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WRITTEN IN A SICK CHAMBER.

1793.

THERE, in that bed so closely curtained round,
Worn to a shade and wan with slow decay,
A father sleeps! Oh hushed be every sound !
Soft may we breathe the midnight hours away!

He stirs-yet still he sleeps. May heavenly dreams Long o'er his smooth and settled pillow rise; Nor fly, till morning thro' the shutter streams, And on the hearth the glimmering rush-light dies.

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Well may you sit within, and, fond of grief,
Look in each other's face, and melt in tears.
Well may you shun all counsel, all relief.
Oh she was great in mind, tho' young in years !

• On the death of a younger sister.

Changed is that lovely countenance, which shed Light when she spoke; and kindled sweet surprise, As o'er her frame each warm emotion spread, Played round her lips, and sparkled in her eyes.

Those lips so pure, that moved but to persuade,
Still to the last enlivened and endeared.
Those eyes at once her secret soul conveyed,
And ever beamed delight when you appeared.

Yet has she fled the life of bliss below,
That youthful Hope in bright perspective drew!
False were the tints ! false as the feverish glow
That o'er her burning cheek Distem per threw!

And now in joy she dwells, in glory moves!
(Glory and joy reserved for you to share.)
Far, far more blest in blessing those she loves,
Than they, alas! unconscious of her care.

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On thee, blest youth, a father's hand confers
The maid'thy earliest, fondest wishes knew.
Each soft enchantment of the soul is hers;
Thine be the joys to firm attachment due.

As on she moves with hesitating grace,
She wins assurance from his soothing voice;
And, with a look the pencil could not trace,
Smiles thro' her blushes and confirms the choice.
Spare the fine tremors of her feeling frame !
To thee she turns-forgive a virgin's fears!
To thee she turns with surest, tenderest claim;
Weakness that charms, reluctance that endears !

At each response the sacred rite requires,
From her full bosom bursts the unbidden sigh.
A strange mysterious awe the scene inspires;
And on her lips the trembling accents die.

O’er her fair face what wild emotions play!
What lights and shades in sweet confusion blend !
Soon shall they fly, glad harbingers of day,
And settled sunshine on her soul descend !

Ah soon, thine own confest, ecstatic thought!
That hand shall strew thy summer-path with flowers;
And those blue eyes, with mildest lustre fraught,
Gild the calm current of domestic hours !

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