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384 JN MEMOR Y OF JOHN THORNTON, ESQ.
(As Homer's Epic shows),
Composed of sweetest vernal flowers,
Without the aid of sun or showers,
For Jove and Juno rose.
Less beautiful, however gay,
Is that which in the scorching day
Recewes the weary swain
Who, laying his long scythe aside,
Sleeps on some bank with daisies pied,
Till roused to toil again.
What labours of the loom I see!
Looms numberless have groaned for me!
Should every maiden come
To scramble for the patch that bears
The impress of the robe she wears,
The bell would toll for some.
And oh, what havoc would ensue!
This bright display of every hue
All in a moment fled!
As if a storm should strip the bowers
Of all their tendrils, leaves, and flowers,—
Each pocketing a shred.
Thanks, then, to every gentle Fair,
Who will not come to peck me bare
As bird of borrowed feather,
And thanks to one, above them all,
The gentle Fair of Pertenhall,
Who put the whole together.
IN MEMORY OF THE LATE JOHN THORNTON, ESQ.
Poets attempt the noblest task they can,
Praising the Author of all good in man,
And, next, commemorating Worthies lost.
The dead in whom that good abounded most.
Thee, therefore, of commercial fame, but more
Famed for thy probity from shore to shore;
Thee, Thornton! worthy in some page to shine,
As honest and more eloquent than mine,
I mourn; or, since thrice happy thou must be,
The world, no longer thy abode, not thee.
Thee to deplore were grief misspent indeed;
It were to weep that goodness has its meed,
That there is bliss prepared in yonder sky,
And glory for the virtuous, when they die.
What pleasure can the miser's fondled hoard,
Or spendthrift's prodigal excess afford,
Sweet as the privilege of healing woe
By virtue suffered combating below?
That privilege was thine; Heaven gave thee means
To illumine with delight the saddest scenes,
Till thy appearance chased the gloom, forlorn
As midnight, and despairing of a morn.
Thou hadst an industry in doing good,
Restless as his who toils and sweats for food;
Avarice, in thee, was the desire of wealth
By rust unperishable or by stealth;
And if the genuine worth of gold depend
On application to its noblest end,
Thine had a value in the scales of Heaven,
Surpassing all that mine or mint had given.
And, though God made thee of a nature prone
To distribution boundless of thy own,
And still by motives of religious force
Impelled the more to that heroic course,
Yet was thy liberality discreet,
Nice in its choice, and of a tempered heat,
And though in act unwearied, secret still,
As in some solitude the summer rill
Refreshes, where it winds, the faded green,
And cheers the drooping flowers, unheard, unseen.
Such was thy charity; no sudden start,
After long sleep, of passion in the heart,
But steadfast principle, and, in its kind,
Of close relation to the eternal mind,
Traced easily to its true source above,
To Him, whose works bespeak his nature, love.
Thy bounties all were Christian, and I make
This record of thee for the gospel's sake;
That the incredulous themselves may see
Its use and power exemplified in thee.
TO WARREN HASTINGS, ESQ.
BY AN OLD SCHOOLFELLOW OF HIS AT WESTMINSTER.
Hastings! I knew thee young, and of a mind
While young humane, conversable, and kind;
Nor can I well believe thee, gentle then,
Now grown a villain, and the worst of men.
But rather some suspect, who have oppressed
And worried thee, as not themselves the best.
THE FOUR AGES.
A BRIEF FRAGMENT OF AN EXTENSIVE PROJECTED POEM.
May 1791. "I Could be well content, allowed the use Of past experience, and the wisdom gleaned
From worn-out follies, now acknowledged such,
To recommence life's trial, in the hope
Of fewer errors, on a second proof!
Thus while gray evening lulled the wind, and called
Fresh odours from the shrmbbery at my side,
Taking my lonely winding walk, I mused,
And held accustomed conference with my heart;
When from within it thus a voice replied:
"Couldst thou in truth? and art thou taught at length
This wisdom, and but this, from all the past?
