, thy ZELMA'S soul
"Springs ardently to thee,--impatient of controul.
"Again the lightning flashes white--
"The rattling cords among!
"Now, by the transient vivid light,
"I mark the frantic throng!
"Now up the tatter'd shrouds my DRACO flies--
While o'er the plunging prow, the curling billows rise.
"The topmast falls--three shackled slaves--
"Cling to the Vessel's side!
"Now lost amid the madd'ning waves--
"Now on the mast they ride--
"See ! on the forecastle my DRACO stands
"And now he waves his chain, now clasps his bleeding hands.
"Why, cruel WHITE-MAN! when away
"My sable Love was torn,
"Why did you let poor ZELMA stay,
On Afric's sands to mourn?
"No ! ZELMA is not left, for she will prove
"In the deep troubled main, her fond--her faithful LOVE."
The lab'ring Ship was now a wreck,
The shrouds were flutt'ring wide!
The rudder gone, the lofty deck
Was rock'd from side to side--
Poor ZELMA'S eyes now dropp'd their last big tear,
While, from her tawny cheek, the blood recoil'd with fear.
Now frantic, on the sands she roam'd,
Now shrieking stop'd to view
Where high the liquid mountains foam'd,
Around the exhausted crew--
'Till, from the deck, her DRACO'S well known form
Sprung mid the yawning waves, and buffetted the Storm.
Long, on the swelling surge sustain'd
Brave DRACO sought the shore,
Watch'd the dark Maid, but ne'er complain'd,
Then sunk, to gaze no more!
Poor ZELMA saw him buried by the wave--
And, with her heart's true Love, plung'd in a wat'ry grave.
[Inscribed to Her Grace the Duchess 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 Boywhen 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!
Sonnet XXIV: O Thou! Meek Orb
O thou! meek Orb! that stealing o'er the dale
Cheer'st with thy modest beams the noon of night!
On the smooth lake diffusing silv'ry light,
Sublimely still, and beautifully pale!
What can thy cool and placid eye avail,
Where fierce despair absorbs the mental sight,
While inbred glooms the vagrant thoughts invite,
To tempt the gulph where howling fiends assail?
O, Night! all nature owns thy temper'd pow'r;
Thy solemn pause, thy dews, thy pensive beam;
Thy sweet breath whisp'ring in the moonlight bow'r,
While fainting flow'rets kiss the wand'ring stream!
Yet, vain is ev'ry charm! and vain the hour,
That brings to madd'ning love, no soothing dream!
Ode to Beauty
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.
Sonnet XVIII: Why Art Thou Chang'd?
Why art thou chang'd? O Phaon! tell me why?
Love flies reproach, when passion feels decay;
Or, I would paint the raptures of that day,
When, in sweet converse, mingling sigh with sigh,
I mark'd the graceful languor of thine eye
As on a shady bank entranc'd we lay:
O! Eyes! whose beamy radiance stole away
As stars fade trembling from the burning sky!
Why art thou chang'd? dear source of all my woes!
Though dark my bosom's tint, through ev'ry vein
A ruby tide of purest lustre flows,
Warm'd by thy love, or chill'd by thy disdain;
And yet no bliss this sensate Being knows;
Ah! why is rapture so allied to pain?
Swift, o'er the wild and dreary waste
A NUT-BROWN GIRL was seen to haste;
Wide waving was her unbound hair,
And sun-scorch'd was her bosom bare;
For Summer's noon had shed its beams
While she lay wrapp'd in fev'rish dreams;
While, on the wither'd hedge-row's side,
By turns she slept, by turns she cried,
"Ah ! where lies hid the balsam sweet,
"To heal the wounds of MARGUERITE?"
Dark was her large and sunken eye
Which wildly gaz'd upon the sky;
And swiftly down her freckled face
The chilling dews began to pace:
For she was lorn, and many a day,
Had, all alone, been doom'd to stray,
And, many a night, her bosom warm,
Had throbb'd, beneath the pelting storm,
And still she cried, "the rain falls sweet,
"It bathes the wounds of MARGUERITE."
Her garments were by briars torn,
And on them hung full many a thorn;
A thistle crown, she mutt'ring twin'd,
Now darted on,--now look'd behind--
And here, and there, her arm was seen
Bleeding the tatter'd folds between;
Yet, on her breast she oft display'd
A faded branch, that breast to shade:
For though her senses were astray,
She felt the burning beams of day:
She felt the wintry blast of night,
And smil'd to see the morning light,
For then she cried, "I soon shall meet
"The plighted love of MARGUERITE."
