Lay of an Irish Harp;
Printed for Richard Phillips, 6, Bridge Street.
18071807. iiA1vT. Bensley, printer,
Bolt Court, Fleet Street, London.
To Joseph Atkinson, Esq. Treasurer of the Ordnance in Ireland, &c; &c;
My Dear Sir,
In the rites of Heathen piety we are told that a Dove was propitiously received where the ability of the votarist was inadequate to an Hecatomb. Suffer me then to believe that in friendship, as in religion, the motive, not the iv A2v iv value, of an offering propitiates its acceptance; and that this little volume will be estimated by you, not according to its own worth, but according to that sentiment with which it is presented by me. At some distant day I might solicit your attention to some less idle vision; but the ardour of gratitude spurns the cold delay of protracted intention, while its impatient feelings call for an immediate avowal. I have therefore seized on this opportunity, not as the happiest, but the first that occurs of publicly acknowledging the many acts of disinterested friendship I have recieved from your kindness, and of assuring you that I am, v A3r v with every sentiment of respect and admiration for the benevolence of your heart, the liberality of your mind, and the literary taste and talents you possess,
Your obliged and grateful servant,
The Romans had a term exclusively appropriate to poetical trifles, and the Greeks an epithet as exclusively applied to poetical triflers.
Neither the Moorish loftiness of the Spanish, nor the elevated gravity of the Italian literature, has exempted them from that species of sportive composition which, though viii A4v viii generally the effect of minor talent, (tasteful in its mediocrity), is sometimes the effusion of superior genius, in the absence of its higher inspiration. But I believe the French language above any other abounds with those metrical trifles which, as the offspring of minds elegantly gay and intimately associated, have obtained the name of vers de societe, and which frequently possess an exquisite finesse of thought, that does not exclude nature, and is most happily adapted to the delicate idiom of the language in which it flows.
Did this little volume aspire to any class in literature, I would rank it among the last and least of those bagatelles to which I have ix A5r ix alluded; for the fragments it contains were written at distant periods, and in those careless intervals of life when judgment no longer breathes the Qui va la? to fancy! when feeling is inspiration! and when the mind, too desultory for narrative composition, or too indolent for connected detail, resigns itself to the impulse of transient emotion, and gives back to the heart some simple but endeared image the heart’s own feelings had supplied.
It may be alledged, that a work so avowedly inconsequent ought not to be obtruded on public attention; but in the freedom of human agency there is no act more optional than that of purchasing and that of perusing x A5v x a book merely and professedly amusive.— And the success of my late trivial publications, and the liberality of my publisher, (who, after all, as Dr. Johnson remarks, is the best patron,) rendered it an object of pecuniary consequence to give to an airy nothing a local habitation and a name, which was too harmless to injure, if too insignificant to interest, those into whose hands chance or curiosity may throw it.
It were perhaps politic to anticipate the severity of criticism, by candidly acknowledging the too frequent admission of French quotations. But if there are many elegant triflers in English poetry, either the paucity of my reading or the treachery of my memoryxi A6r xi mory prevented my claims on their assistance; while the poetical badiers of France came skipping rank and file to my aid, and illustrated my (less felicitous) trifles by theirs, in a language which above every other is constructed—— D’Eterniser la bagatelle.
Dublin, 32, Stephen’s Green North.
The Irish Harp. With an enthusiasm incidental to my natural and national character, I visited the western part of the province of Connaught in the autumn of 18051805, full of many an evident expectation that promised to my feelings, and my taste, a festival of national enjoyment. The result of this interesting little pilgrimage has already been given to the world in the story of the Wild Irish Girl, and in a collection of Irish Melodies, learned among those who still hum’d the Song of other times. But the hope I had long cherished of hearing the Irish Harp played in perfection was not only far from being realized, but infinitely disappointed. That encouragement so nutritive to genius, so indispensably necessary to perseverance, no longer stimulates the Irish bard to excellence, nor rewards him when it is attained; and the decline of that tender and impressive instrument, once so dear to Irish enthusiasm, is as visibly rapid, as it is obviously unimpeded by any effort of national pride or national affection.
Why sleeps the Harp of Erin’s pride?
Why with’ring droops its Shamrock wreath?
Why has that song of sweetness died
Which Erin’s Harp alone can breathe?
Oh! ’twas the simplest, wildest thing!
The sighs of Eve that faintest flow
O’er airy lyres, did never fling
So sweet, so sad, a song of woe.
And yet its sadness seem’d to borrow
From love, or joy, a mystic spell;
’Twas doubtful still if bliss or sorrow
From its melting lapses fell.
For if amidst its tone’s soft languish
A note of love or joy e’er stream’d,
’Twas the plaint of love-sick anguish,
And still the joy of grief it seem’d.
’Tis said oppression taught the lay
To him——(of all the sons of song
That bask’d in Erin’s brighter day)
The last of the inspir’d throng;
That not in sumptuous hall, or bow’r,
To victor chiefs, on tented plain,
To festive souls, in festal hour,
Did he (sad bard!) pour forth the strain.
Oh no! for he, opprest, pursued, The persecution begun by the Danes against the Irish bards finished in almost the total extirpation of that sacred order in the reign of Elizabeth.
Wild, wand’ring, doubtful of his course,
With tears his silent Harp bedew’d,
That drew from Erin’s woes their source.
It was beneath th’impervious gloom
Of some dark forest’s deepest dell,5 B3r 5
’Twas at some patriot hero’s tomb,
Or on the drear heath where he fell.
It was beneath the loneliest cave
That roofs the brow of misery,
Or stems the ocean’s wildest wave,
Or mocks the sea-blast’s keenest sigh.
It was through night’s most spectral hours,
When reigns the spirit of dismay,
And terror views demoniac pow’rs
Flit ghastly round in dread array.
Such was the time, and such the place,
The bard respir’d his song of woe,6 B3v 6
To those, who had of Erin’s race
Surviv’d their freedom’s vital blow.
Oh, what a lay the minstrel breath’d!
How many bleeding hearts around,
In suff’ring sympathy enwreath’d,
Hung desponding o’er the sound!
For still his Harp’s wild plaintive tones
Gave back their sorrows keener still,
Breath’d sadder sighs, heav’d deeper moans,
And wilder wak’d despair’s wild thrill.
For still he sung the ills that flow
From dire oppression’s ruthless fang,7 B4r 7
And deepen’d every patriot woe,
And sharpen’d every patriot pang.
Yet, ere he ceas’d, a prophet’s fire
Sublim’d his lay, and louder rung
The deep-ton’d music of his lyre,
And Erin go brach Ireland for ever!—a national exclamation, and, in less felicitous times, the rallying point to which many an Irish heart revolted from the influence of despair. he boldly sung.
La Rose Fletrie.
Oh! return me the rose which I gather’d for thee
When thy love like the rose was in bloom,
For neglected it withers, though given by me,
And shares with thy love the same doom.
Yet so lately renew’d was thy passion’s frail vow
On that rose, which so lately was given,9 B5r 9
That the rose’s twin-buds which were wreath’d for my brow
Are still gem’d with the fresh dews of heaven.
For the twin-buds thy fondness so tastefully wove
Were ne’er kiss’d by the sun’s faintest ray,
While the rose, which receiv’d the warm vow of thy love,
Lies expos’d to the varying day.
So faded, so tintless, it lives but to languish,
All its blushes, its freshness, decay’d,
And droops (hapless flow’r!) as tho’ love’s tender anguish
On its blushes and freshness had prey’d.
Then return me the rose which I gather’d for thee,
When thy love like the rose was in bloom,
Since neglected it withers, though given by me,
And shares with thy love the same doom.
Thou return’st me the rose; yet with sighs ’tis return’d,
And the drops which its pale bosom wears,
Were they shed from thine eye? is my rose then so mourn’d,
Or but dew’d with the eve’s falling tears?
Yet speak not! that look is enough! Keep the flow’r,
Since in death ’tis still precious to thee;11 B6r 11
Since the odour that’s deathless recalls the sweet hour
When the rose was presented by me.
And wilt thou, ——— Whenever I have heard A kindred melody, the scene recurs, And with it all its pleasures and its pains. . And the effect produced by the recurrence of a sweet strain, or a delicious odour, heard and inhaled under the influence of circumstances dear to the heart or interesting to the fancy, may be deemed twin sensations: for my own part (and perhaps I am drawing conclusions from an individual rather than a general feeling) I have never listened to the air of Erin go brach, or breathed the perfume of the rose geranium, without a thrill of emotion which was sweet, though mournful, to the soul, and which drew its birth from a feeling memory, had inseparably connected with the melody of the one and the perfume of the other. It is indeed but just and natural that the safest and purest of all the senses should claim the closest kindred with the memory and the soul. L’oreille est le chemin du cœur, said Voltaire. And the rose had never witnessed its frequent apothesis, had its bloom been its only or its sweetest boast. My memory at this moment supplies me with innumerable poems addressed to the Rose. Among the most beautiful are, I think, one by Anacreon, so elegantly translated by Moore; one by Sappho, one by Ausonius, one by Francisco de Biojo (Parnasso Espagnol), one by Camoens, one by Bernard le Jeune, one by Cowper, two by Metastasio, one from the Persian, and one by a German poet (whose name has escaped recollection) beginning, Der Fruhling wird nunbald entweichen. when breathing the scent of its sighs,
E’er say, with a love-ling’ring thrill,
Thus passion deep-felt in the bosom ne’er dies,
And if faded, is odorous still?
Oh thou wilt! and the rose which thus wither’d with thee,
From thy cares may recover its bloom,
And that love which thine eye again pledges to me
Will still share with the rose the same doom.
To Mrs. Lefanue. Grand-daughter to the friend of Swift—daughter to the celebrated Thomas Sheridan— the Author of Sidney Biddulph——and sister to the Right Hon. Richard Brinsley Sheridan——claiming a connexion equally intimate with many other characters scarcely less eminent; yet by a unity in her own of the most unblemished virtue and the most brilliant talents, reflecting back upon her distinguished kindred a lustre pure and permanent as that she has received from it.
Oh why are not all those close ties which enfold
Each human connexion like those which unite us!14 B7v 14
Why should interest or pride, or feelings so cold,
Alone to sweet amity’s bondage invite us?
Thou wert just in that age when the soul’s brightest ray
Illumines each mellowing charm of the face,
And the graces of youth still delightedly play
O’er each mind-beaming beauty which time can not chase.
I was young, inexperienc’d, unknowing, unknown,
Wild, ardent, romantic, a stranger to thee;
But I’d heard worth, wit, genius, were all, all thine own;
And forgetting that thou wert a stranger to me.
My heart overflowing, and new to each form
Of the world, I sought thee, nor fear’d to offend
By unconscious presumption: oh sure ’twas some charm
That thus led me to seek in a stranger, a friend!
Yes, yes, ’twas a charm of such magical force
As Reason herself never wish’d to repel,
For it drew its sweet magic from Sympathy’s source,
And Reason herself bows to Sympathy’s spell.
