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But when through clouds thy beauteous light

Streams, in splendor, on the night,

Hope, like thee, my leading star,
Through the sullen gloom of care,
Sheds an animating ray

On the dark, bewildering way.
Starting, then, with sweet surprise,
Tears of transport swell mine eyes;
Wildly through each throbbing vein,
Rapture thrills with pleasing pain;
All my fretful fears are banish'd,
All my dreams of anguish vanish'd;
Energy my soul inspires,

And wakes the Muse's hallow'd fires;
Rich in melody, my tongue

Warbles forth spontaneous song.

Thus my prison moments gay,
Swiftly, sweetly, glide away;
Till the last long day declining,
O'er yon tower thy glory shining,
Shall the welcome signal be
Of to-morrow's liberty!
Liberty, triumphant borne
On the rosy wings of morn,
Liberty shall then return!

Rise to set the captive free: Rise, O sun of Liberty!

February 29,



On the walls that guard my prison,
Swelling with fantastic pride,
Brisk and merry as the season,
I a feather'd coxcomb spied:

When the little hopping elf
Gaily thus amused himself.

"Hear your sovereign's proclamation,
All good subjects, young and old;
I'm the Lord of the Creation;

I-a Water-Wagtail bold!

All around, and all you see,
All the world was made for ME!

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"Yonder sun, so proudly shining,
Rises when I leave my nest;
And, behind the hills declining,
Sets when I retire to rest:
Morn and evening, thus you see,
Day and night, were made for ME!

"Vernal gales to love invite me; Summer sheds for me her beams; Autumn's jovial scenes delight me;

Winter paves with ice my streams; All the year is mine, you see; Seasons change, like moons, for ME!

"On the heads of giant mountains,
Or beneath the shady trees;
By the banks of warbling fountains,
I enjoy myself at ease:
Hills and valleys, thus you see,
Groves and rivers, made for ME!

"Boundless are my vast dominions;
I can hop, or swim, or fly;
When I please, my towering pinions
Trace my empire through the sky:
Air and elements you see,

Heaven and earth, were made for ME!

"Birds and insects, beasts and fishes, All their humble distance keep;

Man, subservient to my wishes,

Sows the harvest which I reap:

Mighty man himself, you see,
All that breathe, were made for ME!

""Twas for my accommodation,

Nature rose when I was born;

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Back to nothing would return:
Sun, moon, stars, the world, you see,
Sprung-exist, will fall with ME!"

Here the pretty prattler, ending,
Spread his wings to soar away;
But a cruel Hawk descending,

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an helpless prey.

Could'st thou not, poor Wagtail! see, That the Hawk was made for THEE?

April 15, 1796.




You ask, my friend, and well you may,
You ask me how I spend the day;
I'll tell you, in unstudied rhyme,
How wisely I befool my time:
Expect not wit, nor fancy then,
In this effusion of my pen;

These idle lines they might be worse
Are simple prose, in simple verse.

Each morning, then, at five o'clock,
The adamantine doors unlock;

Bolts, bars, and portals, crash and thunder; The gates of iron burst asunder;

Hinges that creak, and keys that jingle,
With clattering chains, in concert mingle;
So sweet the din, your dainty ear,

For joy, would break its drum to hear;
While my dull organs, at the sound,
Rest in tranquillity profound;
Fantastic dreams amuse my brain,
And waft my spirit home again.

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