i π1r

Gresford Vale;


and
Other Poems.

ii π1v 01 A1r

Gresford Vale,


and
Other Poems.


By
M. Holford,
author of Fanny and Selima.

London:
Printed for Hookman and Carpenter, No. 14, Old Bond Street.
17981798.

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Gresford Vale:

Inscribed to Mrs. Parry and Mrs. Ellen Warrington.

Well pleas’d, for once I quit the long-lov’d ſide

Of thy meand’ring flood, ſalubrious tide,

Which refluent glides to meet the ſtormy main,

And fraught with cheering breezes flows again,

Pellucid Deva! May thy curling ſtream

Roll on celebrious through the poet’s theme;

Thy ſtream ſo fam’d, to diſtant ages trac’d,

By ſceptres Cheſter, in the daies of King Edgar, was in moſt flouriſhing eſtate, where he had the homage of eight other kings, who rowed his barge from St. John’s to his palace, himſelf holding the helm as their ſupream. —Speed’s Theatre of Great Britain. honour’d, and by beauty This city ……was again rebuilt by Edelfleada, the Mercian lady.—Speed. grac’d;

Which lent a ſpark to Milton’s ſacred fire,

A ſpark, relumin’d on the graceful lyre, See Miſs Seward’s beautiful poem on Llangollen Vale.

Whence Sapphic ſtrains diffuſe, through later days,

The dulcet effluence of the Leſbian bays.

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A while, farewell to Ceſtria’s ancient walls,

Where jocund Mirth her willing vot’ries calls

To join the dance, or lift the vocal ſtrain,

To ſhare thoſe calm delights, whence no foul ſtain,

No blot to ſcare reflection’s left behind,

But ſocial intercourſe draws mind to mind.

The errant Muſe a while prefers to dwell

With Contemplation in her moſs-grown cell;

O’er the brown heath, or ſilent copſe to ſtray,

Or reſt at noontide on the new-turn’d hay;

At eve to liſten to the ſhepherd’s tale,

And from the treaſures of the cleanly pail

(Unlike the bowl with ſmiling dangers fraught),

From Hebe’s hand accept a healthful draught;

Culling from ev’ry ſweet of Nature’s ſtore,

She feaſts, and feels a growing taſte for more:

Till to her uſe, appropriate and deſign’d,

By Nature ſoften’d, and by Art refin’d,

She owns a banquet for each finer ſenſe,

And ev’ry votive meed its recompence.

The curious eye, no more in endleſs ſpace

Fatigues itſelf, in fruitleſs hope to trace

The ſmiling imag’ry it fondly loves,

Nor with exhauſtleſs Fancy aching roves.

Gresford, emboſom’d in thy calm receſs,

The ſylvan deities, diſpos’d to bleſs,

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To ſooth and tranquillize the ſoul, recline;

Whilſt Pleaſure, rural nymph, before their ſhrine

The oaten reed attunes to artleſs lays,

In metre poor, but rich in heartfelt praiſe.

Here bluſhing Nature in her modeſt veſt,

Contented only to delight, is dreſs’d

With ſtudied negligence and graceful care;

As at the toilet’s rites, the conſcious fair,

When firſt Love’s ſubtile flame her boſom warms,

Lends ſecret aid to her ſeducing charms,

Reſigns coquetry’s darling wiſh to teaze,

And, deigning to be happy, ſtoops to pleaſe.

In Gresford’s Vale no gariſh tints invite,

Attract with wonders, and with perils fright:

Here no huge cliffs, majeſtic, pierce the clouds,

Nor roaring billows chaſe the ſtubborn ſhrowds:

No rocky fragments, buoy’d in trembling ſtate,

On the nice ſcale of undecided fate,

Appal the ſoul, and ſtrike a tranſient ſenſe,

Of all the direful horrors of ſuſpenſe,

Doom’d to appeaſe Apollo’s vengeful ire,

His righteous ſentence on Coronis’ fire:

No hideous howlings from the ſavage den

Aſſail the ear,—nor in the darkſome glen

Lurks the fell band, by force of reaſon (given

As man’s beſt bleſſing by indulgent Heaven)

Made, by perverſion, in his death more apt.

Nor here the mind, in wild amazement rapt,

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Perceives Creation’s awful terrors riſe,

And find, its only recompence—ſurpriſe.

Content, preſiding Genius of the place,

Her eaſy mantle throws with winning grace,

And bids o’er paths diverſified expand

The ſubtle influence of her magic wand,

The boldeſt lines of contraſt’s force to ſeize,

And teach irregularity to pleaſe.

Here blended forms adorn the varied ſcene,

Fearleſsly grand, and ſplendidly ſerene.

As o’er th’ enamell’d mead I raptur’d ſtray,

And the cruſh’d may-flowers mark my ſilent way,

To no poetic god of fictious fame

I pay my vows, or invocate his name.

Should my rude verſe diſgrace the tuneful Nine,

Let Nature guide, and Truth excuſe the line.

