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The
Works
of
Anna Lætitia Barbauld.


With a Memoir
By Lucy Aikin.

Bright-eyed Fancy hovering o’er Scatters from her pictured urn Thoughts that breathe and words that burn.

In Two Volumes.

Vol. I.

Boston.
Published by David Reed.
18261826.

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Cambridge:
Printed by Hilliard ; Metcalf.

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vii 1(4)r

Memoir.

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Memoir.

Anna Lætitia Barbauld, a name long dear to the admirers of genius and the lovers of virtue, was born at the village of Kibworth Harcourt, in Leicestershire, on 1743-06-20June 20th, 1743, the eldest child and only daughter of John Aikin, D. D. and Jane his wife, daughter of the Rev. John Jennings of Kibworth, and descended by her mother from the ancient family of Wingate, of Harlington in Bedfordshire.

That quickness of apprehension by which she was eminently distinguished, manifested itself from her earliest infancy. Her mother thus writes respecting her in a letter which is still preserved: I once indeed knew a little girl who was as eager to learn as her instructers could be to teach her, and who, at two years old, could read sentences and little stories in her wise book, roundly, without spelling, and in half a year more could read as well as most women; but I never knew such another, and I believe never shall.

Her education was entirely domestic, and principally conducted by her excellent mother, a lady whose manners were polished by the early introduction to good company which her family connexions had procured her; whilst her mind had been cultivated and her principles formed, partly by the instructions of religious and enlightened parents, partly by the society of the celebrated Dr. Dod dridgeI. 2 x 2(1)v x dridge, who was for some years domesticated under her parental roof.

In the middle of the last century a strong prejudice still existed against imparting to females any tincture of classical learning; and the father of Miss Aikin, proud as he justly was of her uncommon capacity, long refused to gratify her earnest desire of being initiated in this kind of knowledge. At length, however, she in some degree overcame his scruples; and with his assistance she enabled herself to read the Latin authors with pleasure and advantage; nor did she rest satisfied without gaining some acquaintance with the Greek.

The obscure village of Kibworth was unable to afford her a single suitable companion of her own sex: her brother, the late Dr. Aikin, was more than three years her junior; and as her father was at this period the master of a school for boys, it might have been apprehended that conformity of pursuits, as well as age, would tend too nearly to assimilate her with the youth of the ruder sex by whom she found herself encompassed. But maternal vigilance effectually obviated this danger, by instilling into her a double portion of bashfulness and maidenly reserve; and she was accustomed to ascribe an uneasy sense of constraint in mixed society, which she could never entirely shake off, to the strictness and seclusion in which it had thus become her fate to be educated. Her recollections of childhood and early youth were, in fact, not associated with much of the pleasure and gaiety usually attendant upon that period of life: but it must be regarded as a circumstance favourable, rather than otherwise, to the unfolding of her genius, to have been thus left to find, or make in solitude her own objects of interest and pursuit. The love of rural nature sunk deep into her heart; her vivid fancy exerted itself to colour, to animate, and to diversify all the objects which surrounded her: the few, but choice authors of her father’s library, which she read and re-read, had leisure to make xi 2(2)r xi their full impression,—to mould her sentiments and to form her taste; the spirit of devotion, early inculcated upon her as a duty, opened to her by degrees an exhaustless source of tender and sublime delight; and while yet a child, she was surprised to find herself a poet.

Just at the period when longer seclusion might have proved seriously injurious to her spirits, an invitation given to her learned and exemplary father to undertake the office of classical tutor in a highly respectable dissenting academy at Warrington in Lancashire, was the fortunate means of transplanting her to a more varied and animating scene. This removal took place in 17581758, when Miss Aikin had just attained the age of fifteen; and the fifteen succeeding years passed by her at Warrington, comprehended probably the happiest, as well as the most brilliant portion of her existence. She was at this time possessed of great beauty, distinct traces of which she retained to the latest period of life. Her person was slender, her complexion exquisitely fair, with the bloom of perfect health; her features were regular and elegant, and her dark blue eyes beamed with the light of wit and fancy.

A solitary education had not produced on her its most frequent ill effects, pride and self-importance: the reserve of her manners proceeded solely from bashfulness, for her temper inclined her strongly to friendship and to social pleasures; and her active imagination, which represented all objects tinged with hues unborrowed of the sun, served as a charm against that disgust with common characters and daily incidents, which so frequently renders the conscious possessor of superior talents at once unamiable and unhappy. Nor was she now in want of congenial associates. Warrington academy included among its tutors, names eminent both in science and in literature: with several of these, and especially with Dr. Priestley and Dr. Enfield and their families, she formed sincere and lasting friendships. The elder and more accomplished among the xii 2(2)v xii students composed an agreeable part of the same society: and its animation was increased by a mixture of young ladies, either residents in the town or occasional visitors, several of whom were equally distinguished for personal charms, for amiable manners, and cultivated minds. The rising institution, which flourished for several years in high reputation, diffused a classic air over all connected with it. Miss Aikin, as was natural, took a warm interest in its success; and no academic has ever celebrated his alma mater in nobler strains, or with a more filial affection, than she has manifested in that portion of her early and beautiful poem, The Invitation, where her theme is this nursery of men for future years.

About the close of the year 17711771, her brother, after several years of absence, returned to establish himself in his profession at Warrington; an event equally welcome to her feelings and propitious to her literary progress. In him she possessed a friend with discernment to recognise the stamp of genius in her productions and anticipate their fame, combined with zeal and courage sufficient to vanquish her reluctance to appear before the public in the character of an author. By his persuasion and assistance, her Poems were selected, revised, and arranged for publication: and when all these preparations were completed, finding that she still hesitated and lingered,—like the parent bird who pushes off its young to their first flight, he procured the paper, and set the press to work on his own authority. The result more than justified his confidence of her success: four editions of the work (the first in 4toquarto, the succeeding ones in 8vooctavo,) were called for within the year of publication, 17731773; compliments and congratulations poured in from all quarters; and even the periodical critics greeted her Muse with nearly unmixed applause.

She was not permitted to repose upon her laurels: her brother, who possessed all the activity and spirit of literary enterprise in which she was deficient, now urged her to xiii 2(3)r xiii collect her prose pieces and to join him in forming a small volume, which appeared, also in the year 17731773, under the title of Miscellaneous Pieces, in Prose, by J. and A. L. Aikin. These likewise met with much notice and admiration, and have been several times reprinted. The authors did not think proper to distinguish their respective contributions, and several of the pieces have in consequence been generally misappropriated. The fragment of Sir Bertrand in particular, though alien from the character of that brilliant and airy imagination which was never conversant with terror, and rarely with pity, has been repeatedly ascribed to Mrs. Barbauld, even in print.

Having thus laid the foundation of a lasting reputation in literature, Miss Aikin might have been expected to proceed with vigour in rearing the superstructure; and the world awaited with impatience the result of her further efforts. But an event, the most important of her life, was about to subject her to new influence, new duties,—to alter her station, her course of life, and to modify even the bent of her mind. This event was her marriage which took place in 1774-05May, 1774.

The Rev. Rochemont Barbauld, whom she honoured with her hand, was descended from a family of French protestants. During the persecutions of Louis XIV., his grandfather, then a boy, was carried on board a ship, inclosed in a cask, and conveyed to England. Here he settled and had a son who became a clergyman of the Establishment, and on the marriage of one of the daughters of George II. to the elector of Hesse, was appointed her chaplain, and attended her to Cassel. At this place his son Rochemont was born and passed his childhood: on the breaking up of the household of the electress, he spent a year at Paris, and then accompanied his father to England, who destined him for the church, but, somewhat unadvisedly, sent him for previous instruction to the dissenting seminary of Warrington. The principles which he here vol. I. 2* xiv 2(3)v xiv imbibed, impelled him to renounce all his expectations from the Establishment; though by such a renunciation, which threw him upon the world without a profession and without fortune, he raised obstacles which might well have appeared insuperable, to the completion of that union on which he had long rested his fondest hopes of earthly felicity. Whilst the prospects of the young couple were still full of uncertainty, some distinguished persons, amongst whom was Mrs. Montague,—at once admirers of the genius of Miss Aikin and patrons of a more enlarged system of female education than was then prevalent,—were induced to propose to her to establish under their auspices what might almost have been called a College for young ladies. On a distant view, the idea had something noble and striking, but it was not calculated to bear a close examination; and it called forth from her the following remarks, well worthy of preservation, as a monument of her acuteness and good sense, and of the just and comprehensive ideas which, at a rather early age, and with slender opportunities of acquainting herself with the great world, she had been enabled to form of the habits and acquirments most important to females, and particularly to those of rank and fashion. It is also interesting as an instance of the humility with which she estimated her own accomplishments.

A kind of Literary Academy for ladies (for that is what you seem to propose), where they are to be taught in a regular systematic manner the various branches of science, appears to me better calculated to form such characters as the Precieuses or the Femmes sçavantes of Moliere, than good wives or agreeable companions. Young gentlemen, who are to display their knowledge to the world, should have every motive of emulation, should be formed into regular classes, should read and dispute together, should have all the honours and, if one may so say, the pomp of learning set before them, to call up their xv 2(4)r xv ardour:—it is their business, and they should apply to it as such. But young ladies, who ought only to have such a general tincture of knowledge as to make them agreeable companions to a man of sense, and to enable them to find rational entertainment for a solitary hour, should gain these accomplishments in a more quiet and unobserved manner:—subject to a regulation like that of the ancient Spartans, the thefts of knowledge in our sex are only connived at while carefully concealed, and if displayed, punished with disgrace. The best way for women to acquire knowledge, is from conversation with a father, a brother or friend, in the way of family intercourse and easy conversation, and by such a course of reading as they may recommend. If you add to these, an attendance upon those masters which are usually provided in schools, and perhaps such a set of lectures as Mr. Ferguson’s, which it is not uncommon for ladies to attend, I think a woman will be in a way to acquire all the learning that can be of use to those who are not to teach or engage in any learned profession. Perhaps you may think, that having myself stepped out of the bounds of female reserve in becoming an author, it is with an ill grace I offer these sentiments: but though this circumstance may destroy the grace, it does not the justice of the remark: and I am full well convinced that to have a too great fondness for books is little favourable to the happiness of a woman, especially one not in affluent circumstances. My situation has been peculiar, and would be no rule for others. I should likewise object to the age proposed. Their knowledge ought to be acquired at an earlier period,— geography, those languages it may be proper for them to learn, grammar, &c., are best learned from about nine to thirteen or fourteen, and will then interfere less with other duties. I should have little hopes of cultivating a love of knowledge in a young lady of fifteen, who came to me ignorant and untaught; and if she has laid a foundation, xvi 2(4)v xvi she will be able to pursue her studies without a master, or with such a one only as Rousseau gives his Sophie. It is too late then to begin to learn. The empire of the passions is coming on; a new world opens to the youthful eye; those attachments begin to be formed which influence the happiness of future life;—the care of a mother, and that alone, can give suitable attention to this important period. At this period they have many things to learn which books and systems never taught. The grace and ease of polished society, with the established modes of behaviour to every different class of people; the detail of domestic economy, to which they must be gradually introduced; the duties, the proprieties of behaviour which they must practise in their own family, in the families where they visit, to their friends, to their acquaintance:—lastly their behaviour to the other half of their species, with whom before they were hardly acquainted, and who then begin to court their notice; the choice of proper acquaintance of that sex, the art to converse with them with a happy mixture of easy politeness and graceful reserve, and to wear off by degrees something of the girlish bashfulness without injuring virgin delicacy. These are the accomplishments which a young woman has to learn from fourteen or fifteen till she is married, or fit to be so; and surely these are not to be learned in a school. They must be learned partly at home, and partly by visits in genteel families; they cannot be taught where a number are together; they cannot be taught without the most intimate knowledge of a young lady’s temper, connexions, and views in life; nor without an authority and influence established upon all the former part of her life. For all these reasons, it is my full opinion that the best public education cannot at that period be equally serviceable with—I had almost said—an indifferent private one. My next reason is, that I am not at all qualified for the task. I have seen a good deal of the manner of educating boys, and known pretty well what is expected in the xvii 2(5)r xvii care of them; but in a girl’s boarding-school I should be quite a novice: I never was at one myself, have not even the advantage of younger sisters, which might have given me some notion of the management of girls; indeed, for the early part of my life I conversed little with my own sex. In the village where I was, there were none to converse with; and this I am very sensible, has given me an awkwardness in many common things, which would make me most peculiarly unfit for the education of my own sex. But suppose I were tolerably qualified to instruct those of my own rank;—consider, that these must be of a class far superior to those I have lived amongst and conversed with. Young ladies of that rank ought to have their education superintended by a woman perfectly well-bred, from whose manner they may catch that ease and gracefulness which can only be learned from the best company; and she should be able to direct them, and judge of their progress in every genteel accomplishment. I could not judge of their music, their dancing; and if I pretended to correct their air, they might be tempted to smile at my own; for I know myself remarkably deficient in gracefulness of person, in my air and manner, and in the easy graces of conversation. Indeed, whatever the kind partiality of my friends may think of me, there are few things I know well enough to teach them with any satisfaction, and many I never could learn myself. These deficiencies would soon be remarked when I was introduced to people of fashion; and were it possible that, notwithstanding, I should meet with encouragement, I could never prosecute with any pleasure an undertaking to which I should know myself so unequal: I am sensible the common boarding-schools are upon a very bad plan, and believe I could project a better, but I could not execute it.

The arguments thus forcibly urged, appear to have convinced all parties concerned, that she was right in declining the proposal. Mr. Barbauld soon after accepted the charge of a dissenting congregation at Palgrave near Diss, xviii 2(5)v xviii and immediately before his marriage announced his intention of opening a boarding-school at the neighbouring village of Palgrave in Suffolk.

The rapid and uninterrupted success which crowned this undertaking, was doubtless in great measure owing to the literary celebrity attached to the name of Mrs. Barbauld, and to her active participation with her husband in the task of instruction. It fortunately happened, that two of the eight pupils with which Palgrave school commenced, were endowed with abilities worthy of the culture which such an instructress could alone bestow. One of these, William Taylor, Esq. of Norwich, known by his English Synonyms, his exquisite Iphigenia in Tauris from the German, his Leonora from Bürger, and many other fruits of genius and extensive learning, has constantly acknowledged her, with pride and affection, for the mother of his mind; and in a biographical notice prefixed to the collective works of Frank Sayers, M. D. of the same city, author of the Dramatic Sketches of Northern Mythology, he has thus recorded the congenial sentiments of his friend. Among the instructions bestowed at Palgrave, Dr. Sayers has repeatedly observed to me, that he most valued the lessons of English composition superintended by Mrs. Barbauld. On Wednesdays and Saturdays the boys were called in separate classes to her apartment: she read a fable, a short story, or a moral essay, to them aloud, and then sent them back into the school-room to write it out on the slates in their own words. Each exercise was separately overlooked by her; the faults of grammar were obliterated, the vulgarisms were chastised, the idle epithets were cancelled, and a distinct reason was always assigned for every correction; so that the arts of enditing and of criticizing were in some degree learnt together. Many a lad from the great schools, who excels in Latin and Greek, cannot write properly a vernacular letter, for want of some such discipline. The department of geography was also undertaken by Mrs. xix 2(6)r xix Barbauld; and she relieved the dryness of a study seldom rendered interesting to children, by so many lively strokes of description, and such luminous and attractive views of the connexion of this branch of knowledge with the revolutions of empires, with national manners, and with the natural history of animals, that these impressive lectures were always remembered by her auditors less among their tasks than their pleasures.

A public examination of the boys was always held at the close of the winter session: at the termination of the summer one they performed a play; and upon Mrs. Barbauld principally devolved,—together with the contrivance of dresses and decorations, and the composition of prologues, epilogues, and interludes—the instruction of the young exhibitors in the art of declamation. In this branch she likewise excelled; and the neglected, though delightful arts of good reading and graceful speaking were nowhere taught with more assiduity and success.

In 17751775 Mrs. Barbauld committed to the press a small volume entitled, Devotional Pieces compiled from the Psalms of David, with Thoughts on the Devotional Taste, and on Sects and Establishments. As a selection it did not meet with great success; nor did the essay escape without some animadversion. It was afterwards separated from the Psalms and reprinted with the Miscellaneous Pieces, and will be further noticed in the sequel.

The union of Mr. and Mrs. Barbauld proved unfruitful, and they sought to fill the void, of which in the midst of their busy avocations they were still sensible, by the adoption of a son out of the family of Dr. Aikin. Several particulars relative to this subject will be found in the letters of Mrs. Barbauld to her brother:—it is sufficient here to mention that they received the child when somewhat under two years of age, and that his education became thenceforth a leading object of Mrs. Barbauld’s attention. For the use of her little Charles she composed those Early xx 2(6)v xx Lessons which have justly gained for her the reverence and love of both parents and children; a work which may safely be asserted to have formed an æra in the art of early instruction, and to stand yet unrivalled amid numberless imitations.

The solicitations of parents anxious to obtain for their sons what they regarded as the best tuition, now induced her to receive as her own peculiar pupils, several little boys to whom she condescended to teach the first rudiments of literature. Thomas Denman, Esq., now a distinguished member of the legal profession and of the House of Commons, was committed to her care before he had accomplished his fourth year. Sir William Gell, the zealous explorer of the plain of Troy, was another of her almost infant scholars; and it was for the benefit of this younger class that her Hymns in Prose for Children were written, in which it was her peculiar object (to use her own words in the preface) to impress devotional feelings as early as possible on the infant mind,to impress them, by connecting religion with a variety of sensible objects, with all that he sees, all he hears, all that affects his young mind with wonder or delight; and thus, by deep, strong and permanent associations, to lay the best foundation for practical devotion in future life.

None of her works is a fairer monument than this, of the elevation of her soul and the brightness of her genius. While discarding the aid of verse, she everywhere bursts forth into poetry;—while stooping to the comprehension of infancy, she has produced a precious manual of devotion, founded on the contemplation of nature, fitted to delight the taste and warm the piety of the most accomplished minds and finest spirits.

Meantime Palgrave school was progressively increasing in numbers and reputation, and several sons of noble families were sent to share in its advantages; of whom may be named, the late amiable and lamented Basil Lord Daer xxi 3(1)r xxi (a favourite pupil), and three of his brothers, including the last Earl of Selkirk; two sons of Lord Templeton, Lord More, Lord Aghrim, and the Honourable Augustus Phipps: these, who were parlour-boarders, enjoyed most of the benefit of the conversation and occasional instructions of Mrs. Barbauld; and all, it is believed, quitted the school with sentiments towards her of high respect and attachment.

A course of honourable and prosperous exertion must always be productive of satisfaction to a well-constituted mind; and in this view Mrs. Barbauld might regard with complacancy her situation at Palgrave. Its cares and its monotony were also relieved by vacations, which she and Mr. Barbauld usually passed either in agreeable visits to their friends in different parts of the country, or in the more animated delights of London society. As their connexions were extensive, they were now enabled to procure themselves a considerable share of that amusing and instructive variety of scenes and characters which forms the peculiar charm of the metropolis. At the splendid mansion of her early and constant admirer Mrs. Montague, Mrs. Barbauld beheld in perfection the imposing union of literature and fashion;—under the humbler roof of her friend and publisher, the late worthy Joseph Johnson of St. Paul’s Church-yard, she tasted, perhaps with higher relish, the feast of reason and the flow of soul, in a chosen knot of lettered equals. Her own connexions introduced her to leading characters among the dissenters and persons of opposition-politics;—those of Mr. Barbauld led her among courtiers and supporters of the establishment. Her own candid spirit, and courteous though retiring manners, with the varied graces of her conversation, recommended her alike to all.

The business of tuition, however, to those by whom it is faithfully and zealously exercised, must ever be fatiguing beyond almost any other occupation; and Mr. and Mrs. vol. I. 3xxii 3(1)v xxii Barbauld found their health and spirits so much impaired by their exertions, that at the end of eleven years they determined upon quitting Palgrave, and allowing themselves an interval of complete relaxation before they should again embark in any scheme of active life. Accordingly, in the Autumn of 17851785 they embarked for Calais; and after extending their travels as far as Geneva, returned to winter in the south of France. In the spring they again bent their course northwards, and after a leisurely survey of Paris returned to England in 1786-06the month of June 1786. The remainder of that year they pased chiefly in London, undecided with respect to a future place of residence; but early in the following one, Mr. Barbauld having been elected their pastor by a small dissenting congregation at Hampstead, they fixed themselves in that agreeable village, where for several years Mr. Barbauld received a few young gentlemen as his pupils, while Mrs. Barbauld gave daily instructions to a young lady whose mother took up her residence at Hampstead for the benefit of this tuition:— some years after, she accepted another pupil on a similar plan.

Her brother, who placed no small part of his own pride in the efforts of her genius and the extension of her fame, observed with little complacency that her powers were wasted in supineness or in trivial occupations; and early in 17901790 he apostrophized her in the following sonnet: Thus speaks the Muse, and bends her brow severe:—Did I, Lætitia, lend my choicest lays,And crown thy youthful head with freshest bays,That all the’ expectance of thy full-grown yearShould lie inert and fruitless? O revereThose sacred gifts whose meed is deathless praise,Whose potent charms the’ enraptured soul can raiseFar from the vapours of this earthly sphere!Seize, seize the lyre! resume the lofty strain!xxiii3(2)rxxiii’T is time, ’t is time! hark how the nations roundWith jocund notes of liberty resound,—And thy own Corsica has burst her chain!O let the song to Britain’s shores rebound,Where Freedom’s once-loved voice is heard, alas! in vain. This animating expostulation conspiring with the events of the spirit-stirring times which now approached, had the effect of once more rousing her to exertion. In 17901790, the rejection of a bill for the repeal of the Corporation and Test Acts called forth her eloquent and indignant Address to the Opposers of this repeal: her Poetical Epistle to Mr. Wilberforce on the rejection of the bill for abolishing the Slave Trade was written in 17911791. The next year produced her remarks on Mr. Gilbert Wakefield’s Inquiry into the expediency and propriety of public or social Worship: and her Sins of Government Sins of the Nation, or a Discourse for the Fast, appeared in 17931793. She also supplied some valuable contributions to Dr. Aikin’s popular book for children, Evenings at Home, the first volume of which appeared in 17921792: but her share in this work has generally been supposed much greater than in fact it was: of the ninety-nine pieces of which it consisted, fourteen only are hers. They are the following: —The Young Mouse; The Wasp and Bee; Alfred, a drama; Animals and Countries; Canute’s Reproof; The Mask of Nature; Things by their right Names; The Goose and Horse; On Manufactures; The Flying fish; A Lesson in the Art of Distinguishing; The Phœnix and Dove; The Manufacture of Paper; The Four Sisters.—In a new edition will be added, Live Dolls.

By this time, the effervescence caused by the French revolution had nearly subsided; and Mrs. Barbauld, who could seldom excite herself to the labour of composition, except on the spur of occasion, gave nothing more to the public for a considerable number of years, with the exceptionxxiv 3(2)v xxiv tion of two critical essays; one prefixed to an ornamented edition of Akenside’sPleasures of Imagination, the other to a similar one of the Odes of Collins; of which the first appeared in 17951795, the second in 17971797. Both are written with elegance, taste, and acuteness; but, on the whole, they are less marked with the peculiar features of her style than perhaps any other of her prose pieces.

No event worthy of mention occurred till 18021802, when Mr. Barbauld accepted an invitation to become pastor of the congregation (formerly Dr. Price’s) at Newington Green: and quitting Hampstead, they took up their abode in the village of Stoke Newington. The sole motive for this removal, which separated them from a residence which they liked and friends to whom they were cordially attached, was the mutual desire of Dr. Aikin and Mrs. Barbauld to pass the closing period of their lives in that near neighbourhood which admits of the daily and almost hourly intercourses of affection,—a desire which was thus affectingly expressed by the former in an epistle addressd to his sister during her visit to Geneva in 17851785:— Yet one dear wish still struggles in my breast,And points one darling object unpossest:—How many years have whirled their rapid course,Since we, sole streamlets from one honoured source,In fond affection as in blood allied,Have wandered devious from each other’s side;Allowed to catch alone some transient view,Scarce long enough to think the vision true!O then, while yet some zest of life remains,While transport yet can swell the beating veins,While sweet remembrance keeps her wonted seat,And fancy still retains some genial heat;When evening bids each busy task be o’er,—Once let us meet again, to part no more! xxv 3(3)r xxv The evening which was the object of these earnest aspirations had now arrived; and it proved a long, though by no means an unclouded one; twenty years elapsed before the hand of death sundered this fraternal pair.

A warm attachment to the authors of what has been called the Augustan age of English literature,—on whom her own taste and style were formed,—was observable in the conversation of Mrs. Barbauld, and often in her writings; and she gratified this sentiment by offering to the public, in 18041804, a Selection from the Spectator, Tatler, Guardian and Freeholder, with a Preliminary Essay, to which she gave her name. Three volsvolumes. 12moduodecimo, Johnson, 18041804. This delightful piece may perhaps be regarded as the most successful of her efforts in literary criticism; and that it should be so, is easily to be accounted for. There were many striking points of resemblance between her genius and that of Addison. As prose writers, both were remarkable for uniting wit of the light and sportive kind with vividness of fancy, and a style at once rich and lively, flowing and full of idiom: both of them rather avoided the pathetic: in both, the sentiments of rational and liberal devotion were blended with the speculations of philosophy and the paintings of a fine imagination: both were admirable for the splendour they diffused over a serious, the grace with which they touched a lighter subject. The humorous delineation of manners and characters indeed, in which Addison so conspicuously shone, was never attempted by Mrs. Barbauld:—in poetry, on the other hand, she surpassed him in all the qualities of which excellence in that style is composed. Certainly this great author could not elsewhere have found a critic so capable of entering, as it were, into the soul of his writings, culling their choicest beauties, and drawing them forth for the admiration of a world by which they had begun to be vol. I. 3*xxvi 3(3)v xxvi neglected. Steele and the other contributors to these periodical papers are also ably, though briefly, characterized by her; and such pieces of theirs are included in the Selection as could fairly claim enduring remembrance.

The essay opens with the observation, that it is equally true of books as of their authors, that one generation passeth away and another cometh. The mutual influence exerted by books and manners on each other is then remarked; and the silent and gradual declension from what might be called the active life of an admired and popular book, to the honourable retirement of a classic, is lightly, but impressively, traced; closed by remarks on the mutations and improvements which have particularly affected the works in question. To young persons chiefly the Selection is offered, as containing the essence of a celebrated set of works. An instructive account is added of each of these in particular, of the state of society at the time of their appearance, the objects at which they aimed, and their effects. This essay will not be found in the present volumes, because it was considered that to separate it from the selection which it was written to introduce, would be to defeat its very purpose.

During the same year (18041804) Mrs. Barbauld was prevailed upon to undertake the task of examining and making a selection from the letters of Richardson the novelist and his correspondents, of which a vast collection had remained in the hands of his last surviving daughter; after whose death they were purchased of his grandchildren. It must be confessed that, on the whole, these letters were less deserving of public attention than she had probably expected to find them; and very good judges have valued more than all the remaining contents of the six duodecimo volumes which they occupy, the elegant and interesting life of Richardson, and the finished reviewal of his works prefixed by the editor.

xxvii 3(4)r xxvii

It is probable that Mrs. Barbauld consented to employ herself in these humbler offices of literature, chiefly as a solace under the pressure of anxieties and apprehensions of a peculiar and most distressing nature, which had been increasing in urgency during a long course of time, and which found their final completion on the 1808-11-1111th of November, 1808, in the event by which she became a widow. She has touchingly alluded, in her poem of 1811Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, to that sad death whence most affection bleeds,Which sickness, only of the soul, precedes. And though the escape of a sufferer from the most melancholy of human maladies could not in itself be a subject of rational regret, her spirits were deeply wounded, both by the severe trials through which she had previously passed, and by the mournful void which always succeeds the removal of an object of long and deep, however painful, interest. An affecting Dirge will be found among her poems, which records her feelings on this occasion. She also communicated to the Monthly Repository of Theology and General Literature, a memoir of Mr. Barbauld; in which his character is thus delineated.

The scenes of life Mr. Barbauld passed through were common ones, but his character was not a common one. His reasoning powers were acute, and sharpened by exercise; for he was early accustomed to discussion, and argued with great clearness; with a degree of warmth indeed, but with the most perfect candour towards his opponent. He gave the most liberal latitude to free inquiry, and could bear to hear those truths attacked which he most steadfastly believed; the more because he steadfastly believed them; for he was delighted to submit to the test of argument, those truths, which he had no doubt could, by argument, be defended. He had an uncommon xxviii 3(4)v xxviii flow of conversation on those points which had engaged his attention, and delivered himself with a warmth and animation which enlivened the driest subject. He was equally at home in French and English literature; and the exquisite sensibility of his mind, with the early culture his taste had received, rendered him an excellent judge of all those works which appeal to the heart and imagination. His feelings were equally quick and vivid; his expressive countenance was the index of his mind, and of every instantaneous impression made upon it. Children, who are the best physiognomists, were always attracted to him, and he delighted to entertain them with lively narratives suited to their age, in which he had great invention. The virtues of his heart will be acknowledged by all who knew him. His benevolence was enlarged; it was the spontaneous propensity of his nature, as well as the result of his religious system. He was temperate, almost to abstemiousness; yet without any tincture of ascetic rigour. A free, undaunted spirit, a winning simplicity, a tendency to enthusiasm, but of the gentle and liberal kind, formed the prominent lineaments of his character. The social affections were all alive and active in him. His heart overflowed with kindness to all,—the lowest that came within his sphere. There never was a human being who had less of the selfish and worldly feelings,—they hardly seemed to form a part of his nature. His was truly the charity which thinketh no ill. Great singleness of heart, and a candour very opposite to the suspicious temper of worldly sagacity, made him slow to impute unworthy motives to the actions of his fellow-men; yet his candour by no means sprung from indifference to moral rectitude, for when he could no longer resist conviction, his censure was decided and his indignation warm and warmly expressed. His standard of virtue was high, and he felt no propensities which disposed him to lower it. His religious sentiments were of the most pure and liberal cast; and his pulpit services, when the xxix 3(5)r xxix state of his spirits seconded the ardour of his mind, were characterized by the rare union of a fervent spirit of devotion, with a pure, sublime philosophy, supported by arguments of metaphysical acuteness. He did not speak the language of any party, nor exactly coincide with the systems of any. He was a believer in the pre-existence of Christ, and, in a certain modified sense, in the atonement; thinking those doctrines most consonant to the tenour of scripture;…but he was too sensible of the difficulties which press upon every system, not to feel indulgence for all, and he was not zealous for any doctrine which did not affect the heart. Of the moral perfections of the Deity he had the purest and most exalted ideas; on these was chiefly founded his system of religion, and these together with his own benevolent nature led him to embrace so warmly his favourite doctrine of the final salvation of all the human race, and indeed, the gradual rise and perfectibility of all created existence…. His latter days were oppressed by a morbid affection of his spirits, in a great degree hereditary, which came gradually upon him, and closed the scene of his earthly usefulness; yet in the midst of the irritation it occasioned, the kindness of his nature broke forth, and some of his last acts were acts of benevolence.

