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Perhaps some gay Lothario now is laid
In "narrow cell," and freed from mortal care: Perhaps some charming, artless, lovely maid, Her sex's pride, the fairest of the fair.
Ah! what is beauty, what is elegance!
What is the radiance of the brightest eye?
When death begins to lead the awful dance*,
We turn to dust and are but vanity.
Say, can bright beauty's magic power save
Its loved possessor from the loathsome tomb?
O! while ambition's colours round us wave,
Can we escape the inevitable doom?
Nor wealth, nor power, nor proud looks avail :
Inexorable Death no favour shows;
We all must travel through the gloomy vale,
That leads to endless joys, or endless woes.
* Alluding to Hans Holbein's painting of the "Dance of Death."
To Maria, on reading to her Sterne's beautiful Story of that
As Sterne's pathetic tale you hear,
Why rudely check the rising sigh?
Why seek to hide the pitying tear,
Whose lustre aids the brilliant eye?
Tears which lament another's woe,
Unveil the goodness of the heart;
Uncheck'd, unheeded, these should flow-
They please beyond the power of art.
Does not your crimson-tinted rose,
Whose opening blush delights the view;
More splendid colouring disclose,
When brightly gemm'd with morning dew?
So shall Maria's beauteous face,
Dress'd in more pleasing charms appear;
When aided by the matchless grace
Of Pity's sympathizing tear.
WHEN day declining sheds a milder gleam,
What time the may-fly haunts the pool or stream;
When the still owl skims round the glassy mead,
What time the timorous hare limps forth to feed:
Then be the time to steal adown the vale,
And listen to the vagrant cuckoo's tale :
To hear the clamorous curlew call his mate,
Or the soft quail his tender pain relate :
To see the swallow sweep the darkening plain,
Belated to support her infant train:
To mark the swift, in rapid giddy ring,
Dash round the steeple, unsubdued of wing.
Amusive birds!-say where your hid retreat,
When the frost rages, and the tempests beat?
Whence your return by such nice instinct led,
When Spring, soft season, lifts her bloomy head?
Such baffled searches mock man's prying pride,
The God of Nature is your secret guide.
While deepening shades obscure the face of day,
To yonder bench, leaf-shelter'd, let us stray;
Till blended objects fail the swimming sight,
And all the fading landscape sinks in night;
To hear the drowsy dor come rushing by
With bussing wing, or hear the cricket cry :
To see the feeding bat glance through the wood,
To catch the distant falling of the flood;
While o'er the cliff the awaken'd churn-owl hung,
Through the still gloom protracts his chattering song:
While high in air, and poised upon his wings,
Unseen the soft enamour'd wood-lark sings.
These, Nature's works, the curious mind employ,
Inspire a soothing melancholy joy :
As fancy warms, a pleasing kind of pain
Steals o'er the cheek, and thrills the creeping vein!
Each rural sight, each sound, each smell, combine,
The tinkling sheep-bell, or the breath of kine:
The new-mown hay that scents the swelling breeze,
Or cottage chimney, smoking through the trees.
The chilling night-dews fall-away, retire,
For see the glow-worm lights her amorous fire:
Then, ere night's veil had half obscured the sky,
The impatient damsel hung her lamp on high;
True to the signal, by love's meteor led,
Leander hasten'd to his Hero's bed.
DEATH OF A FAVOURITE CHILD.
AH! whither hast thou flown, delightful boy,
Pride of thy father; all thy mother's joy;
Still pleased with all, and happy all to please,
Gay without art, and innocent with ease?
But thou like every fleeting bliss art gone,
Reclaim'd by Heaven; and its " will be done."
Thy little heart, as honest as thy face,
Now throbs no longer with the seeds of grace:
Bright as they were, alas! thy sparkling eyes
Are doom'd no more in ecstasy to rise:
Those lips so often kiss'd are red no more :
How clay-cold all that we embraced before!
No more these arms shall press thee to my heart,
Thy charms no more their wonted sweets impart.
But why repine? Thy happier mind 's at rest;
And, while we cry, triumphs among the bless'd;
Quits earth's poor comforts for a throne above,
In Heaven's own bosom shares paternal love.
Dear prattling child, to all our hearts still dear,
Long shall we bathe thy memory with a tear.
Farewell-too promising on earth to dwell,
Sweetest of fondlings, best of babes, farewell.