Yet fearful of failing, and wishful of pleasing,
How timidly anxious thy notice I woo’d!16 B8v 16
But oh! thy first warm glance each wild doubt appeasing,
With courage, with fondness, my faint heart endu’d.
No never (till mem’ry by death shall be blighted)
Can our first touching interview fade from my mind,
When thou, all delighting, and I all delighted,
I, more than confiding; thou much more than kind.
Forgetful scarce germ’d was our friendship’s young flower,
My heart o’er my lips unrestrain’d seem’d to rove,17 C1r 17
Whilst thou sweetly veiling thy mind’s brighter power,
Left me much to admire, yet still more to love.
Till warm’d by a kindness endearing, as dear,
A wild, artless, song was respir’d for thee;
’Twas a national lay! Eamunh a Cnuic, or, Edmund of the Hill. and oh! when shall the tear
Which was shed o’er that song, be forgotten by me.
And now since that sweet day some years have flown by,
And some golden hours of those years have been mine;C 18 C1v 18
But each year as it fled never twisted one tie,
Round my heart, like that tie which first bound it to thine.
Vive La Platonique!
To * * * * * * * *.
If once again thou’dst have me love,
Revive my fancy’s faded beam;
Give back each vision that illum’d
My early youth’s ecstatic dream. Ninon de l’Enclos speaks of le don d’aimer as one not indiscriminately bestowed; and certainly the disposition of the object on whom it is lavished must in some degree not only ascertain its value, but regulate its duration. It can never indeed be laid totally aside (like the unused talent of the indolent steward), but it may be husbanded for life, or expended in an instant; one may live too fast in a feeling as well as in a physical sense, and languish of a premature atrophy of the heart as well as of the body. Thus Montesquieu is suprized to find he could love at thirty-five; while St. Aulaire wrote his last amatory verses at ninety!— Anacreon moins vieux, says Voltaire, fit des bien moins jolies chosés.
’Tis true, not many winters’ snows
Have fall’n upon my life’s fresh flow’r:
But feelings that should last an age,
With me, were wasted in an hour.
Too sanguine to be calmly blest,
The life of life I sought, and in it21 C3r 21
Found many a joy my fancy drew,
But found their span, a raptur’d minute.
Too ardent to be constant long, If the instability which sometimes (perhaps too often) accompanies an ardent, and even a tender nature, could admit of excuse, it might find it in the elegant sophistry of Marivaux. Les ames tendres et delicats (says he) ont involontier le defaut de se relacher dans leur tendresse quand elles ont obtenu toute la votre—l’envie en vous plaire, leur fournit des graces infinies qui sont delicieux pour elles; mais des quelles ont phiit— les voila desoeuvrées.
If Love’s wild rose I haply gather’d,
I scarcely breathed its fragrant bloom,
When Love’s wild rose grew pale, and wither’d.
Too delicate to seek a bliss
Disrob’d of Fancy’s magic veil,22 C3v 22
Where others but begin to love,
Love’s faintest throb, I ceas’d to feel. i
Then let me be thy tender friend,
Thy mistress since I cannot be:
Thou’lt soon forget thou’rt not belov’d,
And I! I’m not adored by thee.
’Twill be the chastest, sweetest, tye
That round two hearts was ever twin’d;
Than friendship ’twill be warmer still,
Than passion ’twill be more refin’d.
Love’s faintest throb, I ceas’d to feel. Oh! amour (says the refined Florian) je te regrete moins pour tes derniers faveurs, que pour tes premier graces!
Each soul shall meet its kindred soul,
Each heart shall share the same sensation;
Between pure sentiment and sense
Each feeling play with sweet vibration.
And though in the Platonic scales
Some little Love should Nature fling,
The balance Reason would restore,
And give th’intrusive urchin wing.
To Lady C——ft——n, of L———d House.
When midst an idle, senseless, crowd,
The flutt’ring insects of the day,25 C5r 25
Thou seest thy pouting little friend
So coldly pleas’d, so sadly gay;
Thou know’st at least my young heart’s pulse
Still gaily throbs to joy’s wild measure,
And that each sense is still alive
To every dream of youthful pleasure.
Too prone perhaps to pleasure’s dreams,
Too thrillingly alive all o’er,
And oh! too prone at every woe
To agonize at every pore.
But that sad medium, dull and chill,
Of gayless revels, heartless joys,26 C5v 26
Wears not ecstatic pleasure’s air
To me; ’tis nought but din and noise.
Thou know’st me playful, sportive, wild,
Simple, ardent, tender, glowing; It is certain, says the elegant St. Evremond, that nature has placed in our hearts something gay and laughing—some secret principle of affection which conceals its tenderness from the multitude, and only communicates itself when it feels it will be understood.
A glance can chill my bosom’s spring,
A glance can set it warmly flowing.
Thou’st seen me midst the charming group
That forms thine own domestic heaven,
By youthful spirits (wildly gay)
To many a childish frolic driven.
But oh! the heart some think lies still,
Resembles most my lute, whose string
Breathes not (Eolian-like) untouch’d,
Nor vibrates to each insect’s wing.
But when the sympathetic touch
Calls forth the magic of its wires,
How soft, how tender is the strain
Each trembling, thrilling, chord respires!
And seem’d I ever dull to thee,
Or strove I to resist the art,
With which thou oft wert wont to thrill
Each latent feeling of my heart?
Oh no! for though the many slight,
Thou know’st at least my trivial worth,
For thou (who best canst touch my heart)
Canst call its best vibrations forth.
To My Sister.
And did you then so noiseless creep
As not to chase my doubtful sleep, Rousseau, in that affecting and delicate manner which is all his own, exquisitely describes the delicious feelings that accompany those moments vibrating between waking consciousness and the senseless torpidity of sleep—moments, of which Locke treated as a logician and a philosopher, and which Martial delineated as a voluptuary and a poet. Thus lifeless yet with life how sweet to lie!Thus without dying oh how sweet to die! Translated by Peter Pindar, Esq.30 C7v 30
Nor scare my cheery dream away?
And did a smile so lightly play
O’er those lips, in slumbers clos’d,
When every thrilling sense repos’d?
Yes! ’twas a cheery dream that stole
Its vision o’er my sleepless soul.
Methought that wand’ring wild with thee
(As oft in childhood’s careless glee
We fondly stray’d, to danger blind,
Our arms, our hearts, as closely twin’d), Of the tye which binds me to this dearest object of my heart’s best affections, I may say with Tasso, —Conforme era létate;Ma il pensier; piu conforme. It is perhaps scarcely justifiable to force a detail of private feeling on public attention, but Nature will sometimes get the start of Authorship, and she who writes from the heart, may insensibly forget she is writing for the world.31 C8r 31
Methought we reach’d an hallow’d grove,
It seem’d the sacred haunt of Love,
Where, pointing to the orient day,
An odour-breathing structure lay;
On rosy shafts was rear’d the bower,
And many a sweet though transient flower,
And many a bud and wreathy band,
Twin’d by Nature’s tasteful hand,
In rich luxuriance closely wed,
Form’d a sweetly simple shed,
To canopy the thoughtless brow
Of youth, in life’s first ardent glow;
And as methought we loitering stray’d,
Delighted in th’ Elysian shade,
We saw approach th’enchantress Youth,
Led by Simplicity and Truth,32 C8v 32
With bounding step, and careless air,
Laughing eye, and flowing hair;
Blest and blessing beyond measure,
Grasping every transient pleasure;
Pleas’d with life as with a toy,
Pursuing still the urchin joy;
At cold Caution’s precept smiling,
Time of every care beguiling,
Till with all her jocund train
She reach’d her own delicious fane,
And around the hallow’d bower
The virtues throng’d to own her power,
And Innocence, and Peace serene,
And Confidence with candid mien,
And infant loves, and harmless wiles,
And frolic sports, and rosy smiles,33 D1r 33
And young delights, and laughing pleasures,
Offer’d there their tribute treasures;
And Health, by ruddy Temp’rance led,
Around her dearest blessings shed;
Whilst Youth, on Hope’s fair breast reclin’d,
Her arm round Expectation twin’d,
Blushing view’d the Graces bland
Lead chasten’d Passion by the hand;
And Genius swept his lyre to prove
The soul of life was Youth and Love.
Oh thou! whose blessings still are mine,
Delightful Youth! thy powers divine
Protract to life’s maturer day,
And all thy ling’ring blooms delay.
And when I pass thy golden hour,
And watch thy last declining flow’rD 34 D1v 34
Fade o’er my brow, thy soul-sent blush
Change to a sickly hectic flush,
And each warm life-illumin’d ray
In my dimming eye decay;
When all thy transient spells are flown
(Which now, alas! are all my own),
When all thy sorceries expire,
Yet still, oh! still with fond desire
Back may each with’ring spirit flee
To live in memory with thee,
To catch thy fire’s reflected beams,
And feel thy joys again in dreams.
There was a day when simply but to be,
To live, to breathe, was purest ecstasy;
Then Life was new, and with a smiling air
Robb’d of his thorny wreath intrusive care;
And o’er the drear path I was doom’d to tread
Beneath the little wand’rer’s footsteps shed
Full many a beam of gay prismatic hue,
And many a bud from fancy’s bosom threw;D2 36 D2v 36
While the young hours, in wild and frolic play,
Time’s tell-tale record, I idly flung away;
And Love (but then a child) from hour to hour
Would fondly rove, and from each fragrant flow’r
Suck’d honey’d essence, The Cupid of Anacreon is represented as tempering his arrows with gall; for Non e pene magioreChe in vecchie membreIl piggior d’armore. And .Horace, (Carmen viii. lib. 2. v. 15.) pleasantly terrible makes his deity imbue his arms in blood: but the tutelar Love that presides over the first enchantment of a young and tender heart may surely be supposed to bathe his shafts in honey; whose healing attribute is by some believed the best remedy for the sting of its own bee. to imbue his dart,
And though he thrill’d, ne’er pain’d the flutt’ring heart;37 D3r 37
Pleasing and pleas’d; still blessing, still most blest;
In life alone each transport was possest:
But now, in life alone no charms I view——
And oh! Time, Hours, and Love, how chang’d are you!
The Violet. Were I to indulge my fancy as often as I have done my heart in a communion with the sweet and simple children of Flora, there is no plant, no blossom, from the venerable aloe to the small modest crimson-tipped flower, but would have received some poetic tribute from the fancy they had awakened, and the feelings they had touched. Rather a sentimental than a scientific florist, at all times, all seasons, and their changes, a garden has for me an indescribable charm! Let the philosophic naturalist ascertain the constituent properties of the plant; let him deny it sensation, or endow it with irritability; let him limit the nice boundary, or trace the delicate shades of discrimination which divide the animal from the vegetable world, or mark the almost imperceptible degrees of sensation which separate man from the sea—nettle. But without being deeply studied in Linnæus, or knowing scarcely more of Bonet, Ludwig, or Zunguis, than the titles of their works, the winter’s solitary snowdrop, the spring’s early violet, the summer’s first rose, and the autumn’s last carnation, speak to my heart a language it understands, which Nature dictates, and Science could scarcely improve; and sure, If ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.