Marking old Allen’s courſe, who would not ſay,

The ſtream in rippling eddies likes to play,

Enjoys the birth which bounteous Nature gave,

And loves the bank it is his taſk to lave?

When o’er the broken rock the torrent roams,

And the white froth in louder murmurs foams,

No hoſtile ſounds the liſt’ning ear invade,

’Tis but the babbling of the cool caſcade;

Simply a parting tribute, underſtood,

Accepted off’ring of the grateful flood,

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Ere through the arch he takes his farewell flight,

And winding vallies ſteal him from the ſight.

The paſsing wave, the drooping willow mourns,

Symbol of fleeting time, which ne’er returns.

Mourn on, thou melancholy ſhrub! and bear

Gresford’s ſole emblem of a falling tear.

Ah, Vale belov’d! the eye unfetter’d roves

O’er mountains, dales, green lawns, and ſhady groves;

Beholds each beauty in its proper place,

And takes in all thy little world of grace;

Surveys the ſloping bank, the riſing hill,

Majeſtic turret, and the ruſtic mill;

Purſues the ſky-lark in his ſoaring flight,

Till the denſe ether cheats its eager ſight,

Then ſeeks the warbling fugitive in vain,

While on the ear yet thrills the trembling ſtrain:

Nor leſs delighted, will its ſenſe repoſe

On the trim tulip, and the op’ning roſe:

Or by the ſolitary angler wait

The doubtful proweſs of the treach’rous bait,

Share in his cruel aims, and, anxious grown,

Take half the paltry triumph for its own;

Unmoiſt by pity’s touch, when flound’ring lies,

Prone at its victor’s feet, the ſcaly prize.

Or, pleas’d again on gentler ſcenes to gaze,

Where lambkins ſport and cluſter’d cattle graze,

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Watch o’er the labours of the village ſwain,

The lowlieſt tenant of the neighb’ring plain,

Attend him home, and ſee around him ſmile

The dear conſolers of his day of toil:

Steal through the annals of his homely ſtate,

And ſpy the fountain of his ſofter fate;

(The ſwollen boſom and the grateful tear

Speak from the heart, Benevolence is near:)

Then view the ſtately dome, Arcadian cot,

Which baniſh wonder from his happy lot.

’Tis thine, bright orb, to range from flower to flower,

Pervade the hamlet or ſequeſter’d bower,

Traverſe, unchain’d by arbitrary rules

Of letter’d pedants and ſophiſtic ſchools,

Wander, or ſtay, as divers charms impel,

Glide o’er the hill, or linger in the dell,

Range, as ſome new-diſcover’d trait invites,

From Ceſtria’s ſpires to Cambria’s diſtant heights:

But to how few the gifts divine belong

To bid the garden ſmile, the fields look green in ſong!

Though Truth and Nature are the powers ſublime,

That claim the tribute of untutor’d rhyme,

Scorning the incenſe of unworthy praiſe,

’Tis Truth and Nature that defy my lays:

Yet ah! when to the reptile man ’tis given

By adoration to aſpire to Heaven,

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Heaven, ever gracious, ever prone to ſpare,

Turns not indignant from the ſuppliant’s prayer,

Marks but the zeal which may the action prompt,

Nor weighs the method in the great account.

Though rob’d in honours, let them not diſdain

The honeſt motive of a languid ſtrain:

No grove is blighted by the feeble words,

Nor fades the landſcape as the pen records;

Still ſmiles the wood, unconſcious of the ſtroke,

Unbent the poplar, and unmov’d the oak:

Unhurt the tend’reſt flowret blooms—and e’en

Th’ unfeeling laurel will itſelf look green,

In wonted pride its gayeſt foliage ſpread,

Nor drop one leaf to deck the poet’s head:

Elſe on creation’s wiſer ſons, how hard

Had been the moment that produc’d a bard!

A bard at leaſt, whoſe interdicted quill

Ne’er dipt its point in the Pierian rill:

How many a fallen tower we might deplore,

How many hills would touch the ſkies no more,

Gone, like the baſeleſs fabric of a dream,

If, with his ſhort-liv’d labours, died his theme!

But ſpare the egotiſt, his thoughts recall,

Who, if he quits his ſubject, quits his all.

The Arts, reſign’d to Warrington’s control,

Lend a light touch to decorate the whole;

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Purſue their mother Nature’s ſimple plan,

Nor dare to finiſh, but as ſhe began:

Hence ſprings th’ appropriate thought, the chaſte deſign,

The taſte which few may feel, and none define;

From hence, lov’d Vale, thy magic ſpell we find,

Which ſpreads its witching trammels o’er the mind;

Hence canſt thou all the ſoul’s beſt paſſions ſeize,

And all thoſe paſſions in ſucceſſion pleaſe.

If, firſt in honour, though not firſt obey’d,

Religion, patient, perſecuted maid,

From ſcenes of warfare, ſeeks ſome calm abode,

To pour in peace her oriſons to God,

To chaunt the glories of his hand, ah! where

Are found his works more amplified than here?