Mrs. Barbauld had the fortitude to seek relief from dejection in literary occupation; and incapable as yet of any stronger effort, she consented to edit a collection of the British Novelists, which issued from the press in 18101810. The Introductory Essay shows extent of reading combined with her usual powers of style; and the Biographical and Critical Notices prefixed to the works of each author are judiciously and gracefully executed.

In the following year she compiled for the use of young ladies an agreeable collection of verse and prose, in one volume 12moduodecimo, entitled The Female Speaker. Having thus braced her mind, as it were, to the tone of original composition, she produced that beautiful offspring of her genius, xxx 3(5)v xxx 1811Eighteen Hundred and Eleven,—the longest, and perhaps the most highly finished, of all her poems. The crisis at which this piece was produced, and concerning which it treats, was confessedly one of the most distressful within the memory of the present generation, and the author’s own state of spirits deepened the gloom. She, like Cassandra, was the prophetess of woe: at the time, she was heard perhaps with less incredulity, but the event has happily discredited her vaticination in every point. That the solemn warning which she here attempted to hold forth to national pride and confidence, should cause her lines to be received by the public with less applause than their intrinsic merit might well have claimed, was perhaps in some degree to be expected; that it would expose its author— its venerable and female author—to contumely and insult, could only have been anticipated by those thoroughly acquainted with the instincts of the hired assassin of reputation shooting from his coward ambush. Can any one read the touching apostrophe, Yet O my country, name beloved, revered;— the proud and affectionate enumeration of the names which encircle the brow of Britain with the halo of immortal glory; of the spots consecrated by the footsteps of genius and virtue, where the future pilgrim from the West would kneel with beating heart; the splendid description of London with all its pomp and circumstance of greatness,—the complacent allusion to angel charities, and the book of life held out to distant lands,—and doubt for a moment that this strain was dictated by the heart of a true patriot, a heart which feared because it fondly loved?

This was the last of Mrs. Barbauld’s separate publications. Who indeed, that knew and loved her, could have wished her to expose again that honoured head to the scorns of the unmanly, the malignant, and the base? Her xxxi 3(6)r xxxi fancy was still in all its brightness; her spirits might have been cheered and her energy revived, by the cordial and respectful greetings, the thanks and plaudits, with which it was once the generous and graceful practice of contemporary criticism to welcome the re-appearance of a well- deserving veteran in the field of letters. As it was, though still visited by …the thoughts that voluntary moveHarmonious numbers, she for the most part confined to a few friends all participation in the strains which they inspired. She even laid aside the intention which she had entertained of preparing a new edition of her Poems, long out of print and often inquired for in vain;—well knowing that a day must come when the sting of Envy would be blunted, and her memory would have its fame.

No incident worthy of mention henceforth occurred to break the uniformity of her existence. She gave up all distant journeys; and confined at home to a narrow circle of connexions and acquaintance, she suffered life to slide away, as it were, at its own pace, Nor shook the outhasting sands, nor bid them stay. An asthmatic complaint, which was slowly undermining her excellent constitution, more and more indisposed her for any considerable exertion either of mind or body: but the arrival of a visitor had always the power to rouse her from a state of languor. Her powers of conversation suffered little declension to the last, although her memory of recent circumstances became somewhat impaired. Her disposition,—of which sensibility was not in earlier life the leading feature,—now mellowed into softness, pleasingly exhibited Those tender tints that only Time can give. xxxii 3(6)v xxxii Her manners, never tainted by pride,—which, with the baser but congenial affection of envy, was a total stranger to her bosom,—were now remarkable for their extreme humility: she spoke of every one not merely with the candour and forbearance which she had long practised; but with interest, with kindness, with an indulgence which sometimes appeared but too comprehensive; she seemed reluctant to allow, or believe, that any of her fellow- creatures had a failing, while she gave them credit gratuitously for many virtues. This state of mind, which, with her native acuteness of discernment, it must apparently have cost her some struggles to attain, had at least the advantage of causing her easily to admit of such substitutes as occurred for those contemporary and truly congenial friendships which, in the course of nature, were now fast failing her. She lost her early and affectionate friend Mrs. Kenrick in 18191819. In 1822-12December 1822 her brother sunk under a long decline, which had served as a painful preparation to the final parting. A few months later she lost, in the excellent Mrs. John Taylor of Norwich, perhaps the most intimate and most highly valued of all her distant friends; to whose exalted and endearing character she bore the following well-merited testimony in a letter addressed to one of her daughters.

Receive the assurance of my most affectionate sympathy in those feelings with which you must be now contemplating the loss of that dear woman, so long the object of your respect and affection; nor indeed yours only, but of all who knew her. A prominent part of those feelings, however, must be, that the dear object of them is released from suffering, has finished her task, and entered upon her reward…. Never will she be forgotten by those who knew her! Her strong sense, her feeling, her energy, her principle, her patriot feelings, her piety rational yet ardent,—all these mark a character of no common sort. When to these high claims upon general regard are added xxxiii 4(1)r xxxiii those of relation or friend, the feeling must be such as no course of years can efface.

A gentle and scarcely perceptible decline was now sloping for herself the passage to the tomb:—she felt and hailed its progress as a release from languor and infirmity,— a passport to another and a higher state of being. Her friends, however, flattered themselves that they might continue to enjoy her yet a little longer; and she had consented to remove under the roof of her adopted son, that his affectionate attentions and those of his family might be the solace of every remaining hour. But Providence had ordained it otherwise:—she quitted indeed her own house, but whilst on a visit at the neighbouring one of her sister- in-law Mrs. Aikin, the constant and beloved friend of nearly her whole life, her bodily powers gave way almost suddenly; and after lingering a few days, on the morning of 1825-03-09March the 9th, 1825, she expired without a struggle, in the eighty-second year of her age.

To claim for this distinguished woman the praise of purity and elevation of mind may well appear superfluous. Her education and connexions, the course of her life, the whole tenour of her writings, bear abundant testimony to this part of her character. It is a higher, or at least a rarer commendation to add, that no one ever better loved a sister’s praise, even that of such sisters as might have been peculiarly regarded in the light of rivals. She was acquainted with almost all the principal female writers of her time; and there was not one of the number whom she failed frequently to mention in terms of admiration, esteem, or affection, whether in conversation, in letters to her friends, or in print. To humbler aspirants in the career of letters, who often applied to her for advice or assistance, she was invariably courteous, and in many instances essentially seviceable. The sight of youth and beauty was peculiarly gratifying to her fancy and her feelings; and children and young persons, especially females, were vol. I. 4xxxiv 4(1)v xxxiv accordingly large sharers in her benevolence: she loved their society, and would often invite them to pass weeks or months in her house, when she spared no pains to amuse and instruct them; and she seldom failed, after they had quitted her, to recall herself from time to time to their recollection, by affectionate and playful letters, or welcome presents.

In the conjugal relation, her conduct was guided by the highest principles of love and duty. As a sister, the uninterrupted flow of her affection, manifested by numberless tokens of love,—not alone to her brother, but to every member of his family,—will ever be recalled by them with emotions of tenderness, respect, and gratitude. She passed through a long life without having dropped, it is believed, a single friendship, and without having drawn upon herself a single enmity which could properly be called personal.

We now proceed to offer some account of the contents of the present volumes, with a few remarks on the genius of their author. The small bulk of the writings of Mrs. Barbauld, compared with the long course of years during which she exercised the pen, is a sufficient proof that she offered to the public none but the happiest inspirations of her Muse, and not even these till they had received all the polish of which she judged them susceptible. To a friend who had expressed his surprise at not finding inserted in her volume a poem which he had admired in manuscript, she well and characteristically replied; I had rather it should be asked of twenty pieces why they are not here, than of one why it is. Her representatives have in the present instance followed, to the best of their judgment, a similar principle of selection. Out of a considerable number of pieces which appear from their dates to have been rejected by herself from her first publication, they have printed only two: that agreeable jeu d’esprit The Inventory of the Furniture of Dr. Priestley’s Study, probably omittedxxxv 4(2)r xxxv ted in the first instance for reasons which no longer exist; and the elegant Lines on The Deserted Village, which are given partly for the sake of connecting the name of their author as a contemporary with that of a poet who has been so long enrolled among the classics of his country. It may be also mentioned, that Goldsmith, whose envy is well known, bore involuntary testimony to the merit of these lines, by exhibiting no sentiment but mortification on hearing them read with applause in a London circle.

Of the pieces composed since the first publication of Mrs. Barbauld’s Poems (which form the larger part of the present collection;) the two longest, the Epistle to Mr. Wilberforce, and 1811Eighteen Hundred and Eleven, have already appeared in separate pamphlets; and the first of them is added to the last edition of the Poems: several of the smaller ones have also been inserted in periodical works. Corrected copies of most of those now printed for the first time, were found among her papers, evidently prepared for insertion in the enlarged volume which she long meditated, but never completed.

The Poems have been disposed, with some unimportant exceptions, in chronological order, as nearly as it could be ascertained. When the productions of a writer extend over so long a period as nearly sixty years, they become in some measure the record of any age,—a document for the historian of literature and opinions; and they ought to be arranged with some view to this secondary object, by which their interest is enhanced. It is also agreeable to trace the author’s progress from youth to age, by changes of style, or the succession of different trains of thought. In the writings of Mrs. Barbauld, however, the character of the style varies little from the beginning to the end. It is nowhere to be found in an unformed state; for so relentlessly did she destroy all her juvenile essays, that the editor is not aware of the existence of a single piece which can be ascertained to have been composed before the age xxxvi 4(2)v xxxvi of twenty; the printed ones are all, it is believed, of a considerably later date. Her earliest pieces too, as well as her more recent ones, exhibit in their imagery and allusions the fruits of extensive and varied reading. In youth, the power of her imagination was counterbalanced by the activity of her intellect, which exercised itself in rapid, but not unprofitable excursions over almost every field of knowledge. In age, when this activity abated, imagination appeared to exert over her an undiminished sway.

The quality which principally distinguishes the later productions of her Muse is pathos. In some tempers sensibility appears an instinct, while in others it is the gradual result of principle and reflection, of the events and the experience of life. It was certainly so in that of Mrs. Barbauld. Her Epistle to Dr. Enfield, on his revisiting Warrington in 17891789, is the first of her poems which indicates deep feeling; and this was dictated by the tender recollections of departed youth, and the memory of an honoured parent, the first near connexion from whom she had been parted by death. Her other pathetic pieces, The Lines on the Death of Mrs. Martineauthe Dirge— the Thought on Death—the Lines on the Illness of the late King—those on the Death of the Princess Charlotte— the Octogenary Reflections, and a few others, may easily be traced either to particular afflictive incidents of her life, or to reflections naturally arising under the influence of declining years and domestic solitude. By the reader of taste and sentiment these will not be esteemed the least interesting portion of the collection.

The second volume of the present work contains a selection from the private correspondence of Mrs. Barbauld, her entire share of the Miscellaneous Pieces in Prose written by herself and her brother conjointly, her three pamphlets, and several occasional pieces,—some of them now first given to the world, others reprinted from periodical works where they appeared anonymously.

xxxvii 4(3)r xxxvii

It is equally true of the style of Mrs. Barbauld in prose as in verse, that it was never produced to the public till it had reached its perfect stature: the early volume of Miscellaneous Pieces contained specimens in various kinds which she never surpassed. In the allegory of the Hill of Science she tried her strength with Addison, and sustained no defeat. The Essay on Romances is a professed imitation of the style of Dr. Johnson; and it was allowed by that celebrated rhetorician himself, to be the best that was ever attempted; because it reflected the colour of his thoughts, no less than the turn of his expressions. Here it appears as a foil to the easy and inimitable graces of her own natural manner. Of the Essay against Inconsistency in our Expectations, the editor feels it superfluous to speak: it has long been acknowledged to stand at the head of its class.

Of a different character are her Thoughts on the Devotional Taste, on Sects and on Establishments. This piece betrays, it must be confessed, that propensity to tread on dangerous ground which sometimes appears an instinct of genius. It recommends a spirit of devotion which yet she is obliged to allow to be in some measure incompatible with an enlightened and philosophical theology. That part, however, which delineates the characteristics of sects and of establishments, and balances their respective advantages and inconveniences, evinces great acuteness and a rare impartiality; and the whole must be admired as eloquence, if it cannot be altogether acquiesced in as reason.

Amongst her later pieces, two which first appeared in the Monthly Magazine,—the Essay on Education, and that on Prejudice, which may be regarded as in some measure a sequel to it,—have justly earned for her not merely applause, but gratitude. The first served to calm the apprehensions of many an anxious parent,—who had risen from the examination of the numerous conflicting systems vol. I. 4*xxxviii 4(3)v xxxviii of education then fashionable, alarmed rather than edified,—by pointing out, that the success of the great and familiar process of fitting a human creature to bear well his part in life, depended not for its success on elaborate schemes of artificial management, such as few have leisure to attend to or power to execute; but, most of all, on circumstances which no parent can controul; and next, on examples such as discreet and virtuous parents in any situation of life are enabled to give, and give indeed unconsciously. The second essay encourages the parent to use without scruple the power of influencing the opinions of his child which God and nature have put into his hands, and not to believe on the word of certain speculatists, that it is either necessary or desirable to abstain from imbuing his offspring with what he conceives to be important and salutary truths, from the dread of instilling prejudices and crippling the efforts of his infant reason. In these excellent productions we are uncertain which most to admire, the sagacious and discriminating intellect, the practical good sense and acute observation of life which suggest the remarks, or the spirited and expressive style which rouses attention, strikes the imagination, and carries them with conviction to the heart.

It appears from a letter of Mrs. Barbauld’s, that she early read with great delight, though in an English translation, the Dialogues of Lucian. Perhaps we may remotely trace to the impression thus produced, the origin of her witty and ingenious Dialogue between Madame Cosmogunia and a philosophical Inquirer of the Eighteenth Century, as well as of her Dialogue in the Shades. The allegorical or enigmatical style, however, in which the first of these pieces is composed, seemed peculiarly adapted to her genius; and the skill and elegance with which she composed in this difficult manner is further attested by her Letter of John Bull, by the Four Sisters, (published in Evenings at Home,) by many entertaining Riddles, a few xxxix 4(4)r xxxix of which are now included among her Poems, and by several little fancy pieces scattered among her familiar letters. Even her conversation was often enlivened with these graceful sports of wit and imagination.

Of the three Pamphlets now republished among her Prose Works, the editor has only to observe, that though composed on particular occasions, these pieces were not formed to pass away with those occasions: they treat of subjects permanently interesting to the champion of religious liberty, to the conscientious patriot, and to the christian worshipper,—and they so treat of them, that while English eloquence is made a study, while English literature is not forgotten, their praise shall live, their memory shall flourish.

It only remains to speak of her familiar letters. These were certainly never intended by herself to meet the public eye. She kept no copies of them; and it is solely by the indulgence of her correspondents or their representatives,—an indulgence for which she here desires to offer her grateful acknowledgements,—that the editor has been enabled to give them to the world. She flatters herself that their publication will not be considered as a trespass either against the living or the dead: some of them, particularly a considerable proportion of those addressed to Dr. Aikin, seemed to claim insertion as biographical records; and those written during her residence in France, in the years 17851785 and 17861786, appeared no less curious and valuable at the present day for the matter they contain, than entertaining and agreeable from the vivacity with which they are written. But it was impossible not to be influenced also by the desire of thus communicating to those admirers of Mrs. Barbauld’s genius who did not enjoy the advantage of her personal acquaintance, a just idea of the pointed and elegant remark, the sportive and lambent wit, the affectionate spirit of sympathy, and the courteous expression of esteem and benevolence, which united to xl 4(4)v xl form at once the graces of her epistolary style and the inexpressible charm of her conversation.

Mrs. Barbauld composed at different periods a considerable number of miscellaneous pieces for the instruction and amusement of young persons, especially females, which will appear in a separate form about the close of the present year.

1 4(5)r

Poems.

2 4(5)v 3 4(6)r

Corsica.

Written in the Year 17691769.

…A manly race Of unsubmitting spirit, wise and brave; Who still through bleeding ages struggled hard To hold a generous undiminished state; Too much in vain! Thomson.

Hail, generous Corsica! unconquered isle!

The fort of freedom; that amidst the waves

Stands like a rock of adamant, and dares

The wildest fury of the beating storm.

And are there yet, in this late sickly age,

Unkindly to the towering growths of virtue,

Such bold exalted spirits? Men whose deeds,

To the bright annals of old Greece opposed,

Would throw in shades her yet unrivaled name,

And dim the lustre of her fairest page!

And glows the flame of Liberty so strong

In this lone speck of earth! this spot obscure,

Shaggy with woods, and crusted o’er with rock,

By slaves surrounded, and by slaves oppressed!

What then should Britons feel?—should they not catch

4 4(6)v 4

The warm contagion of heroic ardour,

And kindle at a fire so like their own?

Such were the working thoughts which swelled the breast

Of generous Boswell; when with nobler aim

And views beyond the narrow beaten track

By trivial fancy trod, he turned his course

From polished Gallia’s soft delicious vales,

From the grey reliques of imperial Rome,

From her long galleries of laureled stone,

Her chiseled heroes and her marble gods,

Whose dumb majestic pomp yet awes the world,

To animated forms of patriot zeal;

Warm in the living majesty of virtue;

Elate with fearless spirit; firm; resolved;

By fortune nor subdued, nor awed by power.

How raptured fancy burns, while warm in thought

I trace the pictured landscape; while I kiss

With pilgrim lips devout the sacred soil

Stained with the blood of heroes. Cyrnus, hail!

Hail to thy rocky, deep indented shores,

And pointed cliffs, which hear the chafing deep

Incessant foaming round their shaggy sides.

Hail to thy winding bays, thy sheltering ports

And ample harbours, which inviting stretch

Their hospitable arms to every sail:

Thy numerous streams, that bursting from the cliffs

Down the steep channeled rock impetuous pour

With grateful murmur: on the fearful edge

5 5(1)r 5

Of the rude precipice, thy hamlets brown

And straw-roofed cots, which from the level vale

Scarce seen, amongst the craggy hanging cliffs

Seem like an eagle’s nest aerial built.

Thy swelling mountains, brown with solemn shade

Of various trees, that wave their giant arms

O’er the rough sons of freedom; lofty pines,

And hardy fir, and ilex ever green,

And spreading chesnut, with each humbler plant,

And shrub of fragrant leaf, that clothes their sides

With living verdure; whence the clustering bee

Extracts her golden dews: the shining box,

And sweet-leaved myrtle, aromatic thyme,

The prickly juniper, and the green leaf

Which feeds the spinning worm; while glowing bright

Beneath the various foliage, wildly spreads

The arbutus, and rears his scarlet fruit

Luxuriant, mantling o’er the craggy steeps;

And thy own native laurel crowns the scene.

Hail to thy savage forests, awful, deep;

Thy tangled thickets, and thy crowded woods,

The haunt of herds untamed; which sullen bound

From rock to rock with fierce unsocial air,

And wilder gaze, as conscious of the power

That loves to reign amid the lonely scenes

Of unquelled nature: precipices huge,

And tumbling torrents; trackless deserts, plains

Fenced in with guardian rocks, whose quarries teem

With shining steel, that to the cultured fields

And sunny hills which wave with bearded grain,

vol. I. 5 6 5(1)v 6

Defends their homely produce. Liberty,

The mountain Goddess, loves to range at large

Amid such scenes, and on the iron soil

Prints her majestic step. For these she scorns

The green enameled vales, the velvet lap

Of smooth savannahs, where the pillowed head

Of luxury reposes; balmy gales,

And bowers that breathe of bliss. For these, when first

This isle emerging like a beauteous gem

From the dark bosom of the Tyrrhene main

Reared its fair front, she marked it for her own,

And with her spirit warmed. Her genuine sons,

A broken remnant, from the generous stock

Of ancient Greece, from Sparta’s sad remains,

True to their high descent, preserved unquenched

The sacred fire through many a barbarous age:

Whom, nor the iron rod of cruel Carthage,

Nor the dread sceptre of imperial Rome,

Nor bloody Goth, nor grisly Saracen,

Nor the long galling yoke of proud Liguria,

Could crush into subjection. Still unquelled

They rose superior, bursting from their chains,

And claimed man’s dearest birthright, liberty:

And long, through many a hard unequal strife

Maintained the glorious conflict; long withstood,

With single arm, the whole collected force

Of haughty Genoa, and ambitious Gaul.

And shall withstand it—Trust the faithful Muse!

It is not in the force of mortal arm,

Scarcely in fate, to bind the struggling soul

7 5(2)r 7

That galled by wanton power, indignant swells

Against oppression; breathing great revenge,

Careless of life, determined to be free.

And favouring Heaven approves: for see the Man,

Born to exalt his own, and give mankind

A glimpse of higher natures: just, as great;

The soul of council, and the nerve of war;

Of high unshaken spirit, tempered sweet

With soft urbanity, and polished grace,

And attic wit, and gay unstudied smiles:

Whom Heaven in some propitious hour endowed

With every purer virtue: gave him all

That lifts the hero, or adorns the man.

Gave him the eye sublime; the searching glance,

Keen, scanning deep, that smites the guilty soul

As with a beam from heaven; on his brow

Serene, and spacious front, set the broad seal

Of dignity and rule; then smiled benign

On this fair pattern of a God below,

High wrought, and breathed into his swelling breast

The large ambitious wish to save his country.

O beauteous title to immortal fame!

The man devoted to the public, stands

In the bright records of superior worth,

A step below the skies: if he succeed,

The first fair lot which earth affords, is his;

And if he falls, he falls above a throne.

When such their leader, can the brave despair?

Freedom the cause, and Paoli the chief!

Success to your fair hopes! A British Muse,

8 5(2)v 8

Though weak and powerless, lifts her fervent voice,

And breathes a prayer for your success. O could

She scatter blessings as the morn sheds dews,

To drop upon your heads! But patient hope

Must wait the appointed hour; secure of this,

That never with the indolent and weak

Will Freedom deign to dwell; she must be seized

By that bold arm that wrestles for the blessing:

’Tis Heaven’s best prize, and must be bought with blood.

When the storm thickens, when the combat burns,

And pain and death in every horrid shape

That can appal the feeble, prowl around,

Then Virtue triumphs; then her towering form

Dilates with kindling majesty; her mien

Breathes a diviner spirit, and enlarged

Each spreading feature, with an ampler port

And bolder tone, exulting, rides the storm,

And joys amidst the tempest. Then she reaps

Her golden harvest; fruits of nobler growth

And higher relish than meridian suns

Can ever ripen; fair, heroic deeds,

And godlike action. ’Tis not meats and drinks,

And balmy airs, and vernal suns and showers,

That feed and ripen minds; ’tis toil and danger;

And wrestling with the stubborn gripe of fate;

And war, and sharp distress, and paths obscure

And dubious. The bold swimmer joys not so

To feel the proud waves under him, and beat

With strong repelling arm the billowy surge;

The generous courser does not so exult

9 5(3)r 9

To toss his floating mane against the wind,

And neigh amidst the thunder of the war,

As Virtue to oppose her swelling breast

Like a firm shield against the darts of fate.

And when her sons in that rough school have learned

To smile at danger, then the hand that raised,

Shall hush the storm, and lead the shining train

Of peaceful years in bright procession on.

Then shall the shepherd’s pipe, the Muse’s lyre,

On Cyrnus’ shores be heard: her grateful sons

With loud acclaim and hymns of cordial praise

Shall hail their high deliverers; every name

To virtue dear be from oblivion snatched

And placed among the stars: but chiefly thine,

Thine, Paoli, with sweetest sound shall dwell

On their applauding lips; thy sacred name,

Endeared to long posterity, some Muse,

More worthy of the theme; shall consecrate

To after-ages, and applauding worlds

Shall bless the godlike man who saved his country.

So vainly wished, so fondly hoped the Muse:

Too fondly hoped. The iron fates prevail,

And Cyrnus is no more. Her generous sons,

Less vanquished than o’erwhelmed, by numbers crushed,

Admired, unaided fell. So strives the moon

In dubious battle with the gathering clouds,

And strikes a splendour through them; till at length

Storms rolled on storms involve the face of heaven

And quench her struggling fires. Forgive the zeal

5* 10 5(3)v 10

That, too presumptuous, whispered better things,

And read the book of destiny amiss.

Not with the purple colouring of success

Is virtue best adorned: the attempt is praise.

There yet remains a freedom, nobler far

Than kings or senates can destroy or give;

Beyond the proud oppressor’s cruel grasp

Seated secure, uninjured, undestroyed;

Worthy of Gods:…the freedom of the mind.

11 5(4)r
11

The Invitation.

To Miss B******.

Health to my friend, and long unbroken years,

By storms unruffled and unstained by tears:

Winged by new joys may each white minute fly;

Spring on her cheek, and sunshine in her eye:

O’er that dear breast, where love and pity springs,

May peace eternal spread her downy wings:

Sweet beaming hope her path illumine still,

And fair ideas all her fancy fill!

From glittering scenes which strike the dazzled sight

With mimic grandeur and illusive light,

From idle hurry, and tumultuous noise,

From hollow friendships, and from sickly joys,

Will Delia, at the Muse’s call, retire

To the pure pleasures rural scenes inspire?

Will she from crowds and busy cities fly,

Where wreaths of curling smoke involve the sky,

To taste the grateful shade of spreading trees,

And drink the spirit of the mountain breeze?

When winter’s hand the roughening year deforms,

And hollow winds foretell approaching storms,

Then Pleasure, like a bird of passage, flies

To brighter climes, and more indulgent skies:

12 5(4)v 12

Cities and courts allure her sprightly train,

From the bleak mountain and the naked plain;

And gold and gems with artificial blaze

Supply the sickly sun’s declining rays.

But soon, returning on the western gale,

She seeks the bosom of the grassy vale:

There, wrapt in careless ease, attunes her lyre

To the wild warblings of the woodland quire:

The daisied turf her humble throne supplies,

And early primroses around her rise.

We’ll follow where the smiling goddess leads,

Through tangled forests or enameled meads;

O’er pathless hills her airy form we’ll chase,

In silent glades her fairy footsteps trace:

Small pains there needs her footsteps to pursue,

She cannot fly from friendship, and from you.

Now the glad earth her frozen zone unbinds,

And o’er her bosom breathe the western winds.

Already now the snow-drop dares appear,

The first pale blossom of the unripened year;

As Flora’s breath, by some transforming power,

Had changed an icicle into a flower:

Its name and hue the scentless plant retains,

And winter lingers in its icy veins.

To these succeed the violet’s dusky blue,

And each inferior flower of fainter hue;

Till riper months the perfect year disclose,

And Flora cries exulting, See my Rose!

The Muse invites; my Delia, haste away,

And let us sweetly waste the careless day.

13 5(5)r 13

Here gentle summits lift their airy brow;

Down the green slope here winds the labouring plough;

Here, bathed by frequent showers cool vales are seen,

Clothed with fresh verdure and eternal green;

Here smooth canals, across the extended plain,

Stretch their long arms to join the distant main: The Duke of Bridgewater’s canal, which in many places crosses the road, and in one is carried by an aqueduct over the river Irwell. Its head is at Worsley, where it is conveyed by deep tunnels under the coal pits, for the purpose of loading the boats.

The sons of toil with many a weary stroke

Scoop the hard bosom of the solid rock;

Resistless, through the stiff opposing clay,

With steady patience work their gradual way;

Compel the genius of the unwilling flood

Through the brown horrors of the aged wood;

’Cross the lone waste the silver urn they pour,

And cheer the barren heath or sullen moor.

The traveller with pleasing wonder sees

The white sail gleaming through the dusky trees;

And views the altered landscape with surprise,

And doubts the magic scenes which round him rise.

Now, like a flock of swans, above his head

Their woven wings the flying vessels spread;

Now meeting streams in artful mazes glide,

While each unmingled pours a separate tide;

Now through the hidden veins of earth they flow,

And visit sulphurous mines and caves below;

14 5(5)v 14

The ductile streams obey the guiding hand,

And social plenty circles round the land.

But nobler praise awaits our green retreats;

The Muses here have fixed their sacred seats.

Mark where its simple front yon mansion rears,

The nursery of men for future years!

Here callow chiefs and embryo statesmen lie,

And unfledged poets short excursions try:

While Mersey’s gentle current, which too long,

By fame neglected and unknown to song,

Between his rushy banks,—no poet’s theme,—

Had crept inglorious, like a vulgar stream,

Reflects the’ ascending seats with conscious pride,

And dares to emulate a classic tide.

Soft music breathes along each opening shade,

And soothes the dashing of his rough cascade.

With mystic lines his sands are figured o’er,

And circles traced upon the lettered shore.

Beneath his willows rove the’ inquiring youth,

And court the fair majestic form of Truth.

Here Nature opens all her secret springs,

And heaven-born Science plumes her eagle wings.

Too long had bigot rage, with malice swelled,

Crushed her strong pinions, and her flight withheld;

Too long to check her ardent progress strove:—

So writhes the serpent round the bird of Jove;

Hangs on her flight, restrains her towering wing,

Twists its dark folds, and points its venomed sting.

Yet still,—if aught aright the Muse divine,—

15 5(6)r 15

Her rising pride shall mock the vain design;

On sounding pinions yet aloft shall soar,

And through the azure deep untravelled paths explore.

Where science smiles, the Muses join the train;

And gentlest arts and purest manners reign.

Ye generous youth who love this studious shade,

How rich a field is to your hopes displayed!

Knowledge to you unlocks the classic page,

And virtue blossoms for a better age.

O golden days! O bright unvalued hours!

What bliss—did ye but know that bliss—were yours!

With richest stores your glowing bosoms fraught,

Perception quick, and luxury of thought;

The high designs that heave the labouring soul,

Panting for fame, impatient of controul;

And fond enthusiastic thought, that feeds

On pictured tales of vast heroic deeds;

And quick affections, kindling into flame

At virtue’s or their country’s honoured name;

And spirits light, to every joy in tune;

And friendship, ardent as a summer’s noon;

And generous scorn of vice’s venal tribe;

And proud disdain of interest’s sordid bribe;

And conscious honour’s quick instinctive sense;

And smiles unforced; and easy confidence;

And vivid fancy; and clear simple truth;

And all the mental bloom of vernal youth.

How bright the scene to Fancy’s eye appears,

Through the long perspective of distant years,

16 5(6)v 16

When this, this little group their country calls

From academic shades and learned halls,

To fix her laws, her spirit to sustain,

And light up glory through her wide domain!

