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A spotless leaf; but thought, and care, My verse was offer'd to an older friend;
The humbler prose has fallen to thy share :
What spoken in thy presence must offendAnd Time, with heaviest hand of all,
That, set aside some few caprices wild, Like that fierce writing on the wall,
Those humorous clouds that flit o'er brightest da Hath stamp'd sad dates, he can't recall.
In all my threadings of this worldly maze And Error, gilding worst designs,
(And I have watch'd thee almost from a child),
Free from self-seeking, envy, low design,
I have not found a whiter soul than thine.
This rare tablet doth include And fruitless late Remorse doth trace,
Poverty with sanctitude. Like Hebrew lore, a backward pace
Past midnight this poor maid hath spun, Her irrecoverable race.
And yet the work not half is done,
Which must supply from earnings scant Disjointed members—sonse unknit
A feeble bed-rid parent's want. Huge reams of folly-shreds of wit,
Her sleep-charged eyes exemption ask, Compose the mingled mass of it.
And holy hands take up the task ;
Unseen the rock and spindle ply,
And do her earthly drudgery.
And, waking, find thy labors done.
Perchance she knows it by her dreams;
Her eye hath caught the golden gleams
(Angelic presence testifying), I LIKE you, and your book, ingenious Hone !
That round her everywhere are flying ; In whose capacious all-embracing leaves
Ostents from which she may presume The very marrow of tradition's shown;
That much of Heaven is in the room. And all that history-much that fiction-weaves. Skirting her own bright hair they run,
And to the sunny add more sun: By every sort of taste your work is graced :
Now on that aged face they fix, Vast stores of modern anecdote we find,
Streaming from the crucifix; With good old story quaintly interlaced
The flesh-clogg'd spirit disabusing, The theme as various as the readers' mind.
Death-disarming sleeps infusing,
Prelibations, foretastes high,
And equal thoughts to live or die.
Gardener bright from Eden's bower! Scarcely forbears to smile at his own saint,
Tend with care that lily flower; And cannot curse the candid Heretic.
To its leaves and root infuse Rags, relics, witches, ghosts, fiends, crowd your page;
Heaven's sunshine, heaven's dews; Our fathers' mummeries we well pleased behold;
"T is a type and 't is a pledge And, proudly conscious of a purer age,
Of a crowning privilege : Forgive some fopperies in the times of old.
Careful as that lily flower
This maid must keep her precious dower ; Verse-honoring Phoebus, Father of bright Days,
Live a sainted maid, or die
TO MISS KELLY. He swears 't is not a work of every day.
You are not, Kelly, of the common strain,
That stoop their pride and female honor down TO MARTIN CHARLES BURNEY, ESQ. To please that many-headed beast the town,
And vend their lavish smiles and tricks for gair., ON DEDICATING TO HIM THE PROSE WORKS OF THE
Forgive me, Burney, if 10 thee these late
1 Suggested by a picture in the possession of Charles Azers, Esq., Euston Square, in which is represented the legend of poor female Saint, who, having spun past midnight to maintain a bed-ridden mother, has fallen asleep from fatigue, and angels are finishing her work. In another part of the chamber an angel is tending a lily, the emblem of her purity.
By fortune thrown amid the actors' train,
SONNET. You keep your native dignity of thought; The plaudits that attend you come unsought, When last I roved these winding wood-walks green As tributes due unto your natural vein.
Green winding walks, and shady pathways sweet, Your tears have passion in them, and a grace Ofl-times would Anna seek the silent scene, Of genuine freshness, which our hearts avow; Shrouding her beauties in the lone retreat. Your smiles are winds whose ways we cannot trace, No more I hear her footsteps in the shade : That vanish and return we know not how
Her image only in these pleasant ways
I held free converse with the fair-hair'd maid.
The cottage which did once my all contain;
It spake of days which ne'er must come again,
Spake to my heart, and much my heart was moved. ON THE SIGHT OF SWANS IN KENSINGTON GARDEN. “Now fair befall thee, gentle maid !” said I,
And from the cottage turn'd me with a sigh.
A TIMID grace sits trembling in her eye,
As loth to meet the rudeness of men's sight, Strong, active, graceful, perfect, swan-like, able
Yet shedding a delicious lunar light, To tread the land or waters with security.
That steeps in kind oblivious ecstacy Unlike poor human births, conceived in sin,
The care-crazed mind, like some still melody: In grief brought forth, both outwardly and in,
Speaking most plain the thoughts which do possess Confessing weakness, error, and impurity.