Or where can fervent Gratitude attain

A ſpot more hallow’d to erect her fane?

Where cull more ſweets the feſtive wreath to twine?

Where find more tributes to adorn her ſhrine?

E’en Joy, ecſtatic, when he ſtays to chooſe,

Meets here temptations, which he can’t refuſe.

Pity, her active ſpirit may repoſe,

Free from th’ enormity of human woes,

Which with inſatiate roar, and wolfiſh din,

Proclaim themſelves the progeny of Sin:

Yet ſhall ſhe trim her lamp, its flame ſhall live—

Ah! where ſhall Pity’s boſom ceaſe to heave?

Love (though of different aſpect, near allied

To the ſoft paſſion by the mother’s ſide)

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Pours oil, and cheriſhes the lambent heat,

And lends the breaſt new energy to beat:

Love, ab-origine of lawns and groves,

A ſmiling miſchief that unheeded roves,

With bow unbent, and unſuſpected dart,

Till the barb’d point lies rankling in the heart—

Love, but too prone in Gresford’s Vale to dwell,

As eyes downcaſt, and artleſs ſighs will tell,

Though Hymen, ſapient power, has often bound

His healing bandage o’er the bleeding wound.

Friendſhip, who rarely cheers life’s buſy walk,

Where fiend-like Envy, Pride, and Diſcord ſtalk,

With the bleſt influence of her milder rays,

Thoſe tranquil fires, which glow, but never blaze,

Serene as radiant, as unwont to harm

The breaſt congenial, which they deign to warm;

Friendſhip, whoſe pure ſelective ſenſe reveals

All Nature’s richeſt ſtores, elated feels

The home ſhe likes, acknowledges her ſphere,

And, quitting worldly noiſe, repoſes here.

Stranger, behold yon ſhrubs umbrageous, ſpread

Where through their branches peeps yon ſtraw-built ſhed, Mrs. Warrington’s beautiful cottage.

Yon ſly deceiver—nicely form’d to ſcreen

The richer elegance that reigns within:

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So at the midnight maſque the high-born maid,

In Paſtorella’s ſimple garb array’d,

Eludes the glances of inquiring eyes,

Diſplays new charms, and conquers in diſguiſe.

Or let the varying ſcene thy ſteps beguile;

See Britiſh genius rear the loftier pile: Gresford Lodge, the ſeat of J. Parry, Eſq.

The Doric pillars mark the bleſs’d abode

Of ſome benign, ſome tutelary god:

Shelter’d from paſſing ſtorms, or mid-day heat,

Which lend new value in each calm retreat,

Whether they ſaunter in the colonade,

Or reſt recumbent in the beechen ſhade,

Purſue the path the ſiſter Worthies tread,

For there ’tis Friendſhip’s fav’rite taſk to lead.

Wherever Warrington and Parry ſtroll,

Friendſhip commands, and elevates the ſoul;

Friendſhip, who with her lenient hand can heal

Misfortune’s deepeſt wounds, and gently ſteal

All the corroding venom from the heart,

Infus’d by Diſappointment’s iron dart,

Can lend each kindred tie a cloſer fold,

And turn life’s tinſel pleaſures into gold.

Long may the choſen delegates of Heaven,

To whom the charge beneficent is given,

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To guard each acceſs to this fair domain,

Here bid the ſweets of Eden bloom again,

Cruſh ev’ry noxious weed, avert each blighting gale,

Nor ceaſe with bleſs’d effulgence to illume the Vale.

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Sonnet, to Spring.

Now youthful Spring his verdant mantle ſpreads,

And decks in freſh attire the bluſhing meads;

Lambkins begin to play: creation ſmiles,

Save but its faireſt part—one hapleſs maid:

Amynta erſt in winter jocund ſtray’d,

Nor reck’d the low’ring ſky—for Love beguiles

The tempeſt’s rage, and Strephon then was kind.

Chang’d are the ſeaſons—chang’d Amynta’s mind—

For Strephon roves: the ſun on chill deſpair,

As on the froſty Caucaſus, in vain

Sends forth its cheering ray.—A thoughtleſs ſwain

Uſurp’d its influence o’er the conſtant fair:

The wanderer returns—ſtorms diſappear,

And Spring perpetual veſts the happy year.

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Sonnet, to a Summer Evening.

Now day’s laſt purple gilds the evening ſcene,

Now ſounds the ſhepherd’s pipe along the glade,

Mild zephyrs whiſper ’mong the willows green,

Whoſe leafy branches caſt a browner ſhade.

Now with light heart the peaſant homeward hies,

With carols blithe he hails departing day;

The wild roſe dipp’d in Nature’s pureſt dies,

With odours ſweet rewards the ruſtic lay.

Ah! who can contemplate the peaceful cot,

Or ſit beneath yon mountain’s fringed brow,

And view the village ſwain’s contented lot,

Envying the joys which pomp and greatneſs know!