Across the waste of printless snow,
All day the NUT-BROWN GIRL would go;
And when the winter moon had shed
Its pale beams on the mountain's head,
She on a broomy pillow lay
Singing the lonely hours away;
While the cold breath of dawnlight flew
Across the fields of glitt'ring dew:--
Swift o'er the frozen lake she past
Unmindful of the driving blast,
And then she cried "the air is sweet--
"It fans the breast of MARGUERITE."
The weedy lane she Iov'd to tread
When stars their twinkling lustre shed;
While from the lone and silent Cot
The watchful Cur assail'd her not,
Though at the beggar he would fly,
And fright the Trav'ller passing by:
But she, so kind and gentle seem'd,
Such sorrow in her dark eyes beam'd,
That savage fierceness could not greet
With less than love,--POOR MARGUERITE!
Oft, by the splashy brook she stood
And sung her Song to the waving wood;
The waving wood, in murmurs low,
Fill'd up the pause of weary woe;
Oft, to the Forest tripp'd along
And inly humm'd her frantic Song;
Oft danc'd mid shadows Ev'ning spread
Along the whisp'ring willow-bed.
And wild was her groan,
When she climb'd, alone--
The rough rock's side,
While the foaming tide,
Dash'd rudely against the sandy shore,
And the lightning flash'd mid the thunder's roar.
And many a time she chac'd the fly,
And mock'd the Beetle, humming by;
And then, with loud fantastic tone
She sang her wild strain, sad--alone.
And if a stranger wander'd near
Or paus'd the frantic Song to hear,
The burthen she would soft repeat,
"Who comes to soothe POOR MARGUERITE?
And why did she with sun-burnt breast,
So wander, and so scorn to rest?
Why did the NUT-BROWN MAIDEN go
O'er burning plains and wastes of snow?
What bade her fev'rish bosom sigh,
And dimm'd her large and hazle eye?
What taught her o'er the hills to stray
Fearless by night, and wild by day?
What stole the hour of slumber sweet--
From the scorch'd brain of MARGUERITE.
Soon shalt thou know; for see how lorn
She climbs the steep of shaggy thorn--
Now on the jutting cliff she stands,
And clasps her cold,--but snow-white hands.
And now aloud she chaunts her strain
While fiercely roars the troublous main.
Now the white breakers curling shew
The dread abyss that yawns below,
And still she sighs, "the sound is sweet,
"It seems to say, POOR MARGUERITE!"
"Here will I build a rocky shed,
"And here I'll make my sea-weed bed;
"Here gather, with unwearied hands--
"The orient shells that deck the sands.
"And here will I skim o'er the billows so high,
"And laugh at the moon and the dark frowning sky.
"And the Sea-birds, that hover across the wide main,
"Shall sweep with their pinions, the white bounding plain.--
"And the shivering sail shall the fierce tempest meet,
"Like the storm, in the bosom of POOR MARGUERITE!
"The setting Sun, with golden ray,
"Shall warm my breast, and make me gay.
"The clamours of the roaring Sea
"My midnight serenade shall be!
"The Cliff that like a Tyrant stands
"Exulting o'er the wave lash'd sands,
"With its weedy crown, and its flinty crest,
"Shall, on its hard bosom, rock me to rest;
"And I'll watch for the Eagle's unfledg'd brood,
"And I'll scatter their nest, and I'll drink their blood;
"And under the crag I will kneel and pray
"And silver my robe, with the moony ray:
"And who shall scorn the lone retreat
"Which Heaven has chose, for MARGUERITE?
"Here, did the exil'd HENRY stray
"Forc'd from his native land, away;
"Here, here upon a foreign shore,
"His parents, lost, awhile deplore;
"Here find, that pity's holy tear
"Could not an alien wand'rer chear;
"And now, in fancy, he would view,
"Shouting aloud, the rabble crew--
"The rabble crew, whose impious hands
"Tore asunder nature's bands!--
"I see him still,--He waves me on!
"And now to the dark abyss he's gone--
"He calls--I hear his voice, so sweet,--
"It seems to say--POOR MARGUERITE!"
