Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

Less beautiful, however gay,
Is that which in the scorching day

Receives the weary swain,
Who, laying his long sithe aside,
Sleeps on some bank with daisies pied,

Till roused to toil again.

What labours of the loom I see!
Looms numberless have groan’d for me!
Should every

maiden come
To scramble for the patch that bears
The impress of the robe she wears,

The bell would toll for some.

And oh, what havoc would ensue !
This bright display of every hue

All in a moment fled !
As if a storm should strip the bowers
Of all their tendrils, leaves, and flowers

Each pocketing a shred.

Thanks then to every gentle fair
Who will not come to peck me bare

As bird of borrow'd feather,
And thanks to one above them all,
The gentle fair of Pertenhall,

Who put the whole together. August, 1790,

VOL. VII.

Y

IN MEMORY OF THE LATE JOHN THORNTON,

ESQ.

Poets attempt the noblest task they can,
Praising the Author of all good in man,
And, next, commemorating worthies lost,
The dead in whom that good abounded most.

Thee, therefore, of commercial fame, but more
Famed for thy probity from shore to shore,
Thee, Thornton ! worthy in some page to shine,
As honest and more eloquent than mine,
I mourn; or, since thrice happy thou must be,
The world, no longer thy abode, not thee.
Thee to deplore were grief mispent indeed;
It were to weep that goodness has its meed,
That there is bliss prepared in yonder sky,
And glory for the virtuous when they die.

What pleasure can the miser's fondled hoard Or spendthrift's prodigal excess afford, Sweet as the privilege of healing woe By virtue suffer'd combating below? That privilege was thine; Heaven gave thee means To illumine with delight the saddest scenes, Till thy appearance chased the gloom, forlorn As midnight, and despairing of a morn. Thou hadst an industry in doing good, Restless as his who toils and sweats for food;

Avarice in thee was the desire of wealth
By rust unperishable or by stealth,
And if the genuine worth of gold depend
On application to its noblest end,
Thine had a value in the scales of Heaven
Surpassing all that mine or mint had given.
And, though God made thee of a nature prone
To distribution boundless of thy own,
And still by motives of religious force
Impell’d thee more to that heroic course,
Yet was thy liberality discreet,
Nice in its choice, and of a temper'd heat ;
And, though in act unwearied, secret still,
As in some solitude the summer rill
Refreshes, where it winds, the faded green,
And cheers the drooping flowers, unheard, unseen.

Such was thy charity : no sudden start,
After long sleep, of passion in the heart,
But stedfast principle, and, in its kind,
Of close relation to the Eternal Mind,
Traced easily to its true source above,
To him whose works bespeak his nature, love.

Thy bounties all were Christian, and I make
This record of thee for the Gospel's sake ;
That the incredulous themselves may see
Its use and power exemplified in thee.

Nov. 1790.

THE FOUR AGES.

13 BRIEF FRAGMENT OF AN EXTENSIVE PROJECTED POEM.)

* I cotld be well content, allowed the use
Of past experience, and the wisdom gleand
From worn-out follies, now acknowledged such,
To recommence life's trial, in the hope
Of fewer errors, on a second proof !”
Thus, while gray evening lulld the wind, and

calld Fresh odours from the shrubbery at my side, Taking my lonely winding walk, I mused, And held accustom'd conference with my heart; When from within it thus a voice replied: “ Couldst thou in truth ? and art thou taught at

length
This wisdom, and but this, from all the past ?
Is not the pardon of thy long arrear,
Time wasted, violated laws, abuse
Of talents, judgment, mercies, better far
Than opportunity vouchsafed to err
With less excuse, and, haply, worse effect ?”

I heard, and acquiesced : then to and fro
Oft pacing, as the mariner his deck,
My gravelly bounds, from self to human kind
I pass’d, and next consider'd—what is man.

Knows he his origin ? can he ascend
By reminiscence to his earliest date ?
Slept he in Adam ? And in those from him

!

Through numerous generations, till he found
At length his destined moment to be born ?
Or was he not, till fashion'd in the womb ?
Deep mysteries both! which schoolmen must have

toil'd
To unriddle, and have left them mysteries still.

It is an evil incident to man,
And of the worst, that unexplored he leaves
Truths useful and attainable with ease,
To search forbidden deeps, where mystery lies
Not to be solved, and useless if it might.
Mysteries are food for angels; they digest
With ease, and find them nutriment; but man,
While

yet

he dwells below, must stoop to glean His manna from the ground, or starve and die.

May, 1791.

THE RETIRED CAT.

A POET's cat, sedate and

grave
As poet well could wish to have,
Was much addicted to inquire
For nooks to which she might retire,

Cowper's partiality to animals is well known. Lady Hesketh, in one of her letters, states, “ that be bad, at one time, five rabbits, three hares, two guinea-pigs, a magpie, a ay, and a starling; besides two goldfinches, two canary birds, and two dogs. It is amazing how the three hares can find room to gambol and frolic (as they certainly do) in his small parlour;" and she adds, " I forgot to enumerate a squirrel, which

« ForrigeFortsett »