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A POETICAL EPISTLE TO LADY
Employs our present thoughts and pains To guess, and spell, what it contains; But day by day, and year by year, Will make the dark enigma clear; And furnish us, perhaps, at last, Like other scenes already past, With proof, that we, and our affairs, Are part of a Jehovah's cares: For God unfolds, by slow degrees, The purport of his deep decrees; Sheds every hour a clearer light In aid of our defective sight; And spreads, at length, before the soul, A beautiful and perfect whole, Which busy man's inventive brain Toils to anticipate in vain.
DEAR ANNA-between friend and friend,
But when a poet takes the pen,
Mysterious are his ways, whose power
Say, Anna, had you never known The beauties of a rose full blown, Could you, though luminous your eye, By looking on the bud, descry, Or guess, with a prophetic power, The future splendour of the flower? Just so, th' Omnipotent, who turns The system of a world's concerns, From mere minutiæ can educe Events of most important use; And bid a dawning sky display The blaze of a meridian day. The works of man tend, one and all, As needs they must, from great so small; And vanity absorbs at length The monuments of human strength. But who can tell how vast the plan Which this day's incident began? Too small, perhaps, the slight occasion, For our dim-sighted observation; It passed unnoticed, as the bird That cleaves the yielding air unheard, And yet may prove, when understood, A harbinger of endless good.
Not that I deem, or mean to call Friendship a blessing cheap or small: But merely to remark, that ours, Like some of nature's sweetest flowers, Rose from a seed of tiny size, That seemed to promise no such prize; A transient visit intervening, And made almost without a meaning, (Hardly the effect of inclination, Much less of pleasing expectation) Produced a friendship, then begun, That has cemented us in one; And placed it in our power to prove, By long fidelity and love, That Solomon has wisely spoken,
A threefold cord is not soon broken."
• An obscure part of Olney, adjoining to the residence of Cowper, which faced the market-place.
Lady Austen's residence in France.
Air-The Lass of Patie's Mill.
When all within is peace,
How Nature seems to smile! Delights that never cease,
The live-long day beguile. From morn to dewy eve,
With open hand she showers Fresh blessings to deceive,
And sooth the silent hours. It is content of heart
Gives nature power to please; The mind that feels no smart,
Enlivens all it sees: Can make a wintry sky
Seem bright as smiling May, And evening's closing eye
As peep of early day.
And, summoned to partake its fellow's wo,
Votaries of business, and of pleasure prove
Born from above, and made divinely wise,
The vast majestic globe,
So beauteously arrayed In Nature's various robe
With wondrous skill displayed, Is to a mourner's heart
A dreary wild at best ; It flutters to depart,
And longs to be at rest.
EPITAPH ON JOHNSON.
Here Johnson liesma sage by all allowed,
Whom to have bred, may well make England proud; On Friendship! Cordial of the human breast
Whose prose was eloquence, by wisdom taught, So little felt, so fervently professed !
The graceful vehicle of virtuous thought; Thy blossoms deck our unsuspecting years; Whose verse may claim-grave, masculine, and The promise of delicious fruit appears:
strong, We hug the hopes of constancy and truth, Superior praise to the mere poet's song ; Such is the folly of our dreaming youth ; Who many a noble gift from Heaven possessed, But soon, alas ! detect the rash mistake
And faith at last, alone worth all the rest.
O man, immortal by a double prize,
TO MISS CON HER BIRTH-DAY A thousand ways the force of genuine love.
How many between east and west, He may be called to give up health and gain,
Disgrace their parent earth,
The day that gave them birth!
Not so when Stella's natal morn
Revolving months restore,
We can rejoice that she was born, • Written at the request of Lady Austen.
And wish her born once more,
And fancies I fear they will seem
Poet's goods are not often so fine; The poets will swear that I dream,
When I sing of the splendour of mine,
ADDRESSED TO LADY HESKETH.
This cap, that so stately appears,
With ribbon-bound tassel on high, Which seems by the crest that it rears
Ambitious of brushing the sky: This cap to my cousin I owe,
She gave it, and gave me beside, Wreathed into an elegant bow,
The ribbon with which it is tied. This wheel-footed studying chair,
Contrived both for toil and repose, Wide elbowed and wadded with hair,
In which I both scribble and dose, Bright studded to dazzle the eyes,
And rival in lustre of that
Fair Cassiopeia sat:
Caledonia's traffic and pride,
Escaped from a cross-country ride.
Secure from collision and dust,
And periwig nicely adjust :
For its beauty admired and its use,
The gayest I had to produce; Where, flaming in scarlet and gold,
My poems enchanted I view, And hope, in due time, to behold
My Iliad and Odyssey too; This china, that decks the alcove,
Which here people call a buffet, But what the gods call it above,
Has ne'er been revealed to us yet; These curtains, that keep the room warm
Or cool, as the season demands, These stoves that for pattern and form,
Seem the labour of Mulciber's hands : All these are not half that I owe
To one from her earliest youth To me ever ready to show
Benignity, friendship, and truth: For time the destroyer declared
And foe of our perishing kind, If even her face he has spared,
Much less could he alter her mind. Thus compassed about with the goods
And chattels of leisure and ease, I indulge my poetical moods
In many such fancies as these;
When a bar of pure silver, or ingot of gold,
Is sent to be flatted or wrought into length, It is passed between cylinders often and rolled
In an engine of utmost mechanical strength. Thus tortured and squeezed, at last it appears
Like a loose heap of ribbon, a glittering show, Like music it tinkles and rings in your ears,
And, warmed by the pressure, is all in a glow. This process achieved, it is doomed to sustain
The thump-after-thump of a goldbeater's mallet, And at last is of service in sickness or pain
To cover a pill for a delicate palate.