Far from the precincts of the proud and vain

In yon green wood I’ll tune the paſt’ral ſtrain.

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Sonnet, to Autumn.

See now bedropp’d with gold the drizzled plain,

See yellow Autumn cloſe the vernal year,

The peaſant joying in his ſhelter’d grain,

His hopes fulfill’d, and ſtill’d each anxious fear—

The noon-tide of his bliſs!—Let Ev’ning frown,

He bites his hardy cruſt, nor chides the prude,

Nor mocks her duſk attire—though early down

She draws the deep-fring’d graces of her hood:

On him ſhe’ll ſmile, and from his artleſs brows

Wipe off the dew of toil, and gently ſpread

O’er his ſtraw couch the only veil it knows;

While Labour ſtrews freſh poppies round his head—

Labour, chief nurſe of Health, own parent of Repoſe,

Thy gifts outweigh the beſt that ſlothful Greatneſs knows.

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Sonnet, to Winter.

Now Winter lifts his ſable flag on high,

Now o’er the heath the wild winds whiſtle loud,

Nature aghaſt beholds the threat’ning ſky,

And views with torpid fear the boding cloud.

How drear, how deſolate the whiten’d ſcene!

How moans the ſhrill blaſt through the leafleſs trees,

Whilom bedeck’d in many-tinted green,

And gently murm’ring to th’ autumnal breeze!

See with ſlow ſteps along the trackleſs ſnow,

The beggar ſhiv’ring in his tatter’d veſt—

See how the rain-drop beats his hoary brow,

From the bleak froſt how ſhrinks his aged breaſt,—

Sinking beneath cold Penury’s control,

The cheerleſs winter of the frozen ſoul.

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Ode, to Memory.

Haste, Mem’ry, with recording page,

Illumin’d by the torch of Truth,

And teach the feeble voice of Age

To ſing of long-departed youth.

O! let me backward turn mine eyes,

Nor loſe in time thoſe frolic joys,

In roſy wreaths which bound my mind;

By innocence and eaſe, and laughing mirth entwin’d.

O Mem’ry! to my fancy bring

Thoſe hours, when erſt I jocund ſtray’d;

And raptur’d touch’d the Muſes’ ſtring,

At ev’ning in the verdant glade;

Or liſten’d to his friendly voice,

Who early taught my heart a choice:

Bleſs’d be thoſe ſcenes of ſportive folly,

Which knew no gloomy cares, no dim-ey’d melancholy.

Bring back thoſe hours, ſupremely bleſs’d,

When thrilling tranſports fill’d my mind,

When pleaſure warm’d my youthful breaſt,

When gentle Amoret was kind.

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’Twas then I led the active dance,

Or ſportful aim’d the flying lance,

Nor ſaw approach the froſts of age,

Nor Time’s all-conquering ſcythe, and quick-deſtroying rage.

’Twas then I ſtrung the tuneful lyre,

’Twas then enthuſiaſm ſtole,

And, aided by poetic fire,

Enſlav’d at once my glowing ſoul.

’Twas then I call’d upon the Muſe,

Nor did the gentle dame refuſe

To crown my brows with living bays,

And grant the gaudy meed of periſhable praiſe.

Why, Mem’ry, do I court thy aid,

To call back hours of youth and joy,

Who ſtill delight’ſt—O cruel maid!

To daſh thy pleaſures with alloy!

For while I liſten to thy lore,

Retracing ſcenes to paſs no more,

Doſt thou not prompt the riſing ſigh,

And claim the bitter tear for happineſs gone by?

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Rural Pleasures.

Ah! who would quit the woodland ſcene,

The daiſied copſe, the hillock green,

The ruſtic oak’s far-ſpreading ſhade,

The ſylvan beauties of the glade,

The peaceful, ſolitary glen,

For the tumultuous haunts of men!

Give me o’er foreſts wild to ſtray

At mellow eve, or twilight grey,

Or lonely on the ruſſet heath

To taſte the gentle zephyrs’ breath;

Or, liſt’ning to ſome daſhing ſtream,

Purſue the ſoft poetic dream,

Far from the ſcenes of noiſy ſtrife,

And all the ſordid toil of life.

Give me to view the golden ſheaf,

And yellow Autumn’s dropping leaf;

Sad emblem of our drooping kind,

Impreſs’d upon the penſive mind:

To me more pleaſing is the gloom,

Than jocund Spring’s enliv’ning bloom.

When Night her ſable mantle falls,

I’ll ſeek ſome caſtle’s mould’ring walls;

And where the moonlight fairies haunt,

I’ll hear the mournful ſongſtreſs chaunt,

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Reclin’d beneath the green-clad holly,

With Fancy by my ſide, and gentle Melancholy.

Or you, ye gay, to whom belong

The ſportive dance, the mirthful ſong,

Come taſte the fount of rural joy,

Whence pleaſure flows without alloy;

O! quit the worldling’s crowded door

For the light revels of the poor.