Their various tastes in different arts displayed,

Like tempered harmony of light and shade,

With friendly union in one mass shall blend,—

And this adorn the state, and that defend.

These the sequestered shade shall cheaply please,

With learned labour and inglorious ease;

While those, impelled by some resistless force,

O’er seas and rocks shall urge their venturous course;

Rich fruits matured by glowing suns behold,

And China’s groves of vegetable gold;

From every land the various harvest spoil,

And bear the tribute to their native soil:

But tell each land,—while every toil they share,

Firm to sustain, and resolute to dare,—

Man is the nobler growth our realms supply,

And souls are ripened in our northern sky.

Some pensive creep along the shelly shore;

Unfold the silky texture of a flower;

With sharpened eyes inspect an hornet’s, sting,

And all the wonders of an insect’s wing.

Some trace with curious search the hidden cause

Of Nature’s changes, and her various laws;

Untwist her beauteous web, disrobe her charms,

And hunt her to her elemental forms:

Or prove what hidden powers in herbs are found,

17 6(1)r 17

To quench disease and cool the burning wound;

With cordial drops the fainting head sustain,

Call back the flitting soul, and still the throbs of pain.

The patriot passion, this shall strongly feel,

Ardent, and glowing with undaunted zeal,

With lips of fire shall plead his country’s cause,

And vindicate the majesty of laws:

This, clothed with Britain’s thunder, spread alarms

Through the wide earth, and shake the pole with arms;

That, to the sounding lyre his deeds rehearse,

Enshrine his name in some immortal verse,

To long posterity his praise consign,

And pay a life of hardships by a line.

While others,—consecrate to higher aims,

Whose hallowed bosoms glow with purer flames,

Love in their heart, persuasion in their tongue,—

With words of peace shall charm the listening throng,

Draw the dread veil that wraps the’ eternal throne,

And launch our souls into the bright unknown.

Here cease my song. Such arduous themes require

A master’s pencil and a poet’s fire:

Unequal far such bright designs to paint,

Too weak her colours, and her lines too faint,

My drooping Muse folds up her fluttering wing,

And hides her head in the green lap of Spring.

vol. I.
6 18 6(1)v
18

The Groans of the Tankard.

Dulci digne mero! Horat.

Of strange events I sing, and portents dire;

The wondrous themes a reverent ear require;

Though strange the tale, the faithful Muse believe,

And what she says, with pious awe receive.

’T was at the solemn, silent, noon-tide hour,

When hunger rages with despotic power,

When the lean student quits his Hebrew roots

For the gross nourishment of English fruits,

And throws unfinished airy systems by

For solid pudding and substantial pie;

When hungry poets the glad summons own,

And leave spare Fast to dine with Gods alone:

Our sober meal dispatched with silent haste,

The decent grace concludes the short repast:

Then, urged by thirst, we cast impatient eyes

Where deep, capacious, vast, of ample size,

The Tankard stood, replenished to the brink

With the cold beverage blue-eyed Naiads drink.

But lo! a sudden prodigy appears,

And our chilled hearts recoil with startling fears:

19 6(2)r 19

Its yawning mouth disclosed the deep profound,

And in low murmurs breathed a sullen sound;

Cold drops of dew did on the sides appear;

No finger touched it, and no hand was near.

At length the’ indignant vase its silence broke,

First heaved deep hollow groans, and then distinctly spoke.

How changed the scene!—for what unpardoned crimes

Have I survived to these degenerate times?

I, who was wont the festal board to grace,

And ’midst the circle lift my honest face

White o’er with froth, like Etna crowned with snow,

Which mantled o’er the brown abyss below,

Where Ceres mingled with her golden store

The richer spoils of either India’s shore,

The dulcet reed the Western islands boast,

And spicy fruit from Banda’s fragrant coast.

At solemn feasts the nectared draught I poured,

And often journeyed round the ample board:

The portly Alderman, the stately Mayor,

And all the furry tribe my worth declare;

And the keen Sportsman oft, his labours done,

To me retreating with the setting sun,

Deep draughts imbibed, and conquered land and sea,

And overthrew the pride of France—by me.

Let meaner clay contain the limpid wave,

The clay for such an office nature gave;

Let China’s earth, enriched with coloured stains,

20 6(2)v 20

Penciled with gold, and streaked with azure veins,

The grateful flavour of the Indian leaf,

Or Mocho’s sunburnt berry glad receive:

The nobler metal claims more generous use,

And mine should flow with more exalted juice.

Did I for this my native bed resign

In the dark bowels of Potosi’s mine?

Was I for this with violence torn away,

And dragged to regions of the upper day?

For this the rage of torturing furnace bore,

From foreign dross to purge the brightening ore?

For this have I endured the fiery test,

And was I stamped for this with Britain’s lofty crest?

Unblest the day, and luckless was the hour,

Which doomed me to a Presbyterian’s power;

Fated to serve the Puritanic race,

Whose slender meal is shorter than their grace;

Whose moping sons no jovial orgies keep;

Where evening brings no summons—but to sleep;

No Carnival is even Christmas here,

And one long Lent involves the meagre year.

Bear me, ye powers! to some more genial scene,

Where on soft cushions lolls the gouty Dean,

Or rosy Prebend with cherubic face,

With double chin, and paunch of portly grace,

Who, lulled in downy slumbers, shall agree

To own no inspiration but from me.

Or to some spacious mansion, Gothic, old,

Where Comus’ sprightly train their vigils hold;

21 6(3)r 21

There oft exhausted, and replenished oft,

O let me still supply the’ eternal draught,

Till Care within the deep abyss be drowned,

And Thought grows giddy at the vast profound!

More had the goblet spoke; but lo! appears

An ancient Sibyl, furrowed o’er with years.

Her aspect sour and stern ungracious look

With sudden damp the conscious vessel struck:

Chilled at her touch its mouth it slowly closed,

And in long silence all its griefs reposed:

Yet still low murmurs creep along the ground,

And the air vibrates with the silver sound.

6*
22 6(3)v 22

On the Backwardness of the Spring 17711771.

Æstatem increpitans seram, Zephyrosque morantes. Virgil.

In vain the sprightly sun renews his course,

Climbs up the’ ascending signs and leads the day,

While long embattled clouds repel his force,

And lazy vapours choke the golden ray.

In vain the Spring proclaims the new-born year;

No flowers beneath her lingering footsteps spring,

No rosy garland binds her flowing hair,

And in her train no feathered warblers sing;

Her opening breast is stained with frequent showers,

Her streaming tresses bathed in chilling dews;

And sad before her move the pensive hours,

Whose flagging wings no breathing sweets diffuse.

Like some lone pilgrim clad in mournful weed,

Whose wounded bosom drinks her falling tears,

On whose pale cheek relentless sorrows feed,

Whose dreary way no sprightly carol cheers.

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Not thus she breathed on Arno’s purple shore,

And called the Tuscan Muses to her bowers;

Not this the robe in Enna’s vale she wore,

When Ceres’ daughter filled her lap with flowers.

Clouds behind clouds in long succession rise,

And heavy snows oppress the springing green;

The dazzling waste fatigues the aching eyes,

And Fancy droops beneath the’ unvaried scene.

Indulgent Nature, loose this frozen zone;

Through opening skies let genial sunbeams play;

Dissolving snows shall their glad impulse own,

And melt upon the bosom of the May.

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24

Verses Written in an Alcove.

Jam Cytherea choros ducit Venus, imminente Luna. Horat.

Now the moonbeam’s trembling lustre

Silvers o’er the dewy green,

And in soft and shadowy colours

Sweetly paints the chequered scene.

Here between the opening branches

Streams a flood of softened light;

There the thick and twisted foliage

Spreads the browner gloom of night.

This is sure the haunt of fairies,

In yon cool alcove they play;

Care can never cross the threshold,—

Care was only made for day.

Far from hence be noisy Clamour,

Sick Disgust and anxious Fear;

Pining Grief and wasting Anguish

Never keep their vigils here.

Tell no tales of sheeted sceptres

Rising from the quiet tomb:

25 6(5)r 25

Fairer forms this cell shall visit,

Brighter visions gild the gloom.

Choral songs and sprightly voices

Echo from her cell shall call;

Sweeter, sweeter than the murmur

Of the distant waterfall.

Every ruder gust of passion

Lulled with music dies away,

Till within the charmed bosom

None but soft affections play:

Soft as when the evening breezes

Gently stir the poplar grove;

Brighter than the smile of Summer,

Sweeter than the breath of Love.

Thee the’ enchanted Muse shall follow,

Lissy! to the rustic cell;

And each careless note repeating,

Tune them to her charming shell.

Not the Muse who wreathed with laurel

Solemn stalks with tragic gait,

And in clear and lofty vision

Sees the future births of fate;

Not the maid who crowned with cypress

Sweeps along in sceptred pall,

26 6(5)v 26

And in sad and solemn accents

Mourns the crested hero’s fall;—

But that other smiling sister,

With the blue and laughing eye,

Singing, in a lighter measure,

Strains of woodland harmony:

All unknown to fame and glory,

Easy, blithe, and debonair,

Crowned with flowers, her careless tresses

Loosely floating on the air.

Then when next the star of evening

Softly sheds the silent dew,

Let me in this rustic temple,

Lissy! meet the Muse and you.

27 6(6)r 27

The Mouse’s Petition.

Found in the trap where he had been confined all night by Dr. Priestley, for the sake of making experiments with different kinds of air.

O hear a pensive prisoner’s prayer,

For liberty that sighs;

And never let thine heart be shut

Against the wretch’s cries!

For here forlorn and sad I sit,

Within the wiry grate;

And tremble at the’ approaching morn,

Which brings impending fate.

If e’er thy breast with freedom glowed,

And spurned a tyrant’s chain,

Let not thy strong oppressive force

A free-born mouse detain!

O do not stain with guiltless blood

Thy hospitable hearth;

Nor triumph that thy wiles betrayed

A prize so little worth.

The scattered gleanings of a feast

My frugal meals supply;

28 6(6)v 28

But if thine unrelenting heart

That slender boon deny,—

The cheerful light, the vital air,

Are blessings widely given;

Let Nature’s commoners enjoy

The common gifts of Heaven.

The well-taught philosophic mind

To all compassion gives;

Casts round the world an equal eye,

And feels for all that lives.

If mind,—as ancient sages taught,—

A never dying flame,

Still shifts through matter’s varying forms,

In every form the same;

Beware, lest in the worm you crush,

A brother’s soul you find;

And tremble lest thy luckless hand

Dislodge a kindred mind.

Or, if this transient gleam of day

Be all of life we share,

Let pity plead within thy breast

That little all to spare.

So may thy hospitable board

With health and peace be crowned;

29 7(1)r 29

And every charm of heartfelt ease

Beneath thy roof be found.

So when destruction lurks unseen,

Which men, like mice, may share,

May some kind angel clear thy path,

And break the hidden snare.

vol. I. 7 30 7(1)v
30

To Mrs. P********,

With Some Drawings of Birds and Insects.

The kindred arts to please thee shall conspire, One dip the pencil, and one string the lyre. Pope.

Amanda bids;—at her command again

I seize the pencil, or resume the pen;

No other call my willing hand requires,

And Friendship, better than a Muse, inspires.

Painting and Poetry are near allied;

The kindred arts two sister Muses guide:

This charms the eye, that steals upon the ear;

There sounds are tuned, and colours blended here:

This with a silent touch enchants our eyes,

And bids a gayer, brighter world arise:

That, less allied to sense, with deeper art

Can pierce the close recesses of the heart;

By well-set syllables, and potent sound,

Can rouse, can chill the breast, can soothe, can wound;

To life adds motion, and to beauty soul,

And breathes a spirit through the finished whole:

31 7(2)r 31

Each perfects each, in friendly union joined;—

This gives Amanda’s form, and that her mind.

But humbler themes my artless hand requires,

Nor higher than the feathered tribe aspires.

Yet who the various nations can declare

That plough with busy wing the peopled air?

These cleave the crumbling bark for insect food;

Those dip their crooked beak in kindred blood:

Some haunt the rushy moor, the lonely woods;

Some bathe their silver plumage in the floods;

Some fly to man, his household gods implore,

And gather round his hospitable door,

Wait the known call, and find protection there

From all the lesser tyrants of the air.

The tawny Eagle seats his callow brood

High on the cliff, and feasts his young with blood.

On Snowdon’s rocks, or Orkney’s wide domain,

Whose beetling cliffs o’erhang the Western main,

The royal bird his lonely kingdom forms

Amidst the gathering clouds and sullen storms;

Through the wide waste of air he darts his sight,

And holds his sounding pinions poised for flight:

With cruel eye premeditates the war,

And marks his destined victim from afar:

Descending in a whirlwind to the ground,

His pinions like the rush of waters sound;

The fairest of the fold he bears away,

And to his nest compels the struggling prey;

32 7(2)v 32

He scorns the game by meaner hunters tore,

And dips his talons in no vulgar gore.

With lovelier pomp along the grassy plain

The Silver Pheasant draws his shining train.

On Asia’s myrtle shores, by Phasis’ stream,

He spreads his plumage to the sunny gleam;

But when the wiry net his flight confines,

He lowers his purple crest, and inly pines:

The beauteous captive hangs his ruffled wing,

Opprest by bondage and our chilly spring.

To claim the verse unnumbered tribes appear,

That swell the music of the vernal year:

Seized with the spirit of the kindly May,

They sleek the glossy wing, and tune the lay;

With emulative strife the notes prolong,

And pour out all their little souls in song.

When winter bites upon the naked plain,

Nor food nor shelter in the groves remain,

By instinct led, a firm united band,

As marshaled by some skilful general’s hand,

The congregated nations wing their way

In dusky columns o’er the trackless sea;

In clouds unnumbered annual hover o’er

The craggy Bass, or Kilda’s utmost shore;

Thence spread their sails to meet the southern wind,

And leave the gathering tempest far behind;

Pursue the circling sun’s indulgent ray,

Course the swift seasons, and o’ertake the day.

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Not so the insect race, ordained to keep

The lazy sabbath of a half-year’s sleep:

Entombed beneath the filmy web they lie,

And wait the influence of a kinder sky.

When vernal sunbeams pierce their dark retreat,

The heaving tomb distends with vital heat;

The full-formed brood, impatient of their cell,

Start from their trance, and burst their silken shell;—

Trembling awhile they stand, and scarcely dare

To launch at once upon the untried air:

At length assured, they catch the favouring gale,

And leave their sordid spoils, and high in ether sail.

So when brave Tancred struck the conscious rind,

He found a nymph in every trunk confined;

The forest labours with convulsive throes,

The bursting trees the lovely births disclose,

And a gay troop of damsels round him stood,

Where late was rugged bark and lifeless wood.

Lo, the bright train their radiant wings unfold!

With silver fringed, and freckled o’er with gold:

On the gay bosom of some fragrant flower

They idly fluttering live their little hour;

Their life all pleasure, and their task all play,

All spring their age, and sunshine all their day.

Not so the child of sorrow, wretched Man,

His course with toil concludes, with pain began;

That his high destiny he might discern,

And in misfortune’s school this lesson learn….

Pleasure’s the portion of the inferior kind;

But glory, virtue, Heaven for Man designed.

34 7(3)v 34

What atom-forms of insect life appear!

And who can follow Nature’s pencil here?

Their wings with azure, green, and purple glossed,

Studded with coloured eyes, with gems embossed,

Inlaid with pearl, and marked with various stains

Of lively crimson through their dusky veins.

Some shoot like living stars athwart the night,

And scatter from their wings a vivid light,

To guide the Indian to his tawny loves,

As through the woods with cautious steps he moves.

See the proud giant of the beetle race;

What shining arms his polished limbs enchase!

Like some stern warrior formidably bright,

His steely sides reflect a gleaming light;

On his large forehead spreading horns he wears,

And high in air the branching antlers bears:

O’er many an inch extends his wide domain,

And his rich treasury swells with hoarded grain.

Thy friend thus strives to cheat the lonely hour,

With song or paint, an insect or a flower:—

Yet if Amanda praise the flowing line,

And bend delighted o’er the gay design,

I envy not nor emulate the fame

Or of the painter’s or the poet’s name:

Could I to both with equal claim pretend,

Yet far, far dearer were the name of Friend.

35 7(4)r 35

Characters.

O born to soothe distress and lighten care,

Lively as soft, and innocent as fair!

Blest with that sweet simplicity of thought

So rarely found, and never to be taught;

Of winning speech, endearing, artless, kind,

The loveliest pattern of a female mind;

Like some fair spirit from the realms of rest,

With all her native heaven within her breast;

So pure, so good, she scarce can guess at sin,

But thinks the world without like that within;

Such melting tenderness, so fond to bless,

Her charity almost becomes excess.

Wealth may be courted, Wisdom be revered,

And Beauty praised, and brutal Strength be feared;

But Goodness only can affection move,

And love must owe its origin to love.

Illam quicquid agit, quoquo vestigia flectit, Componit furtim, subsequiturque decor. Tibul.

Of gentle manners, and of taste refined,

With all the graces of a polished mind;

36 7(4)v 36

Clear sense and truth still shone in all she spoke,

And from her lips no idle sentence broke.

Each nicer elegance of art she knew;

Correctly fair, and regularly true.

Her ready fingers plied with equal skill

The pencil’s task, the needle, or the quill;

So poised her feelings, so composed her soul,

So subject all to reason’s calm control,—

One only passion, strong, and unconfined,

Disturbed the balance of her even mind:

One passion ruled despotic in her breast,

In every word, and look, and thought confest:—

But that was love; and love delights to bless

The generous transports of a fond excess.

Happy old man! who stretched beneath the shade

Of large grown trees, or in the rustic porch

With woodbine canopied, where linger yet

The hospitable virtues, calm enjoy’st

Nature’s best blessings all;—a healthy age

Ruddy and vigorous, native cheerfulness,

Plain-hearted friendship, simple piety,

The rural manners and the rural joys

Friendly to life. O rude of speech, yet rich

In genuine worth, not unobserved shall pass

Thy bashful virtues! for the muse shall mark,

Detect thy charities, and call to light

Thy secret deeds of mercy; while the poor,

37 7(5)r 37

The desolate, and friendless, at thy gate,

A numerous family, with better praise

Shall hallow in their hearts thy spotless name.

Such were the dames of old heroic days,

Which faithful story yet delights to praise;

Who, great in useful works, hung o’er the loom,—

The mighty mothers of immortal Rome:

Obscure, in sober dignity retired,

They more deserved than sought to be admired;

The household virtues o’er their honoured head

Their simple grace and modest lustre shed:

Chaste their attire, their feet unused to roam,

They loved the sacred threshold of their home;

Yet true to glory, fanned the generous flame,

Bade lovers, brothers, sons aspire to fame;

In the young bosom cherished Virtue’s seed,

The secret springs of many a godlike deed.

So the fair stream in some sequestered glade

With lowly state glides silent through the shade;

Yet by the smiling meads her urn is blest,

With freshest flowers her rising banks are drest,

And groves of laurel, by her sweetness fed,

High o’er the forest lift their verdant head.

38 7(5)v 38

Is there whom genius and whom taste adorn

With rare but happy union; in whose breast

Calm, philosophic, thoughtful, largely fraught

With stores of various knowledge, dwell the powers

That trace out secret causes, and unveil

Great Nature’s awful face? Is there whose hours

Of still domestic leisure breathe the soul

Of friendship, peace, and elegant delight

Beneath poetic shades, where leads the Muse

Through walks of fragrance, and the fairy groves

Where young ideas blossom?—Is there one

Whose tender hand, lenient of human woes,

Wards off the dart of death, and smooths the couch

Of torturing anguish? On so dear a name

May blessings dwell, honour, and cordial praise;

Nor need he be a brother to be loved.

Champion of Truth, alike through Nature’s field,

And where in sacred leaves she shines reveal’d,—

Alike in both, eccentric, piercing, bold,

Like his own lightnings, which no chains can hold;

Neglecting caution, and disdaining art,

He seeks no armour for a naked heart:—

Pursue the track thy ardent genius shows,

That like the sun illumines where it goes;

Travel the various map of Science o’er,

Record past wonders, and discover more;

Pour thy free spirit o’er the breathing page,

39 7(6)r 39

And wake the virtue of a careless age.

But O forgive, if touched with fond regret

Fancy recalls the scenes she can’t forget,

Recalls the vacant smile, the social hours

Which charmed us once, for once those scenes were ours!

And while thy praises through wide realms extend,

We sit in shades, and mourn the absent friend.

So where the’ impetuous river sweeps the plain,

Itself a sea, and rushes to the main;

While its firm banks repel conflicting tides,

And stately on its breast the vessel glides;

Admiring much the shepherd stands to gaze,

Awe-struck, and mingling wonder with his praise:

Yet more he loves its winding path to trace

Through beds of flowers, and Nature’s rural face,

While yet a stream the silent vale it cheered,

By many a recollected scene endeared,

Where trembling first beneath the poplar shade

He tuned his pipe, to suit the wild cascade.

40 7(6)v
40

An Inventory of the Furniture in Dr. Priestley’s Study.

A map of every country known,

With not a foot of land his own.

A list of folks that kicked a dust

On this poor globe, from Ptol. the First;

He hopes,—indeed it is but fair,—

Some day to get a corner there.

A group of all the British kings,

Fair emblem! on a packthread swings.

The Fathers, ranged in goodly row,

A decent, venerable show,

Writ a great while ago, they tell us,

And many an inch o’ertop their fellows.

A Juvenal to hunt for mottos;

And Ovid’s tales of nymphs and grottos.

The meek-robed lawyers, all in white;

Pure as the lamb,—at least to sight.

A shelf of bottles, jar and phial,

By which the rogues he can defy all,—

All filled with lightning keen and genuine,

And many a little imp he’ll pen you in;

Which, like Le Sage’s sprite, let out,

Among the neighbours makes a rout;

41 8(1)r 41

Brings down the lightning on their houses,

And kills their geese, and frights their spouses.

A rare thermometer, by which

He settles to the nicest pitch,

The just degrees of heat, to raise

Sermons, or politics, or plays.

Papers and books, a strange mixed olio,

From shilling touch to pompous folio,

Answer, remark, reply, rejoinder,

Fresh from the mint, all stamped and coined here;

Like new-made glass, set by to cool,

Before it bears the workman’s tool.

A blotted proof-sheet, wet from Bowling.

How can a man his anger hold in?

Forgotten rimes, and college themes,

Worm-eaten plans, and embryo schemes;—

A mass of heterogeneous matter,

A chaos dark, nor land nor water;—

New books, like new-born infants, stand,

Waiting the printer’s clothing hand;—

Others, a motley ragged brood,

Their limbs unfashioned all, and rude,

Like Cadmus’ half-formed men appear;

One rears a helm, one lifts a spear,

And feet were lopped and fingers torn

Before their fellow limbs were born;

A leg began to kick and sprawl

Before the head was seen at all,

Which quiet as a mushroom lay

Till crumbling hillocks gave it way;

vol. I. 8 42 8(1)v 42

And all, like controversial writing,

Were born with teeth, and sprung up fighting.

But what is this, I hear you cry,

Which saucily provokes my eye?

A thing unknown, without a name,

Born of the air and doomed to flame.

On a Lady’s Writing.

Her even lines her steady temper show,

Neat as her dress, and polished as her brow;

Strong as her judgment, easy as her air;

Correct though free, and regular though fair:

And the same graces o’er her pen preside,

That form her manners and her footsteps guide

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43

On the Deserted Village.

In vain fair Auburn weeps her desert plains,

She moves our envy who so well complains;

In vain has proud oppression laid her low,

So sweet a garland on her faded brow.

Now, Auburn, now absolve impartial fate,

Which if it made thee wretched, makes thee great:—

So, unobserved, some humble plant may bloom,

Till crushed it fills the air with sweet perfume;

So, had thy swains in ease and plenty slept,

Thy Poet had not sung, nor Britain wept.

Nor let Britannia mourn her drooping bay,

Unhonoured genius, and her swift decay;

O Patron of the poor! it cannot be,

While one—one Poet yet remains like thee!

Nor can the Muse desert our favoured isle,

Till thou desert the Muse and scorn her smile.

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44

Hymn to Content.

…natura beatis Omnibus esse dedit, si quis cognoverit uti. Claudian.

O thou, the Nymph with placid eye!

O seldom found, yet ever nigh!

Receive my temperate vow:

Not all the storms that shake the pole

Can e’er disturb thy halcyon soul,

And smooth unaltered brow.

O come, in simple vest arrayed,

With all thy sober cheer displayed,

To bless my longing sight;

Thy mien composed, thy even pace,

Thy meek regard, thy matron grace,

And chaste subdued delight.

No more by varying passions beat,

O gently guide my pilgrim feet

To find thy hermit cell;

Where in some pure and equal sky,

Beneath thy soft indulgent eye,

The modest virtues dwell.

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Simplicity in Attic vest,

And Innocence with candid breast,

And clear undaunted eye;

And Hope, who points to distant years,

Fair opening through this vale of tears

A vista to the sky.

There Health, through whose calm bosom glide

The temperate joys in even tide,

That rarely ebb or flow;

And Patience there, thy sister meek,

Presents her mild unvarying cheek

To meet the offered blow.

Her influence taught the Phrygian sage

A tyrant master’s wanton rage

With settled smiles to meet:

Inured to toil and bitter bread,

He bowed his meek submitted head,

And kissed thy sainted feet.

But thou, O Nymph retired and coy!

In what brown hamlet dost thou joy

To tell thy tender tale?

The lowliest children of the ground,

Moss-rose, and violet blossom round,

And lily of the vale.

8* 46 8(3)v 46

O say what soft propitious hour

I best may choose to hail thy power,

And court thy gentle sway?

When Autumn, friendly to the Muse,

Shall thy own modest tints diffuse,

And shed thy milder day.

When Eve, her dewy star beneath,

Thy balmy spirit loves to breathe,

And every storm is laid;—

If such an hour was e’er thy choice,

Oft let me hear thy soothing voice

Low whispering through the shade.

47 8(4)r 47

To Wisdom.

Dona præsentis rape lætus horæ, ac Linque severa. Horat.

O Wisdom! if thy soft controul

Can soothe the sickness of the soul,

Can bid the warring passions cease,

And breathe the calm of tender peace;—

Wisdom! I bless thy gentle sway,

And ever, ever will obey.

But if thou com’st with frown austere,

To nurse the brood of Care and Fear;

To bid our sweetest passions die,

And leave us in their room a sigh;

O if thine aspect stern have power

To wither each poor transient flower

That cheers this pilgrimage of woe,

And dry the springs whence hope should flow;—

Wisdom! thine empire I disclaim,

Thou empty boast of pompous name!

In gloomy shade of cloisters dwell,

But never haunt my cheerful cell.

48 8(4)v 48

Hail to Pleasure’s frolic train!

Hail to Fancy’s golden reign!

Festive Mirth, and Laughter wild,

Free and sportful as the child!

Hope with eager sparkling eyes,

And easy faith, and fond surprise!—

Let these, in fairy colours drest,

For ever share my careless breast:

Then, though wise I may not be,

The wise themselves shall envy me.

49 8(5)r
49

The Origin of Song-writing. Addressed to the Author of Essays on Song-Writing.

Illic indocto primum se exercuit arcu; Hei mihi quam doctas nunc habet ille manus! Tibul.

When Cupid, wanton boy, was young,

His wings unfledged, and rude his tongue,

He loitered in Arcadian bowers,

And hid his bow in wreaths of flowers;

Or pierced some fond unguarded heart

With now and then a random dart;

But heroes scorned the idle boy,

And love was but a shepherd’s toy.

When Venus, vexed to see her child

Amid the forests thus run wild,

Would point him out some nobler game—

Gods and godlike men to tame.

She seized the boy’s reluctant hand,

And led him to the virgin band,

Where the sister Muses round

Swell the deep majestic sound;

And in solemn strains unite,

Breathing chaste, severe delight;

50 8(5)v 50

Songs of chiefs and heroes old,

In unsubmitting virtue bold:

Of even valour’s temperate heat,

And toils, to stubborn patience sweet;

Of nodding plumes and burnished arms,

And glory’s bright terrific charms.

The potent sounds like lightning dart

Resistless through the glowing heart;

Of power to lift the fixed soul

High o’er Fortune’s proud controul;

Kindling deep, prophetic musing;

Love of beauteous death infusing;

Scorn, and unconquerable hate

Of tyrant pride’s unhallowed state.

The boy abashed, and half afraid,

Beheld each chaste immortal maid:

Pallas spread her Egis there;

Mars stood by with threatening air;

And stern Diana’s icy look

With sudden chill his bosom struck.

Daughters of Jove, receive the child,

The queen of beauty said, and smiled;—

Her rosy breath perfumed the air,

And scattered sweet contagion there;

Relenting Nature learned to languish,

And sickened with delightful anguish:—

Receive him artless yet and young;

Refine his air, and smooth his tongue:

51 8(6)r 51

Conduct him through your favourite bowers,

Enriched with fair perennial flowers,

To solemn shades and springs that lie

Remote from each unhallowed eye;

Teach him to spell those mystic names

That kindle bright immortal flames;

And guide his young unpractised feet

To reach coy Learning’s lofty seat.

Ah, luckless hour! mistaken maids,

When Cupid sought the Muse’s shades!

Of their sweetest notes beguiled,

By the sly insidious child;

Now of power his darts are found

Twice ten thousand times to wound.

Now no more the slackened strings

Breathe of high immortal things,

But Cupid tunes the Muse’s lyre

To languid notes of soft desire.

In every clime, in every tongue,

’T is love inspires the poet’s song.

Hence Sappho’s soft infectious page;

Monimia’s woe; Othello’s rage;

Abandoned Dido’s fruitless prayer;

And Eloisa’s long despair;

The garland, blest with many a vow,

For haughty Sacharissa’s brow;

And, washed with tears, the mournful verse

That Petrarch laid on Laura’s herse.

But more than all the sister quire,

52 8(6)v 52

Music confessed the pleasing fire.

Here sovereign Cupid reigned alone;

Music and song were all his own.

Sweet, as in old Arcadian plains,

The British pipe has caught the strains:

And where the Tweed’s pure current glides,

Or Liffy rolls her limpid tides;

Or Thames his oozy waters leads

Through rural bowers or yellow meads,—

With many an old romantic tale

Has cheered the lone sequestered vale;

With many a sweet and tender lay

Deceived the tiresome summer day.

’T is yours to cull with happy art

Each meaning verse that speaks the heart;

And fair arrayed, in order meet,

To lay the wreath at Beauty’s feet.

53 9(1)r 53

Songs.

Song I.

Come here, fond youth, whoe’er thou be,

That boasts to love as well as me;

And if thy breast have felt so wide a wound,

Come hither, and thy flame approve;

I’ll teach thee what it is to love,

And by what marks true passion may be found.

It is to be all bathed in tears;

To live upon a smile for years;

To lie whole ages at a beauty’s feet:

To kneel, to languish, and implore;

And still, though she disdain, adore:—

It is to do all this, and think thy sufferings sweet.