To urge reformation of national ill-
With the double employment of mallet and mill If he wish to instruct, he must learn to delight,
Smooth, ductile, and even, his fancy must flow, Must tinkle and glitter like gold to the sight,
And catch in its progress a sensible glow. After all, he must beat it as thin and as fine As the leaf that unfolds what an invalid swal
lows, For truth is unwelcome, however divine,
And unless you adorn it a nausea follows.
TO MRS. THROCKMORTON, ON HER BEAUTIFUL TRANSCRIPT OF HORACE'S ODE,
AD LIBRUM SUUM.
What honour awaited his ode,
The honour which you have bestowed,
So elegant, even and neat,
Which he seems to have trembled to meet.
And sneer if you please he had said,
A nymph shall hereafter arise, Who shall give me, when you are all dead,
The glory your malice denies. Shall dignity give to my lay,
Although but a mere bagatelle; And even a poet shall say,
Nothing ever was written so well.
Who, laying his long scythe aside, Sleeps on some bank with daisies pied,
Till roused to toil again.
Should every maiden come
The bell would toll for some.
STANZAS On the late indecent liberties taken with the remains of the
great Milton-Anno 1790. i “Me too, perchance, in future days,
The sculptured stone shall show, With Paphian myrtle or with bays
Parnassian on my brow.
Escaped from every care,
And sleep securely there."*
The youthful bard, ere long
With her sublimest song.
Hearing the deed unblest
His dread sepulchral rest ?
Where Milton's ashes lay,
And steal his dust away!
Thy living worth repaid,
As much affronts thee dead.
And oh, what havoc would ensue!
All in a moment fled!
Each pocketing a shred.
As bird of borrowed feather,
Who put the whole together.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE POETS.
TO MRS. KING.
On her kind Present to the Author, a Patch-work Counter
pane of her own making. The Bard, if e'er he feel at all, Must sure be quickened by a call
Both on his heart and head,
Who deigns to deck his bed.
(As Homer's Epic shows)
For Jove and Juno rose.
Receives the weary swain
Two nymphs, both nearly of an age,
Of numerous charms possessed,
Whose temper was the best.
Had both alike been mild:
Frowned oftener than she smiled.
Would raise her voice and roar, And shake with fury to the ground
The garland that she wore.
From all such frenzy clear,
And never proved severe.
The nymphs referred the cause,
And gave misplaced applause.
The flippant and the scold,
That failing left untold.
Or so resolved to err
They lavished all on her.
Forsitan et nostros ducat de marmore vultus
Milton in Mansa,
Then thus the god whom fondly they
Their great inspirer call,
To reprimand them all:
“My favourite nymph to slight, Adorning May, that peevish maid,
With June's undoubted right, "The minx shall, for your folly's sake,
Still prove herself a shrew, Shall make your scribbling fingers ache,
And pinch your noses blue.”
And the old utensil of tin
A drawer it chanced, at bottom lined With linen of the softest kind, With such as merchants introduce From India, for the ladies' use; A drawer impending o'er the rest, Half open in the topmost chest, Of depth enough, and none to spare, Invited her to slumber there; Puss with delight, beyond expression, Surveyed the scene and took possession. Recumbent at her ease, ere long, And lulled by her own humdrum song, She left the cares of life behind, And slept as she would sleep her last, When in came, housewifely inclined, The chambermaid, and shut it fast, By no malignity impelled, But all unconscious whom it held.
ON MRS. M. HIGGINS, OF WESTON.
LAURELS may flourish round the conqueror's tomb,
THE RETIRED CAT.
Awakened by the shock, (cried puss) " Was ever cat attended thus ! The open drawer was left, I see, Merely to prove a nest for me, For soon as I was well composed, Then came the maid, and it was closed. How smooth these 'kerchiefs, and how sweet! Oh what a delicate retreat! I will resign myself to rest Till Sol declining in the west, Shall call to supper, when, no doubt, Susan will come, and let me out.”
A Poet's Cat, sedate and grave
The evening came, the sun descended, And puss remained still unattended. The night rolled tardily away, (With her indeed 'twas never day) The sprightly morn her course renewed, The evening gray again ensued, And puss came into mind no more, Than if entombed the day before ; With hunger pinched, and pinched for room, She now presaged approaching doom. Nor slept a single wink, nor purred, Conscious of jeopardy incurred.
That night, by chance, the poet, watching, Heard an inexplicable scratching; His noble heart went pit-a-pat, And to himself he said "what's that ?" He drew the curtain at his side, And forth he peeped, but nothing spied.
But love of change it seems has place Not only in our wiser race; Cats also feel, as well as we, That passion's force, and so did she. Her climbing, she began to find, Exposed her too much to the wind,