See how the hoary-headed ſwain

Smiles o’er his ſtores of yellow grain;

While, gently warbling through the vale,

The milk-maid bears her flowing pail;

And, his light wing on ether borne,

The ſky-lark hails the ruddy morn.

See how the jocund village laſs

Trips in gay meaſures o’er the graſs,

While many a youth and maid advance

To join the joy-inſpiring dance,

The ſocial laugh and glee rebound,

And echo wafts the mirthful ſound:

For pure delight and pleaſure free

Are gifts of thine, Simplicity.

And when dark Winter o’er the land

Extends his deſolating wand,

We’ll creep around the cottage fire,

Liſt’ning to ſome hoary ſire,

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And, ſhrouded from the biting cold,

Hear many a wondrous legend told,

Till Slumber with his heavy mace,

Uſurping fix’d Attention’s place,

Deſcends our weary eyes to cloſe,

And ſhed the balm of ſoft repoſe.

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On the Absence of a Friend.

Ah, ſedge crowned Deva! in murmurings grieve,

And mourn, O ye willows which bend o’er the ſtream,

Ye zephyrs which play on her boſom at eve,

When Cynthia o’erſilvers the wave with her beam.

No more o’er your copſe, as at noon-tide I ſtray,

Or at even’s calm hour, the pure breeze to inhale,

Shall Friendſhip’s ſoft harmony gladden the way,

Or Anna’s lov’d accents be borne on the gale.

Ah! ſwift fleet the moments by flowrets entwin’d

When ev’ry delight by gay fancy is dreſs’d,

When the quick fire of genius illumines the mind,

And ſentiment’s ſigh ſwells the juvenile breaſt.

But when chill’d by old age, and haraſs’d by pains,

When energy’s beam warms our boſoms no more;

When life’s frozen current but creeps through our veins,

And all the deluſions which charm’d us are o’er;

When Pleaſure’s gay wreath ſhall no more deck our brows,

And Health’s blooming roſe-bud is fled from the cheek;

In vain do we ſigh for the hour of repoſe,

In vain for the reſt of oblivion we ſeek.

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’Tis thus that old Time, who ne’er lingers with Joy,

My Anna conveys to ſome happier ſhore,

Ah! how ſhall my boſom ſuppreſs the fond ſigh,

When, Deva, thy wave may behold her no more!

But Mem’ry’s ſoft magic oft ſooths the griev’d mind,

When pleaſures long paſt to our view it conveys;

Then deep in my heart be the moments enſhrin’d,

When Anna firſt ſmil’d on my efforts to pleaſe.

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Sonnet. the Rose-bud: Addressed to Miss S――L――R, on Leaving School.

Go, lovely bud, and on thy native air

Shed the rich treaſure of thy op’ning ſweets;

Rejoin thy parent ſtem, and ſafely there

Adorn the faireſt bank of Pleaſure’s feats:

There may no weed deſtructive taint the gale,

Lurking in Pleaſure’s paths—may flowrets pour

Their balmy effluence, and thoſe ſweets exhale,

Whence Hybla culls her aromatic ſtore.

As when thou erſt in diſtant regions grew,

May gentle woodbines’ ſhelt’ring branches twine

Around thy ſtalk—ſharing ambroſial dew,

In pleached tenderneſs repaid by thine:

Till Cupid, ſeizing the predeſtin’d hour,

For life tranſplants thee in the myrtle bower.

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The Anchoret.

Now o’er the brown foreſt the wind whiſtled ſhrill,

And low wav’d the firs to the loud-ſcreaming blaſt,

Deep groan’d the raſh torrent which ſwept o’er the hill,

And ſullenly croak’d the hoarſe bird as it paſs’d.

On the rock’s craggy ſummit the Anchoret ſtood,

Where droop’d the lone willow deſpoil’d of its green;

His ſighs join’d the murmurs which broke from the flood,

And wildly he gaz’d on the deſolate ſcene.

O! welcome, bleak winds, to my age-ſtricken breaſt,

And dear to my mind is the deepening gloom;

Your horrors ſhall rock my ſad ſoul to its reſt,

And guide my ſlow ſteps to the mouldering tomb.

Now youth’s gaudy colours are faded away,

And life’s ſilly viſions no longer are bright;

Dim twilight ſucceeds to the radiance of day,

And all ſhall be wrapp’d in the mantle of night.

For frail as the dewdrop which hangs on the thorn,

Are the pleaſures which Hope ſtill preſents to the heart:

The drop, by a blaſt from the ſpray may be borne,

And Hope be expell’d by Misfortune’s keen dart.

27 D2r 27

For know, giddy youth, though by Fortune careſs’d,

Though Pleaſure ſtill woos thee, her banquet to ſhare,

Ere Death ſhall have laid the green turf on thy breaſt,

Thy brow ſhall be mark’d by the wrinkles of Care.

