Printed for the
and sold by
To Mr. George Nicholson, Editor and Publisher of the Literary Miscellany.
I offer to you the imperfect productions of some careless hours. Your judgment, I fear, will meet with little to approve; yet I submit them to your examination, and dedicate them a tribute of sincere esteem; ambitious, ever, of acknowledging our friendship, founded, as it is, on congeniality of mind, and on principles which can experience neither alloy nor decay.
Blackburn, 1799-08-01August 1, 1799.
Stanzas to a Friend.
Dear Sara! midst the grief and mirth
to which the dream of life gives birth,
kind heaven allots one boon;
your friendship is the gift I mean,
it’s social charms improve each scene,
that glides beneath the moon.
While thousands taste imperfect bliss,
in forming their desires amiss,
the luxury be mine
to know the kindness of a friend,
whose sentiments and sweetness blend
to form a mind divine.
Your hours in blissful medium roll,
obedient to a just controul,
unbiassed by pride;
you live, ’midst Custom’s slaves, resign’d,
yet own a kingdom in your mind,
which changes cann’t divide.
With fleeting haste, e’en to the grave,
see Av’rice drive a cheated slave
still chacing farther wealth;
the folly-fetter’d heir survey,
who revels through a short-liv’d day
of luxury and health!
Where riches bear undue controul,
they leave within the social soul
no cranny free from care;
in breasts like these, nor joy, nor woe,
impress a feeling, as they flow,
nor plant one virtue there.
All artificial wants in life,
those warring wishes keep at strife,
which form each fretful scene;
will disappointment never teach
that aims at aught beyond our reach,
must terminate in spleen?
Ambitious, once, I form’d a view,
(forgive my pride) to copy you;
how emulous the scheme!
my wishes soon my wants betray’d,
like high-wrought scenes by sleep pourtray’d,
or Hope’s fond, fervid dream.
The contrast in our mental state,
irrevocably fixt by fate,
unchang’d must still remain;
yet, tho’ your reas’ning pow’rs transcend,
still deign to let me call you, Friend!
I will not then complain.
This prize shall balance all my blanks;
take kindly, then, the candid thanks
esteem would fain impart;
and let affection’s eye still blend,
o’er those defects which mark your friend,
yet spring not from the heart.
God-like Benevolence! to thee I owe
the heart’s best joy and sorrow’s softest tear;
still o’er my hours, thy soft’ning power bestow,
dwell in each thought, and every action steer.
Assist my lab’ring wishes to console
each pang the mourner’s story may reveal,
and while thy pure religion prompts my soul
to active virtue, teach my heart to feel!
How sadly pleasing is thy visit seen,
where age and want are ling’ring on the bed;
where sickness spreads her palenss o’er the mein,
or terror shelters in the tott’ring shed.
Thou seek’st the wretch with whom misfortune dwells
(whose pallid face the strokes of woe retain),
reliev’st his bosom, as his tale he tells,
and pour’st therein a lenitive to pain.
Where modest merit hides in tatter’d dress,
blushing to ask what bolder minds w ould crave,11 a6r 11
and masks with smiles the bosom of distress,
or waits, resign’d, the refuge of the grave,—
how much thy delicate approach befriends;
ere they have felt the flagrant lash of scorn;
ere want has led them to ignoble ends,
or gor’d the bosom with reflection’s thorn!
When gripping talons of the law have barr’d
the gloomy prison, dark to heaven’s fair beam,
where massive walls the wretched tenants guard,
and bend the soul with want and woe supreme,—
’t is thine to lead from darkness into day
the pining debtor from his hopeless cell,
to snatch the scarcely animated clay
from all the horrors of an earthly hell.
Poor, and with sharp solicitudes opprest,
the pensive widow and her helpless race,
mourn for a sire, whose cheerful labour blest
their board with plenty, and their cot with peace:
but found by thee once more her dwelling smiles,
her happy hearth proclaims the alter’d eve;
content again resumes the place of toils,
joys robe her cheeks, and she forgets to grieve.
When death, unkindly slow, retards his stroke,
tho, suff’ring anguish lies a willing prey;
dissolving, sand by sand, the vital yoke,
ere life-long sympathies immerge in clay;
e’en here, when all in nature’s courses is fled,
and life’s last pulse has left the motley’d crowd,
Benevolence, in pity, seeks the bed,
and wraps the gelid manes in shroud.
How soon the swift career of life is done!
to-day the bier stops at the cottage door,
and ere another gay expiring sun,
the courtier meets th’irrevocable hour.
What is life’s journey but a narrow space,
which leads to strange precarious shores behind?
havens, which no directing chart can trace;
regions, by graphic artists undefin’d.
No friendly passenger embark’d before,
was e’er permitted to re-sail again;
guilty or innocent, all must explore
untried states of pleasure or of pain.
Tho’ science often, through the healing art,
arrests the fever, blunts the sense of pain,
no son of physic can extract Death’s dart;
who call to him for respite, call in vain.
Hark! ’t is a death-bell vibrates in the air,
the solemn toll proclaims some mis’ry o’er.
Subduing time our mansions will not spare,
for pyramids themselves will be no more.
Riches oppose not Death’s determin’d hand;
vainly the mother clasps the child she loves;
Av’rice lays down the gold at his command;
and rose-cheek’d beauty fades like sun-scorch’d groves.
Nor the mute shell-fish, nor expressive man,
shall ’scape his hand, he deals insatiate rage;
he lords it o’er the young enthusiast’s plan,
and ends the tale of garrulous old age.
Our lamp he darkens, bids our sense be still,
each fine-adjusted spring of feeling stops;
stifles opinion, reason, taste, and will;
and o’er life’s picture one sad curtain drops.
For fields of toil, Death gives the cave of rest;
warm Hope, wild Fear, keen Pain, no more contend;
here, all are dormant; bad men and the best.
How peaceful looks each journier at his end!
Then, welcome Death! thou passport to the skies!
thy moonless evening is a calm repose,
a long vacation free from all surprise;
a truce to cares, which life’s best lot bestows.
Inquietude embosoms mortals here;
why then are we solicitous to stay?
for, tho’ we loiter, we must quit this sphere.
Oh! may there dawn one long, one happy, day!
Edward and Anna, A Tale.
Not cottage bred, tho’ far from court,
dwelt Anna of the vale;
above contempt, yet plac’d too low,
for envy to assail.
Tho’ wealth had not it’s sanction lent
to luxury, or pride;
yet virtue and it’s train of smiles,
in Anna’s breast reside.
Beneath the tend’rest mother’s care,
this maid, who grac’d the plain,
enjoy’d those soft parental smiles,
which mothers seldom feign.
Her form was nature’s loveliest work,
untiffiny’d with art,
and all the feelings of her soul,
were virtue’s counterpart.
No cradle-prejudice had warp’d
the tenor of her mind,16 a8v 16
her disposition, truly sweet,
tuition had refin’d.
Her bounded wishes did not roam
beyond the state she knew,
and fin’ry she could e’er survey,
undazzl’d with it’s view.
Alternate seasons, as they roll’d,
still found her dwelling blest;
yet peace soon sought another home,
and pain took place of rest.
Her mother’s death began the change,
which she was spar’d to know,
and orphan wants (too seldom few),
confirm’d Misfortune’s blow.
The fun’ral rites were scarcely paid,
ere Albert’s rigid sway
seiz’d on the tenement he own’d
and drove it’s guest away.
Without a joy, without a care,
save such as riches grant;
he liv’d, a monied wretch, to grasp
the wealth he did not want.
Such was the man to whom devolv’d
the house her birth endear’d;
her toil it’s garden had imrpov’d,
it’s rose-trees she had rear’d.
