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THE POETICAL WORKS

WILLIAM COWPER EARLY POEMS.

PUBLISHED POSTHUMOUSLY,,,

VERSES,

TTrt IN HIS 17TH YEAR, ON FINDING THE HEEL OF A SHOH

Fortune! I thank thee: gentle Goddess, thanks!Not that my Muse, though bashful, shall deny She would have thanked thee rather hadst thou cast A treasure in her way; for neither meed Of early breakfast, to dispel the fumes And bowel-raking pains of emptiness, Nor noontide feast, nor evening's cool repast, Hopes she from this, presumptuous,—though perhaps The cobbler, leather-carving artist, might. Nathless she thanks thee, and accepts thy boon, Whatever; not as erst the fabled cock, Vain-glorious fool, unknowing what he found, Spurned the rich gem thou gavest him. Wherefore, ah!

Why not on me that favour (worthier sure !)

Conferredst thou, Goddess? Thou art blind, thou say'st:Enough! thy blindness shall excuse the deed.

Nor does my Muse no benefit exhale
From this thy scant indulgence;—even here,
Hints, worthy sage Philosophy, are found,
Illustrious hints, to moralize my song.
This ponderous heel of perforated hide
Compact, with pegs indented many a row,
Haply (for such its massy form bespeaks)
The weighty tread of some rude peasant clown
Upbore: on this supported oft he stretched,
With uncouth strides, along the furrowed glebe,
Flattening the stubborn clod, till cruel Time,
(What will not cruel Time ?) on a wry step,
Severed the strict cohesion; when, alas!
He, who could erst with even equal pace
Pursue his destined way with symmetry
And some proportion formed, now on one side,
Curtailed and maimed, the sport of vagrant boys,
Cursing his frail supporter, treacherous prop!
With toilsome steps, and difficult, moves on.
Thus fares it oft with other than the feet
Of humble villager: the statesman thus,
Up the steep road where proud ambition leads,

Betray^
Headlong he -
Drags the dull lou_

1748

TRANSLATION OF

To Babylon's proud waters brought,

In bondage where we lay,
With tears on Sion's Hill we thought,

And sighed our hours away;
Neglected on the willows hung
Our useless harps, while every tongue

Bewailed the fatal day.

Then did the base insulting foe

Some joyous notes demand,
Such as in Sion used to flow

From Judah's happy band:
Alas! what joyous notes have we,
Our country spoiled, no longer free,

And in a foreign land?
O Solyma! if e'er thy praise

Be silent in my song,
Rude and unpleasing be the lays,

And artless be my tongue!

Thy name my ...
To thee, great fountain ui
My sweetest airs belong.

Remember, Lord! that hostile sound,
When Edom's children cried,

"Razed be her turrets to the ground, And humbled be her pride!"

Remember, Lord! and let the foe

The terrors of thy vengeance know, The vengeance they defied!

Thou too, great Babylon, shalt fall

A victim to our God;
Thy monstrous crimes already call

For heaven's chastising rod.
I lappy who shall thy little ones
Relentless dash against the stones,

And spread their limbs abroad.

SONG.

No more shall hapless Celia's ears

Be fluttered with the cries
Of lovers drowned in floods of tears,

Or murdered by her eyes;
No serenades to break her rest,
Nor songs her slumbers to molest,

With my fa, la, la.

The fragrant flowers that once would And flourish in her hair, [bloom

Since she no longer breathes perfume Their odours to repair,

Must fade, alas! and wither now,

As placed on any common brow,

With my fa, la, la.

Her lip, so winning and so meek,

No longer has its charms;
As well she might by whistling seek

To lure us to her arms;

Affected once, 'tis real now, As her forsaken gums may show,

With my fa, la, la.

The down that on her chin so smooth

So lovely once appeared, That, too, has left her with her youth,

Or sprouts into a beard; As fields, so green when newly sown, With stubble stiff are overgrown,

With my fa, la, la.

Then, Celia, leave your apish tricks,
And change your girlish airs,

For ombre, snuff, and politics,
Those joys that suit your years;

No patches can lost youth recall,

Nor whitewash prop a tumbling wall, With my fa, la, la.

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