To her who sent me the Spring’s first Violets.
Oh! say, didst thou know ’twas mine own idol flower
That my heart has just welcom’d from thee?39 D4r 39
And, guided alone by sweet sympathy’s power,
Didst thou rear it expressly for me?
Sure thou didst! and how richly it glows through the tears
That dropt o’er its beauties from heaven!
Like those which the rosed-cheek of fond woman wears
When her bosom to rapture is given.
And meek, modest, and lovely, it still seems to shun,
E’en as though it still blush’d in the vale,
Ev’ry too glaring beam of the too ardent sun,
Ev’ry rudely breath’d sigh of the gale.
Oh! dear is the friend whom the blossom resembles,
Who as sweet, as retiring is found;41 D5r 41
In whose eye the warm tear of feeling oft trembles,
Who unseen, sheds her fragrance around.
And thou art that friend! and thy emblem believe
Has now found in my bosom a shrine;
And ne’er did the holiest relic receive
An homage more fervent than mine.
To Mrs. C——n——lle.
Whilst over each lay thou didst flatt’ringly hang,
In triumph I cried, ’Tis all mine,
Unconscious ’twas thou didst inspire as I sang,
And in fact that the lay was all thine. This little impromptu was written on the back of some songs presented to a friend, who ever lavished on the composer That smile of encouraging approbation which, to the conscious inferiority of timid talent, is the sweetest inspiration, asn without which even genius shrinks back upon itself spiritless and languid.
Then take it——but oh! still be present the while,
When another that lay shall respire;
For at least I have felt ’tis the spell of thy smile
That alone can the songstress inspire.
To * * * * * * * * * *
What need’st thou ask, or I reply?
Mere words are for the stupid many;
I’ve ever thought a speaking look
The sweetest eloquence of any!
Yes, thou may’st come, and at the hour
We consecrate to pensive pleasures,
When feeling, fancy, music, taste,
Profusely shed their dearest treasures.
Yet come not ere the sun’s last beam
Sleeps on the west wave’s purpled breast,
Nor wait thee till the full-orb’d moon
Resplendent lifts her silver crest.
But steal the softer hour between,
When Twilight drops her mystic veil,
And brings the anxious mind’s repose,
And leaves the sensient heart to feel.
Yet turn not towards the flaunting bow’r
That echoes to the joyless laugh
Of Gossip Dames, nor seek the hall
Where Riot’s sons her goblet quaff.
But with a stilly noiseless step
Glide to the well known fairy room,
Where fond affection visits oft,
And never finds the heart from home.
Fear not to meet intruders there,
Thou’lt only find my harp and me,
Breathing perhaps some pensive song,
And waiting anxiously for thee.
And I will wear the vestal robe
Thou lov’st, I know, to see me wear;
And with that sweet wreath form’d by thee
(Though faded now) I’ll bind my hair.
And round my harp fresh buds I’ll twine,
O’er which departing day has wept;
As wildly soft its chords I’ll touch
As though a sigh its chords had swept.
And I will hum the song thou lov’st,
Or thou each bosom-chord shalt thrill
With thine own soul-dissolving strain,
Or silent, Le secret d’ennuyer—est celui de tout dire. we’ll be happier still.
Well now, thou know’st the time, the place,
And——but I merely meant to tell thee
That thou might’st come! yet still I write
As though some witchcraft charm befel me.
The Spanish Guitar. The human heart, ere time has chilled its glow, or experience regulated its pulse, overflows with an ardour of affection often indiscriminate in its object, undefinable in its nature, and even independent of sympathy. Sterne declares, in the effervescence of his cordial disposition, that he could attach himself to a myrtle, if deprived of human intercourse; and though I am well aware that I shall smile some years hence at the interest I feel for the little instrument I have endeavoured to celebrate, yet I do not now feel that interest the less. It arose, I believe, from the circumstance under which it became mine.—Travelling through a small town in the north of Ireland, the female servant who accompanied me mentioning that she had seen a large violin hanging up in the chimney of a neighbouring cabin, which she had by chance entered while the horses were changing, I (in the mere idleness of curiosity) sent for it. It was a Spanish guitar, partly unstrung, covered with dust and mould, and inscribed on the inside with the name of Lorenzo Alonso, Madrid, 17841784. The peasant who brought it said it had been the property of a young man who some years back had taken up his residence in his cabin for a few weeks, and that at his departure he had left the guitar to defray the expence of his lodging, having no other means. The man gladly parted with, and I purchased, the instrument, for a trifle. It is well toned, and at this moment in excellent preservation.
neglected long, and wrapt in idle slumber,
Forlorn, obscure, this hapless thing I found;
Thy chords relax’d, and ev’ry tuneful number
Latent and still with thy sweet soul of sound.
Not always thus didst thou abandon’d languish;
The matin hymn, the midnight serenade,51 E2r 51
The lover’s wish, the rival’s jealous anguish,
Claim’d from thy tones, and found no trivial aid.
Of vanquish’d Moor, of Saracen subdued,
Of Roncevalle’s immortal feats thou’st rung,
And oft beneath the grated casement woo’d
Her, whose bright charms thy tender master sung.
And who was he, by adverse fortune driven
Far from his native land (sad youth!) to stray,
By all abandon’d but by thee and Heaven,
Of all bereft but thy care-soothing lay? The unhappy Tasso ever retained a tender gratitude for the lyre whose strains had consoled him in exile, and soothed the horrors of a long and unjust imprisonment: even when he fancied he had survived the power of calling forth its latent strains, he pathetically supposes the sympathy it would take in his sorrows— Tu che va in PindoIvi pende mia Citra ad un CipressoSalutate in mio nome, e dille poiChio son daglio anni e da fortuna oppresso.
Who ceaseless breath’d to thee his song of woe,
And haply o’er thy chords inanguish’d hung,
As still thy chords in sympathy would flow,
And sadder breath’d each woe he sadly sung.
Whose e’er thou wert, at least I owe thee much,
Kind little soother of each weary hour;
Obedient ever to the faintest touch
That call’d to sympathy thy passive pow’r.
For when the star of eve unveil’d her light,
To bathe its glories in some lucid stream,
Or twilight hung upon the day’s swift flight,
I’ve woo’d thy tones to aid my vision’d dream.
Or when the roving moon—beam seem’d to gather
From every shutting rose its pendent dew,
And heartless joys with flaunting sun-beam wither,
Softly I hum’d my pensive song to you. The Nightingale, if she could sing by day, When every goose is cackling, would be thought No better a musician than the Hen. This certainly may be deemed hyperbole—but who will not pardon the extravagance of an enthusiasm so nutritive to the most refined emotions of soul, the most exquisite enjoyments of taste? and who, like Shakspeare, is alive to the influence of music, and has not felt that influence most sweetly exerted amidst the stilly softness of the twilight hour?
And found thee erst responsive to my soul,
Thy fainting tones each faint breath’d note re turn’d,
With every sigh thy sighing accents stole,
With pathos trembled, or in sadness mourn’d.
As true vibrative to the frolic lay,
To ev’ry careless touch of laughing pleasure,
As wildly playful, and as simply gay,
As madly jocund was thy sportive measure.
Oh then to Nature’s touch be sacred still!
To her I consecrate thy soothing pow’r;
Let passion, fancy, feeling, wake the thrill
That gives to bliss each visionary hour.
Come, Apathy, and o’er me breathe thy spell,
Whilst I devote to thee those bosom’d treasures
Which feeling gave, and thou shalt sound the knell
Of my departed joys and dying pleasures.
For they were but illusions——senseless power!
And cheated while they charm’d the dazzled mind;57 E5r 57
In joy’s gay wreath, in pleasure’s sweetest flower,
Nor bloom nor odour can thy vot’rist find.
Then come! and thou shalt be my god supreme,
And I will worship at thy gloomy shrine;
Nor from the light of memory shall beam
One ray, to shew that bliss or joy were mine.
Oh thou! who late with glowing fingers wreath’d
Around my youthful brow thy blooming flow’rs,
Sweet Fancy! thou who late so warmly breath’d
Thy frolic spirit o’er my careless hours:
Was it by thought or study thou wert banish’d?
Did care or sorrow chill thy vital glow?
Tha from so young a mind thy dreams are vanish’d,
That droops thy wild wreath round so young a brow.
Why fade thy fairy visions on my view
(And every spell that cheer’d my sinking heart)?
Why change thy iris-tints to sablest hue?
Why latent sleeps thy gay creative art?
Oh come! but come not as thou late wert wont,
With faded blush, and matted locks unbound,
Chasing my foot-steps in each dreary haunt,
And scatt’ring rue and deadly night-shade round.
But come with kindling blush and sunny tress,
The tear of rapture gleaming in thine eye;
Thy lip (where revel’d many a fond caress!)
Thy ruby lip, exhaling transport’s sigh.
Thy glance reviving every faded flow’r,
The young loves sporting in thy frolic train,
And many a fairy joy and smiling hour,
Chasing in rosy groups despair and pain.
Oh! thus return, thou source of all my pleasures,
And though bereft of all but hope and thee,
Yet they who count as theirs exhaustless treasures,
And empires sway, perhaps might envy me.
To Mrs. Browne, of Mount Prospect, Near Dublin.
I love the warmth! the genial warmth,
That from thine heart’s core seems to flow;
That lights thine eye’s benignant glance,
And lends thy smile its brightest glow.
I love the warmth, the tender warmth,
That animates thy artless air,
That still extends thy cordial hand,
And bids each word a welcome wear.
For I (too oft) am doom’d to meet
The eye whose glance my ardour chills,
Where still I seek that eye of soul
Whose glance o’er every fine nerve thrills.
And still, alas! I’m doom’d to touch
Some hand more cold than wintry dew,
Where still I seek that hand’s fond press
Whose pulse to mine throbs sweetly true.
And oh! how oft I’m doom’d to hear
A voice that from the heart new stole,
Where still I languish for those tones
That woo and win the list’ning soul.
And still I’m sadly doom’d to play
The mental gladiator’s part, Voltaire passes, in my opinion, the highest eulogium on the character of Mad. du Chatelet (his belle Emilie) when he says, De toutes les Femmes qui ont illustri la France c’est elle qui a le plus de veritable esprit, et qui a moins affecté le bel esprit.
When, weary of the strife of wits,
I seek an intercourse of heart.
But thou, dear friend! didst sweetly wake
Each nerve where bosom-pleasures slumber’d,64 E8v 64
And warm’d to life those latent joys
Which grieving mem’ry ceaseless number’d.
