Mortals! around your destined heads
Thick fly the shafts of Death,

And lo! the savage spoiler spreads
A thousand toils beneath.

In vain we trifle with our fate;

Try every art in vain;
At best we but prolong the date,

And lengthen out our pain.

Fondly we think all danger fled,

For Death is ever nigh; Outstrips our unavailing speed,

Or meets us as we fly.

Thus the wrecked mariner may strive
Some desert shore to gain,

Secure of life, if he survive
The fury of the main.

But there, to famine doomed a prey,
Finds the mistaken wretch

He but escaped the troubled sea,
To perish on the beach.

Since then in vain we strive to guard

Our frailty from the foe,
Lord, let me live not unprepared

To meet the fatal blow!


William was once a bashful youth;

His modesty was such,
That one might say (to say the truth)

He rather had too much.

Some said that it was want of sense,

And others want of spirit,
(So blest a thing is impudence,)

While others could not bear it.

But some a different notion had,
And at each other winking, Observed, that though he little said,
He paid it off with thinking.

Howe'er, it happened, by degrees,
He mended and grew perter;

In company was more at ease,
And dressed a little smarter;

Nay, now and then would look quite


As other people do;

; And sometimes said, or tried to say,
A witty thing or so.

He eyed the women, and made free
To comment on their shapes;

So that there was, or seemed to be,
No fear of a relapse.

The women said, who thought him rough,

But now no longer foohsh,
"The creature may do well enough,
But wants a deal of polish."

At length, improved from head to heel,
'Twere scarce too much to say,
No dancing bear was so genteel,
Or half so cUgagJ.

Now that a miracle so strange

May not in vain be shown, Let the dear maid who wrought change

E'er claim him for her own.


Would my Delia know if I love, let her take

My last thought at night, and the first when I wake;

When my prayers and best wishes preferred for her sake.

Let her guess what I muse on, when, rambling alone,
I stride o'er the stubble each day with my gun,
Never ready to shoot till the covey is flown.

Let her think what odd whimsies I have in my brain,
When I read one page over and over again,
And discover at last that I read it in vain.

Let her say why so fixed and so steady my look,
Without ever regarding the person who spoke,
Still affecting to laugh, without hearing the joke.

Or why when with pleasure her praises I hear
(That sweetest of melody sure to my ear),
I attend, and at once inattentive appear.

And lastly, when summoned to drink to my flame,
Let her guess why I never once mention her name,
Though herself and the woman I love are the same.



Did not my Muse (what can she less ?)
Perceive her own unworthiness,
Could she by some well-chosen theme
But hope to merit your esteem,
She would not thus conceal her lays,
Ambitious to deserve your praise.
But should my Delia take offence,
And frown on her impertinence,
In silence, sorrowing and forlorn,
Would the despairing trifler mourn,

Curse her ill-timed, unpleasing lute,
Then sigh and sit for ever mute.
In secret therefore let her play,
Squandering her idle notes away
In secret as she chants along,
Cheerful and careless in her song;
Nor heeds she whether harsh or clear,
Free from each terror, every fear,
From that, of all most dreaded, free,
The terror of offending Thee.
Cntftcld, Julv 1752.

/ the same place.

Delia, the unkindest girl on earth,
When I besought the fair,

That favour of intrinsic worth,
A ringlet of her hair,

Refused that instant to comply

With my absurd request, For reasons she could specify,

Some twenty score at least.

Trust me, my dear, however odd

It may appear to say,
I sought it merely to defraud

Thy spoiler of his prey.

Yes! when its sister locks shall fade,
As quickly fade they must,

When all their beauties are decayed,
Their gloss, their colour, lost—

Ah then! if haply to my share
Some slender pittance fall,

If I but gain one single hair,
Nor age usurp them all;—

When you behold it still as sleek,

As lovely to the view,
As when it left thy snowy neck,—

That Eden where it grew,—

Then shall my Delia's self declare
That I professed the truth,

And have preserved my little share
In everlasting youth.

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Full thirty frosts since thou wert young
Have chilled the withered grove, Thou wretch! and hast thou lived so long,
Nor yet forgot to love!

Ye Sages! spite of your pretences To wisdom, you must own
Your folly frequently commences When you acknowledge none.

Not that I deem it weak to love,

Or folly to admire;
But ah! the pangs we lovers prove

Far other years require.

Unheeded on the youthful brow
The beams of Phcebus play;

But unsupported Age stoops low
Beneath the sultry ray.

For once, then, if untutored youth,
Youth unapproved by years,

May chance to deviate into truth,
When your experience errs;

For once attempt not to despise

What I esteem a rule: Who early loves, though young,is wise,—

Who old, though grey, a fool.



Sav, ye apostate and profane,
Wretches who blush not to disdain

Allegiance to your God,
Did e'er your idly-wasted love
Of virtue for her sake remove

And lift you from the crowd?

Would you the race of glory run?
Know, the devout, and they alone,

Are equal to the task:
The labours of the illustrious course
Far other than the unaided force

Of human vigour ask,

To arm against repeated ill

The patient heart, too brave to feel

The tortures of despair; Nor safer yet high-crested Pride, When wealth flows in with every tide

To gain admittance there.

To rescue from the tyrant's sword
The oppressed;—unseen and uiiim-
To cheer the face of woe;

From lawless insult to defend
An orphan's right, a fallen friend,
And a forgiven foe;—

These, these distinguish from the crowd,
And these alone, the great and good,

The guardians of mankind; Whose bosoms with these virtues heave, Oh, with what matchless speed they leave

The multitude behind!

Then ask ye, from what cause on earth Virtues like these derive their birth?

Derived from Heaven alone, Full on that favoured breast they shine, Where Faith and Resignation join

To call the blessing down.

Such is that heart;—but while the Muse Thy theme, O Richardson, pursues,

Her feebler spirits faint; She cannot reach, and would not wrong, That subject for an angel's song,

The hero, and the saint!



Grant me the Muse, ye gods! whose humble flight
Seeks not the mountain-top's pernicious height;
Who can the tall Parnassian cliff forsake,
To visit oft the still Lethean lake;
Now her slow pinions brush the silent shore,
Now gently skim the unwrinkled waters o'er,
There dips her downy plumes, thence upward flies,
And sheds soft slumbers on her votary's eyes.



Trust me, the meed of praise, dealt thriftily
From the nice scale of judgment, honours more
Than does the lavish and o erbearing tide
Of profuse courtesy. Not all the gems
Of India's richest soil at random spread
O'er the gay vesture of some glittering dame,
Give such alluring vantage to the person,
As the scant lustre of a few, with choice
And comely guise of ornament disposed.

At Cutficld.
This evening, Delia, you and I
Have managed most delightfully,

For with a frown we parted;
Having contrived some trifle that
We both may be much troubled at,

And sadly disconcerted.

Yet well as each performed their part,
We might perceive it was but art;

And that we both intended
To sacrifice a little ease;
For all such petty flaws as these

Are made but to be mended.

You knew, dissembler! all the while,
How sweet it was to reconcile

After this heavy pelt;
That we should gain by this allay
When next we met, and laugh away

The care we never felt.

Happy! when we but seek to endure
A little pain, then find a cure

By double joy requited;
For friendship, like a severed bone,
Improves and gains a stronger tone

When aptly reunited.



Think, Delia, with what cruel haste
Our fleeting pleasures move,

Nor heedless thus in sorrow waste
The moments due to love;

Be wise, my fair, and gently treat
These few that are our friends;

Think, thus abused, what sad regret
Their speedy flight attends 1

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