Printed for the authoress, by M. Branthwaite & Co. Sold
by J. Richardson, 91, Royal Exchange, London,
and by all other booksellers. 1814
The benevolence of kind friends suggested the present publication to the Authoress, who after the domestic employments of the day, had secretly indulged herself in wooing the Muse at intervals stolen from repose. And the intention of those kind friends, was, to assist the humble labours of herself and her orphan sisters, by raising from the generosity of the public a little fund, which would increase their family comforts and better their condition in life. Such being the End and Aim of this intrusion upon the public, the Authoress intreats their indulgence and that of her friends, and presents her most grateful acknowledgements for the generous patronage she has received. To the friends of herself and family, the Authoress would not have intruded one word more, as they are fully acquainted iv A2v iv. with the means by which she obtained the assistance of the books she has read.—Yet as her reading has been limited, even after the kindness of her friends, she has not had the opportunity of consulting Authors, whose lines she may have adopted, or of remarking similar thoughts, that may have appeared in the works of her predecessors. She wishes to disclaim every idea of plagiarism, but as the enlightened reader into whose hands these Poetical Effusions may fall, will soon discover where she may unwittingly have borrowed the expressions of others, or made use of similar language naturally arising from the contemplation of similar subjects, she hopes under these circumstances every candid allowance will be made.
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To the Muse.
Belov’d companion of my early years!
My friend in solitude, my secret joy!
Dear were the soothing whispers of thy voice,
Dear were thy visits in my lonely hours,
When like a smiling angel, sent to bless
Thy presence could beguile the sense of grief.
With thee, through many a devious wood’s deep shade
And various featur’d vale, along the banks
Of rock-imprison’d rivers have I roam’d;
Oft when the welcome day of ease arriv’d,
Freed from confinement, and depressive toil,
With heart elated, as the exulting stag
When ranging o’er his mountain pastures free,
I’ve stray’d to meet thee in thy fav’rite haunts,
The heights which rise o’er Kendal’s lovely vale:
There, far from observation’s curious eye,
Lightly I bounded o’er th’ elastic turf,
Ascending ev’ry rocky hillock’s brow,
My heart expanding as I look’d around:B 002 B1v 2
Thus sweetly pass’d the summer’s eve away,
Till sunk behind dark Langdale’s distant pikes,
The setting sun threw his diverging rays
In bending arches o’er the azure plain.
In secret shades alone I woo’d thee then
By stealth, nor to the world durst tell my love;
But now, when in the face of day I’ve own’d
Our secret friendship, say wilt thou repay
With kindness my long faithful love to thee?
Our fate decreed, together we must try
The favour of the world, or bear its frowns.
How dear is to the anxious parent’s heart
The reputation of a darling child!
Dear to the husband is the honour’d name
Of her he loves—and dear is thine to me.
And ah! how keenly will my bosom feel,
If with an eye severe and harsh reproofs,
A frowning world should scan they num’rous faults,
And with unfeeling censures blot thy name.
Together then we’ll seek some lonely spot,
Some willow-fringed stream, where thou shalt weave
Such chaplets as despairing lovers wear,
To bind our brows, and breathe in mournful strains
Thy funeral dirge—then silent sleep for ever,
While my warm heart shall grow as cold and chill
As flinty rocks encrusted o’er with ice.
A Fragment on Solitude.
Oh Solitude! thou visionary power,
If e’er thou hadst a local habitation,
This is the place, and here must be thy throne:
The beetle here (of old thy lone companion,
Thy sentinel from immemorial time),
Sounds his deep horn in token of approach.
By thy twin sister Meditation led,
I’ve wander’d o’er yon unfrequented waste;
My guide has brought me to this lonely spot,
Then fearless may I enter the deep gloom
Of this impervious wood,—thy secret haunt!
A wild romantic scene, nature’s rude work,
A murmuring brook, soft trickling at my feet
’Midst moss-clad rocks, steals slowly on its way;
Its mournful cadence suits the solemn scene.
Wide spreading trees that meet across the stream,
Form o’er my head a leafy canopy.—
The setting sunbeams gild their highest boughs,
While their deep shadows in the dell below
The dusky hue of pensive twilight shed.
Hail venerable shades! long have you stood,
Long have you brav’d time’s slow-consuming power,
The ravages of winds, and winter storms.
Long may you yet remain! nor ruffian hands
Lift the unhallow’d steel to strip the wreaths
Of circling ivy from your aged trunks,
And lay your lofty branches on the earth.—
While thus I mus’d, methought a gentle voice,
Soft whisp’ring, spoke, amid the lonely shade.B2 004 B2v 4
Come! live with me, the woodland Genius said,
Bid the tumultuous world a while farewell,
And dwell with me, for peace alone is mine—
Yes, gentle spirit, I would dwell with thee,
While summer reigns in all her beauteous pride;
Thy most conceal’d recesses, would I trace,
Thy loneliest haunts, thy rudest scenes explore;
Whether thou lov’st thro’ shelt’ring woods to stray,
Where Ken or Mint’s pellucid waters roll
With thund’ring sound, steep rugged banks beneath,
Struggling and foaming with th’ impeding rocks;
Or where yon wall Scout Scar. of limestone cliffs extends,
The native boundary of the stony waste,
Forming a vast and rugged precipice,
From whose rough heights th’ enraptur’d eye surveys,
At one wide view, three sister counties round;
Or whether lodg’d in some deep cavity,
Of those high mountains, whose stupendous brows
Frown awful o’er the sweet sequester’d vale
Where Conistone’s blue lake embosom’d lies,
Thine eye with penetrative glance explores
The secret treasures of earth’s fruitful womb;
Or marks the mountain riv’let’s sinuous course,
Gliding along its wild declivities,
Like veins of silver sparkling in the sun;
Or forming as it flows the rude cascade—
Then may thy sight on softer scenes repose:
On the green sloping meads, and woods which form
A varied amphitheatre around,
The vast receptacle of mountain streams,
And o’er its surface watch the curling waves005 B3r 5
Quick bounding light each other briskly chase.
’Mid scenes like these, where every charm unites,
The wild, the beautiful, and the sublime,
With thee blest power I’d gladly pass my days,
Drink inspiration thy lov’d haunts among,
And mark each changing season’s varying grace,
Till envious winter on the mountain tops
Erects his tent of snow, portentous sign!
Then to thy mountains, woods, and wilds farewell;—
For who could bear, through the deep joyless gloom
Of four long dreary months, to look on nought
But desert scenes, where every charm defac’d,
What once imprest with wonder and delight,
Would melancholy thoughts alone suggest.
Then would I think that life had other joys,
And that society could boast its charms,
For why should man possess such ardent love
Of human kind, such strong propensities,
To seek delight in social intercourse,
If he could live in constant solitude?
Written Early in Spring.
Hail lovely light of this material world!
Bright orb of day! from thy pavilion dark
Of wintry clouds now breaking forth again;
Once more I welcome thy unclouded beams,
With wonted splendour gilding yon blue vault,
While the pure stream receives, as soft it flows,
The etherial hue upon its face imprest.
Thou most majestic of the works of God—006 B3v 6
All nature feels, all nature owns thy power,
The tender buds cas’d in their wintry cells,
The sweet and simple flow’rets of the spring,
Wait for thy bidding to burst forth and smile,
And greet thee with a rich display of charms.
And, but for thee, those charms might bloom in vain—
Vain were creation’s vast magnificence,
And all that endless gay variety
Which makes the earth a region of delight—
Were all in vain, if darkness, sable wing’d,
Had sat for ever brooding o’er the scene.
Rude barren wastes where art and industry
Ne’er tried their power to meliorate the soil,
Cheer’d by thy presence half their horrors lose;
Even winter, all unlovely as it is,
Devoid of charms, receives a charm from thee,
Which heightens into grandeur its drear scenes—
When half dissolv’d away, the fleecy snow
Still laid in scatter’d masses on the hills,
The glistening whiteness of their wintry robes,
(Illumin’d by a noontide blaze of light)
Contrasted with the rugged spots of earth,
Irregular and dark, which broke between,
Oft have I gaz’d enraptur’d at the view!
But oh! how lovely, beautiful beyond
The power of language to describe her charms,
Is nature in the glowing months of spring,
When the bright monarch of the day comes forth
Without a cloud to intercept his rays,
Gilding the mountains, rivers, woods, and plains,
Each dewy glistening shrub, and bending flower,
And shooting plant, with silv’ry tints of light.007 B4r 7
And see, she comes! the year’s first darling child!
Enchanting Spring! a soft-ey’d virgin fair,
Smiling she comes to walk Britannia’s plains—
Her azure robe, spotted with fleecy clouds,
A wreath of budding foliage binds her brows
Where’er her light steps print the humid soil,
Fresh verdant herbage springs beneath her tread,
Her voice awakes the woodland minstrelsy,
With sweetest songs they hail the genial power,
And bid her welcome with a thousand notes.
Cheer’d by her presence, Flora’s lovely train
Exulting leave their wintry beds once more.
The lowly daisy first its bud unfolds,
The shining king-cup spreads its golden leaves,
’Mid secret shades the purple violet blows,
And with its fragrant breath perfumes the air—
Half hid beneath a tuft of shelt’ring leaves,
The primrose ope’s its mild imploring eye—
And still as lovely with retiring charms,
The cowslip bends its modest head to earth.
Even on the wild uncultivated waste
Her smile rekindles vegetable life,
And bids some inobtrusive flow’rets grow—
The fragrant wild-thyme, and the mountain gem,
The gay tormentil, bloom unheeded there;
The rugged rock with moss of every form,
And every varying colour she adorns,
Hail! life-reviving Spring, at thy return,
Earth like a beauteous new creation smiles.
Thou spirit, lodg’d in tender breathing airs
Of plaintive melancholy, soft and wild!
Source of delight to every feeling heart,
Long hast thou been the charmer of my cares—
Long ere my youthful bosom felt the thorns
Mix’d with the roses in the path of life,
Thy melting voice has in that bosom wak’d
The thrill of rapture, or the pensive sigh.
How many a summer’s eve I’ve stol’n away
From scenes of childish sport, to sit alone,
A musing list’ner to thy varied strains!
There is a charm in tender melancholy
Surpassing far the louder joys of mirth!
Enchanting harmony! that charm is thine.
’Tis sweet at twilight’s silent pensive hour
To wander by the slowly winding stream,
List’ning the while to trem’lous dying notes,
Wafted along the undulating waves,
And echo’d back in tones more touching still—
From intercepting rocky banks above.
’Tis sweet in winter nights, when fiercely blows
The northern blast with long continued roar,
To hear, each loud and furious gust between,
Thy soft complaining accents slowly steal,
Like heavenly dirges mingling with the storm.
When first the sound of martial music rous’d
Our youth to arms, and call’d them from the loom,
The toils of husbandry and rural cares,
To wield the dreadful implements of war,
In my young breast what strong emotions rose!009 C1r 9
It seem’d as if th’ invader’s threat’ning troops
Already trod in hostile ranks our shores!
It seem’d as if the solemn strain still mourn’d
Prophetic o’er the youthful soldier’s fate!
And oh! when first affliction touch’d my mind,
’T was then I felt how much in unison
With the keen feelings of the human heart
Were thy expressive tones of plaintive woe!—
’T was then, inspir’d by thee, I first essay’d
To bid my thoughts in measur’d numbers flow,
And frame the simple elegiac verse.
Twin sister of the muse in every age,
Sweet soother of the mind when cares oppress,
Retain thy influence o’er my bosom still—
That if, as future years of life roll o’er,
Some strange vicissitudes I yet must know,
If e’er lov’d poesy should cease to charm,
One solace still may yet remain in thee.
The Naiad’s Complaint.
My native vale! with heighten’d pleasure still
I trace thy simple scenes, my partial eye
Surveys new beauties each returning spring,
Each summer gives delight unfelt before!
Thy fertile vales, thy green knolls gentle rise,
Thy rocky hills with blossom’d furze adorn’d,
Thy wood-fring’d rivers and thy heathy moors,
And the brown mountains which encircle thee,
(O’er which the passing clouds for ever cast
Their varying shadows) all are dear to me!C 010 C1v 10
Nor greater pleasure could Columbus feel,
When first beyond the Trans-Atlantic deep
His wandering eye beheld another world,
Than I, when in my wand’rings I have found
Some sweet sequester’d spot unknown before.—
Dear native vale! and must thou still remain
To future times unnotic’d, and unsung?
While those who first amid thy simple scenes
Beheld creation’s wonders, and admir’d
Nature, still lovely in each diff’rent form,
Perhaps in praise of valleys more renown’d,
In lofty numbers pen the tuneful verse:
Yet here as bright the varied landscape glows,
As gay the summer verdure smiles around;
And ev’ry flower that drinks the ev’ning dew,
Or spreads its opening bosom to the sun,
As sweetly blooms as theirs; but blooms in vain.
And thou meand’ring Ken, whose shaded banks
Present a pleasing, ever varying scene,
Sweet stream, still roll’st unknown and unadmir’d
Thy foaming waters to the distant main—
Nor one kind strain salutes them as they flow.
For this the pensive nymph, who haunts unseen
The most concealed windings of thy course,
Sighs as she sits at twilight’s silent hour
Beneath some aged oak’s wide-spreading boughs,
And sorrowing pours unheard her sad complaint.
One summer’s eve, when in the distant west
The sun’s last glimmering faintly ting’d the sky,
Along the margin of my native stream,
Where once Concangium’s towers o’erlook’d its waves,
I musing stray’d—the river roll’d its tide011 C2r 11
In soothing murmurs, scarcely heard to flow;
Dark was the entrance of the solemn shade:
’Twas silence round; irresolute I stood—
When on my wond’ring ear these accents broke,
Spoke by the pensive Naiad of the stream—
Ye tow’ring oaks with circling ivy bound,
Ye shelt’ring banks, and thou fair flow’ry plain,
To you, mute list’ners, I my griefs disclose—
In vain from yonder misty heights afar
Thro’ this sweet vale the sister streams I lead:
Wherever nature form’d a sweeter spot,
I taught their limpid water there to flow,
With rapid current o’er their rocky bed;
Through many-colour’d woods, whose twilight gloom
The sun-beams scarce can pierce; in whose thick shades
The summer songsters pour their melody;
While echo mocks them from her secret cell—
Through verdant plains with rich luxuriance clad,
And sloping meads whose golden treasures bend,
Their welcome store the reaper’s hand to meet;
Or half encircling some delightful plain,
With songs that lull to quiet and repose;
Woo nature’s rapt admirers there to stray—
And must I still in vain display their charms,
And plead to hearts insensible and cold!
The Throne of Winter.
Come blest Urania! thou alone canst soar
With dauntless wing through regions unexplor’d
By mortal eye, and thou alone canst paintC2 012 C2v 12
The wonders of the northern hemisphere.
Beyond Spitzbergen’s groupe of island rocks,
Which rise like rugged turrets from the deep,—
On whose cold waves huge ice-built mountains float,
And when compell’d to meet the dreadful shock,
At distance heard, stun the astonish’d ear.
In climates more remote and keener still,
Advancing to the pole, where never yet
Th’ advent’rous foot of man essay’d to tread;
Nor ship with daring keel has plough’d the wave;
Whose cliffs ne’er heard the hungry bear complain,
Nor answer’d to the Arctic fox’s cry—
There on a mountain pile of naked rocks,
Whose rugged base the frozen main enfolds,
Whose snow-clad summit mixes with the clouds,
Stands Winter’s massy throne of chrystal ice,
That emulates the em’ralds vivid green.
There, wrapt in mist, a stern gigantic form,
Sat Sits the dread king in sullen majesty.