It is to gaze upon her eyes

With eager joy and fond surprise;

Yet tempered with such chaste and awful fear

As wretches feel who wait their doom;

Nor must one ruder thought presume,

Though but in whispers breathed, to meet her ear.

vol. I. 9 54 9(1)v 54

It is to hope, though hope were lost;

Though heaven and earth thy passion crossed;

Though she were bright as sainted queens above,

And thou the least and meanest swain

That folds his flock upon the plain,—

Yet if thou darest not hope, thou dost not love.

It is to quench thy joy in tears;

To nurse strange doubts and groundless fears:

If pangs of jealousy thou hast not proved,—

Though she were fonder and more true

Than any nymph old poets drew,—

O never dream again that thou hast loved!

If when the darling maid is gone,

Thou dost not seek to be alone,

Wrapt in a pleasing trance of tender woe,

And muse, and fold thy languid arms,

Feeding thy fancy on her charms,

Thou dost not love,—for love is nourished so.

If any hopes thy bosom share

But those which Love has planted there,

Or any cares but his thy breast enthrall,—

Thou never yet his power hast known;

Love sits on a despotic throne,

And reigns a tyrant, if he reigns at all.

Now if thou art so lost a thing,

Here all thy tender sorrows bring,

55 9(2)r 55

And prove whose patience longest can endure:

We’ll strive whose fancy shall be lost

In dreams of fondest passion most;

For if thou thus hast loved, O never hope a cure!

Song II.

If ever thou didst joy to bind

Two hearts in equal passion joined,

O son of Venus! hear me now,

And bid Florella bless my vow.

If any bliss reserved for me

Thou in the leaves of fate shouldst see;

If any white propitious hour,

Pregnant with hoarded joys in store;

Now, now the mighty treasure give,

In her for whom alone I live;

In sterling love pay all the sum,

And I’ll absolve the fates to come.

In all the pride of full-blown charms

Yield her, relenting, to my arms:

Her bosom touch with soft desires,

And let her feel what she inspires.

56 9(2)v 56

But, Cupid, if thine aid be vain

The dear reluctant maid to gain;

If still with cold averted eyes

She dash my hopes, and scorn my sighs;

O grant!—’t is all I ask of thee,—

That I no more may change than she;

But still when duteous zeal love on,

When every gleam of hope is gone.

Leave me then alone to languish;

Think not time can heal my anguish;

Pity the woes which I endure,—

But never, never grant a cure.

Song III.

Sylvia.

Leave me, simple shepherd, leave me;

Drag no more a hopeless chain:

I cannot like, nor would deceive thee;—

Love the maid that loves again.

Corin.

Though more gentle nymphs surround me,

Kindly pitying what I feel;

Only you have power to wound me:

Sylvia, only you can heal.

57 9(3)r 57

Sylvia.

Corin, cease this idle teasing;

Love that’s forced is harsh and sour:

If the lover be displeasing.

To persist disgusts the more.

Corin.

’T is in vain, in vain to fly me,

Sylvia, I will still pursue;

Twenty thousand times deny me,

I will kneel and weep anew.

Sylvia.

Cupid ne’er shall make me languish,

I was born averse to love;

Lovers’ sighs, and tears, and anguish,

Mirth and pastime to me prove.

Corin.

Still I vow with patient duty

Thus to meet your proudest scorn;

You for unrelenting beauty,

I for constant love was born.

But the Fates had not consented,

Since they both did fickle prove;

Of her scorn the maid repented,

And the shepherd—of his love.

9* 58 9(3)v 58

Song IV.

When gentle Celia first I knew,

A breast so good, so kind, so true,

Reason and taste approved;

Pleased to indulge so pure a flame,

I called it by too soft a name,

And fondly thought I loved.

Till Chloris came:—with sad surprise

I felt the lightning of her eyes

Through all my senses run;

All glowing with resistless charms,

She filled my breast with new alarms,—

I saw, and was undone.

O Celia! dear unhappy maid,

Forbear the weakness to upbraid

Which ought your scorn to move;—

I know this beauty false and vain,

I know she triumphs in my pain,

Yet still I feel I love.

Thy gentle smiles no more can please,

Nor can thy softest friendship ease

The torments I endure:

Think what that wounded breast must feel,

Which truth and kindness cannot heal,

Nor e’en thy pity cure.

59 9(4)r 59

Oft shall I curse my iron chain,

And wish again thy milder reign

With long and vain regret;

All that I can, to thee I give;

And could I still to reason live,

I were thy captive yet.

But passion’s wild impetuous sea

Hurries me far from peace and thee;

’T were vain to struggle more.

Thus the poor sailor slumbering lies,

While swelling tides around him rise,

And push his bark from shore:

In vain he spreads his helpless arms,

His pitying friends with fond alarms

In vain deplore his state;

Still far and farther from the coast,

On the high surge his bark is tost,

And foundering yields to fate.

Song V.

As near a weeping spring reclined,

The beauteous Araminta pined,

And mourned a false ungrateful youth;

60 9(4)v 60

While dying echoes caught the sound,

And spread the soft complaints around

Of broken vows and altered truth;—

And aged shepherd heard her moan,

And thus in pity’s kindest tone

Addressed the lost despairing maid:

Cease, cease, unhappy fair, to grieve,

For sounds, though sweet, can ne’er relieve

A breaking heart by love betrayed.

Why shouldst thou waste such precious showers,

That fall like dew on withered flowers,

But dying passion ne’er restored?

In Beauty’s empire is no mean,—

And woman, either slave or queen,

Is quickly scorned when not adored.

Those liquid pearls from either eye,

Which might an Eastern empire buy,

Unvalued here and fruitless fall:

No art the season can renew,

When love was young, and Damon true;

No tears a wandering heart recall.

Cease, cease to grieve; thy tears are vain,

Should those fair orbs in drops of rain

Vie with a weeping southern sky:

For hearts o’ercome with love and grief

All nature yields but one relief;—

Die! hapless Araminta, die!

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Song VI.

When first upon your tender cheek

I saw the morn of beauty break

With mild and cheering beam,

I bowed before your infant shrine;

The earliest sighs you had were mine,

And you my darling theme.

I saw you in that opening morn

For beauty’s boundless empire born,

And first confessed your sway;

And ere your thoughts, devoid of art,

Could learn the value of a heart,

I gave my heart away.

I watched the dawn of every grace,

And gazed upon that angel face,

While yet ’t was safe to gaze;

And fondly blessed each rising charm,

Nor thought such innocence could harm

The peace of future days.

But now despotic o’er the plains

The awful noon of beauty reigns,

And kneeling crowds adore;

Its beams arise too fiercely bright,

Danger and death attend the sight,

And I must hope no more.

62 9(5)v 62

Thus to the rising God of day

Their early vows the Persians pay,

And bless the spreading fire;

Whose glowing chariot mounting soon

Pours on their heads the burning noon;

They sicken and expire.

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63

Delia.

An Elegy.

…tecum ut longæ sociarem gaudia vitæ, Inque tuo caderet nostra senecta sinu. Tibul.

Yes, Delia loves! My fondest vows are blest:

Farewell the memory of her past disdain;

One kind relenting glance has healed my breast,

And balanced in a moment years of pain.

O’er her soft cheek consenting blushes move,

And with kind stealth her secret soul betray;

Blushes, which usher in the morn of love,

Sure as the reddening east foretells the day.

Her tender smiles shall pay me with delight

For many a bitter pang of jealous fear;

For many an anxious day and sleepless night,

For many a stifled sigh and silent tear.

Delia shall come and bless my lone retreat:

She does not scorn the shepherd’s lowly life;

She will not blush to leave the splendid seat,

And own the title of a poor man’s wife.

64 9(6)v 64

The simple knot shall bind her gathered hair,

The russet garment clasp her lovely breast;

Delia shall mix among the rural fair,

By charms alone distinguished from the rest.

And meek Simplicity, neglected maid,

Shall bid my fair in native graces shine;

She, only she, shall lend her modest aid,

Chaste, sober priestess, at sweet Beauty’s shrine!

How sweet to muse by murmuring springs reclined!

Or loitering careless in the shady grove,

Indulge the gentlest feelings of the mind,

And pity those who live to aught but love!

When Delia’s hand unlocks her shining hair,

And o’er her shoulder spreads the flowing gold;

Base were the man who one bright tress would spare

For all the ore of India’s coarser mould.

By her dear side with what content I’d toil!

Patient of any labour in her sight;—

Guide the slow plough, or turn the stubborn soil,

Till the last lingering beam of doubtful light.

But softer tasks divide my Delia’s hours;—

To watch the firstlings at their harmless play;

With welcome shade to screen the languid flowers

That sicken in the summer’s parching ray.

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Oft will she stoop amidst her evening walk,

With tender hand each bruised plant to rear;

To bind the drooping lily’s broken stalk,

And nurse the blossoms of the infant year.

When beating rains forbid our feet to roam,

We’ll sheltered sit, and turn the storied page;

There see what passions shake the lofty dome

With mad ambition or ungoverned rage:

What headlong ruin oft involves the great;

What conscious terrors guilty bosoms prove;

What strange and sudden turns of adverse fate

Tear the sad virgin from her plighted love.

Delia shall read, and drop a gentle tear;

Then cast her eyes around the low-roofed cot,

And own the Fates have dealt more kindly here,

That blessed with only love our little lot.

For Love has sworn,—I heard the awful vow,—

The wavering heart shall never be his care,

That stoops at any baser shrine to bow;

And what he cannot rule, he scorns to share.

My heart in Delia is so fully blest,

It has no room to lodge another joy;

My peace all leans upon that gentle breast,

And only there misfortune can annoy.

vol. I. 10 66 10(1)v 66

Our silent hours shall steal unmarked away,

In one long tender calm of rural peace,

And measure many a fair unblemished day

Of cheerful leisure and poetic ease.

The proud unfeeling world their lot shall scorn,

Who ’midst inglorious shades can poorly dwell:—

Yet if some youth, for gentler passions born,

Shall chance to wander near our lowly cell,

His feeling breast with purer flames shall glow;—

And leaving pomp, and state, and cares behind,

Shall own the world has little to bestow

Where two fond hearts in equal love are joined.

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Ovid to His Wife.

Imitated From Different Parts Of His Tristia.

Jam mea cygneas imitantur tempora plumas, Inficit et nigras alba senecta comas. Trist. Lib. iv. Eleg. 8.

My aged head now stoops its honours low,

Bowed with the load of fifty winters’ snow;

And for the raven’s glossy black assumes

The downy whiteness of the cygnet’s plumes:

Loose scattered hairs around my temples stray,

And spread the mournful shade of sickly gray:

I bend beneath the weight of broken years,

Averse to change, and chilled with causeless fears.

The season now invites me to retire

To the dear lares of my household fire;

To homely scenes of calm domestic peace,

A poet’s leisure, and an old man’s ease;

To wear the remnant of uncertain life

In the fond bosom of a faithful wife;

In safe repose my last few hours to spend,

Nor fearful nor impatient of their end.

Thus a safe port the wave-worn vessels gain,

Nor tempt again the dangers of the main:—

Thus the proud steed, when youthful glory fades,

68 10(2)v 68

And creeping age his stiffening limbs invades,

Lies stretched at ease on the luxuriant plain,

And dreams his morning triumphs o’er again:—

The hardy veteran from the camp retires,

His joints unstrung, and feeds his household fires;

Satiate with fame, enjoys well-earned repose,

And sees his stormy day serenely close.

Not such my lot! Severer fates decree

My shattered bark must plough an unknown sea.

Forced from my native seats and sacred home,

Friendless, alone, through Scythian wilds to roam;

With trembling knees o’er unknown hills I go,

Stiff with blue ice and heaped with drifted snow.

Pale suns there strike their feeble rays in vain,

Which faintly glance against the marble plain:

Red Ister there, which madly lashed the shore,

His idle urn sealed up, forgets to roar:

Stern Winter in eternal triumph reigns,

Shuts up the bounteous year and starves the plains.

My failing eyes the weary waste explore,

The savage mountains and the dreary shore,

And vainly look for scenes of old delight;—

No loved familiar objects meet my sight;

No long-remembered streams nor conscious bowers

Wake the gay memory of youthful hours.

I fondly hoped, content with learned ease,

To walk amidst cotemporary trees;

In every scene some favourite spot to trace,

And meet in all some kind domestic face;

To stretch my limbs upon my native soil,

69 10(3)r 69

With long vacation from unquiet toil;

Resign my breath where first that breath I drew,

And sink into the spot from whence I grew.

But if my feeble age is doomed to try

Unusual seasons and a foreign sky,

To some more genial clime let me repair,

And taste the healing balm of milder air;

Near to the glowing sun’s directer ray,

And pitch my tent beneath the eye of day.

Could not the winter in my veins suffice,

Without the added rage of Scythian skies?

The snow of time my vital heat exhaust,

And hoary age, without Sarmatian frost?

Yet storm and tempest are of ills the least

Which this inhospitable land infest:

Society than solitude is worse,

And man to man is still the greatest curse.

A savage race my fearful steps surround,

Practised in blood and disciplined to wound;

Unknown alike to pity as to fear,

Hard as their soil, and as their skies severe.

Skilled in each mystery of direst art,

They arm with double death the poisoned dart;

Uncombed and horrid grows their spiky hair;

Uncouth their vesture, terrible their air;

The lurking dagger at their side hung low,

Leaps in quick vengeance on the hapless foe.

No steadfast faith is here, no sure repose;

An armed truce is all this nation knows:

The rage of battle works, when battles cease;

10* 70 10(3)v 70

And wars are brooding in the lap of peace.

Since Cæsar wills, and I a wretch must be,

Let me be safe at least in misery!

To my sad grave in calm oblivion steal,

Nor add the woes of fear to all I feel!

Ye tuneful maids! who once in happier days

Beneath the myrtle grove inspired my lays,

How shall I now your wonted aid implore;

Where seek your footsteps on this savage shore,

Whose ruder echoes ne’er were taught to bear

The poet’s numbers or the lover’s care?

Yet here, for ever here, your bard must dwell,

Who sung of sports and tender loves so well.

Here must he live:—But when he yields his breath,

O let him not be exiled even in death!

Lest mixed with Scythian shades, a Roman ghost

Wander on this inhospitable coast.

Cæsar no more shall urge a wretch’s doom;

The bolt of Jove pursues not in the tomb.

To thee, dear wife, some friend with pious care

All that of Ovid then remains shall bear;

Then wilt thou weep to see me so return,

And with fond passion clasp my silent urn.

O check thy grief, that tender bosom spare,

Hurt not thy cheeks, nor soil thy flowing hair.

Press the pale marble with thy lips, and give

One precious tear, and bid my memory live:

The silent dust shall glow at thy command,

And the warm ashes feel thy pious hand.

71 10(4)r 71

To a Lady.

With Some Painted Flowers.

…tibi lilia plenis Ecce ferunt nymphæ calathis. Virgil.

Flowers to the fair: To you these flowers I bring,

And strive to greet you with an earlier spring.

Flowers, sweet and gay and delicate like you,

Emblems of innocence and beauty too.

With flowers the Graces bind their yellow hair,

And flowery wreaths consenting lovers wear.

Flowers, the sole luxury which Nature knew,

In Eden’s pure and guiltless garden grew.

To loftier forms are rougher tasks assigned;

The sheltering oak resists the stormy wind,

The tougher yew repels invading foes,

And the tall pine for future navies grows;

But this soft family, to cares unknown,

Were born for pleasure and delight alone:

Gay without toil, and lovely without art,

They spring to cheer the sense, and glad the heart.

Nor blush, my fair, to own you copy these,

Your best, your sweetest empire is—to please.

72 10(4)v 72

Ode to Spring.

Sweet daughter of a rough and stormy sire,

Hoar Winter’s blooming child; delightful Spring!

Whose unshorn locks with leaves

And swelling buds are crowned;

From the green islands of eternal youth,—

Crowned with fresh blooms and ever springing shade,—

Turn, hither turn thy step,

O thou, whose powerful voice

More sweet than softest touch of Doric reed,

Or Lydian flute, can soothe the madding wind,—

And through the stormy deep

Breathe thine own tender calm.

Thee, best beloved! the virgin train await

With songs and festal rites, and joy to rove

Thy blooming wilds among,

And vales and dewy lawns,

With untired feet; and cull thy earliest sweets

To weave fresh garlands for the glowing brow

73 10(5)r 73

Of him, the favoured youth

That prompts their whispered sigh.

Unlock thy copious stores,—those tender showers

That drop their sweetness on the infant buds;

And silent dews that swell

The milky ear’s green stem,

And feed the flowering osier’s early shoots;

And call those winds which through the whispering boughs

With warm and pleasant breath

Salute the blowing flowers.

Now let me sit beneath the whitening thorn,

And mark thy spreading tints steal o’er the dale;

And watch with patient eye

Thy fair unfolding charms.

O nymph, approach! while yet the temperate sun

With bashful forehead through the cool moist air

Throws his young maiden beams,

And with chaste kisses wooes

The earth’s fair bosom; while the streaming veil

Of lucid clouds with kind and frequent shade

Protects thy modest blooms

From his severer blaze.

Sweet is thy reign, but short:—The red dog-star

Shall scorch thy tresses, and the mower’s scythe

74 10(5)v 74

Thy greens, thy flowerets all,

Remorseless shall destroy.

Reluctant shall I bid thee then farewell;

For O, not all that Autumn’s lap contains,

Nor Summer’s ruddiest fruits,

Can aught for thee atone.

Fair Spring! whose simplest promise more delights

Than all their largest wealth, and through the heart

Each joy and new-born hope

With softest influence breathes.

75 10(6)r 75

Epithalamium. Designed for the opening of a Tragedy.

Virgin, brighter than the morning,

Haste and finish thy adorning!

Hymen claims his promised day,—

Come from thy chamber, come away!

Roses strew, and myrtles bring,

Till you drain the wasted Spring;—

The altars are already drest,

The bower is fitted for its guest,

The scattered rose begins to fade,—

Come away, reluctant maid!

See what a war of blushes breaks

O’er the pure whiteness of her cheeks;

The shifting colours prove by turns

The torch of Love unsteady burns.

Pleading now, now lingering, fainting,

Her soft heart with fear is panting;—

Cling not to thy mother so,

Thy mother smiles, and bids thee go.

76 10(6)v 76

Mind not what thy maidens say;

Though they chide the cruel day,

Though they weep, and strive to hold thee

From his arms that would infold thee;

Kiss, and take a short farewell,—

They wish the chance to them befell.

Mighty Love demands his crown

Now for all his sufferings done;

For all Love’s tears, for all his sighs,

Thyself must be the sacrifice.

Virgin, brighter than the day,

Haste from thy chamber, come away!

77 11(1)r 77

Verses on Mrs. Rowe.

Such were the notes our chaster Sappho sung,

And every Muse dropped honey on her tongue.

Blest shade! how pure a breath of praise was thine,

Whose spotless life was faultless as thy line;

In whom each worth and every grace conspire,—

The Christian’s meekness, and the poet’s fire.

Learn’d without pride, a woman without art;

The sweetest manners, and the gentlest heart.

Smooth like her verse her passions learned to move,

And her whole soul was harmony and love.

Virtue that breast without a conflict gained,

And easy like a native monarch, reigned.

On earth still favoured as by Heaven approved,

The world applauded, and Alexis loved.

With love, with health, with fame and friendship blest,

And of a cheerful heart the constant feast,

What more of bliss sincere could earth bestow?

What purer heaven could angels taste below?

But bliss from earth’s vain scenes too quickly flies;

The golden cord is broke;—Alexis dies!

Now in the leafy shade and widowed grove

Sad Philomela mourns her absent love;

vol. I. 11 78 11(1)v 78

Now deep retired in Frome’s enchanting vale,

She pours her tuneful sorrows on the gale;

Without one fond reserve the world disclaims,

And gives up all her soul to heavenly flames.

Yet in no useless gloom she wore her days;

She loved the work, and only shunned the praise:

Her pious hand the poor, the mourner blest;

Her image lived in every kindred breast.

Thynn, Carteret, Blackmore, Orrery approved,

And Prior praised, and noble Hertford loved;

Seraphic Kenn, and tuneful Watts were thine,

And virtue’s noblest champions filled the line.

Blest in thy friendships! in thy death, too, blest!

Received without a pang to endless rest.

Heaven called the saint matured by length of days,

And her pure spirit was exhaled in praise.

Bright pattern of thy sex, be thou my Muse;

Thy gentle sweetness through my soul diffuse:

Let me thy palm, though not thy laurel share,

And copy thee in charity and prayer:—

Though for the bard my lines are far too faint,

Yet in my life let me transcribe the saint.

79 11(2)r 79

To a Dog.

Dear faithful object of my tender care,

Whom but my partial eyes none fancy fair;

May I unblamed display thy social mirth,

Thy modest virtues, and domestic worth:

Thou silent, humble flatterer, yet sincere,

More swayed by love than interest or fear;

Solely to please thy most ambitious view,

As lovers fond, and more than lovers true.

Who can resist those dumb beseeching eyes,

Where genuine eloquence persuasive lies?

Those eyes, where language fails, display thy heart

Beyond the pomp of phrase and pride of art.

Thou safe companion, and almost a friend,

Whose kind attachment but with life shall end,—

Blest were mankind if many a prouder name

Could boast thy grateful truth and spotless fame!

80 11(2)v 80

To Miss R****,

On Her Attendance upon Her Mother at Buxton.

When blooming beauty in the noon of power,

While offered joys demand each sprightly hour,

With all that pomp of charms and winning mien

Which sure to conquer, needs but to be seen;

When she, whose name the softest love inspires,

To the hushed chamber of disease retires,

To watch and weep beside a parent’s bed,

Catch the faint voice, and raise the languid head,

What mixt delight each feeling heart must warm!—

An angel’s office suits an angel’s form.

Thus the tall column graceful rears its head

To prop some mouldering tower with moss o’erspread,

Whose stately piles and arches yet display

The venerable graces of decay;

Thus round the withered trunk fresh shoots are seen

To shade their parent with a cheerful green.

More health, dear maid! thy soothing presence brings

Than purest skies, or salutary springs.

That voice, those looks such healing virtues bear,

Thy sweet reviving smiles might cheer despair;

81 11(3)r 81

On the pale lips detain the parting breath,

And bid hope blossom in the shades of death.

Beauty, like thine, could never reach a charm

So powerful to subdue, so sure to warm.

On her loved child behold the mother gaze,

In weakness pleased, and smiling through decays,

And leaning on that breast her cares assuage;—

How soft a pillow for declining age!

For this, when that fair frame must feel decay,—

Ye Fates, protract it to a distant day,—

When thy approach no tumults shall impart,

Nor that commanding glance strike through the heart,

When meaner beauties shall have leave to shine,

And crowds divide the homage lately thine,

Not with the transient praise those charms can boast,

Shall thy fair fame and gentle deeds be lost:

Some pious hand shall thy weak limbs sustain,

And pay thee back these generous cares again;

Thy name shall flourish, by the good approved,

Thy memory honoured, and thy dust beloved.

11* 82 11(3)v 82

On the Death of Mrs. Jennings. The Author’s Grandmother.

Est tamen quietè, et purè, et eleganter actæ ætatis, placida ac lenis senectus. Cicero de Senect.

’T is past: dear venerable shade, farewell!

Thy blameless life thy peaceful death shall tell.

Clear to the last thy setting orb has run;

Pure, bright, and healthy like a frosty sun:

And late old age with hand indulgent shed

Its mildest winter on thy favoured head.

For heaven prolonged her life to spread its praise,

And blessed her with a patriarch’s length of days.

The truest praise was hers, a cheerful heart,

Prone to enjoy, and ready to impart.

An Isrælite indeed, and free from guile,

She showed that piety and age could smile.

Religion had her heart, her cares, her voice;

’T was her last refuge, as her earliest choice.

To holy Anna’s spirit not more dear

The church of Israel, and the house of prayer.

Her spreading offspring of the fourth degree

Filled her fond arms, and clasped her trembling knee.

83 11(4)r 83

Matured at length for some more perfect scene,

Her hopes all bright, her prospects all serene,

Each part of life sustained with equal worth,

And not a wish left unfulfilled on earth,

Like a tired traveller with sleep opprest,

Within her children’s arms she dropped to rest.

Farewell! thy cherished image, ever dear,

Shall many a heart with pious love revere:

Long, long shall mine her honoured memory bless,

Who gave the dearest blessing I possess.

84 11(4)v 84

An Address to the Deity.

God of my life! and author of my days!

Permit my feeble voice to lisp thy praise;

And trembling, take upon a mortal tongue

That hallowed name to harps of seraphs sung.

Yet here the brightest seraphs could no more

Than veil their faces, tremble, and adore.

Worms, angels, men, in every different sphere

Are equal all,—for all are nothing here.

All nature faints beneath the mighty name,

Which nature’s works thro’ all their parts proclaim.

I feel that name my inmost thoughts control,

And breathe an awful stillness through my soul;

As by a charm, the waves of grief subside;

Impetuous Passion stops her headlong tide:

At thy felt presence all emotions cease,

And my hushed spirit finds a sudden peace,

Till every worldly thought within me dies,

And earth’s gay pageants vanish from my eyes;

Till all my sense is lost in infinite,

And one vast object fills my aching sight.

But soon, alas! this holy calm is broke;

My soul submits to wear her wonted yoke;

With shackled pinions strives to soar in vain,

85 11(5)r 85

And mingles with the dross of earth again.

But he, our gracious Master, kind as just,

Knowing our frame, remembers man is dust.

His spirit, ever brooding o’er our mind,

Sees the first wish to better hopes inclined;

Marks the young dawn of every virtuous aim,

And fans the smoking flax into a flame.

His ears are open to the softest cry,

His grace descends to meet the lifted eye;

He reads the language of a silent tear,

And sighs are incense from a heart sincere.

Such are the vows, the sacrifice I give;

Accept the vow, and bid the suppliant live:

From each terrestrial bondage set me free;

Still every wish that centres not in thee;

Bid my fond hopes, my vain disquiets cease,

And point my path to everlasting peace.

If the soft hand of winning Pleasure leads

By living waters, and through flowery meads,

When all is smiling, tranquil, and serene,

And vernal beauty paints the flattering scene,

O teach me to elude each latent snare,

And whisper to my sliding heart—Beware!

With caution let me hear the syren’s voice,

And doubtful, with a trembling heart, rejoice.

If friendless, in a vale of tears I stray,

Where briars wound, and thorns perplex my way,

Still let my steady soul thy goodness see,

And with strong confidence lay hold on thee;

86 11(5)v 86

With equal eye my various lot receive,

Resigned to die, or resolute to live;

Prepared to kiss the sceptre or the rod,

While God is seen in all, and all in God.

I read his awful name, emblazoned high

With golden letters on the’ illumined sky;

Nor less the mystic characters I see

Wrought in each flower, inscribed in every tree;

In every leaf that trembles to the breeze

I hear the voice of God among the trees;

With thee in shady solitudes I walk,

With thee in busy crowded cities talk;

In every creature own thy forming power,

In each event thy providence adore.

Thy hopes shall animate my drooping soul,

Thy precepts guide me, and thy fears control:

Thus shall I rest, unmoved by all alarms,

Secure within the temple of thine arms;

From anxious cares, from gloomy terrors free,

And feel myself omnipotent in thee.

Then when the last, the closing hour draws nigh,

And earth recedes before my swimming eye;

When trembling on the doubtful edge of fate

I stand, and stretch my view to either state:

Teach me to quit this transitory scene

With decent triumph and a look serene;

Teach me to fix my ardent hopes on high,

And having lived to thee, in thee to die.

87 11(6)r 87

A Summer Evening’s Meditation.

’T is past! The sultry tyrant of the south

Has spent his short-lived rage; more grateful hours

Move silent on; the skies no more repell

The dazzled sight, but with mild maiden beams

Of tempered lustre court the cherished eye

To wander o’er their sphere; where hung aloft

Dian’s bright crescent, like a silver bow

New strung in heaven, lifts high its beamy horns

Impatient for the night, and seems to push

Her brother down the sky. Fair Venus shines

Even in the eye of day; with sweetest beam

Propitious shines, and shakes a trembling flood

Of softened radiance from her dewy locks.

The shadows spread apace; while meekened Eve,

Her cheek yet warm with blushes, slow retires

Through the Hesperian gardens of the west,

And shuts the gates of day. ’T is now the hour

When Contemplation from her sunless haunts,

The cool damp grotto, or the lonely depth

Of unpierced woods, where wrapt in solid shade

She mused away the gaudy hours of noon,

88 11(6)v 88

And fed on thoughts unripened by the sun,

Moves forward; and with radiant finger points

To yon blue concave swelled by breath divine,

Where, one by one, the living eyes of heaven

Awake, quick kindling o’er the face of ether

One boundless blaze; ten thousand trembling fires,

And dancing lustres, where the unsteady eye,

Restless and dazzled, wanders unconfined

O’er all this field of glories; spacious field,

And worthy of the Master: he, whose hand

With hieroglyphics elder than the Nile

Inscribed the mystic tablet, hung on high

To public gaze, and said, Adore, O man!

The finger of thy God. From what pure wells

Of milky light, what soft o’erflowing urn,

Are all these lamps so fill’d? these friendly lamps,

For ever streaming o’er the azure deep

To point our path, and light us to our home.

How soft they slide along their lucid spheres!

And silent as the foot of Time, fulfil

Their destined courses: Nature’s self is hushed,

And, but a scattered leaf, which rustles through

The thick-wove foliage, not a sound is heard

To break the midnight air; though the raised ear,

Intensely listening, drinks in every breath.

How deep the silence, yet how loud the praise!

But are they silent all? or is there not

A tongue in every star, that talks with man,

And woos him to be wise? nor woos in vain:

This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,

89 12(1)r 89

And Wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars.

At this still hour the self-collected soul

Turns inward, and beholds a stranger there

Of high descent, and more than mortal rank;

An embryo God; a spark of fire divine,

Which must burn on for ages, when the sun,—

Fail transitory creature of a day!—

Has closed his golden eye, and wrapt in shades

Forgets his wonted journey through the east.

Ye citadels of light, and seats of Gods!

