« PreviousContinue »
Of distant climes the false report
It lur'd me from my native land;
It bade me rove-my sole support
My cymbals and my saraband.
The woody dell, the hanging rock,
The chamois skipping o'er the heights;
The plain adorn'd with many a flock,
And, oh! a thousand more delights,
That grace yon dear belov'd retreat,
Have backward won my weary feet.
Now safe return'd, with wandering tired,
No more my little home I'll leave;
And many a tale of what I've seen
Shall whyle away the winter's eve.
Oh! I have wander'd far and wide,
O'er many a distant foreign land;
Each place, each province, I have tried,
And sung and danced my saraband.
But all their charms could not prevail,
To steal my heart from yonder vale.
Written Impromptu, on reading the following passage in Mr. Capel Lofft's beautiful and interesting Preface to Nathaniel Bloomfield's Poems, just published:-" It has a mixture of the sportive, which deepens the impression of its melancholy close. I could have wished, as I have said in a short note, the conclusion had been otherwise. The sours of life less offend my taste than its sweets delight it."
GO to the raging sea, and say, "be still,"
Bid the wild lawless winds obey thy will;
Preach to the storm, and reason with despair,
But tell not Misery's son that life is fair!
Thou, who in Plenty's lavish lap hast roll'd,
And every year with new delight hast told,
Thou, who recumbent in the lacquer'd barge,
Hast dropt down Joy's gay stream of pleasant marge,
Thou may'st extol life's calm, untroubled sea,
The storms of misery never burst on thee!
Go to the mat, where squalid want reclines,
Go to the shade obscure, where Merit pines;
Abide with him whom penury's charms control,
And bind the rising yearnings of his soul,
Survey his sleepless couch, and standing there,
Tell the poor pallid wretch, that life is fair!
Press thou the lonely pillow of his head,
And ask why sleep his languid eyes has fled;
Mark his dew'd temples, and his half-shut eye,
His trembling nostrils, and his deep-drawn sigh,
His mutt'ring mouth, contorted with despair,
And ask if genius could inhabit there.
Oh yes! that sunken eye with fire once gleam'd,
And rays of light from its full circlet stream'd;
But now Neglect has stung him to the core,
And Hope's wild raptures thrill his breast no more;
Domestic Anguish winds his vitals round,
And added Grief compels him to the ground.
Lo! o'er his manly form, decay'd, and wan,
The shades of death with gradual steps steals on;
And the pale mother pining to decay,
Weeps for her boy, her wretched life away.
Go, child of fortune! to his early grave,
Where o'er his head obscure the rank weeds wave;
Behold the heart-wrung parent lay her head
On the cold turf, and ask to share his bed.
Go, child of Fortune, take thy lesson there,
And tell us then that life is wond'rous fair!
Yet Lofft, in thee, whose hand is still stretch'd forth, T'encourage genius, and to foster worth; On thee, th' unhappy's firm, unfailing friend, "Tis just that every blessing should descend; "Tis just that life to thee should only shew, Her fairer side but little mix'd with woe.
WRITTEN IN THE PROSPECT OF DEATH.
SAD solitary Thought, who keep'st thy vigils,
Thy solemn vigils, in the sick man's mind;
Communing lonely with his sinking soul,
And musing on the dubious glooms that lie
In dim obscurity before him,-thee,
Wrapt in thy dark magnificence, I call
At this still midnight hour, this awful season,
When on my bed, in wakeful restlessness,
I turn me wearisome; while all around,
All, all save me, sink in forgetfulness;
I only wake to watch the sickly taper
Which lights me to my tomb.-Yes, 'tis the hand
Of death I feel press heavy on my vitals,
Slow sapping the warm current of existence.
My moments now are few-The sand of life
Ebbs fastly to its finish.-Yet a little,
And the last fleeting particle will fall
Silent, unseen, unnoticed, unlamented.
Come then, sad Thought, and let us meditate,
While meditate we may.-We have now
But a small portion of what men call time
To hold communion; for even now the knife,
The separating knife, I feel divide
The tender bond that ties my soul to earth.
Yes, I must die-I feel that I must die;
And though to me has life been dark and dreary,
Though Hope for me has smil'd but to deceive,
And disappointment still pursued her blandishments;
Yet do I feel my soul recoil within me
As I contemplate the dim gulph of death,
The shuddering void, the awful blank-futurity.
Aye, I had plann'd full many a sanguine scheme
Of earthly happiness,-romantic schemes,
And fraught with loveliness; and it is hard
To feel the hand of death arrest one's steps,
Throw a chill blight o'er all one's budding hopes,
And hurl one's soul untimely to the shades,
Lost in the gaping gulph of blank oblivion.
Fifty years hence, and who will hear of Henry?
Oh! none;-another busy brood of beings
Will shoot up in the interim, and none
Will hold him in remembrance. I shall sink,
As sinks a stranger in the crowded streets
Of busy London ;-Some short bustle's caus'd,
A few enquiries, and the crowds close in,
And all's forgotten.-On my grassy grave
The men of future times will careless tread,
And read my name upon the sculptured stone;
Nor will the sound, familiar to their ears,
Recall my vanish'd memory.--I did hope
For better things!-I hop'd I should not leave
The earth without a vestige;-Fate decrees
It shall be otherwise, and I submit.
Henceforth, oh world, no more of thy desires!
No more of hope! the wanton vagrant Hope!
I abjure all. Now other cares engross me,
tir'd soul, with emulative haste,
Looks to its God, and prunes its wings for Heaven.