To A Young Lady, With A Poem On The French Revolution
Much on my early youth I love to dwell, Ere yet I bade that friendly dome farewell, Where first, beneath the echoing cloisters, pale, I heard of guilt and wondered at the tale! Yet tho' the hours flew by on careless wing, Full heavily of sorrow would I sing. Aye as the star of evening flung its beam In broken radiance on the wavy stream, My soul amid the pensive twilight gloom Mourned with the breeze, O, Lee Boo! o'er thy tomb. Where'er I wanderd, pity still was near, Breathed from the heart and glistened in the tear: No knell that tolled, but filled my anxious eye, And suffering nature wept that one should die!
Thus to sad sympathies I soothed my breast, Calm, as the rainbow in the weeping west: When slumb'ring freedom roused by high disdain With giant fury burst her triple chain! Fierce on her front the blasting dog-star glowed; Her banners like a midnight meteor flowed; Amid the yelling of the storm-rent skies She came, and scattered battles from her eyes! Then exultation waked the patriot fire And swept with wilder hand the Alcaean lyre: Red from the tyrant's wound I shook the lance, And strode in joy the reeking plains of France! Fall'n is th' oppressor, friendless, ghastly, low, And my heart aches tho' mercy struck the blow. With wearied thought once more I see the shade, Where peaceful virtue weaves the myrtle braid. And O! if eyes, whose holy glances roll, Swift messengers, and eloquent of soul; If smiles more winning, and a gentler mien, Than the love-wildered maniac's brain hath seen Shaping celestial forms in vacant air, If these demand th' impassioned poet's care-- If mirth, and softened sense, and wit refined, The blameless features of a lovely mind; Then haply shall my trembling hand assign No fading wreath beauty's saintly shrine. Nor, Sara! thou these early flowers refuse---- Ne'er lurked the snake beneath their simple hues, No purple bloom the child of nature brings From flatt'ry's night-shade: as he feels, he sings. Sept. 1794.
To A Young Lady. On Her Recovery From A Fever
Why need I say, Louisa dear! How glad I am to see you here, A lovely convalescent; Risen from the bed of pain and fear, And feverish heat incessant.
The sunny showers, the dappled sky, The little birds that warble high, Their vernal loves commencing, Will better welcome you than I With their sweet influencing.
Believe me, while in bed you lay, Your danger taught us all to pray: You made us grow devouter! Each eye looked up and seemed to say How can we do without her?
Besides, what vexed us worse, we knew, They have no need of such as you In the place where you were going: This World has angels all too few, And Heaven is overflowing!
To An Infant
Ah cease thy tears and sobs, my little life! I did but snatch away the unclasped knife: Some safer toy will soon arrest thine eye, And to quick laughter change this peevish cry! Poor stumbler on the rocky coast of woe, Tutored by pain each source of pain to know! Alike the foodful fruit and scorching fire Awake thy eager grasp and young desire: Alike the good, the ill offend thy sight, And rouse the stormy sense of shrill affright! Untaught, yet wise! mid all thy brief alarms Thou closely clingest to thy mother's arms, Nestling thy little face in that fond breast Whose anxious heavings lull thee to thy rest! Man's breathing miniature! thou mak'st me sigh-- A babe art thou -- and such a thing am I!
To anger rapid and as soon appeased, For trifles mourning and by trifles pleased; Break friendship's mirror with a tetchy blow, Yet snatch what coals of fire on pleasure's altar glow!
Oh thou that rearest with celestial aim The future seraph in my mortal frame, Thrice holy Faith! whatever thorns I meet As on I totter with unpractised feet, Still let me stretch my arms and cling to thee, Meek nurse of souls through their long infancy!