Perhaps my future home, from whence the soul,

Revolving periods past, may oft look back

With recollected tenderness on all

The various busy scenes she left below,

Its deep-laid projects and its strange events,

As on some fond and doting tale that soothed

Her infant hours—O be it lawful now

To tread the hallowed circle of your courts,

And with mute wonder and delighted awe

Approach your burning confines. Seized in thought,

On Fancy’s wild and roving wing I sail,

From the green borders of the peopled Earth,

And the pale Moon, her duteous fair attendant;

From solitary Mars; from the vast orb

Of Jupiter, whose huge gigantic bulk

Dances in ether like the lightest leaf;

To the dim verge, the suburbs of the system,

Where cheerless Saturn ’midst his watery moons

Girt with a lucid zone, in gloomy pomp,

vol. I. 12 90 12(1)v 90

Sits like an exiled monarch: fearless thence

I launch into the trackless deeps of space,

Where, burning round, ten thousand suns appear,

Of elder beam, which ask no leave to shine

Of our terrestrial star, nor borrow light

From the proud regent of our scanty day;

Sons of the morning, first-born of creation,

And only less than Him who marks their track,

And guides their fiery wheels. Here must I stop,

Or is there aught beyond? What hand unseen

Impels me onward through the glowing orbs

Of habitable nature, far remote,

To the dread confines of eternal night,

To solitudes of vast unpeopled space,

The deserts of creation, wide and wild;

Where embryo systems and unkindled suns

Sleep in the womb of chaos? fancy droops,

And thought astonished stops her bold career.

But O thou mighty mind! whose powerful word

Said, thus let all things be, and thus they were,

Where shall I seek thy presence? how unblamed

Invoke thy dread perfection?

Have the broad eyelids of the morn beheld thee?

Or does the beamy shoulder of Orion

Support thy throne? O look with pity down

On erring, guilty man! not in thy names

Of terror clad; not with those thunders armed

That conscious Sinai felt, when fear appalled

The scattered tribes;—thou hast a gentler voice,

That whispers comfort to the swelling heart

Abashed, yet longing to behold her Maker.

91 12(2)r 91

But now my soul, unused to stretch her powers

In flight so daring, drops her weary wing,

And seeks again the known accustomed spot,

Drest up with sun, and shade, and lawns, and streams,

A mansion fair, and spacious for its guest,

And full replete with wonders. Let me here,

Content and grateful, wait the’ appointed time,

And ripen for the skies: the hour will come

When all these splendours bursting on my sight

Shall stand unveiled, and to my ravished sense

Unlock the glories of the world unknown.

92 12(2)v 92

The Epiphany.

Deep in Sabea’s fragrant groves retired,

Long had the Eastern Sages studious dwelt,

By love sublime of sacred science fired:

Long had they trained the’ inquiring youth,

With liberal hand the bread of wisdom dealt,

And sung in solemn verse mysterious truth.

The sacred characters they knew to trace

Derived from Egypt’s elder race;

And all that Greece, with copious learning fraught,

Thro’ different schools by various masters taught;

And all Arabia’s glowing store

Of fabled truths and rich poetic lore:

Stars, plants, and gems, and talismans they knew,

And far was spread their fame and wide their praises grew.

The’ admiring East their praises spread:

But with uncheated eyes themselves they viewed;

Mourning they sat with dust upon their head,

And oft in melancholy strain

The fond complaint renewed,

How little yet they knew, how much was learned in vain.

93 12(3)r 93

For human guilt and mortal woe

Their sympathizing sorrows flow;

Their hallowed prayers ascend in incense pure;

They mourned the narrow bounds assigned

To the keen glances of the searching mind,

They mourned the ills they could not cure,

They mourned the doubts they could not clear,

They mourned that prophet yet, nor seer,

The great Eternal had made known,

Or reached the lowest step of that immortal throne.

And oft the starry cope of heaven beneath,

When day’s tumultuous sounds had ceased to breathe,

With fixed feet, as rooted there,

Through the long night they drew the chilly air;

While sliding o’er their head,

In solemn silence dread,

The’ ethereal orbs their shining course pursued,

In holy trance enwrapt the sages stood,

With folded arms laid on their reverend breast,

And to that Heaven they knew, their orisons addrest.

A Star appears; they marked its kindling beam

O’er night’s dark breast unusual splendours stream:

The lesser lights that deck the sky,

In wondering silence softly gliding by,

At the fair stranger seemed to gaze,

Or veiled their trembling fires and half withdrew their rays.

12* 94 12(3)v 94

The blameless men the wonder saw,

And hailed the joyful sign with pious awe;

They knew ’t was none of all the train

With which in shadowy forms and shapes uncouth,

Monsters of earth and of the main,

Remote from nature as from truth,

Their learned pens the sky had figured o’er;

No star with such kind aspect shone before;

Nor e’er did wandering planet stoop so low

To guide benighted pilgrims through this vale of woe.

The heavenly impulse they obey,

The new-born light directs their way;

Through deserts never marked by human tread,

And billowy waves of loose, unfaithful sand,

O’er many an unknown hill and foreign strand

The silver clue unerring led,

And peopled towns they pass, and glittering spires;

No cloud could veil its light, no sun could quench its fires.

Thus passed the venerable pilgrims on,

Till Salem’s stately towers before them shone,

And soon their feet her hallowed pavements presst;

Not in her marble courts to rest,—

From pomp and royal state aloof,

Their shining guide its beams withdrew;

And points their path, and points their view,

To Bethlehem’s rustic cots, to Mary’s lowly roof.

95 12(4)r 95

There the bright sentinel kept watch,

While other stars arose and set;

For there, within its humble thatch,

Weakness and power, and heaven and earth were met.

Now, sages, now your search give o’er,

Believe, fall prostrate, and adore!

Here spread your spicy gifts, your golden offerings here;

No more the fond complaint renew,

Of human guilt and mortal woe,

Of knowledge checked by doubt, and hope with fear:

What angels wished to see, ye view;

What angels wished to learn, ye know;—

Peace is proclaimed to man, and heaven begun below.

96 12(4)v 96

To Mr. Barbauld.

1778-11-14November 14, 1778.

Come, clear thy studious looks awhile,

’T is arrant treason now

To wear that moping brow,

When I, thy empress, bid thee smile.

What though the fading year

One wreath will not afford

To grace the poet’s hair,

Or deck the festal board;

A thousand pretty ways we’ll find

To mock old Winter’s starving reign;

We’ll bid the violets spring again,

Bid rich poetic roses blow,

Peeping above his heaps of snow;

We’ll dress his whithered cheeks in flowers,

And on his smooth bald head

Fantastic garlands bind:

Garlands, which we will get

From the gay blooms of that immortal year,

Above the turning seasons set,

Where young ideas shoot in Fancy’s sunny bowers.

97 12(5)r 97

A thousand pleasant arts we’ll have

To add new features to the wings of Time,

And make him smoothly haste away:

We’ll use him as our slave,

And when we please we’ll bid him stay,

And clip his wings, and make him stop to view

Our studies, and our follies too;

How sweet our follies are, how high our fancies climb.

We’ll little care what others do,

And where they go, and what they say;

Our bliss, all inward and our own,

Would only tarnished be, by being shown.

The talking restless world shall see,

Spite of the world we’ll happy be;

But none shall know

How much we’re so,

Save only Love, and we.

98 12(5)v 98

To Mr. Barbauld,

With a Map of the Land of Matrimony. The Map published under this title was a jeu-d’esprit of Mrs. Barbauld’s.—Editor.

The sailor worn by toil and wet with storms,

As in the wished-for port secure he rides,

With transport numbers o’er the dangers past

From threatening quicksands and from adverse tides.

Joyous he tells among his jocund mates

Of loud alarms that chased his broken sleep,

And blesses every kinder star that led

His favoured vessel through the raging deep.

Thus canst thou, Rochemont, view this pictured chart,

And trace thy voyage to the promised shore;

Thus does thy faithful bosom beat with joy,

To think the tempest past, the wanderings o’er?

Canst thou recall the days when jealous Doubt,

When boding Fears thy anxious heart opprest,

When Hope, our star, shone faintly through the gloom,

And the pale cheek betrayed the tortured breast?

99 12(6)r 99

And say;—the land through Fancy’s glass descried,

The bright Elysian fields her pencil drew,—

Has time the dear ideas realized?

Or are her optics false, her tints untrue?

O say they are not!—Though life’s ceaseless cares,

Life’s ceaseless toils demand thy golden hours,

Tell her glad heart whose hand these lines confess,

That Peace resides in Hymen’s happy bowers.

But soon the restless seaman longs to change

His bounded view and tempt the deeps again;

Careless he breaks from weeping Susan’s arms,

To fight with billows and to plough the main.

So shalt not thou, for no returning prow

E’er cut the ocean which thy bark has past;

Too strong relentless Fate has fixed her bars,

And I may destined captive hold too fast.

100 12(6)v 100

Love and Time.

To Mrs. Mulso.

On Stella’s brow as lately envious Time

His crooked lines with iron pencil traced,

That brow, erewhile like ivory tablets smooth,

With Love’s high trophies hung, and victories graced,

Digging him little caves in every cell,

And every dimple, once where Love was wont to dwell;

He spied the God: and wondered still to spy,

Who higher held his torch in Time’s despite;

Nor seemed to care for aught that he could do.

Then sternly thus he sought him thence to’ affright:

The sovereign boy entrenched in a smile,

At his sour crabbed speech sat mocking all the while.

What dost thou here, fond boy? Away, for shame!

Mine is this field, by conquest fairly won;

Love cannot reap his joys where Time has ploughed,

Thou and thy light-winged troop should now begone.

Go revel with fresh Youth in scenes of folly,

Sage Thought I bring, and Care, and pale-eyed Melancholy.

101 13(1)r 101

Thy streams are froze, that once so briskly ran,

Thy bough is shaken by the mellow year;

Boreas and Zephyr dwell not in one cave,

And swallows spread their wings when winter’s near;

See where Florella’s cheeks soft bloom disclose,

Go seek the springing bud, and leave the faded rose.

Thus spake old Time, of Love the deadliest foe,—

Ah me, that gentle Love such foes should meet!

But nothing daunted he returned again,

Tempering with looks austere his native sweet;

And, Fool! said he, to think I e’er shall fly

From that rich palace where my choicest treasures lie.

Dost thou not see,—or art thou blind with age,—

How many Graces on her eyelids sit,

Linking those viewless chains that bind the soul,

And sharpening smooth discourse with pointed wit;

How many where she moves attendant wait,

The slow smooth step inspire, or high commanding gait?

Each one a several charm around her throws,

Some to attract, some powerful to repell,

Some mix the honeyed speech with winning smiles,

Or call wild Laughter from his antic cell;

Severer some, to strike with awful fear

Each rude licentious tongue that wounds the virtuous ear.

vol. I. 13 102 13(1)v 102 102

Not one of them is of thy scythe in dread,

Or for thy cankered malice careth aught,

Thy shaking fingers never can untwist

The magic cæstus by their cunning wrought;

And I, their knight, their bidding must obey,

For where the Graces are, will Love for ever stay.

In my rich fields now boast the ravage done,

Those lesser spoils, her brow, her cheek, her hair,

All that the touches of decay can feel,—

Take these, she has enough besides to spare;

I cannot thee dislodge, nor shalt thou me,

So thou and I, old Time, perforce must once agree.

Nor is the boasted ravage all thine own,

Nor was the field by conquest fairly gained;

For leagued with Sickness, Life and Nature’s foe,

That fiend accurst thy savage wars maintained;

His hand the furrows sunk where thou didst plough,

He undermined the tree, where thou didst shake the bough.

But both unite, for both I here defy;

Spoil ye have made, but have no triumphs won:

And though the daffodil more freshly blooms,

Spreading her gay leaves to the morning sun,

Yet never will I leave the faded rose,

Whilst the pale lovely flower such sweetness still bestows.

103 13(2)r 103

This said, exulting Cupid clapped his wings.

The sullen power, who found his rage restrained,

And felt the strong controul of higher charms,

Shaking his glass, vowed while the sands would run

For many a year the strife should be maintained:

But Jove decreed no force should Love destroy,

Nor time should quell the might of that immortal boy.

104 13(2)v 104

To Miss F. B.

On Her Asking for Mrs. B.’s Love and Time.

Of Love and Time say what would Fanny know?

That Time is precious, and that love is sweet?

That both, the choicest blessings lent below,

What gay Sixteen in envied union meet?

Time without Love is tasteless, dull, and cold,

Love out of Time will fond and doting prove;

To bright sixteen are all their treasures told,

Love suits the Time, and Time then favours Love.

No longer then of matron brows inquire

For sprightly Love, or swiftly-wasting Time;

Look but at home, you have what you require,—

With gay sixteen they both are in their prime.

105 13(3)r 105

Tomorrow.

See where the falling day

In silence steals away

Behind the western hills withdrawn:

Her fires are quenched, her beauty fled,

While blushes all her face o’erspread,

As conscious she had ill fulfilled

The promise of the dawn.

Another morning soon shall rise,

Another day salute our eyes,

As smiling and as fair as she,

And make as many promises:

But do not thou

The tale believe,

They’re sisters all,

And all deceive.

13* 106 13(3)v 106

Lines

Placed over a Chimney-piece.

Surly Winter, come not here;

Bluster in thy proper sphere:

Howl along the naked plain,

There exert thy joyless reign;

Triumph o’er the withered flower,

The leafless shrub, the ruined bower;

But our cottage come not near;—

Other springs inhabit here,

Other sunshine decks our board,

Than the niggard skies afford.

Gloomy Winter, hence! away!

Love and Fancy scorn thy sway;

Love and Joy, and friendly Mirth,

Shall bless this roof, these walls, this hearth;

The rigour of the year control,

And thaw the winter in the soul.

107 13(4)r 107

Written on a Marble.

The world’s something bigger,

But just of this figure,

And speckled with mountains and seas;

Your heroes are overgrown schoolboys

Who scuffle for empires and toys,

And kick the poor ball as they please.

Now Cæsar, now Pompey, gives law;

And Pharsalia’s plain,

Though heaped with the slain,

Was only a game at taw.

108 13(4)v 108

A School Eclogue.

Edward.

Hist, William! hist! what means that air so gay?

Thy looks, thy dress, bespeak some holiday:

Thy hat is brushed; thy hands, with wondrous pains,

Are cleansed from garden mould and inky stains;

Thy glossy shoes confess the lacquey’s care;

And recent from the comb shines thy sleek hair.

What god, what saint, this prodigy has wrought?

Sed tamen, ille Deus que sit, da Tityre nobis.

Declare the cause, and ease my labouring thought?

William.

John, faithful John, is with the horses come;

Mamma prevails, and I am sent for home.

Harry.

Thrice happy whom such welcome tidings greet!

Fortunate senex, his inter flumina nota.

Thrice happy who reviews his native seat!

For him the matron spreads her candied hoard,

And early strawberries crown the smiling board;

109 13(5)r 109

For him crushed gooseberries with rich cream combine,

And bending boughs their fragrant fruit resign:

Custards and sillabubs his taste invite;

Sports fill the day, and feasts prolong the night.

Think not I envy, I admire thy fate:

Non equidem invideo, miror magis.

Yet, ah! what different tasks thy comrades wait!

Some in the grammar’s thorny maze to toil,

Some with rude strokes the snowy paper soil,

Some o’er barbaric climes in maps to roam,

Far from their mother-tongue, and dear loved home.

At nos hinc alii sitientes ibimus Afros, Pars Scythiam, et rapidum Cretæ veniemus Oaxem.

Harsh names, of uncouth sound, their memories load,

And oft their shoulders feel the’ unpleasant goad.

Edward.

Doubt not our turn will come some future time.

Now, William, hear us twain contend in rime;

For yet thy horses have not eat their hay,

And unconsumed as yet the’ allotted hour of play.

William.

Then spout alternate, I consent to hear, Alternis dicetis.

Let no false rime offend my critic ear;—

But say, what prizes shall the victor hold?

I guess your pockets are not lined with gold!

Harry.

A ship these hands have built, in every part

Carved, rigged, and painted, with the nicest art;

110 13(5)v 110

The ridgy sides are black with pitchy store,

From stem to stern ’t is twice ten inches o’er.

The lofty mast, a straight smooth hazel framed.

The tackling silk, the Charming Sally named;

And,—but take heed lest thou divulge the tale,—

The lappet of my shirt supplied the sale;

An azure ribband for a pendant flies:—

Now, if thy verse excell, be this the prize.

Edward.

For me at home the careful housewives make,

With plumbs and almonds rich, an ample cake.

Smooth is the top, a plain of shining ice,

The West its sweetness gives, the East its spice:

From soft Ionian isles, well known to fame,

Ulysses’ once, the luscious currant came.

The green transparent citron Spain bestows,

And from her golden groves the orange glows.

So vast the heaving mass, it scarce has room

Within the oven’s dark capacious womb;

’T will be consigned to the next carrier’s care,

I cannot yield it all,—be half thy share.

Well does the gift thy liquorish palate suit;

I know who robbed the orchard of its fruit.

Non ego, te vidi, Damonis――

When all were wrapt in sleep, one early morn,

While yet the dewdrop trembled on the thorn,

I marked when o’er the quickset hedge you leapt,

And, sly, beneath the gooseberry bushes crept;

――Tu post carecta latebas. 111 13(6)r 111

Then shook the trees; a shower of apples fell,—

And where the hoard you kept I know full well;

The mellow gooseberries did themselves produce,

For through thy pockets oozed the viscous juice.

Edward.

I scorn a telltale, or I could declare

How, leave unasked, you sought the neighbouring fair;

Then home by moonlight spurred your jaded steed,

And scarce returned before the hour of bed.

Think how thy trembling heart had felt affright,

Had not our master supped abroad that night.

Harry.

On the smooth whitewashed ceiling near thy bed,

Mixed with thine own, is Anna’s cypher read;

From wreaths of dusky smoke the letters flow;—

Whose hand the waving candle held, I know.

Fines and jobations shall thy soul appall,

Whene’er our mistress spies the sullied wall.

Edward.

Unconned her lesson once, in idle mood,

Trembling before the master, Anna stood;

I marked what prompter near her took his place,

And, whispering, saved the virgin from disgrace:

Much is the youth belied, and much the maid,

Or more than words the whisper soft conveyed.

112 13(6)v 112

Harry.

Think not I blush to own so bright a flame,

Even boys for her assume the lover’s name;—

As far as alleys beyond taws we prize,

Lenta salix quantum pallenti cedit olivæ.

Or venison pasty ranks above school pies;

As much as peaches beyond apples please,

Or Parmesan excells a Suffolk cheese;

Or Palgrave donkeys lag behind a steed,—

So far do Anna’s charms all other charms exceed.

Edward.

Tell if thou canst, where is that creature bred,

Whose wide-stretched mouth is larger than its head:

Guess, and my great Apollo thou shalt be,

Dic quibus in terris, et eris mihi magnus Apollo.

And cake and ship shall both remain with thee.

Harry.

Explain thou first, what portent late was seen,

With strides impetuous, posting o’er the green;

Three heads, like Cerberus, the monster bore,

And one was sidelong fixed, and two before;

Eight legs, depending from his ample sides,

Each well-built flank unequally divides;

For five on this, on that side three are found,

Four swiftly move, and four not touch the ground.

Long time the moving prodigy I viewed,

By gazing men, and barking dogs pursued.

113 14(1)r 113

William.

Cease! cease your carols, both! for lo the bell,

With jarring notes, has rung out Pleasure’s knell.

Your startled comrads, ere the game be done,

Quit their unfinished sports, and trembling run.

Haste to your forms before the master call!

With thoughtful step he paces o’er the hall,

Does with stern looks each playful loiterer greet,

Counts with his eye, and marks each vacant seat;

Intense the buzzing murmur grows around,

Loud through the dome the usher’s strokes resound.

Sneak off, and to your places slily steal,

Before the prowess of his arm you feel.

vol. I 14 114 14(1)v 114

What Do the Futures Speak Of?

In Answer to a Question in the Greek Grammar.

They speak of never-withering shades,

And bowers of opening joy;

They promise mines of fairy gold,

And bliss without alloy.

They whisper strange enchanting things

Within Hope’s greedy ears;

And sure this tuneful voice exceeds

The music of the spheres.

They speak of pleasure to the gay,

And wisdom to the wise;

And soothe the poet’s beating heart

With fame that never dies.

To virgins languishing in love

They speak the minute nigh;

And warm consenting hearts they join,

And paint the rapture high.

115 14(2)r 115

In every language, every tongue,

The same kind things they say;

In gentle slumbers speak by night,

In waking dreams by day.

Cassandra’s fate reversed is theirs;

She true, no faith could gain,—

They every passing hour deceive,

Yet are believed again.

116 14(2)v 116

Autumn,

A Fragment.

Farewell the softer hours, Spring’s opening blush

And Summer’s deeper glow, the shepherd’s pipe

Tuned to the murmurs of a weeping spring,

And song of birds, and gay enameled fields,—

Farewell! ’T is now the sickness of the year,

Not to be medicined by the skilful hand.

Pale suns arise that like weak kings behold

Their predecessor’s empire moulder from them;

While swift-increasing spreads the black domain

Of melancholy Night;—no more content

With equal sway, her stretching shadows gain

On the bright morn, and cloud the evening sky.

Farewell the careless lingering walk at eve,

Sweet with the breath of kine and new-spread hay;

And slumber on a bank, where the lulled youth,

His head on flowers, delicious languor feels

Creep in the blood. A different season now

Invites a different song. The naked trees

Admit the tempest; rent is Nature’s robe;

117 14(3)r 117

Fast, fast, the blush of Summer fades away

From her wan cheek, and scarce a flower remains

To deck her bosom; Winter follows close,

Pressing impatient on, and with rude breath

Fans her discoloured tresses. Yet not all

Of grace and beauty from the falling year

Is torn ungenial. Still the taper fir

Lifts its green spire, and the dark holly edged

With gold, and many a strong perennial plant,

Yet cheer the waste: nor does yon knot of oaks

Resign its honours to the infant blast.

This is the time, and these the solemn walks,

When inspiration rushes o’er the soul

Sudden, as through the grove the rustling breeze.

14* 118 14(3)v 118

To the Baron de Stonne,

Who Had Wished at the Next Transit of Mercury to Find Himself Again between Mrs. La Borde and Mrs. B.

In twice five winters more and one,

Hermes again will cross the Sun;

Again a dusky spot appear,

Slow-journeying o’er his splendid sphere:

The stars shall slide into their places,

Exhibiting the self-same faces,

And in the like position fix

As Thursday morning, eighty-six.

But changing mortals hope in vain

Their lost position more to gain;—

Once more between La Borde and me!—

Ah wish not what will never be!

For wandering planets have their rules,

Well known in astronomic schools;

But life’s swift wheels will ne’er turn back,

When once they’ve measured o’er their track.

Eleven years,—twice five and one,—

Is a long hour in Beauty’s sun:

Those years will pilfer many a grace

Which decks La Borde’s enchanting face;

119 14(4)r 119

The little Loves which round her fly,

Will moult the wing, and droop, and die:

And I grown dull, my lyre unstrung

In some old chimney corner hung,

Gay scenes of Paris all forgot,

Shall rust within my silent cot:

Life’s summer ended, and life’s spring,

Nor she shall charm, not I shall sing.

Even Cook, upon whose blooming brow

The youthful graces open now,

Eleven years may vastly change:

No more the Provinces he’ll range;

No more with humid eyes entreat,

And wait his doom at Beauty’s feet;

Married and grave, he’ll spend his time

Far from the idleness of rime;

Forgetting oranges and myrtle,

Will drink his port and eat his turtle;

Perhaps with country justice sit,

And turn his back on thee and Wit.

For thee, my friend, whose copious vein

Pours forth at will the polished strain,

With every talent formed to please,

Each fair idea quick to seize;—

Who knows within so long a space

What scenes the present may efface,

What course thy stream of life may take,

What winds may curl, what storms may shake,

What varying colours, gay or grave,

Shall tinge by turns the passing wave;

120 14(4)v 120

Of objects on its banks what swarms—

The loftier or the fairer forms—

Shall glide before the liquid glass,

And print their image as they pass?

Let Fancy then and Friendship stray

In Pleasure’s flowery walks to-day,

To-day improve the social hours,

And build to-day the Muse’s bowers;

And when life’s pageant on will go,

Try not to stop the passing show;

But give to scenes that once were dear,

A sigh, a farewell, and a tear.

121 14(5)r 121

To the Baron de Stonne,

With Aikin’s Essay on Song-writing.

To Gallia’s gay and gallant coast

Haste, little volume, speed thy flight;

And proudly there go make thy boast

How Britons love—how Britons write.

Say, Love can hold his torch as high

Beneath our heaven deformed with showers,

As in her pure and brilliant sky,

By vine-clad hills or myrtle bowers:

Ask if her damsels bloom more fair;

Ask if her swains can love as true;

And urge her poets’ tuneful care

To sing their praise in numbers due.

122 14(5)v 122

To the Miss Websters,

With Dr. Aikin’s Wish, Which They Expressed a Desire to Have a Copy of.

Not this the Wish in life’s first, gayest page,

Becomes your opening years and golden prime;

Not these the hopes should your soft thoughts engage,

Whose buds of joy are yet uncropt by Time.

When blood begins to creep, when fled is youth,

And nature verges toward lethargic rest,

Gardens and groves the languid mind may soothe,

And fire-side comforts satisfy the breast.

For you, quick Fancy spreads her brightest stores,

Paints high the colour of each opening joy,

Enthusiastic hope to rapture soars,

And untried scenes the busy thoughts employ.

O may her soft enchantment late prolong

The fond romance of innocence and youth!

To elder life no happier hours belong,

No richer cordial dealt by hoary Truth.

123 14(6)r 123

Nor fear, while you the gaudy dream pursue,

Life’s serious aim and sober joys to miss:

While fluttering pulses dance, and scenes are new,

Your Wish is transport, and your Hopes are bliss.

124 14(6)v 124

Epistle to Dr. Enfield,

On His Revisiting Warrington in 17891789.

Friend of those years which from youth’s sparkling fount

With silent lapse down Time’s swift gulf have run!

Friend of the years, whate’er be their amount,

Which yet remain beneath life’s evening sun!

O when thy feet retrace that western shore

Where Mersey winds his waters to the main,

When thy fond eyes familiar haunts explore,

And paths well-nigh effaced are tracked again;

Will not thy heart with mixed emotions thrill,

As scenes succeeding scenes arise to view?

While joy or sorrow past alike shall fill

Thy glistening eyes with Feeling’s tender dew.

Shades of light transient Loves shall pass thee by,

And glowing hopes, and Sports of youthful vein;

And each shall claim one short, half pleasing sigh,

A farewell sigh to Love’s and Fancy’s reign.

125 15(1)r 125

Lo there the seats where Science loved to dwell,

Where Liberty her ardent spirit breathed;

While each glad Naiad from her secret cell

Her native sedge with classic honours wreathed.

O seats beloved in vain! Your rising dome

With what fond joy my youthful eyes surveyed;

Pleased by your sacred springs to find my home,

And tune my lyre beneath your growing shade!

Does Desolation spread his gloomy veil

Your grass-grown courts and silent halls along?

Or busy hands there pile the cumbrous sail,

And Trade’s harsh din succeed the Muse’s song?

Yet still, perhaps, in some sequestered walk

Thine ear shall catch the tales of other times;

Still in faint sounds the learned echoes talk,

Where unprofaned as yet by vulgar chimes.

Do not the deeply-wounded trees still bear

The dear memorial of some infant flame?

And murmuring sounds yet fill the hallowed air,

Once vocal to the youthful poet’s fame?

For where her sacred step impressed the Muse,

She left a long perfume through all the bowers;

Still mayst thou gather thence Castalian dews

In honeyed sweetness clinging to the flowers.

vol.volume I. 15 126 15(1)v 126

Shrowded in stolen glance, here timorous Love

The grave rebuke of careful Wisdom drew,

With wholesome frown austere who vainly strove

To shield the sliding heart from Beauty’s view.

Go fling this garland in fair Mersey’s stream,

From the true lovers that have trod his banks;

Say, Thames to Avon still repeats his theme;

Say, Hymen’s captives send their votive thanks.

Visit each shade and trace each weeping rill

To holy Friendship or to Fancy known,

And climb with zealous step the fir-crowned hill,

Where purple foxgloves fringe the rugged stone:

And if thou seest on some neglected spray

The lyre which soothed my careless hours so much;

The shattered relic to my hands convey,—

The murmuring strings shall answer to thy touch.

Were it, like thine, my lot once more to tread

Plains now but seen in distant perspective,

With that soft hue, that dubious gloom o’erspread,

That tender tint which only time can give;

How would it open every secret cell

Where cherished thought and fond remembrance sleep!

How many a tale each conscious step would tell!

How many a parted friend these eyes would weep!

127 15(2)r 127

But O the chief!—If in thy feeling breast

The tender charities of life reside,

If there domestic love have built her nest,

And thy fond heart a parent’s cares divide;

Go seek the turf where worth, where wisdom lies,

Wisdom and worth, ah, never to return!

There, kneeling, weep my tears, and breathe my sighs,

A daughter’s sorrows o’er her father’s urn!

128 15(2)v 128

Epistle To William Wilberforce, Esq.

On the Rejection of the Bill for Abolishing the Slave Trade, 17911791.

Cease, Wilberforce, to urge thy generous aim!

Thy Country knows the sin, and stands the shame!

The Preacher, Poet, Senator in vain

Has rattled in her sight the Negro’s chain;

With his deep groans assailed her startled ear,

And rent the veil that hid his constant tear;

Forced her averted eyes his stripes to scan,

Beneath the bloody scourge laid bare the man,

Claimed Pity’s tear, urged Conscience’ strong control,

And flashed conviction on her shrinking soul.

The Muse too, soon awaked, with ready tongue

At Mercy’s shrine applausive pæans rung;

And Freedom’s eager sons in vain foretold

A new Astrean reign, an age of gold:

She knows and she persists—Still Afric bleeds,

Unchecked, the human traffic still proceeds;

She stamps her infamy to future time,

And on her hardened forehead seals the crime.

129 15(3)r 129

In vain, to thy white standard gathering round,

Wit, Worth, and Parts and Eloquence are found:

In vain, to push to birth thy great design,

Contending chiefs, and hostile virtues join;

All, from conflicting ranks, of power possest

To rouse, to melt, or to inform the breast.

Where seasoned tools of Avarice prevail,

A Nation’s eloquence, combined, must fail:

Each flimsy sophistry by turns they try;

The plausive argument, the daring lie,

The artful gloss, that moral sense confounds,

The’ acknowledged thirst of gain that honour wounds:

Bane of ingenuous minds!—the’ unfeeling sneer,

Which sudden turns to stone the falling tear:

They search assiduous, with inverted skill,

For forms of wrong, and precedents of ill;

With impious mockery wrest the sacred page,

And glean up crimes from each remoter age:

Wrung Nature’s tortures, shuddering while you tell,

From scoffing fiends burst forth the laugh of hell;

In Britain’s senate, Misery’s pangs give birth

To jests unseemly, and to horrid mirth—

Forbear!—thy virtues but provoke our doom,

And swell the’ account of vengeance yet to come;

For, not unmarked in Heaven’s impartial plan,

Shall man, proud worm, contemn his fellow man!

And injured Afric, by herself redrest,

Darts her own serpents at her tyrant’s breast.

