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"To bid the memory of the great and good live for ever--to say to the
name of Genius, 'ESTO PERPETUUM'--is the very grandest fiat that human
power can issue; nor does man ever seem more deserving of immortality
himself, than when, as far as in him lies, he thus worthily confers it upon
others."-- Speech of Mr Moore at the Freemasons' Tavern, London, 5th
June, 1819, in order to promote a Subscription for a Monument to Burns
PRINTED BY MACPHERSON & SYME,
31 EAST ROSE LANE.
I WAS led in early life to admire the writings of Miss Blamire, and the first task I imposed on myself to perform was to collect them. Being born in India, and my father belonging to the Indian Army, the imagery and sentiment contained in "The Nabob," perpetually occupied my mind as I brooded over the fond hope
of his revisiting his native land; in this I was doomed to disappointment;--not so however in the eventual
accomplishment of my early research, though that was long deferred. Many years passed away, and I found myself in possession of only the three lyrics by which she is so generally known, "The Nabob," "What ails this heart o' mine," and "The Chelsea Pensioners." The next thing which fell in my way, was what may be entitled "The Carrier Pigeon," commencing thus:
"Why tarries my love ?
for 1805, p. 336
Ah ! where does he rove ?
My love is long absent from me."
This little lyric, which will be found in the Appendix, I copied from "The Mason's Magazine," if my memory serves me rightly, for I have no note of the exact title of the work, nor of the year in which it was published; it is there said however to be by Miss Blamire. A considerable while afterwards I found it in the "Scots
Magazine" for 1805, p. 336, where it is attributed to Lady Anne Lindsay, the celebrated author of "Auld Robin Gray;" but I cannot help thinking Miss Blamire has a superior claim to it.
My kind and amiable friend Miss Russell of Knottyholm, Canobie, daughter of Dr Russell, author of "Ancient and Modern Europe," in one of her excursions to Carlisle learned from her friend Mrs Lawrie, that the late Mr Robert Anderson, the ingenious author of "Cumberland Ballads," was in possession of many of Miss Blamire's writings; she accordingly took the trouble to procure me his address, and I wrote to him twice concerning them, but received no answer. However, in August 1829, I went into Cumberland for the express purpose of pursuing my researches, and fortunately obtained an interview with Mr Anderson . He then informed me he was in possession of fifteen songs and one poem of the Poetess, but he happened not to have them with him at that time, which I much regretted: he had however a short memoir of her, composed several years before, but which he said her relatives would not allow him to publish. This memoir he was kind enough to read to me, and allowed me to take some notes and dates; but that it was not published we need not very much deplore, as I find from my notes he had not even her Christian name correctly, having called her Louisa, and his facts and observations were but few and unimportant. He was in his dotage, poor old man, and whatever powers his mind might have originally possessed were entirely
gone; he was still pleasing and amiable, and I congratulated myself with having met the author of "The Cumberland Ballads," even though in decay. He died at Carlisle, 26th September, 1833, aged sixty-three, where a monument is erected to his memory in the cathedral. After being put in possession of Miss Blamire's MSS. I found that Anderson had printed five, if not six, of her songs in the edition of his "Ballads" published at Wigton in 1808, with her name only attached to one of them; the sixth, entitled "Gobbleston Parish," bears such internal evidence of Miss Blamire's style, that I have not scrupled to insert it in this collection of her works. The way in which Anderson has delineated the manners and customs of his countrymen, shows him to have been a keen and an acute observer of human actions and feelings; and the style in which he has generally depicted these is that of a true poet. That he is less known, is solely owing to his having written in a provincial dialect; though it must be confessed that his compositions in English seldom reach mediocrity,--his Ballads however can never be forgotten.
In July 1833 I made another excursion to Carlisle, and my perseverance this time was crowned with considerable success. I had the good fortune to be introduced to the late Miss Thompson ; and when that worthy lady learned the purpose of my visit, she instantly, and with the utmost frankness, allowed me to take away her common-place book, in which were fourteen pieces of Miss Blamire's, eleven of which I had never before seen. This seems to have been the little hoard, copies
of which Anderson was in possession of; for in it were thirteen songs and one poem, only one short of the number he said he possessed.
Still pursuing my inquiries whenever and wherever there appeared to be a chance of obtaining any information, in 1835 I had the happiness of becoming acquainted with my excellent and talented friend Henry Lonsdale, Esq. M.D., Edinburgh, a native of Carlisle, who was then pursuing his medical studies at our University. Dr Lonsdale entered into my views with the ardour of an enthusiast; and it is to him that I am indebted for all my success. Having obtained his degree of Doctor in Medicine, he went to pursue his profession for a short time at Raughton-Head, near Thackwood, where he made the valuable acquaintance of Miss Jane Christian Blamire, niece of the Poetess, who showed him her aunt's MSS.; after which he was not long in informing me of the treasure he had found; and thus very agreeably confirmed an opinion I had long entertained, that one who had written so well must have written a great deal more than what had hitherto met my sight, or what was generally known to the world. Ultimately Dr Lonsdale obtained the consent of Miss Blamire and her excellent brother William Blamire, Esquire, of Thackwood, chief Tithe Commissioner, that the MSS. should be placed in our hands preparatively to publication; and my friend and myself feel much indebted to the various members of the Poetess's family at Thackwood, Carlisle, and Newcastle, for the facilities they have afforded us in the prosecution
of our labours. From a notice which appeared in the Carlisle Journal concerning the recovery of the MSS., and the intention of presenting them to the world, Miss Susanna Brown of Newcastle, niece of the Poetess, kindly and promptly gave us the use of her mother's papers, among which were many MSS. in the author's handwriting. It was delightful to see the affectionate manner in which they had been preserved and valued, many of them being indorsed, "My dear sister Susan's MSS.," "My dear sister's poetry." These have been of important service to us.
Our acknowledgments are also due to Mrs Lowthian of Kellington, and to Miss Graham of Carlisle, daughter of the late venerable Rector of Arthuret, for the very liberal way in which we have been favoured with the use of the MSS., and copies of Miss Blamire's writings in their possession, which have forwarded our labours in no inconsiderable degree.
It is with extreme regret that, notwithstanding all my diligence, I have been able to glean so few materials for illustrating the life and writings of Miss Susanna Blamire. All her kindred now living were children at the period of their accomplished relative's death, and therefore remember little of her; those still alive, resident near Thackwood and the Oaks, of an age contemporary with the Poetess, are, from circumstances and situation, but little fitted to appreciate her talents; and all concerning her with which their memories are stored is, that she was a fine, lively young lass. Had my good fortune but made me acquainted
with the late worthy Mrs Blamire
whose clear memory and vigorous understanding remained entire down to the date of her death, I should
have been put in possession of much relative to her sister,
which is now irretrievably lost. Mrs Brown
of Newcastle could also have furnished me with much valuable
information, and she too is gone; for, from the notes
in her MSS., and transcriptions of her sister's poetry,
I have been induced to think that she had at one time
meditated their publication. Mrs Colonel Graham
Gartmore, to whom her sister Susan left by will the
principal part of her effects, would also have been of great service to me; but she also is dead. The Misses
of Gartmore, to whom several of the poems are
addressed (especially one, exceedingly interesting as
descriptive of herself), I have been unfortunate enough
not to reach, and know not if they are still alive. A
few years more, and the little which has been gathered
together would have perished; and the name of her
whom every one loved and admired, whom every one
delighted to see and associate with, would only have been
known in connexion with her incomparable "Nabob"
and "What ails this heart o' mine."
EDINBURGH, 5 ARCHIBALD PLACE,
May , 1842.
THE Life of Miss Blamire, I feel assured, would have formed an instructive and interesting portion of biography, had it been possible to procure its details with that fulness and accuracy which are indispensable to the purposes of truth, and those minuter lights and shades which enter into the composition of every human character. Much of this however will be supplied by her writings; for she wrote not for the world, but because it gave her pleasure, and to amuse a friend; and sometimes, it would appear, to give utterance to feelings that could not otherwise be controlled. The few compositions known to be hers, and some others now for the first time claimed in her name, have stood the test of public opinion for upwards of fifty years; have been taught us in our infancy; and have taken root in our memories like the holier scenes and attachments of our
juvenile days. They spoke to our young hearts in the language of truth and of nature, and aided in implanting better feelings there; and it cannot be wondered at that they gained our early regard, nor, that they now in maturer age, to use her own beautiful phraseology, "moan in our ears" like voices long since heard, and which can never be forgotten. Of a being so amiable, and with such powers, who would not be desirous of possessing the fullest information ! yet I grieve to say that I have but a few scanty facts, obtained by Dr Lonsdale from the family, and collected by myself in various quarters, to gratify so laudable a curiosity. Miss Susanna Blamire was the youngest child, by his first marriage, of William Blamire, Esquire, of the Oaks, and Isabella Simpson, daughter of George Simpson, Esquire, of Thackwood, and Miss Richmond of High Head Castle, in the county of Cumberland. She was born at Cardew Hall, about two miles west of the Oaks, and six from Carlisle, between the hours of eleven and twelve in the morning of the 12th of January, 1747.
The Poetess's father was a fine specimen of the open-hearted English yeoman of his period, who lived on his estate, and freely enjoyed the hospitalities which a handsome independence placed within his reach. He died on the 7th of June, 1758, in the fifty-sixth year of
his age. By his first wife he had two sons and two daughters. William, his eldest son, was born on the 11th November, 1740, and died on the 29th January, 1814. He studied physic, and afterwards entered the Royal Navy as a surgeon; letters still in the possession of the family, bear ample evidence of the high regard in which he was held by men of naval eminence. Having remained in the service for a number of years, he at length retired, and took up his residence at the Oaks, where he cheerfully gave his valuable advice and assistance gratuitously to the poor, and to any who thought fit to consult him. It would be doing manifest injustice to his memory to withhold, that Lord Vernon travelled from London to Cumberland to avail himself of his professional abilities, so highly were they held. "A more temperate man," says Dr Lonsdale, "never lived; and as a father, few, if any, excelled Dr Blamire, as he was generally called, for kindness of heart and warmth of affection." In 1786 he married Miss Jane Christian of Ewanrigg Hall, by whom he had one son, the present William Blamire, Esquire, of Thackwood, chief Tithe Commissioner--who represented East Cumberland in the first Reformed Parliament--and three daughters. The second was named Richmond, the father of the Misses Blamire of Carlisle. The eldest daughter was called Sarah ; she married Colonel Graham of Gart-
more. The youngest daughter was Susanna, the subject of this memoir.
At the tender age of seven our Poetess had the sad misfortune to lose her mother. Mrs Blamire was born in 1709, and died in June, 1754. Her health was never robust, and she might perhaps have imparted some of the infirmities of her constitution to her talented daughter, who early betrayed symptoms of delicate health. Be this as it may, her amiable manners, her charitable disposition, and the kind concern she ever manifested towards the poor, were largely inherited by her children; and every one who had the pleasure of her acquaintance long deplored so dear a friend, so kind a benefactress.
Some time afterwards, Mr Blamire married Miss Bridget Ritson, who bore him a daughter, christened Bridget, and who at a future period married a gentleman of the name of Brown, a lawyer in Newcastle-on-Tyne. Mrs Brown died in 1832, leaving a family.
In the vocabulary of any language there is no word which conveys so thrilling an emotion as that of mother. Few there are that can supply a mother's place; I had almost said none. Strangers think that by attention to our ordinary wants and wishes, food and clothing, that they have to do is done. Far otherwise is it with the fond parent. Her yearning thoughts, sleeping or
awake, are ever with her offspring; all her care is for their health and happiness. In sickness or in sorrow, where can we pillow our head so softly as in a mother's arms ? and when success in life wafts us along its smooth current, where arises so holy a joy as that in a mother's heart ? Can there anywhere be found such a total negation of self, or that perpetual welling of affection, save in a mother's breast ? In her angriest voice we discover no asperity; we even rush to those arms which threaten us with chastisement: and how delicious is her approbation ! the proudest realizations of after-life afford no charm equal to the bland smile we perceive irradiating a mother's honest face. O ! narrow must that heart be which has not a corner for the memory of a mother, however dear the ties he may have formed in future years.1
Miss Blamire however was singularly fortunate in finding one to watch over her infancy; for, after the death of her mother, she was removed to the care of her aunt Mrs Simpson, the wife of her mother's brother; whose maiden name was Stevenson, of Kettleside, Cumberland; a lady possessed of considerable property. She was born in 1702, and died in April, 1785; her husband had died in 1745. Having no family, she besought Mr Blamire, on his second marriage, to allow her to take the charge of his children--for there is ever a distrust of stepmothers--and they were accordingly removed from the Oaks to Thackwood. She was a woman of a very active mind, and, like many of those notable housewives--a bygone race--neither disdained, nor deemed it unbecoming her station in life, to take the entire management of her household. The excellent arrangement of her domestic affairs increased her means of usefulness, ample as her fortune was, for her economy was not parsimony; and she knew well that that prudence which prevents waste adds to our power of doing good. It is not unreasonable to conclude, that
it was from the exhibition of such activity and discipline her niece obtained the touching and forcible sentiment conveyed in the following verse:
"The saddest sight the pitying eyes receive,
Is to see wretchedness with nought to give."
The force of her character procured her respect from every one who knew her, and her warm-hearted benevolence secured it. Her charities were constant and liberal; and the following anecdote is related how she relieved the more important and urgent cases of distress which solicited her attention. She kept her ready money--chiefly gold--in a basin which stood on a table in her parlour; and whoever came to ask her assistance received an ample supply to relieve their wants, so long as the basin contained any of its precious store. Of course, we must suppose that this liberality was always exerted with due discrimination.
Under the eye of this vigilant and kind-hearted relative did Susanna, accompanied with her sister and her brothers, attend the village school of Raughton-Head, distant about a mile from Thackwood. Here boys and girls were taught reading, writing, and arithmetic; and if the amount of information obtained was small, it was obtained at as small a charge; for Dr Lonsdale was informed by one of her schoolfellows, that the quarter's wages did not exceed a shilling. There is every reason
to believe that this was the only school the Poetess attended; no such thing being known as boarding-schools in those days for the education of young ladies, at least in those parts. But after the difficulties of reading, writing, and arithmetic had been conquered-- and she wrote a clear bold hand--she must have acquired at home a considerable relish for reading, as her aunt spent much of her leisure in the perusal of books; and although prevented from any thing like close application or systematic study, by the frivolity of youth and the extraordinary buoyancy of her spirits, yet a mind constituted like hers, apart from all regular training, would be constantly picking up knowledge from observation and reflection.
In 1767 Susanna's sister Sarah married Colonel Graham of Gartmore, who belonged to the 42d Regiment. She died in 1798, the Colonel in 1773; they had been married for only about six years, and had no family. Mrs Graham was a lady of elegant manners, and possessed of the most amiable dispositions; she is said to have been one of the handsomest women in Cumberland. The sisters had the most unbounded affection for each other. In her will, written with her own hand, which is dated 25th March, 1786, the Poetess, after giving instructions concerning her interment, makes the following touching appeal to her sister to moderate
her grief, should she survive her: "Whenever this awful event shall take place, I humbly trust in the mercies of Almighty God, that I shall be received into everlasting happiness; and that my dear sister Græme will not suffer her grief to become excessive for the loss of one whose every hour she was the means of rendering easy, happy, and delightful."
Susanna, at the time of her sister's marriage, was in her twentieth year. She had a graceful form, somewhat above the middle size, and a countenance--though slightly marked with the smallpox--beaming with good nature; her dark eyes sparkled with animation, and won every heart at the first introduction. She was called by her affectionate countrymen "a bonny and varra lish young lass," which may be interpreted as meaning a beautiful and very lively young girl. Her affability and total freedom from affectation, put to flight that reserve which her presence was apt to create in the minds of her humbler associates; for they quickly perceived she really wished them happiness, and aided in promoting it by every effort in her power. She freely mingled in their social parties, called merry neets in Cumberland; and by her graceful figure, elegant dancing, and kind-hearted gayety, gave a zest to the entertainments, which without her presence would have been wanting. She has been described to me as enjoying
herself greatly on these occasions; marking with a keen eye the various shades of character around her, and the whole proceedings with intense interest. Before the hilarity of the evening had melted the restraint usual at the commencement of such parties, I have been told she would relish the bashful approaches of the young villager as he, with much hesitation, made his homely bow, and begged she would honour him with her presence at the dance; that she would start up with hearty good-will, spring round the room, and thus dispel those timid fears which at first somewhat marred the free expression of delight, or the loud laugh of enjoyment. How much she was the cynosure of those parties, as will be afterwards shown she was equally so in those of a higher grade, may be gathered from the following anecdote, which was told me by the late Miss Thompson of Carlisle. A worthy farmer, who almost worshipped the Poetess, about two weeks after her death came to Miss Rowlands, a relation of Miss Binmire, for the sole purpose of having some conversation concerning Miss Sukey, as she was fondly and familiarly called by her neighbours and the people in the district, and for mutually bemoaning their loss. Miss Rowlands excused herself on the plea that the affliction was so recent, she could not summon fortitude sufficient to converse on the subject, and entreated him to call on
some future day. "Well, well," said the kind-hearted farmer, as he was taking his departure, "I could find neither rest nor comfort till I called on you to have some talk about her: the merry-neets will not now be worth going to since she is no more !" So vividly does the memory of worth and of genius dwell on our minds, and so fondly do we regard their most trivial actions.
From whatever source her passion for poetry arose it would now be vain to inquire; but we find that, so early as in 1766, when only in her nineteenth year, her stanzas "Written in a churchyard" betoken no inconsiderable familiarity with poetical numbers, and afford conclusive evidence that she must have been in the habit of composing poetry at some anterior date. Having been thus early "smit with the love of literature and sacred song," her sister's marriage with Colonel Graham, and their consequent residence at Gartmore, whither Susanna accompanied them, could not fail in having a material influence over her poetical pursuits. On whatever themes she had exercised her abilities before this period, we cannot now discover, as but few of her writings have any dates; yet from the few notes--I wish they had been more--appended to the transcript of her poetry by her sister Mrs Brown, we find that several of the subjects which she has woven into verse were obtained in Scotland. Great Britain being at that
period engaged in active warfare, every village furnished its quota of soldiers and sailors, and every cottage could tell of some relative who had stood "i' the imminent deadly breach:" thus we find that "The Soldier's Return" was a real incident which happened in the Highlands; it is entitled in Mrs Brown 's copy "The old Chelsea Pensioner's Return," but I have retained the title which the authoress herself has given it in a MS. written in her own hand. Then, in "Old Harry's Return," as Mrs Brown informs us, this was one Harry Macdowal, evidently a Scottish subject too: she also tells us that that exquisite ballad "The Nabob" was also founded on fact; and although it is not so stated, yet we cannot help thinking that, from the imagery and sentiment which pervade it, it must have been composed on some Scottish incident also. Among Mrs Brown 's MSS. in the handwriting of her sister, I found a poem on the ruins of the Priory of Inch-mahome, situate on the largest of the islands in the Lake of Menteath, in Stirlingshire. There is considerable interest attached to this spot, as having been the residence of Mary Queen of Scots for about two years, when only four years of age, previously to her being sent to France. The poem, consisting of a good number of stanzas, is written upon an old letter, now much decayed; and is evidently a first draft, so interlined and defaced as to
defy transcription, else I should have copied it and inserted it among her works;--perhaps there may yet be a fair and correct copy of it in existence.
Along with her sister and the Colonel Miss Blamire visited London, and was with them in Ireland. Miss Stubbs mentioned to me that she heard her relate, that when in the latter place, and sleeping in an old castle, in an apartment which had the reputation of being haunted, during the middle of the night her courage was put to a considerable trial. She was roused out of her sleep by feeling her bed evidently upheaved; and hearing heavy steps on the floor, she started from her couch, and ran to the head of the stair to awaken the family--there being no bells in the rooms in those days --when a large Newfoundland dog, that had been in the habit of taking up its abode here, rushed past her, and thus revealed the cause of her alarm. This betokened considerable courage in a being so young and so sensitive, whose ardent imagination was but too apt to people with a double portion of hobgoblins a domicile which was said to be their favourite rendezvous.
Whether the Mr Graham of Gartmore, author of the song entitled "O tell me how to woo thee," was the father of the Colonel, or how they stood related to each other, I have not been able to ascertain; but we may readily conclude that Miss Blamire was aware that
it was written by some relative of the family; and we find that the Misses Graham fostered her love for poetry, from the circumstance of her having addressed them in rhyme, which she scarcely would have done had they not been admirers of verse. Whether her acquaintance with Scottish poetry commenced before her visit to Scotland, cannot now be ascertained; but we find she was well acquainted with the writings of Ramsay, by the direct allusion she makes in one of her songs to a passage in "The Gentle Shepherd :" if she had perused Ramsay and other Scottish writers before her visit to Gartmore, it is natural to suppose she would have her admiration of them increased by her residence in Scotland. We have a clear proof, however, that she was conversant, even at this period of her life, with the writings of Milton, Collins, Gray, and Prior, and doubtless with many others of the English classics; but it is curious to remark, we do not find one solitary allusion to the works of Burns, which she unquestionably would have relished much and appreciated highly. How far the Poetess's passion for literature was encouraged by Mrs Graham I have not discovered, but am disposed to think, from the love they bore each other, that she would indulge her in every thing that tended to promote her happiness and give her pleasure. From her aunt, and her brother the surgeon, she obtained no counte-
nance; her aunt, though an excellent being in every
point of view, was too much a matter of fact woman
to see any virtue in stringing verses together, and used
to admonish her niece against the unprofitable occupation of writing poetry; and her brother, from having
been brought up in the active duties of the royal navy,
and leading even a laborious life by the benevolent exercise of his profession among the poor around him, could
also see no enjoyment in the indulgence of the pleasures
of imagination. Yet, had she met with any encouragement from her family to follow her favourite pursuit,
we may readily conceive what a stimulus such would
have given her mind, and how beneficially it would
have operated upon it; so kind a heart and so lively
a fancy could never be indifferent either to praise or
blame;--she even has said with infantine simplicity,
"For me, I own, that hope of praise can charm
This little heart, and all its feelings warm."
Between her twentieth and thirtieth year, before her bodily infirmities pressed hard upon her, and somewhat damped the ardour of her spirits, I could fancy her to have been like one of those radiant beings whose joyousness of heart--whose amiable and innocent gayety-- was more akin to heaven than to earth. Wherever she went she diffused joy and happiness around her; the
old loved her as their own, and the young joined to their admiration a feeling of a more tender sentiment. We have seen how much she was the delight of the humbler classes, how keenly and cordially she entered into the spirit of their social parties; but she was not the less beloved by those who moved in the world of fashion. When on a visit to her aunt Mrs Fell, whose husband was curate of Chillingham, the noble family of Tankerville was residing at Chillingham Castle, and Miss Blamire soon became acquainted with the Earl and his family. They quickly discovered her superiority of mind, and loved as much as they admired her; and, to please the Earl, who was much amused with the Cumberland dialect, she wrote at his request that clever dialogue commencing "Wey, Ned, man ! thou luiks sae down-hearted." The lady Francis Isabella felt such a regard for her, that she petitioned aunt Simpson to allow Miss Susanna to remain constantly with them, declaring that they could not live without her; this the worthy aunt could not comprehend, for we find her writing to her brother the surgeon, "how unaccountable it was that the family should take such an interest in her," though admitting at the same time "that Susan was a fine girl."
Her aunt Mrs Simpson died in 1785, at the advanced age of eighty-three; and in 1786 her brother the sur-
geon married Miss Jane Christian, of Ewanrigg Hall, Cumberland, by whom he had one son, the present proprietor of Thackwood, and three daughters. Mrs Blamire of Thackwood was born 5th August, 1749, and died 15th March, 1837, at the venerable age of eighty-eight, having survived her husband twenty-three years. She was a well-educated lady, of varied accomplishments, and of the most engaging and amiable manners; even down to the day of her death she possessed a clear and vigorous understanding. The Poetess and she had been acquainted previously to her marriage with her brother, and the friendship then formed was strengthened by the union. This happy event, I am disposed to think, must have had the most favourable effect on the mind of Miss Blamire; for she must have felt the deficiencies of her own education, and consequently would quickly avail herself of the superior mental training of her sister, and, by her affection for her, become an apt scholar to all her instructions. That the one was as ready to receive as the other to impart advice, may readily be believed; and the strength of the attachment which Miss Susanna had for her sister-in-law may be gathered from the fact, that "the very accomplished woman" to whom "The Bower of Elegance" is addressed, was Mrs Blamire, after she had become the mother of her brother's children. In that
beautiful poem the Poetess has done justice to her sister, and has drawn her character at page 63 under the semblance of the nymph Elegance, in a few felicitous touches, and farther on, has illustrated her varied accomplishments. The scene of the children mimicking the manners of their seniors is true to life; and our Poetess has not only given us a fine example of her powers of observation and force of delineation, but also of that sterling good sense--characteristic of all her compositions--which never lost sight of the moral of her song.
To her other accomplishments Miss Blamire added those of painting and music; her sketches display no inconsiderable excellence; and her proficiency in music is attested by the fact, that Dr Courrier --a foreigner at that time well known in the musical world of London-- was so pleased with her performance, that he presented her with a psaltery. The guitar--still in the possession of the family at Thackwood--was her favourite instrument, and she usually carried it with her to the woods, and played the air while she was composing her songs. Her passion for dancing was so extreme, that if, when riding along the public road, she happened to meet with an itinerant musician, she would sometimes dismount from her pony, ask him to strike up a jig or a hornpipe, whilst she footed it away upon the grass.
Her brother the surgeon used to remark, that the most vivacious youths of his day were dull and phlegmatic in comparison with his lively sister.
At that period the wealthier families repaired to Carlisle during the winter months. Here her numerous and agreeable qualities of head and heart procured her a ready admittance into every family circle. Among the most distinguished of the acquaintance she here made was Miss Gilpin, sister to Sir Joseph Gilpin, a surgeon of the royal navy, who lately died at Bath. The Gilpins are descendants of Bernard Gilpin, the Apostle of the North, and formerly lived at Scaleby Castle. This lady survived Miss Blamire some years, but unfortunately I have not been able to procure the date of her death, or any particulars of her life. That she was of a congenial spirit, and of kindred pursuits, is manifest from her graphic picture entitled "The Village Club," printed in the appendix, and her co-operation with Miss Blamire in the composition of "The Cumberland Scold." That they were much together, and loved one another dearly, may readily be believed. They not only lived together under the same roof, Miss Gilpin occupying the parlour on the ground-floor, and Miss Blamire the room above, in the lodgings of the Misses Forester ; (the house is still standing, and is No. 14
Finkle Street, now tenanted by Mrs Cartmell ;) but they also used to resort together to Gilsland Spa in the summer, for the benefit of their health. It was at this place that my worthy friend the late Mrs Russell of Knottyholm, Canobie, widow of Dr Russell, the historian already mentioned, met with Miss Blamire near the close of her life. She had then lost much of that vivacity which was so characteristic of her earlier years, but none of that amiability of which she was ever possessed; she was pensive, but not melancholy, and amused herself by playing on the flageolet, which Mrs Russell said she did exceedingly sweetly.
Even so early as her twenty-fourth or twenty-fifth year--if the two epistles to her friends at Gartmore were written about the same date--we find her playfully complaining of rheumatism, and exclaiming, "O girls ! these aches play me sad tricks." And in her thirty-seventh year, in her elegant "Call to Hope," written after a long illness when not expecting to recover, she seems to have been afflicted with something like asthma; the whole of the paragraph commencing "Then dost thou fly me ?--Goddess, stay !" cannot be read but with interest. From the frequent allusions to the state of her health to be
found in her writings, we gather that her constitution was never robust; but her good sense would not allow her to complain and injure the feelings of her friends; she was always patient--always thankful for all their attention and care. Under that easy gayety with which she at all times mingled in society, was concealed a thoughtful mind, which glanced with no superficial gaze at whatever was going on around her. Drs Harrington and Blamire of Carlisle attended her in her last illness with the most affectionate solicitude. As her last hour drew nigh, she desired her friend Mrs Pearson, who was with her, to pray, for she felt a conviction she had not long to live; she complied with her request, and Susanna thanked her, adding she was happy, and felt that peace of God which passeth all understanding, only known in the Christian's faith. She then tasted a little wine, laid her head on the pillow, and expired within half an hour without a groan. Miss Blamire died in Carlisle at about four o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, 5th April, 1794, in the forty-seventh year of her age; and was buried on the Wednesday following at Raughton-Head. The manner in which her memory was held is well exemplified by the fact, that between eighty and ninety people attended the funeral, the distance being seven miles, and that without any invitation. So poignant was the grief of Mrs
Graham, that she never afterwards could approach her sister's grave.
Miss Blamire's character may be gathered from her writings; her heart flowed with her pen; and the kindly expressions of her well-regulated mind and keen feelings are all undisguisedly exhibited to us as to a friend. She wrote not for the public, but because it gave her pleasure to embody her thoughts in verse; had it been otherwise, it is difficult to understand how one so talented could not but have found a ready publisher. If I am correct in supposing that her longest poem "Stoklewath" was composed in 1771, when about twenty-four years of age, at which time her sister Sarah was the wife of Colonel Graham, we find her young affections strongly breaking forth in the mention of her sister and her brother in the last paragraph but one of that poem, and giving a playful glance at her own character. Her love for her relations is again finely displayed in her poem of "The Invitation to two Sisters." There is a pun here introduced--seldom, and properly, attempted in serious poetry--yet so simply and kindly, that I cannot help taking notice of it. She has been describing the beauties of the landscape she invited them to witness, in all its gorgeousness of summer and autumnal clothing; yet, when the winter comes, if she have her friends around her, these would "yield a pro-
spect more charming than May." But without these
friends, with all the advantages of "the wood-hanging
bank, and the cottage so still," her regrets for the want
of their conversation would always be renewed
"As she listen'd and heard the soft clack
of the mill."
In the last paragraph of her "Address to Health," she
again exultingly breaks forth in the praise of her sisters;
it is delightful to see this, for it proves to us how reciprocal was the attachment between them:
"But what have I of comfort lost,
That healthier, stouter frames can boast !
Have I not sisters, ever near,
O ever kind ! O ever dear !
Who suffer not the winds to wave
O'er the bent shrub they prop and save.
From Autumn's faded form they hide,
And Winter's stripping hand they guide;
And even midst the Summer's heat
An equal watchfulness I meet.
Away then, Health ! thy powers are vain,
Thou canst not touch my soul with pain !"
"On the dangerous illness of my friend Mrs L.," the elegant "Address to Miss Gale on her marriage," the
Brown 's collection; it is quite biographical, and gives us a fine glimpse, freely and unreservedly, into her character. Of a being so amiable, whose beauty and accomplishments were acknowledged by all, it would have been more than surprising had her hand never been sought in marriage. It is however said that a scion of a noble house aspired to that honour; but, for reasons not very apparent, his family did not find it expedient to encourage the connexion, and hence it was broken off. That she would have reflected a dignity, not usually attendant on wealth and distinction, on any house however numerous its heraldic quarterings, all who have seen her mind, as revealed in her writings, will readily acknowledge. I am strongly disposed to believe that this story is true, and that the attachment on her part was so pure, so strong, that she never afterwards allowed the feeling to be supplanted. It is to this passage of her life, I think, that we owe many, if not all, of those exquisite delineations of the heart which are so frequently met with in her writings. It could not have been by any imaginary feeling of love that she was enabled to depict with such power and such truth her very touching "Adieu and recall to Love," "Farewell to Affection," and "Recall to Affection." It required no ordinary kindling of emotion to produce "What ails this heart o' mine," "The Siller Croun," "O there
is not a sharper dart," and many passages of that highly imaginative poem "To the flower Love-in-Idleness," as well as of those sentiments of love and regret put into the mouth of the hermit in "Stoklewath." "The Letters of the Lovers" I am disposed to think are real, and that "Anna" and "The Mourner" were not imaginary beings, nor one and the same individual.
Miss Blamire's poetry is characterized by ease, a happy gayety, great earnestness, and often displays considerable imagination, rigour, and exuberance of thought. She was unquestionably the best female writer of her age; and had her works been published during her life, with the final corrections of their author, her name by this date would have attained an honourable position among the poets of our country. Late as they have been in being brought before the public, I have no fear for their fate, but anticipate her poems will be found in the collection of every reader of taste. Many of her songs, the greater part of which are now for the first time published, would have made the reputation of any writer of lyric poetry in her day; that however is a species of composition which has been much and successfully cultivated since her time.
In claiming in her name the authorship of "The Siller Croun," I candidly acknowledge I found it not among her manuscripts, but make the claim on the
authority of her niece Miss Blamire of Thackwood, who perfectly remembers her mother having said that it was written by her aunt Susanna. It affords me infinite satisfaction to be thus enabled to point out the true author of this exquisite lyric, upon such unquestioned authority. My friend Dr Lonsdale had the kindness to inform me that the song was published in a collection entitled "The National Minstrel," printed in Glasgow or Greenock by the late Mr D. Weir, with Miss Blamire's name attached to it, but it was a very incorrect edition; this was the first time I had seen her name associated with it, and before I was prepared to address Mr Weir to inquire how he obtained the knowledge that she was the author of the song, I was told he was dead.
I have taken an unwarrantable liberty--but which I hope may be of use--in printing among her works that touching Scottish lyric "The Waefu' Heart." Having long had a settled conviction in my mind, that the writer of "The Siller Croun" was also the writer of "The Waefu' Heart;" and having ascertained beyond a doubt that the first-mentioned song was the production of Miss Blamire, I thought it would be useful to print the songs together, the, better to examine their styles, and to see how closely they resembled each other in sentiment and expression. I think it cannot
fail to strike every one, that the second song is a continuation of the first; had the "Jamie" of the latter
but been the "Donald" of the former, the likeness
would have been perfect. The same impassioned feeling which resolves "Brave Donald's fate to share," is
also very visible in that distraction which calls on
"--take this life, now naething worth,
Since Jamie's in his grave."
It is not less apparent that the "Heart, wi' a' its virtues rare," bears a very marked resemblance to "And, O ! what a heart was that to lose;"
and various other coincidences may be traced between the two songs, to lead to the conclusion that they are the composition of the same author. Both these songs first appeared together in Johnston's "Scots Musical Museum," vol. iii. 1790 , and, it may be worthy of remark, within a page or two of each other, indicating perhaps that the Editor had some suspicion that they were from the same pen. "The Siller Croun" was copied into the "Museum" from a single sheet copy, which, Mr Stenhouse tells us, was some time previously published by Napier, a well-known musician in Edinburgh; "The Waefu' Heart" was taken from a single sheet copy also, which the same authority informs us was
published in London about the year 1788;--a strong corroboration that both are by the same author, independently of the internal evidence of their similarity of style. The lady-writers of that period--as confessed by Lady Anne Lindsay was the case with herself, in a letter to Sir Walter Scott about "Auld Robin Gray"--had a horror at seeing their names published as authors; even the Della Cruscans concealed their blushes under feigned names; and we cannot be surprised that Miss Blamire acted on the same principle. I know not one poem or song of hers, which was printed during her life, that has her name attached to it. I find her fine song "Though Bacchus may boast of his care-killing bowl" printed in the "Calliope, or the Musical Miscellany," London, 8vo, 1788 , without her name; and in "The Edinburgh Magazine" for 1790, p. 216 , is her beautiful little poem "The Adieu and Recall to Love"--there entitled "To Love"--also anonymous. Thus, if dates can enable us to come to any conclusion concerning the authorship of "The Waefu' Heart," I have produced sufficient to show, that it is extremely probable it was written by Miss Blamire; and along with these dates, the remarkable resemblance in style and sentiment must inevitably lead us to the conviction, that the author of "The Siller Croun" was also the author of "The Waefu' Heart :" I have proved that Miss Blamire was
the author of the first, and gone far to settle her claim to the latter.
