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Reasoning at every step he treads,
Man yet mistakes his way,
Are rarely known to stray.
One silent eve I wandered late,
The turtle thus addressed her mate,
Our mutual bond of faith and truth,
No time shall disengage;
Shall cheer our latest age.
While innocence without disguise,
And constancy sincere,
And mine can read them there,
Those ills that wait on all below
Shall ne'er be felt by me,
As being shared with thee.
When lightnings flash among the trees,
Or kites are hovering near,
And know no other fear.
'Tis then I feel myself a wife,
And press thy wedded side,
Death never shall divide.
But oh! if fickle and unchaste,
Thou couldst become unkind at last,
No need of lightnings from on high,
Or kites with cruel beak,
This widowed heart would break.
Thus sang the sweet sequestered bird,
Soft as the passing wind, And I recorded what I heard,
A lesson for mankind.
A Raven while with glossy breast
Her new-laid eggs she fondly pressed,
And on her wicker-work high mounted
Her chickens prematurely counted,
(A fault philosophers might blame,
If quite exempted from the same,)
Enjoyed at ease the genial day,
'Twas April as the bumkins say,
The legislature called it May:
But suddenly a wind as high
As ever swept a winter sky,
Shook the young leaves about her ears,
And filled her with a thousand fears,
Lest the rude blast should snap the bough,
And spread her golden hopes below.
But just at eve the blowing weather
And all her fears were hushed together:
And now, quoth poor unthinking Raph,
'Tis over, and the brood is safe;
(For ravens, though as birds of omen
They teach both conjurers and old women
To tell us what is to befall,
Can't prophesy themselves at all.)
The morning came, when neighbour Hodge.
Who long had marked her airy lodge,
And destined all the treasure there
A gift to his expecting fair,
Climbed like a squirrel to his dray,
And bore the worthless prize away.
'Tis Providence alone secures,
Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
The lapse of time and rivers is the same,
Both speed their journey with a restless stream,
The silent pace with which they steal away,
No wealth can bribe, no prayers persuade to stay,
Alike irrevocable both when past,
And a wide ocean swallows both at last.
Though each resemble each in every part,
A difference strikes at length the musing heart;
Streams never flow in vain; where streams abound,
How laughs the land with various plenty crowned!
But time that should enrich the nobler mind,
Neglected, leaves a dreary waste behind.
ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG LADY.
Sweet stream that winds through yonder glade,
Apt emblem of a virtuous maid—
Silent and chaste she steals along,
Far from the world's gay busy throng,
With gentle yet prevailing force
Intent upon her destined course,
Graceful and useful all she does,
Blessing and blest where'er she goes,
Pure-bosomed as that watery glass,
And heaven reflected in her face.
SUPPOSED TO DE WRITTEN BY ALEXANDER SELKIRK DURING HIS SOLITARY
I AM monarch of all I survey,
From the centre all round to the sea,
0 solitude! where are the charms
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
1 am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone,
The beasts that roam over the plain
My form with indifference see, They are so unacquainted with man,
Their tameness is shocking to me.
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestowed upon man, Oh, had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again! My sorrows I then might assuage
In the ways of religion and truth, Might learn from the wisdom of age,
And be cheered by the sallies of youth.
Religion! what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word!
Or all that this earth can afford.
These valleys and rocks never heard, Ne'er sighed at the sound of a knell,
Or smiled when a Sabbath appeared.
Ye winds that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore Some cordial endearing report
Of a land I shall visit no more! My friends, do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me? Oh, tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see.
How fleet is a glance of the mind!
Compared with the speed of its flight, The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swift-winged arrows of light. When I think of my own native land,
In a moment I seem to be there; But alas! recollection at hand
Soon hurries me back to despair.
But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,
The beast is laid down in his lair, Even here is a season of rest,
And I to my cabin repair. There is mercy in every place,
And mercy, encouraging thought! Gives even affliction a grace,
And reconciles man to his lot.