Each vice, to minds depraved by bondage known,

With sure contagion fastens on his own;

15* 130 15(3)v 130

In sickly languors melts his nerveless frame,

And blows to rage impetuous Passion’s flame:

Fermenting swift, the fiery venom gains

The milky innocence of infant veins;

There swells the stubborn will, damps learnings fire,

The whirlwind wakes of uncontrolled desire,

Sears the young heart to images of woe,

And blasts the buds of Virtue as they blow.

Lo! where reclined, pale Beauty courts the breeze,

Diffused on sofas of voluptuous ease;

With anxious awe her menial train around

Catch her faint whispers of half-uttered sound:

See her, in monstrous fellowship, unite

At once the Scythian and the Sybarite!

Blending repugnant vices, misallied,

Which frugal nature purposed to divide;

See her, with indolence to fierceness joined,

Of body delicate, infirm of mind,

With languid tones imperious mandates urge;

With arm recumbent wield the household scourge;

And with unruffled mien, and placid sounds,

Contriving torture, and inflicting wounds.

Nor, in their palmy walks and spicy groves,

The form benign of rural Pleasure roves;

No milk-maid’s song, or hum of village talk,

Soothes the lone poet in his evening walk:

No willing arm the flail unwearied plies,

Where the mixed sounds of cheerful labour rise;

131 15(4)r 131

No blooming maids and frolic swains are seen

To pay gay homage to their harvest queen:

No heart-expanding scenes their eyes must prove

Of thriving industry and faithful love:

But shrieks and yells disturb the balmy air,

Dumb sullen looks of woe announce despair,

And angry eyes through dusky features glare.

Far from the sounding lash the Muses fly,

And sensual riot drowns each finer joy.

Nor less from the gay East, on essenced wings,

Breathing unnamed perfumes, Contagion springs;

The soft luxurious plague alike pervades

The marble palaces and rural shades;

Hence thronged Augusta builds her rosy bowers,

And decks in summer wreaths her smoky towers;

And hence, in summer bowers, Art’s costly hand

Pours courtly splendours o’er the dazzled land:

The manners melt;—one undistinguished blaze

O’erwhelms the sober pomp of elder days;

Corruption follows with gigantic stride,

And scarce vouchsafes his shameless front to hide:

The spreading leprosy taints every part,

Infects each limb, and sickens at the heart.

Simplicity, most dear of rural maids,

Weeping resigns her violated shades:

Stern Independence from his glebe retires,

And anxious Freedom eyes her drooping fires;

By foreign wealth are British morals changed,

And Afric’s sons, and India’s, smile avenged.

132 15(4)v 132

For you, whose tempered ardour long has borne

Untired the labour, and unmoved the scorn;

In Virtue’s fasti be inscribed your fame,

And uttered yours with Howard’s honoured name;

Friends of the friendless—Hail, ye generous band!

Whose efforts yet arrest Heaven’s lifted hand,

Around whose steady brows, in union bright,

The civic wreath and Christian’s palm unite:

Your merit stands, no greater and no less,

Without, or with the varnish of success:

But seek no more to break a nation’s fall,

For ye have saved yourselves—and that is all.

Succeeding times your struggles, and their fate,

With mingled shame and triumph shall relate;

While faithful History, in her various page,

Marking the features of this motley age,

To shed a glory, and to fix a stain,

Tells how you strove, and that you strove in vain.

133 15(5)r 133

On the Expected General Rising of the French Nation, in 17921792

Rise, mighty nation, in thy strength,

And deal thy dreadful vengeance round;

Let thy great spirit, roused at length,

Strike hordes of despots to the ground!

Devoted land! thy mangled breast

Eager the royal vultures tear;

By friends betrayed, by foes opprest,—

And Virtue struggles with Despair.

The tocsin sounds! arise, arise!

Stern o’er each breast let Country reign;

Nor virgin’s plighted hand, nor sighs,

Must now the ardent youth detain:

Nor must the hind who tills thy soil,

The ripened vintage stay to press,

Till Rapture crown the flowing bowl,

And Freedom boast of full success.

134 15(5)v 134

Briareus-like extend thy hands,

That every hand may crush a foe;

In millions pour thy generous bands,

And end a warfare by a blow!

Then wash with sad repentent tears

Each deed that clouds thy glory’s page;

Each phrensied start impelled by fears,

Each transient burst of headlong rage;

Then fold in thy relenting arms

Thy wretched outcasts where they roam;

From pining want and war’s alarms,

O call the child of misery home!

Then build the tomb—O not alone

Of him who bled in Freedom’s cause;

With equal eye the martyr own

Of faith revered and ancient laws.

Then be thy tide of glory staid;

Then be thy conquering banners furled;

Obey the laws thyself hast made,

And rise the model of the world!

135 15(6)r 135

To Dr. Priestley,

1792-12-29December 29, 1792.

Stirs not thy spirit, Priestley! as the train

With low obeisance, and with servile phrase,

File behind file, advance, with supple knee,

And lay their necks beneath the foot of power?

Burns not thy cheek indignant, when thy name,

On which delighted Science loved to dwell,

Becomes the bandied theme of hooting crowds?

With timid caution, or with cool reserve,

When e’en each reverend brother keeps aloof,

Eyes the struck deer, and leaves thy naked side

A mark for Power to shoot at? Let it be.

On evil days though fallen and evil tongues,

To thee, the slander of a passing age

Imports not. Scenes like these hold little space

In his large mind, whose ample stretch of thought

Grasps future periods.—Well canst thou afford

To give large credit for that debt of fame

Thy country owes thee. Calm thou canst consign it

To the slow payment of that distant day,—

If distant,—when thy name, to Freedom’s joined,

Shall meet the thanks of a regenerate land.

136 15(6)v 136

The Rights of Woman.

Yes, injured Woman! rise, assert thy right!

Woman! too long degraded, scorned, opprest;

O born to rule in partial Law’s despite,

Resume thy native empire o’er the breast!

Go forth arrayed in panoply divine;

That angel pureness which admits no stain;

Go, bid proud Man his boasted rule resign,

And kiss the golden sceptre of thy reign.

Go, gird thyself with grace; collect thy store

Of bright artillery glancing from afar;

Soft melting tones thy thundering cannon’s roar,

Blushes and fears thy magazine of war.

Thy rights are empire: urge no meaner claim,—

Felt, not defined, and if debated, lost;

Like sacred mysteries, which withheld from fame,

Shunning discussion, are revered the most.

Try all that wit and art suggest to bend

Of thy imperial foe the stubborn knee;

Make treacherous Man thy subject, not thy friend;

Thou mayst command, but never canst be free.

137 16(1)r 137

Awe the licentious, and restrain the rude;

Soften the sullen, clear the cloudy brow:

Be, more than princes’ gifts, thy favours sued;—

She hazards all, who will the least allow.

But hope not, courted idol of mankind,

On this proud eminence secure to stay;

Subduing and subdued, thou soon shalt find

Thy coldness soften, and thy pride give way.

Then, then, abandon each ambitious thought,

Conquest or rule thy heart shall feebly move,

In Nature’s school, by her soft maxims taught,

That separate rights are lost in mutual love.

vol. I. 16 138 16(1)v 138

Inscription for an Ice-House.

Stranger, approach! within this iron door

Thrice locked and bolted, this rude arch beneath

That vaults with ponderous stone the cell; confined

By man, the great magician, who controls

Fire, earth, and air, and genii of the storm,

And bends the most remote and opposite things

To do him service and perform his will,—

A giant sits; stern Winter; here he piles,

While summer glows around, and southern gales

Dissolve the fainting world, his treasured snows

Within the rugged cave.—Stranger, approach!

He will not cramp thy limbs with sudden age,

Nor wither with his touch the coyest flower

That decks thy scented hair. Indignant here,

Like fettered Sampson when his might was spent

In puny feats to glad the festive halls

Of Gaza’s wealthy sons; or he who sat

Midst laughing girls submiss, and patient twirled

The slender spindle in his sinewy grasp;

The rugged power, fair Pleasure’s minister,

Exerts his art to deck the genial board;

Congeals the melting peach, the nectarine smooth,

139 16(2)r 139

Burnished and glowing from the sunny wall:

Darts sudden frost into the crimson veins

Of the moist berry; moulds the sugared hail:

Cools with his icy breath our flowing cups;

Or gives to the fresh dairy’s nectared bowls

A quicker zest. Sullen he plies his task,

And on his shaking fingers counts the weeks

Of lingering Summer, mindful of his hour

To rush in whirlwinds forth, and rule the year.

140 16(2)v 140

An Autumnal Thought:

17951795.

’Tis past! we breathe! assuaged at length

The flames that drank our vital strength!

Smote with intolerable heat

No more our throbbing temples beat.

How clear the sky, how pure the air,

The heavens how bright, the earth how fair!

The bosom cool, the spirits light,

Active the day, and calm the night!

But O, the swiftly shortening day!

Low in the west the sinking ray!

With rapid pace advancing still

The morning hoar, the evening chill,

The falling leaf, the fading year,

And Winter ambushed in the rear!

Thus, when the fervid Passions cool,

And Judgement, late, begins to rule;

When Reason mounts her throne serene,

And social Friendship gilds the scene;

When man, of ripened powers possest,

Broods o’er the treasures of his breast;

Exults, in conscious worth elate,

141 16(3)r 141

Lord of himself—almost of fate;

Then, then declines the’ unsteady flame,

Disease, slow mining, saps the frame;

Cold damps of age around are shed,

That chill the heart, and cloud the head,

The failing spirits prompt no more,

The curtain drops, life’s day is o’er.

16* 142 16(3)v 142

To the Poor.

Child of distress, who meet’st the bitter scorn

Of fellow-men to happier prospects born,

Doomed Art and Nature’s various stores to see

Flow in full cups of joy—and not for thee;

Who seest the rich, to heaven and fate resigned,

Bear thy afflictions with a patient mind;

Whose bursting heart disdains unjust control,

Who feel’st oppression’s iron in thy soul,

Who dragg’st the load of faint and feeble years,

Whose bread is anguish, and whose water tears;

Bear, bear thy wrongs—fulfill thy destined hour,

Bend thy meek neck beneath the foot of Power;

But when thou feel’st the great deliverer nigh,

And thy freed spirit mounting seeks the sky,

Let no vain fears thy parting hour molest,

No whispered terrors shake thy quiet breast:

Think not their threats can work thy future woe,

Nor deem the Lord above like lords below;—

Safe in the bosom of that love repose

By whom the sun gives light, the ocean flows;

Prepare to meet a Father undismayed,

Nor fear the God whom priests and kings have made.

These lines, written in 1795, were described by Mrs. B., on sending them to a friend, as inspired by indignation on hearing sermons in which the poor are addressed in a manner which evidently shows the design of making religion an engine of government.
143 16(4)r 143

Hymn.

Ye Are the Salt of the Earth.

Salt of the earth, ye virtuous few,

Who season human-kind;

Light of the world, whose cheering ray

Illumes the realms of mind:

Where misery spreads her deepest shade,

Your strong compassion glows;

From your blest lips the balm distils,

That softens mortal woes.

By dying beds, in prison glooms,

Your frequent steps are found;

Angels of love! you hover near,

To bind the stranger’s wound.

You wash with tears the bloody page

Which human crimes deform;

When vengeance threats, your prayers ascend,

And break the gathering storm.

144 16(4)v 144

As down the summer stream of vice

The thoughtless many glide;

Upward your steer your steady bark,

And stem the rushing tide.

Where guilt her foul contagion breathes,

And golden spoils allure;

Unspotted still your garments shine—

Your hands are ever pure.

Whene’er you touch the poet’s lyre,

A loftier strain is heard;

Each ardent thought is yours alone,

And every burning word.

Yours is the large expansive thought,

The high heroic deed;

Exile and chains to you are dear—

To you ’t is sweet to bleed.

You lift on high the warning voice,

When public ills prevail;

Yours is the writing on the wall

That turns the tyrant pale.

The dogs of hell your steps pursue,

With scoff, and shame, and loss;

The hemlock bowl ’t is yours to drain,

To taste the bitter cross.

145 16(5)r 145

E’en yet the steaming scaffolds smoke,

By Seine’s polluted stream;

With your rich blood the fields are drenched,

Where Polish sabres gleam.

E’en now, through those accursed bars,

In vain we send our sighs;

Where, deep in Olmutz’ dungeon glooms,

The patriot martyr lies.

Yet yours is all through History’s rolls

The kindling bosom feels;

And at your tomb, with throbbing heart,

The fond enthusiast kneels.

In every faith, through every clime,

Your pilgrim steps we trace;

And shrines are dressed, and temples rise,

Each hallowed spot to grace;

And pæans loud, in every tongue,

And choral hymns resound;

And lengthening honours hand your name

To time’s remotest bound.

Proceed! your race of glory run,

Your virtuous toils endure!

You come, commissioned from on high,

And your reward is sure.

146 16(5)v 146

To a Little Invisible Being,

Who Is Expected Soon to Become Visible.

Germ of new life, whose powers expanding slow

For many a moon their full perfection wait,—

Haste, precious pledge of happy love, to go

Auspicious borne through life’s mysterious gate.

What powers lie folded in thy curious frame,—

Senses from objects locked, and mind from thought!

How little canst thou guess thy lofty claim

To grasp at all the worlds the Almighty wrought!

And see, the genial season’s warmth to share,

Fresh younglings shoot, and opening roses glow!

Swarms of new life exulting fill the air,—

Haste, infant bud of being, haste to blow!

For thee the nurse prepares her lulling songs,

The eager matrons count the lingering day;

But far the most thy anxious parent longs

On thy soft cheek a mother’s kiss to lay.

She only asks to lay her burden down,

That her glad arms that burden may resume;

147 16(6)r 147

And nature’s sharpest pangs her wishes crown,

That free thee living from thy living tomb.

She longs to fold to her maternal breast

Part of herself, yet to herself unknown;

To see and to salute the stranger guest,

Fed with her life through many a tedious moon.

Come, reap thy rich inheritance of love!

Bask in the fondness of a Mother’s eye!

Nor wit nor eloquence her heart shall move

Like the first accents of thy feeble cry.

Haste, little captive, burst thy prison doors!

Launch on the living world, and spring to light!

Nature for thee displays her various stores,

Opens her thousand inlets of delight.

If charmed verse or muttered prayers had power,

With favouring spells to speed thee on thy way,

Anxious I’d bid my beads each passing hour,

Till thy wished smile thy mother’s pangs o’erpay.

148 16(6)v 148

Washing-Day.

…and their voice, Turning again towards childish treble pipes And whistles in its sound.—

The Muses are turned gossips; they have lost

The buskined step, and clear high-sounding phrase,

Language of gods. Come then, domestic Muse,

In slipshod measure loosely prattling on

Of farm or orchard, pleasant curds and cream,

Or drowning flies, or shoe lost in the mire

By little whimpering boy, with rueful face;

Come, Muse, and sing the dreaded Washing-Day.

Ye who beneath the yoke of wedlock bend,

With bowed soul, full well ye ken the day

Which week, smooth sliding after week, brings on

Too soon;—for to that day nor peace belongs

Nor comfort;—ere the first gray streak of dawn,

The red-armed washers come and chase repose.

Nor pleasant smile, nor quaint device of mirth,

E’er visited that day: the very cat,

From the wet kitchen scared and reeking hearth,

Visits the parlour,—an unwonted guest.

The silent breakfast-meal is soon despatched;

149 17(1)r 147149

Uninterrupted, save by anxious looks

Cast at the lowering sky, if sky should lower.

From that last evil, O preserve us, heavens!

For should the skies pour down, adieu to all

Remains of quiet: then expect to hear

Of sad disasters,—dirt and gravel stains

Hard to efface, and loaded lines at once

Snapped short,—and linen-horse by dog thrown down,

And all the petty miseries of life.

Saints have been calm while stretched upon the rack,

And Guatimozin smiled on burning coals;

But never yet did housewife notable

Greet with a smile a rainy washing-day.

—But grant the welkin fair, require not thou

Who call’st thyself perchance the master there,

Or study swept, or nicely dusted coat,

Or usual ’tendence;—ask not, indiscreet,

Thy stockings mended, though the yawning rents

Gape wide as Erebus; nor hope to find

Some snug recess impervious: shouldst thou try

The ’customed garden walks, thine eye shall rue

The budding fragrance of thy tender shrubs,

Myrtle or rose, all crushed beneath the weight

Of coarse checked apron,—with impatient hand

Twitched off when showers impend: or crossing lines

Shall mar thy musings, as the wet cold sheet

Flaps in thy face abrupt. Woe to the friend

Whose evil stars have urged him forth to claim

On such a day the hospitable rites!

Looks, blank at best, and stinted courtesy,

vol. I. 17 150 17(1)v 148150

Shall he receive. Vainly he feeds his hopes

With dinner of roast chickens, savoury pie,

Or tart or pudding:—pudding he nor tart

That day shall eat; nor, though the husband try,

Mending what can’t be helped, to kindle mirth

From cheer deficient, shall his consort’s brow

Clear up propitious:—the unlucky guest

In silence dines, and early slinks away.

I well remember, when a child, the awe

This day struck into me; for then the maids,

I scarce knew why, looked cross, and drove me from them:

Nor soft caress could I obtain, nor hope

Usual indulgencies; jelly or creams,

Relic of costly suppers, and set by

For me their petted one; or buttered toast,

When butter was forbid; or thrilling tale

Of ghost or witch, or murder—so I went

And sheltered me beside the parlour fire:

There my dear grandmother, eldest of forms,

Tended the little ones, and watched from harm,

Anxiously fond, though oft her spectacles

With elfin cunning hid, and oft the pins

Drawn from her ravelled stockings, might have soured

One less indulgent.—

At intervals my mother’s voice was heard,

Urging despatch: briskly the work went on,

All hands employed to wash, to rinse, to wring,

To fold, and starch, and clap, and iron, and plait.

Then would I sit me down, and ponder much

151 17(2)r 149151

Why washings were. Sometimes through hollow bowl

Of pipe amused we blew, and sent aloft

The floating bubbles; little dreaming then

To see, Mongolfier, thy silken ball

Ride buoyant through the clouds—so near approach

The sports of children and the toils of men.

Earth, air, and sky, and ocean, hath its bubbles,

And verse is one of them—this most of all.

152 17(2)v 150152

Verses

Inscribed on a Pair of Screens.

To Dr. A.

Within the cot the Muses love,

May peace reside, that household dove!

Beneath this roof, around this hearth,

Mild Wisdom mix with social Mirth!

May Friendship often seek the door

Where Science pours her varied store!

Her richest dyes may Flora spread,

And early paint the garden’s bed!

May Health descend with healing wing,

Bright days and balmy nights to bring!

And tried Affection still be by,

Love’s watchful ear and anxious eye;

And Sport and Laughter hither move,

To bless the cot the Muses love!

153 17(3)r 151153

To Mrs. A.

You whose clear life, one fair, well-ordered day,

In useful tenour calmly glides away;

In whom the eye of Malice never spied

Aught she could wish to spread, or you to hide,

Whose looks with words accord, and word with deed

Receive the only screen you e’er can need!

17* 154 17(3)v 152154

To Mr. S. T. Coleridge: 17971797.

Midway the hill of science, after steep

And rugged paths that tire the’ unpractised feet,

A grove extends; in tangled mazes wrought,

And filled with strange enchantment:—dubious shapes

Flit through dim glades, and lure the eager foot

Of youthful ardor to eternal chase.

Dreams hang on every leaf: unearthly forms

Glide through the gloom; and mystic visions swim

Before the cheated sense. Athwart the mists,

Far into vacant space, huge shadows stretch,

And seem realities; while things of life,

Obvious to sight and touch, all glowing round,

Fade to the hue of shadows—Scruples here,

With filmy net, most like the’ autumnal webs

Of floating gossamer, arrest the foot

Of generous enterprise; and palsy hope

And fair ambition with the chilling touch

Of sickly hesitation and blank fear.

Nor seldom Indolence these lawns among

Fixes her turf-built seat; and wears the garb

Of deep philosophy, and museful sits,

155 17(4)r 153155

In dreamy twilight of the vacant mind,

Soothed by the whispering shade; for soothing soft

The shades; and vistas lengthening into air,

With moonbeam rainbows tinted.—Here each mind

Of finer mould, acute and delicate,

In its high progress to eternal truth

Rests for a space, in fairy bowers entranced;

And loves the softened light and tender gloom;

And, pampered with most unsubstantial food,

Looks down indignant on the grosser world,

And matter’s cumbrous shapings. Youth beloved

Of Science—of the Muse beloved,—not here,

Not in the maze of metaphysic lore,

Build thou thy place of resting! lightly tread

The dangerous ground, on noble aims intent;

And be this Circe of the studious cell

Enjoyed, but still subservient. Active scenes

Shall soon with healthful spirit brace thy mind;

And fair exertion, for bright fame sustained,

For friends, for country, chase each spleen-fed fog

That blots the wide creation.—

Now Heaven conduct thee with a parent’s love!

156 17(4)v 154156

Peace and Shepherd.

Low in a deep sequestered vale,

Whence Alpine heights ascend,

A beauteous nymph, in pilgrim garb,

Is seen her steps to bend.

Her olive garland drops with gore;

Her scattered tresses torn,

Her bleeding breast, her bruised feet,

Bespeak a maid forlorn.

From bower, and hall, and palace driven,

To these lone wilds I flee;

My name is Peace,—I love the cot;

O Shepherd, shelter me!

O beauteous pilgrim, why dost thou

From bower and palace flee?

So soft thy voice, so sweet thy look,

Sure all would shelter thee.

Like Noah’s dove, no rest I find;

The din of battle roars

Where once my steps I loved to print

Along the myrtle shores:

157 17(5)r 155157

For ever in my frighted ears

The savage war-whoop sounds;

And, like a panting hare, I fly

Before the opening hounds.

Pilgrim, those spiry groves among,

The mansions thou mayst see,

Where cloistered saints chant holy hymns,—

Sure such would shelter thee!

Those roofs with trophied banners stream,

There martial hymns resound;—

And, shepherd, oft from crosiered hands

This breast has felt a wound.

Ah! gentle pilgrim, glad would I

Those tones for ever hear!

With thee to share my scanty lot,

That lot to me were dear.

But lo, along the vine-clad steep,

The gleam of armour shines;

His scattered flock, his straw-roofed hut,

The helpless swain resigns.

And now the smouldering flames aspire;

Their lurid light I see;

I hear the human wolves approach:

I cannot shelter thee.

158 17(5)v 156158

On the Death of Mrs. Martineau, Senr.

Ye who around this venerated bier

In pious anguish pour the tender tear,

Mourn not!—’Tis Virtue’s triumph, Nature’s doom,

When honoured Age, slow bending to the tomb,

Earth’s vain enjoyments past, transient woes,

Tastes the long sabbath of well-earned repose.

No blossom here, in vernal beauty shed,

No lover lies, warm from the nuptial bed;

Here rests the full of days,—each task fulfilled,

Each wish accomplished, and each passion stilled.

You raised her languid head, caught her last breath,

And cheered with looks of love the couch of death.

Yet mourn!—for sweet the filial sorrows flow,

When fond affection prompts the gush of woe;

No bitter drop, ’midst nature’s kind relief,

Sheds gall into the fountain of your grief;

No tears you shed for patient love abused,

And counsel scorned, and kind restraints refused;

Not yours the pang the conscious bosom wrings,

When late Remorse inflicts her fruitless stings.

159 17(6)r 157159

Living you honoured her, you mourn for dead;

Her God you worship, and her path you tread:

Your sighs shall aid reflection’s serious hour,

And cherished virtues bless the kindly shower:

On the loved theme your lips unblamed shall dwell;

Your lives, more eloquent, her worth shall tell.—

Long may that worth, fair virtue’s heritage,

From race to race descend, from age to age!

Still purer with transmitted lustre shine,

The treasured birthright of the spreading line!

—For me, as o’er the frequent grave I bend,

And pensive down the vale of years descend;—

Companions, parents, kindred called to mourn,

Dropt from my side, or from my bosom torn;

A boding voice, methinks, in Fancy’s ear

Speaks from the tomb, and cries, Thy friends are here!

160 17(6)v 158160

On a Portrait.

Blest art! What magic powers with thine may vie

That brings (too seldom seen) a Brother nigh?

That gives, by colours into canvas wrought,

The hue of sentiment, and tinge of thought?

The lips, with soft affection’s smile that glow,

And the mild wisdom of the studious brow?

I look, again I look, and still ’t is there;

I catch, with varying lights, a happier air;

Approach, step back, the favouring distance choose,

And, line by line, the well known face peruse:

Almost expect the opening lips to pour

With usual flow the treasured mental store,

And fondly dream our meeting glances prove

The’ accustomed beamings of fraternal love.

But O! should fate in some disastrous day,—

Avert it Heaven!—the living form decay;

Hide, hide, ye pitying friends, the mimic light,

Veil, veil the image from my tortured sight;

The shadow of past joys I could not bear,

Nor would it speak of comfort, but despair.

161 18(1)r 159161

West End Fair.

Dame Charity one day was tired

With nursing of her children three,—

So might you be

If you had nursed and nursed so long

A little squalling throng;—

So she, like any earthly lady,

Resolved for once she’d have a play-day.

I cannot always go about

To hospitals and prisons trudging,

Or fag from morn to night

Teaching to spell and write

A barefoot rout,

Swept from the streets by poor Lancaster,

My sub-master.

That Howard ran me out of breath,

And Thornton and a hundred more

Will be my death:

The air is sweet, the month is gay,

And I, said she, must have a holiday.

So said, she doffed her robes of brown,

In which she commonly is seen,—

Like French Beguine,—

And sent for ornaments to town:

vol. I. 18 162 18(1)v 160162

And Taste in Flavia’s form stood by,

Penciled her eyebrows, curled her hair,

Disposed each ornament with care,

And hung her round with trinkets rare,—

She scarcely, looking in the glass,

Knew her own face.

So forth she sallied blithe and gay,

And met dame Fashion by the way;

And many a kind and friendly greeting

Passed on their meeting:

Nor let the fact your wonder move,

Abroad, and on a gala-day,

Fashion and she are hand and glove.

So on they walked together,

Bright was the weather;

Dame Charity was frank and warm;

But being rather apt to tire,

She leant on Fashion’s arm.

And now away for West End fair,

Where whiskey, chariot, coach, and chair,

Are all in requisition.

In neat attire the Graces

Behind the counters take their places,

And humbly do petition

To dress the booths with flowers and sweets,

As fine as any May-day,

Where Charity with Fashion meets,

And keeps her play-day.

163 18(2)r 161163

Dirge:

Written 1808-11November 1808.

Pure spirit! O where art thou now!

O whisper to my soul!

O let some soothing thought of thee,

This bitter grief control!

’T is not for thee the tears I shed,

Thy sufferings now are o’er;

The sea is calm, the tempest past,

On that eternal shore.

No more the storms that wrecked thy peace,

Shall tear that gentle breast;

Nor Summer’s rage, nor Winter’s cold,

Thy poor, poor frame molest.

Thy peace is sealed, thy rest is sure,

My sorrows are to come;

Awhile I weep and linger here,

Then follow to the tomb.

164 18(2)v 162164

And is the awful veil withdrawn,

That shrouds from mortal eyes,

In deep impenetrable gloom,

The secrets of the skies?

O, in some dream of visioned bliss,

Some trance of rapture, show

Where, on the bosom of thy God,

Thou rest’st from human woe!

Thence may thy pure devotion’s flame

On me, on me descend;

To me thy strong aspiring hopes,

Thy faith, thy fervours lend.

Let these my lonely path illume,

And teach my weakened mind

To welcome all that’s left of good,

To all that’s lost resigned.

Farewell! With honour, peace, and love,

Be thy dear memory blest!

Thou hast no tears for me to shed,

When I too am at rest.

165 18(3)r 163165

The Unknown God.

To learned Athens, led by fame,

As once the man of Tarsus came,

With pity and surprise,

Midst idol altars as he stood,

O’er sculptured marble, brass, and wood,

He rolled his awful eyes.

But one, apart, his notice caught,

That seemed with higher meaning fraught,

Graved on the wounded stone;

Nor form nor name was there expressed;

Deep reverence filled the musing breast,

Perusing, To the God unknown.

Age after age has rolled away,

Altars and thrones have felt decay,

Sages and saints have risen;

And, like a giant roused from sleep,

Man has explored the pathless deep,

And lightnings snatched from heaven.

18* 166 18(3)v 164166

And many a shrine in dust is laid,

Where kneeling nations homage paid,

By rock, or fount, or grove;

Ephesian Dian sees no more

Her workmen fuse the silver ore,

Nor Capitolian Jove.

E’en Salem’s hallowed courts have ceased

With solemn pomps her tribes to feast,

No more the victim bleeds;

To censers filled with rare perfumes,

And vestments from Egyptian looms,

A purer rite succeeds.

Yet still, where’er presumptuous man

His Maker’s essence strives to scan,

And lifts his feeble hands,

Though saint and sage their powers unite,

To fathom that abyss of light,

Ah! still that altar stands.

167 18(4)r 165167

Eternity.

The year has run

Its round of seasons, has fulfilled its course,

Absolved its destined period, and is borne,

Silent and swift, to that devouring gulf,

Their womb and grave, where seasons, months, and years,

Revolving periods of uncounted time,

All merge and are forgotten.—Thou alone,

In thy deep bosom burying all the past,

Still art; and still from thine exhaustless store

New periods spring, Eternity.—Thy name

Or glad, or fearful, we pronounce as thoughts

Wandering in darkness shape thee. Thou strange being,

Which art and must be, yet which contradict’st

All sense, all reasoning,—thou, who never wast

Less than thyself, and who still art thyself

Entire, though the deep draught which Time has taken,

Equals thy present store—No line can reach

To thy unfathomed depths. The reasoning sage

Who can dissect a sunbeam, count the stars,

And measure distant worlds, is here a child,

And, humbled, drops his calculating pen.

On and still onward flows the ceaseless tide,

And wrecks of empires and of worlds are borne

Like atoms on its bosom.—Still thou art

And he who does inhabit thee.

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1811Eighteen Hundred and Eleven.

Still the loud death drum, thundering from afar,

O’er the vext nations pours the storm of war:

To the stern call still Britain bends her ear,

Feeds the fierce strife, the’ alternate hope and fear;

Bravely, though vainly, dares to strive with Fate,

And seeks by turns to prop each sinking state.

Colossal power with overwhelming force

Bears down each fort of Freedom in its course;

Prostrate she lies beneath the Despot’s sway,

While the hushed nations curse him—and obey.

Bounteous in vain, with frantic man at strife,

Glad Nature pours the means—the joys of life;

In vain with orange-blossoms scents the gale,

The hills with olives clothes, with corn the vale;

Man calls to Famine, nor invokes in vain,

Disease and Rapine follow in her train;

The tramp of marching hosts disturbs the plough,

The sword, not sickle, reaps the harvest now,

And where the soldier gleans the scant supply,

The helpless peasant but retires to die;

No laws his hut from licensed outrage shield,

And war’s least horror is the’ ensanguined field.