For Pleaſure ſtill haſtens thy graſp to elude,

And loves, like a meteor, at diſtance to ſhine;

Though courted with warmth, and with ardour purſued,

Yet vain is the chaſe, for ſhe ne’er ſhall be thine.

For mild as the ſunbeam that tinges the morn,

She roſe on my dawn, and a chaplet ſhe wove;

And ſmiling, ſhe bade it my temples adorn,

And taught my light heart her allurements to love.

But quickly I wak’d, and the phantom was fled,

The viſion retir’d with the ſummer of youth:

I hail the loud tempeſt which howls round my head;

Its language, though rude, is the language of truth.

Now Winter’s dark vapours are cloſing around,

And the thickening blaſt ſpends its rage on my brow:

O! why ſhould I ſtart at the ominous ſound,

Which gently preſages an end to my woe?

D2 28 D2v 28

Ode, to Solitude.

Whether in ſome moſs-fringed cell,

Or muſing in the leaf-clad bower,

To thee devote, I tune my ſhell,

And woo thee at the ſilent hour,

O nymph divine! ſweet Solitude!

Who oft, beneath ſome cottage rude,

Pour’ſt thy wild ſtrains to peaceful Even,

With Contemplation mild, her eyes uplift’ to Heaven.

Oft, when by many a care oppreſs’d,

To thee my ſorrowing heart I’ve borne,

To thee alone my woes confeſs’d,

At grey-ey’d eve or bluſhing morn;

Or when the waining orb of day

Gilds the far mountain with his ray;

Or ſinking low beneath the wave,

Quenches his radiant beam in Ocean’s darkſome cave.

Or when the diſtant village bell

In ſullen murmurs greets mine ear,

I ſeek thee in the primroſe dell,

And drop with thee the ſilent tear;

29 D3r 29

Unmark’d by Rumour’s buſy tongue,

Unnotic’d by the reckleſs throng,

To thee my oriſons I pay,

And quit the laughing world, well pleas’d with thee to ſtray.

Lo! where yon mould’ring ruins nod,

Sad veſtige of departed years,

Beneath ſtern Rigour’s iron rod,

And Superſtition’s giant fears,

Watching the ling’ring hours of night,

The trembling lamp’s expiring light,

Oft haſt thou ſeen thy daughters pale

Wafting their lonely ſighs through midnight’s ſable veil.

Beneath yon mountain’s tow’ring brow,

Whoſe woods o’erwave the duſky ſtream,

Lull’d by the fountain’s rippling flow,

By meek-ey’d Cynthia’s ſilver beam;

Huſh’d all its cares, my peaceful breaſt

Beats mild, each ſorrowing throb ſuppreſs’d,

When ſweetly ſlumb’ring watch’d by thee,

Upon the boſom calm of ſoft Serenity.

See where young Science quits the throng,

Beneath thy beechen ſhade to ſtray,

While Genius aids the ardent ſong,

And warms his ſoul with fervid ray;

30 D3v 30

’Tis thine to nurſe the embryo flame,

Point out the ſteepy path to fame,

Teach him the Muſe’s ſhrine to ſeek,

And bid Hope’s roſy bluſh play mantling o’er his cheek.

Then ſince to thee a youthful bard

Unnoted pours the ſtrain of praiſe,

Hopeleſs to meet the bright reward,

The laurel meed of happier lays;

O! grant from forth thy fragrant bower,

To crown my muſe, one ſimple flower;

Grant, while I ſeek thy woodland ſhade,

The wildly blooming roſe that ſcents the ev’ning glade.

31 D4r 31

Ode, to Health.

Inscribed to a Friend.

To thee, Hygeia! roſe-lip’d queen,

Gay ſov’reign of the village green!

I pay my artleſs vow;

O! deign to hear my ſimple ſong,

Which floats the hawthorn glades among,

Where pureſt zephyrs blow.

For there, as ruſtic annals ſay,

Freſh as the op’ning ſmile of day,

Thou build’ſt thy woodbine cell;

Or wand’ring o’er the fir-clad hill,

Quaff’ſt the clear nectar of the rill

Wild ruſhing down the dell.

The dewdrop glitters on the thorn,

And bluſhes deck the cheek of Morn,

Touch’d by the ſpicy gale:

Where’er thy blooming face is ſeen,

How deep, how bright the em’rald green,

Which fringes o’er the vale!

32 D4v 32

But, ah! in vain would Fortune ſhower

Her treaſures o’er the ling’ring hour,

Shouldſt thou avert thine eye;

In vain would Pleaſure’s brilliant ray

Attempt to cheer life’s cloudy day,

Should fair Hygeia fly.

Not for the gems which gild the mine,

I bend my knee at Plutus’ ſhrine,

No glitt’ring toy I ſeek;

A nobler boon canſt thou beſtow—

To emulate the ruby’s glow,

Thou bid’ſt the pallid cheek.

Then on my Anna’s drooping head,

O! deign thy roſy balm to ſhed,

For her thy chaplets weave;

O! let my Anna’s faded eye,

Sparkling, convey the tale of joy,

Such joy as thou canſt give.