It has been a grateful task for me to adduce the arguments in the above inquiry; but I have two points to bring forth which will oblige me to assume the appearance of an editor militant, but which I shall close in a very few words. The first is connected with the poem of "To-morrow." I was made aware by Dr Lonsdale that there was some doubt concerning this poem's being Miss Blamire's, and that the matter had been discussed in the "Gentleman's Magazine;" but, before I had looked into this controversy, the poem was printed, when another friend mentioned to me that it was claimed by the venerable author of "The World before the Flood," in his interesting selection "The Christian Poet," as the production of Mary Parken . I was not a little staggered at this; for Mr Montgomery is not the man to make an assertion without due deliberation, and I assuredly should have written to that gentleman, and inquired on what grounds he made the claim for his author, had the poem not been printed. But I refrained, because that I had found it among the transcripts of her sister's poetry by Mrs Brown, who, I had no doubt in my mind, was perfectly aware of its being her sister's before she inserted it among her writings;--that was one reason, for Mrs
Brown must have had her knowledge from personal facts, and her sister was too high-minded a lady to appropriate the labours of another:--on the same principle I have inserted "Auld Robin Forbes," which has been by some ascribed to Miss Gilpin . Another reason why I thought it, and still think it, Miss Blamire's is, in the version ascribed to Miss Parken (she is called Parker in the Gentleman's Magazine), the last stanza is wholly omitted, which, in my mind, is not a little conclusive of the matter; for we cannot well conceive a poet writing on the subject and omitting the very striking and obvious contrast of the Christian and the infidel. Moreover, in the poem printed in the text, there is much more closeness of composition, a clearer arrangement of thought, and a closer sequence of circumstances; which strongly induce me to conclude it is the production of Miss Blamire. The difficulty is also much lessened concerning who was the author, now that we have the writings of Miss Blamire before us; and I feel no hesitation in saying that the poem in question bears a very striking resemblance to the general spirit of her poetry; nay, that the frequent allusion to to-morrow in her works, showing how much it entered into the usual current of her thoughts, is of itself almost conclusive of the matter. The Rev. Mr Lowthian, Rector of Kellington, Yorkshire, first published the poem in the
"Gentleman's Magazine" for 1820 , in which volume the authorship is disputed, on the authority of Dr Styles, who, in a biography which he had written of Miss Parken 's brother, made mention of the poem as being hers. In the "Gentleman's Magazine" for December 1823 , Mr Lowthian (I should have said, under the signature of Omicron in both instances) again adverted to the authorship of "To-morrow;" and, it would appear, had invited Dr Styles in a former communication to give up the sources of his information that the poem in question was Miss Parken 's; but it seems that gentleman had not complied with the invitation. That it is Miss Blamire's I am firmly persuaded, and for the reasons already produced. Miss Stubbs had the kindness to favour me with a copy of the poem, which she extracted from her mother's commonplace-book, verbatim as that printed by the Rev. Mr Lowthian, with the exception of the last line in the last stanza, which ending in "to-morrow" ought to have been "to-day:"-- the same mistake appears in Mrs Brown's copy. It is possible that Miss Parken might have seen the poem, and have taken a copy of it, as being soothing to her feelings, and suited to her infirm health; for Mr Montgomery informs us that she died young in 1811, and thus the mistake of her being the author of it might have originated.
The second dispute is with the song "O dinna think, my bonnie lass," at page 246. It so happens that Hector Macneill, the ingenious author of "Will and Jean," and of numerous and deservedly popular poems and songs, has one directly of the same title, the hint of which seems evidently to have been taken from this; there can be no mistake of the paternity. Mr Stenhouse informs us that Macneill said to him, the cause why he had not included this song in the uniform edition of his poetical works was, that "Mr John Hamilton, music-seller in Edinburgh, took the liberty to add to it (the last stanza), and to publish it as a sheet song." Now, I wish to impute no motive beyond what the amiable author in question has stated; but I cannot help thinking that there must have been some impression lurking in his memory, that he had heard some part of the song before he began to work it out on his own plan.
I have now finished my task; and having finished it, I cannot help wishing it had fallen into better hands: but this I must say for myself, that with me it has been a labour of love. The earnest object of my juvenile days was to collect the writings of a lady who had awakened my young mind to the beauties of poetry; and I cannot but rejoice that it has been my lot, in mature
age, to be the humble instrument of giving them to
the world. I now leave them to their fate, conscious
that "The Muse of Cumberland" will be the favourite
of many yet unborn; and shall conclude by saying to
the rising generation, in the words of her own undying
When time has past, and seasons fled,
Your hearts will feel like mine;
And aye the sang will maist delight
That minds ye o' langsyne !
FROM where dark clouds of curling smoke arise,
And the tall column mounts into the skies;
Where the grim arches of the forge appear,
Whose fluted pillars prop the thickening air;
Where domes of peers and humble roofs are found
Alike to spread their mingled vapours round;
From denser air and busy towns I run,
To catch a glimpse of the unclouded sun;
Foe to the toils which wealth and pomp create,
And all the hard-wrought tinsel of the great.
Aurora now had left her crimson bed,
And the sky glowed with pure reflected red;
The moving stars withdrew their timorous light,
As her gilt chariot burst upon the sight;
The glittering pearls that gentle Eve had born,
Were all adorning the sweet brow of Morn;
And every shrub, and every opening flower,
Unlock'd some jewel for the rising hour.
Meanwhile unseen the fragrant zephyr flew,
And gather'd essence from the balmy dew;
I wander'd on, till Fancy bade me stay,
And spend with Health and her one holiday.
Where the clear stream its useful tenor holds,
And the shorn flocks come whiten'd from the folds;
Where on each side the cottages are seen,
Which orchards shelter, and which poplars screen;
There many an apple, in autumnal pride,
Glows with red cheek, and blushes side by side;
Which with nice care is lock'd in oaken chest,
Till Christmas comes, and tarts draw out the feast.
Nor does the garden useful herbs deny,
Fenc'd round with thorns that point their spears on high;
There the thyme blows, from which brown bees distil
The sweets that all their waxen storehouse fill.
The parsley next extends its useful row,
And marjorum sweet is ever taught to grow;
Next balm, and sage, and hyssop, physic yield,
With cordial mint, the doctor of the field.
There spreading cabbage all their strength produce,
And take firm root to stand for winter's use.
Carrots and turnips Sunday-feasts, supply,
Till blest potatoes meet the thankful eye.
There the tall pea in stately grandeur stalks,
And humbler bean midst her own fragrance walks.
The ripening currant many a warbler brings,
'Mongst whom the blackbird spreads his sooty wings.
But O ! forbear with lure or artful snare
To trap this sweetest songster of the air,
Nor quench in darkness his quick visual ray,
Shut out from liberty and glorious day.
Enough, enough ! while to the cage confin'd,
Through all the house his wilding wood-notes wind;
Let him at least the gift of light retain,
Nor hear his whistling pipe with conscious pain !
And, look, where ornament her care bestows !
Above the lily nods the blushing rose,
The fringing poppy and the peony vie
Which shall look gayest in the village eye.
Nor think not these unmeet for Sunday's pride,
When with a woollen thread the nosegay's tied !
There southernweed, and thyme, like broom, behold
Spreading their shade o'er the dark marigold.
Sweetwilliam next, in wig of early pride,
Smiles on himself as if his bob he eyed;
The rose and lily round the posy stray,
And in the church waft faintness far away,
When tir'd with walking many a sultry morn
Through new cut hay, or fields of standing corn;
E'en while at prayers a sudden chillness steals,
And all the heart the creeping sickness feels;
No salts are there,--yet thyme and mint renew
The wasting sense, and cheer from pew to pew.
But now the sun sends forth his scorching rays,
And the hot cattle startling cease to graze;
While to the pool, or darkest shade they hie,
And with the scourging tail whip off th' offending fly.
Along the path that winds around the hill
You lose the milkmaid--though you hear her still.
At the last fair she caught yon thrilling lay,
And now the woods repeat "Auld Robin Gray."*
The waving pail swims lightly on her head,
For equal steps to measur'd music tread.
Adown the stream where woods begin to throw
Their verdant arms around the rocks below,
A rustic bridge across the tide is thrown,
Where briars and woodbine hide the hoary stone,
A simple arch salutes th' admiring eye,
And the mill's clack the tumbling waves supply.
But lest society some loss should share,
And nearest neighbours lack their neighbour's fare,
The tottering step-stones cross the stream are laid,
O'er which trips lightly many a busy maid,
And many a matron, when one failing cow
Bids no big cheese within the cheese-vat grow,
Their wealthier neighbour then, her bowls to swell,
Will gladly take what they as gladly sell.
The morning toils are now completely o'er,
The bowls well scalded, and well swept the floor.
The daughter at the needle plies the seam,
While the good mother hastens to the stream:
There the long webs, that wintry moons began,
Lie stretch'd and beaming in the summer's sun;
And lest he scorch them in his fervid hours,
She scoops along the nice conducted showers;
Till like the snow, that tips the mountain's height,
The brown's dull shade gives place to purest white;
While her sweet child knee-deep is wading seen,
Picking bright stones, or tumbling on the green.
But now the sun's bright whirling wheels appear
On the broad front of noon, in full career,
A sign more welcome hangs not in the air,
For now the sister's call the brothers hear;
Dinner's the word, and every cave around
Devours the voice, and feasts upon the sound.
'Tis dinner, father ! all the brothers cry,
Throw down the spade, and heave the pickaxe by;
'Tis dinner, father ! home they panting go,
While the tired parent still pants on more slow.
Now the fried rasher meets them on the way,
And savoury pancakes welcome steams convey.
Their pace they mend, till at the pump they stand,
Deluge the face, and purify the hand,
And then to dinner. There the women wait,
And the tired father fills his chair of state;
Smoking potatoes meet their thankful eyes,
And Hunger wafts the grateful sacrifice;
To her libations of sweet milk are pour'd,
And Peace and Plenty watch around the board.
Now, till the sun has somewhat sunk in height,
Yet long before he dips his wheels in night,
The nut-brown labourers their senses steep
In the soft dews of renovating sleep;
The worthy sire to the soft bed repairs,
The sons beneath the shade forget their cares.
The clock strikes two, it beats upon the ear,
And soon the parent's anxious voice they hear;
Come, come, my lads, you must not sleep all day !
They rub their eyes, start up, then stalk away.
But let me not at twelve forget to eye
The learned school-dame's jumping, shrill-ton'd fry.
Some near at home to dinner dancing run,
Eager for play when the repast is done;
Others more distant, bring their satchel'd fare
Safely infolded by a mother's care.
On a wood trencher stands the tower-like pie,
While bread and cheese form battlements on high;
A crust for 'tween-meals in a corner stows,
And guarded butter oaten-cakes enclose;
And shining tin-flasks of new milk, which seem
Best to demand the name of good thick cream !
The dinner done; the happy train so gay,
In various groups disperse to various play;
Some to the hounded-hare the sinews strain,
And fleet as greyhounds scour along the plain.
At last the hare through all her windings caught
Gets leave to breathe, and breath brings change of thought;
For races some, but more for foot-ball cry,
Mark out their ground, and toss the globe on high;
The well fought field deals many a galling stroke,
And many a chief's o'erthrown, and many a shin is broke.
These active feats, while manly imps essay,
The gentler sex choose out a gentler play;
They form a smiling circle on the green,
Where chuckstones, dolls, and totums, all are seen;
A nest of linnets, a few happy elves,
Run home to see if yet they pick themselves,
Though but an hour ago their throats they cramm'd,
And chirp'd, and cheep'd, and well the mother shamm'd.
Escap'd in happy hour from rod-taught lore,
Their books forgot, nor work remember'd more;
All share the joy, but one imprison'd slave,
Who from offended worth no boon would save.
The dame he said was like a clocking hen,
Who ne'er would let them out when it did rain;
And if again his hands she dar'd to switch,
He'd call her to her face a wrinkl'd witch.
This told a wheedler, much dislik'd by all,
Whom in abhorrence they tale-pyet call,
Who for a raisin or a fig would tell
Faults of a brother he lov'd ne'er so well;
Th' offender's soul no threaten'd pain unbends,
Nor with the dame will his proud heart be friends,
He loves her not; for this the hour of play,
And much-wish'd dinner, both are snatch'd away.
And now the dame in neat white mob is seen,
Her russet gown, silk kerchief, apron clean,
At the school door her tremulous voice is heard,
And the blithe game's unwillingly deferr'd.
From noon till morn rests female toil; save come
The evening hours when lowing cows draw home.
Now the good neighbour walks her friend to see,
And knit an hour, and drink a dish of tea.
She comes unlook'd for,--wheat-bread is to seek,
The baker has none, got no yeast last week;
And little Peggy thinks herself ill sped,
Though she has got a great piece gingerbread.
Home she returns, but disappointment's trace
Darkens her eye, and lengthens all her face;
She whispers lowly in her sister's ear,
Scarce can restrain the glistening, swelling tear.
The mother marks, and to the milk-house goes,
Blythe Peggy smiles, she well the errand knows
There from the bowl where cream so coolly swims,
The future butter generously skims,
And, flour commixing, forms a rural bread
That for the wheaten loaf oft stands in stead;
Cup after cup sends steaming circles round,
And oft the weak tea's in the full pot drown'd;
It matters not, for while their news they tell
The mind's content, and all things move on well.
The sun has now his saffron robe put on,
Stept from his chariot that with rubies shone,
The glittering monarch gains the western gate,
And for a moment shines in regal state;
His streaming mantle floats along the sky,
While he glides softly from the gazing eye;
From saffron tinge to yellow soon it flew,
Sea-green the next, and then to darkest blue.
Now different cares employ the village train,
The rich in cattle press the milky vein;
When, lo ! a voice sends direful notes around,
And sharp vexation mingles in the sound;
'Tis little Peggy, she the pail would fill,
And on old Hawky try her early skill.
She strok'd and clapp'd her, but she'd not allow;
The well known hand best pleased the knowing cow;
Tho' cabbage leaves before her band was cast,
Hawky refus'd the coaxing rich repast;
And when the little hand unapt she found,
She kick'd, and whelm'd her on the slippery ground.
Along yon hedge now mouldering and decay'd,
In gather'd heaps you see the fragments laid;
Piled up with care to swell the nightly blaze,
And in the widow's hut a fire to raise.
See where she comes with her blue apron full,
Crown'd with some scatter'd locks of dingy wool.
In years she seems, and on her well patch'd clothes
Want much has added to her other woes.
There is a poor-house; but some little pride
Forbids her there her humbled head to hide;
O'er former scenes of better days she runs,
And every thing like degradation shuns !
Now hooded Eve slow gliding comes in view,
Busied in threading pearls of diamond dew;
Waking the flowers that early close the eye,
And giving drops to those that else would die.
And what is man but such a tender flower,
That buds, blooms, fades, and dies within the hour ?
Where round yon cottage the rosemary grows,
And turncap lilies flaunt beside the rose,
Two aged females turn the weary wheel,
And, as they turn, their slumbering thoughts reveal:
"How long is't, think ye, since th' old style was lost
Poor England may remember't to her cost !
E'er since that time the weather has grown cold,
(For Jane forgets that she is now grown old).
I knew when I liv'd servant at Woodmile,
So scorching hot the weather was in April,
The cows would startle, and by ten o'clock
My master us'd his horses to unyoke;
'Tis not so now; the sun has lost its power;
The very apples now-a-days are sour !
Could not the Parson tell the reason why
There are such changes both in earth and sky ?"
"'Tis not these only," Margaret replied,
"For many a change besides have I espied.
Look at the girls !--they all dress now-a-days
Like them fine folk who act them nonsense plays !
No more the decent mob surrounds the face,
Border'd with edging, or bit good bone-lace;
Gauze flappets soon--that will not last a day--
We'll see them flaunting whilst they're making hay !
All things are chang'd, the world's turned upside down,
And every servant wears a cotton gown,
Bit flimsy things, that have no strength to wear,
And will like any blotting-paper tear !
I made my Nelly a half-worsted gown,
She slighting told me 't would not do in town !
This pride ! this pride ! it sure must have a fall,
And bring some heavy judgment on us all !
They're grown so bold too, and their lads allow,
When courting them, to skulk behind a cow,
Till all's in bed. My John, when courting me,
Us'd after supper to come manfully;
For oft he us'd to say he knew no place
Where honesty need fear to shew its face.
No more it need ! My master us'd to cry,--
He fear'd but two things--to turn thief, and lie."
The leading crow her colony brings home,
And two by two they seek their leafy dome.
Of all the branches that invite to rest,
Each loves the one that hangs above its nest;
What though of rudest architecture made,
Nor thorns surrounding nor with clay inlaid,
Yet 'tis the spot where infant days began,
That thus attaches both the crow and man !
Now on the green the youth their gambols keep,
Stretching their sinews in the bounding leap;
Others the wrestler's glory would maintain,
Twist the strong nerve and fill the swelling vein;
One youth his pipe blows from the rocky hill,
Seated like Pan above the clacking mill;
Another strikes the violin's cheerful string,
Light to the dance the bounding virgins spring:
'Tis most part nature, yet some art is found
When one--two--three lies heavy on the ground;
For 'tis not airy feet which seem to fly,
Then come descended quivering from the sky,
Nor form that every Grace was known to bend,
Nor foot that every feathered Hour would lend,
Has any merit here;--but feet of sound,
Which tabour-like re-echo on the ground;
Or as the drum a certain sound repeats,
Flutters now low, and then in thunder beats;
From Nature and from Art how wide the sphere
Courts unimprov'd would be what you see here.
Now Eve had sprinkled every flower with dew,
And her gauze hood was wet and dripping through;
A light grey cloak to the warm fleece allied,
Her chilly fingers close and closer tied,
That, with a fur-lined cap, the ears' delight,
Was given her by her elder sister Night.
From walks retired, that shun the inquiring view,
A faithful couple to the shades withdrew.
The maid had every blush that bloom can give,
Where youth fresh glowing bids the blossom live,
And the fair cheek, with lilies all bespread,
Shades the full rose, and hides its bolder red,
Pure as the drop that in the early morn
Hangs with such sweetness smiling on the thorn,
Artless as youth before the cranky wile
Shadows the frown, or plays within the smile;
She moves, the wonder of the rural plain,
And many a sigh steals to her ear in vain.
A youth there was like her, of better mould,
Whose soul deem'd lightly of the weight of gold.
Around his birth some favouring fortune shone,
Which some call merit, though no way their own;
The Church was laid out as his rising line,
Himself delighting in the text divine;
That text, at home by country masters taught,
Might stint the learning but keep back the fault,
For sure great knowledge we should all despise,
Unless the man be virtuous as he's wise.
The mother's eye had long o'er all her son
With many a fear, and much observance run,
Seen where beneath the elms a path was worn,--
Mark'd him at pensive eve, and laughing morn
Still seek the shade,--now with sad step, and slow,
With folded arms, and head declining low;
Then livelier thoughts awake a quicker pace,
And hope breaks out and glows along his face.
Thus to the partner of her thirty years
She soft began:--Thou calmer of my fears,
Oft has thy firmer mind my sorrows stilled,
As from thy lips thy better sense distilled,
Hast thou observ'd our dearest hope of late ?
Whose spirits flag with some uncommon weight,--
Some secret anguish sickens o'er his soul,
And silent night has seen the torrent roll,
The wandering stream has from his eyelids crept,
And his moist pillow shown he has not slept.
My life, rejoin'd the father, in thy mind
The mist of tenderness the optics blind,
Imagin'd ills from feeling ever flow,
All things look big when seen through clouds of woe;
I've mark'd no difference save what study brings,
They all turn grave who search the source of things.
This not believing, ceas'd she to reply,
But still sent forth her keen inquiring eye,
Mark'd when sweet Anna's name breath'd in the sound,
How quick his eye sprung from the thoughtful ground;
And when just praise the beauteous maid would grace,
Joy smooth'd his brow, and blushes dyed his face.
This wak'd suspicion--rumour told the whole,
And now she knew what sicken'd o'er his soul.
The father skill'd in all the ways of man,
Thus, to his mate affectionate, began:
In all distempers of the feverish mind,
The greatest good from change of scene we find.
Tho' one dear object, touchstone of our woe,
Seems to go with us wheresoe'er we go,
Yet gay variety divides the view,--
Spite of ourselves we gaze at what is new;
Back-turning thought will far-past scenes survey,
That fainter grow, worn out by length of way;
A softer mist o'er every object spreads,
Figures grow dim, and towers scarce shew their heads:
Back-turning thought strains his sunk hollow eye,
But scenes retire, and dearest objects fly;
He lags no more--by soft degrees is stole
The keenest anguish that inwraps the soul.
To college, then, our sorrowing son shall go,
New loves, or friends, shall wear out all his woe;
Ideas changing as new views arise
Let in new light, and almost change the eyes;
Objects adored, that matchless seem'd before,
Excite no wonder, and delight no more.
The mother sigh'd, the starting tear withheld,
To her fond partner ever fond to yield;
Nor ever felt she what is call'd command,
His wish grew hers in magic quickness bland.
And now Pretence had whisper'd to the maid
Thro' all the wood her new wash'd flock had stray'd;
The youth too sought the shade in hopes to clear
Her pearl-set eye that hung with many a tear.
Far from the uproar of the loud cascade,
Where the slow stream crept softly to the shade,
Beneath a rock with venturous trees o'erhung,
That seem by some enchantment to have sprang,
For the scant soil nor moss nor grass bestows,
But yawning cliffs the sinewy roots expose;
There on her cheek the roses felt the dew,
Which drop by drop extracts their softest hue:
"Why weeps my Anna ? Sure she knows this heart,
And knows in absence we but seem to part;
Though mountains rise, and the slow weary day
Draws out the journey a long length of way,
Yet trust me, Anna, still my soul shall be
Chain'd to thy soul, and never part from thee !"
Sweet Anna shook her head--sad sighs oppose
The labouring words that to the threshold rose;
The lip kept moving, but no accent fell,
Yet the round tear perhaps can speak as well.
"O cease, my Anna, or declare thy fears,
I cannot, cannot bear these softening tears !
What have I done to tempt thy generous mind
To form a thought that I can grow unkind ?"
"Nothing"--she sobb'd,--"but--but it cannot be--
But every eye must take delight in thee !
Some maid whom education softens o'er,
To whose rich mind each day keeps adding more;
Whose winning manners mixed with every grace,
Invite the eye, and keep it from the face,--
And, when she speaks, Persuasion's lyre is strung,
And the sweet words come warbling from her tongue;
If such a one thy heart in fetters hold,--
For I have not one fear from sordid gold,
I shall not blame my William,--still may he
Taste every bless, whate'er becomes of me."
"Dearest of women," William thus rejoined,
"How can such fears e'er cloud so bright a mind !
In finer arts I know some may excel,
Some have more grace, and some few speak as well
Yet the sweet accent will but thrill my ear,
Trust me, my Anna, 't will not reach me here.
This heart is thine, and every faithful chord
Will only vibrate to thy well known word:
From infant years thy growing worth I've known,
Our wish the same, and our delights but one;
Believest thou this ? The winged hours shall press
One after one, to crown my happiness;
The day shall come when I shall claim my own,
And freely to the world my love make known."
So saying, to their homes they separate go,
He more at ease--she something less in woe.
In this gay village hangs a wonderous sign,
The Hounds and Hare are the immense design.
There hunters crack their whips, and seem to bound
O'er every hedge, nor touch the mimic ground;
The huntsman winds his horn, his big cheeks swell,
And whippers-in make lagging terriers yell;
The sportive scene tempts many a wight to stay,
As to the school he drags th' unwilling way.
Around the front inviting benches wait,
Conscious of many a glass and sage debate;
The great man of the village cracks his joke,
Reads o'er the news, and whiffs the curling smoke;
Tells tales of old, and nods, and heaves the can,
Makes fixed decrees, and seems much more than man.
"Come, Jack, sit down. Thy father, man, and me,
Broke many a glass, and many a freak had we.
'Twas when he sought thy mother, at Carel Fair
(I mind the corn was very bad that year)
We met thy mother and my wife i' the street,
And took them into Beck's to get a treat;
Blind Joseph played, and I took out thy mother,
Thy father, he was shy, he got another;
And when I took her back, as you may see,
I whipp'd her blushing on thy father's knee.
Then in came Robin Bell, who lik'd her too,
And bit his lip, and turn'd both red and blue,
Teas'd her to dance, as you may see, and then
Kept her himself, nor brought her back again.
I fir'd at this, while up thy father rose,
Gave him a kick, and tweak'd him by the nose.
They stripped to fight, as you may see, and I
In seeing fair play got a blacken'd eye;
I durst not shew my face at home next day,
But bade my mother say I went away,
But kept my bed, i'fegs, as you may see;
Who is it now fights for their lasses ? eh !"
The blacksmith laugh'd, the cobbler gave a smile,
And the pleas'd tailor scratch'd his head the while.
But hark ! what sounds of mingl'd joy and woe
From yon poor cottage bursting seem to flow.
'Tis honest Sarah. Sixpence-Harry's come,
And, after all his toils, got safely home.
"Welcome, old soldier, welcome from the wars !
Honour the man, my lads, seam'd o'er with scars !
Come give's thy hand, and bring the t' other can,
And tell us all thou'st done, and seen, my man."
Now expectation stares in every eye,
The jaw falls down, and every soul draws nigh,
With ear turn'd up, and head held all awry.
"Why, sir, the papers tell you all that's done,
What battle's lost, and what is hardly won.
But when the eye looks into private woes,
And sees the grief that from one battle flows,
Small cause of triumph can the bravest feel,
For never yet were brave hearts made of steel.
It happen'd once, in storming of a town,
When our bold men had push'd the ramparts down,
We found them starving, the last loaf was gone,
Beef was exhausted, and they flour had none;
Their springs we drain, to ditches yet they fly--
The stagnant ditch lent treacherous supply;
For soon the putrid source their blood distains,
And the quick fever hastens through their veins.
In the same room the dying and the dead--
Nay, sometimes, even in the self-same bed,--
You saw the mother with her children lie,
None but the father left to close the sunken eye.
In a dark corner, once myself I found
A youth whose blood was pouring through the wound;
No sister's hand, no tender mother's eye
To stanch that wound was fondly watching by;
Famine had done her work, and low were laid
The loving mother and the blooming maid.
He rais'd his eyes, and bade me strike the blow,
I've nought to lose, he cried, so fear no foe;
No foe is near, I softly made reply,
A soldier, friend, would save and not destroy.
A drop of cordial in my flask I found;
(And I myself am sovereign for a wound;
I'll bleed you all, lads ! if you should be ill,
And in the toothache I've no little skill.
Our drummer too, poor man, dealt much in horns,
And I've his very knack of cutting corns.)
Well; as I dress'd the youth, I found 'twas he
That oft had charm'd the sentinels and me;
From post to post like lightning he would fly,
And pour down thunder from his red-hot sky;
We prais'd him for't,--so I my captain told,
For well I knew he lik'd the foe that's bold;
So then the surgeon took him in his charge,
And the captain made him prisoner at large."
"Was he a Spanishman, or Frenchman, whether ?
But it's no matter; they're all rogues together !"
"You're much mistaken: Goodness I have found
Spring like the grass that clothes the common ground;
Some more, some less, you know, grows every where;
Some soils are fertile, and some are but bare.
Nay, 'mongst the Indians I've found kindly cheer,
And as much pity as I could do here !
Once in their woods I stray'd a length of way,
And thought I'd known the path that homeward lay;
We'd gone to forage, but I lost the rest,
Which, till quite out of hearing, never guess'd.
I hollow'd loud, some voices made reply,
But not my comrades; not one friend was nigh.
Some men appear'd, their faces painted o'er,
The wampum-belt, and tomahawk they bore;
Their ears were hung with beads, that largely spread
A breadth of wing, and cover'd half the head.
I kiss'd the ground; one older than the rest
Stepp'd forth, and laid his hand upon my breast,
Then seiz'd my arms, and sign'd that I should go,
And learn with them to bend the sturdy bow:
I bow'd and follow'd; sadly did I mourn,
And never more expected to return."
Here Sarah sobb'd, and stepp'd behind the door,
And with her tears bedew'd the dusty floor.
"We travell'd on some days through woods alone,
At length we reach'd their happy silent home.
A few green acres the whole plot compose,
Which woods surround, and fencing rocks enclose,
Skirting whose banks, a river fond of play
Sometimes stood still, and sometimes ran away;
The branching deer would drink the dimpl'd tide,
And crop the wild herbs on its flowery side,--
Around the silent hut would sometimes stray,
Then, at the sight of man, bound swift away;
But all in vain; the hunter's flying dart
Springs from the bow, and quivers in the heart.
A mother and four daughters here we found,
With shells encircled, and with feathers crown'd,
Bright pebbles shone amidst the plaited hair,
While lesser shells surround the moon-like ear.
With screams at sight of me away they flew
(For fear or pleasure springs from what is new);
Then, to their brothers, screaming still they ran,
Thinking my clothes and me the self-same man;
When bolder grown, they ventur'd something near,
Light touch'd my coat, but started back with fear.
When time and use had chas'd their fears away,
And I had learned some few short words to say,
They oft would tell me, would I but allow
The rampant lion to o'erhang my brow,
And on my cheek the spotted leopard wear,
Stretch out my ears, and let my arms go bare."
"O mercy on us ?" cried the listeners round,
Their gaping wonder bursting into sound.
"Tho' different in their manners, yet their heart
Was equal mine in every better part.
Brave to a fault, if courage fault can be;
Kind to their fellows, doubly kind to me.
Some little arts my travell'd judgment taught,
Which, tho' a prize to them, seem'd greater than they ought.
"Needless with bows for me the woods to roam,
I therefore tried to do some good at home.
The birds, or deer, or boars, were all their food,
Save the swift salmon of the silver flood;
And when long storms the winter-stores would drain,
Hunger might ask the stinted meal in vain.
Some goats I saw that brows'd the rocks among,
And oft I thought to trap their playful young;
But not till first a fencing hedge surrounds
Their future fields, and the enclosure bounds;
For many a father owns a hatchet here,
Which falls descending to his wealthy heir.
The playful kid we from the pitfall bring,
O'erspread with earth, and many a tempting thing;
Light lay the branches o'er the treacherous deep,
And favourite herbs among the long grass creep.
The little prisoner soon is taught to stand,
And crop the food from the betrayer's hand.
A winter-store now rose up to their view,
And in another field the clover grew;
But, without scythes or hooks, how could we lay
The ridgy swathe and turn it into hay;
At last, of stone we form'd a sort of spade,
Broad at the end, and sharp, for cutting made;
We push'd along, the tender grass gave way,
And soon the sun turn'd every pile to hay.
It was not long before the flocks increased,
And I first gave the unknown milky feast.
Some clay I found, and useful bowls I made,
Tho', I must own, I marr'd the potter's trade;
Yet use is every thing--they did the same
As if from China the rude vessels came.
The curdling cheese I taught them next to press;
And twirl'd on strings the roasting meat to dress.
In all the woods the Indian corn was found,
Whose grains I scatter'd in the faithful ground;
The willing soil leaves little here to do,
Or asks the furrows of the searching plough;
Yet something like one with delight I made,
For tedious are the labours of the spade,
The coulter and the sock were pointed stone,
The eager brothers drew the traces on,
I stalk'd behind, and threw the faithful grain,
And wooden harrows closed the earth again:
Soon sprung the seed, and soon 'twas in the ear,
Nor wait the golden sheaves the falling year;
In this vast clime two harvests lead the field,
And fifty crops th' exhaustless soil can yield.
"Some bricks I burnt, and now a house arose,
Finer than aught the Indian chieftain knows;
A wicker door, with clay-like plaster lin'd,
Serv'd to exclude the piercing wintry wind;
A horn-glaz'd window gave a scanty light,
But lamps cheer'd up the gloom of lengthen'd night;
The cotton shrub through all the woods had run,
And plenteous wicks our rocks and spindles spun.
Around their fields the yam I taught to grow,
With all the fruits they either love or know.
The bed I rais'd from the damp earth, and now
Some little comfort walk'd our dwelling through.
My fame was spread: the neighbouring Indians came,
View'd all our works, and strove to do the same.
The wampum-belt my growing fame records,
That tells great actions without help of words.
I gain'd much honour, and each friend would bring
'Mong various presents many a high-priz'd thing.
And when, with many a prayer, I ask once more
To seek my friends, and wander to the shore,
They all consent,--but drop a sorrowing tear,
While many a friend his load of skins would bear.
Riches were mine; but fate will'd it not
They grew the treasure of the Spanish foe;
My Indian friends threw down their fleecy load,
And, like the bounding elk, leap'd back into the wood.
"What though a prisoner ! countrymen I found,
Heard my own tongue, and bless'd the cheerful sound;
It seem'd to me as if my home was there,
And every dearest friend would soon appear.
At length a cartel gave us back to share
The wounds and dangers of a bloody war.
Peace dawn'd at last, and now the sails were spread,
Some climb the ship unhurt, some few half dead.
Not this afflicts the gallant soldier's mind,
What is't to him tho' limbs are left behind !
Chelsea a crutch and bench will yet supply,
And be the veteran's dear lost limb and eye !
"When English ground first struck the sailor's view,
Huzza ! for England, roar'd the jovial crew.
The waving crutch leaped up in every hand,
While one poor leg was left alone to stand;
The very name another limb bestows,
And through the artery the blood now flows.
We reach'd the shore, and kiss'd the much-lov'd ground,
And fondly fancied friends would crowd around;
But few with wretchedness acquaintance claim,
And little pride is every where the same.
"In coming down, the seeing eye of day
Darken'd around me, and I lost my way.
Where'er a light shot glimmering through the trees,
I thither urg'd my weary trembling knees,
Tapp'd at the door, and begg'd, in piteous tone,
They'd let a wandering soldier find his home;
They barr'd the door, and bade me beg elsewhere,
They'd no spare beds for vagabonds to share.
This was the tale where'er I made a halt,
And greater houses grew upon the fault;
The dog was loos'd to keep me far at bay,
And saucy footmen bade me walk away,
Or else a constable should find a home
For wandering captains from the wars new come.
Alas ! thought I, is this the soldier's praise
For loss of health, of limb, and length of days ?
And is this England ?--England, my delight !
For whom I thought it glory but to fight--
That has no covert for the soldier's night !
I turn'd half fainting, led through all the gloom
By the faint glimmerings of the clouded moon.
One path I kept, that seem'd at times to end,
And oft refus'd the guiding clew to lend;
The thread unhop'd as oft again I found,
Till it forsook the open fields around;
By slow degrees, to towering woods it crept,
As if beneath their shade it nightly slept.
I here had halted, lest some beasts of prey,
In midnight theft, had pac'd the treacherous way,
But that a twinkling light sometimes appear'd,
Sometimes grew dim, and sometimes brightly clear'd
This could not be the lure of beasts of prey;
They know no art of imitating day,
Much pleas'd I thought. The mazy path yet led
Through shrubby copse, by taller trees o'erspread;
A wimpling rill ran on, and wreath'd its way
Through tufts of flowers, that made its borders gay;
And now a rock the parting leaves unfold,
On which a withering oak had long grown old,
The curling ivy oft attempts to hide
Its sad decay, with robes of verdant pride,
Yet through her leafy garb the eye can peer,
And see it buys the youthful dress too dear.
A hollow cavern now methought I spied,
Where clustering grapes came wandering down its side,
Between whose leaves a ray of light would dart,
That both rejoic'd and terrified my heart.
I ventur'd in,--my breath I scarcely drew,
Nought save a taper met my wondering view;
An inner cavern beamed with fuller light,
And gave a holy hermit to my sight;
Himself and Piety seem'd but the same,
And Wisdom for grey hairs another name;
Some traces yet of sorrow might be found,
That o'er his features walk'd their pensive round;
Devotion seem'd to bid them not to stray,
But human feelings gave the wanderers way.
His eye he rais'd from the instructive page,
An eye more sunk by wearing grief than age;
Surprise a moment o'er his features spread,
And gave them back their once accustom'd red."
"Welcome my son--a hermit's welcome share,
And let the welcome mend the scanty fare.
A soldier's toils the softest couch requires,
The strengthening food, and renovating fires;
Not such the hermit's needy cell bestows,
Pamper'd alone by luxury of woes,
The falling tears bedew the crusty bread,
And the moss pillow props the weary head;
The limpid brook the heats of thirst allay,
And gather'd fruits the toilsome search repay;
When hunger calls, these are a feastful store,
And languid Sorrow asks for nothing more;
Sufficient that her eye unseen can weep,
Stream while awake, and flow yet more in sleep.