169 18(5)r 167169

Fruitful in vain, the matron counts with pride

The blooming youths that grace her honoured side;

No son returns to press her widowed hand,

Her fallen blossoms strew a foreign strand.

—Fruitful in vain, she boasts her virgin race,

Whom cultured arts adorn and gentlest grace;

Defrauded of its homage, Beauty mourns,

And the rose withers on its virgin thorns.

Frequent, some stream obscure, some uncouth name,

By deeds of blood is lifted into fame;

Oft o’er the daily page some soft one bends

To learn the fate of husband, brothers, friends,

Or the spread map with anxious eye explores,

Its dotted boundaries and penciled shores,

Asks where the spot that wrecked her bliss is found,

And learns its name but to detest the sound.

And think’st thou, Britain, still to sit at ease,

An island queen amidst thy subject seas,

While the vext billows, in their distant roar,

But soothe thy slumbers, and but kiss thy shore?

To sport in wars, while danger keeps aloof,

Thy grassy turf unbruised by hostile hoof?

So sing thy flatterers;—but, Britain, know,

Thou who hast shared the guilt, must share the wo.

Nor distant is the hour; low murmurs spread,

And whispered fears, creating what they dread;

Ruin, as with an earthquake shock, is here,

There, the heart-witherings of unuttered fear,

And that sad death, whence most affection bleeds,

170 18(5)v 168170

Which sickness, only of the soul, precedes.

Thy baseless wealth dissolves in air away,

Like mists that melt before the morning ray:

No more on crowded mart or busy street

Friends, meeting friends, with cheerful hurry greet;

Sad, on the ground thy princely merchants bend

Their altered looks, and evil days portend,

And fold their arms, and watch with anxious breast

The tempest blackening in the distant West.

Yes, thou must droop; thy Midas dream is o’er;

The golden tide of Commerce leaves thy shore,

Leaves thee to prove the’ alternate ills that haunt

Enfeebling Luxury and ghastly Want;

Leaves thee, perhaps, to visit distant lands,

And deal the gifts of Heaven with equal hands.

Yet, O my Country, name beloved, revered,

By every tie that binds the soul endeared,

Whose image to my infant senses came

Mixt with Religion’s light and Freedom’s holy flame!

If prayers may not avert, if ’t is thy fate

To rank amongst the names that once were great,

Not like the dim, cold Crescent shalt thou fade,

Thy debt to Science and the Muse unpaid;

Thine are the laws surrounding states revere,

Thine the full harvest of the mental year,

Thine the bright stars in Glory’s sky that shine,

And arts that make it life to live are thine.

If westward streams the light that leaves thy shores,

171 18(6)r 169171

Still from thy lamp the streaming radiance pours.

Wide spreads thy race from Ganges to the pole,

O’er half the western world thy accents roll:

Nations beyond the Apalachian hills

Thy hand has planted and thy spirit fills:

Soon as their gradual progress shall impart

The finer sense of morals and of art,

Thy stores of knowledge the new states shall know,

And think thy thoughts, and with thy fancy glow;

Thy Lockes, thy Paleys shall instruct their youth,

Thy leading star direct their search for truth;

Beneath the spreading platan’s tent-like shade,

Or by Missouri’s rushing waters laid,

Old father Thames shall be the poet’s theme,

Of Hagley’s woods the’ enamoured virgin dream,

And Milton’s tones the raptured ear enthrall,

Mixt with the roaring of Niagara’s fall;

In Thomson’s glass the’ ingenuous youth shall learn

A fairer face of Nature to discern;

Nor of the bards that swept the British lyre

Shall fade one laurel, or one note expire.

Then, loved Joanna, to admiring eyes

Thy storied groups in scenic pomp shall rise;

Their high-souled strains and Shakspeare’s noble rage

Shall with alternate passion shake the stage.

Some youthful Basil from thy moral lay

With stricter hand his fond desires shall sway;

Some Ethwald, as the fleeting shadows pass,

Start at his likeness in the mystic glass;

The tragic Muse resume her just control,

With pity and with terror purge the soul,

172 18(6)v 170172

While wide o’er transatlantic realms thy name

Shall live in light, and gather all its fame.

Where wanders Fancy down the lapse of years

Shedding o’er imaged woes untimely tears?

Fond moody power! as hopes—as fears prevail,

She longs, or dreads, to lift the awful veil,

On visions of delight now loves to dwell,

Now hears the shriek of wo or Freedom’s knell:

Perhaps, she says, long ages past away,

And set in western waves our closing day,

Night, Gothic night, again may shade the plains

Where Power is seated, and where Science reigns;

England, the seat of arts, be only known

By the grey ruin and the mouldering stone;

That Time may tear the garland from her brow,

And Europe sit in dust, as Asia now.

Yet then the’ ingenuous youth whom Fancy fires

With pictured glories of illustrious sires,

With duteous zeal their pilgrimage shall take

From the Blue Mountains, or Ontario’s lake,

With fond adoring steps to press the sod

By statesmen, sages, poets, heroes trod;

On Isis’ banks to draw inspiring air,

From Runnymede to send the patriot’s prayer;

In pensive thought, where Cam’s slow waters wind,

To meet those shades that ruled the realms of mind;

In silent halls to sculptured marbles bow,

And hang fresh wreaths round Newton’s awful brow.

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Oft shall they seek some peasant’s homely shed,

Who toils, unconscious of the mighty dead,

To ask where Avon’s winding waters stray,

And thence a knot of wild flowers bear away;

Anxious inquire where Clarkson, friend of man,

Or all-accomplished Jones his race began;

If of the modest mansion aught remains

Where Heaven and Nature prompted Cowper’s strains;

Where Roscoe, to whose patriot breast belong

The Roman virtue and the Tuscan song,

Led Ceres to the black and barren moor

Where Ceres never gained a wreath before:

The Historian of the age of Leo has brought into cultivation the extensive tract of Chatmoss.

With curious search their pilgrim steps shall rove

By many a ruined tower and proud alcove,

Shall listen for those strains that soothed of yore

Thy rock, stern Skiddaw, and thy fall, Lodore;

Feast with Dun Edin’s classic brow, their sight,

And visit Melross by the pale moonlight.

But who their mingled feelings shall pursue

When London’s faded glories rise to view?

The mighty city, which by every road,

In floods of people poured itself abroad;

Ungirt by walls, irregularly great,

No jealous drawbridge, and no closing gate;

Whose merchants (such the state which commerce brings)

Sent forth their mandates to dependent kings;

vol. I. 19 174 19(1)v 172174

Streets, where the turban’d Moslem, bearded Jew,

And woolly Afric, met the brown Hindu;

Where through each vein spontaneous plenty flowed,

Where Wealth enjoyed, and Charity bestowed.

Pensive and thoughtful shall the wanderers greet

Each splendid square, and still, untrodden street;

Or of some crumbling turret, mined by time,

The broken stairs with perilous step shall climb,

Thence stretch their view the wide horizon round,

By scattered hamlets trace its ancient bound,

And, choked no more with fleets, fair Thames survey

Through reeds and sedge pursue his idle way.

With throbbing bosoms shall the wanderers tread

The hallowed mansions of the silent dead.

Shall enter the long isle and vaulted dome

Where Genius and where Valour find a home;

Awe-struck, midst chill sepulchral marbles breathe,

Where all above is still, as all beneath;

Bend at each antique shrine, and frequent turn

To clasp with fond delight some sculptured urn,

The ponderous mass of Johnson’s form to greet,

Or breathe the prayer at Howard’s sainted feet.

Perhaps some Briton, in whose musing mind

Those ages live which Time has cast behind,

To every spot shall lead his wondering guests

On whose known site the beam of glory rests;

Here Chatham’s eloquence in thunder broke,

Here Fox persuaded, or here Garrick spoke;

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Shall boast how Nelson, fame and death in view,

To wonted victory led his ardent crew,

In England’s name enforced, with loftiest tone,

Every reader will recollect the sublime telegraphic despatch, England expects every man to do his duty.

Their duty,—and too well fulfilled his own:

How gallant Moore, I hope England will be satisfied, were the last words of General Moore. as ebbing life dissolved,

But hoped his country had his fame absolved.

Or call up sages whose capacious mind

Left in its course a track of light behind;

Point where mute crowds on Davy’s lips reposed,

And Nature’s coyest secrets were disclosed;

Join with their Franklin, Priestley’s injured name,

Whom, then, each continent shall proudly claim.

Oft shall the strangers turn their eager feet

The rich remains of ancient art to greet,

The pictured walls with critic eye explore,

And Reynolds be what Raphael was before.

On spoils from every clime their eyes shall gaze,

Egyptian granites and the’ Etruscan vase;

And when midst fallen London, they survey

The stone where Alexander’s ashes lay,

Shall own with humbled pride the lesson just

By Time’s slow finger written in the dust.

There walks a Spirit o’er the peopled earth,

Secret his progress is, unknown his birth;

176 19(2)v 174176

Moody and viewless as the changing wind,

No force arrests his foot, no chains can bind;

Where’er he turns, the human brute awakes,

And roused to better life, his sordid hut forsakes:

He thinks, he reasons, glows with purer fires,

Feels finer wants, and burns with new desires:

Obedient Nature follows where he leads;

The steaming marsh is changed to fruitful meads;

The beasts retire from man’s asserted reign,

And prove his kingdom was not given in vain.

Then from its bed is drawn the ponderous ore,

Then Commerce pours her gifts on every shore,

Then Babel’s towers and terraced gardens rise,

And pointed obelisks invade the skies;

The prince commands, in Tyrian purple drest,

And Egypt’s virgins weave the linen vest.

Then spans the graceful arch the roaring tide,

And stricter bounds the cultured fields divide.

Then kindles Fancy, then expands the heart,

Then blow the flowers of Genius and of Art;

Saints, heroes, sages, who the land adorn,

Seem rather to descend than to be born;

Whilst History, midst the rolls consigned to fame,

With pen of adamant inscribes their name.

The Genius now forsakes the favoured shore,

And hates, capricious, what he loved before;

Then empires fall to dust, then arts decay,

And wasted realms enfeebled despots sway;

Even Nature’s changed; without his fostering smile

Ophir no gold, no plenty yields the Nile;

177 19(3)r 175177

The thirsty sand absorbs the useless rill,

And spotted plagues from putrid fens distill.

In desert solitudes then Tadmor sleeps,

Stern Marius then o’er fallen Carthage weeps;

Then with enthusiast love the pilgrim roves

To seek his footsteps in forsaken groves,

Explores the fractured arch, the ruined tower

Those limbs disjointed of gigantic power;

Still at each step he dreads the adder’s sting,

The Arab’s javelin, or the tiger’s spring;

With doubtful caution treads the echoing ground,

And asks where Troy or Babylon is found.

And now the vagrant Power no more detains

The vale of Tempe, or Ausonian plains;

Northward he throws the animating ray,

O’er Celtic nations bursts the mental day:

And, as some playful child the mirror turns,

Now here, now there the moving lustre burns;

Now o’er his changeful fancy more prevail

Batavia’s dikes than Arno’s purple vale,

And stinted suns, and rivers bound with frost,

Than Enna’s plains or Baia’s viny coast;

Venice the Adriatic weds in vain,

And Death sits brooding o’er Campania’s plain;

O’er Baltic shores and through Hercynian groves,

Stirring the soul, the mighty impulse moves;

Art plies his tools, and Commerce spreads her sail,

And wealth is wafted in each shifting gale.

The sons of Odin tread on Persian looms,

19* 178 19(3)v 176178

And Odin’s daughters breathe distilled perfumes;

Loud minstrel bards, in Gothic halls, rehearse

The Runic rhyme, and build the lofty verse:

The Muse, whose liquid notes were wont to swell

To the soft breathings of the’ Æolian shell,

Submits, reluctant, to the harsher tone,

And scarce believes the altered voice her own.

And now, where Cæsar saw with proud disdain

The wattled hut and skin of azure stain,

Corinthian columns rear their graceful forms,

And light varandas brave the wintry storms,

While British tongues the fading fame prolong

Of Tully’s eloquence and Maro’s song.

Where once Bonduca whirled the scythed car,

And the fierce matrons raised the shriek of war,

Light forms beneath transparent muslins float,

And tutored voices swell the artful note.

Light-leaved acacias and the shady plane

And spreading cedar grace the woodland reign;

While crystal walls the tenderer plants confine,

The fragrant orange and the nectared pine;

The Syrian grape there hangs her rich festoons,

Nor asks for purer air, or brighter noons:

Science and Art urge on the useful toil,

New mould a climate and create the soil,

Subdue the rigour of the northern Bear,

O’er polar climes shed aromatic air,

On yielding Nature urge their new demands,

And ask not gifts but tribute at her hands.

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London exults:—on London Art bestows

Her summer ices and her winter rose;

Gems of the East her mural crown adorn,

And Plenty at her feet pours forth her horn;

While even the exiles her just laws disclaim,

People a continent, and build a name:

August she sits, and with extended hands

Holds forth the book of life to distant lands.

But fairest flowers expand but to decay;

The worm is in thy core, thy glories pass away;

Arts, arms, and wealth destroy the fruits they bring;

Commerce, like beauty knows no second spring.

Crime walks thy streets, Fraud earns her unblest bread,

O’er want and woe thy gorgeous robe is spread,

And angel charities in vain oppose:

With grandeur’s growth the mass of misery grows.

For see,—to other climes the Genius soars,

He turns from Europe’s desolated shores;

And lo, even now, midst mountains wrapt in storm,

On Andes’ heights he shrouds his awful form;

On Chimborazo’s summits treads sublime,

Measuring in lofty thought the march of Time;

Sudden he calls:—’T is now the hour! he cries,

Spreads his broad hand, and bids the nations rise.

La Plata hears amidst her torrents’ roar;

Potosi hears it, as she digs the ore:

Ardent, the Genius fans the noble strife,

And pours through feeble souls a higher life,

Shouts to the mingled tribes from sea to sea,

And swears—Thy world, Columbus, shall be free.

180 19(4)v 178180

Ode to Remorse.

Dread offspring of the holy light within,

Offspring of Conscience and of Sin,

Stern as thine awful sire, and fraught with woe

From bitter springs thy mother taught to flow,—

Remorse! To man alone ’t is given

Of all on earth, or all in heaven,

To wretched man thy bitter cup to drain,

Feel thy awakening stings, and taste thy wholesome pain.

Midst Eden’s blissful bowers,

And amaranthine flowers,

Thy birth portentous dimmed the orient day,

What time our hapless sire,

O’ercome by fond desire,

The high command presumed to disobey;

Then didst thou rear thy snaky crest,

And raise thy scorpion lash to tear the guilty breast:

And never, since that fatal hour,

May man, of woman born, expect to’ escape thy power.

Thy goading stings the branded Cain

Cross the’ untrodden desert drove,

Ere from his cradling home and native plain

Domestic man had learnt to rove.

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By gloomy shade or lonely flood

Of vast primeval solitude,

Thy step his hurried steps pursued,

Thy voice awoke his conscious fears,

For ever sounding in his ears

A father’s curse, a brother’s blood;

Till life was misery too great to bear,

And torturing thought was lost in sullen, dumb despair.

The king who sat on Judah’s throne,

By guilty love to murder wrought,

Was taught thy searching power to own,

When, sent of Heaven, the seer his royal presence sought.

As, wrapt in artful phrase, with sorrow feigned,

He told of helpless, meek distress,

And wrongs that sought from power redress,

The pity-moving tale his ear obtained,

And bade his better feelings wake:

Then, sudden as the trodden snake

On the scared traveller darts his fangs,

The prophet’s bold rebuke aroused thy keenest pangs.

And O that look, that soft upbraiding look!

A thousand cutting, tender things it spoke,—

The sword so lately drawn was not so keen,—

Which as the injured Master turned him round,

In the strange solemn scene,

And the shrill clarion gave the ’appointed sound,

Pierced sudden through the reins,

Awakening all thy pains,

182 19(5)v 180182

And drew a silent shower of bitter tears

Down Peter’s blushing cheek late pale with coward fears.

Cruel Remorse! where Youth and Pleasure sport,

And thoughtless Folly keeps her court,—

Crouching midst rosy bowers thou lurk’st unseen;

Slumbering the festal hours away,

While Youth disports in that enchanting scene;

Till on some fated day

Thou with a tiger-spring dost leap upon thy prey,

And tear his helpless breast, o’erwhelmed with wild dismay.

Mark that poor wretch with clasped hands!

Pale o’er his parent’s grave he stands,—

The grave by his ingratitude prepared;

Ah then, where’er he rests his head,

On roses pillowed or the softest down,

Though festal wreaths his temples crown,

He well might envy Guatimozin’s bed,

With burning coals and sulphur spread,

And with less agony his torturing hour have shared.

For Thou art by to point the keen reproach;

Thou draw’st the curtains of his nightly couch,

Bring’st back the reverend face with tears bedewed,

That o’er his follies yearned;

The warnings oft in vain renewed,

The looks of anguish and of love,

His stubborn breast that failed to move,

When in the scorner’s chair he sat, and wholesome counsel spurned.

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Lives there a man whose labouring breast

Is with some dark and guilty secret prest,

Who hides within its inmost fold

Strange crimes to mortal ear untold?

In vain to sad Chartreuse he flies,

Midst savage rocks and cloisters dim and drear,

And there to shun thee tries:

In vain untold his crime to mortal ear,

Silence and whispered sounds but make thy voice more clear.

Lo, where the cowled monk with frantic rage

Lifts high the sounding scourge, his bleeding shoulders smites!

Penance and fasts his anxious thoughts engage,

Weary his days and joyless are his nights,

His naked feet the flinty pavement tears,

His knee at every shrine the marble wears;—

Why does he lift the cruel scourge?

The restless pilgrimage why urge?

’T is all to quell thy fiercer rage,

’T is all to soothe thy deep despair,

He courts the body’s pangs, for thine he cannot bear.

See o’er the bleeding corpse of her he loved,

The jealous murderer bends unmoved,

Trembling with rage, his livid lips express

His frantic passion’s wild and rash excess.

O God, she’s innocent!—transfixt he stands,

Pierced thro’ with shafts from thine avenging hands;

184 19(6)v 182184

Down his pale cheek no tear will flow,

Nor can he shun, nor can he bear, his woe.

’T was phantoms summoned by thy power

Round Richard’s couch at midnight hour,

That scared the tyrant from unblest repose;

With frantic haste, To horse! to horse! he cries,

While on his crowned brow cold sweat-drops rise,

And fancied spears his spear oppose;

But not the swiftest steed can bear away

From thy firm grasp thine agonizing prey,

Thou wast the fiend, and thou alone,

That stood’st by Beaufort’s mitred head,

With upright hair and visage ghastly pale:

Thy terrors shook his dying bed,

Past crimes and blood his sinking heart assail,

His hands are clasped,—hark to that hollow groan!

See how his glazed, dim eye-balls wildly roll,

’T is not dissolving Nature’s pains; that pang is of the soul.

Where guilty souls are doomed to dwell,

’T is thou that mak’st their fiercest hell,

The vulture thou that on their liver feeds,

As rise to view their past unhallowed deeds;

With thee condemned to stay,

Till time has rolled away

Long æras of uncounted years,

And every stain is washed in soft repentant tears.

185 20(1)r 183185

Servant of God—but unbeloved—proceed,

For thou must live and ply thy scorpion scourge;

Thy sharp upbraidings urge

Against the’ unrighteous deed,

Till thine accursed mother shall expire,

And a new world spring forth from renovating fire.

O! when the glare of day is fled,

And calm, beneath the evening star,

Reflection leans her pensive head,

And calls the passions to her solemn bar;

Reviews the censure rash, the hasty word,

The purposed act too long deferred,

Of time the wasted treasures lent,

And fair occasions lost and golden hours misspent:

When anxious Memory numbers o’er

Each offered prize we failed to seize;

Or friends laid low, whom now no more

Our fondest love can serve or please,

And thou, dread power! bring’st back in terrors drest,

The’ irrevocable past, to sting the careless breast;—

O! in that hour be mine to know,

While fast the silent sorrows flow,

And wisdom cherishes the wholesome pain,

No heavier guilt, no deeper stain,

Than tears of meek contrition may atone,

Shed at the mercy-seat of Heaven’s eternal throne.

vol. I. 20 186 20(1)v 184186

Life.

Animula, vagula, blandula.

Life! I know not what thou art,

But know that thou and I must part;

And when, or how, or where we met,

I own to me ’s a secret yet.

But this I know, when thou art fled,

Where’er they lay these limbs, this head,

No clod so valueless shall be,

As all that then remains of me.

O whither, whither dost thou fly,

Where bend unseen thy trackless course,

And in this strange divorce,

Ah tell where I must seek this compound I?

To the vast ocean of empyreal flame,

From whence thy essence came,

Dost thou thy flight pursue, when freed

From matter’s base encumbering weed?

Or dost thou, hid from sight,

Wait, like some spell-bound knight,

Through blank oblivious years the’ appointed hour,

To break thy trance and reassume thy power?

187 20(2)r 185187

Yet canst thou without thought or feeling be?

O say what art thou, when no more thou’rt thee?

Life! we’ve been long together,

Through pleasant and through cloudy weather;

’T is hard to part when friends are dear;

Perhaps ’t will cost a sigh, a tear;

Then steal away, give little warning,

Choose thine own time;

Say not Good night, but in some brighter clime

Bid me Good morning.

188 20(2)v 186188

On the King’s Illness: 18111811.

Rest, rest, afflicted spirit, quickly pass

Thine hour of bitter suffering ! Rest awaits thee,

There, where, the load of weary life laid down,

The peasant and the king repose together:

There peaceful sleep, thy quiet grave bedewed

With tears of those who loved thee. Not for thee,

In the dark chambers of the nether world,

Shall spectre kings rise from their burning thrones

And point the vacant seat, and scoffing say,

Art thou become like us?—O not for thee!

For thou hadst human feelings, and hast lived

A man with men; and kindly charities,

Even such as warm the cottage hearth, were thine.

And therefore falls the tear from eyes not used

To gaze on kings with admiration fond.

And thou hast knelt at meek Religion’s shrine

With no mock homage, and hast owned her rights

Sacred in every breast: and therefore rise,

Affectionate, for thee, the orisons

And mingled prayers alike from vaulted domes

Whence the loud organ peals, and raftered roofs

189 20(3)r 187189

Of humbler worship.—Still remembering this,

A nation’s pity and a nation’s love

Linger beside thy couch, in this the day

Of thy sad visitation, veiling faults

Of erring judgement, and not will perverse.

Yet, O that thou hadst closed the wounds of war!

That had been praise to suit a higher strain.

Farewell the years rolled down the gulf of time!

Thy name has chronicled a long bright page

Of England’s story; and perhaps the babe

Who opens, as thou closest thine, his eyes

On this eventful world, when aged grown,

Musing on times gone by, shall sigh and say,

Shaking his thin grey hairs, whitened with grief,

Our fathers’ days were happy. Fare thee well!

My thread of life has even run with thine

For many a lustre; and thy closing day

I contemplate, not mindless of my own,

Nor to its call reluctant.

20* 190 20(3)v 188190

A Thought on Death: 1814-11November, 1814.

When life as opening buds is sweet,

And golden hopes the fancy greet,

And Youth prepares his joys to meet,—

Alas! how hard ’t is to die!

When just is seized some valued prize,

And duties press, and tender ties

Forbid the soul from earth to rise,—

How awful then it is to die!

When, one by one, those ties are torn,

And friend from friend is snatched forlorn,

And man is left alone to mourn,—

Ah then, how easy ’t is to die!

When faith is firm, and conscience clear,

And words of peace the spirit cheer,

And visioned glories half appear,—

’T is joy, ’t is triumph then to die.

When trembling limbs refuse their weight,

And films, slow gathering, dim the sight,

And clouds obscure the mental light,—

’T is nature’s precious boon to die.

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Stanzas:

In the Manner of Spenser.

So long estranged from every Muse’s lyre,

And groveling in the tangled net of Care;

What powerful breath shall kindle up that fire

Smothered with damps of most unkindly air?

Ah, how is quenched the lamp that burnt so fair!

Come, sweet seducers, late too far away,

Once more to my deserted cell repair;

Your rebel courts again your gentle sway;—

Come, soothe the winter’s night, and charm the summer’s day.

Come, dear companions of my youthful hour,

Fill my fond breast with your majestic themes;

Meet me again on hill, by stream, or bower,

And bathe my fancy in the bliss of dreams.

Vain wish! no more the star of Fancy gleams;

They with becoming scorn reject thy prayer:

Nor will they haunt thy bower, or bless thy streams,

No more to thy deserted cell repair:—

Go, court the world, they cry, thou art not worth our care.

192 20(4)v 190192

Bustle and hurry, noise and thrall they hate,

And plodding Method with her leaden rule;

And all that swells the’ unwieldy pomp of state,

And all that binds to earth the golden fool;

And creeping Labour with his patient tool:

Free like the birds they wander unconfined,

Nor dip their wings in Lucre’s muddy pool;

Business they hate, in crowded nook enshrined,

That spins her dirty web, and clouds the’ ethereal mind.

Ah, why should man, in hard unsocial strife,

And withering care whose vigils never cease,

Fretting away this little thread of life,

Of his sad birthright reap such large increase!

Why should he toil for aught but bread and peace?

Why rear to heaven his clay-built pyramids?

Nor from his tasks himself, poor slave! release;

With anxious thought, which wholesome rest forbids,

Driving the balm of sleep from sorrow’s swollen lids.

Despising cheap delights, he loves to scoop

His marble palace from the rock’s hard breast,

And in close dungeon walls himself to coop,

On golden couches wooing pale unrest;

With foreign looms his stately halls are drest,

And grim-wrought tapestry clothes the darkened room;

While in the flowery vale Peace builds her nest,

Amidst the purple heath or yellow broom,

Or where midst rustling corn the nodding poppies bloom.

193 20(5)r 191193

To Miss T.

Sweet are the thoughts that stir the virgin’s breast

When love first enters there, a timid guest;

Before her dazzled eyes gay visions shine,

And laughing Cupids wreaths of roses twine;

And conscious beauty hastens to employ

Her span of empire and her dream of joy.

Sarah! not thus to thee his power is shown;

More stern he greets thee from his awful throne.

Thee, called to bid thy cheering converse flow,

And shed thy sweetness in the house of woe;

The solemn sympathies of grief to share,

And, sadly smiling, soothe a sister’s care.

O’er her young hopes the sable pall is spread;

Her wedded heart holds converse with the dead;

To ties, no longer earthly, fondly true,

Each thought that breathes of love, must breathe of heaven too.

Thus, Sarah, love thy nobler mind prepares,

Shows thee his dangers, duties, sorrows, cares;

Thus with severer lessons schools thy heart,

And, pleased his happiest influence to impart,

For thee, dismissing from his chastened train

Each motley form of fickle, light, or vain,

Builds the strong fabric of that love sublime

Which conquers Death, and triumphs over Time.

194 20(5)v 192194

The First Fire.

1815-10-01October 1st, 1815.

Ha, old acquaintance! many a month has past

Since last I viewed thy ruddy face; and I,

Shame on me! had mean time well nigh forgot

That such a friend existed. Welcome now!—

When summer suns ride high, and tepid airs

Dissolve in pleasing languor; then indeed

We think thee needless, and in wanton pride

Mock at thy grim attire and sooty jaws,

And breath sulphureous, generating spleen,—

As Frenchmen say; Frenchmen, who never knew

The sober comforts of a good coal fire.

—Let me imbibe thy warmth, and spread myself

Before thy shrine adoring:—magnet thou

Of strong attraction, daily gathering in

Friends, brethren, kinsmen, variously dispersed,

All the dear charities of social life,

To thy close circle. Here man might stand,

And say, This is my world! Who would not bleed

Rather than see thy violated hearth

Prest by a hostile foot? The winds sing shrill;

Heap on the fuel! Not the costly board,

195 20(6)r 193195

Nor sparkling glass, nor wit, nor music, cheer

Without thy aid. If thrifty thou dispense

Thy gladdening influence, in the chill saloon

The silent shrug declares the’ unpleased guest.

—How grateful to belated traveller

Homeward returning, to behold the blaze

From cottage window, rendering visible

The cheerful scene within! There sits the sire,

Whose wicker chair, in sunniest nook enshrined,

His age’s privilege,—a privilege for which

Age gladly yields up all precedence else

In gay and bustling scenes,—supports his limbs.

Cherished by thee, he feels the grateful warmth

Creep through his feeble frame and thaw the ice

Of fourscore years, and thoughts of youth arise.

—Nor less the young ones press within, to see

Thy face delighted, and with husk of nuts,

Or crackling holly, or the gummy pine,

Feed thy immortal hunger: cheaply pleased

They gaze delighted, while the leaping flames

Dart like an adder’s tongue upon their prey;

Or touch with lighted reed thy wreaths of smoke;

Or listen, while the matron sage remarks

Thy bright blue scorching flame and aspect clear,

Denoting frosty skies. Thus pass the hours,

While Winter spends without his idle rage.

—Companion of the solitary man,

From gayer scenes withheld! With thee he sits,

Converses, moralizes; musing asks

How many æras of uncounted time

196 20(6)v 194196

Have rolled away since thy black unctuous food

Was green with vegetative life, and what

This planet then: or marks, in sprightlier mood,

Thy flickering smiles play round the’ illumined room,

And fancies gay discourse, life, motion, mirth,

And half forgets he is a lonely creature.

—Nor less the bashful poet loves to sit

Snug, at the midnight hour, with only thee,

Of his lone musings conscious. Oft he writes,

And blots, and writes again; and oft, by fits,

Gazes intent with eyes of vacancy

On thy bright face; and still at intervals,

Dreading the critic’s scorn, to thee commits,

Sole confidant and safe, his fancies crude.

—O wretched he, with bolts and massy bars

In narrow cell immured, whose green damp walls,

That weep unwholesome dews, have never felt

Thy purifying influence! Sad he sits

Day after day, till in his youthful limbs

Life stagnates, and the hue of hope is fled

From his wan cheek.—And scarce less wretched he—

When wintry winds blow loud and frosts bite keen,—

The dweller of the clay-built tenement,

Poverty-struck, who, heartless, strives to raise

From sullen turf, or stick plucked from the hedge,

The short-lived blaze; while chill around him spreads

The dreary fen, and Ague, sallow-faced,

Stares through the broken pane;—Assist him, ye

On whose warm roofs the sun of plenty shines,

And feel a glow beyond material fire!

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The Caterpillar.

No, helpless thing, I cannot harm thee now;

Depart in peace, thy little life is safe.