Thus, wild she sung! when on the sand
She saw her long lost HENRY, stand:
Pale was his cheek, and on his breast
His icy hand he, silent, prest;
And now the Twilight shadows spread
Around the tall cliff's weedy head;
Far o'er the main the moon shone bright,
She mark'd the quiv'ring stream of light--
It danc'd upon the murm'ring wave
It danc'd upon--her HENRY'S Grave!
It mark'd his visage, deathly pale,--
His white shroud floating in the gale;
His speaking eyes--his smile so sweet
That won the love--of MARGUERITE!
And now he beckon'd her along
The curling moonlight waves among;
No footsteps mark'd the slanting sand
Where she had seen her HENRY stand!
She saw him o'er the billows go--
She heard the rising breezes blow;
She shriek'd aloud ! The echoing steep
Frown'd darkness on the troubled deep;
The moon in cloudy veil was seen,
And louder howl'd the night blast keen!--
And when the morn, in splendour dress'd,
Blush'd radiance on the Eagle's nest,
That radiant blush was doom'd to greet--
The lifeless form --of MARGUERITE!
The 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.
Sonnet to Ingratitude
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 malicepoverty'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 subduedand LIFE'S BEST JOYS DECAY.
Lines to 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, FAREWELL! 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 woesFOR 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.
Sonnet XXII: Wild Is the Foaming Sea
Wild is the foaming Sea! The surges roar!
And nimbly dart the livid lightnings round!
On the rent rock the angry waves rebound;
Ah me! the less'ning bark is seen no more!
Along the margin of the trembling shore,
Loud as the blast my frantic cries shall sound,
My storm-drench'd limbs the flinty fragments wound,
And o'er my bleeding breast the billows pour!
Phaon! return! ye winds, O! waft the strain
To his swift bark; ye barb'rous waves forbear!
Taunt not the anguish of a lover's brain,
Nor feebly emulate the soul's despair!
For howling winds, and foaming seas, in vain
Assail the breast, when passion rages there!
Sonnet XV: Now, Round My Favour'd Grot
Now, round my favor'd grot let roses rise,
To strew the bank where Phaon wakes from rest;
O! happy buds! to kiss his burning breast,
And die, beneath the lustre of his eyes!
Now, let the timbrels echo to the skies,
Now damsels sprinkel cassia on his vest,
With od'rous wreaths of constant myrtle drest,
And flow'rs, deep tinted with the rainbow's dyes!
From cups of porphyry let nectar flow,
Rich as the perfume of Phoenicia's vine!
Now let his dimpling cheek with rapture glow,
While round his heart love's mystic fetters twine;
And let the Grecian Lyre its aid bestow,
In songs of triumph, to proclaim him mine!
Sonnet XXI: Why Do I Live
Why do I live to loath the cheerful day,
To shun the smiles of Fame, and mark the hours
On tardy pinions move, while ceaseless show'rs
Down my wan cheek in lucid currents stray?
My tresses all abound, nor gems display,
Nor scents Arabian! on my path no flow'rs
Imbibe the morn's resuscitating pow'rs,
For one blank sorrow, saddens all my way!
As slow the radiant Sun of reason rose,
Through tears my dying parents saw it shine;
A brother's frailties, swell'd the tide of woes,-
And, keener far, maternal griefs were mine!
Phaon! if soon these weary eyes shall close,
Oh! must that task, that mournful task, be thine?
Male Fashions for 1799
Crops like hedgehogs, high-crown'd hats,
Whispers like Jew MOSES ;
Padded collars, thick cravats,
And cheeks as red as roses.
Faces painted pink and brown ;
Waistcoats strip'd and gaudy ;
Sleeves thrice doubled thick with down,
And straps to brace the body.
Short great-coats that reach the knees,
Boots like French postillion ;
Worn the G----- race to please,
But laugh'd at by the million.
Square-toed shoes, with silken strings,
Pantaloons not fitting ;
Finger deck'd with wedding rings,
And small-clothes made of knitting.
Curricles so low, that they
Along the ground seem dragging ;
Hacks that weary half the day
In Rotten-row are fagging.
Bull-dogs grim, and boxers bold,
In noble trains attending ;
Science which is bought with gold,
And flatt'rers vice commending.
