The tallest pines feel most the power
Of wintry blasts; the loftiest tower

Comes heaviest to the ground;
The bolts that spare the mountain's side
His cloudcapt eminence divide,

And spread the ruin round.

The well-inform'd philosopher
Rejoices with a wholesome fear,

And hopes in spite of pain;
If Winter bellow from the north,
Soon the sweet Spring comes dancing forth,

And Nature laughs again.

What if thine Heaven be overcast,
The dark appearance will not last;

Expect a brighter sky.
The God that strings the silver bow
Awakes sometimes the Muses too,

And lays his arrows by.

If hindrances obstruct thy way,
Thy magnanimity display,

And let thy strength be seen;
But O! if Fortune fill thy sail
With more than a propitious gale,

Take half thy canvas in.


And is this all? Can Reason do no more

Than bid me shun the deep, and dread the shore?

Sweet moralist! afloat on life's rough sea,

The Christian has an art unknown to thee:

He holds no parley with unmanly fears;

Where Duty bids he confidently steers,

Faces a thousand dangers at her call,

And, trusting in his God, surmounts them all.


The nymph must lose her female friend,
If more admired than she—

But where will fierce contention end,
If flowers can disagree?

Within the garden's peaceful scene

Appear'd two lovely foes, Aspiring to the rank of queen,

The Lily and the Rose.

The Rose soon redden'd into rage,

And, swelling with disdain, Appeal'd to many a poet's page

To prove her right to reign.

The Lily's height bespoke command,

A fair imperial flower;
She seem'd design'd for Flora's hand,

The sceptre of her power.

This civil bickering and debate

The goddess chanced to hear, And flew to save, ere yet too late,

The pride of the parterre;

Yours is, she said, the nobler hue,

And yours the statelier mien; And, till a third surpasses you,

Let each be deem'd a queen.

Thus soothed and reconciled, each seeks

The fairest British fair;
The seat of empire is her cheeks

They reign united there.


Heu inimicitias quoties parit aemula forma,
Quam raro pulchrse, pulchra placere potest?

Sed fines ultra solitos discordia tendit,
Cum flores ipsos bilis et Ira movent.

Hortus ubi dulces praebet tacitosque recessus,
Se rapit in partes gens animosa duas;

Hie sibi regales Amaryllis Candida cultuSj
Illic purpurea vindicat ore Rosa.

Ira Rosam et meritis quassita superbia tangunt, Multaque ferventi vix cohibenda sinu,

Dum sibi fautorum ciet undique nomina vatum,
Jusque suum, multo carmine fulta, probat.

Altior emicat ilia, et celso vertice nutat,
Ceu flores inter non habitura parem,

Fastiditque alios, et nata videtur in usus
Imperii, sceptrum, Flora quod ipsa gerat.

Nee Dea non sensit civilis murmura rixae,
Cui curae est pictas pandere ruris opes.

Deliciasque suas nunquam non prompta tueri,
Dum licet et locus est, ut tueatur, adest.

Et tibi forma datur procerior omnibus, inquit,
Et tibi, principibus qui solet esse, color,

Et donee vincat quaedam formosior ambas,
Et tibi reginae nomen, et esto tibi.

His ubi sedatus furor est, petit utraque nympham,
Qualem inter Veneres Anglia sola parit;

Hanc penes imperium est, nihil optant amplius, Regnant in nitidis, et sine lite, genis. [hujus


The poplars are fell'd, farewell to the shade,
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade;
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives.

Twelve years have elapsed since I last took a view Of my favourite field, and the bank where they

grew; And now in the grass behold they are laid, And the tree is my seat that once lent me a shade.

The blackbird has fled to another retreat,
Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat,
And the scene where his melody charm'd me before
Resounds with his sweet flowing ditty no more.

My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast, and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.

'Tis a sight to engage me, if any thing can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Though his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see,
Have a being less durable even than he.1

1 Mr. Cowper afterwards altered this last stanza in the following manner:—

The change both my heart and my fancy employs,
I reflect on the frailty of man, and his joys;
Short-lived as we are, yet our pleasures, we see,
Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.

Vol. ii. 20

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