His canopy of state, dark hanging clouds,
His crown, the dancing Borealis’ rays:
Beneath him stretch’d far as the eye could reach,
A boundless waste of ice the ocean lay;
Beyond the pointed cliffs that girt the coast,
Extending to the dark horizon round,
Were huge dark masses of mis-shapen rocks,
With dreary glens between, rude defiles fill’d
With frozen snow, accumulating still,
And glaciers vast of everlasting ice;
A cheerless solitude, where nought was heard
But the wild uproar of contending winds,
Which howling swept at intervals the waste.013 C3r 13
Th’ unrivall’d monarch of this drear domain,
With sullen pride survey’d his stormy realm,
His mighty heart exulting at the view.
But this alone, the gloomy tyrant cried,
This, my sole empire since creation’s birth
Is not enough for me; lands far remote,
And yon fair isles beyond the German main,
Shall feel the terrors of my sway once more.
He said, and sent his hoary herald first,
Keen penetrating frost, to warn the world
Of his approach—then yok’d the swift-wing’d blasts
To his dark chariot of congealed clouds.
Impetuous, fierce, and strong, and in their course
Resistless, o’er the billowy deep afar,
O’er mountains huge, and tracts of land immense,
Wildly they rush, and as they sweep along,
Scatter sharp hail-showers and broad sheets of snow,
In a new livery clothing half the globe.
Come ye deep shades of night, that from the view
Of an unpitying world the wretched shroud,
That give the harass’d limbs of toil repose,
And bid the way-worn trav’ller turn, and seek
Some place of shelter for his houseless head:
That the tired soldier, from his weary march,
And from the dreadful field of war and death,
A while release; come thou sad mourner night,
I love thy darkness, or the pensive beam
The moon’s pale lustre sheds upon thy brow.014 C3v 14
Now when the clouded light of day presents
Our eyes with nought but scenes of desolation,
I love thee for thy gentle hand-maid Sleep,
Who seals in sweet forgetfulness our eyes,
Transports us from life’s sad realities,
To tranquil scenes of happiness and peace.
Such is the mightly necromancer’s power
Who o’er Sleep’s vast ideal realms presides,
That when from our cold clime is swept away
Each summer grace, his pow’rful wand can raise
A lovelier landscape, cloth’d in brighter hues—
Can such magnificence, such charms display,
As waking fancy’s boldest thoughts ne’er fram’d—
That pow’rful wand, whose touch can quick erase
The past and present from our memory,
And drive the intruding future from our thoughts;
While visions fair of momentary joy,
Unreal as the seeming silver lake
Which cheats the trav’ller o’er Arabian sands,
Seem permanent the portion of our lives.
Oh I have felt such sweet tranquillity,
Such pure sensations of sincere delight,
As if that instant into being wak’d,
With feelings tun’d to joy, and joy alone,
I almost wish’d life could be spent in dreams.
Yet the magician too can be unkind,
Can shut this gay ideal paradise.
Those pleasing regions he displays no more,
But bids around me scenes unlovely rise.
A dear and honour’d guest would frequent come;
And speak in tones so long and well remember’d,015 C4r 15
Which once were wont to gladden my young heart,
That days of early pleasure seem’d return’d.
In youthful grace, with sweet engaging smile,
Another form belov’d was wont to pay
A short and welcome visit to my dreams;
But comes no more—dear semblance of a friend,
Whom death has hid for ever from my view,
Since I must never more on earth behold
The lov’d original, nor find again
Another friend so faithful and so kind,
Come lovely vision to my dreams once more.
Thou bear’st his image, tho’ an empty shade,
And thou canst look, and speak, and charm my heart.
On Sensibility.—A Fragment.
Oh Sensibility, thou dangerous gift,
Which, like Pandora’s fabled box, contains
Compounded good and ill, the fountain head
And source whence flow the sweet and bitter springs,
The pleasures and the pains of human life;
Exquisite joys, but woe more exquisite!
Whoe’er possess’d thee yet, that did not wish,
In some unhappy moments of their lives,
They could exchange thy quick and throbbing pulse,
For the dull sluggish tide which scarcely flows
Along the veins of torpid apathy—
Thy keen suceptibility of soul,
For the cold marble of indifference?
Oh! ye who have from nature’s hand receiv’d
That glowing spark of Promethean fire;016 C4v 16
That ard entardent inextinguishable flame,
Which not the pressure of adversity,
Nor poverty’s benumbing touch can quench,
If doom’d through desolate and rugged paths
Of life’s obscurest wilderness to toil,
How much have you to dread and to endure;
Much from the common casualties of life,
Untoward accidents, beneath whose weight
The man of fervent feelings soonest bends;
Much from the strength of your own warm affections,
Believing all sincere, and doubting none;
And oft, perhaps, mistaking warm professions
For firm and lasting friendship, only find
Repulsive coldness where you look’d for welcome;
And much from disappointed hope, whose smile
With fairy sunshine for a moment gilds
Your dreary views, then vanishes for ever.
Ye sons of sorrow, thus condemn’d to pine,
Unknown, unpitied, by a busy world,
Heaven be your friend, when other friends you’ve none.
And if enshrin’d within a female frame
That spirit dwells, oh! how much more unfit
To struggle through the thorny paths of life,
If she can find no kind and generous friend
In whom her confidence she may repose,
Her guardian and protector through a world
Where oft her weakness will require support.
Poor Mary! hapless orphan, where art thou?
Thy heart was form’d for tenderness and love;
Thy mind a beam of light breaking through clouds,
Shone like a meteor, with unsteady ray,
Irregular, and bright, but shone in vain.017 D1r 17
And now perhaps its energy is lost,
And all its powers are buried in despair;
Perhaps thy struggles with misfortune past,
From life’s rough storm thou hast a shelter found,
A lasting peaceful home within the grave.
If such thy fate ill-fated maid farewell;
There is a world where sensibility,
So oft on earth the fruitful source of grief,
Will be the source of purest happiness.
Written at the Commencement of the Year 1813.
Once more the mighty angel, who unfolds
Time’s ample page to our astonish’d view,
Has turn’d unseen, with quick and silent hand,
Another leaf of that eventful book
Where wrapp’d in shades of dim obscurity,
Remains the fate of empires and of kings.
O thou dark volume of futurity,
Whose tenfold seal no mortal hand can break,
What scenes of wonder yet to be reveal’d
Do thy unopen’d pages still contain.
E’er since my heart could feel for human kind,
I’ve heard of nought but wars and desolation,
Of cities given to the devouring flames;
Of once fair countries ravag’d and laid waste;
Their fertile vallies turn’d to fields of death;
Where, sad to tell, brothers, and sons, and sires,
Together fell, and shar’d one common grave:
Those who surviv’d, when the dread work was done,D 018 D1v 18
Compell’d to leave their much-lov’d native fields,
Their wives and children unprotected all—
To fight and perish in a distant land.
Through many a circling year I’ve mark’d the stream
Of conquest roll its crimson tide along,
Like a destructive deluge spreading wide,
O’erwhelming nations in its dreadful course;
And oft, dear England, I have fear’d for thee—
Thou lovely gem set in surrounding rocks,
And plac’d upon the bosom of the deep;
Those rugged rocks, and ocean’s troubled waves,
Are thy defence, thy native bulwarks they;
To thee, and to the guardian arm of heav’n,
Thou ow’st thy safety, ’midst the mighty shock
That half unpeoples Europe’s fairest realms:
Though long, on almost ev’ry foreign soil,
Thy bravest sons have lost their lives for thee;
And many a beauteous maid and widow mourn
For the dear objects of their tend’rest love,
And many a mother for her gallant sons:
Yet the worst ills a country can endure,
Thou hast not felt—no hostile standards wave,
Insulting, o’er thy green luxuriant vales—
The first of blessings—freedom, yet is thine.
Invocation to Peace.
Ogentle Peace! celestial visitant!
Thou friend to virtue, charity, and love,
Whose smile can make a paradise on earth,
Without whose presence heav’n could not be blest.
How long has thy inexorable foe,
That fiend unblest, Ambition, banish’d thee,
Chas’d thee a fugitive from clime to clime,
And made thee roam a pilgrim o’er the world?
Say, beauteous wand’rer, in what distant spot,
What lonely isle amid the unbounded main,
Hast thou a temporary shelter found?
Where, like the fabled goddess sung of old,
To wand’ring nations and to savage tribes
Thou teachest how to till th’ uncultur’d soil,
And all the useful arts of polish’d life;
Or still remembering Europe’s fairer realms,
Upon some rocky promontory’s brow
Pensive thou sit’st, bending a list’ning ear
Towards the distant shores, and only hear’st
Unwelcome sounds, discordant din of arms,
Like murmuring thunder, wafted o’er the waves;
While in thy swelling bosom heaves the sigh,
And from thy glist’ning eye descends the tear,
In pity for the ills her sons endure.
Return, fair stranger, to those realms again,
Return to heal the wounds which war has made;
Come, and on Europe’s plains the olive plant;
Beneath its friendly shade, the purple vine
Shall brighter bloom, the harvest richer glow,
And greater plenty crown the rolling year.D2 020 D2v 20
Oh come! on Albion’s plains for ever dwell,
Thy sacred temple let our island be,
Then arts and manufactures would revive,
And happy Industry rejoice again;
Then friendly Commerce would unfurl her sails,
No hostile natives, arm’d with bolts of death,
Would meet in dreadful conflict on the deep,
But freighted vessels, laden with the fruits
Of ev’ry varied clime, would crowd our ports,
And flags of ev’ry land wave round our shores
In social harmony, a glorious sight—
To generous minds, yielding more genuine joy,
Than dearly purchas’d trophies won by war
From ev’ry different region of the globe.
On Seeing Some Children Playing.
Oh! can there be on earth a lovelier sight,
One that endears us more to human kind,
Than a young groupe of joyous innocents,
In every motion, gaiety and life;
Hope’s eager smile on every dimpl’d cheek,
And playful mirth in every beaming eye.
Oh! happy age of guiltless infancy!
Thou only art the golden age of life.
No care is thine, but as one pleasure tires,
Another, and another, still to try,
To make the circling hours more swiftly pass.
When each amusement fails, and on thine eyes
Sleep’s gentle pressure steals, no anxious thoughts,
Nor fears for future days, no retrospections sad021 D3r 21
Start up and scar the welcome guest away:
Each morn awakes thee to some new delight,
And hope still smiles on each returning day.
Sweet, simple train, enjoy your days of ease,
Too quickly o’er, like blossoms of the spring;
Like the short glories of the showery bow,
The happy hours of childhood pass away,
And with the dawn of reason sorrow comes.
Oft the first pang the youthful bosom feels
Is (the sad hour of separation come)
To part from those they love, from playmates dear,
Through life’s long journey ne’er to meet again.
Perhaps a keener wound may yet be given;
The kind protectors of their early days,
Who form’d their tender minds to truth, may die,
And leave them in the world without a guide;
Whilst scattered far, brothers and sisters part
From home, a harder servitude to try
Than that parental tenderness impos’d.
Affection’s sole remaining solace now,
The hope of that sweet intercourse to come,
When they with heighten’d love shall meet once more,
May be denied; and they may meet to weep
O’er one lov’d inmate of their little home,
Remov’d for ever by the hand of death.
Such griefs too oft await the morn of youth,
And o’er its early sunshine scatter clouds.
E’en those to whom indulgent heaven grants
A longer respite from the ills of life,
From other sources find disquiet rise.
The gentle maid, a stranger yet to care,
When first to whisper’d vows of love she lends022 D3v 22
A list’ning ear, must oft her peace forego.
Th’ impatient youth, who, scorning all restraint,
Will seek for pleasure on forbidden ground,
And heedless in the paths of folly tread,
Can feel no more that pure, unmixed joy,
That undisturb’d tranquillity of mind,
The gifts of innocence, which once were his,
Ere first from duty’s paths he went astray.
On the Difficulty of Attaining Poetical Excellence.
But few the Delian god inspires
With genuine true poetic fires;
But few who bear the poet’s name,
Shall share the lasting wreath of fame:
Of those who woo the wayward nine,
Young suppliants at Apollo’s shrine,
Few live in the historic page,
Beyond the limits of an age.
Like busy glittering butterflies,
Which wak’d by genial suns arise,
In every age a race succeeds
To tread the fair Castalian meads;
And cheer’d by approbation’s smile,
Bask in its vivid beams awhile.
Ere long, their gleam of sunshine past,
Neglect’s cold winter comes at last;
Another race of flutterers gay
Succeeds to spend their little day;023 D4r 23
Engaging each beholder’s eye,
By all the charms of novelty.
He who would ask of future days
Their dearest meed, the wreath of praise,
Must boast a vig’rous active mind,
By culture aided and refin’d,
Where genius, judgment, taste, conspire
To form the bard a soul of fire—
A heart whose feelings overflow
With quickest sense of joy or woe;
Within his breast, the muse’s cell,
No ruder passions e’er should dwell,
Nor should anxiety, nor fear,
Nor heart-consuming grief, be there;
But hope with joy-illumin’d eye,
Still looking to futurity,
Cheering misfortune’s gloomy hours,
As sunbeams gild the summer showers.
And chief o’er ev’ry power beside,
Imagination should preside,
Who with one keen commanding glance
Makes æras, distant far, advance;
And from oblivion’s dusky gloom,
Bids time’s remotest ages come;
Or peoples regions of her own,
With her ideal forms alone.
Still to complete the poet’s name,
To give him never-ending fame:
And to immortalize his song,
Harmonious language, rich and strong,
Should in spontaneous numbers flow,
And ev’ry thought with beauty glow.024 D4v 24
Talents so rare as those combin’d,
Center’d in one capacious mind,
A few have shar’d in ev’ry age,
Who shine upon the world’s wide stage,
With beams of such transcendent light,
As the bright regent of the night,
’Mongst lesser stars, whose feeble rays
Are half extinguished in her blaze.
The Pictures of Memory.
Like fairy groupes beneath the forest shade,
With moonlight faintly scatter’d o’er the scene,
In long perspective stretching to the view,
The shadowy forms of memory convene.
With mimic art they past events pourtray,
Act every scene of pain and pleasure o’er,
They touch the secret springs of grief and joy,
And make us feel whate’er we felt before.
But still retreating further into shade,
Imperfect forms the dim-seen visions wear,
Faint and more faint is each impression still,
’Till quite dissolv’d they vanish into air.
Some whose strong features ne’er can be eras’d
By time or distance, undefac’d remain,
And while surrounding objects disappear,
They stand alone amid the dusky plain.
Whoe’er forgets his early first remove
From the dear haunts of infancy and home,
Now home no more, (since from their lov’d abode
The tenants of the humble cot must roam).
The new awaken’d love of novelty,
A love so powerful in the human mind,
Regret at leaving each familiar face,
And each accustom’d object far behind,
By turns impress’d the youthful wand’rer’s breast
With new emotions never felt before,
As with slow march the rustic cavalcade
Retreated from the peaceful cottage door,
With lingering looks they bid a long farewell
To every well known object as they pass,
Each shelt’ring tree which screen’d them from the sun,
Each little hillock crown’d with verdant grass;
And oft their vagrant feet would turn aside,
To bid some long-lov’d fav’rite haunt adieu,
Some spot where ev’ning’s latest sunbeams play’d,
Some flow’ry dell where spring’s first blossoms grew.
And as they trac’d the daisy-dappl’d meads,
Perhaps unconscious fell one glist’ning tear,
While towards their future home they turn’d their eye,
And thought, will such delightful scenes be there.
But when at last the narrow bounds were pass’d
Beyond whose limits they had never stray’d,E 026 E1v 26
When to their wond’ring and admiring eyes
They saw a new and lovelier world display’d—
Fir’d by the joy which novelty bestows,
Each transient thought of sorrow soon was o’er,
Hope beam’d again in every smiling eye,
And fond regrets and fears were felt no more.
Long in rememb’rance live events like these,
The scenes of childhood which will ever charm,
Fresh through succeeding years these pictures glow,
And e’en in age th’ imagination warm.
On the warm heart long imag’d will remain,
That form that mien which taught it first to love;
Th’ impression, rolling years can ne’er efface,
Nor will succeeding friendship that remove.