With thee too happy to be wise,
Yet wiser in my folly’s dream As for Virtue! says Jean-Baptiste Rousseau, Plus legere que le ventElle fuit d’un faux SavantLa sombre melancholieEt se sauvre bien souventDans les bras de la folie. And it can scarcely be deemed a solecisim in ethic decorum to assign to Wisdom such a sans-souci retreat as Virtue flies to from the austerity of self-invested excellence or assumed perfection. That species of elegant relaxation enjoyed by superior minds, to which the French give the epithet of l’aimable folie, is not yet perfectly understood among us, to whom the word folly conveys an idea distinctly opposite to that refined trifling, which, like the soul of St. Evremond’s mistress, unites in a certain degree pleasure and wisdom. La volupté et EpicureEt la verité de Caton. Which D’Alembert enjoyed in the turret of Madsell de l’E spinasse; which Voltaire studied amidst the shades of Ferney; and which, after all, was perhaps the only philosophy imbibed by Socrates at the feet of Aspasia.
Than, when to trim cold study’s lamp,
I quite neglected nature’s beam.
With thee! no longer sadly sage,
Or gravely wise, but wisely simple,
The close-knit brow appears the tomb
Of wisdom, and her throne the dimple.
The Musical Fly.
To * * * * * * * * * *.
To-day. around my harp I twin’d
A rose, whose bosom veil’d a fly,
Some insect Epicure in bliss,
Who sip’d her dews, and breath’d her sigh;
Till surfeit drove him from the feast,
And, pleasure-cloy’d, the tiny rover
Fled his idol rose’s breast,
O’er the harp’s still chords to hover.
Nor seem’d unconscious of the charm
That lurk’d in every silent string,
For oft the little vagrant swept
O’er every chord his lucid wing.
While they (too like the sensient soul
That vibrates to the last impression)
E’en to th’ephemeral’s breathy touch
Return’d a faint, but sweet, expression.
Charm’d with the sound himself had made,
Still flutter’d o’er the chords the minion,
And oh! it was a fairy strain
That died beneath his fairy pinion. This trifle, like all the other trifles to be found in this recueil des bagatelles, owed its birth to the circumstance of the moment: no disciple of the doctrine of the Metempsychosis could have watched the Harmonic Fly with more breathless attention that did its self-created poetess laureat, and had it reposed on the lyre of Pythagoras, or embodied the transmigrated spirits of Sappho or Corrina, could it have been treated with more reference or respect.
Distinctly soft, and fainly true,
It scarce was fancied, scarce was caught:
Just such a sighing sound it breath’d
As I by thee one eve was taught.
Whilst thou upon my murmur’d song
Didst hang in Fancy’s wildest dream,
And I, not touch’d but rap’t, made thee
My inspiration and my theme.
To Signor Alphonso Pilligrinni, Ll.D. Professor of Italian and Spanish, Trinity College, Dublin.
(Written on the north-west coast of Connaught, at the seat of Sir M. C———n, Bart.)
The castle lies low, Longford Castle, founded by the O’Dowels, and purchased by the C—n family in the reign of Elizabeth. It was a place of considerable strength, but its ruins now strew the earth, and are scarcely discernible amidst the vegetation with which they are covered. whose towers frown’d so high,
And the landscape is awful and bold;71 F4r 71
The mountains around lift their heads to the sky,
And the woods many ages have told.
And the world’s greatest ocean still dashes its wave
’Gainst the coast that is savagely wild:
Midst the castle’s grey ruins there still yawns a cave
Where the sun’s cheering light never smil’d. These caves were accidentally discovered a few months back.
And steep is the precipice, The precipice of Alt—bo——of which Shakspeare’s exquisite description of the —Cliff whose high and bending headLook’d dreadfully down on the roaring deep, will give the most adequate idea. horrid to view,
That rears o’er the ocean its crest:72 F4v 72
They say that no bird to its summit e’er flew, The shrill-tun’d lark so high Cannot be seen or heard. Lear, Act iv.
And its base ’neath the waves seems to rest.
And the blast that awakes on Columbia’s far shore A north-east point of the North American coast lies exactly opposite to these shores, without the intervention of any land.
Unimpeded here breathes its last sigh,
And the rocks round whose brow th’ Atlantic winds roar
The spent storms of Columbia defy.
Nor is there a spot midst this scene of romance
Obscur’d by oblivion’s dark veil,73 F5r 73
Nor is there a fragment that rivets the glance
But some charm from tradition can steal.
For many a pilgrim has pillow’d the head
In that cell that now moulders away,
And many a brave chief and warrior has bled
Near these walls A small chapel, whose almost unimpaired walls are hung with a crucifix, and the richly carved heads of many of the saints. that now fall to decay.
In that spot, by the thistle and long grass o’er grown,
That breathes round a desolate gloom,74 F5v 74
When the blasts through the old abbey’s The abbey of Drumard. grey ruins moan,
Lies the pilgrim and warrior’s tomb.
But the little enthusiast who boasts thee her friend,
And who strays midst this world of romance,
Where nature such scenes e’en to fancy can lend
As ne’er floated on fancy’s rapt glance;
Who roams midst this landscape, so awful and wild,
Who hangs on th’Atlantic’s deep roar,75 F6r 75
Who visits the cave where the sun never smil’d,
And wanders the desolate shore;
Who sighs o’er the tomb where the warrior’s laid low,
Where the rough thistle waves its lone head,
Where the blasts o’er the old abbey’s grey ruins flow,
And a requiem breathe over the dead;
Yes, th’enthusiast e’en here, midst these scenes drear and wild,
The gentlest of spirits has found,
And many a bosom ethereally mild,
By the sweet ties of sympathy bound.
And that polish of manner which only can flow
From the soul that is warm and refin’d,
And those heart-born endearments which shed their soft glow
O’er the stronger endowments of mind.
Then, oh! tell me, dear friend, Of this solicitous friend of my maturer life, and attentive perceptor of my earliest days, it may be truly said that he is Homme de tous les paisComme les savants sont de tous les temps. These are few countries whose language and literature have not contributed to enrich his mind; while his heart, in the most benevolent and liberal sense of the term, has ever proved itself a citizen of the world! what has place, what has scene,
To do with the heart or the soul?77 F7r 77
For like theirs, sure thine own gen’rous bosom had been
The same ’neath the line or the pole.
(Imitated From the Italian.)
Go, balmy zephyr, softly breathe
To her for whom these buds I wreath;
Yes, breathe the echo of my sigh
To her whose soul-seducing eye
Has look’d, I fear, my soul away:
But, zephyr, dare not to betray
That ’tis to her I lay my doom;
Tell her I die——but not for whom!
Silent and sad, deserted and alone, This trifle was scribbled on a tablet when the recollection of endeared home opposed itself to the comfortless solitude of an inn; for surely the term solitude is arbitrary in its application; and the heart, independent of situation, may, in the midst of the busiest haunts, shrink back upon itself solitary and unanswered.
In mem’ry drooping o’er my faded pleasures,
Each home delight, each soul-felt comfort flown,
A little bankrupt in the heart’s rich treasures.
Sweet social ties, to every feeling dear!
Still round that heart’s most vital fibre twining,
If I relinquish ye, ’tis with a tear,
Sadly resign’d, and tenderly repining.
Home of my heart! of every wish the goal,
Where’er thy little wand’rer’s doom’d to stray;
Though Alps between us rise, and oceans roll,
Thou’lt be the Pharos of my devious way.
For tho’ the world’s fleet joys awhile deceive me,
Though dazzled by my more than meed of fame,
Should thy dear threshold, Home, again receive me,
Thou’lt find my warm, my untouch’d heart the same.
For if, O world! to other eyes you wear
A syren aspect! yet your vaunted treasures
Ne’er valued to my heart a single tear,
Dropt to my simple Home’s departed pleasures.
Nay, if you threaten, all is over;
Ne’er dart that rebel look at me!
I languish too, to turn a rover,
So take your shackles——both are free.
No galling steel that chain composes,
Which once I fondly wove for thee;83 G2r 83
See! it is form’d of breathing roses,
And dew’d with tears love stole from me.
But now if o’er its bloomy flushing
Indiff’rence sheds her chilling air,
And o’er each bud (still faintly blushing)
Congeals each tear that lingers there,
Why break at once the useless fetter,
Since round thy heart no more ’tis bound;
But while its roses thus you scatter,
Think not its thorns my breast shall wound.
And yet hadst thou still been that lover,
That all I hoped to find in thee.G2 84 G2v 84
I ne’er had turn’d a careless rover,
I ne’er had been thus idly free.
But o’er my lip, in fondness dying,
No sigh of love e’er breath’d its soul,
Until some heart more fondly sighing,
My sigh into existence stole.
And if some tender pangs I cherish’d,
From thee I caught the pleasing anguish;
But when with thee those sweet pangs perish’d,
I felt them in my bosom languish.
Visions of fleeting pleasure! spare, oh! spare me!
Hence! shades of many a bliss, and many a sorrow;
In vain from this cool medium A cool suspense from pleasure and from pain. . would ye tear me,
With joys indeed to-day——but, what to-morrow?
For every blessing your possession brought me
Left in its absence still a kindred sorrow,
That tho’ to-day with many a joy you sought me,
You’d leave me, lost to every joy, to-morrow.
Like this rich flow’r, which now in sweet decay
Droops on my breast its head in seeming sorrow;
For though its beauties charm each sense to-day,
My breast will only wear its thorns to-morrow.
The Sensitive Plant.
Sweet timid trembling thing, This little impromptu arose from observing a sprig of the Sensitive Plant dead on a very feeling and affectionate bosom. no more
Shalt thou beneath each rude breath sink;
Thy vestal attribute is o’er,
E’en from the softest sigh to shrink. Every vegetable as well as the Sensitive Plant shrinks when wounded, says the Naturalist. But sentiment, unwilling to relinquish the delicate attribute of its own sweet shrub, replies to Science, It is true; but in other plants, even when wounded, the motion is too slow to be perceptible; while the vibration of the Sensitive Plant, even to the faintest touch, is as quick as it is visible.
No more the balmy zephyr’s kiss
Shall find thy chaste reluctance such
That, fading from the fragrant bliss,
Thou shun’st the blamy zephyr’s touch.
Proud of thy sensient pow’rs, the breast
Of Emily, with rival pride,
Thou sought’st, but drooping there, confest
That sensient pow’r surpass’d, and died.
There is a mild, a solemn hour,
And oh! how soothing is its pow’r
To smile away Care’s sombre low’r!
This hour I love!
It follows last the feath’ry train
That hovers round Time’s rapid wain.
’Tis then I rove.
’Tis when the day’s last beam of light
Sleeps on the rude tow’r’s mould’ring height,
With many an age’s moss bedight,
The dreary home
Of some sad victim of despair,
Who from the world finds shelter there;
’Tis then I roam.
’Tis when the west clouds faintly blush,
And his last vesper sings the thrush,
And soft mists veil gay nature’s flush,
And not a ray
From the morn’s cloud-embosom’d crest
Silvers the green wave’s swelling breast;
’Tis then I stray.