Hair-cords, and plain rings, to shew
Many a LADY's favour,
BOUGHT by ev'ry vaunting beau,
With mischievous endeavour.
Such is giddy FASHION's son !
Such a MODERN LOVER!
Oh ! wou'd their reign had ne'er begun !
And may it soon BE OVER!
Second Ode to the Nightingale
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 raceand 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 carolplume 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.
The Fortune-Teller, a Gypsy Tale
LUBIN and KATE, as gossips tell,
Were Lovers many a day;
LUBIN the damsel lov'd so well,
That folks pretend to say
The silly, simple, doting Lad,
Was little less than loving mad:
A malady not known of late--
Among the little-loving Great!
KATE liked the youth; but woman-kind
Are sometimes giv'n to range.
And oft, the giddy Sex, we find,
(They know not why)
When most they promise, soonest change,
And still for conquest sigh:
So 'twas with KATE; she, ever roving
Was never fix'd, though always loving!
STEPHEN was LUBIN'S rival; he
A rustic libertine was known;
And many a blushing simple She,
The rogue had left,--to sigh alone!
KATE cared but little for the rover,
Yet she resolv'd to have her way,
For STEPHEN was the village Lover,
And women pant for Sov'reign sway.
And he, who has been known to ruin,--
Is always sought, and always wooing.
STEPHEN had long in secret sigh'd;
And STEPHEN never was deny'd:
Now, LUBIN was a modest swain,
And therefore, treated with disdain:
For, it is said, in Love and War ,--
The boldest, most successful are!
Vows, were to him but fairy things
Borne on capricious Fancy's wings;
And promises, the Phantom's Airy
Which falsehood form'd to cheat th' unwary;
For still deception was his trade,
And though his traffic well was known,
Still, every trophy was his own
Which the proud Victor, Love, display'd.
In short, this STEPHEN was the bane
Of ev'ry maid,--and ev'ry swain!
KATE had too often play'd the fool,
And now, at length, was caught;
For she, who had been pleas'd to rule,
Was now, poor Maiden, taught!
And STEPHEN rul'd with boundless sway,
The rustic tyrant of his day.
LUBIN had giv'n inconstant KATE,
Ten pounds , to buy her wedding geer:
And now, 'tis said, tho' somewhat late,
He thought his bargain rather dear.
For, Lo ! The day before the pair
Had fix'd, the marriage chain to wear,
A GYPSY gang, a wand'ring set,
In a lone wood young LUBIN met.
All round him press with canting tale,
And, in a jargon, well design'd
To cheat the unsuspecting mind,
His list'ning ears assail.
Some promis'd riches; others swore
He should, by women, be ador'd;
And never sad, and never poor--
Live like a Squire, or Lord;--
Do what he pleas'd, and ne'er be brought
To shame,--for what he did, or thought;
Seduce mens wives and daughters fair,
Spend wealth, while others toil'd in vain,
And scoff at honesty, and swear,--
And scoff, and trick, and swear again!
ONE roguish Girl, with sparkling eyes,
To win the handsome LUBIN tries;
She smil'd, and by her speaking glance,
Enthrall'd him in a wond'ring trance;
He thought her lovelier far than KATE,
And wish'd that she had been his mate;
For when the FANCY is on wing,
VARIETY'S a dangerous thing:
And PASSIONS, when they learn to stray
Will seldom seldom keep the beaten way.
The gypsy-girl, with speaking eyes,
Observ'd her pupil's fond surprize,
She begg'd that he her hand would cross,
With Sixpence; and that He should know
His future scene of gain and loss,
His weal and woe.--
LUBIN complies. And straight he hears
That he had many long, long years;
That he a maid inconstant, loves,
Who, to another slyly roves.
That a dark man his bane will be--
"And poison his domestic hours;
"While a fair woman, treach'rously--
"Will dress his brow--with thorns and flow'rs!"
It happen'd, to confirm his care--
STEPHEN was dark ,--and KATE was fair!
Nay more that "home his bride would bring
"A little, alien, prattling thing
"In just six moons!" Poor LUBIN hears
All that confirms his jealous fears;
Perplex'd and frantic, what to do
The cheated Lover scarcely knew.
He flies to KATE, and straight he tells
The wonder that in magic dwells!
Speaks of the Fortune-telling crew,
And how all things the Vagrants knew;
KATE hears: and soon determines, she
Will know her future destiny.
