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ON THE DEPARTURE OF THE NIGHTINGALE.
Sweet poet of the woods, a long adieu !
Farewell, soft minstrel of the early year!
Ah! 'twill be long ere thou shalt sing anew,
And pour thy music on ‘ the night's dull ear.'
Whether on Spring thy wandering flights await,
Or whether silent in our groves you dwell,
The pensive Muse shall own thee for her mate,
And still protect the song, she loves so well.
With cautious step, the love-lorn youth shall glide
Through the lone brake that shades thy mossy nest ;
And shepherd girls from eyes profane shall hide
The gentle bird, who sings of pity best:
For still thy voice shall soft affections move,
And still be dear to sorrow, and to love.
Again the wood, and long-withdrawing vale,
In many a tint of tender green are drest,
Where the young leaves unfolding, scarce conceal
Beneath their early shade the half-form'd nest
Of finch or wood-lark ; and the primrose pale,
And lavish cowslip, wildly scatter'd round,
Give their sweet spirits to the sighing gale.
Ah, season of delight! could aught be found
To soothe awhile the tortur'd bosom's pain,
Of Sorrow's rankling shaft to cure the wound,
And bring life's first delusions once again,
'Twere surely met in thee! Thy prospect fair,
Thy sounds of harmony, thy balmy air,
Have power to cure all sadness—but despair.
Sighing I see yon little troop at play ;
By sorrow yet untouch'd ; unhurt by care;
While free and sportive they enjoy to-day,
“ Content and careless of to-morrow's fare !"
O happy age! when Hope's unclouded ray
Lights their green path, and prompts their simple mirth,
Ere yet they feel the thorns that lurking lay
To wound the wretched pilgrims of the earth,
Making them rue the hour that gave them birth,
And threw them on a world so full of pain,
Where prosperous folly treads on patient worth,
And to deaf pride misfortune pleads in vain !
Ah, for their future fate how many fears
Oppress my heart, and fill mine eyes with tears !
Should the lone Wanderer, fainting on his way,
Rest for a moment of the sultry hours,
And, though his path through thorns and roughness lay,
Pluck the wild rose, or woodbine's gadding flowers ;
Weaving gay wreaths beneath some sheltering tree,
The sense of sorrow he awhile may lose ;
So have I sought thy flowers, fair Poesy!
So charm’d my way with Friendship and the Muse.
But darker now grows life's unhappy day,
Dark with new clouds of evil yet to come,
Her pencil sickening Fancy throws away,
And weary Hope reclines upon the tomb;
And points my wishes to that tranquil shore,
Where the pale spectre Care pursues no more.
I love thee, mournful sober-suited Night,
When the faint moon, yet lingering in her wane,
And veil'd in clouds, with pale uncertain light
Hangs o'er the waters of the restless main.
In deep depression sunk, the enfeebled mind
Will to the deaf, cold elements complain,
And tell the embosom'd grief, however vain,
To sullen surges and the viewless wind.
Though no repose on thy dark breast I find,
I still enjoy thee, cheerless as thou art;
For in thy quiet gloom, the exhausted heart
Is calm, though wretched; hopeless, yet resign'd:
While to the winds and waves its sorrows given,
May reach, though lost on earth, the ear of Heaven!