'Tis now twelve years since Solitude first drew
Her closing curtain round my opening view,
Since first I left my once delightful home,
Along with Grief and Solitude to roam."
Much I express'd my wonder, how a mind
So stor'd as his could herd from all mankind.
"You speak," he said, "like one whose soul is free,
Slave to no wish, nor chain'd to misery.
When ceaseless anguish clouds the summer's sky,
And fairest prospects tarnish in the eye;
When cheerful scenes spread every lure in vain,
And sweet Society but adds to pain;
When weeping Memory incessant brings
The sad reversion of all former things,
And show-like Fancy all her colouring lends,
To gild those views that opened with our friends:
When joyful days through the whole year would run,
And Mirth set out and travel with the sun;
When Youth and Pleasure hand in hand would stray,
And every month was little less than May;
When changing Fortune shifts th' incessant scene,
And only points to where our joys have been,
Is it a wonder from the world we run,
And all its fleeting empty pageants shun ?
"There is a something in a well known view,
That seems to shew our long past pleasures through;
Sure in the eye a fairy land is found,
When former scenes bring former friends around.
Let but the woods, the rocks, the streams appear,
And every friend you see and think you hear;
Their words, their dress, their every look, you find
Swell to the sight, and burst upon the mind;
Though many a spring has lent the blossom gay,
And many an autumn blown the leaf away,
Unchang'd the lasting images remain,
Of which Remembrance ever holds the chain.
E'en the mind's eye a glassy mirror shews,
And far too deeply her bold pencil draws;
The life-like pictures rise before the sight,
Glow through the day, and sparkle through the night.
Ah ! sure e'en now my Ethelind appears,
Though dimly seen through this sad vale of tears.
That winning form, where elegance has wove
The thousand softnesses of gentlest love;
That meaning eye, that artless blushing cheek,
Which leaves so little for the tongue to speak;
The nameless graces of her polish'd mind;
That laughing wit, and serious sense refined;
That altogether which no art can reach,
And which 'tis nature's very rare to teach;
That nameless something which pervades the soul,
Wins not by halves, but captivates the whole;
Yet, if one feature shone before the rest,
'Twas surely Pity by Religion drest.
Have I not seen the softly stealing tear,
Hung in her eye, like gem in Ethiop's ear !
Whilst the dark orb the glittering diamond shed,
From her fair cheek the frighten'd roses fled,
Asham'd that, such a gem so sweetly clear,
Aught, save the lily, should presume to wear.
"Sure there's a pleasure in recounting woes !
And some relief in every tear that flows !
Else why call back those days for ever flown,
And with them every joy this heart can own ?
Pleasure and pain is the sad mixture still,
Taste but the good, and you must taste the ill;
Dear Recollection is a sorceress fair
That brings up pleasures livelier than they were;
Delighted Fancy dwells upon the view,
Compares old scenes with what she meets with new;
The present hour grows dull, her charms decay,
And, one by one, drop silently away.
Neglect succeeds--Neglect, the worst of foes,
That married love or single friendship knows,
Whose torpid soul congeal'd in stupor lies,
Nor sees one charm, nor hears the smothering sighs;
Sees not the hourly load of comforts brought
By fond affection, watching every thought,
Nor the heart beating with the wish to please,--
Cold, cold Neglect, nor hears, nor feels, nor sees !
"Thus, in the present hour too, oft slides by
The many a charm that might detain the eye;
But just as if from woes we could not part,
We veil the sight, and close shut up the heart;
So I myself would ne'er forget the day
When Ethelinda vowed her heart away.
Our births were equal, but exalted views
For the fair daughter bade the sire refuse.
O'er seas I roam, in quest of much-priz'd wealth,
Though, after all, the greatest good is health !
Where'er I roam'd, my Ethelind was there,
My soul's companion join'd me every where;
Whatever scenes entrapped my travelling eye,
My fancied Ethelind stood smiling by,
Her just opinion met my listening ear,
And her remarks on men, and climes, I hear.
This was not absence, or it was a dream,
Which, though unreal, yet would real seem.
Each day the tongue-like pen some story told,
Of growing love, or less increasing gold;
Yet fortune frown'd not; and, in lengthening time,
One day I saw that mark'd her to be mine.
Hail ! heaven-taught letters, that through years convey
The deathless thought, as if just breath'd to-day !
That gives the converse of an absent friend,
And, for a moment, makes that absence end;
For, while the eager eyes the lines run o'er,
Distance steps back, and drags the chain no more;
For one short moment the dear friends we see
Close by our side, just as they used to be.
Such sweet delusions are not form'd to last,
And Fancy's visions far too soon are past.
No such delights my heart-wrote lines attend,
They met the hand of a deceitful friend;
Her brother, anxious for a lord's success,
Thought it no sin to blast my happiness,
Kept up my letters, and base stories told,
That I had sold myself to age, and gold.
Her good opinion baffled long the tale,
And love for long kept down the struggling scale.
But when, from year to year, Hope pointed on,
And the last hope with the last year was gone,
She tried to think I must be base, and strove
To scorn the man who could give up her love;
Yet her soft heart no other flame confessed,
It lodged the tenant of her faithful breast.
"Home I return'd, much wearied out with woes,
And every fear that fretful silence knows.
Fear for her death was far my greatest dread;
How could I bear to think her with the dead !
Did she but live, methought my griefs might end,
When the warm lover cool'd into the friend.
I reach'd my home, and quick inquiries made,
Found her unmarried--found she was not dead.
And now, to know the cause of all my woe,
With hope and fear, and joy, and grief, I go;
A thousand fears would stop me in my way,
A thousand hopes forbid one moment's stay.
As nigh the house with anxious step I drew,
Fond recollections crowded all the view;
I felt a tear creep round and round my eye,
That shame of man, and yet I know not why.
While at the door her faithful maid I saw,
The short quick breath I scarce had power to draw;
Where--is--your la--my lips no more would move.
"She's in the arbour, sir, you us'd to love."
"Something like hope a cordial drop bestow'd,
The heart grew warm, and the pale cheek now glow'd.
Near to the arbour silently I drew,
And trembling look'd the leafy lattice through;
The sprightly air which once lit up her face,
To pensive softness long had given place;
Its gentle charms around her features crowd,
And tenderest feeling her fine figure bow'd;
More dear she seem'd, more interesting far,
Than when her eye was call'd the evening star;
On her fair hand she lean'd her drooping head,
And many a tear bedew'd the page she read;
'Twas Milton 's Paradise--the book I knew,
Once my own profile on the leaf I drew,
And wrote beneath this truth-dictated line--
'With thee conversing I forget all time;'
Her eye I saw ran every feature o'er,
And scann'd the line where truth seem'd writ no more;
She shook her head, its meaning well I knew:
"'Twas even thus, ye once lov'd lines adieu;"
The book she shut--so softly was it clos'd,
As if life's joys alone were there repos'd.
"I walk'd around, the crimping grass would say,--
Some heavy foot has brush'd our dews away;
She started up, and, shaking off the tear,
Strove hard to make the pearl-set eye more clear;
But when my form the parting leaves betray'd,
And fuller light around my features play'd,
She grows a statue, wrought by Michael's art,
A marble figure, with a human heart,
More pale, more cold, than Medici can seem,
Or all the forms that from the quarry teem.
I bow'd, but spoke not, injur'd as I thought,
And wishing much to show the sense I ought;
I durst not trust th' impatient tongue to move,
For, ah ! I felt it would but talk of love.
I silent stand." "What art thou, vision, say,
Why dost thou cross a wretched wanderer's way ?
Sure 'tis the whimsy of a feverish mind
That fancies forms none but itself can find !"
"I bow'd again." "Oh ! speak if thou art he
That once was dear--so very dear to me ?"
"Yes, Ethelind, most sure--too sure I'm he
That once was dear, so very dear to thee;
Why has thy heart its fondness all forborne
To swell my sails, and ask my quick return ?"
"A married man !--she sharply made reply,"
With much resentment sparkling in her eye,--
"A married man has every right to hear
What thoughts pursue us through the changing year !
Yes, I will tell you: happy was the day
In which you gave your heart and hand away.
I gave not mine, yet free from every vow
That would have tied me to a wretch like you.
I feel as blissful in my single state,
As you, no doubt, feel in your wealthy mate !"
She rose to go: "My Ethelind, forbear !
Some cruel monster has abus'd your ear;
Your faithful lover see before you stand,
Your faithful lover dares to claim your hand;
No other vows that plighted faith could stain,
No other loves melt o'er this heart again !
Let easy fortune nameless comforts spread,
And slope for life the soft descending tread.
No needful cares, to study how the year
Shall rule its squares, and run its circles clear;
The generous hand no close restraint shall know,
But opening bounty from the fingers flow.
The saddest sight the pitying eyes receive,
Is to see wretchedness with nought to give;
The heart-wrung tear, though e'er so fully shed,
Brings no warm clothing, and affords no bread.
On you shall pleasure wait with ready call,
Speed to the play, or hasten to the ball;
Where safest ease her flowery carpet throws,
And gilded domes their rainbow-lights dispose;
Where splendour turns e'en common things to show,
And plain good comforts ornamental grow.
'Midst scenes like these would Ethelinda blaze,
While wreathing diamonds lend their mingling rays;
Wealth is her own, for it is mine to give,
As it is hers, to bid me how to live.
But should domestic peace her soul allure,
For splendour but hides grief, it cannot cure,--
If in sweet converse hours should steal away,
While we still wander at the close of day;
If every wish preventing love should see,
And all the world we to ourselves should be,
I only wait the soft assenting smile,
To be whate'er her heart would ask the while;
O yes, dear friend ! I yet can read the line,
'With thee conversing I forget all time;'
Domestic peace has every charm for me,
How doubly charming when enjoy'd with thee !
"Now honour pleaded that my fame should bleed.
And life is rul'd by her detested creed;
This idol, honour, at whose shrine appears
The heart-broke friend, dissolv'd in endless tears.
He, fiery youth, impatient of control,
And the grey veteran sorry from his soul,
Th' injuring and the injur'd both repair,
And both expect her laurel wreath to wear;
It matters not where right or wrong began,
The man who fights must be an honest man,
Though every baseness that the heart can know
Should damp his soul, and keep his sword in awe;
Sole proof of excellence such warriors give--
Wretches who die, because they dare not live !
The guilty breast is ever up in arms,
And the least look the conscious soul alarms !
Should your quick eye the shuffling card detect,
Or should the gamester think you but suspect,
His injur'd honour dares you to the fight,
And all the world admits the challenge right !
Not to accept it blasts a virtuous fame,
And links your memory with eternal shame;
It matters not though pure your life appears
On the long record of revolving years;
Though heaven you fear, arid heaven's forbidding law,
That stamps him criminal who dares to draw,
Yet man, vain man, breaks through the laws of heaven,
Dies by the sword, and hopes to be forgiven;
For what we duels from high fashion call,
Is Suicide, or Murder, after all !
"Sometimes the heart almost approves the deed,
When barbarous wounds make reputation bleed;
Of all the crimes of any shape or dye,
That looks the blackest in true feeling's eye,
If a dear sister's purity we feel,
Nature cries out--where is th' avenging steel ?
Avenging steel ! how impotent the word,
And all the threats and cures that tend the sword !
"Sweet Reputation, like a lily fair,
Scents every breath that winnows through the air;
The colouring sunbeam on its whiteness plays,
And dances round and round with gilding rays;
Anon dark clouds these gilding rays withhold,
And the leaf shrivels with the sudden cold;
A blighting vapour sails along the skies,
And the meek lily droops its head, and dies:
Nor can a sword, or the depending pen,
Clear the lost female character again;
The vindication better never hear,--
That fame is safest that has nought to clear;
And female fame is such a tender flower,
It cannot even bear a pitying shower;
Courage in man is something near as nice,
Which life must buy, and wear at any price.
"Much 'gainst my conscience, and against heaven's law,
My destin'd brother to account I draw;
Against his life I meant no hand to rear,--
I meant but with the world to settle clear;
A self-defense, e'en in th' appointed field,
Was all the sword I ever thought to wield.
Hard was the onset; in the fatal strife
His hand I saw aim'd only at my life;
I wav'd its point, still hoping to disarm,
And guard both lives secure from every harm.
I parried long; he made a lounging stroke,
And my sad weapon in his bosom broke."
"'Tis past he said--much injur'd man, adieu !
I've done you wrong--but you'll forgive it now."
"In that sad moment every pang I found
That darts through father's, brother's, sister's, wound !
In what new lights I then saw Honour's creed,
How sunk in sin seem'd the detested deed;
The world's applause was stripped of all its charms,
And the whole Conscience met the Man in arms,
Guilt, sorrow, pity, warr'd within the breast,
With sad remorse, that never can have rest.
My weeping Ethelind now, too, I saw,
Lost in the floods of never ending woe !
For, ah ! what woes can ever hope an end
That mourn a brother slaughter'd by a friend !
Then from his breast some brief, brief lines he drew,--
The blots were many, though the words were few:"
"Fly me, for ever, it is time we part,
You've kill'd a brother, and you've broke a heart."
"Tortur'd in soul from place to place I flew,
But swift-wing'd thought as swiftly would pursue;
Unless from memory our thoughts can run,
How vain to journey round and round the sun.
At last this solitude my sorrow sought,
For cities leave no bar for entering thought;
I here have liv'd, in hopes the time will come,
That makes my cell my wish'd-for silent tomb."
"His tears fresh flow'd, and mine ran down my cheek,
Our griefs were such as neither tongue could speak;
At last we parted--he to endless woe,
While happy I to wife and children go."
Now scolding Nancy to the ale-house flies--
"What are you doing--hearing Harry's lies !
Thomas, get in, and do not sit to drink,
There's work enough at home, if you would think !"
And now the sisters take their evening walk;
One fam'd for goodness, and one fam'd for joke,
For physic, too, some little is renown'd,
With every salve that loves to heal the wound;
The pulse she feels with true mysterious air,
While Mrs Graham of strengthening broths takes care.
That sickness must be hopeless of all end,
Which her good home-made wine no way can mend;
The brother then his skill of medicine tries,
And rarely in his hands the lingering patient dies.
Now the white owl flits o'er the dusky ground,
Foreruns the night, and makes his trumpet sound.
The winds are lull'd asleep, and now you hear
The murmuring stream hum slumber in your ear.
Sweet Row, flow on, and be thy little vale
The future glory of the happy tale;
Long be thy banks bespread as they are now
With nibbling sheep, or richer feeding cow;
With rock, and scar, and cottage on the hill,
With curling smoke, and busy useful mill;
Long may yon trees afford their leafy screen,
And long from winter save the fading green;
In every season in their speckled pride,
Safe may the trout through all thy windings glide;
Safe may the fowl adown thy waters swim,
Bathe the webb'd foot, or o'er thy mirror skim,
Nor yet the schoolboy cast the deadly stone,
And take that life, no frailer than his own;
For peace and plenty, and the cheerful tale,
For happy wives, for mirth, and honest ale,
For maidens fair, and swains of matchless truth,
And all the openness of artless youth,
Whene'er a Cumbrian Village shall be fam'd,
Let Stoklewath be not the last that's nam'd !
SOPHROSYNE, companion dear,
Who hangs a pearl in Pity's ear,
And wanders through the dewy lawn
To catch the rose-bud newly blown,
And tied yon knot of fringy flowers,
And darken'd all the grove with bowers;
Who bade yon Lily of the Vale
Tell o'er her artless simple tale;
That, going to queen Flora's court,
Where once a year flowers all resort,
She wander'd through the woodlands wide,
And saw the babbling streamlet glide,
With many a Daisy sitting here,
And many a Cowslip walking there,
And many a Harebell tinkling loud,
And many a Pansy dress'd and proud,
And many a Primrose faint and pale,
All stationed up and down the dale;
With these acquaintance soon she made,
And lov'd the flowers that lov'd the shade;
Ask'd Flora if she there might stay,
And shun the fervour of the day;
And when the Primrose pale should die,
With purer sweets her loss supply.
This humble prayer gay Flora grants,
For soon supply'd are little wants;
And bade Retirement form a shade
Of willows sweet, to sooth the maid.
But Innocence one day had been
Culling some flowerets on the green,
And many a gay one fondly press'd,
And many a sweet one wooed her breast,
But yet an emblem of her mind
This blue-eyed stranger could not find.
It chanc'd Sophrosyne with Eve
Went out, her 'custom'd bower to weave,
And sprinkling with soft Pity's dew
Each drooping flower that lost its hue,
Bade gentle Eve refreshment lend
To all that faint or lowly bend.
Not far from hence a Nymph was seen
Of meek-set eye and artless mien;
Soft white the well turn'd limbs enfolds;
Her tresses a blue riband holds,
And as the winds the locks unfurl,
Give birth to many a beauteous curl.
A straw-wrought hat with care was tied,
As if her lovely face to hide;
Her apron tuck'd and full of flowers,
She carried to Sophrosyne's bowers,
While Innocence was waiting there,
And tying up her nut-brown hair--
For all the flowers she yet had found
She threw upon the thankless ground--
And thus she cried: "Lie there--I see
Nought can prevent my destiny;
My race is run unless I find
An emblem of my spotless mind;
This Fate avers--to that I yield,
And quit this for th' Elysian field."
"Simplicity !" Sophrosyne cried,
"Where hast thou been ?--I will not chide;
But haste, some emblem thou can'st find
Of the pure, spotless, artless mind !"
"O ! yes, Sophrosyne, see here
The sweetest flower of all the year;
But 'tis not mixed among the rest,
I ever wear it in my breast."
So saying, show'd the Lily fair,
The Valley's pride, was shelter'd there;
Then Innocence her emblem knew,
And own'd how strong the likeness grew;
And own'd, too, that no other flower
That shows its face at any hour,
Could e'er so tenderly declare
'Twas half so spotless, pure, and fair.
THOUGH low is my cot, and the scene all around
Unconscious that Art with rude Nature can play,
Yet here, even here, it is thought, may be found
Some fugitive pleasures that happen to stray.
When Aurora walks forth, and collects her perfume,
And scatters her sweets on each innocent flower,
Her eye can look down just as fond to illume
The low gliding stream as the high gilded tower:
All nature beholding, she smiles as she sees
The gay tinkling rill, as it plays through the mead;--
As she looks at the lustre that darts through the trees,
And rears into notice the low trodden weed.
If such things to observe, while beneath the dark oak,
Can delight Nature's child, bid her daughters come here;
Bid them haste while the Dryads the songsters invoke,
And wave their green arms round her children so dear.
For as yet the rude catch from the briar may be borne,
Since the rose that it bears can still blush for th' offence,
Since we yet can remember the harsh wounding thorn
Yielded sweets that stray'd softly around every sense.
But soon yellow Autumn the green leaves shall stain,
And gold gilding-tincture the meadows pervade;
Though now whetting scythes the gay season proclaim,
And weary scorch'd haymakers long for the shade.
Yet Nature, still changing, that season shall bring,
When the meads become wither'd and chill turn the groves,
When the gadding gay woodbine no longer shall cling
To hang up her garland on boughs that she loves.
With YOU, I must own, should the glow of the plain
Be chill'd by a breath, and the sun haste away;
Though fond of the scene, I no more would complain,
For FRIENDS yield a prospect more charming than May.
And without them, how oft have I sigh'd as I view'd
The wood-hanging bank, and the cottage so still;
Thy regrets, silly heart, were too fondly renew'd
As I listen'd and heard the soft clack of the mill.
What joy, would I say, can these beauties bestow,
Unless some dear friends had the pleasure to share;
Though Nature shed incense wherever I go,
Her gifts and her offerings for them I would spare.
For, ah ! I have found in the bosom alone
Is the mansion of Peace; and, wherever we stray,
If we make not this cell-living Goddess our own,
It matters not what is the scene or the day.
For Fancy, that fairy, will darken the glade,
And change every object that dances around,--
Will heighten or lessen the falling cascade,
Till horror or grandeur exists in the sound.
Yet still there's a Nymph with as magical powers,
Who only exhibits things just as they are;
And she, even she, can hand round the dull hours,
Nor in search of amusement needs wander afar.
What though she is rural, and best loves the grove,
Though scenes of retirement delight her the most,
Yet not to one spot does she fasten her love,
For easily pleas'd, not one pleasure is lost.
She rambles about, and I meet her at eve;
With Aurora I find her ascending the hill;
At noon in the shade help her chaplets to weave,
All day mark her steps, and am near to her still.
To such favour I've got, that my friends she will guide,
With promises firm, that they shall not repent;--
That they shall not be weary when set by my side,
She promises this--and her name is CONTENT.
GO, soft Sensation, once so dear,
So long the much-lov'd ruler here;
Go, go, and leave this bosom free,
And take thy many a pang with thee;
Thy fears, that die of dreaded ill;
Thy softer griefs that slowly kill;
Thy anguish for another's woe;
Thy mingling tears, that silent flow;
Thy sighs, that linger oft on air,
And melt the softest zephyr there;
Thy little jealousies, that prove
Thy pride of heart, but most thy love;
That tenderness of soul, which knows
An endless world of fancied woes;
A thousand slights, a thousand pains,
That pierce at once the bleeding veins;
The feelings quick, that faint and start,
And haste their tremour to the heart;
With all the nameless fears that mourn
A love bestow'd without return !
Go, go; Indifference shall be mine,
That owns another soul than thine;
A cool composure gilds her day,
And smoothly wafts her hour away;
No fancied ills her joys molest,
In peaceful shade her feelings rest:
There her own poppy breathes around,
There blooms the rose that cannot wound.
No thorn that sheds the dewy tear,
Or plant of feeling wanders near;
Or blossom with her purple vein,
Or little fibre knowing pain;
For there soft Slumber chose her bower,
And woo'd her soporific flower,
Which gently lulls the power of sleep,
Or cools the eye of those that weep;
O'er all the senses sheds a charm,
And locks the mind from dread of harm:
Be thou my guest, Indifference fair,
Of blooming cheek, and tranquil air;
Of mien unalter'd, look the same,
Careless alike of praise or blame;--
Thou who no change of season knows,
No sudden gust of wintry woes,
No blast that rends the bosom's flower,
No cloud that streams in endless shower.
Thy blissful poppy still retains
The balsam-juice in all her veins;
In all her veins the essence flows
That bends the eyelids to their close;
And though her fringed head should droop,
As if from grief she'd caught the stoop,
Still into Morpheus' cup she'll pour
The drop of many a precious shower.
Yet stay, Affection; e'er we part,
For thou hast long liv'd in my heart,
Let me relate how oft I've found
In thy soft voice the softest sound,
As if sweet Harmony drew near
And pour'd her soul into my ear.
Persuasion came, with tuneful chords,
And drew a tone from weakest words;
E'en weakest words her notes can prove,
When wrapt in music sweetly move
In concert with her smile or sigh,
Or the full language of her eye;
That silent pathos who can bear,
Or speak the thoughts that tremble there !
'Twas then Illusion's ready hand
Now glaz'd the waters, deck'd the land;
Around the scene enchantment threw,
And turn'd to pearl the simple dew;
Touch'd every flower with magic charm,
And kept the bosom sweetly warm.
The eye o'er all Elysium roll'd--
'Twas streams of silver, rocks of gold--
And walks of happiness were seen
'Mong vocal bowers, and valleys green.
But, sweet deceiver ! now 'tis o'er,
I look through thy soft eye no more;
No more, since sure thy pains were given
To draw us from a fancied heaven,
To tell us that all bliss below
Is ting'd with many a shade of woe.
And who can say, enchanting power !
How long shall last his brightest hour ?
Thy coldness, like a vapour, streams,
And damps our joy's enlivening beams,
When once we give the generous heart,
Fore-doom'd to feel, to bear, and smart,
Yet find thy lovely form decay,
Thy best of features wear away,
Thy fondness drop by slow degrees,
Thy very life-blood coldly freeze,
Thy sweet attentions, one by one--
We know not why--yet see withdrawn;
The heart retires within her cave,
And, bleeding, asks an early grave !
Then go, Affection ! I have found
Thou both canst give and heal the wound;
But waste not one more shaft on me,
Maybe I've no more charms for thee;
Round this bent form no graces twine
Their cheerful wreath for hearts like thine,
Restore mine once again to me,
And I am quit, and thou art free !
Oh ! stay Affection; pray thee stay !
What have I said--or meant to say ?
'Twas love, e'en love the trespass caus'd
That warmth of speech, which scarce was clos'd
Ere the hard sentence tore my frame,
And dy'd my cheek with honest shame.
Regret came shivering through my veins,
And bound my tongue in iron chains;
My soul in prison seem'd to be,
And ever must if torn from thee;
One look of thine, when sweetly kind,
Can overturn a world of mind !
The stern resolves that pride has made,
At thy soft touch in vapour fade;
Thy smile, that rules the inmost soul,
Can every harsh resolve control.
Return, my lov'd companion dear,
The solace of each former year !
Else life, through many a sickening day,
Must slowly, slowly creep away;
E'en when thou bound'st this aching brow,
And sweetly cheer'd, I know not how,
Yet the dull hour, with weary knell,
Seem'd to toll on the passing bell.
If not for thee, this throbbing breast
Had ne'er enjoy'd the balm of rest;
Rest !--did I say ? no bliss had known,
The blush of Nature by had flown,
Or o'er the senses vainly stray'd,
Hadst thou not wander'd in the shade;
Hadst thou not seen the clouds of morn,
On purple pinions lightly borne,
Uprear the canopy of day,
And e'er his chariot float away;
Hadst thou not mark'd the evening shade,
In all her changeful colours fade;--
The golden glow, the sapphire hue,
The rosy red, the melting blue,
The soft sea-green with yellow tinge,
The curling clouds with skirts of fringe;--
This eye had ne'er beheld one charm,
Or felt the glow of nature warm;
Nor had she seen one dropping shower
Bring back to life the fainting flower;
Or the tall woods their arches spread
In Gothic cloister over head;
While the pale moon, with lamp-like beam,
In tremors lent her silvery stream;
"Yon drops of flame that stud the sky"
Had seem'd plain stars to my poor eye,
Until these orbs, with glory bound,
By thee were call'd fair worlds around !
No; source of pleasure ! 'twas thy soul
That brought me to conceive the whole.
The wish to please new thoughts inspir'd,
And I grew learn'd where thou admir'd;
To be companion meet I strove,
With all the self-taught lore of love,
Lov'd Nature as she ought to be;
For loving her, was loving thee !
But should'st thou leave this vacant heart,
And should we, should we ever part,
E'en Nature's self would grow less dear,
And I still shed the fretful tear.
WHEN you retire from every eye,
Is it to breathe the secret sigh,
Or drop the silent tear ?
Does Fancy, to some former day,
Start from the present hour away
To meet Remembrance dear ?
Remembrance !--Ah ! my friend beware;
Thou dost not know the weeping Fair;
Clad in a robe that Night has wove,
And spangl'd o'er with tears of love,
She comes, with many a wither'd flower--
With many a token from the hour;
On this she looks with streaming eye,
On that she breathes the softest sigh;
But not the breath of purest morn,
Nor the round dew-tear on the thorn,
Could e'er again its bloom restore;
The flower once faded blooms no more.
See, at the thought, she pensive stands,
See, see ! she wrings her wither'd hands;
Too well she knows the hours we mourn
Can never, never more return.
Then, ah ! my friend, no more retire,
This pensive Mourner ever shun;
If thou shalt hearken to her lyre
Thy peace for ever is undone.
Or if thy wayward fancy loves
To meet her in the silent groves,
When her wrapt eye is bound for flight
Along the dreary vault of night;
And fixing, near some muffl'd star,
Waits for the Day's triumphal car;
Or sees the Moon, by clouds oppress'd,
Tear the wet mantle from her breast,
This I allow: yet even here,
E'en in the blissful lunar sphere,
Amid the clouds of varying forms,
In gilded pomp, or lowering storms,
She still calls back the former hour,
The future seems on thee to lower:
No tree can wave his leafy head,
Nor lilies slumbering on their bed,
Nor fragrant roses blooming gay,
Nor morning flow'ret droop away,
But all have secret power to tell
A tale of friends, ah ! lov'd too well.
Shun, shun the "matron sage and holy,"
Shun, shun such tearful melancholy !
Heed not the whisper of her sigh,
Nor meet the pathos of her eye,
Else shall the gayest scenes appear
Veil'd in a thin translucent tear.
THE Rose, I own, has many a charm
To win the partial eye;
Her sweets remain to glad the sense
E'en when her colours fly:
Just so good humour charms the heart,
After a face once fair
Parts with its bloom, and withering time
Has planted wrinkles there.
But should I ask from beauty's store
A tint to gain the heart,
It should not be the blooming tinge
Which looks so like to art.
No; spread along the downy cheek
The tender Lily fair,
And soon the eye shall teach the heart
To find an interest there.
The bending form, the drooping head,
Shall dwell upon the mind,
And ever round the feelings strong
Some soft affection wind.
So Flora, once in pensive mood,
Pronounc'd the fix'd decree,
When passing many a flaunting flower,
She dropped a tear o'er thee;
"Others," said she, "may charm the eye,
And fancied joys impart;
But thou shalt learn the secret way
That wins into the heart.
Within thy bell this pearl shall rest,
Which seems a lucid tear,
The only gem that Pity loves
To tremble in her ear.
Then let Health make the blooming Rose
The favourite of her bower;--
The eye may woo the flow'ret gay,
The heart shall own thy power.
is foreign, but of true desert,
Plays round the head, but comes not near the heart;"1
Yet may a maid for love of praise contend,
Though Pleasure's votary, not less Virtue's friend.
May not she strive around her sacred shrine
The wreath of pleasure gaily to entwine ?
To strew the path with many a fragrant flower,
And sweetly decorate the playful hour ?
To tempt e'en Time to loiter on his way,
And feel a wish to lengthen out the day ?
Could we not Worth and Pleasure reconcile,
Why wears the sun that universal smile ?
Fountain of life ! to him all power is given
To gild and ornament the works of heaven;
Its various gems to tinge with varying dyes,
And with new beauty strike th' admiring eyes,
While deeper shadows gently fall behind
To heighten objects that draw near the mind.
Those let us grasp, nor send th' inquiring eye
To draw the curtain of a future sky;
Nor see the cloud that some sad hour may shed
In floods of sorrow o'er the drooping head;
The present hour is all that man can boast,
And happy they who love the stranger most.
In future prospects let fond hearts rejoice,
Hear then the present hour's small whispering voice.
Low is the note, and silver'd is the sound,
When soft Persuasion winds the ear around;
Hark ! how she sings:--Trust not the coming day;
The flowers of Autumn meet not those of May;
The present hour in present mirth employ,
And bribe the future with the hope of joy !
Hope still can please midst scenes of deep distress,
Can change the mourning to a fancy dress,
Can tread through brake, through thicket, and through thorn,
Without a mantle, or a garment torn.
What though the Palace in our distant view
The erring guide may ne'er conduct us to;
The potent spell shall shed its mists around
And mimic views swim o'er the fairy ground;
Stealing from thought the disappointment past,
By prospects opening fairer than the last;
O kind deceiver ! do thou still deceive,
And teach this heart most firmly to believe !
The ills of life spring up where'er we tread,
Where'er we walk the Gorgon rears her head;
With spells surrounded should the traveller go,
And wear a charm for every sting of woe;
Hope, Love, and Friendship furnish not a few,
Guarded by these what heartaches dare pursue !
Friendship, with cordials in her hands and eyes,
The want of health, the want of ease supplies;
The want of all things firmly may be borne,
If from the foot she draws the rankling thorn;
If she supplies the balm the wound shall close,
And weary eyelids sink in calm repose.
Sacred to her the ills of life bow down,
Kneel at her shrine and her mild empire own;
Then to the heart in different forms are sent,
First seem Submission, and next grow Content,
Advice, Reproof, with gentle Pity joined;
All tend to strengthen and restore the mind:
The mind restored can see the change of things,
In equal fetters bind the throne of kings;
All nature find submitted to one law,--
A certain portion of predestin'd woe.
But to give ease to man's distracted frame,
The healing goddess watchful Friendship came;
To feel the sudden downcast of an eye,
And long before anticipate a sigh;
To see what would the present calm destroy,
When fond Remembrance paints some long lost joy.
The long lost joy, if never to return,
Asks the sad heart to cling around its urn;
But listening Friendship hears the low request,
And silent guards the inroad of the breast;
By slow degrees draws back the present scene,
Till gayer thoughts come gliding in between,
Till Hope again her flattering tints lets fall,
That lend some comfort, and that promise all.
Such was the cordial that kind heaven bestow'd
When the dire cup with every ill o'erflow'd,
One drop of hope clung to the poison'd side,
Or man had bow'd his languid head, and died.
If then we've left us by divine command
Those cordial drops to stay the trembling hand,
Shall we 'gainst heaven essay an impious skill,
If by some other means we cure the ill ?
If love of praise should tempt us to endure
With patient calm those ills we cannot cure;--
Should prove the stimulus, and lead the way
To noble actions,--should the Censor say
No merit follows--though great good ensue ?
If you are serv'd, sure it is good to you !
And actions guarded by the sense of shame,
Will struggle hard to bear an honest name.
For me, I own, that hope of praise can charm
This little heart, and all its feelings warm;
Can bid me throw the selfish wish aside,
And for a weaker frame than mine provide:
Not but compassion may, to me unknown,
Give praise that merit which was all her own.
If custom is to man the foster nurse,
Strengthens good habits, and makes bad men worse,
May I not hope, whatever is the cause,
Custom may teach me to deserve applause !
Grafted on stocks inferior to the fruit,
The apple tasted we forget the root.
The love of praise this privilege may claim,
And rank as equal with the fear of shame.
Both have their use;--the one is to impel,
The other to restrain, or check, or quell,
The rising Passions as they grow too loud,
To raise the humble, and depress the proud.
If then to good or ill our passions tend,
Why not conduct them to their proper end ?
Virtue, too plain to strike voluptuous sight,
Barely can touch the heart with true delight,
Till dress'd in garbs more flattering to the sense,
The eye grows pleas'd and sanctifies expense:
Not but her native loveliness would do,
Were man but perfect, and his judgment true;
But as it is, e'en she herself must bend,
And ask assistance from a humble friend.
If man, proud man ! although the lord of all,
Now on his fellows, now his creatures call,--
Assistance wants, however high his sphere,
It is to prove nought's independent here.
So Virtue found, when she forsook the sky,
Passions must oft her better aid supply;
And Love of Praise the foremost passion came,
And claim'd, and won, the loudest trump of Fame;
If not for this our virtuous deeds might tire,--
Praise fans the flames of the celestial fire;
And watchful keeps it glowing in the breast,
At once to melt and purify the rest.
If o'er the mind meek diffidence has spread
Her everlasting glow of blushing red,
The conscious tinge steals o'er the crimson cheek,
And leaves a blush for every wish to speak;
The mind thus check'd grows dubious of its powers,
And careless wastes the all-important hours:
If cold despair the rising genius quell,
And chain the trembler in her icy cell,
The wish to please will soon forsake the heart,
And one by one the talents all depart;
Had this blessed wish stood foremost of the throng,
The heart enraptur'd had not tarried long;
O ! had sweet Praise but met them on their way,
Her smile had sooth'd the labours of the day,--
Each thorny path reveal'd the blushing rose,
And prov'd midst tangling brakes the destin'd floweret blows.
Pride is a phantom self-conceit has rear'd,
By Reason hated, and by Fancy feared;
A flattering painter, that with nicest art
Hides each defect of judgment and of heart;
Sees little virtues swell before his eye,
As man through glasses sees the smallest fly !
Yet the two evils, Diffidence and Pride,
As foes to Virtue, nearly are allied;
I mean, when each extreme affects our end,
And to one purpose both the feelings tend.
What matters it, if Virtue droop her head,
From what contagion the dire sickness spread;
Whether from Pride the malady first sprung,
Or round Humility the languor clung !
For me, may fate, propitious to my prayer,
Still give a friend to see things as they are,
To chide my errors, and my worth approve,
With all th' encouragement of partial love;
So shall this wish rise warmest in my breast,
To bless another as myself am blest,--
To please--to serve--to animate, and cheer,
And prove that Praise can turn reformer here !