’Tis the soft stilly dawn of night,
When many an elf and fairy sprite
Pursue the glow-worm’s furtive light,
Like me fonder
Of that soft, pale, mysterious beam
Which lures wild fancy’s wizard dream,
While I wander.
Day cannot claim this charming hour,
Nor night subdue it to its power,
Nor sunny smiles, nor gloomy low’r,
Does it betray:
But blandly soothing, sweetly wild,
Soft, silent, stilly, fragrant, mild,
It steals away.
The Picture. A miniature likeness of my father!
Dear shade of him my heart holds more than dear,
Author of all that fond heart’s purest bliss,
Dear shade, I hail thee with a rapturous tear,
And welcome thee with many a tender kiss.
Beneath each mimic tint still let me find
Each dear remember’d feature, each lov’d trait,
Each emanation of that ardent mind
That lent reflection’s power, or fancy’s ray.
Oh yes! this brow is his, broad, candid, fair,
That speaks the true, the guileless, honest soul;
But o’er the spotless transcript morbid Care
And Time (of late) their withering fingers stole.
And this th’expressive eye, whose glance I’ve woo’d,
For sure beneath that glance each task seem’d light;
Dear eye, how oft with tears of fondness dew’d
I’ve seen thy humid beam shine mildly bright!
But, painter, far above thy wond’rous art
Were those dear lips, those lips where ever play’d94 G7v 94
The smile benignant! where the honest heart
In undisguis’d effusions careless stray’d.
Where oft for me the fond endearment glow’d,
Slow to reprove, but ever prompt to praise;
Where oft for me the anxious counsel flow’d,
The moral precept, or amusive lays.
These shoulders too I’ve climb’d to steal a kiss,
These locks my infant hands have oft carest;
How oft these arms I’ve fill’d, and shared the bliss
With her (to me) the dearest and the best!
Yes, the twin objects of a father’s care,
A mother’s loss we rather knew than felt;95 G8r 95
Twin objects of that father’s every prayer,
In whom his thoughts, his hopes, his wishes dwelt.
Then come, his second self, nor trust me more;
Thou true and lov’d resemblance, shall we part?
For till my heart’s last vital thrill is o’er,
Dear shade, I’ll wear thee next that beating heart.
To him who said, You live only for the World.
Oh! no——I live not for the throng
Thou seest me mingle oft among,
By fashion driven.
Yet one may snatch in this same world
Of noise and din, where one is hurl’d,
Some glimpse of heaven!
When gossip murmurs rise around,
And all is empty shew and sound,
Or vulgar folly,
How sweet! to give wild fancy play,
Or bend to thy dissolving sway,
Soft melancholy. Our ideas, says Zimmerman, never flow more copiously than in those moments which we rescue from an uninteresting and fashionable visit.
When silly beaux around one flutter, Ces enfants dont la folie recrue, dans les Societés vient tomber tous les ans. Moliere.
And silly belles gay nonsense utter,
How sweet to stealH 98 H1v 98
To some lone corner (quite perdue)
And with the dear elected few
Converse and feel!
When forced for tasteless crowds to sing,
Or listless sweep the trembling string,
Say, when we meet
The eye whose beam alone inspires,
And wakes the warm soul’s latent fires,
Is it not sweet?
Yes, yes, the dearest bliss of any
Is that which midst the blissless many
So oft we stole:99 H2r 99
Thou know’st ’twas midst much cold parade
And idle crowds, we each betray’d
To each—— a soul.
There is a soft and fragrant hour,
Sweet, fresh, reviving in its pow’r;
’Tis when a ray
Steals from the veil of parting night,
And by its mild prelusive light
Foretels the day.
’Tis when some ling’ring stars scarce shed
O’er the mist-clad mountain’s head
Their fairy beam;
Then one by one retiring, shroud,
Dim glitt’ring through a fleecy cloud,
Their last faint gleam.
’Tis when (just wak’d from transient death
By some fresh zephyr’s balmy breath)
Th’ unfolding rose The sleep of plants, and the clustering folds of their leaves during the night, is as faithfully ascertained by the botanist as the expansion of their charms, with renewed bloom and vigour, at the approaching return of the sun.—The common appearance of most vegetables, says an eminent naturalist, are so changed in the night that it is difficult to recognize the different kinds even by the assistance of light.102 H3v 102
Sheds on the air its rich perfume,
While every bud with deeper bloom
And beauty glows.
’Tis when fond Nature (genial power!)
Weeps o’er each dropping night-clos’d flower,
While softly fly
Those doubtful mists, that leave to view
Each glowing scene of various hue
That charms the eye.
’Tis when the sea-girt turret’s brow
Receives the east’s first kindling glow,
And the dark wave,
Swelling to meet the orient gleam,
Reflects the warmly strength’ning beam
It seems to lave.
’Tis when the restless child of sorrow,
Watching the wish’d—for rising morrow,
His couch foregoes,
And seeks midst scenes so sweet, so mild,
To sooth those pangs so keen, so wild,
Of hopeless woes.
Nor day, nor night, this hour can claim,
Nor moon—light ray, nor noon-tide beam,
Does it betray;
But fresh, reviving, dewy, sweet,
It hastes the glowing hours to meet
Of rising day.
Come, Sleep, thou transient, but thou sure relief,
Shed o’er my aching eyes thy soothing pow’r,
And mingle with their ceaseless tear of grief
One drop, extracted from thy opiate flow’r.
Shroud oh! sweet Sleep! in thy oblivious veil,
Each woe that would repel thy balmy reign,
And o’er each wearied sense as softly steal
The welcome bondage of thy unfelt chain.
Sooth to forgetfulness my care-orn mind,
Dispel awhile each sad prophetic fear,
And mem’ry in thy gentle thraldom bind,
And steal this sigh, and chase this starting tear;
And call the mimic Fancy to thy aid,
With all her frolic, illusory train;
With rosy visions cheer thy vot’rist maid,
With welcome treach’ry steal her bosom’s pain.
Each fond affection in her heart revive,
By waking apathy long lull’d to rest;
Once to each thrilling tone of joy alive,
Though dormant now within her joyless breast.
Thus come, delightful and delusive Sleep,
Thus o’er my wither’d spirits claim thy pow’r;
In thy sweet balm each anguish’d feeling steep;
For days of suff’ring give one blissful hour.
To him who flung in at my window a bunch of Myrtle Blossoms and Two Faces under a Hood, after a little fracas.
I saw the flow’rs! and guess’d for me
The bloomy buds were cull’d by thee;
I snatch’d the flow’rs, and to my breast
Thy fragrant off’ring fondly prest;109 H7r 109
And quite forgot the pouting fray
That gloom’d our cold adieus to-day,
Till as I closer, fonder, hung
O’er every bud, a sad doubt sprung
Within my heart, and chill’d their bloom,
And robb’d them of their rich perfume:
For oh! thy gift appear’d methought
With cruel, doubtful, meaning fraught;
For one sweet blossom placed in view
Seem’d each delighted sense to woo,
Yet close beneath the fragrant veil
Deception’s flow’r was seen to steal.
Why didst thou send me this bouquet?
Cruel! oh! didst thou mean to say,
These flowers, delusive girl, receive,
Like thee they charm, like thee deceive;110 H7v 110
Alternate emblem of thy wile,
Thy obvious grace, thy hidden guile—
And is it so? then keep thy flow’r!
And trust me, ’tis no dewy show’r
Shed from nature’s genial eye
That glitters o’er its purple dye,
But a tear, a tear that stole
From a fond but wounded soul,
The essence of a pang severe,
By thee extracted, form’d that tear;
Yet still ’tis thine, the chemic pow’r,
To change that tear, to change the flow’r:
Transmuted to a gem the tear
(Joy’s precious gem!) the flow’r shall wear,
The flow’r that robb’d my heart of rest
Shall bloom an heart’s case in my breast,111 H8r 111
If thou but swear, my captious lover,
Thou ne’er didst think thy friend a rover,
And that the flow’rs were sent by thee
But as peace offerings to me.
Is this then the passion, is this the sweet anguish?
Fondly to feel, and as fondly inspire;
My poor silly heart in its folly would languish,
And sigh, the true martyr of love to inspire.
Oh no! this is fury, ’tis rage, or ’tis madness,
It scares the mild feelings that dwell in the heart;
It wearies the senses, or sinks into sadness
The soul that in riot can ne’er take a part.
Oft in the sweet dream that play’d o’er my pillow,
Or in my warm’d fancy, Love’s vision would beam;
But oh! how unlike fleeting passion’s wild billow
O’er each yielding sense did it tenderly stream!
Led by the graces, surrounded by pleasures
Which aim at the heart, or which flow from the soul;I 114 I1v 114
Profusely endow’d with the mind’s sterling treasures,
And veil’d in sweet sympathy’s magical stole.
Though obvious, reserved, mysterious, yet simple,
Chastely endearing, and timidly wild;
Repuls’d by a frown, recall’d by a dimple;
Placid, though tender; though ardent, refin’d.
And couldst thou (thou maniac in passion) thus woo me,
And lay by these freaks, less persuasive than fright’ning,
And cease with this fury of love to pursue me,
Nor always approach me--in thunder and lightning;
If my poor little heart thou wouldst win, my wild rover,
First give me of safety some positive token;
For to tell you the truth, my too vehement lover,
My fear is, my poor little head will be broken.
Here, Iris, pr’ythee take my lyre,
No more its pathos or its fire
Shall wrap me in delusive bliss,
Its chords my flying fingers kiss,
Nor to its sweet responsive string
Her song of soul thy mistress sing,117 I3r 117
And hang upon yon willow’s bough
The myrtle wreath that twined her brow:
Thou know’st by whom that wreath was gather’d,
Thou seest how soon that wreath is wither’d.
Oh! quick the emblem-gift remove;
I cannot sing, and must not love,
Or touch the lyre, or myrtle wear,
Exempt from bliss, and free from care.
Henceforth flow on, my torpid hours;
Indifference! I hail thy powers!
Come, and each keen sensation lull,
And make me languishingly dull,
While thus I offer at thy shrine
What (oh Indifference!) ne’er was thine,
The raptured sigh, the glowing tear,
The fervid hope, the anxious fear,118 I3v 118
The blissful thrill, the anguish’d woe,
The freezing doubt, the feeling glow;
Nay, take the ling’ring wish to please,
But give, oh! give thy vot’rist ease.
The Minstrel Boy.
Thy silent wing, oh Time! hath chased away
Some feathery hours of youth’s fleet frolic joy,
Since first I hung upon the simple lay,
And shared the raptures of a minstrel boy.
Since first I caught the ray’s reflected light
Which genius emanated o’er his soul,
Or distant follow’d the enthusiast’s flight,
Or from his fairy dreams a vision stole.