It was in sorrow’s sacred hour,
the homeless maid remov’d;
exchanging for an austere aunt
a mother dearly lov’d.
Void of compassion was that aunt,
her heart no pity knew,
and parsimonious care had still’d
the voice of kindness too.
’T was here the pensive Anna felt
the change which death had made,
and grief’s involuntary tear
would oft her cheeks invade.
Edward was Albert’s only son,
but much unlike his sire;
the best intentions fill’d his breast
that could a breast inspire.
He spurn’d the sordid, saving hopes
his father entertain’d;
no mercenary views in love
his gen’rous soul enchain’d.
His partial eye saw Anna’s charms
eclipse the diamond’s blaze;
and bloom unfoster’d in the shade,
uncheer’d by fortune’s rays.
Her merit dimm’d the glitt’ring things
that wealth to her deny’d;
for native goodness won his heart,
undeck’d with pomp or pride.
Albert, whom other motives urg’d,
the stern injunction laid,
on Edward, ’Ne’er to see her more;
if this was disobey’d,—
he vow’d, some fugitive should heir
the wealth which he possest,
and thus preclude all Edward’s hopes
of making Anna blest.
In fellest rage and settled hate
the father thus withdrew;
while constancy forbade the son,
to quit a maid so true.
The balm, or poison of life’s joys,
he then exclaim’d, is love!
were all her worth exchang’d for wealth,
my sire would then approve.
Ill does her gentleness deserve,
that indigence, or scorn,
should tinge the joys of wedded life,
or sour her nuptial morn.
The mind and manners which have form’d
the passion I endure,
forbid neglect, yet, ’t is a wound,
attention cannot cure.
How slow life’s joyless term consumes,
to him who lives unblest;
forgetfulness bestows no ease,
nor recollection rest.
Unmark’d by intervals of mirth,
the silent hand of time,
cancell’d from hence the lively glow,
of Edward’s manly prime.
Anna beheld the rapid change,
with wonder and dismay;
for pale affliction ting’d those cheeks,
where roses us’d to play.
In sympathetic solitude
she mourn’d his hast’ning end,
yet strove to hide the hoarded grief
which all her prospects rend.
Now Albert’s eye, with feeling, drops
the tear of sullen grief;
loud his parental sorrows ask,
yet vainly ask, relief.
In penitence he bends the knee;
Heaven, save my son! he cry’d;
but Heaven accepts no selfish prayer,
for Edward droop’d and dy’d.
Soon as the mournful maid was told
that Edward was no more,
Now fate, she cry’d, may spare it’s frown,
misfortune’s pangs are o’er;
their father aim to wound my heart,
by oft repeated blows,
is vainly urg’d, for this event
will terminate my woes.
His absence now can never cease;
nor fear contract his stay;
as when he often flew to me,
from harsh parental sway.
His peace now is, and mine will soon
be out of Fortune’s power;
tho’ this worn heart, to it’s last beat,
my Edward must deplore.
Faintings announc’d the future stroke
which she was doom’d to feel,
when fate imprest the active pulse
with death’s subduing seal.
Unblest were Albert’s future hours,
his unattoning wealth
could not illume the cheerless day,
nor reinstate his health.
He stole unpitied to the grave;
an alien spendthrift heir
consum’d what Edward was deny’d
by avaricious care.
Philanthropy! best attribute below!
compar’d with thee how fades the civic crown,
whose burnish’d gleams adorn the fav’rite’s brow,
or what the glories of well-earn’d renown!
Reason and morals purify thy mind;
the athiest’s boast, and piety’s warm joy!
for nature and religion’s laws refin’d
dwell where thou art, untinctur’d with alloy.
’T is thine to seek the sorr’wer’s chill abode;
to follow mis’ry to it’s hapless hope;
to slope for age his rugged ev’ning road,
and lead him peaceful to the quiet tomb.
Thou, stranger’s friend! who soothest in drear distress,
who wip’st the tears which undissembled stream,
retouchest pictures of unhappiness,
and bid’st life’s canvas with contentment gleam;
thy heart, uncircumscrib’d, with equal love,
glows for the Greenlander and sun-burnt Moor;
explores the hut, their miseries to remove,
and plants fair peace where anguish sprang before.
In deeds like these, the delegates of God,
Howard and Hanway pass’d to purer skies;
goodness illumin’d every path they trod,
and heaven decreed it’s citizens their prize.
Tho’ rolling time obscures our passing day,
it’s just memorial shall record their worth,
herald their praise, immortalize their clay,
and give to fame, and genuine virtue, birth.
An Evening Walk on the --07-01First of July.
The gleams of the moon had new-silver’d the night,
to cheer the lone wanderer’s way,
and evening’s mild lustre reflected a light
more soft than the splendor of day.
Retir’d from the croud, and repos’d on a seat
embellish’d with verdure and trees,
no forms were invok’d to protect the retreat,
for here reign’d calm nature at ease.
The mind, which spontaneously mix’d in the scene,
an hour of reflection enjoy’d;
which fix’d in the bosom a pleasure serene,
unfelt in the circles of pride.
The day of the year which recorded my birth,
seem’d vested with right to enquire,
why trifles so oft superceded the worth
that well-applied time might acquire?
I sigh’d at the query, nor strove to defend
necessity’s forcible powers;25 b5r 25
yet vow’d, I the conduct of life would amend,
and husband it’s transient hours.
The froward perceptions of childhood are past;
if maturity’s foibles obtrude,
unlike to the former, much longer these last,
and rarely can these be subdu’d.
Who lives and pursues no hard labour for food,
Fate ne’er could intend such to lead
a life of frivolity (vacant of good),
where virtue has nothing to plead.
The peasant, unnerv’d with diurnal employ,
partakes the coarse meal with a zest;
he sleeps off fatigue, and his smiles wear a joy
which indolence never possest.
May reason and goodness controul my desires,
in solitude plac’d, or a croud!
the habits of virtue contentment inspires,
the humble are blest, not the proud.
Few are the vices unascrib’d to youth!
yet Av’rice only couples with old age;
this vice resides where time’s slow rankling tooth,
has numb’d the passions and out-worn the sage.
See his lean face indented with despair!
it’s muscles know not one relaxing smile;
’t is famine’s portrait forms the ghastly stare,
gold does not here repay it’s victim’s toil.
The thread-bare cov’ring of a former age,
the net-work drapery of the hungry moth,
he vainly wears to screen a winter’s rage,
or brave the rude salutings of the north.
E’en when Aquarius gives the winds his frost,
and petrifies a shrinking realm with cold,
his saving soul would stint the fuel’s cost,
by gath’ring faggots from a tenant’s fold.
As stick by stick consumes in niggard blaze,
he muses on extravagance and care!
on wasting guineas—ah! too sure the ways
and means of ruin to the thriftless heir.
Now doubly saving of the mouldy crust,
and keenly mindful of the mity cheese,
he dares not e’en his appetite entrust,
lest hunger riot, on such feasts as these.
His fears, a station’d guard, surround his coast;
amid the walls he starts, and breathes in pain;
when nature sleeps, he sees the gliding ghost,
of spectr’d theif, intent on murd’rous gain.
Or, when these visions urge him from his bed,
he thinks the needy villain’s at his door,
by direst views of midnight plunder led
through darken’d paths, to seize the hoarded store.
Some twinkling rays of feeble rush-light, guide
his palsied footsteps to explore the hold,
the dark sanctorum where his bonds reside,
his piles of mortgages and tarnish’d gold.
His crippled hands with eagerness unlock
the cumb’rous wealth impal’d within the chest;
needless his fears, untouch’d he finds that stock
which galls and gladdens his insatiate breast.