THE sultry Sun had spread along the sky,
Then bade the gales his sacred presence fly,
Descend to earth, and wander by the stream,
Till they should mark his last departing beam;
Or till some fleecy or benignant shower
Dropp'd a fresh essence on the thirsty flower,
Moisten'd the eye of every opening bud,
And let them see their image in the flood;
Then dip their wings, and through the soften'd air
Waft the fresh sweet, and every perfume bear.
Such heat oppressive sicken'd through the sky,
That panting flocks beneath the hedges lie;
The milky thorn, white as their coats, was seen,
Tufted with top-knots of eye-loving green;
The sun behind the fragrant hedge retir'd,
And lent that coolness all so much desir'd;
The shady walk tempts on my wandering feet
To a close grove, impervious to the heat,
Where every tree could wave a leafy fan,
And breathe refreshment on exhausted man.
The poplar tall o'er many a head would rise,
Resolv'd to meet the ardour of the skies;
The trembling asp a whispering breeze would hear,
And shake its every leaf with needless fear;
The sheltering limes their spreading arms extend,
Born to protect, and happy to defend;
The stately oak look'd on, and firmly stood
The noble patron of the growing wood;
The growing wood in spiry shrubs arose,
There clings the woodbine, there the sweetbriar blows.
There melts the frutex, there the barberry reigns--
The red tide glowing through transparent veins;
With mountain-ash, to which the blackbird flies,
And his red harvest for the winter eyes,
Then perching on the dear providing spray,
Whistles his mate, and carols through the day.
Where softest moss her various kinds had brought,
And to cling closely to a rock had taught;
Where many a shrub that Taste had train'd to grow,
From her fair hand all careless seem'd to throw;
And, bending o'er the love-wrought mossy seat,
Lilacs and roses fondly made to meet;
The modest jess'mine, too, embrac'd the bower,
Fearful to show the world too gay a flower;
Th' enamour'd eglantine her sweets defends,
And warrior spears from every arm extends;
The prickly spears the rifling fingers feel
No less acute than those of pointed steel;
The myrtle to this guardian friend applied,
Clung to his arm, fast rooted by his side.
At a small distance ran a tinkling rill,
That made sad murmurs to the rocky hill,
On which this happy bower so sweet was plac'd,
This bower so cultur'd by the hand of Taste.
No wonder Taste bestow'd her tenderest care,
And taught the vine to curl around yon chair;
For here a nymph at sultry noon would come,
And call this bower her flowery dressing room.
The darling nymph from whom soft arts have sprung,
The name that softens on the roughen'd tongue;
The winning form where grace and ease agree
To smooth the manners, and yet leave them free;
Where every polish that the mind e'er takes
Shines in the eye, and the soft accent wakes;
Where sweetest thoughts their own pure course pursue,
Vary the old, and ornament the new;
While all the winning ways that sense can lend,
Melt in the looks, and with the manners blend;
A form as gentle as if sweetness strove
To see how far she could succeed with love--
To see how far the lily could prevail
To gain the heart, when gayer roses fail !
This lovely form on the soft couch reclin'd,
Screen'd from the sun, and shelter'd from the wind;
Save where the breeze a load of sweets would bring,
And gently move the jess'mine's fragrant wing.
A silken loom o'erhung with lilac stands,
And often courts her fair creative bands.
Distracted Dido o'er the canvas bends,
Hastes to the pile, nor heeds her weeping friends;
Her searching eye the lessening vessel sees,
Swift as the gale, fly o'er the rolling seas;
But when her straining eye no speck can find,
No sail stream out--though lengthen'd by the wind,
Her sword she grasps--her Anna rends her hair,
Looks, sobs, and tears prevent, yet form a prayer.
When gazing long, you think at last you hear
These moving accents murmur in your ear--
"Was all this pomp, this sacrifice I see,
All only to deceive unhappy me !
Which is the worst ? didst thou in death pretend
To scorn thy sister, or delude thy friend ?
Thy summon'd sister and thy friend had come,
One sword had serv'd us both--one common tomb !"
A soft-breath'd lyre now died along the glade,
Amidst its strings the wandering fingers stray'd;
The wandering fingers melody had found,
And with a gentle touch wak'd every chord around.
Some crayon pencils Art had taught to vie
With the meek lustre of the living eye;
The living eye her forming hand could show,
And sense and feeling in its pupil throw;
An easy figure from her fingers stray'd,
And the heart languish'd for the mimic shade,
But not the shade when Elegance was by,--
Nought else could win, nought else could keep the eye !
Her sister Taste some flow'rets taught to grow,
Some hide their heads, and 'mong the dark grass blow;
Some taller seem, and stalk with greater state,
And look like porters at the flowery gate;
While some to meek simplicity incline,
And such, sweet Lily of the Vale, is thine;
Thine is the lot, the happy lot to know,
And on the breast of Elegance to blow;
Taste plac'd thee there, thy back ground dark and high
Forms a sweet arbour for the resting eye;
The resting eye thy purity can see,
And think how much my L---- resembles thee.
Yet all things suited to the soften'd mind,
Require a scene we may not hope to find;
If, when high polish'd, fewer things delight,
Does then refinement with our good unite ?
When the bright diamond throws a sunlike glare,
And every colour of the prism's there,
The lapidary's eye in rapturous gaze
Marks the bright rainbow in its hundred rays;
The humble peasant sees its radiance stream,
And much admires the variegated beam,
But thinks his glassy beads as full of light,
As finely varied, and as precious quite.
Have you not seen Refinement sicken o'er
The languid heart that erst was gay before ?
How happy they when every day can roll
A tide of pleasure to the very soul !
Who seek not by Refinement's small spun thread
The mazy labyrinths of life to tread.
That slender guide should a rude breath destroy,
The wanderer's lost, though in the court of joy;
Though Innocence herself should lead the train,
Silent she'd sit, and Wit might flash in vain.
How blessed are they whom Elegance has brought
To the true standard of reflecting thought !
Whose mind is still unfetter'd to enjoy,
With whom nought can the common charms destroy;
The wish to please their handmaid still retain,
Nor see one wish to please solicit them in vain.
Now the bright sun slid down the sloping sky,
And slow-pac'd Evening gain'd upon the eye.
The fragrant breezes wav'd along the mead,
Whisper'd the grass, and tapp'd the floweret's head;
The flocks and herds now low'd along the plain,
And the shrill pipe employ'd the leisure swain;
The weary cart-horse stalk'd with equal pace,
And o'er the ground dragg'd on the loosen'd trace;
The joyful cur ran forth to meet his friend,
And yelp'd and leap'd delighted to attend;
The little children haste to beg a ride,
Fearful, yet pleas'd, hang on, whilst daddy walks beside.
Sweet Elegance arose and left her bower,
Warn'd by the dewdrop on each nodding flower;
Homewards she bends, and Taste that home had made
As sweet a dwelling as the jess'mine shade.
Myrtles and oranges bold lights oppose,
And thus the staircase in soft twilight glows;
The playful sun looks artfully between,
But soon despairs to blindfold strong-eyed green.
In this blest window two sweet cherubs play'd,
And many a feast and many a cap were made;
At social life you see the darlings aim,
And all their fondness their dear children claim.
Now soft indulgence the kind mother shows,
Now from her arm the naughty baby throws;
The birchen rod, though but of two twigs made,
Makes both the mother and the child afraid.
A christening dinner now prepares with haste,
Here bits of cake must turn again to paste;
A harden'd crust a round of beef must prove,
And that bit cheese may serve as a remove;
While apples sliced a dumpling well may seem,
Yon peach be curds, and yon drop water cream;
The brimful glasses on the salver stand,
And the fair waiter helps with cautious hand;
With steady step, and serious, smileless face,
She gives to each with modest maiden grace.
And now to school the fancied children go,
Miss Kitty learns to read, Miss Jean to sow .
That pocket-handkerchief is neatly done,
For that a prize of sweet, sweet figs was won.
The dame is good, but then she will insist
That shirt shall be unpicked about the wrist;
With every stitch ta'en back a tear descends,
And slaps are given for leaving long thread-ends.
Yon garter, too, had once three loops to show,
And now you see the needle holds but two !
For shame, Miss Doll ! go, in yon corner stand,
Or else the rod shall smart that dirty hand;
A naughty thing ! I know you can do better;
And you Miss Pert, what sets you in that titter ?
Do mind your work, and let your sampler show
How learning from the needle's point may grow.
Now the tea kettle dangles o'er the fire,
And acorn cups as china we admire;
In due precedence round the dolls are set,
This drinks tea now, that must not have it yet.
Order presides--Mamma is copied still,
Is the guide now, as ever more she will.
Ye happy parents, here observe your power,
See how your precepts regulate the hour;
See how your manners round these cherubs cling,
Your air, your words, your looks, your every thing.
Mamma said so, is echoed all around,
Mamma did so, is breathed in every sound,
Mamma bade me, and so I need not fear,
And thus mamma's the worshipp'd idol here !
Mark well this lesson, since your forming hand
Moulds the soft mind, and can its powers command,
Since now your actions are not yours alone,
But every word is copied one by one;
Think to what consequence each thought may rise,
Your every word the vacant mind supplies;
E'en in their play the useful dictate give,
For e'en in play they may be taught to live,
May learn strict justice 'mongst their dolls to deal,
May learn forbearance, and may learn to feel,
May learn to share their little precious store,
And know no grudge though lesser ones get more.
O ! may no voice in false persuasion's tone
Bid them snatch all for fear it should be gone,
And every part of narrow manners teach
That little jealousy and self can reach !
There's not one virtue future life shall bless,
But this faint shadow may some way express,
May prove the practice through the mimic scene,
And be in life what here the child has been.
GO, idle boy, I quit thy power,
Thy couch of many a thorn and flower,
Thy twanging bow, thine arrow keen,
Deceitful Beauty's timid mien;
The feign'd surprise, the roguish leer,
The tender smile, the thrilling tear,
Have now no pangs--no joys for me,
So, fare thee well, for I am free !
Then flutter hence on wanton wing,
Or lave thee in yon lucid spring,
Or take thy beverage from the rose,
Or on Louisa's breast repose,
I wish thee well for pleasures past,
Yet bless the hour I'm free at last !
But sure methinks the alter'd day
Scatters around a mournful ray;
And chilly every zephyr blows,
And every stream untuneful flows.
No rapture swells the linnet's voice,
No more the vocal groves rejoice;
And e'en thy song, sweet bird of eve
With whom I lov'd so oft to grieve,
Now, scarce regarded, meets my ear
Unanswer'd by a sigh or tear;
No more with devious steps I choose
To brush the mountain's morning dews;
"To drink the spirit of the breeze,"
Or wander midst o'er-arching trees;
Or woo with undisturb'd delight
The palecheek'd Virgin of the night,
That, peering through the leafy bower,
Throws on the ground a silver shower.
Alas ! is all this boasted ease
To lose each warm desire to please ?
No sweet solicitude to know
For other's bliss, for other's woe,
A frozen apathy to find--
A sad vacuity of mind ?
O ! hasten back, thou heavenly boy,
And with thine anguish bring thy joy;
Return with all thy torments here,
And let me hope, and doubt, and fear;
O ! rend my heart with every pain,
But let me, let me love again !
HOW sweet to the heart is the thought of to-morrow,
When Hopes fairy pictures bright colours display;
How sweet when we can from Futurity borrow
A balm for the griefs which afflict us to-day !
When wearisome sickness has taught me to languish
For Health, and the blessings it bears on its wing;
Let me hope (ah ! how soon would it lessen my anguish),
That to-morrow will ease and serenity bring.
The pilgrim sojourning alone, unbefriended,
Hopes, joyful, to-morrow his wanderings shall cease;
That at home, and with care sympathetic attended,
He shall rest unmolested, and slumber in peace.
When six days of labour each other succeeding,
The husbandman toils with his spirits depress'd;
What pleasure to think, as the last is receding,
To-morrow will be a sweet Sabbath of rest !
And when the vain shadows of Time are retiring,
When life is fast fleeting, and death is in sight,
The Christian believing, exulting, expiring,
Beholds a to-morrow of endless delight !
The Infidel then sees no joyous to-morrow,
Yet he knows that his moments must hasten away;
Poor wretch ! can he feel without heart-rending sorrow,
That his joys and his life must expire with to-day !
O ! Goddess, in whose green retreat
Mirth, youth, and laughter, love to meet,
And round thy flaunting, breezy bowers,
Weave many a knotted fringe of flowers,
Whose sweet heads, nodding, seem to say--
If Health you seek, we show the way !
But not 'midst green retreats alone,
The shrub-built court, or mossy throne,
Where flowers with meek contention vie
To yield perfume, or win the eye,
Inquiring swains the goddess find
On the hoar rock beat by the wind;
Indifferent though her glossy hair
Trembles at every breath of air--
E'en though her playful curls are flowing
Upon the breeze that's round her blowing.
Still she bounds on--the swains pursue--
Through daisied fields and woodlands too;
And, on the pathless mountain's side,
Take exercise to be their guide;
For she bestows the well-earn'd wreath--
The generous Almoner of Health;
Her gifts hands round to those who know
To brush the mead, or climb the brow;
To rise when ruddy morn bestows
On the pale sky the blushing rose,
While yet the hawthorn hangs with dew,
And spangles bright with every hue;
While birds yet sing their first good-morrow,
And Nature's smiles bode nought of sorrow:
'Tis then that Health holds forth her hand,
And bids them trip the furrowed land;
That exercise shall warmly glow
The fair-won treasures to bestow;
That sleep shall ask no downy bed,
Alike to her where rests her head,
Whether on moss-grown turf reclin'd,
In shady grot, or cooling wind,
On earth's green lap o'erhung with oak,
Or soundly slumbering on the rock;
For Exercise unerring knows
The varied couch of sweet repose;
Knows, too, that Health the path shall tread,
And turn to down the rocky bed.
Ah ! Goddess, wilt thou ne'er attend ?
Wilt thou ne'er meet one as a friend ?
'Tis not because I have not been
Amidst the nymphs and shepherds seen;
For, as they frolick'd o'er the mead,
Gay bounding to the oaten reed,
This foot, I ween, as light could pass
As any yet that trod the grass;
Why then, ah ! why hast thou still been
The saddener of my mirthful scene !
For thee I've sought in every shade,--
To thee I've due oblation paid;
With waking morn have left my bed,
While the light breeze play'd round my head;
And cowslips rose beneath my feet,
Aurora's infant rays to meet.
When sober Eve,"the matron gray,"
Was taking leave of sultry Day;
E'er yet the sun, that scorch'd before,
With beams oblique glanc'd on the shore;
E'er yet his radiance left the skies,
And dewy damps began to rise;
E'er the blue mist, at distance seen,
Had furl'd his dark unwholesome screen;
I eager went with searching eyes
To meet thee, mountain Exercise,
Still trusting thou would'st bring to me
The buskin'd nymph I fear I ne'er again shall see !
But since in vain I search around--
Since Health is nowhere to be found,
To Cheerfulness I bend the knee,
The Goddess next of kin to thee !
And she, so soft, thy form shall wear,
Hang round my bed, and o'er my chair,
That Sickness shall let minutes pass,
Nor see one sand forsake the glass.
Though ever fainting as she moves,
And drooping e'en in fragrant groves;
Whose lifeless frame no art can cheer,
Nor all the changes of the year;
Nor song, nor pipe, can bid her raise
One cheering thought of better days;--
Nor all the flow'rets Nature spreads
On her green lap in leafy beds,
Can o'er her cheek prolong the smile,
Though balmy zephyrs play the while,
Till touch'd by thee, thou goddess dear !
Who'st dried this eye of many a tear.
And oft, when sickness by my side
Has every other joy denied,
With Hope or Fancy in thy train
Thou sooth'd, or seem'd to soothe my pain,
And banish'd every thought of sorrow
By gaily pointing to to-morrow.
Fancy would weave a wreath of flowers,
And dress the nimble-footed hours,
That henceforth ever more should go
"Upon the light fantastic toe;"
Not heavily, as beating time
To every plaintive note of mine;
For Hope, with smiles that might deceive
A heart less willing to believe,
Would wave her hand, and pointing, say,
Health keeps for thee yon coming day.
Again deceiv'd; the flatterer sends
Her second self, and best of friends;
She, who her cup so oft has brought,
Not fill'd with the enlivening draught,
Yet tastes so like, you scarce can tell,--
Content can imitate so well;
So well can counterfeit her air,
So well can chant her notes that cheer,
That ever, when she meets mine eye,
Methinks the rosy Goddess by.
Hygea, then, bound through the vale,
And listen to each shepherd's tale,
And let the nymphs around thee throng,
Enraptur'd with thy matin song;
And on the heart feel every word
Strike the soft, sweet, harmonic chord,
Which thrilling through the frame shall rise,
And sparkle in the telltale eyes.
But what have I of comfort lost,
That healthier, stouter frames can boast !
Have I not sisters, ever near,
O ever kind ! O ever dear !
Who suffer not the winds to wave
O'er the bent shrub they prop and save.
From Autumn's faded form they hide,
And Winter's stripping hand they guide;
And even midst the Summer's heat
An equal watchfulness I meet.
Away then, Health ! thy frowns are vain,
Thou canst not touch my soul with pain !
FAREWELL ye walls where solitude has thrown
Her long dark shadow on each silent stone,
Where the slow pulse but feebly dares to creep,
Or give the wretched the sad leave to weep;
Where struggling sighs break forth from every breast,
And wasting sorrow wears a holy vest;
Where pure religion seldom ventures nigh,
Or owns the tear that hangs within the eye,
Which trembling long, at last in secret falls,
The heart-wrought offering to relentless walls.
But nought avails the heart-wrought offering here,
Nor aught avails the earth-unhallow'd prayer;
Sighs, that so oft for worldly cares are given,
No listening seraph fondly bears to heaven,
But through the cloister's corridors are borne,
Heard oft at eve and at return of morn.
Some sisters may revere the cloister's gloom,
And, warm with life, yet hover o'er the tomb;
May wing their souls to the supreme abode,
And, quitting earth, place every thought with God.
Thrice happy they who taste this early heaven,
And feel while here their every fault forgiven.
When the slow organ swells the lengthen'd note,
And heaven-born music pours from every throat;
When warm devotion breathes the fervent prayer,
And holy saints the pious rapture share;
When watchful slumbers stated minutes know,
And, waking, teach the ready knee to bow;
When Faith and Hope both animate the breast,
And habit's only made Religion's vest;
When strong conviction holds a steady light,
And clearly shows the vestal life is right;
When Conscience dictates the prompt will obeys,
And makes responses both to prayer and praise;
Is't then we taste the promis'd joys of heaven,
And trust, and feel, our every fault forgiven ?
Not so !--my years o'er many a sand has run,
And still my sighs have counted one by one.
Still self-will'd thought would bear my soul away,
And quick transport me to some blissful day,
When social intercourse her sweets would lend,
Mixing the lover with the tender friend;
When father's, mother's, sister's, voice was heard,
With every name that sense of life endear'd;
When future plans of dear domestic ease
Were fondly suffer'd every wish to seize;
When useful life was held a female part,
And 'twas no sin to feel I had a heart,
Or link the soft affections in my chain,
And hope to please--nor strive to please in vain;
To see the wish before it takes a form,
To mark the cloud or break the coming storm,
To shield the heart from every sense of pain,
And tell my own it did not beat in vain !
This ! this was life ! the life my faith approv'd,
A useful current to some friend belov'd;
If not a friend belov'd, at least to those
Whose length of suffering call'd for sweet repose;
And sought the soothings of the gentle breast,
In every form that Pity can be drest.
Once through a vale of tempting wiles I stray'd,
Till dusky evening drew her silent shade,
And night approach'd before I guess'd the hour,
Wrapp'd in a cloud, and usher'd by a shower.
A cottage, shelter'd by a fringing wood,
On a green carpet sweet and lonely stood;
The rising hill on either side would show
Where the wild rose uncropped might safely blow,
Where the soft murmurs of a low cascade
Might join the stream that gurgl'd through the glade;
Along the pasture nibbling sheep were seen,
Whose new-wash'd fleeces brighter made the green;
Two lambs ran frisking to avoid the shower,
And knock'd their little heads against the door;
The opening door a willing shelter lends,
For here sweet Innocence and Man were friends;
Two little cherubs, rosy as the morn,
The sweetest wild flowers wreath'd around each horn,
The little playmates knew the gentle hand,
And, patted softly, took a patient stand;
Then skipp'd and frolic'd, fond to lead the way,
And show the world how Innocence should play.
In a warm corner sat the aged sire,
His cushion spread, and plac'd beside the fire;
Respect from all unask'd he seem'd to draw,--
Respect from love, and not from silent awe.
He thankful look'd, and seem'd to bless his race,
Hope lit his eye, and Piety his face;
Few men more blest, more fortunate had been,
Or sweeter, better children's children seen;
His daughter's cheek had not yet ceas'd to glow,
The rose could yet upon occasion blow;
When the dear partner of her useful life
Would fondly call her his beloved wife,
The sweetest feelings all her heart would charm,
Beam in her eyes, and on her cheek grow warm !
Close to her heart a younger cherub press'd,
Smil'd in her face, and sunk upon her breast;
The happy father at his homely board
Ne'er thought the world could greater wealth afford;
While the lov'd prattlers many a trick would play,
Tug at his coat, and, peeping, run away;
While nods and whispers, loud enough to hear,
Gave certain notice when the foe drew near;
While his sly hands pretend the rogues to seize,
The wond'rous 'scapes the daring pilferers please;
And watching, when his eye was turn'd aside,
Beneath the mother's apron seek to hide;
Neatness and comfort wore a shining face,
And every thing seem'd well to know its place.
Gay peacock feathers wav'd o'er pewter rows,
And many a tint the painted rainbow throws;
The white scour'd chair e'en seem'd a tempting seat,
But all's inviting where all things are neat;
The sun look'd in, and saw each corner clean,
And brighter shone as he surveyed the scene.
Blest through long life, may every pair like these
Feel the full comfort of the wish to please !
No lot like this attended on my doom,
Destin'd to live, but live within the tomb.
False zeal ! false pride ! but let me hide their shame,
Nor blot the parents with a barbarous name.
Back to the world I now may safely go,
And kindly foster every child of woe;
Soft Pity's handmaid still I yet may be,
And every mourner may claim kin with me;
For keen afflictions make the strongest ties,
And fellow-sufferers are the best allies.
But how shall I the world retrace once more !
How chang'd that world from what I knew before !
No more I know to form the quick reply,
Or smooth my manners to th' expecting eye;
No longer know the various turns of mind,
Which now deceive, and now inform mankind;
The favourite topics which refinement taught,
And grac'd with every happy turn of thought;
The sentimental strain that softly flows
Has but been taught me by instructing woes;
The wiles of Fashion (that with eager haste
Arrest the eye, and call her whimsies taste),
Around this form no mystic wreath unfold,
Nor captive Fancy in their mazes hold,
Which long keep Sense uncertain what to say,
What part to praise, or what to vote away:
These arts unknowing, how shall I appear
Wrapp'd in the garb Simplicity would wear,
And, as a being of a world unknown,
Live much a wonder, or live much alone !
Of friends I left, alas ! how few remain,
How few to greet my welcome back again !
A change of manners makes a change of thought,
And I may seem but little what I ought.
Stern Bigotry may rail, and blame my choice,
And Superstition raise her hollow voice,
And Priests and Prelates may my actions scan,
And scorn with all the powers of reasoning man;
But let them scorn--for ever may it be,
That human reason and her acts are free !
One soft regret yet softens o'er my mind,
One other self I yet must leave behind;
In leaving her, I leave my better part,
With half the fairest virtues of my heart.
In scenes of sorrow long our loves were tried,
Oft has she wept, and sigh'd as I have sigh'd;
The sister Fates for both alike had wove
A tale of sorrow in a veil of love;
The blending lights and shades of other's woe
Mix in a way none but the wretched know;
None but the wretched see by what fine thread
Those hearts are tied which with one wound have bled !
Forbidding friends the happy union cross'd,
And sweet Cecilia to the world was lost;
The gentl'st lily not more sweet appears
When seen through all the morning's softening tears;
The melting Graces mould her winning form,
Pliant as osiers bend before the storm;
Tall as the cedar on yon mountain's brow,
That stoops to shade the murmuring stream below;
Meek as when Patience checks the rebel tear,
And makes Submission a bless'd saint appear,
While plaintive accents swell the softest chord,
And breathe full harmony on every word;
In every word the fullest sense you hear
Exactly suited to the listening ear,
While tender interest every heart inspires,
And every eye both pities and admires.
When to the world I urg'd her to return;
"What is the world," said she, "to those who mourn,
To those who've lost their dearest interest there,
The only thing that makes life worth a care !
O ! had my friends but been content to see
This closing grate fold all its bars on me;
Nor, as the veil was hovering o'er my head,
With impious hand the sacred vestment shred;--
Had but the monks the frantic rage forgiven,
Nor sent his pure and ardent soul to heaven,
Then to the world I might again have flown,
And not, as now, 'forget myself to stone !'
But why should I withdraw from this retreat ?
What friend have I in all the world to meet ?
Dead in the breast of every kindred tie,
For long ere dead to all the world we die;
Indifference heeds not where the wretched sleep,
Nor leaves one soothing sigh though they should wake and weep !
"No; my Saint Agnes, let me here remain,
These walls are old companions of my pain !
And to each deep and agonizing sigh
In hollow murmurs groan a sad reply;
These sad replies have bound me to my cell,
Nor, than its gloom, few things I love so well;
Oft have I mourn'd--oft told my story here,
And now the place, like a tried friend, grows dear.
The mind, in all its habitudes of woe,
Clings to the spot that seems its griefs to know;
Where fond Remembrance peoples all the scene,
And friends appear where friends have never been;
Her tear-dipped pencil stronger likeness shows
In that lov'd spot where the idea rose;
There the bless'd shade for ever haunts the ground,
And wanders with us all the groves around.
Oft have you met me in yon cloister'd aisle,
The half-tear starting through the troubl'd smile;
'Twas there, at evening hour, just as the sun
Hung o'er yon marble, and with languor shone,
That first of home I dar'd indulge the thought,
And with warm Fancy many an image wrought;
Worshipp'd the reliques with a love divine,
And built to Memory the forbidden shrine.
Forbidden, ah ! yet Nature will be found,
Though walls of adamant enclose her round;
Though vows, and veils, and cloisters, bind her fast,
The free-born spirit breaks her bars at last;
Finds the sick heart devoted to her sway,
And all her dictates waiting to obey;
Wonder not, then, this place becomes so dear !
Have I not brought my heart's devotions here ?
Unfit abroad to take an active part,
With all this load of misery at my heart,
I only hope to wing my soul to heaven,
And, for my countless tears and sighs, to be forgiven.
"You I shall miss ! through every lengthening aisle
Your heavenly presence sacred made the pile;
The long perspective found an opening ray
Whene'er your image cross'd my wandering way,
Light sudden gleams of joy my breast would seize,
And the cold blood forget awhile to freeze.
But go, St Agnes, bear along with thee
The many a tale of cloister'd misery;
Bless that sage Council where fair Freedom dwells,
And bid her henceforth close these gloomy cells;
The smooth chicane of monkish wiles unfold,
And say what wretches half the convents hold;
Drag forth Delusion to their wondering sight,
And let them see their bless'd decree was right !
How soon shall Freedom cheer the drooping swain,
How soon shall Plenty spread along the plain,
How soon shall Labour make a sport of toil,
And Health blow round him as he tills the soil;
The grateful soil her freest gifts shall lend,
To prove herself bless'd Freedom's steady friend.
As o'er the earth she bends her flowery way,
The swains exult as at return of day;
The towering woods more towering seem to grow,
And free-born rivers freer seem to flow;
The barren rocks their little part will bear,
And tufts of grass grow, nourish'd here and there;
All Nature sees, and hails the hour with me,
That gives to man the Mountain-Liberty;
Dear Liberty ! the source of heartfelt ease,
Which still must please whilst earthly good can please."
YE Bards who have polish'd your lays,
And sung of the charms of the grove,
That Truth's not the language of Praise,
You leave Disappointment to prove.
'Tis true that the meadows are fine,
Through which the rill tinkles along;
And the trees, which the woodbines entwine,
Regale the sweet thrush for his song:
At morn, when the sunbeams unveil
The beauties that hide with the night,
And the primrose and lily so pale
The soft eye of Feeling delight:
I own, when bespangl'd with dew,
The hawthorn in splendour appears;
The mock gem enriches the bough,
Till it melts into fanciful tears:
But yet these are charms of the hour,
To which the hard heart will not yield;
The eye only doats on the flower,
But is caught by the glow of the field.
Delusion, ye Bards, is your aim,
You take not from Nature your quill;
The goddess you worship is Fame,
And you talk of the cottage so still.
You say, that sweet Innocence there
Eternal devotion has paid;
That Cheerfulness carols her prayer,
And Peace ever sleeps in the shade.
But trust me, ye belles of the town,
Arcadia's a far distant view;
And though Ignorance roughens the clown,
His heart's not one jot the more true.
His wiles I confess we behold
Uncover'd by delicate art;
But still his rude manners unfold
The vices that cling to the heart.
And think not, ye nymphs of degree,
That Peace from the gay scene retires;
What is't in a cot that ye see
Which kindles such fanciful fires ?
Is't the roof bending low to the head,
And lattice just hinting at light ?
Hard labour can rest on a bed
That would not your slumbers invite.
Ah ! no; trust the plain simple Muse,
Whom Nature appoints as her scribe;
Nor, tempted by day-dreams, refuse
Those gifts which Contentment can bribe.
'Tis ease both of fortune and mind
This smiling companion can gain;
'Tis a friend, as correcting as kind,
And a heart wholly free from all stain !
THE gloomy lowering of the sky,
The milky softness of the air,
The hum of many a busy fly,
Are things the cheerful well can spare;
But, to the pensive, thoughtful mind,
Those kindred glooms are truly dear,
When in dark shades such wood-notes wind
As woo and win Reflection's ear;--
The birds that warble over head,
The bees that visit every flower,
The stream that murmurs o'er its bed,
All aid the melancholy hour.
Added to this, the wasting frame,
Through which life's pulses slowly beat,
Would fain persuade that nought's the same
As when health glow'd with genial heat.
Where are the spirits, light as air,
That self-amus'd, would carol loud ?
Would find out pleasure everywhere,
And all her paths with garlands strow'd ?
Nature's the same: the Spring returns,
The leaf again adorns the tree;
How tasteless this to her who mourns--
To her who droops and fades like me !
No emblem for myself I find,
Save what some dying plant bestows--
Save where its drooping head I bind,
And mark how strong the likeness grows.
No more sweet Eve with drops distill'd
Shall melt o'er thee in tender grief;
Nor bid Aurora's cup be fill'd
With balmy dew from yonder leaf.
What, though some seasons more had roll'd
Their golden suns to glad thine eye !
Yet as a flower of mortal mould
'Twas still thy lot--to bloom and die.
GO, sweet companion of the Spring,
Go, plume the little songster's wing;
And, when it steals from every eye,
Place thou the downy feather nigh;
The softest moss be sure to lay
Within the little builder's way;
Assist in deep domestic toil,
And many a labouring hour beguile;
Avert from hence unhallow'd feet,
And guard like Peace the lone retreat:
Whether in tangling brake conceal'd,
Or yellow broom, too much reveal'd,
In antique thorn, or rocky cell,
On waving spray, or mossy dell,
Midst social woods, or lonely tree,
Or where the household else shall be.
So may the snowdrop raise her head,
So may the primrose leave her bed;
So may the breeze refreshment bring
To every daughter of the Spring;
So may the cowslip walk the mead,
And daisies, wondering at their speed,
With haste their flowery carpet spread
Where'er the wandering foot shall tread,
While the light heart some charm shall see
In every meadow, hill, and tree,
Nor yet a shadow cross the lawn
That's not by her bright pencil drawn.
But, ah ! while Nature courts your eye,--
While genial beams flit o'er the sky;
Though pleas'd to view the shifting scene,
From rage-ting'd red, to blue serene;
Remember that a friend may sigh,
And the round tear bedim the eye;
That absence throws a deeper shade
Than ever darken'd through the glade;
And that, when heart-lov'd friends appear,
Not all the changes of the year--
Not all the blossoms of the rose--
Nor all the sweets that Summer throws,
Such joy, such life, the heart can lend,
As the return of that dear Friend !
"HOW sweet the moon now sleeps upon yon bank,"
Cried Nature's first-born1 , and delighted saw
Her fairy elves play many a wily prank,
As she sail'd on majestically slow.
Her pale beams tremble o'er the sleeping flower,
The tall trees lengthen in the sombre gloom;
Her brighter gleams now light the leafy tower,
Now show the Gothic arches of the dome.
A wandering cloud will sometimes cross her way,
Her head oft bowing lets the stranger pass,
While golden stars the canopy enlay,
And shadowy forms fly o'er the waving grass.
In solemn groves, where silver lamps late hung,
The fear-struck traveller sees huge spectres rise;
Sees grisly ghosts and stalking phantoms come,
As darkness draws the curtain of the skies.
In yonder tower the meditative mind
May suit the subject to the scene around,
Find some memento murmur in the wind,
Or print the smallest leaf that strews the ground.
HOW shall the muse in chinking rhyme impart
The warmth of gratitude that fires my heart,
To thee, my friend, who taught the easy way
To see my destiny as clear as day !
Nor need I now, with trembling steps and slow,
To yonder church's porch in terror go;
Or hail pale Cynthia in the coming year,
When first she's seen, and kindly means to hear
Each love petition, when the kneeling maid
Cold ashes pours on her fantastic head,
And there invokes the goddess to unfold
Some scroll of Destiny, by Fates enroll'd,
That names the man, whom bounteous they afford,
To be her lover, husband, fool, or lord;
Nor need the Cake of Silence now be made,
And I quite tongue-tied backward go to bed;
Saint Agnes, why such cruel fasts impose !
I ask thee not one secret to disclose;
Nor shall the apples e'er be pared again
To form a letter in my lover's name.
'Tis done ! 'tis done ! the Bridal Cake declares
The fixed prediction of my happy stars !
Fate lighten'd Fancy with her lucid beams,
And, lo ! her shadows glided o'er my dreams,--
Sweet dreams inspir'd by tender nuptial ties,
How shall I paint them in their lovely dyes !
How tell Myrinda half the joys I feel,
And all the secrets of my dreams reveal !
Yet shall my pen the arduous task essay,
And some faint image to thy mind convey.
When Night's dark curtain clos'd Day's gilded scene,
Wrapt up in gloom and silently serene;
Calm as when Summer-evening's gentle fall
To Contemplation gives the silent call;
Calm as that heart devoid of lovers' cares,
That plagues not Hymen with incessant prayers;
Thus clos'd the eve, in which the Fates were kind,
And show'd a presage to my wondering mind.
When every thought of busy day was fled,
And the Ring'd Cake lay 'neath my dreaming head;
Sweet sleep exerted all her magic power,
And soon convey'd me to a well-known bower,
Which when I saw, my heart with pleasure thrill'd,
For there sweet Damon oft my eyes beheld.
With joy I started, nor approach'd too near,
For Love, I find, is close allied to Fear;
Then view'd the beauties of the lovely scene
Where Fortha glides, that sweet meandering stream,
Where Nature blooms, though far across the Tweed,
And opes her treasures in the Scotian mead;
Where Truth and Valour, simply, yet sublime,
Adorn a Hero in the northern clime;
Wrapp'd up in reveries of my lovely youth,
Whose heart's all softness, emblem fair of Truth;
Whose mind's as fertile as the teeming Spring,--
Like Autumn rich in every virtuous thing;
Humane as Mercy, kind as treasur'd Love;
Say, say, Myrinda, can he fail to move ?
While thus enraptur'd, see, the youth appears,
Scarce can my telltale eyes withhold from tears !
Strange, yet a truth, and gains upon belief,
That joy excessive hurts as much as grief.
See, see, he comes with eager haste to meet,
And cast his heart and fortune at my feet !