Swift to the wood she hies, tho' late
To read the tablet of her Fate.
The Moon its crystal beam scarce shew'd
Upon the darkly shadow'd road;
The hedge-row was the feasting-place
Where, round a little blazing wood,
The wand'ring, dingy, gabbling race,
Crowded in merry mood.
And now she loiter'd near the scene.
Now peep'd the hazle copse between;
Fearful that LUBIN might be near
The story of her Fate to hear.--
She saw the feasting circle gay
By the stol'n faggot's yellow light;
She heard them, as in sportive play,
They chear'd the sullen gloom of night.
Nor was sly KATE by all unseen
Peeping, the hazle copse between.
And now across the thicket side
A tatter'd, skulking youth she spied;
He beckon'd her along, and soon,
Hid safely from the prying moon,
His hand with silver, thrice she crosses--
"Tell me," said she, "my gains and losses?"
"You gain a fool ," the youth replies,
"You lose a lover too."
The false one blushes deep, and sighs,
For well the truth she knew!
"You gave to STEPHEN, vows; nay more
"You gave him favors rare:
"And LUBIN is condemn'd to share
"What many others shar'd before!
"A false, capricious, guilty heart,
"Made up of folly, vice, and art,
"Which only takes a wedded mate
"To brand with shame, an husband's fate."
"Hush! hush!" cried KATE, for Heav'n's sake be
"As secret as the grave--
"For LUBIN means to marry me--
"And if you will not me betray,
"I for your silence well will pay;
"Five pounds this moment you shall have."--
"I will have TEN!" the gypsy cries--
"The fearful, trembling girl complies.
But, what was her dismay, to find
That LUBIN was the gypsy bold;
The cunning, fortune-telling hind
Who had the artful story told--
Who thus, was cur'd of jealous pain,--
"And got his TEN POUNDS back again!
Thus, Fortune pays the LOVER bold!
But, gentle Maids, should Fate
Have any secret yet untold,--
Remember, simple KATE!
Ode to the Moon
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.
Sonnet XXXVI: Lead Me, Sicilian Maids
Lead me, Sicilian Maids, to haunted bow'rs,
While yon pale moon displays her faintest beams
O'er blasted woodlands, and enchanted streams,
Whose banks infect the breeze with pois'nous flow'rs.
Ah! lead me, where the barren mountain tow'rs,
Where no sounds echo, but the night-owl's screams,
Where some lone spirit of the desart gleams,
And lurid horrors wing the fateful hours!
Now goaded frenzy grasps my shrinking brain,
Her touch absorbs the crystal fount of woe!
My blood rolls burning through each gasping vein;
Away, lost Lyre! unless thou can'st bestow
A charm, to lull that agonizing pain,
Which those who never lov'd, can never know!
Sonnet IX: Ye, Who in Alleys Green
Ye, who in alleys green and leafy bow'rs,
Sport, the rude children of fantastic birth;
Where frolic nymphs, and shaggy tribes of mirth,
In clam'rous revels waste the midnight hours;
Who, link'd in flaunting bands of mountain flow'rs,
Weave your wild mazes o'er the dewy earth,
Ere the fierce Lord of Lustre rushes forth,
And o'er the world his beamy radiance pours!
Oft has your clanking cymbal's madd'ning strain,
Loud ringing through the torch-illumin'd grove,
Lur'd my lov'd Phaon from the youthful train,
Through rugged dells, o'er craggy rocks to rove;
Then how can she his vagrant heart detain,
Whose Lyre throbs only to the touch of Love!
Monody to the Memory of Chatterton
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 bornno 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 TEARto 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.
Sonnet XXVII: Oh! Ye Bright Stars
Oh! ye bright Stars! that on the Ebon fields
Of Heav'n's empire, trembling seems to stand;
'Till rosy morn unlocks her portal bland,
Where the proud Sun his fiery banner wields!
To flames, less fierce than mine, your lustre yields,
And pow'rs more strong my countless tears command;
Love strikes the feeling heart with ruthless hand,
And only spares the breast which dullness shields!
Since, then, capricious nature but bestows
The fine affections of the soul, to prove
A keener sense of desolating woes,
Far, far from me the empty boast remove;
If bliss from coldness, pain from passion flows,
Ah! who would wish to feel, or learn to love?