Her gentle sprite: peace, and meek quietness,
And innocent loves, and maiden purity :
A look whereof might heal the cruel smart
Turn'd are those lights from me, who fondly yet
Past joys, vain loves, and buried hopes regret. Was it some sweet device of Fairy That mock'd my steps with many a lonely glade, And fancied wanderings with a fair-hair'd maid? Have these things been? or what rare witchery,
IF from my lips some angry accents fell,
Peevish complaint, or harsh reproof unkind,
And troubled thoughts, clouding the purer well, To drop the murdering knife, and let go by
And waters clear, of Reason; and for me
Let this my verse the poor atonement be
My verse, which thou to praise wert e'er inclined
Too highly, and with a partial eye to see While I forlorn do wander reckless where,
No blemish. Thou to me didst ever show
Kindest affection; and would oft-times lend
Weeping my sorrows with me, who repay
But ill the mighty debt of love I owe,
Mary, to thee, my sister and my friend.
THE FAMILY NAME.
What reason first imposed thee, gentle name, Losing the time beneath the green-wood shade. Name that my father bore, and his sire's sire, Or we might sit and tell some tender tale
Without reproach? we trace our stream no higher, Of faithful vows repaid by cruel scorn,
And I, a childless man, may end the same. A tale of true-love, or of friend forgot ;
Perchance some shepherd on Lincolnian plains, And I would teach thee, lady, how to rail
In manners guileless as his own sweet flocks, In gentle sort, on those who practise not
Received thee first amid the merry mocks Or love or pitv though of woman born.
And arch allusions of his fellow swains.
Perchance from Salem's holier fields return'd,
Beloved! who shall tell me where thou art-
SONNET. TO JOHN LAMB, ESQ. OF THE SOUTH-SEA-HOUSE. JOHN, you were figuring in the gay career Of blooming manhood with a young man's joy, When I was yet a little peevish boyThough time has made the difference disappear Betwixt our ages, which then seem'd so greatAnd still by rightful custom you retain Much of the old authoritative strain, And keep the elder brother up in state. O! you do well in this. 'Tis man's worst deed To let the “ things that have been" run to waste, And in the unmeaning present sink the past : In whose dim glass even now I faintly read Old buried forms, and faces long ago, Which you, and I, and one more, only know.
SONNET. They talk of Time, and of Time's galling yoke, That like a mill-stone on man's mind doth press, Which only works and business can redress : Of divine Leisure such foul lies are spoke, Wounding her fair gifts with calumnious stroke But might I, fed with silent Meditation, Assoiled live from that fiend OccupationImprobus labor, which my spirits hath brokeI'd drink of time's rich cup and never surfeit, Fling in more days than went to make the gem That crown'd the white top of Methusalem; Yea, on my weak neck take, and never forfeit, Like Atlas bearing up the dainty sky, The heaven-sweet burthen of Eternity.
SONNET. 0! I could laugh to hear the midnight wind, That, rushing on its way with careless sweep, Scatters the ocean waves. And I could weep Like to a child. For now to my raised mind On wings of winds comes wild-eyed Phantasy, And her rude visions give severe delight. O winged bark ! how swift along the night Pass'd thy proud keel! nor shall I let go by Lightly of that drear hour the memory, When wet and chilly on thy deck I stood, Unbonneted, and gazed upon the flood, Even till it seem'd a pleasant thing to die,To be resolved into th' elemental wave, Or take my portion with the winds that rave.
THE CHRISTENING. ARRAY'D—a half angelic sightIn vests of pure Baptismal whiteThe mother to the Font doth bring The little helpless, nameless thing, With hushes soft and mild caressing, At once to get-a name and blessing.-Close by the Babe the Priest doth standThe sacred water at his hand, Which must assoil the soul within From every stain of Adam's sin.The Infant eyes the mystic scenes, Nor knows what all this wonder means ; And now he smiles, as if to say, “I am a Christian made this day;" Now, frighted, clings to Nurse's hold, Shrinking from the water cold, Whose virtues, rightly understood, Are, as Bethesda's waters, good. Strange words—the World, the Flesh, the DevilPoor babe, what can it know of evil ? But we must silently adore Mysterious truths, and not explore. Enough for him, in after-times, When he shall read these artless rhymes, If, looking back upon this day, With easy conscience he can say, “ I have in part redeem'd the pledge Of my baptismal privilege ; And more and more will strive to flee All that my sponsers kind renounced for me.'
SONNET. We were two pretty babes, the youngest she, The youngest, and the loveliest far, I ween, And INNOCENCE her name. The time has been, We two did love each other's company; Time was, we two had wept to have been apart. But when, by show of seeming good beguiled, I left the garb and manners of a child, And my first love, for man's society, Defiling with the world my virgin heart My loved companion dropp'd a tear, and fled, And hid in deepest shades her awful head
THE END OF LAMB'S WORKS.