O! let her join thy ruddy train,

While free from care and ling’ring pain

The day in pleaſure flows;

And nightly o’er my Anna’s brow

Do thou thy gentleſt opiates ſtrew,

And lull her to repoſe.

33 E1r 33

To Good Humour.

Inscribed to a Friend.

Hail, Goddeſs! who with aſpect mild

Canſt ſmooth the rugged brow of Rage;

Thou, at whoſe touch our paſſions wild,

No more their angry warfare wage:

Thou who canſt hear Injuſtice chide

With breaſt unruffled and ſerene;

Thou who canſt bear the ſneer of Pride,

And keep thy calm unalter’d mien:

Thou who canſt huſh the riſing ſtorm,

And, ſmiling, ev’ry good reſign;

Thou who within a mortal’s form,

Haſt deign’d to raiſe thy flower-deck’d ſhrine:

O! may Eliza’s gentle breaſt

For ever own thy placid ſway,

Still by thy ſoothing influence bleſs’d,

And cheer’d by thy benignant ray:

Long may ſhe feel each pure delight,

Still by thy ſocial touch refin’d,

While ev’ry ſorrow preſſes light,

As goſs’mer waving in the wind.

E 34 E1v 34

May ſmiles ſtill chaſe the tranſient tear,

As ſun-gleams deck the ſummer-ſhower,

And guide her from the cavern drear,

Where Diſcontent is wont to lour!

And when old Time with haggard hand

His wrinkles o’er her cheek ſhall ſhed,

O! mayſt thou ev’ry ſhock withſtand,

And grace her mind when youth is fled!

Sweet Goddeſs, who with blue-ey’d Mirth

O’er flow’ry meads delight’ſt to rove,

O! may I e’er confeſs thy worth,

And in my friend thy image love!

35 E2r 35

Sonnet.

Hush’d is the glade; the moon, ſerenely bright,

Pours her mild rays aſlant yon hoary hill;

No ſound pervades the tranquil ear of Night,

Save the deep murmurs of the falling rill.

Where yon huge cliff o’erhangs the ſilent deep,

And o’er the wild wave bends his awful brow,

There ſhall my heart its mournful vigils keep,

And count the hours which ſteep’d in ſorrow flow.

How oft have Hope and Fancy ſmiling ſtrove,

O’er my ſad ſoul to pour the balm of peace;

But Reaſon tore the wreath which Fancy wove,

And frowning bade the lovely ſyren ceaſe;

Bade me ſeek comfort for my aching breaſt

In the cold grave, where e’en the wretched reſt.

E2 36 E2v 36

Sonnet.

When Contemplation bids her vot’ries ſtray

O’er the grey foreſt, or the with’ring heath,

O! be it mine to wend my penſive way

To the dark bournes of Solitude and Death.

Nor ſhrinks my ſoul, when, lo! the awful bell

Flings in deep ſounds its horrors through the gloom,

Though well I know its ſad, its ſolemn ſwell,

Wafts a new tenant to the mould’ring tomb.

Wait but the ebbing of a little breath,

Another ſlumb’rer ſeeks the realms of ſleep,

Again thy knell conveys the tale of death,

And ſays, Another wretch has ceas’d to weep,

Another wand’rer quits this world of woe,

And aſks that peace Heav’n only can beſtow.

37 E3r 37

Sonnet.

O Ye! who ſpread aloft your ſilken ſails,

While down bright Pleaſure’s glaſſy ſtream ye glide,

Wafted by Fortune’s ever-varying gales

Beneath Hope’s flatt’ring ſky, ſteer’d by your pilot Pride—

The ſyren ſong of gay Security

Thrills in ſoft meaſures through the charmed air;

She bids ye liſten to the tale of Joy,

Nor fear the ſtorms of Grief nor rugged rocks of Care.

But ſee with Fate’s dark clouds the ſky o’ercaſt;

Now through the ſhrouds the whiſtling tempeſt raves,

Cold Diſappointment comes with chilling blaſt,

And whelms your painted bark deep in Deſtruction’s waves,

Untaught to ſtem Miſfortune’s torrents rude,

Or ſhun the hidden rocks of ſad Viciſſitude.

38 E3v 38

Sonnet, Inscribed to a Friend, on Presenting Her With a Book of Poems.

O! Say, my Muſe, what wak’d thy early ſtrain,

Why in weak tremblings ſpoke the untun’d lyre,

Why burnt bright rapture in my infant brain,

Why ſought my dauntleſs ſteps the bright Caſtalian choir?

Say, wouldſt thou ſnatch the laurel wreath of Fame,

And bear aloft its honours on thy brows,

Or barter for Ambition’s empty claim,

Contentment’s ſolid bliſs, the ſmiles of ſoft Repoſe?