His old defenceless roof and shatter’d wall,
decayed wainscot, and the broken pane,
in tott’ring ruin languish ere they fall;
e’en bats and owls have fled the dreadful wane.
See money’s victim on th’ uncurtain’d bed,
appall’d amidst the dregs of ling’ring woes:
the happy mendicant, beneath a shed,
concludes his vagrant day with sound repose;
but thy— vain fears extend beyond the grave,
as tho’ thy wants would cling around the bier;
thy doubts may end, futurity will crave
far other ransom for thy conduct here.
Unthankful Av’rice! ever asking more;
like Athens’ miser scorn’d for love of pelf,
who counted till he died, his useless store;
despis’d the Athenians’ hiss, and clapp’d himself.
Extremes, the most dissimilar, in man,
appear the miser and expensive heir;
their erros on a superficial scan,
arise from want, or an excess, of care.
Behold the saving predecessor hears’d!
the sable livery’d servants speak the change;
the dormant mansion, late in cobwebs drest,
displays a scene where pompous follies range.
The pile which wealthy ancestry had rais’d,
the hand of fashion alters to it’s base;
their splendid portraits are in haste appraised,
and picture-monger-bargains fill their place.
The rooms are clear’d of every ancient thing,
yet modern vampers of antiques supply
uniques, in medal, sculpture, coin, and ring;
expensive trash! which taste will e’er decry.
The heir, time-hoarded thousands lightly pours
on vast reforms of savage gothic taste;
light colonnades invade the place of tow’rs,
and rising temples grace the marshy waste.
No more at peace remains the spacious scite,
for kennel’d hounds, with son’rous yelping cry,
assail your ears, with sorrow or delight,
as feeling prompts, or brutes doom stags to die.
Unceasing carnival and riot share
the midnight hour, and morn’s returning ray;
the lavish side-board dazzles with it’s glare,
and here profuseness caters for the day.
The currency which fashion stamps on dress,
deep-play, the turf, intrigue, or char’oteer;
he emulates in wild, untam’d excess,
while groaning tenants vainly ask his ear.
Anticipated rents are ask’d, to pay
the price of keeping company with peers;
Newmarket losses swell the rubs at play,
while tradesmen clamour for their long arrears.
The spacious acres now begin their flight,
while seal and parchment parcel out estates;
through groves resounding woodmen hail the light;
the mortgag’d manor for a bidder waits.
To hammer next are brought his horses fleet;
ere long we see the papers advertise
a man of fashion’s furniture complete,
without reserve, on sale, at ―― now lies.
Untrembling now he dares offended heaven,
and leagues in social vice with fellow-rake;
whose gross ideas deem the passions given
to keep each brutral senes of life awake.
From midnight revel, reeling to repose,
with all the man extinguish’d in the brute,
and madden’d by excess which wine bestows,
annoys the watch, or braves the worst dispute.
His grandsire’s fields have pass’d to other hands,
no more he shares a fortune, or abode;
his credit now no us’rer’s loans commands;
but dares, at length, the dangers of the road.
Fast link’d in ruin with a swindling tribe,
in plans of cunning to cajole the world,
he barters honour’s for the plunderer’s bribe;
and, stain’d with crimes, to infamy is hurl’d.
In better days, how would his soul have shook
to own the ruffian, or the robber’s deed!
now, crape and horror mask his former look,
and, hark! a pistol terminates his need.
To Mr. and Mrs. W******M on the Birth of a Daughter.
When thousands fall the victim of dispute,
by shameful var’ance made by man with man;
then terror bids the eloquent be mute,
and heave a sigh o’er war’s wide-wasting plan.
The softer task of friendliness be mine,
to blend rejoicings with a raptur’d pair,
who own a sensibility divine,
in blissful union and parental care.
’T is not the transport which a victor feels,
when hail’d from slaughter by the voice of Fame;
the heart it’s calmest exstasies reveals
o’er the fair form that bears Augusta’s name.
In this dear emblem of your love and truth,
may budding virtues blossom with her years,
refinements mingle with the joys of youth,
to cheat maturity of all it’s cares!
How feebly images of earthly bliss
express those raptures on the mother’s part,33 c1r 33
who clasps the nursling, and then steals a kiss,
which first elates and then o’erpowers the heart.
No borrow’d pleasures, haunted with distrust,
alloy the raptures these sensations leave;
nor such as flow from wealth’s unbounded thirst,
which mocks the happiness it cannot give.
And sure that father’s Mr. W******m was one of the philanthropic advocates for the total abolition of the slave-trade. smile must bless this scene,
who labour’d to emancipate the Moor,
became his pleader, heedless of his mein,
expos’d oppression, and espous’d the poor.
Then let the world-enamour’d throng admire
fame, fashion, fortune, equipage, and show;
far nobler joys surround the social fire,
domestic sweets! which those can ne’er bestow.
O may a train of rich endearments wait,
on ye, whose virtues ripen with your years!
may unbent age make light the yoke of fate,
and death serenely terminate your cares!
Where dark green yews obscure the sun’s bright rays,
rising from forms once breathing dewy morn,
unquiet spectres glide (tradition says),
sigh to the moon, or murmur near yon thorn.
Such rumour’s tale, when night’s slow-footed hours
glide soundless, save one hoary speaker’s voice;
fear-thrill’d, the list’ning grandchild near him cow’rs,
in muteness trembling at each fancied noise.
The hallow’d glebe sustains a rev’rend dome,
the fam’d competitor of cent’ries past;
the sods, once living, fence the peaceful home,
of village coffins from the tempest’s blast;
it’s crusted surface in the gothic style,
compulsive Time has summon’d to decay;
his conqu’ring power it bore, yet seem’d to smile,
and spread it’s hoary honours to the day.
Conject’ring antiquaries now may come,
and from each sculptur’d fragment something glean;35 c2r 35
muse o’er the hieroglyphics of the tomb,
and trace the fallen grandeur of the scene.
But ah! my theme is not the wreck of arts,
’t is that of nature, nighted in it’s urn;
earth’d near the spot where oft they play’d their parts,
they rest unwarm’d to all the joys of morn!
these claim a moral tributary sigh,
which shakes existence in it’s fix’d repose;
yet while Reflection’s tear bedews the eye,
it points a calm cessation of life’s woes.
The fane, by wealthy piety endow’d,
contains the fallen splendor of the great;
through long drawn aisles the blazon’d ’scutcheons crowd,
of trophied warriors, now the jest of fate.
Here, the residuum of the aged sire
is plac’d, and soon resolv’d to native dust;
when future progeny from life retire,
they, likewise, to the kindred cov’ring trust.
Brief is the natural history of man!
his grave-stone annals sum the transient tale;
the frail memorial scarcely forms a span;
he’s born,—he dies,—and fills oblivion’s vale!
Immur’d within yon monumental stone,
rais’d to eternize more illustrious clay,
observe the panegyrist’s turgid tone,
who says, each splendid virtue mark’d their day.
Enquiring strangers, with impatient feet,
aw’d by the grandeur of the pile they view,
unmindful pass the dull obscure retreat
of church-yard tenants, stretch’d beneath the yew.
Yet tho’ vain-glorious marble decks the spot,
tho’ fond survivors wet it with a tear;
it is of poor humanity the lot,
that bribes of love or wealth are scorned here.
Mute splendor may proclaim where great men rest,
when life’s precarious, anxious term is o’er;
but virtuous actions still will warm some breast,
when proud sepulchral columns are no more.
E’en now, see ruin skulk along their base,
and bard, and sculptor’s works alike invade;
another age can scarcely point the place
where these abortive honours have been paid.
The long eulogium,—the expressive bust,—
the briefer tablet,—and the storied brass;
the all-consuming hand of Time shall crust,
and render them one undistinguish’d mass.
