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Who then can think-yet sigh, to part with breath?
Or shun the healing hand of friendly death?
Guilt, penitence, and wrongs, and pain, and strife,
Form the whole heap'd amount, thou flatterer, life!
Is it for this, that toss'd 'twixt hope and fear,
Peace, by new shipwrecks, numbers each new year?
Oh take me, death! indulge desir'd repose,
And draw thy silent curtain round my woes.
Yet hold-one tender pang revokes that pray'r,
Still there remains one claim to tax my care.
Gone though she is, she left her soul behind,
In four dear transcripts of her copied mind.
They chain me down to life, new task supply,
And leave me not at leisure yet to die!
Busied for them I yet forego release,
And teach my wearied heart to wait for
But when their day breaks broad, I welcome night, Smile at discharge from care, and shut out light.
VERSES WRITTEN ON A WINDOW.
TENDER-HANDED stroke a nettle,
And it stings you for your pains;
Grasp it like a man of mettle,
And it soft as silk remains.
"Tis the same with common natures,
Use 'em kindly they rebel:
But be rough as nutmeg-graters,
And the rogues obey you well.
BORN 1704.-DIED 1754.
WILLIAM HAMILTON, of Bangour, was of an ancient family in Ayrshire. He was liberally educated, and his genius and delicate constitution seemed to mark him out for pacific pursuits alone, but he thought fit to join the standard of rebellion in 1745, celebrated the momentary blaze of its success in an ode on the battle of Gladsmuir, and finally escaped to France, after much wandering and many hardships in the highlands. He made his peace however with the government, and came home to take possession of his paternal estate; but the state of his health requiring a warmer climate, he returned to the continent, where he continued to reside till a slow consumption carried him off at Lyons, in his 50th year.
The praise of elegance is all that can be given to his verses. In case any reader should be immoderately touched with sympathy for his love sufferings, it is proper to inform him, that Hamilton was thought by the fair ones of his day to be a very inconstant swain. A Scotch lady, whom he teased with his addresses, applied to Home, the author of Douglas, for advice how to get rid of them. Home advised her to affect to favour his assiduities. She did so, and they were immediately withdrawn.
FROM CONTEMPLATION, OR THE TRIUMPH OF LOVE.
O VOICE divine, whose heavenly strain
No mortal measure may attain,
O powerful to appease the smart,
That festers in a wounded heart,
Whose mystic numbers can assuage
The bosom of tumult'ous rage,
Can strike the dagger from despair,
And shut the watchful eye of care.
Oft lur'd by thee, when wretches call,
Hope comes, that cheers or softens all;
Expell'd by thee, and dispossest,
Envy forsakes the human breast.
Full oft with thee the bard retires,
And lost to earth, to heav'n aspires;
How nobly lost! with thee to rove
Through the long deep'ning solemn grove,
Or underneath the moonlight pale,
To silence trust some plaintive tale,
Of nature's ills, and mankind's woes,
While kings and all the proud repose;
Or where some holy aged oak,
A stranger to the woodman's stroke,
From the high rock's aerial crown
In twisting arches bending down,
Bathes in the smooth pellucid stream,
Full oft he waits the mystic dream
Of mankind's joys right understood,
And of the all-prevailing good.
Go forth invok'd, O voice divine!
And issue from thy sacred shrine.
Ascending heaven's height,
Contemplation, take thy flight;
Behold the sun, through heav'n's wide space, Strong as a giant, run his race;
Behold the moon exert her light,
As blushing bride on her love-night:
Behold the sister starry train,
Her bridemaids, mount the azure plain.
See where the snows their treasures keep;
The chambers where the loud winds sleep;
Where the collected rains abide
"Till heav'n set all its windows wide,
Precipitate from high to pour
And drown in violence of show'r:
Or gently strain'd they wash the earth,
And give the tender fruits a birth.
See where thunder springs his mine;
Where the paths of lightning shine.
Or tir'd those heights still to pursue,
From heav'n descending with the dew,
That soft impregns the youthful mead,
Where thousand flowers exalt the head,
Mark how nature's hand bestows
Abundant grace on all that grows,
Tinges, with pencil slow unseen,
The grass that clothes the valley green;
Or spreads the tulip's parted streaks,
Or sanguine dyes the rose's cheeks,
Or points with light Monimia's eyes,
And forms her bosom's beauteous rise.
Ah! haunting spirit, art thou there!
Forbidden in these walks t' appear.
I thought, O Love! thou wouldst disdain
To mix with wisdom's black staid train;
But when my curious searching look
A nice survey of nature took,
Well pleas'd the matron set to show
Her mistress-work, on earth below.
Then fruitless knowledge turn aside,
What other art remains untried
This load of anguish to remove,
And heal the cruel wounds of love?
To friendship's sacred force apply,
That source of tenderness and joy;
A joy no anxious fears profane,
A tenderness that feels no pain:
Friendship shall all these ills appease,
And give the tortur'd mourner ease.
Th' indissoluble tie, that binds
In equal chains, two sister minds:
Not such as servile int'rests choose,
From partial ends and sordid views;
Nor when the midnight banquet fires,
The choice of wine-inflam'd desires;
When the short fellowships proceed,
From casual mirth and wicked deed;
'Till the next morn estranges quite
The partners of one guilty night;