For I have scanned thy form with curious eye,

Noted the silver line that streaks thy back,

The azure and the orange that divide

Thy velvet sides; thee, houseless wanderer,

My garment has enfolded, and my arm

Felt the light pressure of thy hairy feet;

Thou hast curled round my finger; from its tip,

Precipitous descent! with stretched out neck,

Bending thy head in airy vacancy,

This way and that, inquiring, thou hast seemed

To ask protection; now, I cannot kill thee.

Yet I have sworn perdition to thy race,

And recent from the slaughter am I come

Of tribes and embryo nations: I have sought

With sharpened eye and persecuting zeal,

Where, folded in their silken webs they lay

Thriving and happy; swept them from the tree

And crushed whole families beneath my foot;

Or, sudden, poured on their devoted heads

The vials of destruction.—This I ’ve done,

Nor felt the touch of pity: but when thou,—

vol. I. 21 198 21(1)v 196198

A single wretch, escaped the general doom,

Making me feel and clearly recognise

Thine individual existence, life,

And fellowship of sense with all that breathes,—

Present’st thyself before me, I relent,

And cannot hurt thy weakness.—So the storm

Of horrid war, o’erwhelming cities, fields,

And peaceful villages, rolls dreadful on:

The victor shouts triumphant; he enjoys

The roar of cannon and the clang of arms,

And urges, by no soft relentings stopped,

The work of death and carnage. Yet should one,

A single sufferer from the field escaped,

Panting and pale, and bleeding at his feet,

Lift his imploring eyes,—the hero weeps;

He is grown human, and capricious Pity,

Which would not stir for thousands, melts for one

With sympathy spontaneous:—’T is not Virtue,

Yet ’t is the weakness of a virtuous mind.

199 21(2)r 197199

On the Death of the Princess Charlotte.

Yes, Briaian mourns, as with electric touch,

For youth, for love, for happiness destroyed,

Her universal population melts

In grief spontaneous, and hard hearts are moved,

And rough, unpolished natures learn to feel

For those they envied, levelled in the dust

By Fate’s impartial stroke; and pulpits sound

With vanity and woe to earthly goods,

And urge and dry the tear.—Yet one there is

Who midst this general burst of grief remains

In strange tranquillity; whom not the stir

And long-drawn murmurs of the gathering crowd,

That by his very windows trail the pomp

Of hearse, and blazoned arms, and long array

Of sad funereal rites, nor the loud groans

And deep-felt anguish of a husband’s heart,

Can move to mingle with this flood one tear:

In careless apathy, perhaps in mirth,

He wears the day. Yet is he near in blood,

The very stem on which this blossom grew,

And at his knees she fondled in the charm

And grace spontaneous which alone belongs

200 21(2)v 198200

To untaught infancy:—Yet, O forbear!

Nor deem him hard of heart; for awful, struck

By Heaven’s severest visitation, sad,

Like a scathed oak amidst the forest trees,

Lonely he stands;—leaves bud, and shoot, and fall;

He holds no sympathy with living nature

Or time’s incessant change. Then in this hour,

While pensive thought is busy with the woes

And restless change of poor humanity,

Think then, O think of him, and breathe one prayer,

From the full tide of sorrow spare one tear,

For him who does not weep!

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The Wake of the King of Spain. The kings of Spain for nine days after death are placed sitting in robes of state with their attendants around them, and solemnly summoned by the proper officers to their meals and their amusements, as if living.

Arrayed in robes of regal state,

But stiff and cold, the monarch sate;

In gorgeous vests, his chair beside,

Stood prince and peer, the nation’s pride;

And paladin and high-born dame

Their place amid the circle claim:

And wands of office lifted high,

And arms and blazoned heraldry,—

All mute like marble statues stand,

Nor raise the eye, nor move the hand:

No voice, no sound to stir the air,

The silence of the grave is there.

The portal opens—hark, a voice!

Come forth, O king! O king, rejoice!

The bowl is filled, the feast is spread,

Come forth, O king!—The king is dead.

The bowl, the feast, he tastes no more,

The feast of life for him is o’er.

21* 202 21(3)v 200202

Again the sounding portals shake,

And speaks again the voice that spake:

The sun is high, the sun is warm,

Forth to the field the gallants swarm,

The foaming bit the courser champs,

His hoof the turf impatient stamps;

Light on their steeds the hunters spring:

The sun is high—Come forth, O king!

Along these melancholy walls

In vain the voice of pleasure calls:

The horse may neigh, and bay the hound,—

He hears no more; his sleep is sound.

Retire;—once more the portals close;

Leave, leave him to his dread repose.

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The Baby-House.

Dear Agatha, I give you joy,

And much admire your pretty toy,

A mansion in itself complete

And fitted to give guests a treat;

With couch and table, chest and chair

The bed or supper to prepare;

We almost wish to change ourselves

To fairy forms of tripping elves,

To press the velvet couch and eat

From tiny cups the sugared meat.

I much suspect that many a sprite

Inhabits it at dead of night;

That, as they dance, the listening ear

The pat of fairy feet might hear;

That, just as you have said your prayers,

They hurry-scurry down the stairs:

And you’ll do well to try to find

Tester or ring they’ve left behind.

But think not, Agatha, you own

That toy, a Baby-house, alone;

For many a sumptuous one is found

To press an ampler space of ground.

The broad-based Pyramid that stands

Casting its shade in distant lands,

204 21(4)v 202204

Which asked some mighty nation’s toil

With mountain-weight to press the soil,

And there has raised its head sublime

Through æras of uncounted time,—

Its use if asked, ’t is only said,

A Baby-house to lodge the dead.

Nor less beneath more genial skies

The domes of pomp and folly rise,

Whose sun through diamond windows streams,

While gems and gold reflect his beams;

Where tapestry clothes the storied wall,

And fountains spout and waters fall;

The peasant faints beneath his load,

Nor tastes the grain his hands have sowed,

While scarce a nation’s wealth avails

To raise thy Baby-house, Versailles.

And Baby-houses oft appear

On British ground, of prince or peer;

Awhile their stately heads they raise,

The’ admiring traveller stops to gaze;

He looks again—where are they now?

Gone to the hammer or the plough:

Then trees, the pride of ages, fall,

And naked stands the pictured wall;

And treasured coins from distant lands

Must feel the touch of sordid hands;

And gems, of classic stores the boast,

Fall to the cry of—Who bids most?

Then do not, Agatha, repine

That cheaper Baby-house is thine.

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Logogriph.

For man’s support I came at first from earth,

But man perverts the purpose of my birth;

Beneath his plastic hand new forms I take,

And either sex my services partake;

The flowing lawn in stricter folds I hold,

And bind in chains unseen each swelling fold;

The band beneath the double chin I grace,

And formal plaits that edge the Quaker’s face:

By me great Bess, who used her maids to cuff,

Shone in the dignity of full-quilled ruff.—

Such is my whole;—but, parted and disjoined,

New wonders in my varying form you’ll find.

What makes the cit look big with conscious worth;

What bursts from pale surprise or boisterous mirth;

The sweep Rialto forms, or your fair brow—

The fault to youthful valour we allow;

A word by which possession we denote,

A letter high in place and first in note;

What guards the beauty from the scorching ray;

What little master first is taught to say;

Great Nature’s rival, handmaid, sometimes foe;

The most pathetic counterpart of Oh!

The whiskered pilferer and her foe demure;

The lamps unbought which light the houseless poor;

206 21(5)v 204206

What bore famed heroes through the ranks of war;

What’s heard when falls from high the ponderous jar;

What holy Paul did at Gamaliel’s feet—

What Bavius writes, what schoolboys love to eat;

Of eager gamesters what decides the fate;

The homely rough support of Britain’s state;

What, joined to been, is fatal to a toast;

What guards the sailor from the shelving coast;

The stage whence villians make their last harangue;

What in your head and bones gives many a pang;

What introduces long-tailed similes;

A preposition that to place agrees;

A stately animal in forests bred,

A tree that lifts on high its lofty head;

What best unbinds the weary student’s mind

A beauteous fish in northern lakes we find;

A grateful blemish on a soldier’s breast:—

All these are in my single name exprest.

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Riddle.

From rosy bowers we issue forth,

From east to west, from south to north,

Unseen, unfelt, by night, by day,

Abroad we take our airy way:

We foster love and kindle strife,

The bitter and the sweet of life:

Piercing and sharp, we wound like steel;

Now, smooth as oil, those wounds we heal:

Not strings of pearl are valued more,

Or gems enchased in golden ore;

Yet thousands of us every day,

Worthless and vile are thrown away.

Ye wise, secure with bars of brass

The double doors through which we pass;

For, once escaped, back to our cell

No human art can us compel.

208 21(6)v 206208

Enigma.

To the Ladies.

Hard is my stem and dry, no root is found

To draw nutritious juices from the ground;

Yet of your ivory fingers’ magic touch

The quickening power and strange effect is such,

My shrivelled trunk a sudden shade extends,

And from rude storms your tender frame defends;

A hundred times a day my head is seen

Crowned with a floating canopy of green;

An hundred times, as struck with sudden blight,

The spreading verdure withers to the sight.

Not Jonah’s gourd by power unseen was made

So soon to flourish, and so soon to fade.

Unlike the Spring’s gay race, I flourish most

When groves and gardens all their bloom have lost;

Lift my green head against the rattling hail,

And brave the driving snows and freezing gale;

And faithful lovers oft, when storms impend,

Beneath my friendly shade together bend,

There join their heads within the green recess,

And in the close-wove covert nearer press.

But lately am I known to Britain’s isle,

Enough—You’ve guessed—I see it by your smile.

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Riddle.

This creature, though extremely thin,

In shape is almost square;

Has many heads, on which ne’er grew

One single lock of hair.

Yet several of their tribe there are,

Whose case you must bewail,

Of whom in truth it may be said

They’ve neither head nor tail.

In purer times, ere vice prevailed,

They met with due regard,

The wholesome counsels that they gave,

With reverence were heard.

To marriages and funerals

Their presence added grace,

And though the king himself were by,

They took the highest place.

Their business is to stir up men

A constant watch to keep;

Instead of which,—O sad reverse,—

They make them fall asleep.

vol. I. 22 210 22(1)v 208210

Not so in former times it was,

Howe’er it came to pass;

Though they their company ne’er left

Till empty was the glass.

The moderns can’t be charged with this,

But may their foes defy,

To prove such practices on them,

Though they’re extremely dry.

211 22(2)r 209211

Prologue to a Drama,

Performed by a Family Party on the Anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. C.’s Marriage

To wake the soul by tender strokes of art,

To raise the genius, and to mend the heart,—

Hold, hold! that’s not my cue, we’ve no intention

By tender strokes to sharpen girls’ invention:

The soul will waken time enough, ne’er fear;

No lines shall rouse the slumbering passions here.

O! ever sacred be the deep repose

Which Youth, on Innocence’ pure bosom, knows;

Before a wish, a throb, a care, have taught

The pangs of feeling or the lines of thought.

O happy period! soon to pass away,

Soon will the swelling gales assert their sway,

And drive the vessel from the sheltered port,—

O guide it Heaven!—of winds and waves the sport.

Nor yet to raise the genius is our aim,

With Shakspeare’s high-wrought scenes and words of flame.

A little story, drawn from fairy lore,

A nursery tale, this evening we explore:

To mend the heart, indeed we mean to try,

And show what poison lurks in flattery.

’T is true our hero was a prince—what then!

Believe me, Flattery stoops to common men.

212 22(2)v 210212

A little dose, made up with skill and care,

A grain or two of incense, all can bear:

’T is life’s first rule,—by complaisance we live;

All flatter all, and to receive we give.

Myself, for instance, am sent here to-night

With soothing speech your favour to invite;

And when our piece is done, perhaps e’en you,

My gentle auditors, may flatter too,

And make us boast our talents and our skill,

When all the merit is in your good will.

But there’s a theme which asks a verse this day,

Where Flattery has no power her tints to lay;

This hallowed day, in Hymen’s golden bands,

Which joined consenting hearts and willing hands.

How many years ago should any ask,

Look round,—to count them is an easy task;

Each tiptoe girl, and each aspiring boy,

Date, as they pass, the years of love and joy.

O happy state! where blessings number years,

And smiles are only quenched in more delicious tears.

Here, should my willing lips the theme pursue,

And draw the lovely scene in colours due,

Paint the well-ordered home, the sacred seat

Where social joys and active virtues meet;

These wield in love, and those in love obey

The peaceful sceptre of domestic sway;

Where sparkling Fancy weaves her airy dream,

And Science sheds around her steady beam,—

Each answering heart the faithful sketch would own,

And glow with feelings raised by truth alone.

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Lines,

Written in a Young Lady’s Album of Different-Coloured Paper.

Life’s chequered scenes these varied leaves display,

Pure white, and tenderest blush, and fading gray:—

The rosy tints of morning will not last,

And youth’s gay flattering season soon is past.

O may thy gentle breast no changes know,

But such as from time’s smoothest current flow;

No cares, but those whose mellowing influence steals

Mild o’er the’ expansive heart that thinks and feels;

And with affection tried, experienced truth

Tint the white page of innocence and youth!

May Love for thee exert his fullest power,

And gild with sunniest gleams life’s latest hour!

And friendship, health, and pleasure long be thine,

When cold the heart that pens this feeble line!

22* 214 22(3)v 212214

To a Friend.

May never more of pensive melancholy

Within thy heart, beneath thy roof appear,

Than just to break the charm of idle folly,

And prompt for other’s woes the melting tear;

No more than just that tender gloom to spread

Where thy beloved Muses wont to stray,

To lift the thought from this low earthy bed,

Or bid hope languish for a brighter day;

And deeper sink within thy feeling heart

Love’s pleasing wounds, or friendship’s polished dart!

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Dejection.

When sickness clouds the languid eye,

And seeds of sharp diseases fly

Swift through the vital frame;

Rich drugs are torn from earth and sea,

And balsam drops from every tree,

To quench the parching flame.

But oh! what opiate can assuage

The throbbing breast’s tumultuous rage,

Which mingling passions tear!

What art the wounds of grief can bind,

Or soothe the sick impatient mind

Beneath corroding care!

Not all the potent herbs that grow

On purple heath, or mountain’s brow,

Can banished peace restore;

In vain the spring of tears to dry,

For purer air or softer sky

We quit our native shore.

Friendship, the richest balm that flows,

Was meant to heal our sharpest woes,

But runs not always pure;

216 22(4)v 214216

And Love—has sorrows of his own,

Which not an herb beneath the moon

Is found of power to cure.

Soft Pity, mild dejected maid,

With tenderest hand applies her aid

To dry the frequent tear;

But her own griefs, of finer kind,

Too deeply wound the feeding mind

With anguish more severe.

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To Mrs. Marissal: 17791779.

Whither, whither, wearied dove,

Wilt thou fly to seek thy rest?

Beat with many a heavy storm,

Where repose thy tender breast?

Hither, hither, gentle dove,

Bend thy flight and build thy home;

Here repose thy tender breast,

Fix thy foot, and never roam.

Welcome, welcome, soft-eyed dove,

To the sheltering low-roofed cot,

Leave the splendid city’s throng,

Meekly kiss thy quiet lot.

Low-roofed cots and whispering groves

Suit thy pensive sweetness best;

Health shall bloom, and Peace shall smile

Round thy small but downy nest.

Try thy thrilling notes once more,

Plume again thy ruffled wing;

With thy sister turtles coo,

Drink at Pleasure’s native spring.

218 22(5)v 216218

Epitaph on the Same.

Farewell, mild saint!—meek child of love, farewell!

Ill can this stone thy finished virtues tell.

Rest, rest in peace! the task of life is o’er;

Sorrows shall sting, and sickness waste no more.

But hard our task from one so loved to part,

While fond remembrance clings round every heart,—

Hard to resign the sister, friend, and wife,

And all that cheers, and all that softens life.

Farewell! for thee the gates of bliss unclose,

And endless joy succeeds to transient woes.

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To Mr. Bowring,

On His Poetical Translations from Various Languages.

Bowring, the music of thy polished strains

Through every tongue its equal power sustains.

To the rude Russ it gives a softer touch,

It melts to mellower sounds the homely Dutch,

With bloodless conquest from each land it bears

The precious spoil of long-recorded years;

And, pleased its holy ardour to diffuse,

With thy own spirit sanctifies the Muse.

Thus, in some window’s deep recesses laid,

The soft Æolian harp its power displayed,

From the shrill east wind and the stormy north

It drew soft airs and gentle breathings forth;

Subdued to harmony each passing sound,

Waked with unusual notes the echoes round,

With happy magic softened, as it past,

The hollow whistling of the keenest blast;

And each rude gust that swept the changing sky

Dissolved to strains of liquid harmony.

220 22(6)v 218220

Fragment.

As the poor schoolboy, when the slow-paced months

Have brought vacation times, and one by one

His playmates and companions all are fled

Or ready; and to him—to him alone

No summons comes; he left of all the train,

Paces with lingering step the vacant halls,

No longer murmuring with the Muse’s song,

And silent play-ground scattered wide around

With implements of sports, resounding once

With cheerful shouts; and hears no sound of wheels

To bear him to his father’s bosom home;

For, conscious though he be of time misspent,

And heedless faults and much amiss, yet hopes

A father’s pardon and a father’s smile

Blessing his glad return…. Thus I

Look to the hour when I shall follow those

That are at rest before me.

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Octogenary Reflections.

Say, ye who through this round of eighty years

Have proved its joys and sorrows, hopes and fears,—

Say, what is life, ye veterans, who have trod,

Step following step, its flowery, thorny road?

Enough of good to kindle strong desire,

Enough of ill to damp the rising fire,

Enough of love and fancy, joy and hope,

To fan desire and give the passions scope,

Enough of disappointment, sorrow, pain,

To seal the wise man’s sentence, All is vain,—

And quench the wish to live those years again.

Science for man unlocks her various store,

And gives enough to urge the wish for more;

Systems and suns lie open to his gaze,

Nature invites his love, and God his praise;

Yet doubt and ignorance with his feelings sport,

And Jacob’s ladder is some rounds too short.

Yet still to humble hope enough is given

Of light from reason’s lamp, and light from heaven,

To teach us what to follow, what to shun,

To bow the head and say, Thy will be done!

vol. I. 23 222 23(1)v 220222

The Death of the Virtuous.

Sweet is the scene when Virtue dies!—

When sinks a righteous soul to rest,

How mildly beam the closing eyes,

How gently heaves the’ expiring breast!

So fades a summer cloud away;

So sinks the gale when storms are o’er;

So gently shuts the eye of day;

So dies a wave along the shore.

Triumphant smiles the victor brow,

Fanned by some angel’s purple wing;—

Where is, O Grave! thy victory now?

And where, insidious Death! thy sting?

Farewell, conflicting joys and fears,

Where light and shade alternate dwell;

How bright the’ unchanging morn appears!

Farewell, inconstant world, Farewell!

Its duty done,—as sinks the clay,

Light from its load the spirit flies;

While heaven and earth combine to say,

Sweet is the scene when Virtue dies!

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Hymns.

Hymn I.

Jehovah reigns: let every nation hear,

And at his footstool bow with holy fear;

Let heaven’s high arches echo with his name,

And the wide peopled earth his praise proclaim;

Then send it down to hell’s deep glooms resounding,

Through all her caves in dreadful murmurs sounding.

He rules with wide and absolute command

O’er the broad ocean and the steadfast land:

Jehovah reigns, unbounded, and alone,

And all creation hangs beneath his throne:

He reigns alone; let no inferior nature

Usurp, or share the throne of the Creator.

He saw the struggling beams of infant light

Shoot through the massy gloom of ancient night;

His spirit hushed the elemental strife,

And brooded o’er the kindling seeds of life:

Seasons and months began their long procession,

And measured o’er the year in bright succession.

224 23(2)v 222224

The joyful sun sprung up the’ ethereal way,

Strong as a giant, as a bridegroom gay;

And the pale moon diffused her shadowy light

Superior o’er the dusky brow of night;

Ten thousand glittering lamps the skies adorning,

Numerous as dew-drops from the womb of morning.

Earth’s blooming face with rising flowers he drest,

And spread a verdant mantle o’er her breast;

Then from the hollow of his hand he pours

The circling water round her winding shores,

The new-born world in their cool arms embracing,

And with soft murmurs still her banks caressing.

At length she rose complete in finished pride,

All fair and spotless, like a virgin bride;

Fresh with untarnished lustre as she stood,

Her Maker blessed his work, and called it good;

The morning-stars with joyful acclamation

Exulting sang, and hailed the new creation.

Yet this fair world, the creature of a day,

Though built by God’s right hand, must pass away;

And long oblivion creep o’er mortal things,

The fate of empires, and the pride of kings:

Eternal night shall veil their proudest story,

And drop the curtain o’er all human glory.

The sun himself, with weary clouds opprest,

Shall in his silent dark pavilion rest:

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His golden urn shall broke and useless lie,

Amidst the common ruins of the sky;

The stars rush headlong in the wild commotion,

And bathe their glittering foreheads in the ocean.

But fixed, O God! for ever stands thy throne;

Jehovah reigns, a universe alone;

The’ eternal fire that feeds each vital flame,

Collected, or diffused, is still the same.

He dwells within his own unfathomed essence,

And fills all space with his unbounded presence.

But oh! our highest notes the theme debase,

And silence is our least injurious praise:

Cease, cease your songs, the daring flight control,

Revere him in the stillness of the soul;

With silent duty meekly bend before him,

And deep within your inmost hearts adore him.

Hymn II.

Praise to God, immortal praise,

Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat, the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.—Habakkuk iii. 17, 18.

For the love that crowns our days;

Bounteous source of every joy,

Let thy praise our tongues employ;

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For the blessings of the field,

For the stores the gardens yield,

For the vine’s exalted juice,

For the generous olive’s use;

Flocks that whiten all the plain,

Yellow sheaves of ripened grain;

Clouds that drop their fattening dews,

Suns that temperate warmth diffuse;

All that Spring with bounteous hand

Scatters o’er the smiling land:

All that liberal Autumn pours

From her rich o’erflowing stores:

These to thee, my God, we owe;

Source whence all our blessings flow;

And for these my soul shall raise

Grateful vows and solemn praise.

Yet should rising whirlwinds tear

From its stem the ripening ear;

Should the fig-tree’s blasted shoot

Drop her green untimely fruit;

Should the vine put forth no more,

Nor the olive yield her store;

Though the sickening flocks should fall,

And the herds desert the stall;

Should thine altered hand restrain

The early and the latter rain;

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Blast each opening bud of joy,

And the rising year destroy:

Yet to thee my soul should raise

Grateful vows, and solemn praise;

And, when every blessing’s flown,

Love thee—for thyself alone.

Hymn III.

For Easter Sunday.

Again the Lord of life and light

Awakes the kindling ray;

Unseals the eyelids of the morn,

And pours increasing day.

O what a night was that, which wrapt

The heathen world in gloom!

O what a sun which broke this day,

Triumphant from the tomb!

This day be grateful homage paid,

And loud hosannas sung;

Let gladness dwell in every heart,

And praise on every tongue.

Ten thousand differing lips shall join

To hail this welcome morn,

Which scatters blessings from its wings,

To nations yet unborn.

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Jesus, the friend of human kind,

With strong compassion moved,

Descended like a pitying God,

To save the souls he loved.

The powers of darkness leagued in vain

To bind his soul in death;

He shook their kingdom when he fell,

With his expiring breath.

Not long the toils of hell could keep

The hope of Judah’s line;

Corruption never could take hold

On aught so much divine.

And now his conquering chariot-wheels

Ascend the lofty skies;

While broke beneath his powerful cross,

Death’s iron sceptre lies.

Exalted high at God’s right hand,

The Lord of all below,

Through him is pardoning love dispensed,

And boundless blessings flow.

And still for erring, guilty man,

A brother’s pity flows;

And still his bleeding heart is touched

With memory of our woes.

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To thee, my Saviour and my King,

Glad homage let me give;

And stand prepared like thee to die,

With thee that I may live.

Hymn IV.

Behold, where breathing love divine,

Our dying Master stands!

His weeping followers gathering round,

Receive his last commands.

From that mild teacher’s parting lips

What tender accents fell!

The gentle precept which he gave,

Became its author well.

Blest is the man whose softening heart

Feels all another’s pain;

To whom the supplicating eye

Was never raised in vain.

Whose breast expands with generous warmth

A stranger’s woes to feel;

And bleeds in pity o’er the wound

He wants the power to heal.

He spreads his kind supporting arms

To every child of grief;

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His secret bounty largely flows,

And brings unasked relief.

To gentle offices of love

His feet are never slow:

He views through mercy’s melting eye

A brother in a foe.

Peace from the bosom of his God,

My peace to him I give;

And when he kneels before the throne,

His trembling soul shall live.

To him protection shall be shown,

And mercy from above

Descend on those who thus fulfill

The perfect law of love.

Hymn V.

Awake, my soul! lift up thine eyes,

See where thy foes against thee rise,

In long array, a numerous host;

Awake, my soul! or thou art lost.

Here giant Danger threatening stands

Mustering his pale terrific bands;

There Pleasure’s silken banners spread,

And willing souls are captive led.

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See where rebellious passions rage,

And fierce desires and lusts engage;

The meanest foe of all the train

Has thousands and ten thousands slain.

Thou tread’st upon enchanted ground,

Perils and snares beset thee round;

Beware of all, guard every part,

But most, the traitor in thy heart.

Come then, my soul, now learn to wield

The weight of thine immortal shield;

Put on the armour from above

Of heavenly truth and heavenly love.

The terror and the charm repell,

And powers of earth, and powers of hell;

The Man of Calvary triumphed here;

Why should his faithful followers fear?

Hymn VI.

Pious Friendship.

How blest the sacred tie that binds

In union sweet according minds!

How swift the heavenly course they run,

Whose hearts, whose faith, whose hopes are one!

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To each, the soul of each how dear,

What jealous love, what holy fear!

How doth the generous flame within

Refine from earth and cleanse from sin!

Their streaming tears together flow

For human guilt and mortal woe;

Their ardent prayers together rise,

Like mingling flames in sacrifice.

Together both they seek the place

Where God reveals his awful face;

How high, how strong, their raptures swell,

There’s none but kindred souls can tell.

Nor shall the glowing flame expire

When nature droops her sickening fire;

Then shall they meet in realms above,

A heaven of joy—because of love.

Hymn VII.

Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Come, said Jesus’ sacred voice,

Come and make my paths your choice:

I will guide you to your home;

Weary pilgrim, hither come!

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Thou, who houseless, sole, forlorn,

Long hast borne the proud world’s scorn,

Long hast roamed the barren waste,—

Weary pilgrim, hither haste!

Ye who tossed on beds of pain,

Seek for ease, but seek in vain,

Ye whose swollen and sleepless eyes

Watch to see the morning rise;

Ye, by fiercer anguish torn,

In remorse for guilt who mourn;

Here repose your heavy care,

A wounded spirit who can bear!

Sinner, come! for here is found

Balm that flows for every wound;

Peace, that ever shall endure,

Rest eternal, sacred, sure.

Hymn VIII.

The world is not their friend, nor the world’s law.

Lo where a crowd of pilgrims toil

Yon craggy steeps among!

Strange their attire, and strange their mein,

As wild they press along.

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Their eyes with bitter streaming tears

Now bend towards the ground,

Now rapt, to heaven their looks they raise,

And bursts of song resound.

And hark! a voice from ’midst the throng

Cries, Stranger, wouldst thou know

Our name, our race, our destined home,

Our cause of joy or woe,—

Our country is Emmanuel’s land,

We seek that promised soil;

The songs of Zion cheer our hearts,

While strangers here we toil.

Oft do our eyes with joy o’erflow,

And oft are bathed in tears;

Yet nought but heaven our hopes can raise,

And nought but sin our fears.

The flowers that spring along the road,

We scarcely stoop to pluck;

We walk o’er beds of shining ore,

Nor waste one wishful look:

We tread the path our Master trod,

We bear the cross he bore;

And every thorn that wounds our feet,

His temples pierced before:

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Our powers are oft dissolved away

In ecstasies of love;

And while our bodies wander here,

Our souls are fixed above:

We purge our mortal dross away,

Refining as we run;

But while we die to earth and sense,

Our heaven is begun.

Hymn IX.

Joy to the followers of the Lord!

Thus saith the sure, the eternal word

Not of earth the joy it brings,

Tempered in celestial springs:

’T is the joy of pardoned sin,

When conscience cries, ’T is well within;

’T is the joy that fills the breast

When the passions sink to rest:

’T is a joy that seated deep,

Leaves not when we sigh and weep;

It spreads itself in virtuous deeds,

With sorrow sighs, in pity bleeds.

Stern and awful are its tones

When the patriot martyr groans,

And the throbbing pulse beats high

To rapture, mixed with agony.

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A tenderer, softer form it wears,

Dissolved in love, dissolved in tears,

When humble souls a Saviour greet,

And sinners clasp the mercy-seat.

’T is joy e’en here! a budding flower,

Struggling with snows and storm and shower,

And waits the moment to expand,

Transplanted to its native land.

Hymn X.

A Pastoral Hymn.

Gentle pilgrim, tell me why

Dost thou fold thine arms and sigh,

And wistful cast thine eyes around?—

Whither, pilgrim, art thou bound?

The road to Zion’s gates I seek;

If thou canst inform me, speak.

Keep yon right-hand path with care,

Though crags obstruct, and brambles tear;

You just discern a narrow track,—

Enter there, and turn not back.

Say where that pleasant path-way leads,

Winding down yon flowery meads?

Songs and dance the way beguiles,

Every face is drest in smiles.

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Shun with care that flowery way;

’T will lead thee, pilgrim, far astray.

Guide or counsel do I need?

Pilgrim, he who runs may read.

Is the way that I must keep,

Crossed by waters wide and deep?

Did it lead through flood and fire,

Thou must not stop—thou must not tire.

Till I have my journey past,

Tell me will the daylight last?

Will the sky be bright and clear

Till the evening shades appear?

Though the sun now rides so high,

Clouds may veil the evening sky;

Fast sinks the sun, fast wears the day,

Thou must not stop—thou must not stay:

God speed thee, pilgrim, on thy way!

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Sabbath Hymns.

Hymn XI.

Sleep, sleep to day, tormenting cares

Of earth and folly born!

Ye shall not dim the light that streams

From this celestial morn.

Tomorrow will be time enough

To feel your harsh controul;

Ye shall not violate this day,

The sabbath of my soul.

Sleep, sleep for ever, guilty thoughts!

Let fires of vengeance die;

And, purged from sin, may I behold

A God of purity!

Hymn XII.

When, as returns this solemn day,

Man comes to meet his maker God,

What rites, what honours shall he pay?

How spread his sovereign’s praise abroad?

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From marble domes and gilded spires

Shall curling clouds of incense rise?

And gems, and gold, and garlands deck

The costly pomp of sacrifice?

Vain sinful man! Creation’s lord

Thy golden offerings well may spare;

But give thy heart, and thou shalt find,

Here dwells a God who heareth prayer.

End of the First Volume.