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As youth and love, with sprightly dance,
Beneath thy morning star advance,
Pleasure with her siren air
May delude the thoughtless pair ;
Let prudence bless enjoyment's cup,
Then raptured sip, and sip it up.
As thy day grows warm and highi,
Life's meridian flaming nigh,
the humble vale ?
Life's proud summits wouldst thou scale
Check thy climbing step, elate,
Evils lurk in felon wait:
Dangers, eagle-pinion'd, bold,
Soar around each cliffy. hold,
While cheerful peace, with linnet song,
Chants the lowly dells among.
As the shades of evening close,
Beckoning thee to long repose;
As life itself becomes disease,
Seek the chimney-nook of ease.
There ruminate with sober thought,
On all thou'st seen, and heard, and wrought ;
And teach the sportive younkers round,
Laws of experience, sage and sound.
Say, man's true, genuine estimate,
The grand criterion of his fate,
Is not, art thou high or low ?
Did thy fortune ebb or flow ?
Did many talents gild thy span?
Or frugal nature grudge thee one ?
Tell them, and press it on their inind,
As thou thyself must shortly find,
The smile or frown of awful Heaven,
To virtue or to vice is given.
Say, to be just, and kind, and wise,
There solid self-enjoyment lies ;
That foolish, selfish, faithless ways,
Lead to be wretched, vile, and base.
Thus resign'd and quiet, creep
To the bed of lasting sleep;
Sleep, whence thou shalt ne'er awake,
Night, where dawn shall never break,
Till future life, future no more,
To light and joy the good restore,
To light and joy unknown before.
Stranger, go! Heaven be thy guide!
Quod the Beadsman of Nith-side.
On scaring some Water-Fowl in Loch-Turit, a wild
Scene among the Hills of Oughtertyre.
WHY, ye tenants of the lake,
For me your watery haunt forsake?
Tell me, fellow creatures, why
At my presence thus you fly?
Why disturb your social joys,
Parent, filial, kindred ties -
Common friend to you and me,
Nature's gifts to all are free :
Peaceful keep your dimpling wave,
Busy feed, or wanton lave;
Or, beneath the sheltering rock,
Bide the surging billows' shock.
Conscious, blushing for our race,
Soon, too soon, your fears I trace.
Man, your proud usurping foe,
Would be lord of all below :
Plumes himself in freedom's pride,
Tyrant stern to all beside.
The eagle, from the cliffy brow, Marking you his prey below, In his breast no pity dwells, Strong necessity compels. But man, to whom alone is given A ray direct from pitying Heaven, Glories in his heart humane And creatures for his pleasures slain.
In these savage, liquid plains, Only known to wandering swains, Where the mossy rivulet strays, Far from human haunts and ways; All on nature you depend, And life's poor season peaceful spend.
Or, if man's superior might Dare invade your native right, On the lofty ether borne, Man with all his powers you scorn ; Swiftly seek, on clanging wings, Other lakes and other springs ; And the foe you
OPPRESS'D with grief, oppress'd with care,
A burden more than I can bear,
I sit me down and sigh ;
O life! thou art a galling load,
Along a rough, a weary road,
To wretches such as I!
Dim-backward as I cast my view,
What sickening scenes appear!
What sorrows yet may pierce me through,
Too justly I may fear!
Still caring, despairing,
Must be my bitter doom ;
My woes here shall close ne'er,
But with the closing tomb !
Happy, ye sons of busy life,
Who, equal to the bustling strife,
No other view regard !
Ev'n when the wished end's denied,
Yet while the busy means are plied,
They bring their own reward:
Whilst I, a hope-abandon'd wight,
Unfitted with an aim,
Meet every sad returning night,
And joyless mourn the same,
You bustling, and justling,
Forget each grief and pain;
I listless, yet restless,
Find every prospect vain.
How blest the solitary's lot,
Who, all-forgetting, all-forgot,
Within his humble cell,
The cavern wild with tangling roots,
Sits o'er his newly gather'd fruits,
Beside his crystal well !
Or haply, to his evening thought,
By unfrequented stream,
The ways of men are distant brought,
A faint-collected dream :
While praising, and raising
His thoughts to Heaven on high,
As wandering, meandering,
He views the solemn sky.
Than I, no lonely hermit placed
Where never human footstep traced,
Less fit to play the part;
The lucky moment to improve,
And just to stop, and just to move,
With self-respecting art:
But ah! those pleasures, loves, and joys,
Which I too keenly taste,
The solitary can despise,
Can want, and yet be blest !
He needs not, he heeds not,
Or human love or hate,
Whilst I here must cry here,
At perfidy ingrate!