’Twas not the fickle crowd’s promiſcuous praiſe,

’Twas Friendſhip’s voice in ſoothing whiſpers ſpoke,

’Twas Friendſhip’s voice inſpir’d the artleſs lays,

And at her word the ſlumb’ring lyre awoke;

She taught me firſt my fearleſs eye to raise

On bold Ambition’s ſun, nor ſhrink beneath its rays.

39 E4r 39

Epitaph on Miss Maria Townsend.

Could Innocence, could Beauty, ward the dart,

No ſhaft of Death had pierc’d thy gentle heart;

Still would thy rip’ning charms ſecurely bloom,

Nor friends nor parents mourn thy early doom.

Still, lov’d Maria! wouldſt thou ſweetly move,

Virtue ſtill guide, and kindred worth approve;

From Truth’s undevious path unknown to bend,

And by a ſlower progreſs reach the end—

So ſoon obtain’d—Ah! wherefore heaves the ſigh?

All are not innocent—yet all muſt die—

The boon was tranſient—but ’twas kindly given!

A mortal’s loſt—an angel’s found in Heaven!

40 E4v 40

Ode, to Death.

I.

Soft I ſeek yon ruin’d tower,

Where the baleful ivy clings,

Where at midnight’s ſolemn hour,

Flaps the bat with leathern wings:

Where the ſcreech-owl ſcreaming near,

Harſhly greets the liſt’ning ear,

Shunning the gariſh eye of day,

I ſeek thy realms, O Death! beneath pale Cynthia’s ray.

II.

O thou! whoſe ever-dreaded dart

Strikes pale confuſion through the breaſt,

And oft within the laughing heart

Obtrud’ſt, a cold, unwelcome gueſt;

Beneath ſoft Pleaſure’s myrtle crown,

Thou lov’ſt to hide thy hideous frown;

When Hope preſents the ſcene of joy,

Thy mighty arm is rais’d to cruſh the brittle toy.

41 F1r 41

III.

See, how old Time, with halting pace,

Bids Autumn ſtrew the faded leaf,

While every charm on Nature’s face

Is plunder’d by the hoary thief!

So thou, ’mid Beauty’s dazzling train,

Wouldſt ſtill uſurp a hateful reign,

And through the treach’rous hectic’s bloom,

Hint to the ſtartled mind a preſage of its doom.

IV.

Where Wit and brilliant Genius reign,

Thou bid’ſt thy murd’rous ſhafts to fly,

While Fever fires the ardent brain,

And Madneſs glares with vacant eye:

And wouldſt thou ſtill, with ruthleſs power,

Crop ev’ry ſweet and blooming flower,

While wrinkled Age with joyleſs heart,

And Sorrow bares her breaſt, and ſhrinks not from thy dart?

V.

See, where the Conqu’ror’s ſounding car

Bears horror o’er the ravag’d plain;

While Deſolation, Famine, War,

People with crowds thy dark domain!

F 42 F1v 42

The widow’s curſe, the orphan’s tear,

Purſue the hero’s mad career;

Yet wait one ſhort, one tranſient breath,

The mighty warrior lies, pale priſoner of Death.

VI.

Then ſhall Ambition’s lordly claim

Rouſe from the duſt his nerveleſs arm,

Or the loud trump of martial fame

Once more the hero’s boſom warm?

Ah, no!—Cold as the ſculptur’d ſtones

Which guard from harm his mould’ring bones,

He hears no more the voice of praiſe—

In vain the monarch’s ſmile, or poet’s plauſive lays.

VII.

Ah! where are now the giddy throng

Of young and old, of grave and gay,

Which flutter’d erſt life’s walks among,

Frail inſects of a ſummer’s day?

Down Time’s reſiſtleſs torrent borne,

Their names from Mem’ry’s records torn,

Through thy drear realm, ſtern power, they fly,

To ſeek the bleſs’d abodes of Immortality.

43 F2r 43

VIII.

Lo! where Deſpair with frantic hand

Tears from thy graſp the ling’ring dart,

And, ſcorning Reaſon’s precepts bland,

Deep ſheaths it in his throbbing heart!

Then haſte to ſhed the wiſh’d relief,

And cloſe the aching eyes of Grief.

With thee pale Miſery weeps no more,

And Sorrow, ſweetly ſleeps her dream of trouble o’er.

IX.

Mingling their undiſtinguiſh’d bones,

There ſleep the idiot and the ſage:

Huſh’d are the patient ſuff’rer’s groans,

And huſh’d the gloomy threats of rage;

Silenc’d the bard’s inſpiring ſong,

And Sophiſtry’s Circean tongue;

There, Flattery ceaſes to deceive,

And impious ſceptics, there, no longer diſbelieve.

X.

Then, nor the ſhroud, thy ſad array,

Nor ſolemn hearſe with nodding plume,

Shall ſhake my breaſt with wild diſmay,

Or fright me from thy peaceful gloom;

44 44

But when the breeze with ſullen ſwell

Shall waft the deep, funereal bell,

On my wrapt ear, by Fancy driven,

The requiem’s holy chaunt ſhall lift my ſoul to Heaven.

Finis.