Successive coffins, canopy, and pall,
and bearers, in the finery of woe;
the undertaker, too, who marshals all,
while gazing crouds retard the fun’ral show.
In sable clad, this counterfeit behold,
with mimic sorrow mould his face to grief,
pause at each step, dispose of sighs for gold,
and find much profit in a farce so brief.
Ah! let his cheeks resume their wonted glee;
’t is not affected accents of distress
dragg’d from the lips, and purchas’d with a fee,
that look like sorrow in it’s native dress.
Say, does it ask the mute’s, the ’scutcheon’s aid,
plum’d hearse, state coaches, or the muffled bell,
to mock the poor defunct, whose debt was paid,
when death’s stern snummons call’d him to his cell?
In dreary ceremony, after death,
we mourn the pale unconscious corse in state,
with waving banners give it to the earth,
and paint in guise the solemn blow of fate!
How few are suffer’d to outlive the grave!
yet all existence owns the love of fame;
the good, the bad, the coward, and the brave,
wish from oblivion’s wreck to snatch their name.
The putrid corse, and that embalm’d in state,
the burden’d slave, and tyrant us’d to sway,
tho’ once distinct, now equalis’d by fate,
here mix no envy with their fellow-clay.
Officious gifts, when nature’s day is o’er,
is mumm’ry to the manes stretch’d in state;
ah! ’t is not friendship’s praises can restore
the pulse once silenc’d by the hand of fate!
for, when committed to the narrow cave,
time cancels all the pathway that was our’s,
fills the dim track, like wave succeeding wave,
and soon forgetfulness our name devours.
Sure, after death it means but little how
our relics are deposited, or where;
the greenest sod amidst the buried row,
will prove a calm and peaceful covering there.
Yet ere that hour, the noblest end and aim
should be, that goodness guard the mind while here;
if tombless, then, nor stone to bear our name,
Nature’s last struggles will be free from fear.
To the Rose.
Thou sweetest flower that Flora boasts to rear!
thy ruddy hue adorns the scented morn;
thy form, unrival’d, beautifies the year,
and sheds a fragrance that outweighs thy thorn.
As Fancy paints the glitt’ring tears of dew,
like pearls besprinkled o’er thy balmy leaf,
a softer emblem steals upon the view,
fair, lovely Innocence! immers’d in grief.
The rose, while suffer’d to adorn the bush,
breathes all the charms of redolence around:
as, with it’s notes delighted, sings the thrush
and lavishes the melodies of sound,
so shoots the shrub where nursling reason grows,
diffusing virtues o’er the infant heart;
while emulation aids the strengthening boughs
which form the worth these early shoots impart.
See youth expand, with every budding sweet,
to blossoms of refinement on the tree;
matur’d, survey the polish’d mind complete,
from prejudice and vulgar errors free.
The rosy bloom of beauty forms a charm,
to give the eye, tho’ dim with age, delight;
it’s rays the stoic’s apathy can warm,
and spread a sunshine on the gloom of night.
A short duration ends the rose; fair flower!
let then unfading sweetness deck the mind,
which like the lamp o’er night’s dark, cheerless, hour,
enlighten’d, leaves it happy and refin’d.
Then, when all evanescent beauties fade,
of fairest rose, and fairest mortal born,
then, intellectual sweetness will pervade
the gloomy night and the auspicious morn.
Fair nymph! who gav’st those thoughtless hours of joy,
which reason now forbids me to retaste,
school-day delights, untainted with alloy!
gay happiness! pass’d o’er with eager haste!
Careless and blest, when loit’ring through the day,
life, like unclouded sunshine, shed repose;
mad childish schemes, oft charm’d the hours away,
and each bright morn with new illusions rose.
’T was then my bosom felt thy boundless aid,
my heart believ’d the sketches Fancy drew,
it’s lively scen’ry on my senses play’d,
and nature beam’d with satisfaction’s hue.
What tho’ progressive years rude cares reveal,
thy sprightly ardour snatch not from my breast;
to muse on fleeting joys, alas! would steal
thy lively aid, which makes the present blest.
When Fortune smiles, let me not then array
the bright prospective with a fancy’d frown;42 c5v 42
nor unpropitious paint a future day,
or make a certainty of ills unknown.
Oft, when illusion links thy magic chain,
it’s force is pleasing, and it’s burden light;
such fetters palliate the hour of pain,
and change the restless, to reposing, night.
Through faithless optics let me ne’er survey
mistaken friendship, or ingratitude,
but to my unsuspecting breast display
life’s latent ills which smilingly illude:
nor load a wishful moment with thy sighs,
for joys which float around the gay and great;
pale Envy then would smile at my surprise,
to find such seeming happiness a cheat.
At twilight, eve, or midnight’s graver hour,
blend no affright, no terror in thy sway;
untrembling let me tread the lonely tower,
descend it’s vaults, or trace it’s cavern’d way.
Molest not me with dark religious fear;
and cautious hear the athiest’s daring dream;
such learning pays a fretful tribute here,
and then, hereafter! what, if false the scheme?
A Sketch of a Bachelor.
Some rude unplastic clay there was,
which nature’s lev’n had sour’d;
of this the Bachelor was form’d,
and into being pour’d.
’T was odds and ends of little worth
that fill’d the crusty mould,
e’en dross, not worth the polishing,
uncouth, abortive, cold.
Dame Nature should not bear the blame,
it was not her design,
a Bachelor, compounded thing!
should warp creation’s line;
’t was Chance that luckless interfer’d,
in matters not her own,
and threw into a sprightly world,
this dull, inactive, drone.
Forlorn, ’midst husbands, see him move,
without one female friend;
while satire keen and epigram
pursue him to life’s end.
The finer passions will not mix
with his insipid soul,
self-love and surliness, indeed,44 c6v 44
are lent him to console
a sad unlucky truth; which is,
the sweets of life are given,
to beings forming social pairs;
while he must climb to heaven
o’er rugged heaps of whims and wilds,
that intersect his way,
grotesque in temper as the form
imprest upon his clay.
Should raptur’d wishes e’er obtrude
their beams upon his heart,
some well-lov’d dish or favourite wine,
these feelings must impart;
such themes as these call senses forth,
which animate his breast.
the palate pleas’d with table-joys,
he’s once again at rest.
No tender, vagrant wish, disturbs
his unempassion’d days;
no fancied angel flits in dreams
before his ardent gaze.
His choice in regimen and dress
is gothic like his taste;
where beauty blooms he never comes,
so breathes no sighs to waste.
He ruminates on wedded life,
on all the risks of love:45 c7r 45
Wondrous! says he, that prudent men
it’s labyrinths approve!
By cynic rules he smiles or frowns,
and eats unsocial meals;
carves for himself, and keeps the keys,
then boasts what joy he feels.
He warms his nightcap, smokes his pipe,
alone he drains his jug;
and thinks no bee in foxglove lives
a life so calm and snug.
Mere lumber in the lively throng!
the solace of his care
is trudging to a coffee-house,
for politics and air.
A sluggish pace he would not mend
tho’ delug’d in the rain;
yet meet a lady, and he starts,
like one in Powell’s A late noted pedestrian. train.
He never visits maiden aunts;
he shuns all female cousins;
his systems is a downright war,
with these poor things by dozens.
Women who do not fill the sphere
of laundress or house-maid,
may for civility compound;46 c7v 46
poor fellow! he’s afraid
that ruin lurks in complaisance,
or Well, ma’am, how d’ye do?
else dreads the answer he deserves,
No better, sir, for you.
Through nature’s sweet, concordant space,
no independent man,
I mean, no self-dependent churl,
was meant to spoil the plan.
With no red-letter days to mark,
his solemn, unblest life;
the Bachelor, too late, will see
a blessing in—a wife.