The scenes of past affection long survive;
Each courteous action, each expression kind,
The well remember’d tones of tenderness,
And looks which spoke the feelings of the mind.
The last farewell of a departing friend,
While with forebodings that you meet no more,
The hand belov’d desponding you resign,
And see him go for ever from your door.
The last expiring words of those we love,
The silent anguish of that mournful hour,
When death, dissolving nature’s dearest ties,
Proves the whole force of his resistless power.
Could after ages of unmingled joy,
(If human life had joy unmix’d with pain,)
Efface strong characters of grief like these
From memory’s mute, but ever busy train?
The wretch obnoxious to his country’s laws
May ’scape the vengeance which awaits his crimes;
Th’ uplifted sword of justice may evade,
And flee for safety into foreign climes—
But cannot flee from memory’s bosom foes—
The dreadful phantoms, where he flies, pursue,
Each deed of horror faithful they pourtray,
And hold th’ unwelcome picture in his view.
The shipwreck’d mariner on some wild strand,
Some desart isle amid the boundless deep,
Who through the dangers of the dreadful wreck,
Surviv’d alone his comrade’s fate to weep;
Tho’ his dear country from his longing view,
Unmeasur’d lengths of countless leagues divide;
The burning tropic, and the frigid zone,
Vast continents, and ocean’s mighty tide—
Yet still that dearest spot of all the earth,
His native vale, in ev’ry scene will rise;
Its woods, its streams, his own paternal cot,
Glide in perpetual view before his eyes;
And each lov’d inmate of that lowly roof,
Each voice, each feature, of the friends so dear,E2 028 E2v 28
Each parting look, lives imag’d in his mind;
Each sigh, each sad adieu, he seems to hear.
The hardy Swiss, who, from his rock-girt vale,
His mountain lake and snow-crown’d hills afar,
From all th’ attachments of his youth remov’d,
Pursues the desolating steps of war—
Not the dread scenes of the eventful field,
Not martial pomp, nor shouts of victory,
Not promises of honour, wealth, and fame,
Can banish thoughts of home or check the sigh.
And if that simple air so sweet and wild,
That once along his own paternal vale,
The goatherds to the list’ning echo sung,
Which gave its wild notes to the morning gale—
If these transporting sounds arrest his ear,
Instant what groupes of images arise—
The haunts, the loves, the pleasures of his youth,
In life’s warm colours pass before his eyes.
A powerful impulse seizes on his mind,
Fearless of death, of danger, and of toil,
That air a talisman which danger charms—
He seeks with dauntless heart his native soil.
The varied scenes which on her canvas rise,
The gay descriptive muse to memory owes,
Her pencil paints them, and her magic light
O’er the bright views a vivid lustre throws.
Each lovely groupe of images she forms,
Receives its beauty from that pow’rful light,
Whose mild reflected radiance sweetly plays
O’er recollected scenes of past delight.
On Early Death.
How pleasant is the memory
Of those who die in early youth,
With minds from guilt and error free,
The shrines of innocence and truth.
Long shall affection’s bosom swell
At the remembrance of their name:
And oft with warm emotions dwell
On their untainted virtuous fame.
Oh! they are blest, belov’d of heaven;
How soon their mortal race is run!
How few their sins to be forgiv’n,
How quickly virtue’s prize they won!
Remov’d from all the snares of life,
Ere strong temptations try the heart,
Escap’d the warfare and the strife
Betwixt the worse and better part.
Their humble hope unaw’d by fear,
When on the bed of death they lie:
The happiest lot of mortals here,
Is, thus to live—thus soon to die.
On Domestic Happiness. Written at the Request of a Friend.
Alcanor bids me hail the welcome morn,
Seven times return’d, since, when in youthful pride,
While hope’s sweet sunshine on the future smil’d,
He took the fair Narcissa for his bride.
Revolving seasons since have roll’d away,
Seven happy years of harmony and peace,
Ne’er interupted by domestic jars,
And with increasing years their joy increase.
Their blooming children smile around their board,
Or gaily sport upon the verdant plain;
And try by ev’ry fond endearing wile,
Th’ exulting parents’ partial eye to gain.
Say, would Alcanor those delights resign,
Those happy hours of heart-felt bliss forego,
For all the boasted pleasures of the world,
For all the joys that freedom could bestow?
No, to the heart with tender feelings blest,
Dear are the ties of social life, which bind
The heart to virtue, family, and home—
Ties most congenial to the human mind.
Then listen, shepherds, to the voice of love:
Do jarring passions dwell within your breast,
Or vain desires, that lead from peace astray,
That gentle voice may lull them all to rest.
But where shall love’s all-powerful voice be heard,
In sweetest accents most persuasive tone?
Where one lov’d fair the bosom inmate reigns,
And the fond heart is given to her alone.
Where worth, not int’rest, the affections guides,
And kindles in the breast a generous flame,
Which neither time nor absence can destroy:
The only love that’s worthy of the name.
Its voice will whisper where true peace is found;
In the calm pleasures of domestic life;
The happy home where cheerful comfort smiles,
And the sweet converse of a lovely wife.
The gentle maid, who, heedless of the world,
Can all its flatt’ry and applause resign
For one alone, the husband of her choice,
And wishes only in his eyes to shine;
The voice of love in all her actions speaks,
In each warm blush that o’er her features strays,
Speaks in the beaming lustre of her eyes,
In each expressive smile that sweetly plays.
To charm his heart and win his constant love,
And firmer draw affection’s gentle chain,
Is all the care and study of her life;
Nor shall her wise endeavours prove in vain.
Let Bacchus’ giddy sons exulting tell
The pleasures of th’ intoxicating bowl,032 E4v 32
Strange joys which banish reason from the mind,
Which drown the senses, stupify the soul.
Let misers boast their heaps of hoarded gold,
The only object which their hearts can move,
A parent’s greatest wealth his children are,
His richest treasure is his fair one’s love.
To an Opening Rose.
Blow lovely rose—the breath of Zephyr
Softly fans thy glowing breast:
Blow, lovely rose, the bush adorning,
Till by Chloe’s hand carest.
She place thee in her gentle bosom,
To bloom beneath her smiling eye.
But court not that exalted station,
Thou would’st languish there and die.
Then, thy native bush adorning,
Lovely rose-bud, longer stay;
And yonder see the sun advancing
Ardent pours his fervid ray.
Soon shall thy dewy leaves unfolding,
With inviting fragrance blow;
And by his noontide beams expanded,
With unrivall’d lustre glow.
Then, thy full-blown charms disclosing,
Matchless Rose, sweet Queen of flowers!
A while may ev’ry eye admire thee,
Pride of these delightful bowers.
But ah! how transient thy existence,
Short thy longest reign will be;
Not many mornings shall I greet thee,
Smiling on thy prickly tree.
See where, their languid heads reclining,
Thy companions droop around,
Ah! see where, faded all and wither’d,
Scatter’d leaves bestrew the ground.
Ah! lovely rose that fate awaits thee,
Thou their lowly bed must share;
Soon will a ruder gale assailing,
Spread thy blushing honours there.
And I perhaps not many summers
May hail the Rose’s beauteous bloom,
And sigh to think how soon ’twill perish,
Ere I too drop into the tomb.
What muse will then in strains of sorrow,
Pour the simple dirge for me?
What kindred mind inspir’d by pity
Frame one plaintive elegy?
I, like the wild flowers of the mountains,
That unknown unheeded die,F 034 F1v 34
Like them shall leave a name unhonour’d,
And like them forgotten lie.
Sweet Child of Sensibility!
Haste thee from mirth and noise and folly,
And o’er sad scenes of melancholy,
Come, and muse, and mourn with me.
The early spring say hast thou seen,
All nature smiling at her birth,
Bestrew the moisten’d lap of earth
With fairest flowers and herbage green:
And o’er the branches late so bare,
The swelling buds profusely spread,
And clust’ring blossoms gaily shed,
Fair promise of a fruitful year—
Then from the dark o’er-loaded skies
Hast seen the heavy showers descend,
Where snow and rattling hailstones blend,
And sudden gusts tempestuous rise—
Then comes a keen destroying frost;
Earth’s vernal mantle faded lies,
The wither’d foliage droops and dies,
The blossom and the fruit are lost.
This hast thou seen, and sigh’d to see?
Then come, and teach thy tears to flow
O’er deepest scenes of human woe,
Sweet Child of Sensibility!
Say hast thou known some gen’rous youth,
Of blameless manners, ardent mind,
Where native sense and learning join’d,
Possest of talents, virtue, truth,
The hope of many a future year
Then, seen disease’s fatal dart
Fix its deep venom in his heart,
And ruthless stop his bright career—
Let love and friendship weep with thee,
T’ embalm the turf, where low is laid
The youth who virtue’s charms display’d,
Oh Child of Sensibility;
Hast thou with admiration seen
Some beauteous maid, the village toast,
Her aged parents’ hope and boast,
Good-humour in her smiling mien,
With female loveliness of form,
Each mental excellence combin’d,
Then, hast thou seen that gentle mind
Despairing sink beneath the storm;
Her hopes, her charms, her reason gone;
By some strong secret grief distrest,F2 036 F2v 36
Some overwhelming woe opprest,
Her gentle manners left alone;
A harmless maniac, sad and wild,
Regardless of her mother’s tears,
Unconscious what she feels or fears,
For her poor wand’ring wayward child.
This proof of instability
In reason, well might fill with woe
Thy mind, and bid thy tears o’erflow,
Sweet Child of Sensibility!
Say, hast thou known in blooming grace,
A lovely active ardent boy,
His happy father’s dearest joy,
Expression in his artless face,
His dawning faculties of mind
Expanding like the buds of spring,
His fancy ever on the wing
New scenes of knowledge still to find;
But when strong passions gain’d the sway,
When reason ’gainst th’ impetuous train,
And conscience pleaded, but in vain—
While vice he only would obey—
Till of that once ingenuous mind,
In virtue’s sacred precepts train’d,
No semblance and no trace remain’d,
Nor even a hope was left behind;037 F3r 37
If such sad ruin doom’d to see—
Then may thy throbbing bosom heave,
Then weep, for thou hast cause to grieve,
Oh Child of Sensibility!
Written in November, 1811.
Heard you November’s howling blast,
Herald of winter’s stormy reign,
As through the leafless grove it rush’d,
And swept with sullen sound the plain?
I heard and sigh’d—quick to my view,
What pensive images arise;
Brown faded woods and wither’d plains,
And heavy lowering skies
My fav’rite summer haunts farewell!
Ah! scenes belov’d a long adieu—
How many a dreary month must roll,
Ere I again revisit you:
Where late the river banks above,
High wav’d the overhanging wood,
And soft reflected verdure threw
On the smooth bosom of the flood;
Now struggling with th’ impetuous blast,
And stript of all their leafy pride,
The trees their naked branches bend
O’er the deep swol’n discolour’d tide
Where once a pleasing prospect rose
Along the undulating vale,
Green woody lawns and flow’ry meads,
And corn-fields waving in the gale,
’Tis now an undistinguish’d waste,
Each lingering beauty swept away,
All mark’d by one unvary’d hue,
The cheerless livery of decay.
Farewell thou light-dispensing sun
For many a melancholy day;
Curtain’d in vapours shalt thou rise,
And clouds obscure thy setting ray,
Around the mountain’s dusky brow
The hov’ring mists for ever creep;
And hail-showers load th’ impetuous gale,
Or ceaseless rains the valleys steep.
Haste winter from thy native wilds—
The frozen regions of the north,
With all thy fierce destructive train
Of storms and tempests issue forth.
Come, o’er expiring nature’s tomb
Thy throne of desolation rear;
And rule with sole unrivall’d sway.
O’er the sad ruins of the year.
Yet know that nature shall survive
The utmost rigours of thy reign,039 F4r 39
Shall from her tomb exulting rise,
And spring adorn the earth again.
According to tradition, the circumstance on which the following Poem is founded, happened some centuries ago, and Lady Hamilton’s apparition was believed to make its appearance, till part of the building which she frequented was pulled down and re-built.
Round Sizergh’s antique, massy walls,
Full frequent swept the whistling blast;
It sigh’d along the spacious halls,
And through the tap’stried chambers past.
The clock, with solemn-sounding knell,
Proclaim’d the dreary midnight hour;
And loud the deep-ton’d magic bell
Slow answer’d from the lonely tower.
But wherefore, at this silent hour,
When every eye is clos’d in sleep,
In yonder lonely desert tower,
Why tolls the midnight bell so deep?
Immur’d within these gloomy walls,
Here long a gentle lady lay;
Far from her dear paternal halls,
She wept her bloom of life away.
Far from the noble youth she lov’d,
A youth for matchless constancy,040 F4v 40
For worth and valour, long approv’d,
For generous deeds and courtesy.
When Albert clasp’d her trembling hand,
And press’d it to his throbbing heart,
Sighing, that honour’s stern command,
Compell’d such faithful friends to part;
And whisper’d vows of endless truth,
To soothe the parting sense of pain,
Ah! little thought the gentle youth,
They never were to meet again.
Hither, allur’d by treach’rous art,
Deceiv’d by friendship’s specious name,
Hither, with unsuspecting heart,
In evil hour, fair Marg’ret came.
When first these fatal doors she pass’d,
On heavy wing the bat flew by;
And hollow moaning rush’d the blast;
The owlet gave a boding cry.
Then first that sullen peal was rung,
Loud bursting on the night’s dark gloom;
That bell by unseen spirits swung,
Foretold fair Hamilton’s sad doom.
But guileless, nor suspecting harm,
These with no terrors struck her mind,
Soon she forgot the slight alarm,
Which left no lasting fears behind.
A few short days within these walls
Were heard the festive notes of joy;
Music’s sweet strains and sprightly balls
Conspir’d to please the ear and eye.
Soon those delusive visions past;
Her few last days of pleasure o’er,
(She little dreamt they were her last,)
Fair Hamilton was seen no more.
But when the chill autumnal breeze
Swept briskly o’er the curling flood—
Shook the high towering forest trees,
And of its foliage stript the wood—
O’er all the neighb’ring hamlet round,
Was heard once more that wizard bell;
And those who heard the dreadful sound,
Said that it toll’d fair Margaret’s knell.
E’er since, when o’er this ancient pile
The deep’ning shades of ev’ning fell,
And lingering day-light’s latest smile
Seem’d loath to bid the world farewell—
Amid the melancholy glooms,
Her spirit oft was seen to walk,
Through gall’ries long, and spacious rooms,
And to herself would whisp’ring talk.
In sorrow’s sable weeds array’d,
She mov’d with pensive, solemn grace;G 042 G1v 42
Slow was her step, noiseless her tread,
A sable veil conceal’d her face.
Sometimes she seem’d in thought profound,
Her head reclining on her arm;
Her eyes still fixt upon the ground,
As spell-bound by some powerful charm.
When the dim taper’s feeble beam
Around the lone apartment shed,
Of partial light, a sudden gleam—
Instant the shadowy form was fled.
Still as that woful night returns
Which seal’d the lovely Margaret’s doom;
That bell her cruel exit mourns,
In solemn dirges o’er her tomb.
The Nun’s Soliloquy.
Yon sun, who runs his annual course
About earth’s varied bound,
While slow revolving seasons roll,
Their never-ceasing round—
Yon rising sun, whose early beams,
Returning beauty spreads,
And o’er those lonely convent walls
A golden lustre sheds—
Adorns a long forsaken world,
Which I no more must see;
Yet that forsaken world contains
One object dear to me.
The play-mate of my early years,
Companion of my youth,
In whose mild eye expressive shone
Intelligence and truth.
Like two fair rose-buds on one stem,
We grew, nor wish’d to part;
Our hopes, our fears, our joys the same,
We only had one heart.
Oh! days of innocent delight!
Oh! youth so dear to me!
How soon I bade a last adieu
To social life and thee.
A dying mother claim’d my vow,
My parting vow I gave,
That here I’d pass my future days,
And here should be my grave.