Hear me, he cried, Belinda, deign to hear
Th' unforc'd dictates of a soul sincere;
Nor shall the tale in flattery's garb be dress'd,
For love alone directs my captive breast;
No rhetoric sets your happiness to view,
Or draws each prospect in chameleon hue;
Plain is the tale, nor varnish'd o'er by art,
For I'd not steal but have thee give thy heart;
Nor do I fancy, e'en if bless'd with thee,
My life thus guarded should from woes be free;
Whilst misery clings to every mortal here,
A chain of grief the happiest man must wear:
The gay, enchanted by romantic scenes,
Plan out life's building in their golden dreams,
And vainly think the edifice shall stand
Firm as if rear'd by an immortal hand;
But, ah ! when sorrows blow, and woes descend,
The fabric falls, and all enchantments end;
Awak'd to woes his soul had lightly deem'd,
He rails at Fate--nor thinks his idly dream'd.
But let us not by folly still the voice
Which Reason whispers and directs the choice;
Be not deceived by shadows of a shade,
Elate with praise, or vanity's parade;
Through all the mazes of my changing life,
Be thou my fond companion and my wife;
In grief, thy sympathy will ease my heart,
In joy, new pleasure to my soul impart;
So shall my dear, my lov'd Belinda find
Her every wish re-echo'd in my mind;
Dispose of me, and o'er my will command;
(And here methought he seized my willing hand;)
Suffer this ring, the sweet persuader cried,
Around thy finger, and become my bride,
In holy bonds:--but here away I broke,
Ah ! foolish I, and trembling thus awoke;
And, when my eyes beheld Sol's radiant gleam,
The vision vanish'd--lo ! 'twas all a dream.
WHEN winter, with a frown severe,
Had parted with the worn-out year;
The worn-out year, in health decay'd,
Had run the course--to bloom and fade;
A snow-wreath'd mantle close infolds,
A clasp of icy diamonds holds;
Her former pleasantness forgot,
Her woods, her groves, remember'd not.
The lovely varying tints of green
Faded as if they'd never been,
For who that sees that poplar now
Would think e'er verdure cloth'd its brow !
Its robes are gone, and there remain
Autumnal leaves of yellow stain;
The blustering tyrant long had torn
The lingering leaf from the poor thorn,--
The lingering leaf, though fond to stay,
Was swept by the rude blast away;
And, falling on the russet ground,
Gave to the ear a wintry sound.
But Time, whom monarchs must obey,
Now melts this frozen pomp away;
Sending his harbingers the hours
Before, to speak for fragrant bowers;
Bidding the green-rob'd Spring come forth,
And strike the Tyrant of the north.
With lightsome foot they steal away,
And find her with her birds at play;
Pouring such songs in the young ear,
As suit the season of the year.
Flora the pattern flowers was showing,
Which on her couch were sweetly blowing;
While the light zephyr, pertly gay,
Now brought the scents, now bore away.
"Accept, sweet Spring," gay Flora said,
"This snowdrop with its lowly head;
Wrapt up in many a fleece of snow,
The little lady loves to go;
But her pale cheek would ne'er be seen,
Did I not trim her coif with green.
My sweetest violet next behold,--
How blue it looks, inhuman cold !
Yet not thy chilling hand can stay
Those sweets that scorn to wait for May !
The harebell now her goblet bears
With brimful cup of dewy tears,
Which o'er primroses pale she sheds,
That scarce have strength to leave their beds,
Till daisies and gay cowslips lead
Their weaker sisters o'er the mead,
And pendant leaves begin to spread
A waving shelter over head;
The woods and groves await thy will,
The sickly plant to spare or kill;
Come then, thou sower of the meads,
And scatter all the promis'd seeds !
When done, where'er thou mov'st along,
Leaves, plants, and flowers shall round thee throng;
Which wandering near the tinkling rill,
Shall, stooping, seem to listen still."
Not all the incense Flora pours--
Not all the offerings of the hours,
Could make her leave her blessed retreat,
Had Hope not charm'd her from her seat;
She, with a hand held out to bless,
And smiles that look'd like happiness,
Declar'd 'twas ever to be found;
Then folding the sweet hours around,
Bade her their joyous footsteps heed,
Nor fear to sow the smallest seed.
Fearful she rose, lest the rough wind
To infant buds should prove unkind;--
"Though now they seem with health to glow,
Their painted leaves may never blow;
Should blights arise, oft met before,
I ne'er should see these nurslings more;
But since the hours have led the way,
Have bath'd in tears this April day,
Through all the groves once more I'll range,
Once more their dusky liveries change."
A flowery chaplet binds her hair,
(The sweetest wreath a Nymph can wear,)
Her dark green robe was border'd round
With every flower that loves the ground;
Her tresses, negligently gay,
Stray'd far behind, too fond of play,
Because her curls it sadly teases
To be pull'd rudely by the breezes;
A basket o'er her arm was hung,
And plenteous were the seeds she flung;
The fanning zephyrs help'd her toil,
And mix'd the seeds with every soil;
To the hoar rock the ashlings bear,
Who doubt their hold and tremble there,
But, when a footing once they find,
Court the rough crag, and scorn the wind.
Now fluttering leaves crowd on the spray,
And birds, more fluttering still than they,
The freshest, softest mosses cull,--
From warmest sheep the warmest wool,--
The pliant hair to bind around,--
The firmest clay to lay the ground,
And, to support the mossy roof,
Some well-known twig of 'custom'd proof,
And, that the nestlings mayn't be found,
With bark the nest is roughcast round;
The brittle eggs in feathers lie,
The leafy door deceives the eye;
The little parent, doom'd to share
The pleasures with a parent's care,
In darkest foliage hides her head,
Of birds, of beasts, of man afraid;
While on the leafy neighbouring tree
Her sweet mate keeps her company;
And, when the young ones chirp for food,
He skims the brook, and scours the wood;
The gilded insects catch his eye;--
Why dost thou shine, then, glittering fly ?
Thy lustre only serves to show
Thy covert to thy deadliest foe !
But now still Eve her mantle threw
O'er the soft sky of sweetest blue;
The happy bird on topmost spray,
"Singing the last song of the day,"
Rejoic'd aloud that th' hour of rest
Was rocking now her quiet nest,
And that she knew the rising morn
Would show her many a hoard of corn;
At distance saw a wandering tribe
That every darkening thicket ey'd;
And, where the matted moss had wound
The hawthorn's antique root around,
All full of mirth, and full of glee,
They hope the blackbird's nest to see,
Whose bright blue eggs, in graceful line,
Would 'midst the rows of pewter shine;
There speckl'd and the brown unite,
The iron-gray and yellow-white;
Nor could the little wren's escape,
Though smallest thing of oval shape.
These plunderers, as others do,
Hang out their ill-got wealth to view,
When dressers deck'd for Sunday's show
Call forth their platters row by row;
What though by some unlucky stroke
The king or queen or prince is broke;
What though they can no more contain
The mantling juice in every vein,
To show you that they yet are there,
They edge behind, and half appear,
Still eking out the grand design
Of making all the house look fine.
What more could high-priced baubles do !
Go, search the empty world through !
The hard-wrought, far-sought, diamond bring--
That much admired glittering thing;
From China or Japan go draw
The gilded chair and works of show;
Bid France her silken loom employ,
And Gobelins weave the fall of Troy;
Panama bid her pearls dispose
In innocent and humble rows;
Yet still, if such things do but please,
The cottage shelf may rival these;
For all depends, we mostly find,
Upon the eye within the mind;
Then, Ignorance, in quiet rest,
Thou'rt soonest pleas'd, and cheaply blest !
But think not yet the search is o'er,
And school-imps look for eggs no more;
For now among the yellow broom
You hear their little busy hum.
The watching parent from his tower
Listens, and tunes his pipe no more;
But, as the satchel-boy draws near,
His bristling feathers shake with fear;
From bough to bough he hops, and tries
To lead from home their searching eyes;
A broken wing pretends to show
Dragg'd on the ground, and fluttering low,
Disabl'd; see, he cannot fly,
Though oft he lamely seems to try;
Deceiv'd, the imps believe it true,
And through the prickling hedge pursue,
Till scratch'd and miserably torn,
And bled by every wounding thorn,
The happy parent darts on high,
And almost seems to reach the sky.
Amaz'd, provok'd, the sufferers now
Examine every twisted bough;
Too soon the quick-ey'd rifler sees
The well-hid nest midst arching trees;
Soon, soon he bears them into day,
And laughing hurries all away.
Now Morn in all her bloom arose,
Her sleeping-curtains half unclose;
And looking from her crimson bed,
On Night's pale cheek warm blushes spread;
Her saffron robe gay woodbine tied,
Which nodded to the breeze that sigh'd;
Her golden slippers, pearl'd with dew,
A riband bound of azure hue;
And in her hand a vase of flowers
That ope and close at certain hours;
Her chamber leaves; and in her car,
That erst was once the morning star,
Began her journey through the sky,
Bidding each shade of orient dye
Fall on the mountain's hoary head,
Where curling mists gray honours shed,--
There watch the god of rising day,
And in devotion melt away.
'Twas now the ploughman whistl'd o'er
Those furrow'd fields he mow'd before;
And nut-brown Labour, hard of hand,
Had not one moment's leave to stand;
Not e'en the resting-spade to hold
While some strange village tale was told.
'Tis Eve that Leisure brings along,
Companion of the tale and song;
At her approach, in sober weeds,
When wandering through the daisied meads,
Her thoughtful musings shepherds tell
To bid the gaudy sun farewell.
Years seem to've shown her all her folly,--
To've thrown a shade of melancholy
Across her brow, and ever hung
Th' instructive lesson on her tongue.
But not to scorn the aids of dress,
And make her person please the less,
Think not, all ornament refusing,
Or subjects that are but amusing,
She will not take an equal part,
Or play--unless to win the heart.
'Tis she who blows the pipe so shrill,
And winds the note around the hill,
Till nymphs and swains the signal hear,
And dancing in the dale appear.
With veil thrown up she joins the throng,
Nor grave nor gay she moves along;
With matron-mixture in her air,
Nor void of mirth, nor free from care;
Dress'd in a robe of clouded gray,
Her mourning for the loss of Day,
Whose parting beams her toils renew
To sprinkle every herb with dew;
The pearly dew, "so sweetly clear,
To hang in every cowslip's ear,"
There trembling till the morning's ray
Shall see it shine and melt away.
For now her mists were curling round,
And tall dark shadows stalk'd the ground,
While twilight close the vapours drew,
Hoodwink'd the sky and clos'd the view;
Till through th' expanse the sailing moon
Now bright appears, now hid in gloom,
Her face half showing; then a cloud
Enwraps the whole in fleecy shroud;
The fleecy shroud grows now more bright,
"Turning its lining on the night,"
Thin and more thin its veil is seen,
Till the full orb looks through between;
On ether borne it glides in state,
And slowly seeks the western gate;
Still faintly imitating day,
Lighting the traveller on his way,
Who else had from the cottage seen
The twinkling rush, and blest its light serene.
But sober joys to Eve belong,
The cheerful fire, the happy throng.
She sees the housewife oft prepare
The favourite dish and easy chair,
To welcome home her labouring lord,
And spread some dainty on his board;
Her face displaying joy and care,
Which spread a change of beauty there,
That by the vague impartial eye
Might on the cheek neglected die.
Not so; he eats the dish she dresses,
Tells her she's kind, and likes her messes;
Abroad for dainties he'll not roam,
For every thing is best at home.
The little prattlers have their share
Proportioned with exactest care;
The young ones on each knee are set,--
Calls this good boy, and that his pet;
The rest all climbing up his side,
Petition for to-morrow's ride.
Thus closes many a rural day,
From ploughing fields to mowing hay,
And on to harvest's golden reign,
Till winter sweeps the barren plain;
Still every season finds him blest
Whose wishes on his conscience rest;
Rest ever must that man attend
Who is to all his kind a friend !
WHEN from mount Ida "cloud-compelling Jove"
Cast round his eye of universal love,
And saw mankind with various ills oppress'd,
A heaving sigh came labouring from his breast;
Not e'en can Jove the ills of life restrain,
Nor his the power to free poor man from pain;
E'en he submits to Fate's all-powerful sway,
And the three Sisters all the gods obey;
The web of life keeps them in close employ,
Yet the fair web they weave but to destroy;
In vain the spindle from the distaff whirls,
Lengthens by fits, and as it lengthens twirls;
The chequer'd warp, for longer days begun,
With changeful shades is in succession run;
In the soft loom the silken tissue flows,
And brighter hues succeed the cloud of woes.
But oft as the gay shuttle glides along,
Skimming with ease the lighter shades among,
The fatal shears the fragile threads untie,
And the cropt rose gives up her crimson dye;
The distant views that dawn'd with early morn
Shut up their vistas e'er the eve's return;
Or sullen night her sable mantle shows,
And round the world her long dark curtain throws;
Such is the lot of man by Fate's decree,
Nor Jove himself can set the prisoner free.
But still compassion touch'd the mighty mind,
And thus he sorrow'd for oppress'd mankind:
"Shall these poor mortals, tenants of a day,
In life's rude path but tread the thorny way ?
Gay fluttering insects that beneath the sky
Bask in the sun, and the next moment die!
A short-liv'd being, whom, so proud of breath,
A weaker insect stings to instant death !
The sport of winds, of sky, and varying showers,
The jest and pity of superior powers !
Shall these who're doom'd a thousand ills to meet,
And seldom see one growing wish complete,
Shall they all comfortless the journey take,
As onward wandering to the Stygian lake,
Without the aid of some benignant power--
Some heavenly hand to sooth the ruffl'd hour !
Ye blisful Synod who on Ida's height
Taste but one round of interchang'd delight,
Is there not one of all your blissful train
Prone to arrest the flying shafts of pain ?
If such compassion touch th' immortal breast,
Be now the generous sentiment confess'd;
Descend to earth, and our protecting eye
Shall look with pleasure as your task ye ply !"
He said: while Pity round her forehead drew
Her filmy veil drench'd with her sacred dew;
But yet the filmy veil, so soft, so clear,
Gave to the sight the meek retiring tear;
The half-tun'd voice in trembling cadence fell,
And the long sigh on a half word would dwell.
She thus, whilst kneeling to almighty Jove,
Whose mind and essence is eternal love:
"Permit me, sire, to quit the blest abodes,
For what from Pity want the happy gods ?
Not so with Man; deceiv'd by gilded show,
And painting happiness on scenes below,
Gives a clear sky, till the long prospect ends,
And plants a paradise for thousand friends;
But scarce the 'dawn unbars the gates of light,'
And meek Aurora dries the tears of night,
(Yet blushing dries them, lest the god of Day
Should rudely brush the trembling drops away--
E'en those soft drops his absence caus'd to rise,
And fall from Night's too fond despairing eyes,)
Till the storm gathers, and the sun retires
Muffl'd in clouds, extinguishing his fires;
E'er his blest heat the breast had taught to glow,
Or the young buds, just cherish'd, bolder grow;
Then breaking forth in all his former pride,
Hope, like a rainbow, brightens by his side;
Thus, thus deluded Man from day to day
Hopes and despairs his lingering life away !
But as a respite for his labouring cares,
And the slow growth of intermingl'd years,
Shall I not call forth every latent power
That knows to heal the sad distemper'd hour ?
Yes; balmy Friendship knows to cure the wound,
And press the bosom till it's firmly sound !
I've trac'd her footsteps many a summer's morn,
And seen her tears augment the dropping thorn;
Have seen her wander by the lonely brook,
The world forsaking, by the world forsook;
Unknown her worth, they melancholy deem
This lone companion of the lonely stream;
To me be't given to show her matchless worth,
And softly draw her hidden virtues forth;
To teach mankind the only good they share
Is Friendship strengthen'd by a soul sincere."
Thus said; she lightly left the blessed abodes,
And Earth received the handmaid of the gods.
Friendship she sought amid her lonely bowers--
Her silent musings and her pensive hours,
Her tender feelings to herself best known,
And the heart-bleedings that are all her own.
"Why on these banks," she said, "o'erhung with yew
And weeping willows, shedding nightly dew,--
Why o'er this stream, that deep and black appears,
Drops the meek pearl, which some call trickling tears ?"
"They fall to see yon willow bend so low,
A lifeless picture of heart-rending woe !"
"Are not the ills to human life confined
Enow to load thy melancholy mind,
That thus imagin'd Sorrow claims her part,
And half divides thy far too tender heart ?
Haste, haste to where thy sympathy may ease
The secret minings of a slow disease;
Where patient suffering makes no plaintive moan,
Or pain extracts more than a smother'd groan;
There watch each cloud that labours through the sky,
And the blue mist that rolls his damps on high;
Blame that or this for every growing pain,
The sunbeam's sultry heat, or cooling rain;
Marking each wish the weak voice cannot frame,
And feel a want before it takes a name:
But, above all, the drooping spirits raise,
And talk with certainty of better days;
Nor seem to doubt, or else the nerve will start,
Spreading its tremour to the trembling heart;
The trembling heart cold faintness shall surprise,
And, for a moment, close the sinking eyes.
"But to preserve the needful balm of rest,
Of all Health's cordials still the last and best,
Haste to sweet Slumber; softly at her gate
Tap with thy finger, and admittance wait;
Quick is her ear, for e'en the softest tread
Wakes every nerve, and thunders through the head;
Whilst startling Dreams their fluttering pinions lend,
Till vapoury visions in strange forms descend;
Sometimes a fairy land invites the sight,
And glow-worm prospects brighten in the night;
Sometimes she wanders through the world alone,
Or from the towering precipice is thrown;
Or wades through waters where no shore is near,
And feels a death in every deadly fear;
Demons and goblins point the dire abode,
And hissing snakes entwine the hideous road;
Lions and tigers stand with open jaw,
And flashing eyes, to fix the eager claw;
Till cheerful Health, with all her airy train,
Dispels the mists that settle on the brain,--
Removes the poppies on her temples spread,
And from translucent springs refreshment sheds.
The droning beetle, whose deep-booming horn
Deaden'd the soft voice of the whispering morn,
Wheels off in haste, nor lets his bugle sound
When Day's sweet concert wakes the world around;
The murmuring stream, that kept a dying fall,
No more complains, but from the mansion all
In secret channels hides from cheerful day,
And silent works his subterraneous way;
The mournful evergreens that crowd the door,
And wander all the gloomy garden o'er,
All creep about where cheering light should stray
And boldly venture into open day;
Through whose dark shades the lulling winds would sound,
Kiss the tall grass, and sigh along the ground;
The early bird, that rises with the day,
Rock'd by soft zephyrs slept the morn away;
And drizzling rain left such a weight on air,
That owls at midnight nod in ivy chair;
These Health destroy'd; for, from their bending boughs,
Nightly the noxious dew distils, and throws
Its baneful influence o'er the powers of rest,
For those who sleep but little sleep the best:
Not drowsy beings that, till noon-tide pours
His sultry steam, and drinks the breath of flowers,
Know the full rigour of a nerve unstrung,
Or, while in youth--as ought the being young--
Know not that breezes rising with the morn
Make them as light as dew-drops on the thorn,--
As gay as larks that, warbling as they fly,
Bear the first message to the morning sky;--
Fleet as the roe, that o'er the mountain bounds
When first his ear is threaten'd by the hounds;--
Cheerful as sunbeams that with lilies play,
Tinging with gold their paler looks away.
Thus, when weak mortals feel thy power to charm,
And the cold bosom grows a little warm,
'Tis then thy influence the mind must share,
Moulding to virtue, and the bliss of prayer,--
To moral duties by Religion taught,
Till the blest man becomes the man he ought.
This is thy charge, by Jove himself design'd;
Thou, next the gods, the good of all mankind;
Soothing thy manners, yet thy words sincere,
Speaking all truths the sickly soul can bear.
Nor ruffle thou the spirit of the proud,
Who never yet have to instruction bow'd;
But wind about their errors as you may,
And with sweet counsel weed their faults away;
By slow degrees Perfection must be wrought,
For slow's the growth of weak bewilder'd Thought;
Nor will one manner work alike with all,
Some in soft whispers thou must gently call;
Nor censure harsh, nor mark with critic eye
Those little faults that under virtues lie.
Others, again, thy freer speech demand,
And the correction of a bolder hand,--
Must have their vices marshall'd in their view,
And every error plainly pointed to;
Others, from seeming love, will hear thy voice,
And fondly think that virtue is their choice;
But should'st thou thwart them with a word more hard,
Or seem t' abate thy tender, warm regard,
Rage would run back to all the follies past,
And every day grow faultier than the last;
Such is thy task, congenial to thy mind,
The Friend, the Lover, of forlorn Mankind !
WHAT is't to me though Earth's green lap be spread
With new-sprung flowers, the first-born of the year !
The smirking daisy and the cowslip tall
May walk the mead, or wander near the brook;
The liquid mirror may reflect the tree
Whose opening leaves now mottle all the stream;
Their fluttering tenants, crowding cliff and spray,
May the green curtain tight and closely draw,
To hide the habitation, wove with care,
And all the fostering secrecy of love.
The gilded insect basking in the sun,
Fann'd by his light, and many a colour'd wing,
Now shows with how much care Nature adorns
Her smallest work. What are all these to me !
My thoughts from pleasure and from former joys
Start wild away; Amusement's silver cords
Bind on the fancy no one form of bliss;
I try to lose myself, but still pursu'd
By Fear, I only fly to agony of mind,
There lose the sight of all but one sad grief,
Which sits enthron'd within this aching heart.
The fairest lily of the field now droops,--
Hangs low the head, where Beauty soft had wove
Those sweet entanglements that hold the eye,
And through her silken veil would fondly show
The various workings of the virtuous soul;
The heart look'd through, and spread along the face
The sentimental trait that mark'd the mind.
Compassion oft would bud into a tear,
And honest Scorn would flush the redd'ning cheek,
When harsh conclusions or ungenerous truths
Would drop like gall from the satiric tongue.
Worth she approv'd, however mean array'd;
And greatness could not charm but by the soul.
Her accents fell with such a melting sound
On every word that cloth'd her modest thought,
That sweet Expression told the careless heart
Whene'er she spoke she could not speak in vain !
Your eye from her's would learn a mode of speech
Which, when she pleas'd, could useless make the ear,
And ere the sentence left its hallow'd cave,
Would tell what thought was venturing next abroad.
Nor had Disguise in all her face or soul
One place to hide her poor and artful head;
Truth and her train had tenanted each cell,
And honest Friendship at the portal stood
To point or tell you what was done within.
But, ah ! she droops; and I am drooping too !
'Tis not for me to hold the aching head,
And cordials in my hands and eyes to bear,
To cheer her longer with a ray of hope,
And promise Ease, that wanders with To-morrow;
To watch the askings of the weary eye,
And ere the wish be form'd the wish foresee;
To me such happiness must ne'er belong !
Myself who tax the tenderness of friends,
And oft require their all-supporting aid,
Else, else this drooping, withering plant had long,
Had long ere this been mouldering in the dust.
O Father of the Universe ! 'tis thou
Who giv'st us life, and health, and joy, and ease;
For these continu'd grateful let us be;
If taken from us, let us firm believe
Thy goodness equal in what thou withhold'st,
As in what thou benevolently giv'st;
Let us submit. But oh ! if 'tis thy will
To save my friend, and hold her yet in life,
O God of Heaven ! how thankful shall I be.
If not, let me, all humble, strive to yield,
Assur'd that thou hast everlasting store
Of endless bliss for every soul like her's;
For true religion purified her heart,--
Ran through the current of her blameless life,
And made it one continued hymn to Thee !
TO THE FLOWER LOVE-IN-IDLENESS, AND A PETITION TO THE FAIRIES TO BRING
YE fairy Elves from every cell,
I warn you to repair,
From those in acorn cups who dwell,
To those in coral chair;
Indifference bid his poppy give
To calm this aching head,
And o'er the feelings that will live
Its opiate juices shed.
Then anxious thoughts shall disappear,
The wayward wishes die;
And every forward starting tear
Withdraw into the eye.
Come, Elfin Puck, I know thee well;
By moonlight have I seen
Thee and thy train weave many a spell
Beneath yon oaks so green.
Once, when the sky was up in arms,
With northern lights at war,
And thou wast sent for wonderous charms,
Not Oberon knew how far;
Within a dark and gloomy shade,
Where no star-lamps were hung;
Where the bold torrent thunder made,
And Echo's shell was rung;
Where the hoar rock majestic sat,
And lent a listening ear;
And where the drowsy half-blind bat
Wheel'd round, but wheel'd with fear;
Thou didst a gentle maid behold
On the hard rock reclin'd,
Whilst all her garment's silken folds
Were floating in the wind;
And ever and anon there fell
A tear from either eye,
That dropt into the deep harebell
Which held her cup hard by;
And in her hand a mirror shone
O'er which a painted train
Of former joys--far past and gone,
Would wander back again;
And many a shadowy form was seen
To court the yielding heart;
And many a happier hour had been,
That died ere it could part !
One form was ever in her eye,
And in her heart was found,
To catch the vapour of a sigh,
And waft it round and round;
Quick in an instant fled away
The variegated train;
And all the crowd that seem'd so gay
Spread into air again.
Ah ! Memory, source of joy and woe,
Could'st thou thy mirror stain
In such a way as but to show
Gay pleasure's sportive train;
Then would I kneel, and bless thy power,
And ever round thy shrine
Low bend each happy, blissful hour
That ever once was mine;
O ! I would kneel from morn till night,
And see the setting sun
Sink down the sky, and lose his light,
Ere half the rites were done.
But, ah ! how vain, while one dear shade
Still bends its form to me;
And as I stray through time's worn glade,
No other form I see !
While every word that softly flow'd
Seems yet to court my ear,--
The only sound in life's dull road
It ever wish'd to hear !
O ! dear Forgetfulness, if e'er
Thou wov'st a winding shroud,
Or turn'd to pearl one trickling tear
That dropp'd from Sorrow's cloud;
O ! Memory, if thy mirror broke
When Grief her note would swell,
Or by some quick electric stroke
Thy forms would all dispel;
O teach a young unpractised maid
Her wonted ease to find,
And banish far yon winning form
That kills her peace of mind !
The Lesbian maid from a high rock
Was said her love to quell,
Why may not I endure the shock ?
She ne'er lov'd half so well !
Just as she rose and reach'd the brink,
The fairy sprite was seen
To make the rock all slowly sink
To the smooth level green;
The roaring flood no more was heard,
The wind to whispers fell;
And gay Forgetfulness appear'd
To hang upon his spell;
And Memory's mirror darker grew,
And objects dimly shone;
And Pleasure on its surface blew,
And all the forms were gone.
The maid's pale cheek the lily lost,
And opening roses stray'd;
Their wonted smiles her eyelids boast,
That midst their fringes played.
Another form as lowly bends,
And tempts her heart away;
But Caution the clos'd ear defends,
Lest that fond heart should stray.
But yet Persuasion's silver sound
Thrills on that heart's soft cords,
And many a speaking tone is found
To have no need of words.
Is there a scene in fairy land
Where Happiness can dwell ?
O yes, when heart goes with the hand,
And weaves the Lover's spell !
Then haste, Indifference thou must bring
To shed her calm o'er me,
I ask no other earthly thing
From thy great Queen and thee !
'Twas when mild Evening took her views,
I made this ardent prayer,
Her pencil dipt in silver dews
Would paint a softer air;
Sudden within the darkling grove
Some tiny feet were heard,
And scenes by gay Enchantment wove
In magic pomp appear'd.
Borne on a high triumphal car
Of orient pearl made,
The Fairy Queen, like some bright star
Shot through the spangl'd glade,
Bedeck'd with every gem so bright,
That dares reflect the sun,
The little Queen in borrow'd light
Like some gay meteor shone.
Her chariot wheels of topaz, seem
With diamonds studded round,
Which, like the moonlight, dart a gleam
That waves along the ground;
While emeralds an umbrella made,
By many an elf upborne,
Whose little coats, green as the shade,
Bright fairy foils adorn.
Midst their Queen's locks of golden thread
A beauteous plume there waves :--
A humming-bird once made its bed
Within the foxglove's caves,
And Oberon, to grace his Queen,
Had sought the lily's bell,
And peep'd in every cup-clos'd flower
Where these gay birds can dwell;
At last kind chance conducts his feet
To where the slumberer lay;--
Ah! nought avails the deep retreat,
He bears the plume away!
To grace his Queen he bore the prize,
When Reconcilement strove
Again to kindle with her sighs
The flame of smothered love;
For even fairy Elves, we're told,
Are sometimes found to jar,
And many a little Elfin-scold
Is heard by many a star:--
Six little, little Indian deer,
That boast but half inch height,
Would at a word fly every where,
And journey through the night.
At last the glittering Queen descends,
While Elfins bow around;
And one her frosted robe attends,
That sweeps the spangl'd ground.
To me she bent:--Thou mortal mould,
Though seldom Fairies deign
Their converse with such wights to hold;
Yet as thou lov'st our train,
And dost by moonlight often stray,
And acorn cups bestow,--
The glowworm deck'st, whose glittering ray
Doth on our pathway glow;
There as thy lightsome foot thus treads
The lovely fairy scene,
Thy hand the dews so neatly threads
To hang on grass so green;
I come to say, I've sought each flower,
Each fairy herb and tree,
But there's not one has any power
To work a charm for thee.
Indifference will not shed her balm,
Nor drowsy poppy lend;
That breast can ne'er be sweetly calm,
Where Feeling mourns a friend.
Have I not mark'd thee many an hour,
With none but Fairies by,
Pluck up some story-telling flower,
And weep within its eye ?
That little eye perchance had seen
Some treasure of the heart,
Or mark'd the spot where friends had been,
Or seen fond lovers part:
Beneath yon tree, with names o'ergrown,
Have I not heard thy sighs;
And, as embracing every one,
Have mark'd thy tear-set eyes ?
Think'st thou, when reliques strow the ground
And hang on every tree,
Indifference will e'er be found
To shed her calm o'er thee !
When not a path the friend has trode,
But still in fancy's eye
It seems the only certain road
To meet returning joy !
If, if indeed thou would'st be blest,
No dear memorials keep;
And in the aching tortur'd breast
Let restless memory sleep.
Nor cull the flowers, nor mark the tree,
Nor through the pathway rove,
Where thou wast wont the friend to see
That won thy soul to love !
For Time's hard hand can ne'er deface
The likeness of that hour,
While soft remembrance keeps its trace--
Its mark on every flower.
If to forgetfulness thou'lt kneel,
I then will bring a charm
That o'er thy senses soft shall steal
And chill that heart so warm.
Come now, and wend along with me;
See'st thou yon tiny flower--
So white and dove-like--dost thou see
It loves the present hour ?
It will not turn its little eye
On scenes all past and gone;
It dips its leaf in dewy joy,
And still keeps hoping on.
Once, once it was a tender maid,
And who lov'd far too well;
For her, in the bright glowworm glade,
I wrought a wonderous spell.
I saw the rose fade on her cheek,
The star set in her eye;
I saw the words she durst not speak--
E'en to the secret sigh !
I saw the moon fill up her horn,
Wane, and grow round again;
Still at return of eve and morn
I saw returning pain.
And in the dewdrop of the night
I found her pearly tear;
And in the hollow wind's soft sound
Her sighs moan'd in my ear.
Soft Pity touch'd a Fairy's breast,
I chang'd her to a flower;
I need not say--thou seest the rest,--
She loves the present hour.
Do thou from Lethe take a draught,
Then wear this smiling flower;
And to the wandering wayward thought
Unite the present hour.
The blissful bondage soon shall prove
A source of lasting ease,
For, with the present hour in love,
The smallest thing shall please.
BENEATH a sad and silent shade
Afflicted Poetry was laid;
The shepherd train, the virgin choir,
No longer listen'd to her lyre;
But, all neglected and alone,
Her feeling and her fire were gone.
No zephyr fondly sued her breast,
No nightingale came there to rest;
The faded visions fled her eyes--
The visions of her ecstasies.
And if perchance she sought delight,
It was amid the gloom of night,--
It was the hour the screechowls cry,
Or roaring whirlwinds rend the sky,
To pour her melancholy strain,
And catch a pleasure from the pain.
Esten beheld her haggard air
At twilight as she wander'd there,
And felt the sympathetic woe
That Taste and Feeling ever know;
Then eager sought the city's throng
To vindicate the force of song.
She chose an ode divinely wild,
Wrote by the Muses' favourite child;
From Collins was the magic lay,
That subject Passions all obey:
The crowd the varying influence prove
Of Rage, and Hope, and Fear, and Love;
They still implor'd her to rehearse,
And own'd the thrilling power of verse !
O thou, sweet Bard! who now mayst be
A shadow fleeting o'er the sea,
A vapour on the morning rose,
A whispering wind at evening's close;
Or if thy spirit love to dwell
Awhile within the violet's bell,
Then, in beatitude of change,
From star to star exulting range;
Live in the lustre of the day,
Or float upon the lunar ray;
Or rapturous join the hallow'd voice
Where endless Seraphim rejoice;
O Collins ! whatsoe'er thou art,
Deign, deign to bless thy Esten's heart;
A portion of those joys reveal
Which sure she well deserves to feel !
THOU canst not fly me, dearest maid !
I haunt thee with the Evening's shade;
I see with thee "her golden glow
Fall on the silver lake below,"--
The trees that paint them in the stream
Another earth and sky to seem,--
The self-same shades that tinge thy sky
Make the full circle of my eye.
When Night her mantle casts around,
With golden stars the border's bound;
Or when her crescent crowns her brow,
And glitters all the woodland through
With quivering beam, that oft deceives,
While spreading foil on spangl'd leaves;
Till some dark cloud comes sailing by
And drinks the lustre of the sky,--
Pours from her horn the watery store,
And leaves and flowers are bright no more:
When Morn stands tiptoe on yon hill,
And then first prints the cottage sill
And views her, blushing to be seen,
As if from bathing she had been;
Her golden locks yet scarcely dry,
And the dropp'd dew half in her eye;
Her sandals wet as wet can be,
Her robe still dripping from the sea,
Her car just waiting for her hand
To drive the coursers over land,
And, for the heats of sultry day,
To chase the sullen clouds away,--
Ah! thinkst thou not I see thee still,
And ever did and ever will ?
Can absence tear thee from my sight ?
My eyes' full joy--my soul's delight !
No;--in the soft and silken bower
Where slumber binds the drowsy hour,
And sweetest dreams in visions sends
To be the wretch's fancied friends,
Think'st thou that any form but thine
Can meet this ardent gaze of mine ?
Or, when the blissful vision's o'er,
And I must grasp thy shade no more,--
When sorrowing drops my eyelids stain,
And wake me to my woes again;
Think'st thou fond memory will not bear
Thy image through the drowning tear ?
The mind's eye then shall take the place,
And wander o'er thy much lov'd face,--
See every look and every thought
That feeling or that fancy wrought.
E'en now I see that starting tear;
Where lurks the anguish ? tell me where ?
Ah ! my soul trembles while I see
That tear, alas ! not dropp'd for me.
For me ! ah, no; she knows I mourn,
Yet gives no sorrow in return;--
Has seen unmov'd my struggling sighs
Send a full deluge from my eyes,--
Nay, bade me, while the torrent fell,
A long, a sad, a last farewell !
All this I know; yet still that tear
Sheds a slow languid poison here;
The heart's full tubes are running o'er,
And the weak veins can hold no more.
No more ! ah, would it were but so,
And death might end the pangs of woe;
For what are his to those I've here,
Whilst I but think I see that tear !
THOU dost not know me, gentle friend;
Would I could make thy sorrows end !
Light as the breeze of early dawn,
When from Aurora newly blown,
As full of life thy heart should be,
Nor drop one dew-tear more for me.
Have I not known the pangs thou'st felt;
Knelt at the shrine where thou hast knelt;
With seeming smiles have bound my brow
To keep the anguish down below;
Nor suffer'd once the cloudy eye
To hold acquaintance with a sigh ?
Your sex such griefs may frankly own,
But ours, alas ! are ours alone;
The stricken deer the herd must fly,
Seek the lone shade and silent die !