In a small party town, there resides an old-maid,
(where of pride and card-playing enough are display’d),
in whose frigid, reserv’d, and inquisitive mein,
a dull station unenvied or pitied is seen.
Tresses auburn have chang’d their fresh colour to gray,
and bad teeth made her prominent cheeks to give way.
An old family taste she inherits for cards,
and, dealing in slander, the world disregards.
Then she’s often at play, and her fav’rite’s Quadrille,
amidst punto and basto, spadille and manille;
fervour gleams in her looks when her pond is well stor’d,
with fishes on sale to her friends round the board.
Whist imposes such cruel restraints on her tongue,
that she deals in the dumps, revokes, and, e’er long,
rails at losing the rubber, laments getting change,
and abruptly retires, a fresh chair to arrange48 c8v 48
with a party at Pope, where all hurry and skurry,
she counts, and she scrambles, as tho’ she would worry.
At Bragg too, the lady’s in violent haste;
Loo, with wedding and intrigue seems more to her taste.
With a competent fortune, and nothing to do,
this lady Bluemantle of all takes a view.
As to mental attainments, her memory’s the best;
and her voluble tongue scarcely ever’s at rest.
Then eternal engagements arise with the day;
formal visits, short calls, such a routine display,
that with gadding and gossiping much by the way
(excepting bad weather which keeps her at home),
her short span is commotion on this side the tomb.
In collecting materials and furnishing hints
for wonderous long stories, in high-colour’d tints;
nor neighbour, nor friend, nor relation she spares,
but reports all the marvellous tales that she hears;
affects some to pity, yet more to condemn,
each narrative ending with libels on men.
To-day reads such newspapers as she can borrow,
and sends for a friend’s magazine for to-morrow.
Their blanks and initials must mean so and so,
if they do not mean these, she’s distress’d to tell who.49 d1r 49
Long political details are out of her sphere,
tho’ she sometimes peeps into an old gazetteer.
Her-self and her maid, cat, lapdog, and parrot,
inhabit one house from cellar to garret;
yet the family compact is often awry,
for grimalkin, or fop, or the parrot, on high
often mount, break her china, and ruin her peace;
but these, and such blunders, she lays to the neiiece.
Her whole thoughts on the lott’ry this year were deep fixt,
and her dreams with the capital prizes were mixt;
when a letter, containing her number, one day,
recorded a blank; ’t is distressing to say,
she grew ill, scolded Fanny, and alter’d her food;
play’d no cards for a fortnight; in this sullen mood,
almost tir’d of complaining, for physic no zest,
when at breakfast one morning, the bells broke her rest;
she suspected some wedding occasion’d the gingle,
and wonder’d at ladies for not living single!
an old anecdote-monger liv’d over the way,
then was sent for, to tell all that folks had to say;
not sparing to add an account she had heard,
from a quarter too true, it was to be fear’d;
then sighing most loud, said, ill-natur’d reports
embitter’d the comforts of cottage and courts.d 50 d1v 50
Soon will garrulous age have told it’s last tale,
in a sphere where detraction and malice prevail;
complaining, and restless, and torn with the spleen,
she seems on the verge of her gossiping scene;
so I’ll pray for her peace—but never shall mourn
when a tale-bearer’s ashes are seal’d in an urn.
Stanzas to the Late Mrs. Godwin,
on reading her Rights of Woman.
Esteem’d defender of the British fair!
with firm contempt of prejudices born;
ordain’d of Reason to make us thy care,
and rescue female faculties from scorn.
Matur’d by science, thy rhetoric pen
has amply trac’d our Rights, and sought redress,
in bold defiance of scholastic men,
who would enslave the powers thy sex possess.
Man’s claims admitted, why ignobly seek
to chain in ignorance our source of thought?
illiberal! deeming mind as body weak,
and spurning science when by woman taught?
Unaw’d by Fopp’ry’s superficial sneer,
for ever jealous of superior sense,
’t is conscious error makes them justly fear
the reprehension due to insolence.
Shall rude quaint maxims of a gothic age
erect their standard o’er the scythe of time?52 d2v 52
Shall prejudice disdain the female page,
which teems with truth and sympathy divine?
Thy potent eloquence can fully prove
the force of language not to man confin’d;
nor mental powers constrain’d alone to move,
within the orbit of his narrow mind.
If nature’s Author, with the same design,
gave us reflection, reason, memory, sense;
why each dear privilege to man resign?
a proud fallacious scheme, without defence!
Is he permitted scientific skill,
while woman, doom’d to puerile employ,
resistless quits, t’ avoid the satiris’ts quill,
refinements nature form’d her to enjoy?
While letters are consign’d to man alone,
they swell his dignity to dronish ease,
and rights disputed, which we long have known,
have scarcely left him any rights to seize.
Thine is the merit, be the laurels thine,
wherewith our gratitude shall bind thy brow;
the female sex in common thanks shall join,
in heart-felt tribute all thy worth to show.
On the State of Infancy.
What trifles dissipate the infant’s tear!
how soon each trifling sorrow finds repose!
for childish fancy braves the sense of fear,
and mocks the anguish of sedater woes.
The trembling tear that glitters in it’s orb,
is soon ejected from it’s sparkling sphere;
and should a vagrant sigh the heart disturb,
it soon in gentler cadence strikes the ear.
While silver coral and it’s bells can charm,
or bliss concentre in the painted toy,
no pulse of expectation beats alarm,
no jarring passions supercede their joy.
Fair innocence gives splendor to their smile,
their rosy cheeks insult the peach’s bloom,
artless fatigue their playful days beguile,
and dreams of purity their nights consume.
Unknown are those corrosives of the mind,
which waste the spirits and subdue the frame;
for hope and disappointment seem confin’d
to life’s long tourist and his varying scheme.
Anticipation feeds the young desire,
possession cloys, and they project again;
inventive fancy keeps their breasts on fire,
without a foretaste of to-morrow’s pain.
But as these sunshine years of infant bliss
become mature, and merge in thinking age,
why are our smiles, or gaieties remiss,
or less depicted in the featur’d page?
Few states are from vicissitudes exempt;
another’s sorrow often proves our own,
whene’er deserving merit meets contempt,
or kindness changes to a harden’d frown.
Protracted life progressive woes attend,
our joys are damp’d by num’rous pressing ills;
for oft in bliss we revel, when it’s end
sudden arrives, and sighs the bosom fills.
Amanda, or the Coquette.
The gay Amanda, just uncoop’d from school,
elate with female privilege to rule,
from teachers freed, and hated working frame;
from English hist’ry, citing kingly fame;
from graphic lessons on the globe’s wide space,
and local maps of land-dissecting trace;
she gives her hours to fashionable toil,
with glowing fragments in the novel style:
the fairy lamps of fancy light her way,
and charming conquests gild each future day.
Those flourishes in love, deep sighs, and death,
wing her wrapt feelings far beyond this earth;
and who would wish, of woes like these the cure?
ravings, which high-wrought sympathies endure.
What modern goddess of a birth-day sphere
regards the world, or what is passing there?
The queen of operas and the play-house rows,
she enters life, the belle of many beaux,
and feeds on praise each libertine bestows.
At fashion’s splendid card-boards oft she’s found,
conquering or reparteeing all around.56 d4v 56
Cosmetic pencils every day r enew
appropriate tints of pale or rosy hue.
Olympian dew A celebrated cosmetic of that title. is on the wash-stand seen,
terrestrial are elements too mean.
Oft at her toilet glass her flutt’ring heart,
to fashion’s goddess would this suit impart:
Let trembling wax-lights at the masquerade,
beam on this head-dress with these plumes array’d;
O let this festoon’d petticoat and train,
attract the men and give each maiden pain!