His bud of life was then but in its spring,
Mine scarce a germ in nature’s bloomy wreath;
He taught my infant muse t’expand her wing,
I taught his youthful heart’s first sigh to breathe.
In sooth he was not one of common mould,
His fervid soul on thought’s fleet pinions borne,
Now sought its kindred heaven sublimely bold,
Now stoop’d the woes of kindred man to mourn.
For in his dark eye beams of genius shone
Through the pure crystal of a feeling tear,
And still pale Sorrow claim’d him as her own,
By the sad shade she taught his smile to wear.
Though from his birth the Muses’ matchless boy,
Though still she taught his wild strain’s melting flow,
And proudly own’d him with a mother’s joy,
He only call’d himself the child of woe.
For still the world each finer transport chill’d
That stole o’er feelign’s nerve or fancy’s dream,
And when each pulse to Hope’s warm pressure thrill’d,
Experience chased Hope’s illusory beam.
Too oft indeed, by Passion’s whirlwind driven,
Far from cold Prudence’ level path to stray,
Too oft he deem’d that light a light from heaven
That lured him on to pleasure’s flow’ry way.
To bliss abandon’d; now pursued by woe;
The world’s sad outcast; now the world’s proud gaze;
The vine and yew alternate wreath’d his brow,
The soldier’s laurel, and the poet’s bays.
Example’s baleful force, temptation’s wile,
Guided the wand’rings of his pilgrim years;
Fancy’s warm child, deciev’d by Fortune’s smile,
That steep’d th’expecting glance in mis’ry’s tears.
The sport of destiny, Creation’s heir,
From realm to realm, from clime to clime he rov’d,
Check’d by no guardian tie, no parent care,
For oh! a parent’s love his heart ne’er prov’d.
Yet vain did Absence wave the oblivious wand
One spark still glim’ring in his breast to chill,
Illum’d by Sympathy’s unerring hand,
That still awaked his lyre’s responsive thrill.
Though o’er eternity’s unbounded space
The knell of many a fleeting year had toll’d,
And weeping mem’ry many a change could trace
That made affection’s vital stream run cold;
Yet still those laws immutable and true
To nature’s void, attraction’s sacred laws,
Each spirit to its kindred spirit drew,
Of sweet effects, the fond and final cause.
But oh! when cherish’d Hope reposed its soul
Upon a new-born certainty of joy,
Death from the arms of pending pleasures stole,
And years of promis’d bliss, the Minstrel Boy.
(On whose Easel I found a beautiful Painting of Cupid sleeping.)
How! Love, thus wrapt in soft repose;
Ah! Whence didst thou thy model borrow,
Or Love, with waking transport glows,
Or restless weeps, a waking sorrow?
Perhaps thou’st borrow’d from thyself,
For in thine heart, they say, Love sleeps;
While in thine eye some swear the elf
An everlasting vigil keeps.
Oh! where, my charming artist, lies
The mystic secret of thy art?
To keep Love waking in the eyes,
And guard him sleeping in the heart!
Fragment XXXII. Trifling one evening at the piano forte, I accidentally produced a simple melody that pleased me, and, before I left the instrument, adapted to it the few ideas to be found in the above fragment. It was a maxim of one of the ancients, that no pleasure was so dangerous as that which proceeded from the approbation of a friend: and the partiality with which this little unprovisatore effort was received in the limited and social circle to whom it was first sung, induced me to publish and dedicate it to her whose taste and sanction procured it a reception in the world it could never otherwise have obtained— To the Lady Charlotte Homan.
Oh! should I fly from the world, Love, to thee,
Would solitude render me dearer?
Would our flight from the world draw thee closer to me,
Or render thy passion sincerer?128 I8v 128
Would the heart thou hast touch’d more tumult’ously beat
Than when its wild pulse fear’d detection?
Would the bliss unrestrain’d be more poignantly sweet
Than the bliss snatch’d by timid affection?
Though silence and solitude breathed all around,
And each cold law of prudence was banish’d,129 K1r 129
Though each wish of the heart and the fancy was crown’d,
We should sigh for those hours that are vanish’d.
When in secret we suffer’d, in secret were blest,
Lest the many should censure our union;
And an age of restraint, when oppos’d and opprest,
Was repaid by a moment’s communion.
When virtue’s pure tear dew’d our love’s kindling beam
It hallow’d the bliss it repented;
When a penitent sigh breath’d o’er passion’s wild dream
It absolv’d half the fault it lamented:K 130 K1v 130
And how thrillingly sweet was each pleasure we stole,
In spite of each prudent restriction,
When the soul unrestrain’d met its warm kindred soul,
And we laugh’d at the world’s interdiction!
Then fly, oh my love! to the world back with me,
Since the bliss it denies it enhances,
Since dearest the transient delight shar’d with thee,
Which is snatch’d from the world’s prying glances:
Nor talk thus of death till the warm thrill of love
From each languid breast is retreating;131 K2r 131
Then may the life pulse of each heart cease to move
When love’s vital throb has ceas’d beating.
Snowy gem of the earth! whose fair modest head
Droops beneath the chill sigh of hoar winter’s cold breath;
Snowy gem of the earth! on thy pure sunless bed
I carelessly nearly had crush’d thee to death.
And indeed I have torn thee, thou sweet snowy gem!
From the young kindred tendrils thou lov’st to entwine;133 K3r 133
Nay, I’ve sever’d thee quite from thy fair parent stem,
That droops in reluctance thy charms to resign.
Yet it is from a drear fate, sweet blossom, I snatch thee,
Thy meek prostrate head to each rude foot a prey,
And now in a clime far more genial I’ll watch thee,
And retard thy frail beauties’ too rapid decay.
For instead of the sighs of the icicled hours,
I’ll breathe o’er those beauties a sigh of the heart,
And its glow may restore thee, thou sweetest of flow’rs,
And some warmth to thy icy-chill’d bosom impart.
And where the froze dew-drop once gem’d thy fair brow,
That fair brow a dew-drop more precious shall wear;
Such a drop as the mild eyes of Pity bestow,
When she shed o’er the pale brow of sorrow
For I too have suffer’d! I too have been parted
From a sweet kindred blossom, a dear parent stem,
And each nerve from the breath of oppression has smarted,
As the sharp sigh of winter chill’d thee, snowy gem.
Yet like thee, no kind heart to its bosom e’er press’d me,
Nor beam’d oe’r my suff’rings a pitying eye,
With care-soothing tenderness fondly caress’d me,
And repaid all my woes with a tear and a sigh.
Thou! whom unknown, my suff’ring heart implor’d
To fling thy spell athwart the anguish’d hour,
Spirit of Apathy! unfelt ador’d,
Oh! now I feel, now deprecate thy pow’r.
This once too sensate, tender, glowing heart,
I thought could never own thy chilling sway;
Where fester’d late the wound of Sorrow’s dart,
Where lately beam’d; oh Joy! thy transient ray.
Suspense in all its torturing forms I’ve known,
And many a tender, many an anxious fear;
And on my lip has died the stifled groan,
And in mine eye has swam the silent tear.
And I have known sweet Friendship’s soothing hour,
Perhaps have felt Love’s first-born pure delight;
And I have worship’d Fancy’s magic pow’r,
And (fond enthusiast!) dared her wildest flight.
But now! no raptur’d moment, no soft woe,
Can sublimate the soul or touch the heart;
No more the solemn joys of grief bestow,
Or pensive bliss, or gracious pangs impart.
Stagnate each feeling, frozen every sense,
Each fairy thought enrob’d in Languor’s stole;
No visionary joy can now dispense,
Or with an airy nothing cheer the soul.
The Irish Jig.
Old Scotia’s jocund Highland Reel
Might make an hermit play the deel!
So full of gig!
Famed for its Cotillions gay France is;
But e’en give me the dance of dances,
An Irish jig.
The slow Pas Grave, the brisk Coupée,
The Rigadoon, the light Chassée,
Devoid of gig,
I little prize; or Saraband
Of Spain; or German Allemande:
Give me a jig! This trifle is given as it was written, impromptu, in the first flush of triumph, after having simply gained renown, by tiring out two famous jig dancers, at the seat of a particular friend in Tipperary. There are few countries, whose inhabitants are strictly natives, that have not a national Dance, as well as a national Song: This must have peculiarly been the case in Ireland, says Noverres, in his Essay on Dancing; for such a natural and native taste for music as I have spoken of, is usually accompanied by, or includes in it, a similar one for dancing.
When once the frolic jig’s begun, The influence which an Irish Jig holds over an Irish heart is strongly illustrated in the following singular anecdote, borrowed from the appendix of Memoir of the Irish Bards. interesting The farce of the Half Pay Officer having been brought out at Drury-lane Theatre, the part of an old Grandmother was assigned to Mrs. Fryer, an Irish woman, who had quitted the stage in the reign of Charles the Second, and had not appeared on it for fifty years; during the representation she exerted her utmost abilities; when however she was called on to dance a jig at the age of eighty-five, she loitered, and seemed to overcome; but as soon as the music struck up the Irish Trot, she footed it as nimbly as any girl of five-and-twenty.
Then hey! for spirit, life, and fun!
And with some gig,
Trust me, I too can play my part,
And dance with all my little heart
The Irish jig.
Now through the mazy figure flying,
With some (less active) partner vying,
And full of gig;
Now warm with exercise and pleasure,
Each pulse beats wildly to the measure
Of the gay jig!
New honours to the saint be given At Limages not long ago the people used to dance round the choir of the church, which is under the invocation of their patron saint, and at the end of each psalm, instead of the Gloria Patria, they sung as follows—Saint Marcel, pray for us, and we will dance in honour of you! .
Who taught us first to dance to heaven!
I’m sure of gig,143 K8r 143
And laugh and fun, his soul was made,
And that he often danced and play’d
An Irish jig.
I think ’tis somewhere clearly proved
That some great royal prophet loved
A little gig;
And though with warrior fire he glow’d,
The prowess of his heel he shew’d
In many a jig!
Nay, somewhere too I know they tell
How a fair maiden danced so well,
With so much gig,144 K8v 144
That (I can scarce believe the thing)
She won a saint’s head from a king
For one short jig!
But I (so little my ambition)
Will fairly own, in meek submission,
(And with some gig)
That for no holy head I burn;
One poor lay heart would serve my turn
For well danced jig.
Since then we know from truths divine,
That saints and patriarchs did incline
To fun and gig,145 L1r 145
Why let us laugh and dance for ever,
And still support with best endeavour
The Irish Jig.
The Swan Quill.
To * * * * * * * * * *
The quill that now traces the thought of my heart,
And speeds the soft wand’rer to thine,
From the pinion of love, by thy hand’s erring dart,
Was sever’d, and then became mine. I aimed my fowling-piece, said the friend from whom I received the quill, at some birds that floated on the lake; but its contents were unfortunately lodged in the breast of a swan which lay sheltered amongst the reeds on the shore. I flew to the spot, and found the mate hovering near his wounded love; and two cygnets fluttering beneath the wings from which this quill dropped.
