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SONNET TO WILLIAM WILBERFORCE, ESQ.

1792

The country, Wilberforce, with just disdain,

Hears thee by cruel men and impious callid

Fanatic, for thy zeal to loose the enthrall'd From exile, public sale, and slavery's chain.

Friend of the poor, the wrong’d; the fetter-gall’d, Fear not lest labour such as thine be vain.

Thou hast achieved a part; hast gain’d the ear Of Britain's senate to thy glorious cause; Hope smiles, joy springs, and tho'cold caution pause

And weave delay, the better hour is near

That shall remunerate thy toils severe By peace for Afric, fenced with British laws. Enjoy what thou hast won, esteem and love From all the Just on earth, and all the Blest above.

SONNET TO HENRY COWPER, ESQ.

On his Emphatical and Interesting Delivery of the

Defence of Warren Hastings, Esq. in the House

of Lords.

Cowper, whose silver voice, task'd sometimes hard,

Legends prolix delivers in the ears

(Attentive when thou read'st) of England's peers, Let verse at length yield thee thy just reward.

Thou wast not heard with drowsy disregard,

Expending late on all that length of plea

Thy generous powers, but silence honour'd thce, Mute as e'er gazed on orator or bard. Thou art not voice alone, but hast beside Both heart and head: and couldst with music sweet

Of attic phrase and senatorial tone, Like thy renown'd forefathers, far and wide Thy fame diffuse, praised not for utterance meet

Of others' speech, but magic of thy own.

SONNET TO JOHN JOHNSON.

On his Presenting me with an Antique Bust of Homer.

1793.

Kinsman beloved, and as a son, by me!

When I behold this fruit of thy regard,

The sculptured form of my old favourite bard, I reverence feel for him, and love for thee. Joy too and grief. Much joy that there should be

Wise men and learn'd, who grudge not to reward

With some applause my bold attempt and hard, Which others scorn: critics by courtesy. The grief is this, that sunk in Homer's mine,

I lose my precious years now soon to fail, Handling his gold, which howsoe'er it shine,

Proves dross, when balanced in the Christian scale. Be wiser thou—like our forefather Donne, Seek heavenly wealth, and work for Gud alone.

SONNET TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.

1793.

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!
But I am bankrupt now; and doom’d henceforth

To drudge, in descant dry, on others' lays;
Bards, I acknowledge, of unequallid worth!

But what is commentator's happiest praise? That he has furnish'd lights for other eyes, Which they, who need them, use, and then despise.

SONNET TO DR. AUSTIN.

1792.

Austin! accept a grateful verse from me,
The poet's treasure, no inglorious fee.
Loved by the Muses, thy ingenuous mind
Pleasing requital in my verse may find ;
Verse oft has dasb’d the scythe of Time aside,
Immortalizing names wbich else had died.

And oh! could I command the glittering wealth
With which sick kings are glad to purchase health ;
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

Friend of my friend! * I love thee, though unknown, And boldly, call thee, being his, my own.

my distress.

SONNET TO GEORGE ROMNEY, ESQ.

On his Picture of me in Crayons, drawn at Eartham, in

the 61st Year of my Age, in the Months of August and September.

1792

Romney, expert infallibly to trace

On chart or canvas, not the form alone

And semblance, but, however faintly shown, The mind's impression too on every face

With strokes that time ought never to erase

Thou hast so pencilld mine, that though I own

The subject worthless, I have never known The artist shining with superior grace.

* Hayley.

But this I mark—that symptoms none of woe

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?

SONNET TO MRS. UNWIN.

1793.

MARY! I want a lyre with other strings,

drew, Such aid from Heaven as some have feign'd 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.

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