Where’er I move let me monopolize,
if not the heart, at least the coxcomb’s sighs.
Amidst the dance, let humming sounds express
the speaker’s wonder of my charms and dress.
With envy seiz’d, let mothers, o’er their cards,
see peers and colonels sue for my regards;
in tones of eloquence hear them persuade,
and deprecate my frowns on lemonade;
while other girls with rapture I behold
dance with coarse fox-hunters of clumsy mould.
O’erwhelm’d amidst the vortex of to-night,
let new amours produce me fresh delight.
May the next noon, when to the glass I rise,
give cards and billet-doux to feast mine eyes.57 d5r 57
The last new novel which I read at tea,
were all it’s contents realiz’d in me,
oh! I should doat on such catastrophe!
But, I could ask till asking would bring on
the very moment when I must be gone;
yet, rest assur’d, no obstacles, no ease,
shall change thy mandates, or thy dear decrees;
prepar’d by thee, thy vot’ry will pursue
whate’er thy voice shall bid me say or do.
A rolling car this instant at the door,
conveys Amanda to the ball-room floor:
the goddess smiles, propitious to her prayer;
amidst the sphere, a fortune-hunter’s glare,
o’er all distinguish’d in the realms of dress,
bows to her charms and worships with success;
boldly projects a Caledonian tour,
that foil to watchful guardians and their power.
Amanda listens to the love-like plan,
approves the scheme, and, flutt’ring, waves her fan.
His love-heroics chain her trusting heart,
while each warm vow implants a separate dart.
A faithful Abigail of trav’lling taste,
who shares the secret, packs the trunks in haste;
the plot secure, post-chaises, waiting near,
Amanda’s fortune from incumbrance clear,
a girl of taste, a man of fashion he,58 d5v 58
in fond pursuit of notoriety.
While paragraphs with this elopement pour,
the post-boys o’er the northern stages scour,
and village-chambermaids their half-crowns glean,
till sighing softness stops at Gretna-green.
Town-house, ten servants, chariot, and four grays,
to gazing crouds their consequence displays.
Soon health declines by ceaseless revel worn,
and sick’ning routine palls each coming morn;
too soon Amanda feels her frantic brain
with hatred burn,—she heaves the sigh of pain.
Each, seems to each, solicitous to tease,
high-life no more affords a glimpse of ease;
piana-forté’s tones no more can lull,
and e’en the splendid drawing-room looks dull;
the gorgeous liv’ry and the equipage,
with kind attraction ceases to engage;
the charm of fascination now is flown,
nor left a joy the heart can call it’s own:
for he, to whom she gave her hand for fame,
worthless, unprincipled, and lost to shame,
with no accommodating smile endears,
the name of husband, or the lapse of years;
her languid spirits and her fever’d frame
seem shadows vested with Amanda’s name.
In spite of early hopes, th’uncover’d bait59 d6r 59
sharpens the arrows of an erring fate;
the lure, untinsell’d, shews it’s native hue,
as fading joys are less’ning to the view;
no more, in mercy, offering to conceal
the woes which death’s own hour alone can heal,
the fervid mind feeds on the noon of life,
till ling’ring anguish ends the modish wife.
A Father’s Apostrophe at the Tomb of an only son, who fell in a duel.
Yes! weak humanity, enshrin’d in thee,
’t is error to conceive that man is blest;
how did this heart of mine once beat with glee,
to own a son by social crouds caress’d.
My nerveless time-shook frame felt no decay,
my boy’s young fame so fann’d life’s wasting fire;
departed charm! delusion of a day!
his bust alone now smiles upon his sire.
In vain I rear’d hereditary trees,
and tasteful deck’d my old paternal seat;
suffer’d, for him, wealth’s vexing cares to seize
the better comforts of a calm retreat.
Honour! thou meddling, thou tenacious, ill,
to thy refining scruples do I owe
a loss which all thy votries cannot fill,
nor ease the woes which I am doom’d to know;
oh! thou hast robb’d a mother of her trust,
bereav’d her of her only earthly joy;
now lengthen’d anguish soon will mix with dust,
and remnant life exhale in one deep sigh:
impell’d by thee, the murd’rous challenge call’d
from peaceful mansions to the field of gore,
two faithful friends; one flies through realms appall’d,
and here reposes my once fondest store:
altho’ the fugitive too late now sees,
through reason’s optic, thy decrees a cheat,
his crimson’d hand denies his bosom ease,
and change of sky bestows no calm retreat.
Why did reflection at it’s latest hour
bring it’s cool pleadings to my boy’s torn breast,
when death was lulling, with his awful power,
it’s latest trembling agonies to rest?
with soften’d temper, warm expansive mind,
with polish’d converse, gracefulness, and ease;
this darling boy, with every grace refin’d,
a victim fell,—to honour’s worst decrees.
Distinguish’d as a duellist—he’s gone;
join’d to the list of fools, poltroons, and brave;62 d7v 62
his faultless virtue err’d in this alone;
oh! had that virtue ripen’d for the grave,
had it contemn’d the ridicule of fools,
or pointless wit, with sober sense at strife,
then wisdom’s laws and reason’s sacred rules,
had reach’d his heart and sav’d his valued life.
While unprop’d nature can support it’s trust,
or one remaining sand permitted stays,
e’er tott’ring age consociates with the dust,
while yet my pulse with weak’ning ardour plays,
be mine the task, for happiness and heaven
to robe my soul, which pants for cloudless day;
then ’neath this marble, which has shelter given
to misled youth, the drooping sire shall lay.
Friendship! thou pure seraphic flame!
how few thy raptures know,
or feel thy joys, who feign thy name,
in busied scenes below!
Around the oak the ivy thrives,
till ruin saps the tree;
base ivy! friendship’s fugitives
are metaphors of thee.
Is friendship then a flatt’ring joy,
most pleasing when best feign’d?
that gains admission to destroy
the props on which we lean’d?
No, ’t is one motive in two hearts,
through pain, and pleasure’s gale;
a pious charm, which heaven imparts
to cheer life’s rugged vale.
Friendship’s the highest bliss we share,
the archetype of heaven;
the solacer of human care,
where’er ’t is truly given.
To Miss C――n, on the choice of a Residence.
You urg’d me to describe the seat,
that choice would point for my retreat.
Ah! could not Sara understand
the obstacles to this demand?
nature and art are serious things
to new fledg’d poet’s timid wings;
besides, I know that very few
have tastes refin’d and just as you,
which makes me pause ere that I waste
this paper on descriptive taste;
but since you deign to ask for mine,
I’ll sketch it in a brief design.
Let the delightful mansion stand
on fertile slope of rising land;
so countrified, so out of town,
so capably design’d by Brown,
or some superior tasteful man,
no matter who, if good the plan;
that I might never sigh to roam,
but always find my world at home.
Let open road lead to the door,65 e1r 65
four rooms, the number on a floor:
these finish’d well, two stories high,
would, as the house, my wants supply.
The offices besides are few;
a laundry, and a place to brew.
What plate, or flint, my sideboard grac’d,
let it be plain and chose with taste.
Like these, the furniture within,
with this one merit,—very clean.
The house and garden-plot behind,
let shady trees protect from wind;
where feather’d warblers on their road
might stop to sing round this abode;
no cawing rooks on airy nest,
with riot should my peace molest.
The garden, southern, deck’d with peach,
and plumb, and pear, within my reach.
In emblem of life’s ev’ning day,
let winter-greens their tints display;
with smoothest lawn for pleasure ground,
with ampler landscape skirted round.
Two servant-maids, of pleasing mein,
nor grim, nor gaudy ever seen;
of peaceful tempers, neat and clean.
