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WHILE HE SANG A SONG TO PURCELL’s MUSIC.
WHILE my young cheek retains its healthful hues,
And I have many friends who hold me dear;
L ! methinks, I would not often hear
Such melodies as thine, lest I should lose
All memory of the wrongs and sore distress,
For which my miserable brethren weep!
But should uncomforted misfortunes steep
My daily bread in tears and bitterness;
And if at death's dread moment I should lie
With no beloved face at my bed-side,
To fix the last glance of my closing eye,
Methinks, such strains, breathed by my angel-guide,
Would make me pass the cup of anguish by,
Mix with the blest, nor know that I had died
ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG MAN OF
WHO A BAN DONED HIMSELF TO AN IN DOLENT AND CAUSELESS MELAN CHOLY.
HENCE that fantastic wantonness of woe,
O Youth to partial Fortune vainly dear !
To plundered Want's half-sheltered hovel go,
Go, and some hunger-bitten Infant hear
Moan haply in a dying Mother's ear:
Or when the cold and dismal fog-damps brood
O'er the rank church-yard with sear elm-leaves
Pace round some widow's grave, whose dearer part
Was slaughtered, where o'er his uncoffined limbs
The flocking flesh-birds screamed! Then, while thy
Groans, and thine eye a fiercer sorrow dims, Know (and the truth shall kindle thy young mind) What nature makes thee mourn, she bids thee heal!
O abject! if, to sickly dreams resigned, All effortless thou leave life's common-weal
A prey to Tyrants, Murderers of Mankind.
SONNET TO THE RIVER OTTER.
D EAR native Brook 1 wild Streamlet of the West
How many various-fated years have past,
What happy, and what mournful hours, since last
I skimmed 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 veined with various dies
Gleamed through thy bright transparence! On my way,
Visions of childhood oft have ye beguiled
Lone manhood's cares, yet waking fondest sighs:
Ah! that once more I were a careless child !
COMPOSED ON A JOURNEY HOMEWARD ; THE AUTHOR, HAVING RECEIVED INTELLIGENCE of THE BIRTH OF A son, SEPTEMBER 20, 1796.
Oft o'er my brain does that strange fancy roll
Which makes the present (while the flash doth last)
Seem a mere semblance of some unknown past,
Mixed with such feelings, as perplex the soul
Self-questioned in her sleep : and some have said”
We lived, ere yet this robe of Flesh we wore.
O my sweet baby 1 when I reach my door,
If heavy looks should tell me thou art dead,
(As sometimes, through excess of hope, I fear)
I think that I should struggle to believe
Thou wert a spirit, to this nether sphere
Sentenced for some more venial crime to grieve;
Did'st scream, then spring to meet Heaven's quick
While we wept idly o'er thy little bier!