Preserve it, thou saidst, for it shatter’d the breast
Which once glow’d with love’s purest fire;
And it fell as the mistress and mother caress’d
In love’s transport, the offspring and sire.
Then thou toldst me the tale, and I wept o’er the quill,
Where already thy tear had been shed;
And oh! I exclaim’d, may its point ever thrill
O’er the nerve where soft pity is bred.
From that point may the fanciful sorrow still flow
Which, though fancied, ne’er misses the heart;
Be it sacred alone to the delicate woe
Which genius and feeling impart.
But little I dream’d the first trace it imprest
With a sorrow not fancied should flow,
And that, that real sorrow should spring from my heart,
And that thou shouldst awaken that woe.
For they tell me, alone and unfriended thou’rt left
On the pillow of sickness to languish;
By absence, by fate, of the fond friend bereft
Who could feel for, and solace, thy anguish.
May this quill then convey one fond truth to thy heart,
And its languid pulsation elate;
That still in each suff’ring that friend takes a part,
And shares, as she mourns for thy fate.
Then fancy thou viewest that tear of the soul
Which thy destiny draws to her eye,
And believe that no sigh from thy bosom e’er stole
But she gave thee as heart-felt a sigh.
For sweet is the solace that lurks in the tear
Which flows from the eye that we love;
And what is the suff’ring, oh! what is the care
That sympathy cannot remove?
Oh! then speed thy return, and thy sweet cure receive,
Which affection and friendship present,
For her who by pity was taught to forgive,
And who feels, where she ought to resent. In allusion to a petite broullerie, which occasioned the absence of the friend to whom this fragment is addressed.
Joy. This little fragment, in a very imperfect and unfinished state, has already been published.
Joy a fix’d state——a tenure, not a start!
Whence came that thought, sublime and pensive sage?
Did Joy e’er play upon thy grief-chill’d heart,
Or flash its warm beam o’er the life’s sad page?
And felt’st thou not ’twas but a start indeed,
A rainbow lustre o’er the clouds of care;
Of many an anxious hope the golden meed,
The bright, tho’ transient heaven of despair?
Oh, Joy, I know thee well! and in that hour
Which gave me to the dearest father’s arms,
(Arms long unfill’d by me) have felt thy pow’r
Sweetly dispelling absence’ fond alarms.
And I have felt thy evanescent gleam
Illume the vision youthful fancy brought;
Have known thee in my slumbers’ rosy dream
Give many a bliss I (waking) vainly sought.
From thee what sweet truths would cold reason borrow,
Whilst thou (tumultuous in thy reign) would chase
Each gloomy phantom of my bosom’s sorrow,
And send thy sunny spirits in their place.
Wild, warm, and tender, was thy witching hour,
Delight’s wild throb, and rapture’s tear was thine,
And every feeling own’d thy melting pow’r;
Oh! such at least thou wert, when thou wert mine.
Transient indeed, as young spring’s iris sky,
And ever fleetest in thy dearest bliss;
Chas’d by a doubt, a frown, a tear, a sigh;
Lured by a glance, a thought, a smile, a kiss.
Yet though so fleeting in thy poignant pleasure,
Though thy brief span is scarce a raptured hour,
Though still least palpable thy richest treasure,
Though as we cull, still fades thy sweetest flow’r;
Yet come! delicious Joy! ere yet the chill
Of age repels thy influence o’er my heart,
While yet each sense responsive meets thy thrill,
Oh come! delicious Joy! all transient as thou art!
To him who will best understand it.
By the first sigh that o’er thy lip did hover,
And sweetly breath’d a secret sweeter still;
By thy reproachful glance, thou mock reprover!
The speechless transport, and the vaunted thrill:
By thy assumed despair and fancied sorrow,
The sudden languor, and the transient glow;
By all those wiles thou know’st from love to borrow,
The timid doubt, the counterfeited woe:
By the soft murmurs of thy flatt’ring tongue,
By all thy looks have told, or smiles exprest,
By all thou’st sworn, or wrote, or said, or sung,
By all the arts thou aimest at my breast:
By the feign’d tear of love (delusive trembler!)
Thou know’st to conjure to thy dang’rous eye,
And by that dang’rous eye, thou arch dissembler,
I still am free, and Love and thee defy!
For not a faultless form or perfect face,
Or studied arts, can win a soul like mine;
It must be more than mere external grace,
It must be more than ever can be thine. I should scarcely have thought this trifle worthy a place even amidst the kindred trifles where it appears, but that it gives me an opportunity of quoting some beautiful lines, written in reply, by the late unfortunate Thomas Dermoody, into whose hands it accidentally fell at a period when time and absence (the great dissolvents of all human ties!) had rendered him in some degree a stranger to their author. As the posthumous work in which the poem is inserted is little (if at all) known in his native country, I would be happy to give the whole poem, but that many of the stanzas are too flattering to be quoted by their subject; and indeed even those she has selected are perhaps liable to the same proscription!
Why (though thy tender vow exalt another)
May not my rapt imagination rove
Beyond the solemn softness of a brother,
And live in fancy on thy looks of love?
Ah! surely of celestial growth the flowers
That bloom’d so brightly o’er our early scene;
For tho’ that sunny scene was dash’d with showers,
How glorious was each glitt’ring space between!
Young Innocence, array’d in guiltless blushes,
Would then preside o’er each delightful prank;
Wild Laughter wreath her mimic crown of rushes,
And pluck her jewels from the lilied bank.
Now sterner cares impel of big ambition,
The glare of beauty, and the din of praise;
And nature quite disown’d, that playful vision
Is but the vision of departed days.
Mid the mad waves of life’s inconstant ocean
My solitary skiff shall vent’rous steer,
And mem’ry, smiling at the dread commotion,
Paint on each cloud affection’s harbour near.
Thy gilded bark o’er the glad billows bounding,
Ætesian gales shall smoothly bear along,
And sighing crowds its charming freight surrounding,
Salute thy splendid progress with a song.
While thou dost to the choral flatt’ry listen,
More gently soothed by melancholy bliss,
Perchance thy meek averted eye may glisten
O’er some neglected strain——sincere as this.
Love’s Picture. The idea and many of the lines in this fragment are taken from a trifle that appeared in my first little publication, and was written at fifteen. I have endeavoured to correct and improve it— it was probably not worth the effort.
Hither, Love, thy wild wing bend,
Or on thy mother’s dove descend;M 162 M1v 162
Or let some breeze thy light form bear,
Or mount some courser of the air;
Or float thee on a lover’s sigh,
But hither, Love, oh! hither fly:
And come while yet the wish is warm,
To portrait true, thy changeful form;
Yes, come, with all thy magic arts,
Quips, cranks, and smiles, bows, arrows, darts;
Approach thee cap-a-pec in arms,
Muster ten thousand strong in charms;
Then (if thou canst) repose thy pinion,
And give me one good sitting, minion.
Shake not at me those golden locks,
Thy pow’r my dauntless spirit mocks;163 M2r 163
Nay, think not by that look to bind me;
I’ll paint thee, rascal, as I find thee.
Yes, thou shalt have a seraph’s face,
A childish air, an infant grace,
A bashful blush, a movement shy,
A timid glance, a downcast eye,
A frolic gait, a playful mien,
A cherub’s smile, a brow serene;
Such is thy outward form, I know;
But that within, which passeth shew,
And thou wouldst slily keep perdù,
I’ll paint in colours strong and true.
So now have at thee, trait’rous boy!
Thou bitter sweet, thou painful joy;
Thou thing compos’d of contradictions,
Of blessings and of maledictions,M2 164 M2v 164
Of vivid hopes, of sombre doubts,
Of sports and joys, of frowns and pouts,
Of gay delight, of anxious care,
Of thrilling bliss, of wild despair,
Of confidence, of dark suspicion,
Of tyranny of meek submission,
Of sympathy, of jealous fire,
Of tenderness, of wrathful ire,
Of certainties, of mad’ning fears,
Of melting smiles, of treach’rous tears,
Of vestal blush, of roguish eye,
Of speaking look, of stifled sigh,
Of present joy, of future woe,
Of chill disdain, of genial glow,
Of simple air, of practis’d guile,
Of candid words, of hidden wile;165 M3r 165
Thou imp, thou seraph, I think it is Origen who gives Love two souls, one from God, the other from the devil. good or evil,
Thou ofttimes angel, ofttimes devil;
Thou all on earth we most should fear,
Thou all on earth we hold most dear;
Whom now we trust, whom now we doubt,
Whom none can live with, nor without,
Thou woe, fear, grief, thou bliss, hope, joy,
Thou——oh! thou too delightful boy!
Go, go, I dare not longer gaze,
For well I know thy wily ways,
And that while I with critic stricture
Thus coldly finish off thy picture,166 M3v 166
Thou haply point’st thy keenest dart
At the simple painter’s heart.
Fragment XL. Scribbled on a tablet amidst the sombre but interesting ruins of Sligo Abbey.
And must I, ghastly guest of this dark dwelling,
Pale senseless tenant! must I come to this?168 M4v 168
And must this heart congeal, now warmly swelling
To woe’s soft languor, rapture’s melting bliss?
And must this pulse that beats to joy’s gay measure,
(Throbbing with bloomy health!) this pulse lie still,
And every sense alive to guileless pleasure
Resist, oh transport! thy warm vital thrill?
And must each sensient feeling too decay,
(Each feeling anguish’d by another’s sorrow)
This form, that blushes youth and health to-day,
Lie cold and senseless thus like thee to-morrow?
Terrific death! to shun thy dreaded pow’r,
Who would not brave existence’ direst strive,
But that beyond thy dark shade’s gloomy low’r
Faith points her vista to eternal life!
Nymph of the mountain! blithsome maid,
Whose bloom no midnight revels fade;
That breath’st the grey dawn’s scented air,
And with its dew-pearls deck’st thy hair;
Thy brow with Alpine myrtle crown’d,
Thy waist with deathless aloes bound,
Thy lip with wild-bees’ nectar dew’d,
Thine eye with rapture’s tear imbued,171 M6r 171
Thy cheek imbrown’d, and rosed with blushes
Warm as the rich carnation flushes,
Thy step of devious frolic measure,
And all around thee breathing pleasure;
Thou dearest gift of bounteous Heaven,
To its most favour’d object given,
Source of the richest joys of the heart
Can feel, or senses can impart,
Enchantress Health! what offering, say,
What tribute can thy vot’rist pay,
While now, delicious nymph, you shed
Your richest blessings o’er her head?
This smile is thine, this laughing eye,
This form suffused with thy warm dye,
These rising spirits gay, yet even,
By thee alone, oh Health! were given,172 M6v 172
That point each hope, and sooth each care,
And gaily mock the fiend Despair,
That smile away the frowns of life,
Exalt each bliss, and calm each strife;
With whom, and thee, each circling year
Has swiftly flown, while every tear
Which woe shed o’er my fervid cheek
You fondly chased, and bade me seek
In motives pure, and guileless mind,
For every woe a balm to find.