May gossips never find the road,
to harrass me in this abode;
and far remov’d it’s humble roof,e 66 e1v 66
may pride and av’rice keep aloof!
this class of guests would not amuse,
therefore in lieu of these, I’d chuse
a friend, like you; or books, to cheer
the ev’ning long, by fire-side clear:
the classic moral reas’ner’s page
my vacant time would oft engage,
and often, free from care’s alloy,
bright science should my days employ.
No censure, no unworthy praise,
on trifling neighbours, or their ways,
would be our theme: the pleasing hours,
made short by those enchanting powers,
might cheat dull winter of the days
when Phoebus shines with feeble rays;
and in a retrospect give pleasure
to future hours of ev’ning leisure.
With fortune competently meet
to suit the wants of this retreat
and those around; who all should prove
the value of a neighbour’s love.
Of morals and the Deity
my heart alone the type should be;
rememb’ring always this one omen,
that ’t is good temper decks the woman;
prospectives colour’d with this hue
embellish every thing in view;67 e2r 67
and as the fated rounds of time
combine to steal away my prime,
one art I wish in life’s finesse,
it is, to manage happiness.
At taste like this friend S*******’s face
will form it’s muscles to grimace,
and satirize, with scornful smile,
such dullness and such want of style;
but, ah! the mirth in such a mein,
too seldom flows from breast serene;
where little splendor gilds the wall
least may the tenant fear to fall.
This taste of mine you’re now aware
forms an insipid bill of fare;
take then one off’ring e’er I part,—
a sincere, friendly, open heart.
The fine-spun particles of science may
dart on the classic page a living ray,
ideas furnish to characterize
and point out strictures e’en to sightless eyes;
such was Bruyere, who could so well pourtray,
and mix the shades which characters display.
While feebler pens essay in vain to write
the sketches, bolder traitists best indite.
Stinted by nature of fair science’ beams,
a pendant liv’d, immers’d in classic dreams,
the master of a village grammar-school,
for life elected o’er it’s forms to rule.
The early charter which confirm’d his claim
(secur’d by vain Eliza’s founding name),
by dull trustees unread, since days of yore,
whose yearly meeting, was not to explore
musty old records, while a dinner starv’d
and bantam turkies yet remain’d uncarv’d;
the name of testimonials was enough;
these were, like parchments, an admitted proof.
So wise, so qualified appear’d the man,
his heart, was o’verlook’d throughout the plan;69 e3r 69
as such, the candidate was here enroll’d,
with salary rising from a copyhold.
No Busby equal science could attain
in use of letters, as this man the cane.
The hamlet’s arbitrator too was he,
to whom the cavillers address’d their fee;
his damask gown and his opinions went
to silence all, and stun the ignorant.
His huge, thick head, enlarg’d by stately wig,
the lads suppos’d with stores of learning big.
His nod like magic on the sprightly train,
struck pale the glow, that scarcely liv’d again.
Within the school an attic seat he grac’d,
close rang’d below the frighted lads were plac’d;
hence looking stern, with terror-beaming eyes,
he warns the younger wights to latinize;
while older schoolboys of the highest class
are wild’ring through the idioms of Greece.
No peg-top now, no marbles cheer the scene,
no church-yard gambols sparkle in the mein;
no sportive cruelty with callow young,
in pine-tree lodg’d, or in the steeple hung;
nor well-plann’d mischief on a previous day,
just ripe, the keen projectors to repay;
in lieu of these the grating task is sent
to luckless lad whose heart on play is bent.
Imagination, fairy elf! would paint70 e3v 70
the joys of liberty amidst restraint;
then who can wonder pastime should engage,
and snatch from Ward’s incomprehensive page
dry, turgid, rules, where long exceptions tire,
and dark’ning logic damps his youthful fire;
where principle and inference both are wrong,
made still more complex in an unknown tongue;
where much is read to very little good,
through tasks assign’d to parts misunderstood;
for tho’ the pupil oft explores the page,
where jargon and illiterature engage,
solution still is cloak’d in so much doubt,
his penetration fails to find it out.
While thus omitted is the high behest,
the ferula too soon shall tell the rest.
The trembling urchin shudders at his fate!
Who trembleth not in misery replete?
See him with fault’ring steps compell’d to trudge,
through rows of scorners, to the letter’d judge,
to learn repentance from a task unlearnt;
pinion’d and shackled is the victim pent;
one leg to hold in horizontal form,
behind is tightly ligatur’d an arm.
No mercy-moving sobs reverse the doom,
his dreadful warning now appals the room.
Sharp stings assailing his indignant mind,
unschool’d in patience; sad, yet unresign’d;71 e4r 71
beholds some dullard negatively good,
whose nose in scuffling ne’er was ting’d with blood,
receive a turgid load of unearn’d praise,
and wear the crown of honorary bays;
while his warm heart, regardless of a nose,
seeks for a compromise by mutual blows;
in whom the beauties of good-humour glow,
and thoughts of former insult cease to flow;
still green with wounds, and destin’d yet to share
his tutor’s lash, inhumanly severe.
Such were the means by which a despot sway’d
the playful youth, who heedless disobey’d.
Instruction surely must be dearly earn’d,
enforc’d through power, and then by fear confirm’d.
The pupil’s deference should arise from mind,
subordination, and respect, combin’d;
enough of hardship in his tasks appear
without the scourge of discipline severe.
Accept the ardent prayer and praise
thy suppliant would bestow;
who asks thy power to bless those days,
which fate may yet allow!—
the coming hour and distant scene
shall then in prospect please;
and many a rude attack of spleen,
revert to careless ease.
Relieve me from the trembling sense
that heaves a sigh to Fear;
and to my soul thy ray dispense,
through all my wanderings here!
Where Want resides, in dwelling poor,
or storms unroof the cot,
may then thy blessing find the door,
and calm such hapless lot!
Where Sickness revels on the cheek,
it’s triumph to proclaim,
do thou the harrass’d bosom seek,
and nerve the shatter’d frame!
Where visionary cares o’erspread
the sunshine of the mind,
dissolve th’ imaginary dread
that Fancy’s fetters bind!
When lonely age has toil’d below
a wintry, sunless day,
let sweetest consolations flow,
to sooth their quick decay!
If o’er the urn of friend sincere
we breathe Affection’s sigh;
oh, mingle with the starting tear,
and wipe it from the eye!
Mourn we a parent on the bier,
or grieve at life’s decay?
lessen the pang, and help to cheer
the journier on his way!
Thou art a mental sun from heaven,
to light us on our road;
to scatter flowers where thorns are given,
and ease life’s galling load.
Oh! Charity, thy worth divine
deserves a better muse,
to trace thy acts in every line,
and justest praise diffuse.
Learning it’s ample stores should lend,
to prompt thy deathless fame;
and Genius from it’s heights descend,
to pen the lofty theme.
Good Howard’s charities will live
through time’s oblivial shade,
and benefited shores receive
his charitable aid;
for his warm heart, with friendly glow,
explor’d the prison’s gloom,
and to the sunless wretch of woe
bade Comfort kindly come.
’T is Charity bids wealth provide
assylums for the poor;
there want and sickness are supply’d,
within a bounteous door.
If frenzy wild, or gloomy mood,
the intellects pervade,
the lunatic, on meagre food,
here finds a friendly shade.
Unletter’d infants are thy care,
soft, ductile, ignorant;
to these, thou giv’st of learning’s share
what penury would prevent.
Decrepit age, to couch confin’d,
bending to nature’s yoke;
they too less cheerful, less resign’d,
gall’d with Affliction’s stroke,
gild, as their hapless lamps do set,
a monument to thee;
which oft has lessen’d their regret,
oft rais’d the feeble knee.
