Page images
PDF
EPUB

ON ... ASLEEP.

SLEEP on, and dream of Heaven awhile.
Tho' shut so close thy laughing eyes,
Thy rosy lips still wear a smile,
And move, and breathe delicious sighs ! -

Ah, now soft blushes tinge her cheeks,
And mantle o'er her neck of snow.
Ah, now she murmurs, now she speaks
What most I wish — and fear to know.

She starts, she trembles, and she weeps !
Her fair hands folded on her breast.

- And now, how like a saint she sleeps! A seraph in the realms of rest!

Sleep on secure! Above control,
Thy thoughts belong to Heaven and thee!
And may the secret of thy soul
Remain within its sanctuary !

FROM A GREEK EPIGRAM.

WHILE on the cliff with calm delight she kneels,
And the blue vales a thousand joys recall,
See, to the last, last verge her infant steals!
O fiy-yet stir not, speak not, lest it fall.

Far better taught, she lays her bosom bare, And the fond boy springs back to nestle there.

FROM EURIPIDES.

There is a streamlet issuing from a rock.
The village-girls singing wild madrigals,
Dip their white vestments in its waters clear,
And hang them to the sun. There first I saw her ;
There on that day. Her dark and eloquent eyes
'Twas heaven to look upon; and her sweet voice
As tuneable as harp of many strings,
At once spoke joy and sadness to my soul !

Dear is that' valley to the murmuring bees;
And all, who know it, come and come again.
The small birds build there; and, at summer-noon,
Oft have I heard a child, gay among flowers,
As in the shining grass she sate concealed,
Sing to herself.

FROM AN ITALIAN SONNET.

Love, under Friendship’s vesture white,
Laughs, his little limbs concealing;
And oft in sport, and oft in spite,
Like pity meets the dazzled sight,
Smiles thro’ his tears revealing.

But now as Rage the God appears!
He frowns, and tempests shake his frame ! -
Frowning or smiling, or in tears,
'Tis Love; and Love is still the same.

TO

THE YOUNGEST DAUGHTER OF LADY * *.

Ah! why with tell-tale tongue reveal
What most her blushes would conceal ?*
Why lift that modest veil to trace
The seraph-sweetness of her face?
Some fairer, better sport prefer;
And feel for us, if not for her.

For this presumption, soon or late,
Know thine shall be a kindred fate.
Another shall in vengeance rise-
Sing Harriet's cheeks, and Harriet's eyes;
And echoing back her wood-notes wild,

- Trace all the mother in the child !

WRITTEN AT MIDNIGHT.

1786.

While through the broken pane the tempest sighs,
And my step falters on the faithless floor,
Shades of departed joys around me rise,
With many a face that smiles on me no more ;
With many a voice that thrills of transport gave,
Now silent as the grass that tufts their grave!

* Alluding to some verses which she had written on an elder sister.

- Say, when, to kindle soft delight,
That hand has chanced with mine to meet,
How could its thrilling touch excite
A sigh so short, and yet so sweet?

O say

- but no, it must not be.
Adieu! A long, a long adieu !
-Yet still, methinks, you frown on me;
Or never could I fly from you.

THE SAILOR.

The Sailor sighs as sinks his native shore,
As all its lessening turrets bluely fade;
He climbs the mast to feast his eye once more,
And busy fancy fondly lends her aid.

Ah! now, each dear, domestic scene he knew,
Recalled and cherished in a foreign clime,
Charms with the magic of a moonlight view;
Its colours mellowed, not impaired, by time.
True as the needle, homeward points his heart,
Thro' all the horrors of the stormy main;
This, the last wish that would with life depart,
To meet the smile of her he loves again.

When Morn first faintly draws her silver line,
Or Eve's grey cloud descends to drink the wave;
When sea and sky in midnight-darkness join,
Still, still he sees the parting look she gave.

Her gentle spirit, lightly hovering o'er,
Attends his little bark from pole to pole;
And, when the beating billows round him roar,
Whispers sweet hope to soothe his troubled soul.
Carved is her name in many a spicy grove,
In many a plantain-forest waving wide;
Where dusky youths in painted plumage rove,
And giant palms o'er-arch the golden tide.
But lo, at last he comes with crowded sail !
Lo, o'er the cliff what eager figures bend !
And hark, what mingled murmurs swell the gale!
In each he hears the welcome of a friend.

– 'Tis she, 'tis she herself! she waves her hand! Soon is the anchor cast, the canvass furled; Soon thro' the whitening surge he springs to land, And clasps the maid he singled from the world.

TO AN OLD OAK.*.

TRUNK of a Giant now no more!
Once did thy limbs to heaven aspire;
Once, by a track untried before,
Strike as resolving to explore

Realms of infernal fire.*

Round thee, alas, no shadows move!
From thee no sacred murmurs breathe!

* Radice in Tartara tendit. — VIRG.

« PreviousContinue »