But ah! no language can describe
The anguish of my heart,
From thee, dear brother of my soul,
To be compell’d to part.
It griev’d me not to leave a world
Whose charms were yet unknown—G2 044 G2v 44
That world with all its gay delights,
I lov’d for thee alone.
Nor other joys I wish’d to prove,
Nor other pleasures know,
Than those thy converse and thy smile,
Thy friendship could bestow.
And when my trembling lips pronounc’d
The irrevocable vow—
That vow which ne’er can be recall’d,
Which seal’d my doom below.
That from my thoughts, all earthly things.
Henceforth should banish’d be,
I in my bosom’s secret shrine
Reserv’d one thought for thee.
And still in youthful beauty there
Does thy lov’d image dwell,
Its inmate in this lone abode,
This solitary cell.
Each daily orison enjoin’d,
Perform’d with duteous care;
Still ere I close my eyes, for thee
I breathe a secret pray’r.
And sure a love so pure as mine,
May hope to be forgiv’n,
Should harsh ungenerous mortals blame,
Sweet pity dwells in heav’n.
Perhaps ev’n saints from earth remov’d,
Some tender thoughts bestow,
And some fond recollections feel
Of those they left below.
In that blest world may faithful friends,
By kindred minds allied,
Meet where no rigid vows forbid,
No convent walls divide.
A Fairy Tale.
Nigh to where Grayrigg’s The ancient seat of the Duckets, which was purchased by Sir John Lowther, about the year 1680. ancient hall
Yet stands, as country legends tell,
And hoary-headed swains have heard,
The fairy people lov’d to dwell:
There oft their midnight feats they held,
In stately domes beneath the ground,
And by the glow-worm’s paly lamp
They push’d the sparkling goblets round.
The savoury mushrooms were their food,
Pluck’d the same night on which they grew,
And from their tiny silver cups,
They sipp’d the pure ambrosial dew;
And where beneath the greenwood shade,
Their light feet nimbly tripp’d the ground,046 G3v 46
Small circles of a deeper green
Full oft the wondering peasant found.
It chanc’d one beauteous moonlight night,
The loveliest night of autumn’s reign,
The fairy people had arrang’d
Their silver cups, a glittering train.
Beneath a shelt’ring bank which rose
Expos’d too near the highway side,
A horseman as he pass’d that way,
The shining treasure quickly spied.
Long pausing on the tempting spoil,
He gaz’d with wond’ring, longing, eyes;
Then fearless leapt the fence and seiz’d,
With daring hands, the curious prize.
O’er hedge and ditch away he rode,
With speed that almost match’d the wind;
The elfin bands with hue and cry.
Still kept pursuing close behind.
Ere he had reach’d the massy gate
Which led to Grayrigg’s aged hall,
The elves had quite outsripp’d his speed,
And stood around him one and all.
Whilst with their wands they struck his steed,
With stern and threat’ning voice they said,
Fail thou thy master in his need,
Our vengeance he shall learn to dread.
One night when rain in torrents fell,
And each swol’n rivulet’s furious tide
Rush’d wildly roaring down its glen,
And pour’d its foam on every side.
The pilferer, who’d a ford to cross,
Of fairy vengeance nought did dream,
But urg’d his slow, unwilling, steed,
To plunge into the rapid stream.
But fairy vengeance now was nigh,
Unheard, unseen, they hover’d round,
When the rash man the stream essay’d,
His steed an unsafe footing found;
It fell alas to rise no more,
Its master call’d for aid in vain;
Long, long, he struggled with the waves,
Fearful the brink bank he ne’er should gain.
When faint he reach’d the further side,
His perils and his dangers o’er.
He vow’d he’d ne’er tread fairy ground
Nor touch their glitt’ring trifles more.
Hope, blest, and dearest gift of heaven,
Thy smile can all our griefs assuage;
To man by kind indulgence given,
To cheer his mortal pilgrimage.
Thou blest companion! but for thee,
And thy delightful visions warm,
The world a desart wild would be,
And life itself without a charm.
While journeying through the weary waste,
Before some brighter prospect lies,
Some fairer land of promis’d rest,
For which our ardent wishes rise.
With flowers of never-fading hue,
Thy pencil paints the distant scene;
And there directs our constant view,
To smooth the rugged paths between.
Ask him condemn’d in dreary mines,
To toil through slow revolving years,
On whom the light of heaven ne’er shines,
Nor sounds of joy salute his ears,—
Ask him what arms his manly mind
Against the horrors of despair;
What makes him with a soul resign’d,
His heavy load of misery bear.
He’ll tell thee ’t is the cheering hope
Of better, happier days to be,
That bears his sinking spirits up,
And bids him live for liberty.
The Russian exile forced to roam,
Far, far from all the scenes he lov’d;
From wife, and children, and from home
By power’s despotic arm remov’d.
While the strong feelings of his soul,
Not yet by slavery supprest,
Too keen, too powerful for controul,
Indignant struggle in his breast—
What prompts him to endure his wrongs,
Sharp hunger, wretchedness, and pain;
And wounded honour’s keener pangs,
And recollection’s cruel train.
’T is the fond hope his mind sustains,
That his long term of suffering past,
He yet may tread his native plains,
And see his long lost home at last.
He’ll bless once more his infant train,
And meet his Cath’rine’s beaming eye,
And clasp her to his breast again,
With all the joy of extacy.
Even when, like Noah’s wearied dove,
Hope finds no place of rest on earth,H 050 H1v 50
She looks to happier worlds above,
For pleasures of superior birth.
Her fairest, loveliest prospects there,
In bright, immortal beauty bloom:
And permanent as they are fair,
There sad reverses cannot come.
Reflections on Visiting the Monument of Miss Smith, of Conistone.
Aphilosophic maid, with tranquil mind,
Life’s gayer scenes and youth’s fond hopes resign’d,
Left Piercefield’s lov’d retreats, from childhood dear,
And came to dwell a willing recluse here.
Yet here could science boast its power to charm,
And here could nature’s wildest features warm
Her ardent mind, and fancy’s vivid ray,
With brighter lustre, gild the summer’s day;
And here benevolence could still pursue
Its fav’rite task, to give to want its due,
The drooping sons of poverty to cheer,
And wipe from sorrow’s eye the starting tear.
This task was hers—and all the friendless round,
In her a friend and benefactress found.
Alas! could neither worth nor talents save
Their lov’d possessor from an early grave?
Form’d the most polish’d circles to adorn,
Yet forc’d to quit them in life’s early morn,
Ah! where is now affection’s ardent glow,
The sympathetic breast which felt for woe,051 H2r 51
The generous heart and the exalted mind,
The fire of genius and the taste refin’d?—
Where now that active animating flame,
Which gave its vigour to the mortal frame,
Which bade expression in each feature speak,
Glanc’d in the eye, and mantled on the cheek?
Where now each virtue, every noble guest,
That once were inmates of her gentle breast?
Can death’s cold hand—whose icy touch congeals
Life’s crimson tide, and all its flood-gates seals,
Which clouds the lustre of the brightest eye,
And from the cheek bids beauty’s roses fly—
Can it extinguish each celestial ray,
Each heav’n-born beam that gives the mental day,
And quench in shades of everlasting night,
Reflection, thought, and reason’s sacred light?
No: these, the tyrant’s power can ne’er destroy;
A deathless heir of everlasting joy,
Within a fragile tenement enshrin’d,
A living spirit, dwells th’ immortal mind!
That spark which animates the breathing clay,
Shall suffer no extinction or decay,
But change its dwelling for a nobler home,
Where sickness and disease can never come.
Those powers, those virtues, which exerted here,
The memory of departed friends endear;
These shall survive the latest wrecks of time,
And gain new lustre in a happier clime.
On the Approach of Winter.
Addressed to a friend.
Alas my friend, how quickly pleasure flies!
Life’s brightest hours the swiftest fade away:
Hope’s distant prospects glad our longing eyes;
We reach them—soon the lovely scenes decay.
Blithe o’er our valleys trips the youthful Spring,
And strews the choicest flow’rets in each glade,
Ere half admir’d, again she’s on the wing,
Her blossoms wither, and her sweet flowers fade.
In rich luxuriant beauty Summer comes,
To scatter plenty round—but short her stay;
The mower level lays her varied blooms,
And fast she rolls her fervid car away.
Adorn’d with every milder, softer grace,
(The Muse of Melancholy in her train,)
With sweet, yet pensive smile, and sober pace,
In waning beauty, Autumn treads the plain.
In lonely glens where murmuring riv’lets glide,
With lingering steps she long delights to rove;
Or seeks some fav’rite valley’s sunny side;
And last the fading venerable grove.
Soon must she fly from this her last retreat,
Through the thinn’d grove the sweeping north-wind sighs
And ceaseless showers her leafy covert beat;
On every side the wither’d foliage flies.
Soon must she yield the empire of the year
To the all-conquering tyrant Winter’s sway;
He comes, and life and beauty disappear;
He comes, and devastation marks his way.
Even now, beyond yon misty mountain’s brow,
Imagination sees his dreadful form,
Arming his furious gales with frost and snow,
And gathering all his demons of the storm.
My drooping spirits sadden at the view;
To joy and pleasure now a long farewell!
To thee, enchanting Poesy, adieu!
Can dreary Winter e’er attune thy shell?
And yet, Maria, there are other joys,
Pleasures, beyond the reach of Winter’s reign;
Pleasures, which all his tempests can’t destroy;
The charms of friendship still unchang’d remain.
The smiling circle, innocently gay,
Conven’d at eve around the blazing hearth,
To pass the long and tedious hours away,
In friendly intercourse and social mirth.
In joys like these we still a solace find,
Though Winter’s chilling blasts around us howl,
They cannot freeze the feelings of the mind,
They cannot chain th’ affections of the soul.
Come then, Maria, with your cheerful smiles,
With sprightly wit, and many a pleasant song,054 H3v 54
A few dull months assist me to beguile;
The weary season still will be too long.
Written on Leaving H——.
Thou dear delightful vale adieu!
Sweet spot, from early years belov’d,
Enraptur’d still thy charms I view,
Nor leave thee with a heart unmov’d.
To Crossdale’s wildly-winding stream,
Its hanging woods and hollow dell,
(Where wand’ring bards might love to dream,)
Reluctantly I bid farewell.
No more the cuckoo’s evening song,
The thrush or linnet’s matin clear,
Echoing these lonely woods among,
Will sooth a musing list’ner’s ear.
No more where Lune’s transparent flood
O’er shelving rocks swift rolls away,
Through verdant meads and tangled wood,
Or yellow broom-clad heights I’ll stray.
Ye dusky mountains crown’d with heath,
With dark and rugged glens between,
And mossy pastures spread beneath,
A wild, yet varied pleasing scene:
For ever o’er whose chequer’d sides
Sun-beams and clouds each other chase;
Fast as the fleeting splendour glides
The gath’ring storm supplies its place:
No more your shadowy glens along
I’ll watch the sun’s declining ray,
Your crags, your fern, and heath among,
With setting lustre mildly play.
Farewell ye riv’lets of the hills,
That down your narrow channels sweep,
Collected from surrounding rills,
With rapid sounding currents sweep.
Ye tufts of clust’ring flow’rets sweet,
Array’d in summer’s varied pride,
Long wont my partial eyes to greet,
By ev’ry verdant hedge-row’s side—
Now peeping through the dewy grass,
And glistening in the morning beam,
As by your smiling groupes I pass,
To court my longer stay you seem.
But court in vain, for fate denies,
I to my distant home return,
You’ll bloom as fair for other eyes,
Nor ever for my absence mourn.
Hills, woods, and streams, and meadows green,
To you, and to my friends, farewell!056 H4v 56
Those generous friends, and each lov’d scene,
Shall long in my rememb’rance dwell.
Kind shepherd! if thy hoary locks,
Bespeaking venerable age,
May trust and confidence inspire,
Oh! wilt thou, with thy counsel sage,
Assist a sad perplexed wight,
Who, wretched, weary, and forlorn,
Nor home, nor friend, nor peace can find;
Compell’d to wander and to mourn,
Instruct me, if thou canst, to find
The secret dwelling of a friend,
From whom long time I’ve sever’d been,
And whither all my wand’rings tend;
Her name is Happiness,—her face,
Like summer’s morn, serene and bright—
Her smile, through ev’ry human heart,
Diffuses feelings of delight;
And while she journey’d by my side,
Full many a fresh and fragrant flower,
Springing in lawn and glade, confess’d
The presence of the beauteous power;
Long time, alas! she’s absent been
The joy and solace of my mind,
And I have wander’d far and wide,
The lovely fugitive to find;
I’ve travers’d many a dreary wild,
With briars and with thorns bestrew’d,057 I1r 57
And many a barren marshy waste,
And many a pathless mountain rude;
Sometimes the dear enchanting form
Stood beckoning on a distant plain,
Between, a broad deep river roll’d,
And all my toils have prov’d in vain;
And oft beneath the shelt’ring grove
I saw the lovely vision glide,
By fond exulting hope inspir’d,
With eager steps I thither hied,
Then look’d, but vainly look’d around,
Th’ illusive shade had left the place,
Nor track nor footstep could be seen,
By which her further course to trace;
Sometimes (along some desart strand
Lost and bewilder’d) as I stray’d,
O’er the drear view, the gloom of night
Approaching, threw a deeper shade,
I heard the howling of the storm,
The wind breath’d sullen on mine ear,
The rising surges of the main,
With dreadful sound, seem’d rushing near,
I saw dark frightful billows roll,
That threat’ned an approaching grave,
Fear seiz’d on all my trembling frame,
No succour nigh, no hand to save,
And yet the worst of all my griefs,
Was man’s unkindness and deceit—
When I of passengers enquir’d
Some pathway for my weary feet,
With seeming friendship, cov’ring guile,
Full oft, oh! cruel treach’ry, they,I 058 I1v 58
In mock’ry pointed out a road,
Which only led me more astray.
If kinder feelings fill thy breast,
O lead my doubtful steps aright,
And give me, shepherd, if thou canst,
Some tidings of the wand’rer’s flight.
Fond youth, the fruitless search give o’er—
She’s but a transient guest on earth,
Short is her longest visits here,
For Bliss is of celestial birth;
At intervals she will return,
To cheer thee with her heav’nly smile,
And with some fairer views between,
Adorn thy path of life awhile;
But far beyond this dusky spot
Is fix’d her permanent abode—
There may’st thou share her constant smile,
When thou this chequer’d vale hast trod.
Supposed to be written at the grave of Chatterton.
Here let Compassion bend her head,
And tears of tender sorrow shed,
And warm enthusiasm musing tread,
To pour his sighs.
Let gay Prosperity forego
Awhile the scenes of pomp and show,
To view this last retreat from woe,
Where Genius lies059 I2r 59
Let the fond youth of humble name,
Inspir’d by fancy’s kindling flame,
Whose heart beats high with hopes of fame,
Seek this lone tomb;
Here let him firmly learn to bear
Stern disappointment’s blow severe,
And all the evils life can fear,
Lest such his doom.
Let those who unreflecting stray,
Where ardent feelings lead the way,
Neglecting reason’s cooler sway,
Come here to mourn.
Let Sculpture teach the stone to breathe
O’er the unconscious dust beneath,
Let Genius twine her brightest wreath
Round this sad urn.
But ah! can all this vain parade,
This useless show of honour paid
Departed talents, soothe his shade,
For former woes?
For the deep anguish of his heart,
Pierc’d by affliction’s keenest dart,
Which, with intolerable smart,
To madness rose;
And, in an hour of dark despair,
Made him the unknown future dare,I2 060 I2v 60
In hope to find oblivion there,
And calm repose.
Verses in Imitation of Hohenlinden.
From fertile Gallia’s peopled shore
Around what countless millions pour,
(Where’er her threat’ning eagles soar,)
To spread the reign of anarchy.
Proud Gallia’s flag triumphant spread,
Their daring troops the generals led
Through climes whence freedom long had fled,
The once fair realms of Germany.