I will not say I doubt thy flame,
For ah! I know I've felt the same,
The tender hopes and fears that dwell
In every breast that loves so well;
The warm solicitudes that keep
Their tyrant watch o'er banish'd sleep;
The pining thought that steals from home
With one lov'd object still to roam;
Despair that drinks the liquid tear,
The heart benumb'd by every fear;
Hope banish'd from the bosom's throne,
And the blank wishes left alone:
'Twas these that made me bid thee fly
To other scenes, to other sky.
Too well I know th' enchanting power
That lurks within the smallest flower;
If a lov'd eye its robes have seen,
Its coif of gold, and train of green;
A fancied charm fast binds the heart,
And with the flower we cannot part;--
"'Twas Anna's eye that dropp'd on thee,
Welcome then little friend to me !
'Twas here she prais'd thy soften'd hue,
'Twas there she sipp'd thy silver dew;
On this leaf bade me cast my eye;
On that she breath'd a tender sigh,
Which gave thy perfume to the air,
By far the sweetest incense there."
'Twas thus on scenes I lov'd so well
My fancy would for ever dwell,
Or know one moment's sweet repose
From the sad pangs of endless woes;
For memory walk'd the groves around,
I heard her voice in every sound,
That bade me in soft whispers see
Beside the brook--beneath the tree--
The object dear--so long deplor'd--
"Him whom I call'd my bosom's lord !"
You say I cannot fly you--no;
That I believe! for sure I know,
That Absence cannot guard the cell
Where wayward thoughts are doom'd to dwell;
Out from the bosom they will break,
And former joys for ever seek;
For ever tell the passing hour
'Tis not like that that's gone before !
Yet some remission may be found,
While treading o'er unhallow'd ground
Where Anna's form has never been,
But, like the vapour of a dream,
Painted alone for memory's eye,
In colours that were wont to fly.
But, trust me, if in groves among
Where thou hast heard her voice, her song;
If thou hast mark'd her watch the cloud,
While the hoarse brook kept speaking loud;
Or seen her pensive musing stand,
The wild flowers dropping from her hand;
Or wreathe the woodbine round the tree,--
Trust me, it is no place for thee.
Such scenes would ever hold her there,
And thou would'st meet her every where;
Nor e'er could Time around thy woe
His soften'd veil of sorrow throw,
Such as when Evening dews arise
And seem thin gauze before the eyes;
All objects then, but dimly seen,
Look dimly through th' enammell'd screen;
But yet the landscape charms the sight,
And gives the eye a meek delight.
THOU bidst me fly thee, and once more
I wander to a foreign shore;
A world half new before me lies,
"Another earth, and other skies;"
But ah, alas! e'en now I find
I cannot leave myself behind;
Nor bar the avenue of thought,
Nor drink one sweet oblivious draught,
E'en though from Lethe I should lave
The pure translucent silver wave.
Champagnia's sprightly juice I try,
And feel the spirits mantling high;
E'en then I see the vision rise
That ever swims before my eyes.
What if I snatch the tuneful lyre,
And rush my fingers 'cross the wire,
The gales too catch the mournful song,
Wafting the sweetest notes along;
Till Echo, sitting in her cell,
Resounds the notes she loves so well,
And, as I warble forth my woes,
"Lends her soft voice at every close;"
Such sympathy can never move
The settl'd pain of constant love.
To Echo yet my griefs I pour
At evening knell, or midnight hour;
For she, like me, has sorrow known,
And almost pin'd herself to stone;
Yet with an ear so quickly found,--
So sensible of every sound,
That not a sigh can swell the air
But what she slowly lengthens there;
Then, when her sympathy I've tried,
Her soothing voice in vain applied,
I throw away the useless lyre,
And other scenes and views require:
I fly to mountains wild and drear,
Where summer comes not all the year;
There Nature in full pomp behold,
Her silver snows, her rocks of gold.
For this the hardy Swiss I tend,
With him the frozen world descend,
And see the laughing valley spread
Of silken flowers a velvet bed;
See, too, the hamlets smiling round,
Of man now hear the cheerful sound;
Now mark the cot, with cheerful fire,
Amidst yon clump of elms retire;
It glads the heart-glow of my guide,
And mends the measure of his stride:
We near; his Sylvio runs before,
His children meet him at the door,
His modest dame with welcome air
Draws forth with haste the elbow chair,
And seats him in the warmest nook,
With heartfelt gladness in her look,
Think'st thou, when such a scene I see,
My thoughts will not revert to thee ?
To thee !--that night !--but ah ! 'tis o'er;
Th' unwelcome theme I'll urge no more;
No more, since thou hast sorrow felt,
And "bent the knee where I have knelt."
Italia's gales now bear my song
"In soft-link'd notes her woods among;"
There mouldering columns silent stand,
Bound up by many an osier band,
While arms of oak, enfolding all,
Keep the huge fragment from its fall:
I mark alike weak Tiber's flow,
And see his thirsty channel low;
I see, where temples used to stand,
One scatter'd ruin o'er the land;
Yet see the statues breathing still,
That once might live, as sure they will;
There sister Painting, too, I hear,
Almost gives whispers to my ear;
While Melody, surviving all,
Lets her sweet cadence ever fall,
And every voice in tuneful lay,
Bears the soft harmony away.
There love's soft blandishments entwine
Round every human heart but mine;
What though Italia's nymphs I find
More charming than half womankind;
Yet, as they are not like to thee,
Italia's nymphs are nought to me !
On Virgil's tomb I'll hang my lyre,
There shall the rust consume the wire;
Sigh to the winds in low return,
And o'er his sacred ashes mourn,
While one weak string is left to bear
The plaintive murmur through the air;
Nor poesy again be chose
The vehicle of bosom-woes.
Vain, vain's the skill, the trial's o'er,
And Italy shall charm no more;
No more shall France, in spirits wild,
Dress up the humours of her child;
Home I return to breathe with thee
The better air of Liberty;
To breathe near thee must have some power
O'er the dark demons of the hour !
Fear not, my Anna, I shall tell
How long I've lov'd, and ah ! how well;
To this one wish my soul shall bend--
"To be alone thy bosom-friend !"
MANY are the mournful stories
Which the page of love unfolds;
Many are the piercing sorrows
Which that faithful record holds.
Love, that jewel of our nature,
Parents oft have sought to buy;
But 'tis merit makes the purchase,
Or 'tis fancy casts the die.
'Tis not wealth, nor sordid riches,
That are treasures of the mind;
No;--'tis surely sweet contentment
Which in humble breasts we find.
Think not, parents, that your children
Can your sober plans pursue,
Or your influence bind their natures
E'er to think or act like you.
Fifty years have render'd callous
Those affections which you blame;
But let Memory be recorder,
And you'll find yours once the same.
If at twenty hearts were harden'd,
And could every feeling brave;
What would be their rigid natures
Ere they dropp'd into the grave !
Once within this happy island
Liv'd a knight of mighty fame;
Birth, and wealth, and growing greatness,
From the world acquire a name.
Pride had mix'd with every honour,
And ambition steel'd his breast;
Nor did there e'er one soft emotion
Make atonement for the rest.
Yet the wise and gracious Donor
Had one counter-gift bestow'd;
And, to lead his soul to mercy,
Sweet Alicia points the road.
Youth conjoin'd with all the Graces
Taught the maiden how to move,
And in every beauteous feature
Beam'd benevolence and love.
Flora, as she cross'd her garden,
Twin'd the lily with the rose;
And, when passing sweet Alicia,
On her head the gift bestows.
Form'd by virtue and by nature
For the solace of some heart,
Many a youth with noble fervour
Sought in her's to gain a part.
Merit only caught the maiden,
Merit made one youth belov'd;--
Edwin durst not hope for favour,
Yet 'twas Edwin she approv'd.
Birth nor riches gild his title,
Simple worth is all his claim;
Yet she thinks that fair escutcheon
Brightest in heraldic fame.
But, alas ! the world's opinion
Will not sanctify the thought;
Nor, Alicia, will thy father
Value merit as it ought.
Long was seen the lovely maiden
In dejection slowly move !
Smiles forsook their former mansion
And she fear'd the cause was love.
This the angry father told her,
And as he told he scorn'd her woes;
To her child, blanch'd with emotion,
The unhappy mother goes.
"Ah, my love, have you deceiv'd me !
Why not trust this feeling breast ?
Sure thou knowest I'd die to save thee,
Die to lull thy woes to rest."
"Yes; too well I know your goodness,
Gratitude now swells this heart;
And when forc'd to pierce that bosom,
Think but how my own must smart.
Your inquiring looks have ask'd me
Often--why the smother'd sigh ?
And your nice discernment told you
Every cause and reason why.
Often have you seen my sorrow,
Seen the anguish of my soul;
Edwin--but I need not tell you,--
Edwin does this heart controul !"
The gallant ship her wings unfurls,
And speeds before the favouring wind;
Edwin from his lov'd retreats
Reluctant hies to burning Ind.
'Tis not change of place nor climate
Can a rooted sorrow move;
Neither is the power of absence
Equal to the charm of love.
Edwin found this truth, and, drooping,
On the Ganges' banks reclin'd;
Sultry suns seem'd in conjunction
With the fever of his mind.
Sad despair, and cruel absence,
Swift the vital thread had worn;
And upon his funeral bier
Hapless Edwin soon was borne.
Equal grief by slower movements
Brought Alicia to the tomb;
Deep disease by secret workings
Undermin'd her youthful bloom.
Absence all her comforts wasted,
All her joys with Edwin flew;
Though each day her glowing fancy
Brought her Edwin to her view.
O'er her father's rigid nature
Dying sorrows now prevail;--
"Live Alicia, live my daughter !
Nor on me thy woes entail.
My pride and hate I've now discarded;
Edwin's merit claims thy hand;
Soon, soon may propitious breezes
Waft him to his native land !"
Joy illum'd its former mansion,
Alicia's eye again was bright;
Hope shone forth in rays of gladness,
And her soul was all delight.
But ah, how short our gleams of pleasure !
Sorrow only seems to last;
Joys, like arrows, swiftly flying,
Scarce are seen ere they are past.
Alicia heard her Edwin's story,
Then sweet hope for ever fled;
Every look declar'd her dying,
And how much she wish'd her dead.
Soon her wishes were accomplish'd,
Soon she breath'd her latest breath;
And her parents mourn'd, heartbroken,
Their dear Alicia till their death.
Yearly shall the village maidens
Visit poor Alicia's tomb,
And, as they list her simple story,
Strew fresh flowers of fairest bloom.
ONCE Clotho on an April day
Was seen to throw her rock away;
The fatal rock was nearly spun,
And the sad task was nearly done,
The other sisters wound the clew,
And heavy in the hand it grew;
Atropos' scissors open wide,
And seem just ready to divide;
"Enough, enough," the Spinster cried,
Threw down the weary rock, and sigh'd;
"Let us in April's flowery loom
See how she weaves her earliest bloom,
And, as the infant buds appear,
Drop in their eye a lucid tear.
The frame is wove of slender thread,
And oft the floweret hangs its head;
The bending stalk too oft gives way,
And many a blossom fades ere May.
But Spring her carpet-work begins,
And every flower now cards and spins;
Let us this jocund time of year
Take some small joy in looking there;
The process fair must sure delight,
For sweetly blend the red and white,
And sweetly life begins to dawn,
And sweetly blooms the painted lawn;
The flowers spring up, of every dye,
That blush to meet th' observant eye,
But soon a withering blight descends,
And all this short-liv'd beauty ends."
"Alas !" the sisters all exclaim,
"Spring's work and ours are just the same;
Alike the fairest buds we show
That never once get leave to blow;
Alas ! the task we must renew,
And the small thread must break in two."
Thalia snatch'd the rock and flew
To where none but the Graces knew;
The Fates to Jove complaints preferr'd,
And Jove the Fates has ever heard.
By Styx, the awful thunderer swore,
He ne'er would see the Graces more;
No more on Ida should they stray,
Nor with the heavenly Muses play;
Nor to Apollo's sprightly reed
The mazy dance in circles lead,
Unless the distaff back they'd win,
Or teach some mortal nymph to spin,
Whose love of all the human kind
Should form the texture of the mind,
And, twisting and entwining there,
Spin the fine feelings like a hair;
Then, gliding through Affection's loom,
The veil of tenderness become;
The weaver shall the wearer be,
Or else bring back the rock to me.
The Graces joy'd at this behest,
For long they'd known a nymph possess'd
Of all that Jove had fix'd on here,
Who the soft veil would win and wear.
But first her hand must learn to twine
The long small thread with finger fine;
That foot be taught, the Graces lent,
The engine to revolve intent.
The veil was wove, I saw the loom,
I saw the changeful colours come;
I saw the white, I saw the red,
The feelings all mix with the thread;
I saw the Virtues wreathe it round
The nymph the happy Graces found.
To Jove Thalia smiling said;--
"At length, great Sire, I've found the maid,
Fair as the lily, on whose cheek
Her softest shades grow sweetly meek;
The veil of Tenderness she's worn
E'er since the dawn of life's young morn,
And nought so well becomes the fair,
For 'tis the veil the Virtues wear.
Now let the Fates their trade forego,
Nor hither bring their web of woe;
O ! let the thread of life be spun
By one more easily, gently won;
Who lengthening out the slender line
Shall smoothly run and softly twine,
Whilst Health and Happiness shall hail
The Spinster fair--Johanna Gale !"
SWEET April ! month of all the year
That loves to shed the dewy tear,
And with a soft but chilly hand
The silken leaves of flowers expand;
Thy tear-set eye shall I ne'er see
Weep o'er a sickly plant like me ?
Thou art the nurse of infant flowers,
The parent of relenting showers;
Thy tears and smiles when newly born
Hang on the cheek of weeping Morn,
While Evening sighs in seeming grief
O'er frost-nipp'd bud or bursting leaf.
Once Pity held thee in her arms,
And, breathing all her gentle charms,
Bade thy meek smile o'ertake the tear,
And Hope break loose from trembling Fear;
Bade clouds that load the breast of Day
On melting Twilight weep away;
She bade thee, when the breezy Morn
Kiss'd the sweet gem that deck'd the thorn,
O'er the pale primrose softly pour
The nectar of a balmy shower;
And is the primrose dear to thee ?
And wilt thou not give health to me ?
See how I droop ! my strength decays,
And life wears out a thousand ways;
Supporting friends their cordials give,
And wish, and hope, and bid me live;
With this short breath it may not be,
Unless thou lend'st a sigh to me.
O ! fan me with a gentler breeze;
Invite me forth with busy bees;
And bid me trip the dewy lawn
Adorn'd with wild flowers newly blown;
O ! do not sternly bid me try
The influence of a milder sky;
I know that May can weave her bower,
And spot, and paint, a richer flower;
Nor is her cheek so wan as thine;
Nor is her hand so cold, as mine;
Nor bears she thy unconstant mind,
But ah! to me she ne'er was kind.
To thee I'll rear a mossy throne,
And bring the violet yet unblown;
Then teach it just to ope its eye,
And on thy bosom fondly die;
Embalm it in thy tears, and see
If thou hast one more left for me.
In thy pale noon no roses blow,
Nor lilies spread their summer snow;
Nor would I wish this time-worn cheek
In all the blush of health to break;
No; give me ease and cheerful hours,
And take away thy fairer flowers;
So may the rude gales cease to blow,
And every breeze yet milder grow,
Till I in slumber softly sleep,
Or wake but to grow calm and weep;
And o'er thy flowers in pity bend,
Like the soft sorrows of a friend.
YES ! it is done; I heard the doom severe,
The tyrant fell had struck the fatal blow;
What flinty heart restrains the starting tear--
What breast forbids the heaving sigh to flow !
Hail dark-ey'd grief ! welcome each bursting groan !
Ye dancing hours--ye jocund smiles away !
Here, Melancholy, fix thy pensive throne;
Lo! fair Nerine moulders into clay.
Yes, she is gone ! that bosom beats no more
Where meek-ey'd peace and smiling patience sat;
That every pang with resolution bore,
And gently met the ruthless hand of fate.
'Twas her's to still life's rude tempestuous wave,
Where sorrows thicken, and where ills descend;
To soothe the cup that fate or fortune gave,
While resignation stamp'd her virtue's friend.
'Twas her's to tread the mazy paths of truth,
Where bright religion darts her fulgent rays;
'Twas her's to guide the tottering steps of youth,
Whilst children's children lisp'd out virtue's praise.
Let the lone tenant of some murky cell
Pour out his cheerless life in idle prayer;
With gloomy fear and superstition dwell,
The friend to woe and comfortless despair.
Not such oblations Providence receives;
Not such the breast that heaven delights to scan;
The purest incense fair benevolence gives--
The heart that beats to be of use to man.
Thus liv'd Nerine, thus lamented died,
But ah ! not prayers avert the doom severe;
Here scan mortality, ye sons of pride,
Whilst virtue weeps o'er fair Nerine's bier.
But though she bow'd to Nature's stern behest,
The grizzly tyrant vaunts an empty prize;
Her spotless memory lives in every breast,
Her soul emp'real seeks its native skies.
SEE, from yonder hill descending,
Hope, with all her train attending !
"Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles;"
Fancies light that tread on air,
Building fairy castles there;
Æolus his harp new stringing,
Tuning to the breezes singing;
Zeph'rus sweeping softest chords;
Fancy setting airs to words;
Words that seem another sound,
And lighter than a breath are found.
Here Morpheus comes, a wandering guest,
By plaintive murmurs lull'd to rest;
Round him painted vapours stream,
Weaving soft the chequer'd dream,
Which on silken wings they spread,
Shaking o'er his drowsy head;
Subtile fumes waft round the brain,
And fan these joys so light and vain,
Which soft slumber loves to dress
In long robes of happiness.
See where come the dancing Hours,
Sprinkling Hope's gay path with flowers;
"Thyme that loves the brown hill's side,"
Heath in lasting colours dyed;
Feathery sprays that softly blow,
And lead the sweet gales as they go
Unheeded,--though the scented air
Fragrance steals we know not where.
Sweet Hope ! lightly dost thou tread,
Bending not the weak flower's head;
Watching every changeful scene,
Sliding gilded shows between
Where new prospects open still,
Rising fair behind the hill.
'Tis true stern Reason scorns thy sway,
Nor basks beneath thy sunny ray;
Nor hears thy accents clear and sweet,
Where sprightly airs and softness meet,
Mixing with harmonic chords,
Pouring melody on words.
Nor will his fix'd eye deign to glance
On the mirthful mazy dance,
When the Hours, all hand in hand,
Link with thee, a jocund band;
When thy white robes float on air,
Catching rays that tremble there,
Tinted with the varying beam,
Ending in prismatic stream.
On thy head a wreath of flowers
Nods in time to dancing Hours,
Feathery-footed, trim, and light,
Flitting round from morn till night;
From morn till night, thou gaily leads
Through dark green woods and painted meads,
With rose-ting'd cheeks, and clear blue eye
Looking through another sky,
Till we reach th' enamell'd lawn
Round which a river journeys on,
Where many a bridge is taught to please
Gothic eyes, or gay Chinese,
Thrown in every point of view
Arch can add a beauty to,
While here and there an ashling weaves
Verdant knots of summer leaves.
Now we reach thy mansion high,
Spiral turrets climb the sky,
Gilding clouds of varied light,
Changing underneath the sight.
See what crowds surround the gate,
See what Expectations wait;
And, running out, surround their queen,
Ask all at once where she has been;
And if the promis'd Hours were found
With Elysian garlands crown'd;
Or if yet she'd leave to tell
Where true Happiness would dwell;
Or yet had seen the promis'd Day
When Expectation, grave or gay,
In happy, blissful bands should be
United into Certainty.
She sweetly smil'd, and wav'd her hand;
At which a specious flattering band
(Quick through the ear their credence reaches)
Bow'd round,--and, full of soothing speeches
Declar'd the Hours would soon appear;
Then, whispering softly in the ear,
Taught smiles along the cheek to glow,
As if those Hours they well did know.
Ye Promises ! ye Flatterers vain !
That dress out Hope and varnish Pain,
And make the dullest things appear
Of shining surface, smooth and clear;
Handing the cup to Hope's sweet lip,
Of which we guests so fondly sip,
While seeing all the bottom shine,
Ne'er think there's poison in the wine:--
Dark Lethe's cup each grief subdues,
That used on former joys to muse;
For to Hope's enchanted dome
Dreaded Ills dare never come;
Not one mask'd Sorrow can you see
In all her court of revelry:--
What though ye pull the careless sleeve,
And would tempt us to believe
These noon-joys are waning fast,
Form'd only for an hour to last;
Hence, miscreants !--let me, while I may,
Enjoy the gewgaws of my day.
Descend, sweet Hope, from thy bright throne
Glittering with each precious stone,--
Rubies red, and sapphires blue,
Amethysts of purple hue,
Topazes of sun-like blaze,
And diamonds with their thousand rays;
Descend ! and mount yon hill with me,
There let me opening prospects see,
Which, step by step, shall fairer grow
The while as fades this scene below.
Forests of immortal oak;
Rocks by tumbling torrents broke;
"Shallow brooks, and rivers wide,
Verdant meads, with daisies pied;"
Distant cities, large and proud;
Mountains dim, that seem a cloud;
Castles high, that live on hills;
Little cots, that seek the rills;
Upland grounds, where flocks are seen
Mixing white with darkest green;
What ! though painted on the air,
Still they look serene and fair.
Though my foot be left to tread
Barren heaths with brambles spread,
Yet if thou check one falling tear,
Or bathe the eye till it grow clear,
I'll freely pardon all thy wiles,
And fancy good in all thy smiles;
Still pleas'd to find the ills we dread
Thy fairy wing can overspread;
And though thy promises deceive,
Bless my kind stars that I believe;
Thy cranks and wiles who would not see !
For happy they who doubt not thee.
MY Gartmore friends a blessing on ye,
And all that's good still light upon ye !
Will you allow this hobbling rhyme
To tell you how I pass my time ?
'Tis true I write in shorten'd measure,
Because I scrawl but at my leisure;
For why ?--sublimity of style
Takes up a most prodigious while;
To count with fingers six or seven,
And mind that syllables are even,--
To make the proper accent fall,
La ! 'tis the very deuce of all:
Alternate verse, too, makes me think
How to get t'other line to clink;
And then your odes with two lines rhyming,
An intermitting sort of chiming,
Just like the bells on birth-days ringing,
Or like your friend S. Blamire 's singing,
Which only pleases those whose ears
Ne'er heard the music of the spheres.
As for this measure, these trite strains
Give me no sort of thought or pains;
If that the first line ends with head,
Why then the rhyme to that is bed;
And so on through the whole essay,
For careless ease makes out my say;
And if you'll let me tell you how
I pass my time, I'll tell you now.
First, then, I've brought me up my tea,--
A medicine which I'd order'd me;
Its from the coast of Labrador,
Sir Hugh, the gallant Commodore1
Brought it to me for my rheumatics,--
O girls ! these aches play me sad tricks;--
And e'en in London had you found me,
You'd found a yard of flannel round me.
At eight I rise--a decent time !
But aunt would say 'tis oftener nine.
I come down stairs, the cocoa ready,--
For you must know I'm turn'd fine lady,
And fancy tea gives me a pain
Where 'tis not decent to complain.
When breakfast's done, I take a walk
Where English girls their secrets talk;
But as for you, ye're modest maids,
And shun the house to walk i' the shades;
Often my circuit's round the garden,
In which there's no flower worth a farthing.
I sit me down and work a while,
But here, I think, I see you smile;
At work ! quoth you;--but little's done,
Thou lik'st too well a bit of fun.
At twelve, I dress my head so smart,
Were there a man--he'd lose his heart;
My hair is turn'd the loveliest brown,
There's no such hair in London town !
Nor do I use one grain of powder,
Either the violet or the other;
Nature adopts me for her child,--
Fair is her fruit when not run wild.
At one, the cloth is constant laid
By little Fan, our pretty maid.
Round her such native beauty glows,
You'd take her cheek to be some rose
Just spreading forth its blossom sweet,
Where red and white in union meet;
She's prettier much than her young lady,
But that, you know, full easily may be.
"Well, Fanny, do you wish to go
To the dance there in the town below ?"
"Yes;--but I dare not ask my mistress."
"O ! I'll relieve you from that distress !"
I ask for her,--away she goes,
And shines a belle among the beaus.
Now, my good friends, by this you see,
Rustics have balls as well as we;
And really as to different stations,
Or comforts in the various nations,
They're more upon an equal par
Than we imagine them by far.
They love and hate--have just the same
Feeling of pleasure and of pain;
Only our kind of education
Gives ours a greater elevation.
I oft have listen'd to the chat
Of country folks 'bout who knows what !
And yet their wit, though unrefin'd,
Seems the pure product of the mind.
You'd laugh to see the honest wives
Telling me how their household thrives;
For, you must know, I'm fam'd for skill
In the nice compound of a pill.
"Miss Sukey, here's a little lass,
She's not sae weel as what she was;
The peer peer bairn does oft complain,--
A'd tell ye where, but I think shame."
"Nay, speak, good woman,--mind not me;
The child is not quite well I see."
"Nea;" she says, "her belly aches,
And Jwohnie got her some worm-cakes;
They did nea good--though purg'd her well,--
What is the matter we can't tell;
She sadly whets her teeth at neet,
And a' the day does nought but freet;
It's outher worms, or wind, or water,
Something you know mun be the matter."
"My little woman, come to me;
Her tongue is very white I see;
Come, wrap her little head up warm,
And give her this,--'twill do no harm;
'Twill give a gentle stool, or so."
"Is it a purge ?" "No, Peggy, no;
Only an easy gentle lotion,
To give her once a-day a motion;
For Pothecaries late have found
Diseases rise from being bound,
'Gainst which they've physic in their shop,
And many a drug, and useless slop;
This here will purify your blood,
And this will do your stomach good;
This is for vapours when splenetic,
And here's a cure for the sciatic;
But let her take what I have given,
'Twill help to keep your child from heaven."
"Lord grant it may ! and if it do,
Long as I live I'll pray for you."
After I've dined, maybe I read,
Or write to favourites 'cross the Tweed;
Then work till tea, then walk again
If it does neither snow nor rain.
If e'er my spirits want a flow,
Up stairs I run to my bureau,
And get your letters--read them over
With all the fondness of a lover;
This never fails to give me pleasure,
For these are Friendship's hoarded treasure,
And never fail to make me gay;
How oft I bless the happy day
Which made us friends and keeps us so,
Though now almost five years ago !
Trust me, my dear, I would not part
With the share, I hope, I've in your heart,
For any thing that wealth could give;
Without a friend, O who would live !
My favourite motto runs--"He's poor
Who has a world and nothing more;
Exchange it for a friend, 'tis gain,
A better thing you then obtain."
But stop, my journal's nearly done;
Through the whole day 'tis almost run.
I think I'd sipp'd my tea nigh up,
O ! yes, I'm sure I drank my cup;
I work till supper, after that
I play or sing, maybe we chat;
At ten we always go to bed,
And thus my life I've calmly led
Since my return;--as Prior says
In some of his satiric lays,
"I eat, and drink, and sleep,--what then ?
I eat, and drink, and sleep again;
Thus idly lolls my time away,
And just does nothing all the day !"
WHEN every ill devolv'd on man,
And fair Pandora's race began,
The Deities, who had before
Set foot on this terrestrial shore,
Now sought with haste their old abodes,
And only dwelt among the gods;
Hope, too, had sought her native sky,
Her pinions stretch'd and wav'd to fly,
But that soft Pity saw her move,
And thus address'd almighty Jove:
"Great father, see ! if Hope should fly,
Then let the race of mortals die;
And yet their spark of heavenly flame
Some kind attention sure may claim;
And sweet Pandora, form'd so fair,
Though doom'd the ills of life to bear,
Should know at least both good and ill
When bent beneath thy sovereign will !"
Jove look'd from high, and in a shade
Of thickest cypress saw her laid;
Despair her tender bosom tore,
And Man avenging javelins bore,
Sharpen'd with taunts of every kind--
That poison of a generous mind;
The venom spreads, the fever burns,
And Man and Fear torment by turns.
That person which the Graces bent,
The bloom which lovely Beauty lent,
The stately air that Juno gave,
At Man's approach all take their leave;
Back to the sky they all return,
And Woman prays she'd ne'er been born.
Jove saw the scene, then to the fair,
Whose eye let fall a sacred tear;
"Haste, gentle daughter, quickly fly,
Nor suffer Hope to reach the sky;
If she should quit yon blighted bower,
Despair will all the race devour.
And since thou deign'st thyself to go
To visit all the haunts of woe,
Where misery lays her aching head,
Be thou th' attendant on her bed;
And every want do thou supply,
Nor fear infection in her sigh;
Still to her ear do thou afford
The softest, soothing, balmy word;
And every tale that Spleen shall spread,
Do thou waive past the mourner's head.
Though art and nature mayn't suffice,
Bear cordials in thy hands and eyes,
And every means of fondness try
To cure the grief-distreaming eye;
So shall the ills the box contain'd--
Which Ether and the World profan'd--
No lasting woe to mortals give,
Nor Malice see thy face and live.
Malice! the worst of all the crew
Which from the fatal casket flew;--
That pestilence that reigns below !--
That plague ! which, in her whispers low,
From ear to ear in secret flies,
And poison'd reputation dies;
Nor can the bless'd--the pure of heart,
Escape her dark envenom'd dart !"
STAY, Hope, and hear thy votary's prayer,
Nor spread thy filmy wings in air;
Those painted pinions light and gay
Must they then waft thee far away ?
Must they then spread before my sight,
And shade me into deepest night ?
See where I've deck'd thy once lov'd shrine
See what gay flowers thy bust entwine !
The morning rose that fades ere noon,
Buds promising to blow full soon,
The first green leaf that nature spreads,
The first flowers rising from their beds,
The daisy ever fond to blow,
And the sweet drop that's wrapp'd in snow
All these an offering oft I've paid,
As at thy shrine I fondly pray'd;
Still didst thou promise thou wouldst be,
Next to fond Fancy, kind to me.
When gay Hygea used to frown,
And chain my rising wishes down;
When she beyond yon hill would stray,
And leave my sight a length of way;
Then thou wouldst come, and with a smile
Half charm the weary hour the while,
Drawing a landscape sweet and fair
That mingl'd with the softest air,
And painted Days of other hue,
And Evenings spangl'd o'er with dew,
And Hours that, laughing as they trode,
Left a flower-circle on the sod.
Then dost thou fly me ?--Goddess, stay !
Seest thou where Sickness chains the day ?
Seest thou what loads 'tis forc'd to bear,
And drag around the weary year ?
See ! see ! she now arrests my breath,
And almost threatens instant death;
A lifeless calm she now demands,
And ties my weak unmoving hands.
No more my fingers seek the lyre,
And wildly sweep along the wire,--
The trembling wire that oft has found
The softest way to sweetest sound,
And thrilling yet along the line
Would aid this falling note of mine,
Then melting with the plaintive air
Seem'd a weak sort of echo there;
Or when the sprightly notes would swell
Of some sweet halcyon days to tell,
And Memory spring at every note,
Till all her visions round me float,
And friends appear--the distant far--
Led by Affection's polar star,
And round me throng with tender zeal,
And make me think 'tis bliss to feel,
Which, though the pleasure leads to pain,
Persuades it is not given in vain.
Nay, tarry, Hope ! for if thou goest,
Then in a world of woes I'm toss'd;
'Tis true thou leav'st a Sister's eye
Dropping like balm beneath the sky;
That sees from far my wishes stray,
And kindly meets them on the way,
Leaving no void within the breast,
But lulling every care to rest.
Yet, goddess, should thy feathery feet
Stray where again we ne'er shall meet;
Shouldst thou just brush the pearly dew
From velvet lawns I never knew;
And shouldst thou leave me far behind,
As weak in frame as weak in mind,
How could this pilgrimage be borne,--
How could I wear life's rankling thorn !
In life's best days, O ! smiling stand,
And blandly take the traveller's hand,
Conduct him through the fairy scene,--
"Thy meadows pied and alleys green,"
"Thy vistas long that open day"
And half conceal the length of way,
As fancied visions softly rise
And cheat his eager willing eyes,
Illusions glide in shadowy form,
And waft away the rising storm;
Continue thus thy magic power,
And charm for once the heavy hour,
From present ill the Fancy bear
The painful sufferings into air,
There catch the spirits light and free,
That leave me bless'd with them and thee.
BE still my heart, and let this moving sight
Whisper a moral to each future lay;
Let this convince how like the lightning's flight
Is earthly pageantry's precarious stay.
Within this place of consecrated trust
The neighbouring herds their daily pasture find;
And idly bounding o'er each hallow'd bust,
Form a sad prospect to the pensive mind.
Whilst o'er the graves thus carelessly they tread,
Allur'd by hunger to the deed profane,
They crop the verdure rising from the bed
Of some fond parent, or some love-sick swain.
No more does vengeance to revenge the deed
Lodge in their breasts, or vigour aid the blow;
The power to make the sad offenders bleed
The prostrate image ne'er again shall know.
Nor can the time-worn epitaph rehearse
The name or titles which its owner bore;
No more the sorrow lives within the verse,
For memory paints the moving scene no more.
Perhaps 'tis one whose noble deeds attain'd
Honour and fame in time of hostile war;--
Whose arm the Captive's liberty regain'd,
And stamp'd his valour with a glorious scar.
Alas ! his widow might attend him here,
And children, too, the slow procession join,
And his fond friends indulge the trickling tear
O'er his last honours at the awful shrine.
Perhaps some orphan here might see inurn'd
The only guardian of her orphan years;
And, on the precipice of errors turn'd,
Become reclaim'd by sweet repentant tears.
The lover, too, might strain an eager look,
Once more attempting to survey the fair
Who, for his sake, her early friends forsook,
With him her days of joy or grief to share.
What beauty or what charms adorn'd the frame
Of this cold image, now to earth consign'd;
Or what just praise the heart's high worth might claim,
The time-worn letters now no more remind.
Then what is honour ?--what is wealth or fame ?
Since the possessor waits the common doom !
As much rever'd we find the peasant's name
As the rich lord's, when in the levelling tomb.
To both alike this tribute we may send,
The heart-swollen sigh, or the lamenting tear;
And without difference o'er their ashes bend,
For all distinctions find a level here.
For nought avails the marble o'er each head,
Nor all the art which sculpture can bestow,
To save the memory of the honour'd dead,
Or strike the living with their wonted awe.
Then come, ye vain, whom Fortune deigns to bless,
This scene at once shall all her frauds expose;
And ye who Beauty's loveliest charms possess
From this may find a moral in the rose.
For soon infirmity shall fix her seat,
And dissolution lastly close the scene;
No more shall youth your jocund acts repeat,
Or age relate what graver years have been.
Yet think not death awaits the course of years,
He comes whilst youth her shield of health supports;
In every place the potent king appears,
To youth, to age, to every scene resorts.
But why, my heart, that palpitating beat !
Can death's idea cause that pensive gloom ?
Since in the world such thorny cares we meet,
And since 'tis peace within the silent tomb.
Yet still the thought of nature's sad decay,
And the reception in the world unknown,
Must cast a cloud o'er hope's celestial ray,
If not dispell'd by conscious worth alone:
May this support me in the awful hour
When earthly prospects fade before my view;
O ! then, my friends, into my bosom pour
Some soothing balsam at the last adieu.
Say, in Elysium we shall meet again,
Nor there shall error hold th' enchanting rod;
But freed from earth at once we'll break the chain,
And thus releas'd shall ne'er offend our God.
Then hence aversion to the body's doom,
Nor let this scene a pensive murmur raise,
Nor let thought grieve when pondering o'er the tomb,
Though on my grave the senseless herd should graze.
AT earliest dawn brisk Archy rose,
And tightly garter'd on his hose;
He in his bosom plac'd a sprig,
And put on his best philibeg,
Mounted his sheltie--then demands,
"Gif Lady Susan had commands,
To Gartmore, Madam, I am going"--
Respectfully the while kept bowing;--
"A letter, if you'll please to give it,
The morn Miss Tibby shall receive it;"
I thank you, Archy;--yes, I'll send
A letter to my dearest friend.
Just then Remembrance seem'd to say,
"Why, sure, you wrote but yesterday !