As Piety desecends life’s hill,
it, dying, hymns thy praise;
approving heaven directs the will,
and hears the grateful lays.
By thee, Distress is never seen
a fugitive below;
but sweetly thou dost cheer the mien,
so lately mark’d wlith woe.
On the Death of an Infant.
Fav’rite of Heaven! why does a mother’s tear
fall on thy calm, thy enviable bier?
or mourn the kindest privilege in fate,
which snatch’d her cherub from this wayward state;
ending a painful task e’er well begun,
with blest reward for race thou-hads’t not run.
A few swift months permitted to appear,
to anxious friends then beckon’d from this sphere;
like plant sensatious, which recedes in grief,
if hand prophane approach it’s trembling leaf.
Thy friends perhaps extreme old age may share,
hoary and worn, wrestling with fretful care;
submissive, lab’ring with life’s pond’rous weight,
till pale affliction consummates their date.
While they anticipate the hope of heaven,
to thee it’s sure realities are given.
Ah! see, at gloomy call, the sexton plod
across the glebe to turn the hallow’d sod;
from lengthen’d labours and the weight of age,
of human visage scarcely seems the sage.
From him no tears of social feeling start,
nor Misery’s cries disturb his iron heart.
The belfry seems the mansion he would gain,
to warn survivors with a sound of pain.
This rite perform’d, as first of solemn things,
his hard-worn mattock and his spade he brings;
he needs no aid from letter’d stones to trace
the narrow places of the village race.
He knows what spot to make the bed of fate,
the soil’s yet light, the grave was clos’d but late.
And can’st thou unappall’d, nor aught opprest,
disturb the dead man’s turf that lies at rest?
spring up the stone just settled in it’s place,
nor change one steril muscle in thy face?
So hackney’d art thou in the trade of death,
thou dig’st, nor sigh’st o’er that once conscious earth.
What now resists thy sturdy fault’ring spade?
a mutilated skull! in life array’d78 e7v 78
with rip’ning plans, that glitter’d to the view,
with schemes unfinish’d, and with projects new.
How torpid these pursuits, fond man! of thine,
clos’d and abortive in the church-yard mine.
His joys and cares, his pilgrimage through time,
his lineage, infancy, and manly prime;
the hour he died, and where he us’d to dwell,
thou, old Remembrancer! canst fully tell.
And think’st thou not how soon the time will come,
when this shall be thy solitary home?
when thy successor’s spade shall dig in turn,
the grave where thou shalt silently inurn?
Soon from thy low-roof’d cottage in the vale,
and smiling garden fenc’d with mouldy pale,
shall neighb’ring hinds, with ceremony drear,
lend their supporting shoulders to thy bier.
To the Moon.
Bright orb! thou mak’st e’en this world please,
as o’er this peaceful wave,
and through these unoffending trees,
thou beam’st on sorrow’s slave.
Hail midnight quiet! bland repose!
in thy sequester’d scene,
no broken hopes, no rending woes,
disturb the placid mein.
Here philosophic lore applies
her lessons to the heart;
devoid of loud and dizzy joys,
diurnal cares impart.
Prolong the spell, enchanting power!
which gives a truce to care;
refine and lengthen friendship’s hour,
and triumph o’er despair.
So shall this little throb of life,
be stor’d with mental ease;
and feel a sense remote from strife,
that bids existence please.
When pride distains the current of the heart,
the purer passions fly the sullied place;
from every lovely guest the soul must part,
Pride, sullen despot! murders every grace.
How hard’s the service of the proud man’s slave!
how mean the station of an humble friend!
the vassal’s pay is oft an hard earn’d grave;
and mark’d with pitying scorn high favours end.
No sweet urbanity his bosom shares,
self-love lies folded in his mean designs;
the starving sycophant alone repairs,
to eat his dinners, and to drink his wines.
Is he the lordling of a scant domain,
whose petty lands a few inclosures part?
what wrongs await the neighb’ring lowly swain!
what insolence will lacerate his heart!
’T is rare that arrogance and candor meet;
Pride turns aside, nor hears a brother’s claim;
all those displac’d from grandeur’s tott’ring seat,
he shuns to notice, as unmark’d by fame.
His vanity persuades him to believe,
the world in him inverts it’s grand design;
this fragile being gladly would receive
an adoration due to things divine.
Yet circumscrib’d the joys such bosoms know,
reserv’d to feel the curb of wayward fate,
which mocks our fugitive pursuits below,
destroying titles, wealth, parade, and state.
What is the great prerogative of man,
that clay o’er clay should flaunt in purple robe?
no sep’rate link appears in nature’s plan,
amidst this vast, this congregated globe.
A Few Thoughts.
If opinion be happiness, fix on the best;
make virtue the standard and reason the test.
Men’s pursuits speak their wishes; hence, those on life’s stage
seek the camp, crouded city, and lone hermitage.
Yon fatigued Europeans, chuse war’s frightful sphere!
on the dust-burning strand of a desart most drear!
tho’ death lurks in their track, through the sand-storm they roam,
hapless stragglers! expiring unlaurell’d from home.
The merchant his banquet in bargains surveys,
trade’s arcana and schemes to grow rich fill his days.
Deep research wins the sage, a problem’s his feast,
seclusion his home, and bright wisdom his guest.
We’re the children of Custom, she models life’s plan,
her laws mould the mind and the manners of man.
Time,—which rears from the cradle and brings to the grave
the hoyden, the prude, the sultana, and slave;
transmits family minds, like a family face,
re-producing an ancestry still in the race.
The philanthropist’s sky is not bounded to home,
his world is wide nature; his charities roam
from the Laplander’s coast to the strand of the Moor;
from the portal of peers, to the cottager’s door;
to the child of simplicity, nurs’d in the dale;83 f2r 83
to the vet’ran recounting his wounds in his tale;
to the heart swoll’n with sorrow, yet fac’d with a smile;
to age, bent with penury, sickness, and toil;
human story invites his compassionate aid;
he’s the helper of indigence plac’d in the shade.
Pain and ease, joy and grief from vicissitudes spring,
rapture charms us by contrast with woe’s pointed sting.
Ere refinements on happiness steal o’er the brain,
it’s shadow can sooth us, tho’ tinsell’d and vain.
Petty cares, closely nurtur’d, soon ripen to grief;
for they sap the heart’s quiet and ward off relief.
From the peer to the shepherd, in this varied span,
something ever disturbs the contentment of man.
Anger murders the mind like the ruinous storm,
or the thunder-bolt’s stroke on the traveller’s form.
Good-temper, imperial, bright gem of the mind!
life’s every blessing in thee is combin’d.
In resolves well appointed, ’tis best to be firm;
and to smile when we can serves to brighten life’s term.
The Baal of this world is great riches and fame;
thus accoutred,—celebrity follows your name.
Th’exertions of Envy, and Slander, it’s friend;
like the maniac’s struggles, defeat their own end.
Tho’ life’s roses were thornless, yet freedom not there,
my spirits would cheerlessly droop in despair.
With thyself be acquainted this precept divine,
is the sunbeam that burns at the moralist’s shrine.
Lucy, A Song.
I’ll ne’er consent that care was meant
for girls of gay fifteen;
bright hopes engage that sprightly age,
which blooms an ever-green.
See vapours rend, or woe extend,
their conquests o’er the heart;
but gay fifteen, untouch’d by spleen,
repels affliction’s dart.
The hermit gray, to beads a prey,
the musing formal aunt;
may chide or frown, for I disown
solemnity and cant.
No husband sours my warbling hours,
untam’d I join the dance;
for ’t is too soon by many a moon,
to let dull care advance.
Thus Lucy spoke, e’er grief had broke
her lively laughing morn;
inspir’d and gay, each op’ning day,
brought sweets without a thorn.