At length arrang’d with martial pride,
Their glittering weapons gleaming wide
They cross’d the Dwina’s foaming tide,
Elate with hopes of victory.
Th’ undaunted Monarch of the North
Sent all his gallant legions forth,
To prove their prowess and their worth,
And rid the world of tyranny.
Smolensko’s Prince in patriot ire,
Inspir’d his troops with martial fire,
Compell’d th’ invaders to retire,
And Russia gain’d her liberty.
A broken and disorder’d host,
Their eagles fallen, their leaders lost,
The Dwina’s flood once more they cross’d,
Before a conquering enemy.
Struck with dismay and panic dread,
Fast o’er Volhynia’s plains they fled,
Behind, the conquering army sped,
Platoff’s intrepid cavalry.
The drifted snow was crimson’d o’er,
And many a deep-stain’d river bore
Its water to the distant shore
Of the dark rolling Vistula.
By ills of every kind distress’d,
By cold benumb’d, by hunger press’d,
Forc’d on the frozen earth to rest,
The sky their only canopy.
Subdu’d by winter’s rig’rous sway,
To famine and disease a prey,
The once Grand Army pin’d away,
On Poland’s dreary boundary.
Ambition! at thy tyrant will,
Such scenes of misery earth mnust fill;
Horrors attend thy progress still,
Such are thy deeds of cruelty.
In life’s gay morn, while undepress’d by grief,
The heart quick vibrates to the sense of joy;
And mounting vig’rous, yet uncheck’d by care,
Th’ exulting spirits kindle in the eye—
If much of fancy’s quivering flame be thine,
What hand shall guide that wild, unsteady light,
Which oft the young advent’rer leads astray,
And, like the dancing meteor of the night,
But dazzles and confounds the mental sight.
Oh! let it not thy heedless steps decoy
To where intemp’rance holds her giddy reign;
Though wit and mirth invite thee to her shrine,
Though sense and genius join th’ attendant train:
For ah! if thou possess a feeling heart,
And warm affections, and a generous mind,
How keen will be the pangs that heart must feel.
When from the long delirium wak’d, to find
Remorse, despair, and penury behind.
And if that vivid light intensely shine
On female beauty, height’ning every charm;
Does her fair form give raptures of delight,
Does her enchanting smile thy bosom warm—
Oh! do not seek by base deceitful arts,
That unsuspecting beauty to betray:
The cruel deed would haunt thy nightly dreams;
And conscience, arm’d with vengeance to repay,
Would rise in terror some succeeding day.
And ah! beware that fatal love of play,
Which madly prompts th’ incautious wretch to try
Stake after stake, until his all depends
Upon the dang’rous hazard of the die:
Driven to distraction when that all is lost,
His ’wilder’d senses make a dreadful pause;
Reflection adds fresh horror to his thoughts;
And rous’d to phrenzy, he resolves to close,
By one rash act, his being and his woes.
Think not the moral muse’s lay severe,
Which bounds prescribes to youth’s impetuous fires:
Too ardent, too unthinking to be wise;
Each novel scene awakes their warm desires—
The forms of pleasure eager they pursue—
They fear no danger, no deceit they dread,
Nor stop to think where the wild chace will end,
Till unawares the paths of guilt they tread,
And misery hangs impending o’er their head.
Yet, not in vain within the youthful breast
The fire of fancy glows, let reason guide
Its wav’ring light, direct it where to shine,
And point its beams to truth and virtue’s side:
For ah! how lost is the mistaken youth,
How lost to future fortune and to fame,
Who gives to vice his best his earliest years—
Lost to each gen’rous wish, each nobler aim,
Ruin his steps attends, dishonour marks his name.
Mark’d you the troubled face of heaven,
The sun a broad discolour’d spot,
The wheeling clouds impetuous driven,
Its lovely fields of azure blot?
Heard you that wild discordant yell,
The voice of many a mingled blast?
Saw you the feathery flakes which fell,
At fall of eve, so thick and fast?
How dreary is the closing day,
More dismal still will be the night,
No trembling moon-beam’s paly ray,
No scatter’d star’s faint glimmering light.
Ye thriftless, thoughtless, hardy race,
Who never for to-morrow care,
But wander still from place to place,
While others for your wants prepare,
Who, when the summer’s day was o’er,
Beneath the forest oak’s broad screen,
Safe slumber’d till the morning hour
On nature’s flow’ry carpet green:
And when the midnight air grew cold,
Beneath the shelt’ring hay-stack crept,
Or, in some shed or ruin old,
Contented with the cattle slept—
Say, would not now the fire-side warm,
Protected from the tempest’s strife,
And settled habitation charm,
More than the wand’ring vagrant’s life?
Hark! what a wild tempestuous night!
The weary traveller heaven defend!065 K1r 65
And guide his doubtful steps aright,
Who’s distant from his journey’s end—
Heav’n guide him, if his destin’d way
Lie o’er the common’s dreary bound,
Where, if he wander far astray,
Perils encompass him around:—
The undiscover’d precipice,
The dingle, fill’d with drifted snow
The slipp’ry plains of treach’rous ice,
Which hide the dark deep pool below:—
Safe through this wild and stormy night,
Through all the dangers of his course,
May Mercy guide his steps aright,
And shield him from the tempest’s force.
On the first of January.
Once more the swift wheels of old Time’s rapid chariot
Have hastily roll’d months and seasons away;
Once more we take leave of the gloom of December,
And hail brighter prospects returning to day.
Farewell to the year that is closed, for ever,
Like a dream, or a vision of fancy ’tis o’er:
Adieu to its toils, to its cares, and its pleasures;
They’ll return to perplex or delight us no more.
But the year which is gone had one favourite pleasure,
A charm of its own, that endear’d it to me;K 066 K1v 66
A source of amusement the world may call folly—
To me it was pleasure, since valued by thee.
And shall I, my dearest Eliza, relinquish
A source of enjoyment so pure and refin’d;
If I bid a reluctant adieu to the Muses,
Where shall I such pleasing society find?
Yet Prudence her maxims is ever repeating—
That the vot’ries of song are pursuing a shade;
A phantom, whose charms are delusive and fleeting,
As a rainbow, whose brilliance a moment will fade.
The lover, who for some insensible fair one
Still sighs, though she heed not, nor pity his pain;
If at length she relent, and with kindness reward him,
Though for years he had sigh’d, yet it was not in vain.
And those who solicit the gifts of dame Fortune,
Where blindfold she scatters her favours around,
Are rewarded, if after long constant attenda nce
She grant them a share of a ten-thousand pound.
But the sons of Thalia what madness possesses!
For year after year to write nonsense in rhyme,
Without any hope of advantage or profit,
To repay them for waste of their paper and time.
Thus Prudence, her grave, sober lectures rehearses,
But in vain—those enjoyments I cannot resign,
While the ardour of fancy still glows in my bosom,
While the feelings of joy, love, and pity are mine.
When my heart is as cold as the rocks of the ocean,
When the reign of affection and friendship is o’er,
When fancy’s bright flame is extinguish’d for ever,
And the name of Eliza can charm me no more.
When the wonders of nature no longer delight me;
When its beauties no longer my lays can inspire;
Then will I forsake the lov’d haunts of the Muses,
And bid an eternal farewell to the lyre.
On Esthwaite Water.
O’er Esthwaite’s lake, serene and still,
At sunset’s silent peaceful hour,
Scarce mov’d the zephyr’s softest breath,
Or sigh’d along its reedy shore.
The lovely landscape on its sides,
With ev’ning’s soft’ning hues imprest,
Shar’d in the gen’ral calm, and gave
Sweet visions of repose and rest.
Inverted on the waveless flood,
A spotless mirror smooth and clear,
Each fair surrounding object shone
In softer beauty imag’d there.
Brown hills, and woods of various shades,
Orchards and sloping meadows green,
Sweet rural seats, and shelter’d farms,
Were in the bright reflector seen.
Ev’n lofty Tilberthwaite from far
His giant shadow boldly threw,
His rugged, dark, high-tow’ring head
On Esthwaite’s tranquil breast to view.
Struck with the beauty of the scene,
I cry’d, Oh! may my yielding breast
Retain but images of peace,
Like those, sweet lake, on thine imprest.
Ne’er may it feel a ruder gale
Than that which o’er thy surface spread
When sportive zephyrs briskly play,
And whisper through thy bord’ring reeds;
When dancing in the solar beam,
Thy silv’ry waves the margin seek,
With gently undulating flow,
And there in softest murmurs break.
Vain wish! o’er Esthwaite’s tranquil lake,
A stronger gale full frequent blows,
The soothing prospect disappears,
The lovely visions of repose.
How dreary is winter to me,
Alone all its rigours I bear;
The hand that should shield me lies low;
I’ve none in my sorrows to share.
Ye trees that hang over my cot,
And tremble with each passing breeze,
The sport of the rude whistling winds,
Which bend your tall heads as they please:
For the ravage of winter you sigh,
And the loss of your verdure deplore,
But your lot’s not so wretched as mine,
My winter will never be o’er.
Thou snowdrop so sickly and sad,
That droops when the sun is gone down;
Now languid and bending thy head,
Beneath the pale light of the moon.
Fair flow’ret! too early thy birth,
Too soon hast thou left thy warm bed,
The hoar-frost will nip thy sweet bud,
And soon will thy beauty be fled.
Like thee do I languish and fade,
But my state is more sad and forlorn;
And ah! hapless me, if I die,
My loss a sweet infant will mourn.
Written in a Cemetery.
In this lone unfrequented spot—
Amongst these dwellings of the dead,
Does spring her beauteous charms display,
And here her fragrant odours shed.
She hangs the blossoms on the trees
Which o’er the mould’ring ashes wave;
She paints the leaves with vivid green,
And strews with flowers the lowly grave.
But ah! to those who slumber here,
The simple flowers which deck the plain,
The verdant foliage of the trees,
And golden blossoms, blow in vain.
And ye gay tenants of the grove,
Sweet minstrels of the early year,
In vain ye pour the tuneful strain,
For they, alas! can never hear.
Ye dwellers in these lowly cells,
When wintry tempests round you sweep,
In death’s oblivious slumbers wrapp’d,
Ah! how securely then you sleep—
Tho’ long and loud the thunder rolls
Around the dark and troubled sky,
And bursting from the fiery cloud,
The forked light’ning flashes by;
Should whirlwinds rend the rooted trees,
And earthquakes rock the trembling ground,
The noise of elemental strife,
Can never break your rest profound.
Tho’ war’s dread tempest loudly roars,
And rages round th’ affrighted world;071 K4r 71
Tho’ nations tremble at the sound,
And monarchs from their thrones be hurl’d,
You know it not—for quiet peace
Within the grave for ever reigns;
No hostile sounds can e’er invade
The silence of death’s still domains.
The anxious never ceasing cares,
Invaders of the human breast;
Doubt, and solicitude, and fear,
Here slumber in perpetual rest.
No more shall anguish rend the heart,
Or, sink the spirit in despair,
No more the mind shall droop beneath
Stern disappointment’s frown severe.
O’er scenes of complicated woe,
No more the feeling heart shall grieve,
Nor breathe the unavailing sigh,
For mis’ries which it can’t relieve.
Mourn not, ye living, for the dead,
Their day of toil and trouble o’er,
Sweet are their slumbers in the grave,
And they awake to grief no more.
The wintry wind blew loud and cold,
And whirl’d in drifted heaps the snow;
No moon-beam cheer’d the gloomy night,
No trembling star was seen to glow.
Poor Anna, with a sinking heart,
Sat list’ning to each sweeping blast,
Which o’er her low unshelter’d cot,
With still increasing fury past.
With fond solicitude she view’d
Her sleeping infant as it lay;
The starting tear stood in her eye,
She mourn’d its father far away.
As if to charm her griefs to rest
The little cherub sweetly smil’d:
The weeping mother in her arms,
Still closer press’d her darling child.
Ah could thy smiles, my lovely boy,
Soothe all my anxious fears to rest!
Ah me! how little dost thou know
The secret anguish of my breast.
Unconscious of impending ills,
How happy now thou seem’st to be;
Thus calmly may’st thou ever sleep,
From all thy mother’s terrors free.
Ah where o’er ocean’s mountain-waves,
Toss’d by the rough tempestuous wind,
Does thy poor father brave the storm,
While thoughts of home oppress his mind!
Perhaps upon some rocky shore,
Full many a gallant seaman’s grave,
E’en now the shatter’d vessel drives,
Or sinks beneath the stormy wave.
Yet, yet, have hope my fainting heart,
Ah sink not to despair a prey;
Sure heav’n a mother’s prayers will hear,
And spare his life who’s far away.
On the Fate of Newspapers.
What changes time’s swift motion brings!
What sad reverse of human things!
What once was valu’d, highly priz’d,
Is in a few short hours despis’d.
I’ll but solicit your attention,
While I a single instance mention,
The Advertiser, you must know,
Fresh from the Mint not long ago,
We welcom’d with abundant pleasure,
Impatient for the mighty treasure,
In what an alter’d state forlorn,
’Tis now in scatter’d fragments torn,
Part wrapp’d around the kettle’s handle,
Part twisted up to light the candle,L 074 L1v 74
Part given to the devouring fire:
Ah! see line after line expire;
It surely would, beyond a joke,
The patience of a saint provoke,
To think that after all their pains,
The rhymes which rack’d the poet’s brains,
And all the antiquarian’s learning,
Display’d so justly in discerning
The ancient Saxon derivation
Of half the places in the nation,
And the philosopher’s vast skill,
In measuring each stupendous hill,
From Sca-fell down to Benson-knot,
And even hills of lesser note;
To think that what such wits have penn’d,
Should come to this disgraceful end.
Why ’t is enough to make them vow,
With aspect stern and frowning brow,
They’ll such an useless trade resign,
And never write another line.
But stop, good sirs, a nobler fate
May your productions yet await;
A thought just now my head has enter’d,
In which alone my hopes are center’d.
Perhaps, preferr’d the pipe to light,
For some dull heavy witless wight,
They’ll, with tobacco’s fumes, infuse
The inspiration of the muse,
And furnish many an empty brain—
If so, we’ll write and sing again.
Abard, unlike the bards of yore,
Who drew from Aganippe’s well,
Inspiring draughts of poesy,
As their harmonious numbers tell;
Unlike the Roman bard who lov’d
The produce of Falernian vines,
Which made (for elegance and wit)
His songs unrivall’d as his wines:
A hapless bard of modern days,
Once tried some sonnets to produce,
Unaided by the muse’s spring,
Or by the grape’s enliv’ning juice;
Nor copious draughts of ale he tried,
When his invention prov’d too slow;
Small beer was all he could afford,
To make his tardy numbers flow.
Two good stone bottles he had got,
And with his fav’rite bev’rage fill’d,
And cork’d the frisky liquor close,
In frugal housewif’ry well skill’d;
And thought when on a distant day
(A day he never was to see)
He drew his simple bev’rage forth,
How brisk and pleasant it would be.
The sequel how shall I relate?
The poet’s beer was beer of spirit,
The bottles, near each other plac’d,
Quarrell’d about superior merit:
At night was heard a sudden crash,
The dreaming bard affrighted woke,L2 076 L2v 76
And thought, from such a dreadful noise,
Each window in the house was broke.
The morn disclos’d a woeful scene,
The beer was swimming on the floor,
The bottles scatter’d here and there,
Broke in a hundred bits or more.
The bard, with sorrow in his looks,
Beheld this sad catastrophe—
Oh! my lov’d cordial he exclaim’d,
What shall I do for want of thee;
This cruel blow strikes all my hopes,
And all my promis’d laurels fade;
I cannot write, I cannot think,
I cannot live without thy aid.
The following Stanzas were occasioned by reading in Mrs. Grant’s Letters from the Mountains, an account of a small island, which was the burying place of a family. The person who speaks them is supposed to be a young Highland lady in distress, and within view of the island.