And, scribbling every day such nonsense,
In truth you have but little conscience;
Your scrolls are all so hard to read,
They're each an Athanasian creed,
Which not a mortal understands,
So quick the line forms in your hands;
And every thought, as you conceive it,
Though immature, you being give it;
Still, still to Wisdom's full-grown thought
Your small ideas seem a mote,
Therefore on paper no more note them."
But May and Tibby will out blot them !
Exclaim'd my heart in great emotion,
Stung to the quick at Wisdom's caution;
'Tis true my heart knows no restraint,
I laugh, or sing, or make complaint;
Just as the heart compounds the dye
The colour flushes to the eye,
And while to Friendship's ken display'd,
Be ever seen its light and shade.
'Tis Friendship holds the faithful glass
Which lets no faults unnotic'd pass,
But places them in such a light
As soften'd meet the conscious sight;
Amendment soon smooths every feature,
And shows a less imperfect creature;
And Friendship's kind observance shows
Dark Error's tints or Virtue's glows.
Happy the few who find the Friend
Whose candour strives each fault to mend;
Who deals reproof with lenient care,
Touches each fault, yet strives to spare;
For e'en the honest feeling heart
With softest chastisement will smart,--
By conscious defalcation stung,
And pain'd the most t' have acted wrong;
Then be it Friendship's constant part
To mend but not afflict the heart.
Thus, with myself in mental confab,
And having own'd my pen a sad blab,--
Vex'd e'en that Caution should distrust
Those friends I love, those friends so just,
Those steadfast hearts I dare confide in,
And hope for ever to reside in,
I drove cold Prudence from my ear,
Her whisper'd doubts refus'd to hear,
Promis'd to list some other day,
My letter seal'd, and sent away.
WHEN Evening comes with dewy feet
And tempts you to the woodbine seat,
Sending her sweet voice in the breeze
To whisper through the leafy trees;
Come, come, sweet sisters, come away,
"And see the silvery floods of day"
Dip yon bright cloud, whose golden glow
Gleams on this little world below !
While the bright sun in state retires,
Not yet extinguishing his fires,
But leaves a tint of saffron hue,
With a melting stream of milky blue,--
A ruby tinge with topaz bright,
The little lamp of lingering light,--
That gently for the shadows gray
Prepare a soft but solemn way.
'Tis now that damps begin to rise,
Or fall like tears from weeping skies;
Stay not, sweet friends, to wipe away
Those pearly drops of sorrowing day,
But let them seek the sacred cell
Of some fair lily's yellow bell,
Or hang upon the parched leaf
Like the soft drops of silent grief,
Nor with unhallow'd foot essay
To brush one precious pearl away;
For Health--who loves the meanest flower,
And sips the beverage of the shower--
All jealous for the rose's bloom,
And every herb that breathes perfume,
Knows their sweet odour to refuse
If robb'd of half their balmy dews.
Ah ! rob them not, nor lingering stay
To take a farewell of the day;
But let Health lead you by the hand
Ere Night shall stretch her ebon wand,
Or Eve from her alembic pours
The precious essence of her flowers.
WHEN war had broke in on the peace of auld men,
And frae Chelsea to arms they were summon'd again;
Twa vet'rans grown gray, wi' their muskets sair soil'd,
Wi' a sigh were relating how hard they had toil'd;
The drum it was beating, to fight they incline,
But aye they look back to the days o' langsyne.
Oh ! Davy, man, weel thou remembers the time,
When twa brisk young callans, and baith i' our prime,
The Duke bade us conquer, and show'd us the way,
And mony a braw chiel we laid low on that day;
Yet I'd venture, fu' cheerfu', this auld trunk o' mine,
Could William but lead, and I fight, as langsyne.
But garrison duty is a' we can do,
Tho' our arms are worn weak yet our hearts are still true;
We carena for dangers by land or by sea,
For Time is turn'd coward and no thee and me;
And tho' at the change we should sadly repine,
Youth winna return, nor the strength o' langsyne.
When after our conquests, it joys me to mind
How thy Janet caress'd thee and my Meg was kind;
They follow'd our fortunes, tho' never so hard,
And we cared na for plunder wi' sic a reward;
E'en now they're resolv'd baith their hames to resign,
And will follow us yet for the sake o' langsyne.
NAY, nay, Censor Time, I'll be happy to-day,
For I see thou'rt grown gray with thy cares;
Then preach not to me, as my life steals away,
Of the pleasure of far distant years.
The sands in thy glass in soft silence depart,
Yet thy cheek grows the paler the while;
But the drops there in mine fill the tubes of the heart,
And mount to my lip with a smile.
And thou would'st smile too, if my fair one thou'd toast;
Nay sip of my bumper and see !
Her charms will dissolve e'en thy age's chill frost,
And make thee as youthful as me.
To be young, cried old Time, my own glass I'll forego,
And freely will sip out of thine;
Then tasted, and cried, Let thy Cynthia now know
She has warm'd the cold bosom of Time.
For this the late rose shall still hang on her cheek,
Though the blossoms of youth should decay;
And the soft eye be left, its own language to speak,
For a mind far more beauteous than they !
THOUGH Bacchus may boast of his care-killing bowl,
And folly in thought-drowning revels delight,
Such worship, alas ! has no charms for the soul
When softer devotions the senses invite.
To the arrow of fate, or the canker of care,
His potion oblivious a balm may bestow;
But to fancy that feeds on the charms of the fair
The death of reflection's the birth of all woe.
What soul that's possess'd of a dream so divine
With riot would bid the sweet vision be gone ?
For the tear that bedews sensibility's shrine
Is a drop of more worth than all Bacchus's tun !
The tender excess which enamours the heart
To few is imparted, to millions denied;
Of those exquisite feelings, that please tho' we smart,
Let fools make their jest, for them sages have died.
Each change and excess have thro' life been my doom,
And well can I speak of its joy and its strife;
The bottle affords us a glimpse through the gloom,
But Love's the true sunshine that gladdens our life.
Come, then, rosy Venus, and spread o'er my sight
The magic illusions that ravish the soul !
Awake in my breast the soft dream of delight,
And drop from thy myrtle one leaf in my bowl !
Then deep will I drink of the nectar divine,
Nor e'er, jolly god, from thy banquet remove;
Each throb of my heart shall accord with the wine
That's mellow'd by friendship and sweeten'd by love !
And now, my gay comrades, the myrtle and vine
Shall united their blessings the choicest impart;
Let reason, not riot, the garland entwine--
The result must be pleasure and peace to the heart.
IN the dream of the moment I call'd for the bowl,
And fondly imagined each grief would depart;
But I found that a bumper can't reach the pure soul,
Nor wine clear the sorrows that weigh down the heart.
Though fancy may sparkle as shines the gay glass,
And wit, like air-bubbles, keep rising the while,
Or mirth and good humour shake hands as they pass,
And fond Recollection come back with a smile;
Yet, right if I ween, for the joys that are past
I see a soft tear stealing into her eye;--
We know, gentle maid, that such hours cannot last,
Though held fast by friendship and brighten'd by joy.
Ah ! well do I know, for, since reason's young dawn
First held her light torch o'er this silver-grown head,
I have mark'd the sweet floweret adorning the lawn,
Fade under mine eye, and then mix with the dead.
The light leaves of summer that fan us to-day,
And shake their green heads as we frolic around,
One breath of cold winter shall waft them away,
And a new waving race the next season be found.
Since thus it must be--since our summers must fade,
And autumn and winter succeed in their turn,
Let us make much of life, and enjoy her green shade,
Nor long for lost pleasures continue to mourn.
WHEN the sunbeams of joy gild the morn of our days,
And the soft heart is warm'd both with hope and with praise,
New pleasures, new prospects, still burst on the view,
And the phantom of bliss in our walks we pursue:
What tho' tangl'd in brakes, or withheld by the thorn,
Such sorrows of youth are but pearls of the morn;
As they "gem the light leaf" in the fervour of day,
The warmth of the season dissolves them away.
In the noon-tide of life, though not robb'd of their fire,
The warm wishes abate, and the spirits retire;
Thus pictures less glowing give equal delight,
When reason just tints them with shades of the night;
Reflection's slow shadow steals down the gay hill,
Though as yet you may shun the soft shade as you will,
And on hope fix your eye, till the brightness, so clear,
Shall hang on its lid a dim trembling tear.
Next, the shades of mild evening close gently around,
And lengthen'd reflection must stalk o'er the ground;
Through her lantern of magic past pleasures are seen,
And we then only know what our day-dreams have been:
On the painted illusion we gaze while we can,
Though we often exclaim, What a bauble is man !--
In youth but a gewgaw--in age but a toy--
The same empty trifle as man and as boy !
WHEN the last leaf forsook the tree,
And languid suns were seen,
And winter whistl'd o'er the lea,
And call'd the sportsmen keen;
The goddess of the silver bow
Stept forth, her sandals tipp'd with snow.
Fal, lall, &c.
Her beauteous nymphs rang'd by her side,
While hounds surround her horn;--
Stop here, my woodland train, she cried,
Till welcom'd by the morn;
See yonder comes the blushing fair,
We'll soon hunt down her leading star.
Fal, lall, &c.
A stag for long kept up the chase,
But now at bay he stood;
A nymph, of more than mortal race,
Rush'd eager from the wood :--
"I come to set the prisoner free !"
Then waved the cap of Liberty.
Fal, lall, &c.
Diana, smiling, took her hand:
"Where has my sister staid ?
What hapless sons in foreign land
Demand her dauntless aid ?"
"A city, once well known to fame,
Has struggl'd hard to keep my name:
Fal, lall, &c.
"A few brave sons protect it now,
The bulwark of the laws;
While I come here to ask of you
To aid the glorious cause;
My daughters are like snowdrops seen,
All dress'd in white and trimm'd with green."1
Fal, lall, &c.
They hasted to the social ball,
Good humour met them there;
Diana's arrows Cupid stole
And aim'd them at the fair:
"Her train has yet escap'd my arts,
But now I shoot with Dian's darts:
Fal, lall, &c.
"Yon lucid eye shall drop a tear--
That haughty heart shall bleed--
And many moons shall round the year
Ere I repent the deed."
But Hymen heard, and with a smile,
Declar'd he'd hover round Carlisle.
Fal, lall, &c.
IN that eye, where expression has sweetly been taught
To paint a strong picture of reason and thought,
Yet touch'd with such softness as leads us to know
It can start into rapture, or melt into woe,
Affection beams forth like the rays of the morn,
And warms the young rose-bud that hope had just born.
Should words e'er be wanting to speak out more clear
What tenderness hints in a trembling tear,
See gentle Persuasion just take up her lyre,
Whose finger, all rhetoric, gives language to wire,--
Till the voice that we love, ever closing the strain,
Shall dwell on the ear till we hear it again.
Then tell me no more that you know not to please,
With looks so engaging, and manners like these !
Thus the lily, all meekness, unconscious of power,
Presumes not to vie with a loftier flower !
Yet the lover of sweetness must own, ere they part,
'Tis the lily alone he could wear in his heart.
IN the search of good humour I've rambl'd all day,
And just now honest truth has discover'd her way;
When rubbing his telescope perfectly clear,
Call'd out, "I have found her;" and bade me come here.
I'm grown weary of wit, who but dresses for show,
And strives still to sparkle as much as your beau;
For, if he can shine, though at dear friends' expense,
He will raise contributions on feeling and sense.
Then learning is proud, nor can trifle with ease,
Though in this little life 'tis oft trifles that please;
Unbending austerity, wrapt up in self,
Is so like a miser when hoarding his pelf.
Strong reason's a warrior that fights out his way,
And seldom has leisure to rest or to play;
Nay, so rough has he grown, unless great things are done,
He thinks that all useless went down the bright sun.
O ! 'tis gentle good humour that makes life so sweet,
And picks up the flowerets that garnish our feet;
Then, from them extracting the balsam of health,
Turns the blossoms of nature to true sterling wealth.
COME mortals, enliven the hour that is lent,
Nor cloud with false fear the sunshine of to-day;
The ills that hang o'er us what sighs can prevent,
Or waft from the eye one moist sorrow away ?
Though we see from afar, as he travels life's road,
Old time mowing down both the shrub and the flower,
Soon or late, we all know, he must sweep our abode,
But why damp our mirth by inquiring the hour ?
In the span that's allotted then crowd every joy;
Let the goblet run high if in dreams you delight;
Though wine to true pleasure is oft an alloy,
And sober reflection grows sick at the sight.
Disguis'd are our pleasures, as well as our woes;
On their choice must depend half the turn of our fate;
With the tint of the mind every circumstance glows,
And gives to life's trifles their colour and weight.
WHEN the soft tear steals silently down from the eye,
Take no note of its course, nor detect the slow sigh;
From some spring of shy sorrow its origin flows,
Some tender remembrance that weeps as it goes.
Ah ! it is not to say what will bring to the mind
The sweet joys departed, the friends left behind;
A tune, or a song, or the time of the year,
Strikes the key of reflection, and moans in the ear.
Thro' the gay scenes of youth the remembrancer strays,
Till mem'ry steps back on old pleasures to gaze;
Fleeting shadows they seem that glide calmly away,
The remains of past hours, and the ghosts of a day.
When we set out in life every thing has its charms,
Enkindles the fancy, and all the heart warms;
'Tis this makes us look on the joys that are past
With an eye that turns coolly to glance on the last.
Let the tear then flow on, nor mark the full eye,
'Tis the soul's secret off'ring no mortal should spy;
Few hearts are prepar'd for a rite so divine,
When the feelings alone sacrifice at the shrine.
O where is the splendour can shine away sorrow,
Or where is the treasure can buy off a sigh !
Did riches e'er purchase the loan of to-morrow,
Or find out a medicine to cure the moist eye ?
Let wealth spread her carpet, and ask the gay hours
To dance in light circles its borders along;
They'd sooner tend Patrick to Nature's green bowers
"With Norah, dear Norah, the theme of his song."
Midst the joys of the heart sits one tender affection
To heal every sorrow when tortur'd with pain;
And, when feeling sinks down into silent dejection,
Sends Hope with her cordial to cheer her again:
Thus love has shown Norah the feints of high station,
And told her that peace seldom joins the gay throng;
While "one sweet smile gives Patrick the wealth of a nation
From Norah, dear Norah, the theme of his song." 1
O urge me not to wander,
And quit my pleasant native shore;
O let me still meander
On those sweet banks I lov'd before !
The heart when fill'd with sorrow
Can find no joy in change of scene,
Nor can that cheat to-morrow
Be aught but what to-day has been.
If pleasure e'er o'ertakes me,
'Tis when I tread the wonted round
Where former joy awakes me,
And strews its relics o'er the ground.
There's not a shrub or flower
But tells some dear lov'd tale to me,
And paints some happy hour
Which I, alas! no more shall see.
WHAT ails this heart o' mine ?
What ails this watery ee ?
What gars me a' turn cauld as death
When I take leave o' thee ?
When thou art far awa
Thou'lt dearer grow to me;
But change o' place and change o' folk
May gar thy fancy jee.
When I gae out at een,
Or walk at morning air,
Ilk rustling bush will seem to say
I us'd to meet thee there.
Then I'll sit down and cry,
And live aneath the tree,
And when a leaf fa's i' my lap
I'll ca't a word frae thee.
I'll hie me to the bower
That thou wi' roses tied,
And where wi' mony a blushing bud
I strove mysell to hide.
I'll doat on ilka spot
Where I hae been wi' thee;
And ca' to mind some kindly word
By ilka burn and tree !
Wi' sic thoughts i' my mind,
Time through the world may gae,
And find my heart in twenty years
The same as 'tis to-day.
'Tis thoughts that bind the soul,
And keep friends i' the ee;
And gin I think I see thee aye,
What can part thee and me ! 1
I'VE gotten a rock, I've gotten a reel,
I've gotten a wee bit spinning-wheel;
An' by the whirling rim I've found
How the weary, weary warl goes round.
'Tis roun' an' roun' the spokes they go,
Now ane is up, an' ane is low;
'Tis by ups and downs in Fortune's wheel,
That mony ane gets a rock to reel.
I've seen a lassie barefoot gae,
Look dash'd an' blate, wi' nought to say;
But as the wheel turn'd round again,
She chirp'd an' talk'd, nor seem'd the same:
Sae fine she goes, sae far aglee,
That folks she kenn'd she canna see;
An' fleeching chiels around her thrang,
Till she miskens her a' day lang.
There's Jock, when the bit lass was poor,
Ne'er trudg'd o'er the lang mossy moor,
Though now to the knees he wades, I trow,
Through winter's weet an' winter's snow:
An' Pate declar'd the ither morn,
She was like a lily amang the corn;
Though ance he swore her dazzling een
Were bits o' glass that black'd had been.
Now, lassies, I hae found it out,
What men make a' this phrase about;
For when they praise your blinking ee,
'Tis certain that your gowd they see:
An' when they talk o' roses bland,
They think o' the roses o' your land;
But should dame Fortune turn her wheel,
They'd aff in a dance of a threesome reel.
WHEN home we return, after youth has been spending,
And many a slow year has been wasting and ending,
We often seem lost in the once well-known places,
And sigh to find age has so furrow'd dear faces;
For the rose that has faded the eye still keeps mourning,
And weeps every change that it sees on returning.
Should we miss but a tree where we us'd to be playing,
Or find the wood cut where we saunter'd a-Maying,--
If the yew-seat's away, or the ivy's awanting,
We hate the fine lawn and the new-fashion'd planting,
Each thing call'd improvement seems blacken'd with crimes
If it tears up one record of blissful old times.
When many a spring had call'd forth the sweet flowers,
And many an autumn had painted the bowers,
I came to the place where life had its beginning,
Taking root with the groves that around me were springing;
When I found them all gone, 'twas like dear friends departed,
And I walk'd where they us'd to be half broken hearted !
When distant one bower my fancy still haunted,
'Twas hung round with woodbine my Jessy had planted
I ran to the spot, where a weak flower remaining
Could just nod its head to approve my complaining,
A tear for a dewdrop I hid in its fringes,
And sigh'd then to think what one's pleasures unhinges !
But, ah ! what is that to the friends oft estranging,
Their manners still more than their looks daily changing;
Where the heart us'd to warm to find civil behaviour,
Make us wish we had stay'd from our country for ever,
With the sweet days of youth in our fancies still glowing,
And the love of old Friends with old Time ever growing !
O why should mortals suffer care
To rob them of their present joy ?
The moments that frail life can spare
Why should we not in mirth employ ?
Then come, my friends, this very hour
Let us devote to social glee;
To-morrow is a day unseen
That may destroy the fairest flower,
And bring dull care to you and me,
Though so gay as we have been.
The wretch who money makes his god
Will feel his heart ache when 'tis gone;
Were this my lot I'd kiss the rod,
I ne'er had much, and care for none.
Then come, &c.
The great had never charms for me,
I follow not their chariot's wheel,
Their faults I just as plain can see
As Paris did Achilles' heel.
Then come, &c.
And Love, with all his softening powers,
Could ne'er my hardy soul subdue;
So I'll devote my social hours
To mirth, to happiness, and you.
Then come, &c.
Should dread of future ills molest,
I'd charm them from my careless heart;
See, Hope steps in, all gaily drest,
And vows such souls should never part.
Then come, &c.
Yet part we must,--Hope, thou'rt a cheat
The vision's fled--the friends are gone;
Yet memory shall their words repeat,
And fonder grow of every one.
But still in absence let us try
To think of all the pleasure past,
And stop the tear, and check the sigh;
For though such pleasure cannot last,
Yet Time may still renew the scene
Where so gay as we have been.1
THE wars are all o'er and my Harry's at hame,
What else can I want now I've got him again !
Yet I kenna how 'tis, for I laugh and I cry,
And I sigh, and I sab, yet it maun be for joy;
My Harry he smiles, and he wipes aff the tear,
An' I'm doubtfu' again gin it can be he's here,
Till he takes wee bit Janet to sit on his knee,
And ca's her his dawty, for oh ! she's like me.
Then the neighbours come in and they welcome him hame,
And I fa' a greeting, though much I think shame;
Then I steal ben the house while they talk o' the war,
For I turn cauld as death when he shows them a scar.
They tell o' ane Elliot, an' brave he maun be,
But I ken a poor soldier as brave yet as he;
For when that the Spaniards were wreck'd on the tide--
"They are soldiers, my lads, let us save them," he cried.1
The neighbours being gane, and the bairns on his knee,
He fetch'd a lang sigh, and he look'd sair at me;
Poor woman, quo' he, ye'd hae muckle to do
To get bread to yoursel, and thir wee bit things too !
It is true, my dear Harry, I toil'd verra hard,
Sent Elspa to service, and Jocky to herd;
For I knew unca weel 'twas an auld soldier's pride
Aye to take frae his King, but frae nae ane beside !
Then guide ye my pension, quo' Harry, my life,
'Mang a' the King's troops wha can match me a wife;
When young she was handsome, they envy'd me sair,
But now when she's auld they may envy me mair !
What's a' the wide world to the joys o' the heart ?
What are riches and splendour to those that maun part ?
And might I this moment an emperor be,
I'd thraw down the crown gin it kept me frae thee !
Some hafflin' chiels, a new sprung race,
Wad next their welcome pay,
Wha shudder'd at my Gothic walls,
And wish'd my groves away:
"Cut, cut those odious trees," they cried,
"And low lay yonder pine :"
Deed no; your fathers' names grow there,
Memorials o' langsyne !
When time has change o' seasons brought;
When flowers begin to fade;
When summer suns haste down the sky,
And autumn thins the shade;
When wintry blasts are whistling round,
Your hearts will feel like mine;
And e'en a sang will maist delight
That minds ye o' langsyne.
To wean me frae these antique thoughts,
They drew me to the toun;
But there on brows where beauty sat
I saw a siller croun:
At balls they pointed to a nymph,
Whom all declare divine;
But sure her mother's blushing cheek
Was fairer far langsyne !
Dear youths, an auld man's warning take,
Nor ance allow the mind
To dwell on scenes that can't return,
Or friends ye nae mair find;
But as the fleeting moments pass,
To present joys incline;
And for the hour prepare some bliss
That asks nought frae langsyne.
The ills o' life thus to beguile
Be still your constant aim;
Nor let the joyful days o' youth
Too soft remembrance claim;
Else, tho' the mavis sweetly sings,
The woods and flowers combine
Wi' mony a friend to charm the heart,
'Twill sigh for auld langsyne !
It may be worth while to remark that, on the paper in which the above is written, there is a song entitled "Song for the Carlisle Hunt, November, 1788;" which date may probably indicate the year in which "The Nabob" was composed. It is to be found in R. A. Smith 's "Scottish Minstrel" vol. vi. p. 41 , beautifully arranged.
WHEN silent time, wi' lightly foot,2
Had trod on thirty years,
I sought again my native land
Wi' mony hopes and fears:
Wha kens gin the dear friends I left
May still continue mine ?
Or gin I e'er again shall taste
The joys I left langsyne ?
As I drew near my ancient pile,
My heart beat a' the way;
Ilk place I pass'd seem'd yet to speak
O' some dear former day;
Those days that follow'd me afar,
Those happy days o' mine,
Whilk made me think the present joys
A' naething to langsyne !
The ivy'd tower now met my eye,
Where minstrels used to blaw;
Nae friend stepp'd forth wi' open hand,
Nae weel-kenn'd face I saw;
Till Donald totter'd to the door,
Wham I left in his prime,
And grat to see the lad return
He bore about langsyne.
I ran to ilka dear friend's room,
As if to find them there,
I knew where ilk ane used to sit,
And hang o'er mony a chair;
Till soft remembrance threw a veil
Across these een o' mine,
I clos'd the door, and sobb'd aloud,
To think on auld langsyne !
Some pensy chiels, a new sprung race,
Wad next their welcome pay,
Wha shudder'd at my Gothic wa's,
And wish'd my groves away:
"Cut, cut," they cried, "those aged elms,
Lay low yon mournfu' pine :"
Na ! na ! our fathers' names grow there,
Memorials o' langsyne.
To wean me frae these waefu' thoughts,
They took me to the town;
But sair on ilka weel-kenn'd face
I miss'd the youthfu' bloom.
At balls they pointed to a nymph
Wham a' declar'd divine;
But sure her mother's blushing cheeks
Were fairer far langsyne !
In vain I sought in music's sound
To find that magic art,
Which oft in Scotland's ancient lays
Has thrill'd through a' my heart:
The sang had mony an artfu' turn;
My ear confess'd 'twas fine;
But miss'd the simple melody
I listen'd to langsyne.
Ye sons to comrades o' my youth,
Forgie an auld man's spleen,
Wha 'midst your gayest scenes still mourns
The days he ance has seen:
When time has past, and seasons fled,
Your hearts will feel like mine;
And aye the sang will maist delight
That minds ye o' langsyne !
AND ye shall walk in silk attire,
And siller hae to spare,
Gin ye'll consent to be his bride,
Nor think o' Donald mair.
O wha wad buy a silken goun
Wi' a poor broken heart !
Or what's to me a siller croun,
Gin frae my love I part !
The mind wha's every wish is pure
Far dearer is to me;
And ere I'm forc'd to break my faith
I'll lay me doun an' dee !
For I hae pledg'd my virgin troth
Brave Donald's fate to share;
And he has gi'en to me his heart,
Wi' a' its virtues rare.
His gentle manners wan my heart,
He gratefu' took the gift;
Could I but think to seek it back
It wad be waur than theft !
For langest life can ne'er repay
The love he bears to me;
And ere I'm forc'd to break my troth
I'll lay me doun an' dee.1
GIN living worth could win my heart,
You would na speak in vain;
But in the darksome grave it's laid,
Never to rise again.
My waefu' heart lies low wi' his,
Whose heart was only mine;
And, O ! what a heart was that to lose,--
But I maun no repine.
Yet, O ! gin heaven in mercy soon
Would grant the boon I crave,
And take this life, now naething worth,
Since Jamie's in his grave.
And see ! his gentle spirit comes
To show me on my way;
Surpris'd, nae doubt, I still am here,--
Sair wondering at my stay.
I come, I come, my Jamie dear;
And O ! wi' what good will
I follow wheresoe'er ye lead !
Ye canna lead to ill.
She said; and soon a deadly pale
Her faded cheek possess'd;
Her waefu' heart forgot to beat,--
Her sorrows sunk to rest.1
THE toiling day his task has duin,
And night sits on yon mountain's brow,
She's luikt her last luik o' the sun,
An' muffl'd up the vales below.
The weary ploughman seeks his heaam ,
His blythsome ingle far he sees;
An' oft peeps out his winsome deame,
While the wee things rin aroun' the bleeze.
At last he cums, and on his knee
The wee tots a'thegether cling,
An' ilk ane strives to catch his ee,
Syne tugs his cwoat an' bids him sing.
An' when the halesome supper's duin,
An' noisy prattlers laid asleep,
A lad you spy by blink o' muin,
Wha says he seeks a strayand sheep.
The father bids the chiel cum in,
Sweet Bessy blushes rosy red;
She ne'er luiks up, for she mun spin,
An' fine she draws the slender thread.
But the sly dad aft blinks his ee,
An' her flush'd cheek the redder grows;
"Cum, Bess, fling by the wheel," says he,
"An' gie's the Broom o' Cowdenknows."
And now the sang an' tale gaes roun,
An' the pint smiles wi' heartsome ale;
An' mony a glance sweet Bessy's found
Has power to tell a flattering tale.
The stranger rises to be geane,
Treads Bessy's gown, and whispers low,
"O when, sweet lassie, ye're your leane,
This heart o' mine wad joy to know."
WEY, Ned, man ! thou luiks sae down-hearted,
Yen wad swear aw thy kindred were dead;
For sixpence, thy Jean and thee's parted,--
What then, man, ne'er bodder thy head !
There's lasses enow, I'll uphod te,
And tou may be suin as weel match'd;
Tou knows there's still fish i' the river
As guld as has ever been catch'd.
Nay, Joe ! tou kens nought o' the matter,
Sae let's hae nae mair o' thy jeer;
Auld England's gown's worn till a tatter,
And they'll nit new don her, I fear.
True liberty never can flourish,
Till man in his reets is a king,--
Till we tek a tithe pig frae the bishop,
As he's duin frae us, is the thing.
What, Ned ! and is this aw that ails thee ?
Mess, lad! tou deserves maist to hang !
What ! tek a bit lan frae its owner !--
Is this then thy fine Reets o' Man ?
Tou ploughs, and tou sows, and tou reaps, man,
Tou cums, and tou gangs, where tou will;
Nowther king, lword, nor bishop, dar touch thee,
Sae lang as tou dis fwok nae ill !
How can tou say sae, Joe ! tou kens, now,
If hares were as plenty as hops,
I durstn't fell yen for my life, man,
Nor tek't out o' auld Cwoley's chops:
While girt fwok they ride down my hedges,
And spang o'er my fields o' new wheat,
Nought but ill words I get for my damage;--
Can ony man tell me that's reet ?
Why, there I mun own the shoe pinches,
Just there to find faut is nae shame;
Ne'er ak ! there's nae hard laws in England,
Except this bit thing about game:
Man, were we aw equal at mwornin,
We coudn't remain sae till neet;
Some arms are fur stranger than others,
And some heads will tek in mair leet.
Tou coudn't mend laws an' tou wad, man;
'Tis for other-guess noddles than thine;
Lord help te ! sud beggars yence rule us,
They'd tek off baith thy cwoat an' mine.
What is't then but law that stands by us,
While we stand by country and king ?
And as to being parfet and parfet,
I tell thee, there is nae sec thing. 1
OUR Dick's sae cross--but what o' that !
I'll tell ye aw the matter;
Pou up yer heads; ay, deil may cure,
Say, women-fwok mun chatter.
And sae they may; they've much to say,
But little are they meynded;
OBEY ! is sec a fearfu' word,
An' that the married find it.
Our Dick came in, and said it rain'd,
Says I, it meks nae matter;
"Ay, but it dis, tou silly fuil !--
But women-fwok mun clatter:
They're here an' there, an' ev'ry where,
And meakin sec a rumble,
Wi' te-te-te, an' te-te-te,
An' grumble, grumble, grumble !"
"Says I to Dick, to Dick, says I,
There's nought i' life can match thee !
Thy temper's ayways bursting out,
And nought I say can patch thee.
I's ass, and fuil, and silly snuil,
I's naething but a noodle;
I's ayways wrang, and never reet,
And doodle, doodle, doodle."
"Deil bin !" says Dick, "if what I say
Is nit as true as beyble !
And gin I put te into print,
The fwok wad caw't a reyble:
For deil a clout can tou set on,
In ony form or fashion,
Or dui or say a single thing
To keep yen out o' passion."
"Tou is a bonny guest, indeed !
Tou is a toppin fellow !
I think thy breast is meade o' brass,
Tou dis sae rwoar and bellow:
I nobbet wish that I were deef,
There's ayways sec a dingin;
I never ken what I's about,
There's sec a ring, ring, ringing."
"Whea ever kens what tou's about ?
Tou's ayways in a ponder;
Ay geavin wi' thy open mouth,
And wonder, wonder, wonder !
But of aw the wonders i' this warl,
I wonder we e'er married;
It wad hae been a bonny thing
Had that breet thout miscarried."
"But, hark ye, Dick ! I'll tell ye what,--
'Twas I that meade the blunder;
That I tuik up wi' leyke o' thee,
Was far the greetest wonder!
For tou was nowther guid nor rich,
And tempert leyke auld Scratchum !
The deil a day gangs owre my head,
But, fratchum, fratchum, fratchum !"
IF tempers were put up to seale,
Our Jwohn's wad bear a duced preyce;
He vow'd 'twas barley i' the broth,--
Upon my word, says I, it's reyce.
"I mek nea faut," our Jwohnny says,
"The broth is guid and varra neyce;
I only say--it's barley broth."
Tou says what's wrang, says I, it's reyce.
Did ever mortal hear the leyke !
As if I hadn't sense to tell !
Tou may think reyce the better thing,
But barley broth dis just as well."
"And sae it mud, if it was there;
The deil a grain is i' the pot;
But tou mun ayways threep yen down,--
I've drawn the deevil of a lot !"
"And what's the lot that I have drawn ?
Pervarsion is a woman's neame !
Sae fares-te-weel ! I'll sarve my king,
And never, never mair come heame."
Now Jenny frets frae mworn to neet;
The Sunday cap's nae langer neyce;
She aye puts barley i' the broth,
And hates the varra neame o' reyce.
Thus treyfles vex, and treyfles please,
And treyfles mek the sum o' leyfe;
And treyfles mek a bonny lass
A wretched or a happy weyfe !
IF I hae been a week away,
My Jenny rins to meet me;
Wi' aw the chat o' this bit pleace
My Jenny's fain to treat me :--
"There's Rob has married Mary Gray,
And Bella's past aw tellin !
And Greace has fun the little cat,
And Dick can say his spellin.
Peer Dick has broken deddy's dish,
And durstn't come to meet ye;
But he has sent ye this bit cake,
He thought that he mud treat ye.
Our butter tells to fourteen pun;
Our cheese hes fill'd the rimmer;
And uncle Megs hes sent us beef
Will sarra us aw at dinner.
And uncle Megs hes heard frae Gworge;
He's gane to----I've forgittin;
But it's some hard-word pleace owre seas,
I'll hae the neame on't written;
I think they caw'd it Jemmycaw,1
Or else it is St Christit;2
And if it isn't yen o' they,
I' faikins, I hae mist it !
And peer auld Wully's telt his teale;
He'll never tell anudder !
And they've been up wi' uncle Megs,
To wreyte it till his brudder:
For he was varra nwotishin
Of ought that Wully wanted;
And mony time wad wreyte and tell
They wadn't see him scanted.
They brought him varra canny up,--
He had the best o' linnen,
And keept it just to mense his death,--
'Twas peer auld Marget's spinnin.
The house, and aw the bits o' things,
Will just be for the brudder;
I only wish he'd meade tem owre
To Mary and her mudder !"
WE'VE hed sec a durdum at Gobbleston parish,
For twonty lang years there's nit been sec a fair;
We'd slack reape, and tight reape, and dogs that wer dancin,
Wi' leytle roun hats on to gar the fwok stare:
A leytle black messet danc'd sae leyke auld Jenny,
I thought it wad niver run out o' my head;
It was last thing at neet, and the first i' the mworning,
And I rwoar'd leyke a fuil as I laid i' my bed !
And we had stage playing, and actors frae Lunnon,
At hed sec a canny and bonny leyke say;
I forgat the black messet, and gowl'd leyke a ninny,
Tho' I said to mysel, "Wey, its nobbet a play !"
But aw that was naething, for mony wer blinded,
And Jemmy, that brags aw the town for a feght,
He twistet and twirlt--it was just for an off-put,
But aw wadn't dui, for he gowl'd hawf the neet.
And Betty Mac Nippen, and five of her dowters,
As feyne as May garlans, were clwose at my back;
I was flayt they wad hinder fwok hear aw the speeching,
But they gowl'd sec a guid'n, that nin o' them spak:
And Betty hes heard frae her sister in Lunnon,
And she's sent the bairns sec a mwort o' feyne things,
That if Betty Mac Nippen wad mek tem stage players,
She cud fit tem out, ay leyke queens or leyke kings.
Then down-the-brow Wully tuik up his cwoat lappet,
And held til his een, for he's given to jeer;
But I had it frae yen that was even fornenst him,
'Twas weel for his sel his cwoat lappet was near.
Oh-- Venus perserv'd was the neame o' the actin,
And Jaffer was him hed the beautiful weyfe;
Tho' I gowl'd aw the teyme, it's a wonder to tell on't,
I niver was hawf sae weel pleas'd i' my leyfe !
AND auld Robin Forbes hes gien tem a dance,
I pat on my speckets to see them aw prance;
I thout o' the days when I was but fifteen,
And skipp'd wi' the best upon Forbes's green.
Of aw things that is I think thout is meast queer,
It brings that that's by-past and sets it down here;
I see Willy as plain as I dui this bit leace,
When he tuik his cwoat lappet and deeghted his feace.
