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Yet, by his ear directed, guessed
Something imprisoned in the chest
And, doubtful what, with prudent care
Resolved it should continue there.
At length a voice which well he knew,
A long and melancholy mew,
Saluting his poetic ears,
Consoled him and dispelled his fears;
He left his bed, he trod the floor,
He 'gan in haste the drawers explore,
The lowest first, and without stop
The rest in order to the top.
For 'tis a truth well known to most,
That whatsoever thing is lost,
We seek it, ere it come to light,
In every cranny but the right.
Forth skipped the cat, not now replete
As erst with airy self-conceit,
Nor in her own fond comprehension,
A theme for all the world's attention,
But modest, sober, cured of all
Her notions hyperbolical,
And wishing for a place of rest,
Any thing rather than a chest.
Then stepped the poet into bed
With this reflection in his head.
Beware of too sublime a sense
Of your own worth and consequence.
The man who dreams himself so great,
And his importance of such weight,
That all around in all that's done
Must move and act for him alone,
Will learn in school of tribulation-
The folly of his expectation.
WHICH THE AUTHOR HEARD SING ON NEW-YEAR'S DAY.
WHENCE is it, that amazed I hear
From yonder withered spray,
This foremost morn of all the year,
The melody of May?
And why, since thousands would be proud
Of such a favour shown,
Am I selected from the crowd
To witness it alone?
Sing'st thou, sweet Philomel, to me,
For that I also long
Have practised in the groves like thee,
Though not like thee in song?
Or sing'st thou rather under force
Of some divine command,
Commissioned to presage a course
Of happier days at hand?
Yet, if extensive fame and sure to live,
Were in the power of verse like mine to give,
I would not recompense his art with less,
Who, giving Mary health, heals my distress.
Friend of my friend!* I love thee, tho' unknown,| And boldly call thee, being his, my own.
Since therefore I seem to incur
No danger of wishing in vain, When making good wishes for her, I will e'en to my wishes againWith one I have made her a wife,
And now I will try with another, Which I can not suppress for my lifeHow soon I can make her a mother.
ADDRESSED TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ. HAYLEY-thy tenderness fraternal shown, In our first interview, delightful guest! To Mary and me for her dear sake distressed, Such as it is has made my heart thy own, Though heedless now of new engagements grown; For threescore winters make a wintry breast, And I had purposed ne'er to go in quest Of Friendship more, except with God alone;
But thou hast won me: nor is God my foe, Who, ere this last afflictive scene began,
Sent thee to mitigate the dreadful blow. My brother, by whose sympathy I know Thy true deserts infallibly to scan,
Not more t'admire the bard than love the man.
On her Marriage to George Courtnay, Esq. BELIEVE it or not as you choose,
The doctrine is certainly true, That the future is known to the muse, And poets are oracles too. I did but express a desire
To see Catharina at home,
At the side of my friend George's fire,
And lo-she is actually come.
Such prophecy some may despise,
But the wish of a poet and friend
Perhaps is approved in the skies,
And therefore attains to its end.
"Twas a wish that flew ardently forth
From a bosom effectually warmed
With the talents, the graces, and worth
Of the person for whom it was formed.
Mariat would leave us, I knew,
To the grief and regret of us all, But less to our grief, could we view Catharina the queen of the hall. And therefore I wished as I did,
And therefore this union of hands Not a whisper was heard to forbid, But all cry-amen-to the bans.
On his picture of me in crayons, drawn at Eartham in the 61st year of my age, and in the months of August and September, 1792.
ROMNEY expert, infallibly to trace
On chart or canvass, not the form alone And semblance, but, however faintly shown, The mind's impression too on every faceWith strokes that time ought never to erase,
Thou hast so penciled mine, that though I own The subject worthless, I have never known The artist shining with superior grace. But this I mark-that symptoms none of wo In thy incomparable work appear. Well-I am satisfied it should be so,
Since, on maturer thought, the cause is clear; For in my looks what sorrow couldst thou see When I was Hayley's guest, and sat to thee?
ON RECEIVING HAYLEY'S PICTURE.
IN language warm as could be breathed or penned,
Thy picture speaks th' original, my friend,
Not by those looks that indicate thy mind-
They only speak thee friend of all mankind;
Expression here more soothing still I see,
That friend of all a partial friend to me.