Oh! happy lone retreat!
Where my forefathers sleep;
Though the rough surging billows beat
Against thy woody steep,
Peace dwells for ever there,
Beneath thy lonely shade;
Where those, to pensive mem’ry dear,
My earliest friends are laid.
Oh! that my weary head
Was laid with theirs at rest;077 L3r 77
And the green turf was lightly spread
Upon this aching breast.
Gladly I’d bid adieu,
Unpitying world, to thee;
Though pleasures thy gay paths bestrew,
They give no joy to me.
Yon solitary isle,
Where the dark alders wave,
And spring’s first wild flowers sweetly smile
On many a grass-grown grave—
Yon little isle alone
The dwelling of the dead,
Whose dark sequester’d alleys none
But weeping mourners tread,
Has far more charms for me,
Than pleasure’s gay resorts;
Than stately mansions fair to see,
And all the pomp of courts.
There shall reproaches end,
There calumnies shall cease;
And the base treachery of a friend
No more shall wound my peace.
Oh! that the boat were come
That should convey me o’er,
To yon, my last long-wish’d for home,
Thence to return no more.
Lines on the Comet.
Trav’ller of th’ etherial round,
Hast’ning o’er yon starry plain,
Tell us whither art thou bound,
What far distant goal to gain?
Say by what resistless force
Thus thy glowing orb is driven,
Forwards on its rapid course,
Through the azure fields of heav’n.
What is thy unerring guide,
Marking out thy devious way,
Through the trackless ether wide,
That thou wand’rest not astray?
Borne upon th’ elastic air,
Not the sweeping whirlwind’s speed,
Not the lightning’s sudden glare,
The swiftness of thy flight exceed.
Say, (for in thy ceaseless race,
Ever since the world began,
Thou hast travers’d wilds of space,
Far beyond the view of man,)
In what realm, to us unknown,
Wond’rous trav’ller hast thou been,
Passing many a torrid zone,
Many a chilling region keen?
Hast thou roll’d thy lucid train
O’er yon beauteous tract of light,
Yon thickly studded, shining plain, The Milky way.
With countless constellations bright.
Tell us if thy circuit runs
Where other planets brighter blaze,
Where more powerful burning suns
Shed around intenser rays.
Hast thou rush’d through dreary realms,
Lost in dim obscurity,
Where no faint star’s glimmering beams
Tremble o’er the cheerless sky?
Trav’ller, wheresoever bound,
Or new regions to explore,
Or to trace a former round,
Trod a thousand years before;
Yet awhile within our sphere,
Beauteous stranger, deign to stay,
Haste not on thy vast career,
With such rapid speed away.
Verses Addressed to a Young Lady.
Will you, my absent friend, accept
The tribute of a Muse sincere?
This simple chaplet she has wove
To grace for you the new-born year.
My lov’d Eliza, never Muse
That sung of friendship’s sacred flame,
Inspir’d a warmer breast than mine,
Nor honour’d e’er a dearer name,
In early youth’s fair op’ning spring,
What pure delights from friendship flow,
When first the heart awakes to feel,
How fervent then th’ affections glow.
Blest were those early days to me,
Happy each social hour we pass’d,
While your sweet converse charm’d my soul,
Till, much too quickly, came the last.
How blest was I to find a friend
Whose heart congenial feelings warm’d,
Whose fancy, ardent as my own,
With nature’s lovely scenes was charm’d,
But ah! no sooner found than lost,
And to a distant spot remov’d,
Yet never can you be forgot,
Nor ever cease to be belov’d.
To you may each succeeding year
With pleasing hopes and prospects rise!
Your bosom may no cares invade,
No sorrow dim your beaming eyes!
And may the happy youth ordain’d
The partner of your life to be,
Of every virtue be possess’d,
From ev’ry vice and folly free!
Securely as the vessel sails
Upon the lake’s unruffled breast,
Along life’s current may you glide,
Still in each other truly blest.
On the Death of an Infant.
Sweet babe! how peaceful is thy sleep,
That sleep which wakes to pain no more;
No more thy little eyes shall weep,
For all thy sorrows now are o’er.
As fair as is thy spotless form,
As pure was thy unsullied mind,
Sweet innocence, that never knew
The frailties of weak human kind.
When earth that spotless form shall hide,
O’er the green turf that covers thee,
May many a smiling flow’ret bloom,
Emblem of infant purity.
Oh! happy, happy child, how short
Thy pilgrimage of life has been,
Its num’rous cares thou hast not felt,
Its mis’ries thou hast never seen.
Thus in thy cradle softly laid,
On ev’ry beauteous feature fair
A placid smile still seems to play,
As death’s rude touch had not been there.
Thus the sweet snowdrop’s early bud
Reclines on earth its drooping head,
Nipp’d by some rough ungentle hand,
And withers on its native bed.
But kind and gentle was the hand
Which seal’d thy eyes in sweet repose,
E’er, ever on their opening lids
The light of morn unwelcome rose.
The drooping snowdrop’s wither’d bud
Shall die and never reach its prime;
But thou sweet flower transplanted hence,
Wilt flourish in a happier clime.
No wintry storms can ever rise
To blight thy tender blossom there,
But one unchanging season smile,
And summer gladden all the year.
Lines Written on the Banks of the Eden, Near Kirkby Stephen.
From distant moor-land heights descending,
How swiftly rolls this stream away!
Say, whither, Eden, art thou hasting?
Stay, impetuous river, stay,
And hear a rural muse address thee,
Who thy steep woody banks along,
By these rude scenes once more awaken’d,
Pours again th’ unstudied song.
From other plains afar, a wand’rer,
I thy loud sounding stream have sought,
Beside thy darkly rolling waters,
T’ indulge the pensive dreams of thought.
Here, when the full-orb’d moon ascending
Sheds her radiant light serene,
And round a softer day diffuses
O’er this wild and rugged scene;
Here would I love unseen to ramble
Around this rocky lone recess,
Form’d by the windings of the river,
A sweet sequester’d wilderness;
Amid the roar of dashing waters,
That sweep on every side around,
Mingled with the hollow murmurs
Of the deep current under ground.
Sweet as the voice of sweetest music
Is the wild torrent’s roar to me;
The foam upon its broken surface,
’Mid pointed crags, I love to see.
But hear I may no longer listen
This rapid current, nor survey
Its waves down shelving rocks swift tumbling;
For ev’ning calls my steps away.
Through many a lovely vale meand’ring,
Of thee shall other poets tell;
I may perhaps no more behold thee,
Eden, to thy dark stream farewell!
That sun which rose o’er Judah’s land,
On this auspicious day,
Shall shine for ages yet to come,
With never-setting ray.
The Sun of Righteousness, whose beams
First bless’d that favour’d soil,
Has shed its life-diffusing light
O’er many a distant isle.
Where’er its cheering influence comes;
All groundless fears are o’er;
The mists of error are dispell’d;
And doubts are known no more.
See, with increasing lustre still
The tide of glory streams,
And spreads o’er regions late unknown
Its bright celestial beams.
The wond’ring nations, who so long
In shades of darkness lay,
Now hail, with gratitude and joy,
The dawn of heav’n-born day.
Soon may that Sun’s blest radiance shine,
Wide as the world extends;
And pour a flood of sacred light,
To earth’s remotest ends.
Written on the Banks of a Rapid Stream.
Swift rolling river, stay;
What mighty speed is thine!
Why dost thou on thy downward course
So quickly haste away,
With ocean’s briny waves
Thy lucid stream to join?
This flow’ry valley’s side
When once thou hast forsook,
And thy transparent water’s lost
In the devouring tide,
Thou never canst return
On this sweet spot to look.
Such was the poet’s song;
But, heedless of the strain,
Impatient o’er its rocky bed,
The river rush’d along,
With still increasing speed,
To mingle with the main.
In that swift river’s force
Canst thou no emblem find?
Fond man, ’t is thus thy youthful years
Fly with quick circling course;
They bear thy joys away,
And leave thee griefs behind.
Written in March.
Relentless Winter, hence away!
Collect thy stormy bands and fly:
Thy chilling frost, and snow, and hail,
And the piercing northern gale:
We wish not for thy longer stay,
Hence with thy train of tempests fly.
Haste to bleak Siberia’s wild,
Or dreary Greenland’s utmost shore,
Where never yet the solar ray
Could melt the mountain snows away,
Nor ever beauteous summer smil’d
Since creation’s earliest hour.
Or seek the southern hemisphere,
Where beneath th’ antarctic pole,
’Mid rugged piles of drifted snow,
The ocean’s billows cease to flow,
Arrested in their wild career,
And chang’d to mountains as they roll.
There may thy winds incessant sweep
The surface of the frozen main;
There may’st thou revel uncontroul’d,
And thy tumultuous levee hold,
Thy stormy court perpetual keep,
Sole monarch of the drear domain.
For spring will never there unfold
Its swelling buds or blossoms gay,
Nor e’er the warmth of genial skies
Call forth the summer’s varied dies,
Nor fruitful autumn’s waving gold,
To interrupt thy boundless sway.
Oh sweet forgetfulness
Of earth-born care and woe,
Did ever Lethe’s silent stream
In earthly channels flow,
Soon would I taste of thee,
And from the healing spring,088 M4v 89
An antidote for ev’ry grief,
The flowing goblet bring.
I would not ask to drink
Of pleasure’s tempting stream,
Which oft intoxicates the mind,
And cheats it with a dream.
I would not wish the flood
Of Afric’s burning plains,
Old Niger with his golden sands,
To roll thro’ my domains.
A little curling rill,
Which o’er its pebbly bed
Flows clear, a mossy bank beneath,
With shadowing trees o’erspread,
Whose winding waters creep
Within a narrow bound,
A lovely wild romantic dell,
Begirt with rocks around.
This would I ask alone
To soothe my weary mind,
With murmurings soft, as on its brink
I listless lay reclin’d.
O’er scenes of pleasure past
Nor should pale mem’ry sigh,
Nor turn to images of grief
Her backward glancing eye.
Nor thought, with anxious toil
Life’s future years explore;
Free from regret for evils past,
Or fears for those before.
In such a calm retreat,
Thou sweet Forgetfulness,
All stronger feelings far remov’d,
My happy hours should bless.
To the Memory of a Friend.
Come thou sweet Muse my lay inspire,
That wak’st to pensive strains the lyre,
Come thy mournful numbers pour;
Oh be thy notes of sorrow deep;
Much was he lov’d whose silent sleep
The voice of morn shall wake no more.
Mourn for the early fate of worth;
How short alas its date on earth!
Mourn for youth’s precarious bloom,
Frail blossom of a summer’s day,
Snatch’d in its morning hour away,
To waste and wither in the tomb.
You who have lost a friend approv’d,
A friend from infancy belov’d,
So virtuous and so young as mine,N 090 N1v 90
Oh let your partial feelings plead
For this memorial of the dead,
This tribute to affection’s shrine.
Calm was my Edwin’s tranquil breast,
Each rude emotion quick suppress’d,
The nobler feelings center’d there;
There warm devotion ardent glow’d,
And soft compassion overflow’d,
And pure benevolence sincere.
No passion discompos’d his soul,
Subject to reason’s just controul,
And govern’d by religion’s laws;
How gentle was his manly mind,
He felt for all of human kind;
Warm in humanity’s blest cause.
That injur’d cause I lov’d to hear
Pleaded against harsh laws severe,
By lips of innocence and truth;
On his persuasive accents long
Have I with fond attention hung,
Charm’d with the wisdom of his youth;
And hop’d, but friendship’s hopes are o’er;
Lamented youth! ah never more
That gentle voice, so dear to me,
Shall I with heart-felt pleasure hear,
No more thy footsteps greet my ear,
No more thy placid smile I see.
Fast roll the summer months away,
They bring no more the welcome day,
And dark December’s joyless gloom
Comes all unlook’d unwish’d for now,
No pleasing prospects cheer its brow;
There’s no returning from the tomb.
Yet there’s a hope in which we trust,
When virtuous friends are laid in dust;
That cheering hope shall still remain,
To soothe the mourner’s pensive breast,
That in the mansions of the bless’d
We yet may meet in joy again.
Occasioned by Reading T. Wilkinson’s Elegy on Life.
Sweet Cumbrian Bard, esteem’d and honour’d long,
In youth belov’d, respected in thy age,
Thine is each title to mankind endear’d,
The social friend, the Christian, and the sage.
And may a young and inexperienc’d Muse,
To thee a stranger, to the world unknown,
Who courts the partial favours of the Nine,
To charm her solitary hours alone,
Oh may she thus, with rash presumptuous pen,
Address sweet Yanwath’s much admired bard,
And how will he, crown’d with Parnassian wreaths,
A nameless rhymer’s uncouth lines regard,
Whose song no sprightly wit nor talents grace,
Nor hers the poet’s energetic fire,
Hers only are the feelings of the heart,
And hers the artless strains which they inspire—
Say, will he not so mean a lay despise,
Nor deign this simple eulogy to hear,
Say will he not indignant turn away,
With looks averted and a frown severe?
Oh no, he will not, for his soul is mild,
If we may judge from his harmonious lays,
Perhaps he will the bold attempt forgive,
And spare his censures, though he cannot praise.
Then may she ask if silent sleeps the lyre?
Hast thou to younger hands resign’d the shell?
Hast thou forsook the Heliconian springs?
And bade the Nine a long and last farewell?
Or haply o’er the thy lov’d Eliza’s tomb
Thy lyre unstrung in pensive sadness sleeps?
Or only breathes in melancholy sighs,
While o’er its chords the whisp’ring Zephyr sweeps?
Oh bid it from its slumbers wake once more,
And breathe again some soft melodious strains,
Oh bid it wake to charm the list’ning ear,
For all its sweetness, all its strength remains.
The Grassy Mound.
What means this little grassy mound,
Rais’d in no consecrated ground,
But in the forest dell profound,
Where waves so sad and mournfully
The mountain ash its bending head?
There sleeps th’ unknown, unhonour’d dead,
In his obscure and lowly bed,
Grac’d by no marks of heraldry.
Here the ’lorn wand’rer of the heath,
The forest’s twilight shades beneath,
Sunk silent in the arms of death,
Far from his home and family.
No holy man, with pious care,
O’er his poor relics breath’d a prayer,
No mourner grac’d them with a tear,
No funeral bell toll’d solemnly.
Yet round this undistinguish’d tomb
The violets breathe their sweet perfume,
The eglantine’s fair roses bloom
In nature’s wild simplicity.
And when the gath’ring shades of night
Have chas’d the day’s bright beams to flight,
And silver Luna’s trembling light
Sleeps on the wave so peacefully,
Then, at that silent, solemn hour,
Oft, from her close concealed bower,
Lone Philomela loves to pour
Her strains of melting harmony.
Poor pilgrim, rest, thy wand’rings o’er,
Perplex’d by ’wild’ring thoughts no more,
The dawn thy reason will restore—
The dawn of immortality.
On Underbarrow Scar. Underbarrow Scar is a ridge of limestone, which terminates the common between Kendal and Underbarrow; it is a remarkable object from the country below, which it seems almost to shut out of the world, rising perpendicularly a vast height above it; a considerable part of it is clothed with wood about half way up; above, the surface is covered with loose stones; scatter’d yews spread their dark branches at intervals upon this sterile slope, which have not the least appearance of soil to support them. At the top is a long ridge of rocks, extending nearly a mile, in the form of a bow; they have the appearance of a range of columns of irregular height, being in some places separated by wide chasms, and projecting considerably forward; yews, and various kinds of shrubs, grow in the interstices, and their summits are profusely decorated with the beautiful flowers of the Dwarf Schistus.
Oh you who hither oft with pilgrim feet,
Have o’er the pathless common trac’d your way;
This scene of savage grandeur to survey;
And here have stood with admiration meet,
Gazing on all the varied prospect round,
Glancing on ev’ry side your eager eye,095 N4r 95
From where the view the dim-seen mountains bound,
Beneath whose brows pellucid waters lie,
To where, far stretching from the distant main,
A shining mirror seems yon liquid plain;
Its utmost limits bounded by the sky.