The lasses aw wonder'd what Willy cud see
In yen that was dark and hard featur'd leyke me;
And they wonder'd ay mair when they talk'd o' my wit,
And slily telt Willy that cudn't be it:
But Willy he laugh'd, and he meade me his weyfe,
And whea was mair happy thro' aw his lang leyfe ?
It's e'en my great comfort, now Willy is geane,
That he offen said--nea pleace was leyke his awn heame !
I mind when I carried my wark to yon steyle
Where Willy was deykin, the time to beguile,
He wad fling me a daisy to put i' my breast,
And I hammer'd my noddle to mek out a jest.
But merry or grave, Willy often wad tell
There was nin o' the leave that was leyke my awn sel;
And he spak what he thout, for I'd hardly a plack
When we married, and nobbet ae gown to my back.
When the clock had struck eight I expected him heame,
And wheyles went to meet him as far as Dumleane;
Of aw hours it telt eight was dearest to me,
But now when it streykes there's a tear i' my ee.
O Willy ! dear Willy ! it never can be
That age, time, or death, can divide thee and me !
For that spot on earth that's aye dearest to me,
Is the turf that has cover'd my Willy frae me !
THE wars for many a month were o'er1
Ere I could reach my native shed,
My friends ne'er hoped to see me more,
But wept for me as for the dead.
As I drew near, the cottage blaz'd,
The evening fire was clear and bright;
And through the windows long I gaz'd,
And saw each friend with dear delight.
My father in his corner sat;
My mother drew her useful thread;
My brothers strove to make them chat;
My sisters bak'd the household bread:
And Jean oft whisper'd to a friend,
Who still let fall a silent tear;
But soon my Jessy's griefs shall end,
She little thinks her Henry's near.
My mother heard her catching sighs,
And hid her face behind her rock;
While tears swam round in all their eyes,
And not a single word they spoke.
What could I do ! If in I went,
Surprise might chill each tender heart;
Some story, then, I must invent,
And act the poor maim'd soldier's part.
I drew a bandage o'er my face,
And crooked up a lying knee,
And soon I found in that blest place
Not one dear friend knew aught of me.
I ventur'd in; Tray wagg'd his tail,
And fawning to my mother ran;
"Come here," they cry, "what can he ail ?"
While my feign'd story I began.
I changed my voice to that of age,
"A poor old soldier lodging craves,"--
The name and form their loves engage;--
"A soldier ! aye, the best we have !"
My father then drew in a seat,
"You're welcome," with a sigh, he said;
My mother fry'd her best hung meat,
And curds and cream the table spread.
"I had a son," my father sigh'd,
"A soldier too, but he is gone."
"Have you heard from him ?" I replied,
"I left behind me many a one;
And many a message I have brought
To families I cannot find;
Long for John Goodman's I have sought
To tell them Hal's not far behind."
"And does he live !" my father cried,
My mother did not try to speak;
My Jessy now I silent ey'd,
Who sobb'd as if her heart would break.
"He lives indeed; this kerchief see,
At parting his dear Jessy gave;
He sent it her, with love, by me,
To show he yet escapes the grave."
No arrow darting from a bow
More quickly could the token reach;
The patch from off my face I throw,
And give my voice its well-known speech.
My Jessy dear ! I softly said;
She gaz'd, and answer'd with a sigh;
My sisters look'd as half afraid,
My mother fainted quite with joy.
My father danc'd around his son,
My brothers shook my hand away,
My mother said her glass might run,
She cared not now how soon the day.
Hout ! woman, cried my father dear,
A wedding first I'm sure we'll have;
I warrant us live these hundred years,
Nay, may-be, Meg, escape the grave !
AGAIN maun absence chill my soul,
And bar me frae the friend sae dear ?
Maun sad despair her torrents roll,
And frae my eyelids force the tear ?
Maun restless sorrow wander far,
Now seek the sun, and now the shade
Now by the lamp of yon pale star
Dart quick into the thickest glade ?
When morning sleeping nature wakes,
And cheery hearts wi' laverocks sing,
And glittering dew a jewel makes,
That shines in many a sparkling ring;
Her saffron robe is nought to me,
Though wi' the woodbine's fringes tied;
Things a' look dull i' the watery ee
If what we fondly love's denied.
I've seen when Evening on yon hill
Wad sit an' see the sun gae down,
And, as the air grew damp and chill,
Draw on her cloak of russet brown:
Her hamely garb was mair to me
Than a' the Morning's eastern pride;
A' things look beauteous i' the ee
When by a dear lov'd favourite's side.
Take these away, what else remain ?
A voice of melancholious strain,--
A memory that longs, all in vain,
For joys that ne'er return again !
E'en books o'er me hae lost their power,
And wi' them fancy winna stay;
Heavy and sad creeps on the hour
When absence sickens through the day.
I've tried to break her potent spells,
I've pac'd unequal to and fro,
I've flown to where her name yet dwells,
But wander'd back again full slow:
And to forget, how oft I've strove--
How oft to send sad thoughts away !
But still they meet me in the grove,
And haunt me wheresoe'er I stray.
Affection pulls the heart's soft cords,
And draws the eye from cheerful scenes,
And, pondering o'er a favourite's words,
Bids fond Remembrance tell her dreams.
But weary dreams through life maun stray,
And weary hours that life attend,
And heavily maun move ilk day
That keeps us frae a darling friend.
ONCE a grove of sweet myrtles soft Venus would rear,
And wreath it with roses around;
'Twas a green shade for Hope in each change of the year,
In which she lik'd best to be found.
Hymen mark'd out the spot, and would plant some sweet flower,
So he set down his gay torch the while,
Which Cupid snatch'd up to set fire to the bower,
For he joys in a mischievous wile.
The taper burnt clear, yet no leaf would consume,
Nor wither, nor drop from the spray;
It just warm'd the buds, and increas'd their perfume,
Like the incense that's offered to May.
Hope ran from her covert, to Hymen she flew,
He smil'd, and to comfort her said;
"Your grove's in no danger, 'tis sacred to you
And a meek blue-eyed beautiful maid.
My torch for the purpose I've dipp'd in a flame
So lambent, it seems but to burn;
'Twas lit for a pair whose one wish is the same,
Which from heart back to heart will return.
While this sweet wish to please circles thro' every day,
Thy myrtle-bower's verdure shall last;
And the heart looking back shall perceive no decay,
Though the blossoms of Spring are all past."
'TWAS when the sun slid down yon hill,
And Evening wander'd through the dale,
When busy life was growing still,
And homeward swam the milking pail;
'Twas then I sought the murmuring stream,
That seem'd like me to talk of woes,
And lengthen out life's weary dream,
Which on like its dull current flows.
Why dwells the soul on pleasures past ?
Why think I Marion once was true ?
Those fleeting joys that fled so fast,
Why should fond fancy still renew ?
When fortune drove me far away,
My heart, dear Marion, dwelt with thee;
E'en now methinks I hear thee say,--
Wilt thou, dear youth, remember me ?
O yes! I cried; no change of place,
Nor favouring fortune's better day,
Can e'er erase thy lovely face,
Or wear thy heart-stamp'd form away.
Though mountains rise, and oceans roar,
They'll prove but feeble bars to me;
In soul I'll seek my native shore,
And wander every-where with thee.
And still, dull absence to deceive,
My thoughts fled to each former scene;
And fancy fondly made believe
I was again where once I'd been !
I tended Marion's evening walk;
We sat beneath the trysting tree;
I saw her smile, and heard her talk,
And vow to love and live for me !
But time and absence both conspir'd,
And Marion's truth forgot its vow;
And Fashion many a wish acquir'd,
That turns to wants--we knew not how.
O Marion ! could I e'er have thought
That Splendour would have rivall'd me,
This foolish heart I ne'er had taught
To think, as it still thinks, on thee !
Still through my heart thy image strays;
Thy breath is in each breeze that blows;
Thy smile, thy song, in by-past days
In Memory's page more vivid glows !
So long my thoughts with thee have dwelt,
They're far the dearest part of me;
For, O ! this heart too long has felt
It loves and only lives for thee !
THE auld carle wad tak me fain,
And trou's my dad will gar me hae him;
But troth he'll find himsel mista'en,--
When wrang is't duty to obey him ?
I telt him but the other night
How sweer I was to cross his passion;
That age and youth had different sight,
And saw things in another fashion.
Quo' he, now Meg, it canna be
But that ye think the carle handsome;
He's younger by a year than me,
And goud has for a kingdom's ransom.
Come, tak advice and be his wife,
'Tis fine to be an auld man's deary;
I's warrant ye'll lead a happy life,
And aye be mistress, never fear ye.
My mither then laid by her wheel,
And said, Dear Joe, why will ye tease her ?
I ken ye lo'e our lassie weel,
For a' your joy has been to please her.
Nay, come now, think upo' the time,
When ye were just o' the same fancy,
When I was young and i' my prime,
Ye cried--Ne'er tak an auld man, Nancy.
Then father like a tempest rose,
And swore the carle should be the man;
That wives were certain to oppose,
Whatever was the husband's plan:
But Monday, Miss, shall be the day;
And, hark ye, gin ye dare refuse me,
One shilling never shall ye hae,
Practise what arts ye like t' abuse me.
To lo'e the carle that is sae auld,
Alak ! it is na i' my nature;
Save but three hairs he wad be bald,
And wears nae wig to look the better:
The staff he's used this twenty year
I saw him burn it i' the fire;
Sae young the gowk tries to appear,
And fain wad mak ilk wrinkle liar.
My Sandy has na muckle gear,
But then he has an air sae genty;
He's aye sae canty, ye wad swear
That he had goud and siller plenty.
He says he cares na for my wealth;
And though we get nought frae my daddie,
He'll cater for me while he's health,--
Goodnight-I'm off then wi' my laddie.
I'M Tibby Fowler o' the glen,
And nae great sight to see, sirs;
But 'cause I'm rich, these plaguy men
Will never let me be, sirs.
There's bonny Maggy o' the brae
As gude as lass can be, sirs;
But 'cause I'm rich these plaguy men
Hae a' run wud for me, sirs.
There's Nabob Jock comes strutting ben,
He thinks the day's his sin, sirs;
But were he a' hung round wi' goud,
He'd find himsel mista'en, sirs.
There's Wat aye tries to glowr and sigh
That I may guess the cause, sirs;
But Jenny-like I hate to spell
Dumb Roger's hums and ha's, sirs.
There's grinning Pate laughs a' day through,
The blithest lad ye'll see, sirs;
But troth he laughs sae out o' place,
He'd laugh gin I did die, sirs.
There's Sandy, he's sae fou o' lear,
To talk wi' him is vain, sirs;
For gin we a' should say 'twas fair,
He'd prove that it did rain, sirs.
Then Jamie frets for good and ill,
'Bout sma' things makes a phrase, sirs;
And fears and frets, and things o' nought
Ding o'er his joyfu' days, sirs.
The priests and lawyers ding me dead,
But gude kens wha's the best, sirs;
And then comes in the soldier brave,
And drums out a' the rest, sirs.
The country squire and city beau,
I've had them on their knee, sirs;
But weel I ken to goud they bow,
And no to downright me, sirs.
Should like o' them come ilka day,
They may wear out the knee, sirs;
And grow to the ground as fast as a stane,
But they shall ne'er get me, sirs.
AE night in dark December, when wintry blasts blew high,
Poor Jenny sat her i' the nook and wish'd her Jocky by:
Lang time thou'st promis'd me to come frae yonder busy town,
And gin ye dinna haste I fear the wrinkles will come soon;
For I hae fret mysel wi' care, thy face I canna see,
And when ilk lass is wi' her lad I sigh and wish for thee.
What signifies a mint o' gear when we are baith grown auld,
And when December i' the heart keeps turning a' things cauld ?
Thou'lt grow sae cross, and I sae stiff, my will I winna bend,
For time aye hardens little faults until they canna mend:
Men never will gie up their way, and I'll think mine the best,
And as sae lang we've courting been will be the younker's jest.
I'd have thee in an April morn when birds begin to sing,
Like them to choose thysel a mate, and hail the cheerfu' spring;
O haste to me while o'er thy way she strews the fairest flowers,
Nor suffer these poor een again to add to April showers;
I'll aye be gay, and ever smile, gin thou'lt make haste to me,
If no, I'll quickly change my mind, and think nae mair o' thee !
HAD my daddie left me gear enough,
Whene'er I'd gane to kirk or fair,
Ilk mither had held out her loof,
And led me to her son and heir.
Now, gin a canker'd minny comes
And sees her dawty set by me,
She looks as sour as Gala's plumbs,
And wonders what the fool can see.
Hout ! man, come here, ye're surely blind,
Do ye no see Miss Fowler there ?
A bonnier lass ye canna find;
I wat there's nae sic dancer here.
Troth ! some folk might hae staid away,
And nae ane wad hae mist them yet,
For fient a chiel I've seen the day
Has spear'd gin she can dance a fit.
Then honest Jock loupt on the floor,
And cried--We'll a' be canty yet !
And if some grudging souls be here,
O may they never dance a fit !
And let them ken, if goud's their pride,
It's no won gear that's counted yet,
They're here wad take a poundless bride
Rise up, my lass, let's dance a fit.
O JENNY dear, lay by your pride,
Or else I plainly see
Your wrinkles ye'll be fain to hide,
May-be at sixty-three.
But, take my word, 'tis then o'er late
To gain a wayward man;
A maiden auld her hooks may bait,
But catch us gin you can !
An unco prize forsooth ye are !
For, when the bait is tane,
Ye fill our hearts sae fu' o' care,
We wish them ours again.
To witch our faith, ye tell a tale
O' love that ne'er will end;
Nae hinny'd words wi' me prevail,
For men will never mend.
But, Jenny, look at aunty Kate,
Wha is a maiden auld,
I's warrant she repented late
When wooers' hearts grew cauld.
An ape to lead's a silly thing
When ye step down below,
Or here to sit wi' chittering wing
Like birdies i' the snow.
That's better than to sit at hame
Wi' saut tears i' my ee;
An ape I think's a harmless thing
To sic a thing as ye.
Good men are chang'd frae wooers sair,
And naething do but slight;
A wife becomes a drudge o' care,
And never's in the right.
There's bonny Tibby o' the glen,
And Anny o' the hill,
Their beauty crazed baith their men,
And might delight them still;
But now they watch their lordies' frowns,
Their sauls they daurna own;
'Tis tyranny that wedlock crowns,
And woman's joys are flown.
DEAR Nancy, since men have all made their own laws,
Which oppress the poor women, whatever's the cause;
Since by hardness of reason or hardness of fist
All wrong must be right if they choose to persist;
I'd have you with caution in wedlock engage,
For if once you are caught you're a bird in a cage,
That may for dear liberty flutter the wing
As you hop round the perch, but 'tis chance if you sing.
The man who in courtship is studious to please,
Throws off his attention and hears not nor sees;
Whilst her who before was the fairest of flowers
The cloud on his brow ever drenches with showers:
And the man whose rough manners were courteous before,
Gives you every reason to look for no more;
For such churls I've seen through the whole of their lives
Give nought but an oath or a frown to their wives.
Let her speech or her manners be e'er so bewitching,
Why, women should only give mouth in the kitchen
Nor e'en there rule the roast, for my lord must be by,
And a finger must always have in every pie.
Then he'd lifeless become,--to such silence is prone,
That you'd think him a statue just cut out of stone;
And his fair one, I'll wager, not all the year round
Hears aught of his voice save a hum-and-ha sound.
Now some, to advise you all evils to shun,
Bid you ever be happy by holding your tongue;
But Jack Boaster has taught me that this will not do,
For when he is railing his dear shall rail too;
And Andrew Macgrumble insists that his wife
Shall ask pardon most humbly each hour of her life:
And he's right; for, since wedlock has made them both one,
'Tis fit for such sin she should daily atone !
Then there's trim little Dicky, who calls himself bless'd
In a spouse so accomplish'd, so young, and well dress'd;
Should she play with her lap-dog, 'twould give him such pain,
He would tear down a curl, and then curl it again;
Should you travel life's road with a mate such as these,
'Tis a chance the whole journey you'd do aught to please.
Yet you fondly fancy that yours is a swain
Whom softness and sweetness will still keep the same;--
That when years have roll'd on, though your locks be turn'd grey;
Though the rosebud is blown--nay, quite faded away;
Tho' the canker of time should love's blossoms destroy,
Yet as Darby and Joan you may still be wish'd joy;--
Then hold your good humour, for that is the charm
Which can make beauty linger, and keep the heart warm;
And, when youth, with light wings, shall for ever have flown,
Make your Darby delighted to sit by his Joan !
O Jenny dear, the word is gane,
That ye are unco saucy,
And that ye think this race o' men
Deserves na sic a lassie.
Troth ! gin ye wait till men are made
O' something like perfection,
I fear ye'll wait till it be said--
Ye're late for your election.
The men agree to gie ye choice,--
What think ye o' young Harry ?
"He ne'er shall hae my hand or voice
Wha wad a monkey marry ?
He plays his pranks, he curls his hair,
And acts by imitation;
A dawted monkey does nae mair
Than ape the tricks o' fashion.
Now Sandy he affects the bear,
And growls at a' that's pleasing;
Gin ye've a soft or jaunty air,
That air provokes his teasing:
Gin ye be cheerfu', blithe, and free,
A' that is unbecoming,--
Can ne'er the heartsome temper be
Of ony modest woman.
Then Colin, too, although polite,
Has nae sma' share o' learning,
Yet stretching out his words sae tight,
They're sadly spoil'd wi' darning.
He cons his speech, he mends his phrase,
For fear he speaks na grammar;
When done, ye'd think that a' his days
He'd only learn'd to hammer.
Now Jocky he has wit at will,
He sings, he plays, he dances,
He's aye sae blithe, he's certain still
To hit the young ane's fancies;
His words they flow wi' gracefu' ease,
They speak a heart maist tender;
Yet underneath these words that please
There lurks a sad offender.
Not a' the wealth o' rich Peru
Could keep poor James frae fretting;
The gentlest gales that ever blew
His peace wad overset in.
What can I do, gin apes below
To lead should be my station,--
Although ilk ape should prove some beau
Once famous in this nation ?"
O JENNY dear, I've courted lang,
I've telt my tale and sung my sang,
And yet I fear I'm i' the wrang,
For ye'll na mak a wedding o't.
In winter when the frost and snaw
Wi' bitter blast around wad blaw,
I'd o'er the moor, nor mind it a',
In hopes ye'd mak a wedding o't.
And gin ye smil'd or kindly spak,
It smooth'd the road, and help'd me back;
I thought nae answer I wad tak,
For we wad mak a wedding o't.
Now, when I gae to kirk or fair,
The laddies scoff, the lassies jeer;--
"Is this poor Jock ?--the good be here !
For sure he's made a wedding o't.
What is become of a' his fun ?
Alak ! his joyfu' days are done;
Or else he's pawn'd his dancing shoon,
Sin he has made a wedding o't.
Sure marriage is a dreadfu' thing !
Ye mind 'tis only i' the spring
That little birdies chirp and sing,
Or, till they've made a wedding o't."
Then up spak honest Johnny Bell:
"My bairns, I ance was young mysel
I've mony a blithsome tale to tell
Sin first I made a wedding o't;
My Tibby was a winsome bride,--
Nay, yet she is her auld man's pride !
Nae faut i' her I ever spyed,
Sin first we made a wedding o't:
Ilk day we live we fonder grow,
Though buckl'd fifty years ago;
Here's comfort for ye, young ones a',
Then haste ye, mak a wedding o't.
BEHOLD, my Amanda, yon prodigal rose,
Flinging forth all its sweets to each zephyr that blows,
While each breeze steals some odour or soft tint away,
And next sun may destroy what has pleas'd us to-day;
Of beauty so lavish, the too selfish eye
Leaves the flow'ret, tho' blooming, to droop and to die.
Not so that sweet bud, where fond nature bestows
Each promise of fragrance that flaunts in the rose;
With a blush seems to think she can veil every charm,
And artlessly deems not those blushes can harm;
While, with delicate prudence, it steals on the sight,
And comes forth as if frighten'd of giving delight !
O THERE is not a sharper dart
Can pierce the mourner's suffering heart,
Than when the friend we love and trust
Tramples that friendship into dust,--
Forgets the sacred, honour'd claim,
And proves it but an empty name !
I almost as a sister lov'd thee,
And thought that nothing could have mov'd thee !
But, like the dewdrops on a spray
That shrinks before the morning ray,--
Like the frail sunshine on the stream,
Thy friendship faded as a dream.
When sickness and when sorrow tried me,
Thy aid--thy friendship was denied me;
Thy love was but a summer flower,
And could not stand the wintry shower:
More for thyself than me I grieve
Thou could'st thus cruelly deceive.
I AM of a temper fixed as a decree,
Resolv'd with myself to live happy and free;
With the cares of this world I am seldom perplex'd,
I am sometimes uneasy, but never quite vex'd;
I am neither too high nor too low in degree;
There are more that live worse than live better than me.
My life thus moves on amid freedom and ease,
I go where I will, and I come when I please;
I am plac'd below envy, and yet above spite;
I've judgment enough still to do myself right:
Some higher, some lower, I own there may be,
But ambition and want are both strangers to me.
When money comes in, pleas'd I live till 'tis gone,
I am happy when with it, contented with none;
If I spend it 'mong friends I count it but lent,
It thus goes genteelly--I never repent;
With mirth to my labour the hours sweetly pass,
Though at Saturday night I am just where I was.
WHEN severest foes impending
Seem to threaten dangers near,
Unexpected joys attending
Ease your mind and banish care.
Though to fortune's frowns subjected,
And depress'd by anxious care,
Servile souls are soon dejected,--
Noble minds will ne'er despair!
Prithee, friend, why then so serious ?
Nought is got by grief or care;
Melancholy grows imperious
When it comes to domineer.
Be it business, love, or sorrow,
That does now distress thy mind,
Bid them call again to-morrow,
We to mirth are now inclin'd.
I'LL hae a new coatie when Willie comes hame,
I'll hae a new plaidie an' a' o' the same;
An' I'll hae some pearlings to make mysel fine,
For it's a' to delight this dear laddie o' mine.
Bessy Bell is admir'd by a' sorts o' men,
I'll mind a' her fashions and how she comes ben;
I'll mind her at kirk and I'll mind her at fair,
An' never ance try to look like mysel mair.
For I'll ay be canty when Willie comes hame,
To like sic a laddie why should I think shame !
Though the laird flytes my mither, and cries, "Do ye see,
That lassie cares nought for my siller or me !"
The laird he has money, the laird he has land,
But my Willie has nought but the sword in his hand;
Yet I'd live upon Chelsea, or even wad beg,
Should my soldier return wi' a poor wooden leg !
For I maun be happy when Willie comes hame,
To lo'e the dear laddie I'll never think shame !
I'll speak up to Maggie, who often would jeer,
And cry, "She's no canty, 'cause Willie's no here."
I own, when I thought I should see him nae mair,
My een they grew red and my heart it grew sair;
To sing or to dance was nae pleasure to me,
Though often I danc'd wi' the tear i' my ee.
But I'll get to singing an' dancing again,
An' I'll get the laddie and a' o' my ain;
We've a' things but siller, then why should I fret ?
If there's riches in love we'll hae gear enough yet;
For I ken weel that riches can make themselves wings,
That heart-aches hide under braw diamonds and rings;
An' though love canna happiness always ensure,
It will help us wi' patience our lot to endure.
Sae I'll ay be canty when Willie comes hame,
To lo'e sic a laddie why should I think shame !
Though the laird flytes my mither, and cries, "Do ye see,
The lassie cares nought for my siller or me !"
The laird he has money, the laird he has land,
But Willie has nought but the sword in his hand;
Yet I'd live upon Chelsea, or even wad beg,
Should my soldier return wi' a poor wooden leg !
O dinna think, my bonnie lass, that I'm gaun to leave thee !
I'll nobbet gae to yonder town, and I'll come and see thee;
Gin the night be ne'er sae dark, and I be ne'er sae weary, O !
I'll tak a staff into my hand, and come and see my dearie, O !
O dinna think, my bonnie lass, that I'll e'er forsake thee !
I mean to act an honest part, and loyally to take thee;
For thou art mine, and I'll be thine, and sure we'll never weary, O !
I'll meet thee at the kirk-gate, my ain kind dearie, O !
The fairest words o' wooing men they often turn to marriage strife;
There's Sandy, how he dawtit Jean, but now he flytes now she's his wife;
Ance she was good and fair, o' her he'd never weary, O !
But now, I trow, he cares nae mair for his kind dearie, O !
But Sandy, lass, ye ken fu' weel, car'd nought but for her siller;
'Twas love of goud and glittering show that ay band him till her;
But I've nae band but love alane, and that can never weary, O !
Therefore consent and wear the chain, my ain kind dearie, O !
THE drum has beat the General,
Now Sandy maun awa,
But first he gaes the lasses roun
To bid God bless them a' !
Down smirking Sally's dimpl'd cheek
The tear begins to fa:
"O ! Sandy, I am wae to think
That ye maun leave us a'."
Poor Maggy sighs, and sings the sang
He lik'd the best of a',
And hopes by that to ease her heart
When Sandy's far awa.
Alak ! poor silly maiden,
Your skill in love's but sma;
We shouldna think o' auld langsyne
When sweethearts are awa.
In blithsome Nancy's open heart
His looks hae made a flaw;
An' yet she vows the men a' loons,
And Sandy warst of a'.
Now Jenny she affects to scorn,
And sneers at their ill-fa;
She reckons a' the warld thinks
She likes him best of a'.
At gentle Kitty's weel-kenn'd door
He ca'd the last of a';
Because his heart bade him say mair
To her than to them a':
My gentle Kate, gin ye'll prove true,
I'll slight the lasses
On thee alane I'll swear to think
When I am far awa.
Now Sandy's ta'en his bonnet off,
An' waves fareweel to a';
And cries, "Await till I come back,
An' I will kiss ye a'."
HOW oft by the lamp of the pale waning moon
Would Kitty steal out from the eye of the town;
On the beach as she stood, when the wild waves would roll,
Her eye shed a torrent just fresh from the soul;
And, as o'er the ocean the billows would stray,
Her sighs follow after, as moaning as they.
I saw, as the ship to the harbour drew near,
Hope redden her cheek--then it blanch'd with chill fear;
She wish'd to inquire of the whispering crew
If they'd spoke with the Roebuck, or aught of her knew;
For long in conjecture her fate had been toss'd,
Nor knew we for certain the Roebuck was lost.
I pitied her feelings, and saw what she'd ask,
For Innocence ever looks through a thin mask;
I stepp'd up to Jack Oakum--his sad head he shook,
And cast on sweet Kitty a side-glancing look:
"The Roebuck has founder'd--the crew are no more,--
Nor again shall Jack Bowling be welcom'd on shore !"
Sweet Kitty, suspecting, laid hold of my arm:
"O tell me," she cried, "for my soul's in alarm;
Is she lost ?"--I said nothing; whilst Jack gave a sigh,
Then down dropp'd the curtain that hung o'er her eye;
Fleeting life for a moment seem'd willing to stay;
Just flutter'd, and then fled for ever away.
So droops the pale lily surcharg'd with a shower,--
Sunk down as with sorrow so dies the sweet flower;
No sunbeam returning, no spring ever gay,
Can give back the soft breath once wafted away;
The eye-star once set never rises again,
Nor pilots one vessel more over the main.
TIME once at a synod agreed
To cure the abuses of love;
For Cupid had wrote such a creed
As none of the gods could approve.
But first, with Prometheus's leave,
A mortal he begg'd to create;
For as yet not a power could achieve
A conquest o'er love and o'er fate.
As Time in his travels had found
The various specifics of earth,
Experience, with years rolling round,
Had given their qualities birth.
This faithful associate he knew
Would cull every simple of use;
For Galen had taught where they grew,
And what the effects they produce.
Thus furnished from every clime,
His arduous work he began;
And still, as he tried to refine,
Exclaim'd, What a compound is Man !
Then flush'd with apparent success,
He thought all the hazard was o'er;
And, as he had made such a mess,
'Twas needless to add any more.
But alas ! though the compound was fine,
One simple for ever was lost;
'Twas Memory, that blossom of time;
So Man remain'd dull as a post.
Good from evil by chemical art
An anodyne extract may prove;
But had Time not left out this one part,
Absence ne'er had been made to cure love.
WHEN night's dark mantle veil'd the seas,
And nature's self was hush'd to sleep,--
When gently blew the midnight breeze,
Louisa sought the boundless deep.
On the lone beach, in wild despair,
She sat recluse from soft repose,
Her artless sorrows rent the air,
So sad were fair Louisa's woes.
Three years she nurs'd the pleasing thought
Her love, her Henry would return;
But ah ! the fatal news were brought,
The sea was made his watery urn.
Sweet maids, who know the power of love,
Ye best can tell what she must feel,
Who 'gainst each adverse fortune strove
The tender passion to conceal !
The lovely maid, absorb'd in grief,
While madness ran through every vein,--
Poor mourner ! sought from death relief,
And frantic plung'd into the main.
The heavens with pity saw the deed--
The debt the fair one paid to love,
And bade the angel-guard proceed,
To bear Louisa's soul above.
O DONALD ! ye are just the man
Who, when he's got a wife,
Begins to fratch--nae notice ta'en--
They're strangers a' their life.
The fan may drop--she takes it up,
The husband keeps his chair;
She hands the kettle--gives his cup--
Without e'en--"Thank ye, dear."
Now, truly, these slights are but toys;
But frae neglects like these,
The wife may soon a slattern grow,
And strive nae muir to please.
For wooers ay do all they can
To trifle wi' the mind;
They hold the blaze of beauty up,
And keep the poor things blind.
But wedlock tears away the veil,
The goddess is nae mair;
He thinks his wife a silly thing,
She thinks her man a bear.
Let then the lover be the friend--
The loving friend for life;
Think but thysel the happiest spouse,
She'll be the happiest wife.
I HAVE inserted the three following pieces in this appendix, because two of them are involved in some doubt whether or not they belong to Miss Blamire; the third I record in this first collected edition of her works, as the production of her friend Miss Gilpin, which was sent by Miss Stubbs, to whom Dr Lonsdale and myself are indebted for several other obliging communications. I have not seen this excellent song by Miss Gilpin yet in print, and that is one reason why it is inserted here; but my chief motive is, to let these two talented ladies go forth to posterity together; for they were lovely in their lives, and in their deaths were not long divided. I have made many anxious inquiries concerning Miss Gilpin and her writings, for the purpose of a memoir, and of collecting her works; but hitherto my endeavours have been unavailing: yet I am not without hope that some one will afford me materials for a sketch of her life, and furnish me with a correct and genuine copy of her writings. It is evident that she must have indulged a good deal in literary composition; for the few things which are known to be
hers exhibit no ordinary skill, and are stamped with the impress of unquestionable talent.
The first of the following pieces, which is here entitled "The Carrier Pigeon," I found many long years ago,--as mentioned in the Preface,--in the Mason's Magazine or Masonic Magazine, for I do not recollect the precise title, having unfortunately taken no note of it at the time: in such a work however I found it, with the name of Miss Blamire attached. In the London Monthly Magazine it was published as the production of Lady Anne Lindsay, in reply to the question, Who was the author of Auld Robin Gray ? from which it was copied into the Scots Magazine for May 1805, p. 836. Future inquiry may, perhaps, solve the difficulty. A song on the same subject is to be found in "The Vocal Magazine," vol. iii. song 2; Edinburgh, 1799, 3 vols. 8vo. That song, in which the writer supposes the pigeon to return with Colin's reply to his mistress, we may regard as a continuation of the present.
Dr Lonsdale received "The Sailor Lad's Return" from Carlisle, where it is generally thought to be Miss Blamire's; but in "Dialogues, Poems, Songs, &c. in the Westmoreland and Cumberland dialects," London, 1839, 8vo, p. 310 , it is printed in the Cumberland dialect, and there said to be the production of Miss Gilpin . The edition here given is in the Scottish language, and that is the reason why I have some suspicion it was written by Miss Blamire, because she evidently preferred that to the Cumbrian: moreover,
we should be almost tempted to conclude, that the allusion to the OAK, which sheltered the infancy of the writer, was in compliment to the magnificent monarch of the forest that adorns the patrimonial inheritance of her father, and from which it derives its name. I am perfectly aware, that it is no difficult matter for any one possessing a competent acquaintance with the Scottish and Cumbrian dialects, to translate the one into the other; but the idiom and whole structure of the song induce me strongly to suspect that it originally appeared in its present Doric dress.
WHY tarries my love ?
Ah ! where does he rove ?
My love is long absent from me:
Come hither, my dove,--
I'll write to my love,
And send him a letter by thee.
To find him, swift fly!
The letter I'll tie
Secure to thy leg with a string:
Ah ! not to my leg,
Fair lady, I beg,
But fasten it under my wing.
Her dove she did deck,
She drew o'er his neck
A bell and a collar so gay;
She tied to his wing
The scroll with a string,
Then kissed him, and sent him away.
It blew and it rain'd;
The pigeon disdained
To seek shelter, undaunted he flew;
Till wet was his wing,
And painful the string,
So heavy the letter it grew.
He flew all around,
Till Colin he found,
Then perch'd on his hand with the prize;
Whose heart, while he reads,
With tenderness bleeds
For the pigeon that flutters and dies.
AND is it thee ! my Willy, lad,
And safe return'd frae war;
Thou'rt dearer to thy mither's heart,
Now thou has been sae far:
But tell me a' that's happen'd thee,--
The night is wearing fast;
There's nought I like sae weel to hear
As dangers that are past.
O mither ! I'm e'en fain to see
Your guid-like face the same;
To mony a place ye followed me,
When I was far frae hame:
And as I walk'd the deck at night,
And watch'd the rippling tide,
My thoughts ay flew to this lov'd spot,
And set me by your side.
O Willy ! mony a sleepless night
I pass'd, an' a' for thee;
I pin'd, and turn'd just skin and bane,
Folk thought 'twas o'er wi' me.
Then when the wicked wars broke out,
The news I durst not read,
For fear thy name, my only lad,
Should be amang the dead.
Aye, mither ! dreadfu' sights I've seen,
When bullets round us flew;
But i' the fight or threat'ning storm,
Still, still I thought o' you.
Our neighbours a', baith auld and young,
Please God, the morn I'll see;--
O ! tell me, is the oak uncut
That us'd to shelter me ?
Aye ! that it is, my bonnie bairn;
And fain am I to tell,
Though oft the axe was busy there,
Thy tree they ne'er durst fell.
Oft, as I wander'd near its shade,
My ee let fa' a tear;
And mony a time to heaven I pray'd,--
O ! that my lad were here.
Now, mither, age has chang'd your hair,
Again we winna part;
To leave you, though for India's wealth,
Wad break this honest heart.
Ye say my Jenny's weel and true,--
To part wi' her was wrang;
Gie, mither, gie but your consent,
We'll marry or it's lang !
God speed ye weel !--a better pair
Ne'er kneel'd before a priest;
For me ! I've suffer'd lang and sair,
The grave will get me neist.
Soon, Willy, bring her frae the town,
And happy may ye be;
This house, the field, the cow, and sow,
Now a' belang to thee.
I LIVES in a neat little cottage;
I rents me a nice little farm;
On Sundays I dresses me handsome;
On Mondays I dresses me warm.
I goes to the sign of the Anchor;
I sits myself quietly down,
To wait till the lads are all ready,
For we has a club in the town.
O lozes o' me ! we are merry,
I only but wish ye could hear;
Dick Spriggins he acts sae like players,
Ye niver heard nothing sae queer.
And first he comes in for King Richard,
And stamps with his fit on the ground;
He wad part with his kingdom for horses;
O lozes o' me ! what a sound !
And then he comes in for young Roma,
And spreads out his little black fist;
I's just fit to drop whilst he's talking;
Ye niver seed yen sae distrest.
O lozes o' me ! it is moving,--
I hates for to hear a man cry;
And then he looks up at a window,
To see if lal Juliet be by.
And then he lets wit 'at she's talking,
And speaks 'at ye hardly can hear;
But I think she caws out on Squire Roma,
And owther says Hinney or Dear.
Then up wi' Dick Spriggins for ever !
May he live a' the days of his life;
May his bairns be as honest as he's been,
And may he ay maister his wife !