ON A PLANT OF VIRGIN'S BOWER.
DESIGNED TO COVER A GARDEN-SEAT.
THRIVE, gentle plant! and weave a bower
For Mary and for me,
And deck with many a splendid flower
Thy foliage large and free.
Thou cam'st from Eartham, and wilt shade (If truly I divine)
Some future day th' illustrious head
Of Him who made thee mine.
TO MY COUSIN, ANNE BODHAM,
ON RECEIVING FROM HER A NET-WORK PURSE,
MADE BY HERSELF.
My gentle Anne, whom heretofore,
When I was young, and thou no more
Than plaything for a nurse,
I danced and fondled on my knee,
A kitten both in size and glee,
I thank thee for my purse.
Gold pays the worth of all things here;
But not of love;-that gem's too dear
For richest rogues to win it;
I, therefore, as a proof of love,
Esteem thy present far above
The best things kept within it.
MARY! I want a lyre with other strings,
Such aid from heaven as some have feigned they
An eloquence scarce given to mortals, new
And undebased by praise of meaner things,
That ere through age or wo I shed my wings,
I may record thy worth with honour due,
In verse as musical as thou art true,
And that immortalizes whom it sings.
But thou hast little need. There is a book
By seraphs writ with beams of heavenly light,
On which the eyes of God not rarely look,
A chronicle of actions just and bright;
There all thy deeds, my faithful Mary, shine, And, since thou own'st that praise, I spare thee mine.
TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
DEAR architect of fine CHATEAUX in air,
Worthier to stand for ever, if they could,
Than any built of stone, or yet of wood,
For back of royal elephant to bear!
O for permission from the skies to share,
Much to my own, though little to thy good, With thee (not subject to the jealous mood!) A partnership of literary ware!
Well knowing him a sacred thing,
Not destined to my tooth,
I only kissed his ruffled wing,
And licked the feathers smooth.
Let my obedience then excuse
My disobedience now,
Nor some reproof yourselves refuse
From your aggrieved bow-wow;
If killing brids be such a crime,
(Which I can hardly see,) What think you, sir, of killing Time With verse addressed to me?
THE twentieth year is well nigh past,
Since our first sky was overcast,
Ah would that this might be the last!
Thy spirits have a fainter flow,
I see them daily weaker grow-
'Twas my distress that brought thee low
Thy needles, once a shining store,
For my sake restless heretofore,
Now rust disused, and shine no more,
For though thou gladly wouldst fulfil
The same kind office for me still,
Thy sight now seconds not thy will,
But well thou playd'st the housewife's part,
And all thy threads with magic art,
Have wound themselves about this heart,
Thy indistinct expressions seem
Like language uttered in a dream;
Yet me they charm, whate'er the theme,
Thy silver locks once auburn bright,
Are still more lovely in my sight
Than golden beams of orient light,
For could I view nor them nor thee,
What sight worth seeing could I see?
The sun would rise in vain for me,
Partakers of thy sad decline,
Thy hands their little force resign;
Yet gently prest, press gently mine,
Such feebleness of limbs thou prov'st,
That now at every step thou mov'st,
Upheld by two, yet still thou lov'st,
And still to love, though prest with ill,
In wintry age to feel no chill,
With me is to be lovely still,
But ah! by constant heed I know,
How oft the sadness that I show,
Transforms thy smiles to looks of wo,
And should my future lot be cast
With much resemblance of the past,
Thy worn-out heart will break at last,
SEEN FLOATING IN THE GERMAN OCEAN.
WHAT portents, from that distant region, ride,
Unseen till now in ours, the astonished tide?
In ages past, old Proteus, with his droves
Of seacalves, sought the mountains and the groves.
But now, descending whence of late they stood,
Themselves the mountains seem to rove the flood.
Dire times were they, full-charged with human
And these, scarce less calamitous than those. What view we now? More wondrous still? Behold!
Like burnished brass they shine, or beaten gold;
And all around the pearl's pure splendour show,
And all around the ruby's fiery glow.
Come they from India, where the burning earth,
All bounteous, gives her richest treasures birth;
And where the costly gems, that beam around
The brows of mightiest potentates, are found?