Led by thy hand my feather’d hours,
Enwreath’d with fancy’s blooming flow’rs,
Time’s progress check’d with frolic play,
And gaily trifled life away;
Reviv’d the chaplet on my brow,
Unchill’d indeed by age’s snow,173 M7r 173
But where each bud my hopes had gather’d
By disappointment’s blast was wither’d,
And hush’d the song of syren ease,
And wak’d each latent wish to please,
And many a harmless joy bestow’d
Which from no source but thine e’er flow’d;
Yet oh! for all thou’st done for me
I’ve nothing, Health, to offer thee,
For all thy joys and all thy blisses,
But such——an idle song as this is.
Return, ye fairy dreams of promis’d joy,
My youthful fancy’s flatt’ring pencil drew,
Nor suffer time your visions to destroy,
Nor strike the bright tints from my raptur’d view.
Again, oh Hope! thy glowing prospects spread,
Restore thy scenes so distant and so fair;
Oh! be each thought by thee, sweet syren, led,
And drown in fancied bliss each real care.
For what can flat reality. bestow,
E’en when illum’d by fortune’s brightest beam,
To compensate those joys that sweetly flow
From youthful hope, and youthful fancy’s dream?
Imitated From the Italian.
Fairer than Alpine sunless snows
Wert thou, in thy primæval hour,
Eternal odour-breathing rose!
Queen of every lovely flow’r;
Till, upon a festive day,
When the Loves with Hymen sported,
Revel’d wild in antic play,
And the brimming goblet courted,
And urchin wilder than the rest
Tript in many a mazy ringlet,
The luscious grape insatiate prest,
And shook fresh odours from his winglet.
While the bowl of nectar’d dews
Trembles in his nerveless clasp,
Thy modest form (sweet rose!) he views,
And reels, thy fragrant charms to grasp.
But reeling, spills the crimson tide
Which o’er thy tintless bosom flows;
And now that bosom’s snowy pride
With love’s own colouring warmly glows.
Translated From the Italian of Metastasio.
What form celestial greets my sight,
In such a panoply of light,
Whose robes of air so brightly flow,
Like sun-ting’d show’rs of feather’d snow?
Ah! ’tis the lovely queen of blisses,
Of melting sighs, and tender kisses!N2 180 N2v 180
She hither bends to shed her roses
Over the couch where Love reposes,
Softly lull’d on Hymen’s breast,
His suff’rings hush’d, his cares at rest.
And whence that group, that elfin bevy,
That crowd the Hymeneal levy?
With antic sport and frolic leer,
What brings the urchin rabble here?
Ah! these are Venus’ rosy boys,
Her tiny sports, and roguish joys;
These cunning loves and laughing wiles
Are thy sly brood, arch queen of smiles!
See how their shafts they idly shiver,
And empty every golden quiver,181 N3r 181
And break their bows in idle play,
And fling their pointless darts away;
For every dart has done its duty,
And conquer’d in the cause of beauty.
But whose soft sigh now meets my ear?
Whence is the melting-plaint I hear?
Who comes, so like a drooping flow’r,
Whose fair head bends beneath the show’r
That sheds its tear from zephyr’s wing,
And weeps amidst the smiles of spring?
It is the Bride! but say why flow
From eyes of bliss the dews of woe?
And art thou then so wondrous simple?
And seest thou not the roguish dimple182 N3v 182
That lurks in either cheek so fair,
And mocks the tear that glitters there?
And know’st thou not these wiles but prove
The policy of timid love?
Gay soul of every piquante charm
That can the torpid senses warm,
Mistress of the Non sa che
Toute ensemble, sweet Naivité!184 N4v 184
Darting from thy unfixed eye
The pointed glance of meaning sly,
Flinging round with comic air
The shaft that wounds cold wrinkled care;
Thy brow with many a feather crown’d,
In many a different climate found,
Thy robe of every rainbow hue,
As bright, as gay, as changeful too;
Thy girdle by the graces wove,
And breath’d on by the queen of love;
Or gay or grave, still sure to please
With novel airs and playful ease;
Before th’ enchantment of thine eye
Dull beauty’s fair disciples fly;
Man worshipping variety,
Finds all its magic charms in thee.185 N5r 185
And I invoke thee, winning maid!
When the spell of youth shall fade,
To touch the alter’d form and face
With thine own bewitching grace;
When time shall pale my life’s fresh flow’r,
Oh give me then thy bizarre pow’r!
Let me, oh Whim! thy cestus wear,
And make the stupid many stare,
With gay caprice, and outré thought,
The petit pointe, the pun unsought,
The bon trovaté, tour d’expression,
And all that’s in thine own possession;
Thus, thus the pow’r of age disarming,
Thus ever changing, every charming.
Le Souhait Dangereux.
Go, mind-created phantom, go,
Hence, flatt’rer, wander,
Lest of thee, my bosom’s foe,
I still grow fonder.
Thou viewless soother, hence away,
I’ll ne’er believe thee;
For, deck’d in fancy’s glowing ray,
Thou’dst still deceive me.
Yet should I free thee much I fear
Thou’dst idly rove,
And thy course, arch betrayer, steer
To him you love.
And if by him, incautious rover,
As mine thou’rt known,
Each bosom secret thou’dst discover:
I’d guard my own.
Yet go! and shouldst thou near his breast
Still haply view
Thy mistress still its idol guest,
There rest thee too.
For then each doubting, hoping thrill
Awak’d by thee,
The sweetest certainty shall still
To rest for me.
Child of a sun-beam, airy minion,
Whither points thy flutt’ring pinion?
Pinion dipt in rainbow hues,
Pinion gem’d with sparkling dews
Shed from many a weeping flower,
Bathed in matin’s rosy shower;
Tell me why thy form so bland
Still eludes my eager hand?190 N7v 190
Tell me, wanton, wouldst thou be
Madly wild, and wildly free?
If freedom is thy life’s best treasure,
Then get thee hence, gay child of pleasure,
From feudal tow’r and cloistral cell,
For freedom there did never dwell;
And I no more thy form will woo,
But pleas’d thy varied flight pursue;
And now upon a zephyr’s sigh
Thou seem’st in languid trance to die,
Now flutt’ring wild, thy golden winglet
Sports in many a wanton ringlet,
Or soar’st to drink the sun’s first gleam,
Or bask thee in the infant beam;
Then panting in thy heaven-snatcht glow.
I feel thee flutt’ring o’er my brow.191 N8r 191
Whence thy breezy plumage chases
Each tear the hand of sorrow traces,
Or, as athwart my lip you fly,
Fan away the woe-born sigh,
Tear of sorrow, This fragment has already appeared in the Novice of St. Dominick, and the above lines are an allusion to the destiny of the heroine. sigh of woe,
Early taught by fate to flow,
From an heart a stranger still
To nature’s dearest, sweetest thrill;
Tear of sorrow, sigh of woe,
Ne’er given thee, happy thing, to know;
Thee, whose life a raptured minute
Bears an age of blisses in it;192 N8v 192
Thee, whose life a minute’s measure,
Dawns, exists, and fades in pleasure.
Oh! insect of the painted wing,
I’ve watch’d the from the morning’s spring,
As idly lapt in soft repose
Midst the blushes of the rose,
The playful zephry’s balmy breath
Has wak’d thee from thy transient death,
Or the bee in tuneful numbers
Put to flight thy fragrant slumbers;
And as thy wings of varied hue
(Dipt in rose-embosom’d dew)
You flutt’ring imp and deftly try,
Still I follow, still you fly
Midst the lavish charms of Nature,
Thou her freest, gayest creature;193 O1r 193
Now the vi’let’s balmy sigh,
Now the tulip’s changeful dye,
Now the rose’s orient glow,
Now the lily’s tintless snow,
Woo and win thy brief caress,
Alternate pall, alternate bless,
Till the summer’s glow is o’er,
Till her beauties bloom no more,
Then the flow’r whose fragrant sigh
Survives her warmly blushing dye,
Lures thee to an heaven of rest
On her pale but od’rous breast,
And amidst her balmy treasures
Thou diest in th’ excess of pleasures.
Oh happy careless thing! could I
But live like thee, but like thee die,O 194 O1v 194
Like thee resign my fleeting breath,
My life of bliss, in blissful death,
I’d envy not th’ extended span,
The patriarchal day of man.
For him let time’s protracting pow’rs
Still spare existence’ drooping flow’rs,
And wreaths of joyless years entwine,
But oh! one raptured hour be mine.
Venus and Cupid. It is scarcely necessary to observe that the idea of this fragment is borrowed from the ninth dialogue of Lucian
As Love’s delightful mother prest
The sportive urchin to her breast,
And he, like other idle boys,
Play’d with her trinkets and her toys,196 O2v 196
Unbound her tresses, scar’d her doves,
Or teaz’d his younger brother loves;
Come, tell me, cries the queen of charms,
Why hast thou never turn’d thine arms
Against the sage Minerva’s heart?
Does she defy thy potent art?
’Tis true, abash’d her son replies,A single glance from wisdom’s eyes Can all my best resolves destroy, And quite repels thy daring boy, As often as he strives to plunder The heart of that same vestal wonder; And sure the snakes that twine her crest, The gorgon head that shields her breast, Might well an infant soul dismay, And chase a timid child away. 197 O3r 197 One night, with luscious nectar warm, (I swear ne’er dreaming ought of harm) I strove in frolic play to scorch Her owl’s grey pinion with my torch, And then (as though I did not fear her) Flash’d my little flambeau near her; When turning round, (her eyes on fire) I swear, she cried, by Jove my sire, If thus again you venture near me, To pieces, urchin, I will tear thee; Dare but a single step advance, I’ll pierce thee, mischief! with my lance; Raise but thy bow, and strait from heaven To Tartarus shalt thou be driven. I took the hint, and from that hour Ne’er threw myself in wisdom’s pow’r. 198 O3v 198
Well, if Minerva’s gorgon head
Awakes my timid Cupid’s dread
More than the thunder-bolt of Jove,
Say, do the Muses frighten Love?
Oh no, mamma! replies the elf,
I love the Muses next thyself;
E’en I revere, with all my folly,
Their sweet voluptuous melancholy,
And oft I steal their groves among
To catch, unseen, their pensive song!
Th’ experienced mother archly smiles,
And cries, Alas! with all thy wiles,
Thou’rt still a child; for where can Love
Unseen repose, unthought of, rove?
Thy faintest sigh that scents the air
Would still thy vicinage declare;199 O4r 199
And when thou steal’st their groves among,
Well may the Muses’ pensive song
Breathe the soul of melody,
Still sweetest breathed when breathed for thee;
For sure the song the soul holds dearest
Is sweetest breathed when Love is nearest.
T. Bensley, Printer, Bolt Court, Fleet Street, London.