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A PLAINTIVE sonnet flow'd from Milton's pen,
When Time had stolen his three and twentieth year:
Say, shall not I then shed one tuneful tear,
Robb’d by the thief of threescore years and ten ?
No! for the foes of all life-lengthen'd men,
Trouble and toil, approach not yet too near ;
Reason, meanwhile, and health,
Hold unimpair'd their weak yet wonted reign :
Still round my shelter'd lawn I pleas'd can stray ;
Still trace my sylvan blessings to their spring :
BEING OF BEINGS! Yes, that silent lay,
Which musing Gratitude delights to sing,
Still to thy sapphire throne shall Faith convey,
And Hope, the cherub of unwearied wing.
TO THE AUTHOR OF THE ROBBERS.
SchilLER! that hour I would have wish'd to die,
If through the shuddering midnight I had sent
From the dark dungeon of the tower time-rent
That fearful voice, a famish'd Father's cry—
Lest in some after moment aught more mean
Might stamp me mortal! A triumphant shout
Black HORROR scream'd, and all her goblin rout
Diminish'd shrunk from the more withering scene !
Ah Bard tremendous in sublimity!
Could I behold thee in thy loftier mood
Wandering at eve with finely-frenzied eye
Beneath some vast old tempest-swinging wood !
A while with mute awe gazing I would brood ;
Then weep aloud in a wild ecstasy!
Dear native Brook! wild Streamlet of the West !
many various-fated years
What happy, and what mournful hours, since last
I skimm’d the smooth thin stone along thy breast,
Numbering its light leaps ! yet so deep imprest
Sink the sweet scenes of childhood, that mine eyes
I never shut amid the sunny ray,
But straight with all their tints thy waters rise,
Thy crossing plank, thy marge with willows grey,
And bedded sand that vein'd with various dies
Gleam'd through thy bright transparence ! On my way
Visions of childhood ! oft have ye beguild
Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs:
Ah! that once more I were a careless child !
We were two pretty babes, the youngest she,
The youngest and the loveliest far, I ween,
And Innocence her name. The time has been,
We two did love each other's company ;
Time was we two had wept to have been apart.
But when by show of seeming good beguild,
I left the garb and manners of a child,
And my first love for man's society,
Defiling with the world my virgin heart,
My lov'd companion dropp'd a tear, and Aed,
And hid in deepest shades her awful head.
Beloved, who shall tell me where thou art,
In what delicious Eden to be found,
That I may seek thee the wide world around ?
FAREWELL, false friend! our scenes of kindness close !
To cordial looks, to sunny smiles farewell !
To sweet consolings, that can grief expel,
And every joy soft sympathy bestows !
For alter'd looks, where truth no longer glows,
Thou hast prepar'd my heart; and it was well
To bid thy pen th' unlook'd for story tell,
Falsehood avow'd, that shame nor sorrow knows.
0, when we meet, (to meet we're destin'd, try
To avoid it as thou may'st) on either brow,
Nor in the stealing consciousness of eye,
Be seen the slightest trace of what, or how
We once were to each other; nor one sigh
Flatter with weak regret a broken vow !