Oh say, did ne’er poetic fervour warm,
One glowing breast of those who here have stray’d,
Did ne’er th’ enchantress, Fancy, lend her aid
To paint in vivid hues each native charm
Of this wild spot, that, thro’ revolving years,
It still attracts admiring eyes in vain,
Nor in one poet’s lines its name appears?
Come, while its summer glories yet remain,
Ye sons of song, in some appropriate lay,
This lofty barrier of the waste pourtray;
Tow’ring majestic o’er the verdant plain.
Describe this vast stupendous pile of rock,
As rugged as the confines of the world,
Whence the huge masses far beneath it hurl’d.
Seem sever’d by a mighty earthquake’s shock;
Paint the rude columns of this lofty mound,
With ivy’s polish’d foliage wreathed o’er,
(Whose tendrils twine the jutting rocks around,)
Their tops adorn’d with many a golden flower;
Each fissure of the broken rocks between,
The yew’s dark boughs and shrubs of lightest green,
Form for the raven’s nest a leafy bower.
With what sincere delight I wander here;
When from the cares and toils of life set free,096 N4v 96
I hail the blest return of liberty;
And these lov’d scenes my wearied spirits cheer;
At ease reclin’d upon this airy brow,
The prospect stretching wide, pleas’d I survey,
The stony slope, the hanging woods below,
The ridges of the heath, the winding way,
The sun-beams glitt’ring on the marshy ground,
The cultivated farms which smile around,
And yon far hills with mists of ev’ning grey.
Here all conspires to tranquillize the breast;
The verdure of the earth, th’ unclouded skies—
The mingl’d songs which from the woodlands rise,
The sun’s last rays faint glimmering in the west—
I feel the soothing influence of the scene,
The undisturb’d repose of this retreat
Sheds o’er my mind the calm of peace serene,
From life’s continual cares a respite sweet—
For not one anxious thought can here molest,
Nor does one pensive sigh steal from my breast,
Till hence I turn my slow reluctant feet.
On the Sprint at Garnet Bridge.
Riv’let of the narrow valley,
Far on ev’ry side resounds
The dashing of thy roaring waters,
Now confin’d within their bounds.
Here, ev’n now, with strong sensations
I survey thy rapid flood,097 O1r 97
Flowing in foaming waves beneath me,
Half concealed by the wood.
But when autumn’s gather’d tempests
Burst on those surrounding hills,
And the swift descending torrent
Soon thy rocky channel fills—
When, its narrow bounds disdaining,
Pent within its banks no more,
Thy stream with sudden fury rushing
Sweeps its woody margin o’er—
With what mingled joy and terror
Would I mark thy rapid course,
O’er yon crags in vain opposing,
Bounding with resistless force.
Riv’let of the narrow valley!
Swiftly rolls thy stream away;
Here though every charm surrounds thee,
Here, thou must not, canst not stay.
Go, and along yon verdant meadows
With a gentler current glide;
Then must, sweet stream, thy lucid waters
Swell a nobler river’s pride.
Verses Intended for a Watch-Paper.
The mind of man, like this machine,
Has various moving springs unseen;
Strong feelings which affect him still,
And prompt him both to good and ill.
These secret feelings are the cause,
From whence all human action flows;
Of varied characters the source,
Strong impulses, with powerful force;
They all for vice or virtue plead,
And all to vice or virtue lead.
Let reason mark the bounding lines,
Where each from rectitude declines,
And conscience in the mind preside,
Their regulator and their guide.
Written in May, 1813.
She comes, the poet’s fav’rite theme,
The pride of all the circling year;
She comes, but tearful is her eye,
No smiles upon her face appear.
The promis’d honours of her reign
Are blasted by a wintry storm;
The smiling azure of her skies,
Dark heavy rolling clouds deform.
She mourns the leafy chaplet green,
Which wont her forehead fair to bind,O 099 O2r 99
Strew’d in disorder o’er the earth,
Torn by the rough tempestuous wind.
She mourns her painted blossoms gay,
Untimely scatter’d on the ground;
The garden and the orchard’s pride,
In beauteous ruins strew’d around.
She mourns the flowrets of the vale,
That bloom’d for her in wilds unseen,
Along the verdant streamlet’s side,
Beneath the copse’s shelt’ring screen.
They bloom in simple grace no more,
But drooping on their slender stems,
And shrinking from the northern blast,
Lie with’ring o’er the woodland gems.
Ah! stormy May, what poet’s song
Can hail thy birth in strains of joy?
Sad dirges for thy blasted charms,
May now their mournful lyres employ.
To a Friend.
Peaceful as thy gentle spirit,
May thy lot in life still be;
And may heav’n its choicest blessings,
Shower through future years on thee.
Never may the thorns of conscience
Pierce thy yet unwounded mind,
Nor despair or hopeless anguish,
In thy breast a dwelling find;
Nor disease’s cruel tortures,
Wear thy prime of life away;
But may health and ease returning,
Cheer the morning of thy day.
Still may kind and gen’rous feelings
Fill the bosom of my friend,
Still may friendship and affection,
On his course through life attend.
What is love? a compound strange,
Made of mingled hopes and fears;
Subject to perpetual change,
Quick succeeding smiles and tears.
What is love? a sudden whim,
Like lightning, passing through the mind:
A strange capricious fickle thing,
More inconstant than the wind.
What is love? a gentle flame,
Blazing beaming round the youthful heart;101 O3r 101
Prov’d by the mention of a name,
Which sweet emotions can impart.
Prov’d by the glances of the eye,
Which, what the tongue denies, reveals;
Prov’d by the half suppressed sigh,
Which from th’ unguarded bosom steals.
What is love when most refin’d?
The inmate of a gen’rous breast;
A feeling of angelic kind,
Far surpassing all the rest.
Thoughts on Friendship.
Fame, and honour, wealth, and friendship,
All are objects of desire,
Frequent sought with ceaseless trouble,
All can ardent hopes inspire.
Fame is but a tell-tale echo,
Which the passing sounds repeats,
Loudly praising each new object,
Till the next its flatt’ry greets;—
’T is a momentary bubble,
Buoy’d up by th’ unstable air;
Let censure’s busy finger touch it,
And ’t will instant disappear.
Wealth is seldom rightly valued,
Tempting e’en the wise astray:—
To the starving miser useless,
By the spendthrift thrown away.
Health and peace it cannot purchase,
But will frequent both destroy;
Who would sacrifice his comfort,
To obtain the glittering toy?
What is that distinction—honour,
If in rank alone ’tis plac’d,
Vain are sounding pompous titles
When to worthless names prefac’d—
These bestow nor worth, nor talents,
Nor one moment’s true delight,
Life may be possess’d without them,
With as much enjoyment quite.
But if friendship be the object
Which thy ardent bosom warms,
Then the wish to gain it cherish—
Friendship has intrinsic charms.
Friendship is the mind’s best riches,
Source of pleasure most refin’d—
Earth without it were a desart,
Men would be of savage kind.
Was thy name on fame’s swift pinions
Wafted o’er the billowy deep,103 O4r 103
Was it known in ev’ry language,
Far as ocean’s waters sweep—
Or was all the wealth of Afric—
Or Peru’s unfathom’d mines,
All Indostan’s boasted treasures,
Every sparkling gem that shines
In the earth’s luxuriant bosom,
All the wealth of either zone,
All the products of its surface,
Were these thine and thine alone—
Were thy titles more and greater
Than e’er Eastern monarchs claim’d,
More than e’er to please a tyrant
Servile adulation fram’d—
Yet did not one bosom cherish
Thoughts of tenderness for thee,
Nor e’er smiles of pleasure gladden
Other faces thine to see—
Did no eye beam with affection,
Pleas’d thy welcome voice to hear;
Did the voice of friendship never
Pour its music on thine ear?
Then, with all the wealth and titles
Pride and av’rice could desire,
All thy joyless pomp of station
Would no envious thoughts inspire—
Happier were the simple peasant,
Who can, when his labours end,
Find, in some kind-hearted neighbour,
The greatest joy of life—a friend.
Happier far the poor mechanic,
Who, his daily bus’ness o’er,
Meets his wife and prattling children,
Smiling welcome at the door.
The Lover’s Resolution.
When from the hills was fading fast,
The summer ev’ning’s purple glow;
And the lone sky-lark soaring high,
Sung his last vespers clear and slow.
A youth alighted from his steed,
To muse by Eden’s sounding stream,
Through glade and thicket as he stray’d,
Inndulging fancy’s waking dream;
Scenes of his childhood and his youth,
Haunts of his early friends they were;
And tender recollections rose,
Upon his pensive memory there.
A solitary taper’s light,
From a lone cottage shed a gleam;
Upon the orchard’s mossy wall
He lean’d, to gaze upon its beam;
There long in silent thought he paus’d,
For there had dwelt his favourite maid,
Till thought too keen for silence grew,
And thus with fault’ring tones he said;
Oh happy scenes! oh days of peace!
Ere I had mingled with mankind,
Those scenes unalter’d still remain,
But peace no longer here I find,
On every plain, in every shade,
I see Louisa’s image rise,
As when in op’ning beauty fair,
Her smiles attracted first my eyes.
A gentle stripling then was I,
Nor the bad world had school’d my youth;
And she an artless, rustic maid,
All sweetness, innocence, and truth.
Why did I leave this peaceful vale?
Th’ abode of happiness and health;
To learn the follies of the town,
And peace forego in search of wealth.
Why did I tell the gentle maid,
Her love was dearest wealth to me;
And promise with a thousand vows,
To her unshaken constancy.
Why did I promise to return,
And make her my admired bride;P 106 P1v 106
Then break my promise and my vows,
Misled by vanity and pride.
Now she has left her native vale,
And to an unknown region stray’d—
Yet will I seek her new abode,
Yet will I find the injur’d maid;
And if her kind and gen’rous heart,
My long unkindness can forgive;
I’ll seek again these peaceful vales
Here with content and her to live.
Written After the News of a Battle.
Pale lamp of night, on this low world
How canst thou look so wond’rous fair?
How canst thou on its horrors smile,
Its scenes of misery and despair?
Thou shin’st on many a lowly cot,
Where widow’d mothers wake to weep,
And wearied nature vainly tries
To lose awhile its woes in sleep—
Thou seest full many a soldier brave,
Expiring on the field of death,
Imploring mercy for his babe
And widow with his latest breath.
Oh! turn thee from the dreadful plains
Where Europe’s sons unburied lie,
The view would thy pale lustre stain,
And give thy beams a crimson dye.
Ye sons of wealth! on beds of down
Who undisturb’d by grief repose,
Pity the fallen soldier’s child,
Pity his friendless widow’s woes.
Will aught but death the ties of nature break;
Will death alone divide united hearts;
Will friendship’s bonds all other power defy,
Sever’d alone by his resistless darts.
Say? can even death those pow’rful ties dissolve,
For ever break affection’s tender chains;
Say? will not faithful love survive the grave,
And glow refin’d in happier worlds again!
Ah no, even wealth can cancel nature’s ties;
And make the heart insensible and cold;
Int’rest the firmest friends can disunite,
Even ardent love may be subdu’d by gold.
A Poetic Description of South-Stack Lighthouse.
The following description of South-Stack Lighthouse is taken from a sketch presented to me by a gentleman who has lately visited it.
Where Holyhead’s small isle, by Mona’s side,
Rears its rude mountains, ’midst the foaming tide,
South-Stack’s Four miles from the town of Holyhead. bleak rock emerges from the deep,
Round whose bare sides the rolling billows sweep,
And frequent dash its pointed summit o’er,
When angry surges lash Caernarvon’s shore,
Then back receeding in confusion, show
The dreadful chasm that opens wide below.
’T was when the north-wind blew a furious gale,
And little could the seaman’s skill avail,
In distant view a lofty bark appear’d,
And with the varying gusts inconstant veer’d—
One moment half ingulf’d beneath the tide—
The next on mountain billows seen to ride—
Loud howl’d the winds, and drove the clouds along—
The sea-fowl scream’d the rugged cliffs among—
And oft beneath dark South-Stack’s naked cone,
The demon of the storm was heard to moan,
Who, seated sullen in his briny cave,
Whose roof the fluctuating surges lave,
Survey’d the vessel struggling with the storm,
And the poor sailors’ tempest-beaten form,
With gloomy joy—for, o’er the dreary view,
Night’s deep’ning shades increasing horror threw,
An aged bard, affrighted and dismay’d,
With terror in his looks the scene snurvey’d,109 P3r 109
And watch’d, with beaming heart and anxious eye,
The bark before the driving tempest fly,
Till her tall mast no more he could descry—
Then call’d on heav’n with many a prayer, to save
The gallant seamen from the yawning grave.
Still howl’d the winds, and still the ocean roar’d,
And ’gainst the rocks their foam the breakers pour’d;
But soon with joy he hail’d a welcome sight,
Ascending from the deep, the Queen of Night
Threw her soft lustre o’er the troubled tide—
The lovely radiance spread on every side—
Celestial music stole upon his ear—
Check’d in the fury of their wild career,
The waves with lessening murmurs sought the shore,
The blast’s tremendous voice was heard no more.
O’er South-Stack’s rock the glistening moonbeams stray’d,
And to the bard’s astonish’d view display’d
A seraph Humanity. form, array’d in robes of light,
Serene her looks, her smile divinely bright.
The time shall come the beauteous vision said,
When this bleak rock, no more beheld with dread,
Shall be to doubting mariners a guide,
And shine the beacon of the dangerous tide;
Augusta’s sons The Trinity House, in London, has lately erected a lighthouse upon this rock, and made a communication between it and a very high rock opposite, on the Island of Holy-head, by means of a bridge, sixty yards long, constructed of iron chains and ropes, suspended over the chasm which separates them. The descent of the bridge is by 240 steps, cut in the solid rock; its height from a pointed rock beneath it, visible in mild weather, is about fifty yards. my dictates shall obey,
And here a monument of art display;110 P3v 110
A monument which shall preserve their name
To future years, and give them lasting fame;
A title shall be theirs, to Britons dear,—
The suffering seaman’s friends—and friends sincere.
The Mountain Flower.
If, the rude mountain turf adorning,
Some lowly flower should chance to rise,
With simple charms to greet the morning;
Tho’s plac’d beneath ungenial skies;
And with no fertile soil to cherish,
No shade to screen it from the blast;
Expos’d or in the birth to perish,
Or brave the storm which o’er it past;
Tho’ it can never boast the neatness,
The varied tints, majestic air,
The rich luxuriance, or the sweetness,
Which grace the garden’s inmates fair:
Oh let the curious florist spare it
When the lone mountain gem he spies;
Tho’ he with those can not compare it,
Yet it may please some humbler eyes.
Oft have I seen a lovely blossom, The grass of Parnassus.
Rearing its unprotected form
Upon the rugged wild’s bleak bosom,
Unshelter’d from the piercing storm.
Yet sweetly there it grew and flourish’d,
In humble charms to deck the waste,
By frequent showers and sunbeams nourish’d;
And oft I’ve stay’d my eager haste,
To view the flower so unassuming,
So simple, yet so spotless fair,
Which on no higher rank presuming,
Blossoms and dies in secret there;
And thought perhaps my artless ditties,
Had better like their sister been,
Still all unknown in towns and cities,
And had bloom’d and died unseen.
On Kilda’s rock a man of pensive mien,
Sat thoughtful, gazing on the restless deep,
And as he mark’d with what a rapid sweep,
Wave after wave rush’d onward to the shore;
He thought of life’s for ever changing scene,
How just a picture of the sons of men,
Race after race they sink to rise no more.
For him alas! more mournful musings wait;
Ah! wretch unhappy, destin’d to forsee,
What sad, sad scenes in future times should be
What long protracted years of human woe,
The dreadful secrets of the womb of fate,
Of suffering Europe the unhappy state,
Doom’d war’s gigantic ills, a cruel train, to know.
