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Escaped the flashing of the noontide hours,
With one fresh garland of Pierian flowers
(Ere from thy zephyr-haunted brink I turn),
My languid hand shall wreathe thy mossy urn.
For not through pathless grove with murmur rude
Thou soothest the sad wood-nymph, Solitude;
Nor thine unseen in cavern depths to well,
The hermit-fountain of some dripping cell!
Pride of the Vale! thy useful streams supply
The scattered cots and peaceful hamlet nigh.
The elfin tribe around thy friendly banks
With infant uproar and soul-soothing pranks,
Released from school, their little hearts at rest,
Launch paper navies on thy waveless breast.
The rustic here at eve with pensive look
Whistling lorn ditties leans upon his crook,
Or starting pauses with hope-mingled dread
To list the much-loved maid's accustomed tread:
She, vainly mindful of her dame's command,
Loiters, the long-filled pitcher in her hand.
Unboastful Stream! thy fount with pebbled falls
The faded form of past delight recalls,
What time the morning sun of Hope arose,
And all was joy; save when another's woes
A transient gloom upon my soul imprest,
Like passing clouds impictured on thy breast.
Life's current then ran sparkling to the noon,
Or silvery stole beneath the pensive Moon:
Ah! now it works rude brakes and thorns among,
Or o'er the rough rock bursts and foams along!
LINES ON A FRIEND
WHO DIED OF A FRENZY FEVER INDUCED BY
EDMUND! thy grave with aching eye I scan, And inly groan for Heaven's poor outcast— Man!
'Tis tempest all or gloom: in early youth
If gifted with the Ithuriel lance of Truth,
We force to start amid her feigned caress
Vice, siren-hag! in native ugliness;
A Brother's fate will haply rouse the tear,
And on we go in heaviness and fear!
But if our fond hearts call to Pleasure's bower
Some pigmy Folly in a careless hour
The faithless guest shall stamp the enchanted
And mingled forms of Misery rise around:
Heart-fretting Fear, with pallid look aghast,
That courts the future woe to hide the past;
Remorse, the poisoned arrow in his side,
And loud lewd Mirth, to Anguish close allied:
Till Frenzy, fierce-eyed child of moping pain,
Darts her hot lightning-flash athwart the brain.
Rest, injured shade! Shall Slander squatting near
Spit her cold venom in a dead Man's ear?
"Twas thine to feel the sympathetic glow
In Merit's joy, and Poverty's meek woe;
Thine all, that cheer the moment as it flies,
The zoneless Cares, and smiling Courtesics.
Nursed in thy heart the firmer Virtues grew,
And in thy heart they withered! Such chill dew
Wan Indolence on each young blossom shed;
And Vanity her filmy net-work spread,
But I do hear thee, and the high bough mark,
Within whose mild moon-mellowed foliage hid,
Thou warblest sad thy pity-pleading strains.
O, I have listened, till my working soul,
Waked by those strains to thousand phantasies,
Absorbed, hath ceased to listen! Therefore oft
I hymn thy name; and with a proud delight
Oft will I tell thee, minstrel of the moon,
"Most musical, most melancholy" bird!
That all thy soft diversities of tone,
Though sweeter far than the delicious airs
That vibrate from a white-armed lady's harp
What time the languishment of lonely love
Melts in her eye, and heaves her breast of snow,
Are not so sweet, as is the voice of her,
My Sara-best beloved of human kind!
When breathing the pure soul of tenderness,
She thrills me with the husband's promised name!
ITS MOTHER BEING TETHERED NEAR IT.
POOR little Foal of an oppressed Race!
I love the languid Patience of thy face: And oft with gentle hand I give thee bread, And clap thy ragged Coat, and pat thy head. But what thy dulled Spirits hath dismayed, That never thou dost sport along the glade? And (most unlike the nature of things young) That earthward still thy moveless head is hung? Do thy prophetic Fears anticipate,
Meek Child of Misery! thy future fate?
The starving meal, and all the thousand aches
"Which patient Merit of the Unworthy takes?"
Or is thy sad heart thrilled with filial pain
To see thy wretched Mother's shortened Chain ?
And, truly very piteous is her Lot-
Chained to a Log within a narrow spot,
Where the close-eaten Grass is scarcely seen,
While sweet around her waves the tempting Green!
Poor Ass! thy master should have learnt to show
Pity-best taught by fellowship of Woe!
For much I fear me that He lives like thee,
Half famished in a land of Luxury!
How askingly its footsteps hither bend,
It seems to say, "And have I then one Friend ?”
Innocent Foal! thou poor despised Forlorn!
I hail thee Brother-spite of the fool's scorn!
And fain would take thee with me, in the Dell
Of Peace and mild Equality to dwell,
Where Toil shall call the charmer Health his bride,
And Laughter tickle Plenty's ribless side!
How thou would'st toss thy heels in gamesome play,
And frisk about, as lamb or kitten gay!
Yea! and more musically sweet to me
Thy dissonant harsh bray of joy would be,
Than warbled melodies that soothe to rest
The aching of pale Fashion's vacant breast!
WITH AN UNFINISHED POEM.
HUS far my scanty brain hath built the rhyme
Elaborate and swelling;-yet the heart
Not owns it. From thy spirit-breathing powers
I ask not now, my friend! the aiding verse
Tedious to thee, and from thy anxious thought
Of dissonant mood. In fancy (well I know)
From business wand'ring far and local cares,
Thou creepest round a dear-loved sister's bed
With noiseless step, and watchest the faint look,
Soothing each pang with fond solicitude,
And tenderest tones medicinal of love.
I, too, a sister had, an only sister—
She loved me dearly, and I doted on her; To her I poured forth all my puny sorrows (As a sick patient in a nurse's arms),
And of the heart those hidden maladies
That e'en from friendship's eye will shrink ashamed.
O! I have waked at midnight, and have wept
Because she was not!-Cheerily, dear Charles!
Thou thy best friend shalt cherish many a year;
Such warm presages feel I of high hope!
For not uninterested the dear maid
I've view'd-her soul affectionate yet wise,
Her polished wit as mild as lambent glories
That play around a sainted infant's head.
He knows (the Spirit that in secret sees,
Of whose omniscient and all-spreading love
Aught to implore were impotence of mind!)*
That my mute thoughts are sad before his throne,—
Prepared, when He his healing ray vouchsafes,
Thanksgiving to pour forth with lifted heart,
And praise him gracious with a brother's joy! 1794.
"I utterly recaut the sentiment contained in the lines,
Of whose omnisci nt and all-spreading love
Aught to implore were impotence of mind,
it being written in Scripture, Ask, and it shall be given you! and my human reason being, moreover, convinced of the propriety of offering petitions as well as thanksgivings to Deity."
S T. c. 1797.