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SONNET TO WILLIAM WILBERFORCE, ESQ.
The country, Wilberforce, with just disdain,
Hears thee by cruel men and impious callid
Fanatic, for thy zeal to loose the enthralld 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 gaind 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 thee, 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 God alone.
SONNET TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.
Dear architect of fine Chateaux in air,
Worthier to stand for ever if they could,
Than any built of stone, or yet of wood,
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 unequall'd 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.
Austin! accept a grateful verse from me,
And oh! could I command the glittering wealth
distress. Friend of my friend! * I love thee, though unknown, And boldly call thee, being his, my own.
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.
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.
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.
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,