Is not the pardon of thy long arrear,
Time wasted, violated laws, abuse
Of talents, judgments, mercies, better far
Than opportunity vouchsafed to err
With less excuse, and haply, worse effect?"
I heard, and acquiesced: then to and fro
Oft pacing, as the mariner his deck,
My gravelly bounds, from self to human kind
I passed, and next considered, what is man?
Knows he his origin? can he ascend
By reminiscence to his earliest date?
Slept he in Adam? and in those from him
Through numerous generations, till he found
At length his destined moment to be born?
Or was he not, till fashioned in the womb?
Deep mysteries both! which schoolmen must have toiled
To unriddle, and have left them mysteries still.
It is an evil incident to man,
And of the worst, that unexplored he leaves
Truths useful and attainable with ease,
To search forbidden deeps, where mystery lies
Not to be solved, and useless, if it might.
Mysteries are food for angels; they digest
With ease, and find them nutriment; but man,
While yet he dwells below, must stoop to glean
His manna from the ground, or starve and die.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE POETS.
Two nymphs, both nearly of an age,
Of numerous charms possessed,
A warm dispute once chanced to wage,
Whose temper was the best.
The worth of each had been complete,
Had both alike been mild;
But one, although her smile was sweet,
Frowned oftener than she smiled.
And in her humour, when she frowned,
Would raise her voice and roar,
And shake with fury to the ground
The garland that she wore.
The other was of gentler cast,
From all such frenzy clear, Her frowns were seldom known to last,
And never proved severe.
To poets of renown in song
The nymphs referred the cause, Who, strange to tell, all judged it wrong,
And gave misplaced applause.
They gentle called, and kind and soft,
The flippant and the scold, And though she changed her mood so oft,
That failing left untold.
No judges, sure, were e'er so mad,
Or so resolved to err,—
In short, the charms her sister had
They lavished all on her.
Then thus the God whom fondly they
Their great Inspirer call,
Was heard, one genial summer's day,
To reprimand them all.
"Since thus ye have combined," he said,
"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."
A Hermit, (or if 'chance you hold
That title now too trite and old),
A man, once young, who lived retired
As hermit could have well desired,
His hours of study closed at last,
And finished his concise repast,
Stoppled his cruise, replaced his book
Within its customary nook,
And, staff in hand, set forth to share
The sober cordial of sweet air,
Like Isaac, with a mind applied
To serious thought at eveningtide.
Autumnal rains had made it chill,
And from the trees, that fringed his hill,
Shades slanting at the close of day
Chilled more his else delightful way;
Distant a little mile he spied
A western bank's still sunny side,
And right toward the favoured place
Proceeding with his nimblest pace,
In hope to bask a little yet,
Just reached it when the sun was set.
Your hermit, young and jovial sirs!
Learns something from whate'er occurs ;-
And hence, he said, my mind computes
• The real worth of man's pursuits.
His object chosen, wealth or fame,
Or other sublunary game,
Imagination to his view
Presents it decked with every hue,
That can seduce him not to spare
His powers of best exertion there,
But youth, health, vigour to expend
On so desirable an end.
Ere long approach life's evening shades,
The glow that fancy gave it fades;
And, earned too late, it wants the grace
That first engaged him in the chase.
True, answered an angelic guide,
Attendant at the senior's side,—
But whether all the time it cost,
To urge the fruitless chase be lost,
Must be decided by the worth
Of that which called his ardour forth.
Trifles pursued, whate'er the event,
Must cause him shame or discontent;
A vicious object still is worse,
Successful there he wins a curse;
But he, whom e'en in life's last stage
Endeavours laudable engage,
Is paid at least in peace of mind
And sense of having well designed;
And if, ere he attain his end,
His sun precipitate descend,
A brighter prize than that he meant
Shall recompense his mere intent.
No virtuous wish can bear a date
Either too early or too late.
THE FAITHFUL BIRD.
The greenhouse is my summer seat;
My shrubs displaced from that retreat
Enjoyed the open air;