Page images

SWEET MEMORY, wafted by thy gentle gale,
Oft up the stream of Time I turn my sail,
To view the fairy-haunts of long-lost hours,
Blest with far greener shades, far fresher flowers.
Ages and climes remote to Thee impart
What charms in Genius, and refines in Art;
Thee, in whose hands the keys of Science dwell,
The pensive portress of her holy cell;

Whose constant vigils chase the chilling damp
Oblivion steals upon her vestal-lamp.

They in their glorious course the guides of Youth, Whose language breathed the eloquence of Truth; Whose life, beyond preceptive wisdom, taught The great in conduct, and the pure in thought; These still exist, by Thee to Fame consigned, Still speak and act, the models of mankind.

From Thee gay Hope her airy colouring draws; And Fancy's flights are subject to thy laws. From Thee that bosom-spring of rapture flows, Which only Virtue, tranquil Virtue, knows.

When Joy's bright sun has shed his evening-ray,
And Hope's delusive meteors cease to play;
When clouds on clouds the smiling prospect close,
Still thro' the gloom thy star serenely glows:
Like yon fair orb, she gilds the brow of night
With the mild magic of reflected light.

The beauteous maid, who bids the world adieu,
Oft of that world will snatch a fond review;
Oft at the shrine neglect her beads, to trace
Some social scene, some dear, familiar face:
And ere, with iron-tongue, the vesper-bell
Bursts thro' the cypress-walk, the convent-cell,
Oft will her warm and wayward heart revive,
To love and joy still tremblingly alive;

The whispered vow, the chaste caress prolong,
Weave the light dance and swell the choral song;
With rapt ear drink the enchanting serenade,
And, as it melts along the moonlight-glade,
To each soft note return as soft a sigh,

And bless the youth that bids her slumbers fly.

But not till Time has calmed the ruffled breast,
Are these fond dreams of happiness confest.
Not till the rushing winds forget to rave,

Is Heaven's sweet smile reflected on the wave.
From Guinea's coast pursue the lessening sail,
And catch the sounds that sadden every gale.
Tell, if thou canst, the sum of sorrows there;
Mark the fixed gaze, the wild and frenzied glare,
The racks of thought, and freezings of despair!

pause not then-beyond the western wave, Go, see the captive bartered as a slave!

Crushed till his high, heroic spirit bleeds,

And from his nerveless frame indignantly recedes.
Yet here, even here, with pleasures long resigned,
Lo! MEMORY bursts the twilight of the mind.
Her dear delusions sooth his sinking soul,

When the rude scourge assumes its base controul;

And o'er Futurity's blank page diffuse
The full reflection of her vivid hues.

'Tis but to die, and then, to weep no more,

Then will he wake on Congo's distant shore;
Beneath his plantain's ancient shade renew

The simple transports that with freedom flew ;
Catch the cool breeze that musky Evening blows,

And quaff the palm's rich nectar as it glows;
The oral tale of elder time rehearse,

And chant the rude, traditionary verse

With those, the loved companions of his youth,
When life was luxury, and friendship truth.

Ah! why should Virtue fear the frowns of Fate?
Hers what no wealth can buy, no power create!
A little world of clear and cloudless day,

Nor wrecked by storms, nor mouldered by decay;
A world, with MEMORY'S ceaseless sun-shine blest,
The home of Happiness, an honest breast.

But most we mark the wonders of her reign,
When Sleep has locked the senses in her chain.
When sober Judgment has his throne resigned,
She smiles away the chaos of the mind;
And, as warm Fancy's bright Elysium glows,
From Her each image springs, each colour flows.

She is the sacred guest! the immortal friend!
Oft seen o'er sleeping Innocence to bend,
In that dead hour of night to Silence given,
Whispering seraphic visions of her heaven.

When the blithe son of Savoy, journeying round
With humble wares and pipe of merry sound,
From his green vale and sheltered cabin hies,
And scales the Alps to visit foreign skies;
Tho' far below the forked lightnings play,
And at his feet the thunder dies away,
Oft, in the saddle rudely rocked to sleep,
While his mule browses on the dizzy steep,
With MEMORY'S aid, he sits at home, and sees
His children sport beneath their native trees,
And bends to hear their cherub-voices call,
O'er the loud fury of the torrent's fall.

But can her smile with gloomy Madness dwell?
Say, can she chase the horrors of his cell?
Each fiery flight on Frenzy's wing restrain,

And mould the coinage of the fevered brain?
Pass but that grate, which scarce a gleam supplies,
There in the dust the wreck of Genius lies!
He, whose arresting hand divinely wrought
Each bold conception in the sphere of thought;

« PreviousContinue »