For while he gaz’d before his wond’ring eyes;
Her hundred states majestic rose to view,
In ev’ry varying feature nicely true,
All strongly pictur’d by an unseen hand.
There, snow-crown’d mountains towering to the skies,
Here, vine-clad hills with gentler swells arise;
There, flowery plains were spread, a green delightful land.
Plac’d in the midst, on ocean’s billowy plain
Sublimely stood fair Albion’s favour’d land;
Her rocks, strong fortresses by nature plann’d,
Built round her shores in many a rugged pile;113 Q1r 113
Her sons, a brave intrepid gen’rous train,
Freedom their boast, the rulers of the main,
Her navies hearts of oak the guardians of the isle.
The wond’ring peasant saw with deep surprise,
The lovely vision glide before his view;
Soon scenes more strange his fix’d attention drew,
For in the midst a dreadful phantom rose,
Of form terrific and gigantic size,
The darts of death shot from his fiery eyes,
Thick rolling clouds of smoke enveloped his brows.
O’er many a land his glitt’ring lance he shook,
Shrieks of despair were echoed far and wide;
Dismay’d and terror-struck on ev’ry side,
The guardian Genii of the nations fled.
With frown tremendous and appalling look,
And voice of thunder, thus the phantom spoke,
In tones whose echo fill’d th’ astonish’d world with dread.
Spirit of desolation hither come,
From realms, of pow’rful empires once the seat,
Of arts and sciences the fam’d retreat,
Now provinces beneath a tyrant’s sway;
’Mid scenes like these if now thou lov’st to roam
To feed thy sullen soul’s perpetual gloom,
Contemplating the works of human skill decay.
Or if those desart wastes thou hover’st round,
Where trace, nor vestige e’er can be descry’d
Of mighty Babylon Challdea’s pride,
Its scite to passing travellers to tell—Q 114 Q1v 114
Where Balbec’s fallen temples strew the ground,
A sandy plain with broken columns crown’d,
Beneath whose spacious arch the wand’ring Arabs dwell.
Or scenes of fallen grandeur feast thine eyes,
Where in its vast magnificence appears,
The splendid ruin of two thousand years,
The matchless boast of Persia’s flow’ry plains,
Persepolis, whose lofty columns rise,
Stupendous work of art, which time defies,
Which Asia’s glory once, its wonder yet remains.
Spirit of desolation, haste away
From these vast monuments of ancient times,
The mutilated pride of Eastern climes;
Nor the lost plund’rers of the earth deplore,
Who gave these mighty wonders to thy sway;
My modern son shall ruthless be as they,
And ruin mark his course from shore to shore.
Ne’er shall humanity his hand arrest;
Stern shall he be, of unrelenting soul,
Nor ever tender pity’s soft controul,
Restrain the dreadful purpose of his heart,
But in his hard inexorable breast,
Each fierce and furious passion be a guest;
By nature form’d to act th’ unfeeling tyrant’s part.
Dark spirit follow where we lead the way,
Europe’s fair realms we’ll sacrifice to thee,
With gloomy joy thy sullen eyes shall see,
New empires added to thy wide domains;115 Q2r 115
Devouring flames her harvest’s shall consume;
Her burning cities night’s dark vault illume,
And thou exulting stalk o’er her devoted plains.
He came to trace the sanguine steps of war—
Swift as the sweeping whirlwind on its way,
Through realms, where mighty Princes once bore sway,
The demon rush’d, and frequent turn’d his eye
On Albion’s cliffs, but bent his course afar,
Where Russia stretch’d towards the Polar star;
And saw Imperial Moscow’s towers in ruins lie.
The fiend exulting hover’d o’er his prey,
A gen’ral groan through every land was heard;
The vision clos’d, the pageant dissappear’d,
Surprise and horror seal’d the seer’s sad eyes,
Yet thus he spoke, Oh power mysterious say,
Shall Europe then in her distressful day
Ne’er find a friend, shall none to save her rise?
Say? is there no unconquerable power,
Who dares oppose ambition’s mad career,
Dares from his grasp the reins of empire tear,
And save mankind from his detested sway;
Where sleeps that spirit fam’d in days of yore,
Guardian of freedom since her natal hour,
Where sleeps he, and the world to lawless power a prey?
He will not sleep: by Moscow’s lurid glare
Of fiery columns darting to the skies—
By her sad widows’ wail and orphans cries,
The groans of dying warriors fall’n in vain,
And childless mothers, moans which fill the air—
The Patriot Spirit roused from despair
Shall rise, and break indignant fear’s benumbing chains—
Shall with the warrior’s plume adorn his brows,
Unshrinking fortitude, whose dauntless soul
No form nor shape of danger can appal,
Wisdom and valour for his aid shall join,
The warring elements shall aid his cause,
Stern ministers of wrath, and ’gainst the foes
Of sacred freedom all their vengeful stores conbine.
He will repeat from echoing shore to shore,
Princes of Europe, lift once more your eyes—
Enslaved nations long depress’d arise,
Nor longer at oppression’s footstool bend;
Firm be your hearts in this decisive hour,
Unite with me, disclaim the despot’s power,
Be valiant, and be wise, and heav’n will be your friend.
Canst thou not paint the shivering native’s joy,
When breaking first the long, long, Polar night,
The rising sun displays his lovely light
On Greenland’s barren rocks and frozen plains—
The glad surprise, the boundless ecstacy,
The transports of delight with which they eye
The dawn of morn’s fair light upon their drear domains,
Can not imagination’s eye survey,
From his first rise above some storm-beat hill,
The radiant track he measures widening still,
And his bright beams the hours of darkness chace,
Till to th’ admiring view he wide display
The glories of uninterrupted day,
And the horizon round his circles vast embrace.
Thus Europe’s sons will hail, in days to come,
The spirit blest of Independence rise,
While from the splendour of his dawning, flies
The giant terrors in the demon’s train—
Rise to disperse oppression’s dreadful gloom,
To call long buried freedom from the tomb,
And bless the mourning world with happy years again,
So rapid on his course shall he proceed
And the short circle of one rolling year,
(The bright commencement of his vast career)
His steady march along his destin’d way,
Constant and firm, with still increasing speed,
And reach’d the goal, from opposition freed,
The glories of his full meridian shall survey.
Favour’d of heav’n, awhile my speech attend:
On brighter visions now unclose thine eyes,
Again shall Europe’s realms before thee rise.
Of this great drama mark the closing scene,
Of wild ambition see th’ appointed end,
Tho’ conquest and success its steps attend,
And pow’r awhile its crimes from vengeance screen.
The day of recompence will come, tho’ late,
For justice sleeps not, tho’ she long delay
T’ assert her rights, and re-assume her sway,
Time will the wisdom of her plans unfold,
And these events to future years relate
That lawless power has a determin’d date,
Now say what other scenes thy joyful eyes behold:—
My eyes behold a new and lovely scene,
(With transport in his looks the seer replied,)
Once hostile armies by each others side
In friendly bands exchanging looks of peace—
I see along the borders of the Seine,
Illustrious kings, and chiefs renown’d, convene,
To sheath the sword and bid war’s discord cease.
On a lone isle environ’d by the sea,
Much less than that small isle that gave him birth,
I see the mighty troubler of the earth,
Who could not rest till Europe was his own,
A banish’d exile from the world is he,
Who thought that men were born his slaves to be,
And vainly dreamt that world was made for him alone.
Rejoice ye nations, now the world is freed!
For he, whose pastime whose delight was war,
To whom t’ was joy to spread destruction far,
The great destroyer’s dreadful reign is o’er,
The end of all his triumphs is decreed,
Beneath his sword no more shall kingdoms bleed:
His iron sceptre now shall rule the world no more.
Dethroned tyrant, where is now thy power?
Where now thy empire o’er a conquer’d world?
From thy high state by speedy vengeance hnurl’d
Where now thy dreams of everlasting fame!
Thy voice commands the vanquish’d world no more,
Thy crown, thy empire’s vanish’d in an hour,
And nothing left thee now but a dishonour’d name.
On distant, cold Archangell’s utmost shore—
Where the swift Danube pours its mighty tide
’Mid spacious cities rang’d along its side,
Amid dark forests of Norwegian pines,
Where down steep rocks the foaming Cat’racts pour—
And where Mont Blanc’s stupendous summit hoar,
O’erlooks Helvetia’s vales, adorn’d with blushing vines.
On lone Montserrat’s rocky turrets bare—
And the vast Appenine’s extensive chain,
Which frown o’er many a fair Italian plain,
Beneath a cloudless sky extending wide,—
Their rescu’d standards let the nations rear,
And plant the flag of independence there,
Firm and unmov’d as rocks for ever to abide.
From Europe’s various lands of every tongue,—
From lofty palaces, and lowly cells,
From sterile wastes and lands where plenty dwells—
From peopled cities, and from spacious plains—
Let all her nations raise one general song,
Raise the glad voice of joy, a stranger long
And all their mingled tongues repeat the strains.
Borne on the winds, let the glad tidings fly
From the drear confines of the artic pole,
To where the Ganges’ spreading waters roll
In many a sweep Hindostan’s plains among;
To where the tow’ring Andes meet the sky—
Let murmuring streams and echoing rocks reply,
And ocean’s mighty voice the joyful strains prolong.
Bend from the skies ye spirits of the dead,
Who nobly toil’d through many a year, to save
Your country’s rights and freedom from the grave,
And witness universal joy prevail,
Th’ auspicious day is come for which you bled,
Blest freedom is restor’d and war is fled,
Join in the general song returning peace to hail.
Britannia, long the suffering nation’s friend,
Thy troops assisted, thy example fir’d,
Thy dauntless fortitude their zeal inspir’d;
Now they are free, another task be thine,
The cause of injur’d Afric to defend,
Plead for her rights and may success attend
Thy efforts, that her sons may in the chorus join.
When fair Amelia’s artless smiles,
At first my youthful bosom fir’d;
I look’d and sigh’d from day to day,
But durst not say that I admir’d.
Yet what my tongue could not reveal,
True love’s expressive looks betray’d,
Tir’d with restraint, at length I own’d
My passion to the lovely maid.
You should have told me this before,
’Tis now too late, she said, and sigh’d,
Last night arriv’d a lover gay,
My father means me for his bride.
When next my wand’ring heart was caught
By bright Eliza’s sparkling eyes,
Quickly I sought the beauteous maid,
My wishes told without disguise.
Damon, she said, ’tis all in vain
To urge your proffer’d vows of love,
Go woo some other willing maid,
Your suit I never can approve;
The fav’rite lamb of all my flock,
A playful wanton, chanc’d to stray,
Young Stephen brought the wand’rer back,
RBut ah! he stole my heart away.
Of ev’ry sweet attractive charm,
Of ev’ry mental grace possest,
Young Chloe only wanted wealth,
To make the fondest lover blest.
Av’rice and passion in my breast,
A doubtful struggle long maintain’d,
Bnut pow’rful love at length prevail’d,
And there alone triumphant reign’d.
’Twas on the lovely first of May,
I met young Chloe in the grove,
Attended by a beauteous train,
She seem’d the smiling Queen of love;
With eager haste I took her hand,
Wilt thou, fair shepherdess, be mine,
Wilt thou my ardent flame return,
My heart, my wealth, shall all be thine.
Frowning, she snatch’d her snowy hand,
And turn’d her blushing face away,
Your heart and wealth I both resign,
To be my Colin’s bride to-day.
You sigh, Maria, hapless maid,
The tear stands trembling in your eye;
My bosom, touch’d by kindred woes,
Re-echoes ev’ry pensive sigh.
You grieve for an unfaithful swain,
I mourn that you refuse my love,
One look, one word, one tender smile,
From you, would all my cares remove.
Maria, think how hard my fate,
Your sad dejected look to see,
To hear you heave the frequent sigh,
Yet know that sigh is not for me.
Oh! how unfeeling was the youth,
Unworthy such a matchless prize,
Who won that tender heart of thine,
Yet such a treasure could despise.
Forget the cold ungen’rous swain,
The mem’ry of his love resign,
Think of his broken vows no more,
But, dearest maid, attend to mine.
My Henry! ah why would’st thou leave me behind thee,
And cross the wide waves of the ocean alone,
This sweet little vale and our wood-shelter’d cottage,
No more can delight me when Henry is gone.
While pensive and lonely I sit in thy absence,
And round me the tempest unpityingly raves;
With every loud blast my fears would present thee,
Far, far, from thy Agnes, deep sunk in the waves.
When distant from home and its much-valued pleasures,
Should misfortunes surround thee, and prompt the sad sigh,
No friend, no companion, to share in thy sorrow,
Ah! would’st thou not wish that thy Agness were nigh?
Wherever thou wand’rest then let me attend thee,
The sunshine and storms together we’ll share,
And when thou art sinking exhausted and weary,
The smiles of affection shall banish thy care.
Lovely maiden, sigh no longer,
Wipe those trickling tears away—
Will thy grief restore thy lover,
When it could not make him stay.
Waste not, then, thy life in sorrow,
Youth and beauty quickly flies;
Sighs will all thy roses wither,
Tears will dim thy sparkling eyes.
Is the youth who once could leave thee,
Worthy of thy future care?
No, forget the fickle rover,
When he wooes a rival fair.
Then haste thee to the verdant meadow,
And cull the sweetest flowrets there,
To weave a garland for the tressses
Of thy flowing auburn hair.
Let smiles again thy face enliven;
Once more gay and happy seem;
Thou yet shalt be the shepherd’s darling,
And the rural poet’s theme.
Gentle maid, consent to be
A rural bride, and dwell with me,
Where the woodland warblers sing
Songs of love, to hail the spring—
Where sweet wild flowers scent the gale
Round my cottage of the vale.
The jess’mine dark with snowy gems,
Scatter’d o’er its bending stems;
And the woodbine’s tendrils twine
With the blushing eglantine,
To form a rural bower for thee—
Quit for these thy liberty.
Shepherd, tho’ thy song be sweet,
And thy cottage is complete,
Yet, should I consent to be126 R3v 126
A rural bride, and dwell with thee,
Shall good-humour still prevail
In thy cottage of the vale?
Say, shall never frowns or strife
Make me rue a married life?
Wilt thou constant be and kind,
And as now to love inclin’d?
Else to me would sweeter be
A single life and liberty.
Where is the youth, the youth so lovely,
Who rode to-day on the dappled steed?
Over the moors he rode so briskly,
Scarce could the fleet hounds match his speed.
Oh! where is the youth whose flaxen ringlets
Hang waving around his manly brow,
Mild are his eyes as the star of ev’ning,
With beauty and health his ruddy cheeks glow.
Lonely and sad I wait his returning,
Chilling and cold is the evening air,
Long have I listen’d and look’d for his coming,
Long have I look’d, but he does not appear.
Was that the tread of a distant footstep?
Is that his form which yonder doth gleam?127 R4r 127
Ah! no, the shadows of night deceive me,
’Tis but the dark waving oak of the stream.
Loveliest maid of the lowland valleys,
Fairest flower on the banks of the Tweed;
Why dost thou ask for the rosy stripling,
Who rode to-day on the dappled steed?
He sleeps far off on the mountain heather,
Where, by the moorlands rolls the Clyde,
A mossy stone is his only pillow,
His fleet hounds are watching by his side.
Why didst thou leave the young hunter in danger,
When his friends and companions were gone?
Should the clan of his foes in darkness surprise him,
While asleep on the moorlands alone!
Long may’st thou look for thy lover’s returning,
Long may’st thou sigh and his absence deplore;
Or sleep on the purple heath beside him,
Fair lady, he will awake no more!
Yes, I will go and will sleep beside him,
Where rests on the cold damp earth his head;
The mountain moss, and the dark brown heather,
These shall for henceforth be my bed.
Printed by M. Branthwaite and Co. at the Westmorland
Advertiser Office, Fish-Market, Kendal.