No. Never such a countless dazzling store
Had left, unseen, the Ganges' peopled shore.
Rapacious hands, and ever-watchful eyes,
Should sooner far have marked and seized the prize.
Whence sprang they then? Ejected have they come
From Ves'vius', or from Ætna's burning womb?
Thus shine they self-illumed, or but display
The borrowed splendours of a cloudless day?
With borrowed beams they shine. The gales,
Now landward, and the current's force beneath,
Have borne them nearer: and the nearer sight,
Advantaged more, contemplates them aright.
Their lofty summits crested high, they show,
With mingled sleet, and long-incumbent snow.
The rest is ice. Far hence, where most, severe,
Bleak winter well-nigh saddens all the year,
Their infant growth began. He bade arise
Their uncouth forms, portentous in our eyes.
Oft as dissolved by transient suns, the snow
Left the tall cliff, to join the flood below;
He caught, and curdled with a freezing blast
The current, ere it reached the boundless waste.
By slow degrees uprose the wondrous pile,
And long successive ages rolled the while;
Till, ceaseless in its growth, it claimed to stand,
Tall as its rival mountains on the land.
Thus stood, and unremoveable by skill,
Or force of man, had stood the structure still;
But that, though firmly fixed, supplanted yet
By pressure of its own enormous weight,
It left the shelving beach-and, with a sound
That shook the bellowing waves and rocks around
Self-launched, and swiftly, to the briny wave,
As if instinct with strong desire to lave,
Down went the ponderous mass. So bards of old,
How Delos swam th' Ægean deep, have told.
But not of ice was Delos. Delos bore
Herb, fruit, and flower. She, crowned with laurel,
Even under wintry skies, a summer smile;
And Delos was Apollo's favourite isle.
But, horrid wanderers of the deep, to you,
He deems cimmerian darkness only due.
Your hated birth he deigned not to survey,
But, scornful, turned his glorious eyes away.
Hence! seek your home, nor longer rashly dare
The darts of Phoebus, and a softer air;
Lest ye regret, too late, your native coast,
In no congenial gulf for ever lost!
OBSCUREST night involved the sky;
Th' Atlantic billows roared,
When such a destined wretch as I,
Washed headlong from on board,
Of friends, of hopes, of all bereft,
His floating home for ever left.
No braver chief could Albion boast,
Than he, with whom we went,
Nor ever ship left Albion's coast,
With warmer wishes sent.
He loved them both, but both in vain,
Nor him beheld, nor her again.
Not long beneath the whelming brine, Expert to swim he lay;
Nor soon he felt his strength decline,
Or courage die away; But waged with death a lasting strife, Supported by despair of life.
He shouted; nor his friends had failed
To check the vessel's course, But so the furious blast prevailed, That, pitiless, perforce,
They left their outcast mate behind,
And scudded still before the wind.
Some succour yet they could afford;
And, such as storms allow,
The cask, the coop, the floated cord,
Delayed not to bestow;
But he (they knew) nor ship nor shore,
Whate'er they gave, should visit more.
Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he,
Their haste himself condemn,
Aware that flight, in such a sea,
Alone could rescue them;
Yet bitter felt it still to die
Deserted, and his friends so nigh.
He long survives, who lives an hour
In ocean self-upheld:
And so long he, with unspent power
His destiny repelled:
And ever as the minutes flew,
Entreated help, or cried-" Adieu!"
At length, his transient respite past,
His comrades, who before
Had heard his voice in every blast,
Could catch the sound no more.
For then, by toil subdued, he drank
The stifling wave, and then he sank.
No poet wept him: but the page
Of narrative sincere,
That tells his name, his worth, his age,
Is wet with Anson's tear.
And tears by bards or heroes shed
Alike immortalize the dead.
I therefore purpose not, or dream,
Descanting on his fate,
To give the melancholy theme
A more enduring date.
But misery still delights to trace
Its 'semblance in another's case.
No voice divine the storm allayed
No light propitious shone;
When, snatched from all effectual aid,
We perished each alone:
But I beneath a rougher sea,
And whelmed in deeper gulfs than he.
Translations from Vincent Bourne
I. THE GLOW-WORM. BENEATH the hedge, or near the stream, A worm is known to stray; That shows by night a lucid beam, Which disappears by day.