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Witness the sprightly joy, when ought unknown
Strikes the quick sense, and wakes each active pow'r
To brisker measures : witness the neglect
Of all familiar prospects, though beheld
With transport once; the fond attentive gaze
young astonishment; the sober zeal
Of age, commenting on prodigious things.
For such the bounteous providence of Heav'n,
In ev'ry breast implanting this desire
Of objects new and strange, to urge us on,
With unremitted labour to pursue
Those sacred stores, that wait the rip’ning soul
In Truth's exhaustless bosom. What needs words
To paint its pow'r? For this the daring youth
Breaks from his weeping mother's anxious arms
In foreign climes to rove; the pensive sage,
Heedless of sleep, or midnight's harmful damp,
Hangs o'er the sickly taper; and untir’d
The virgin follows, with enchanted step,
The mazes of some wise and wondrous tale,
From morn to eve, unmindful of her form,
Unmindful of the happy dress that stole
The wishes of the youth, when ev'ry maid
With envy pin'd. "Hence finally, by night,
The village matron, round the blazing hearth,
Suspends the infant audience with her tales,
Breathing astonishment of 'witching rhymes
And evil spirits ; of the death-bed call
Of him who robb’d the widow, and devour'd
The orphan's portion; of unquiet souls
Ris’n from the grave to ease the heavy guilt
Of deeds in life conceal'd; of shapes that walk
At dead of night, and clank their chains, and wave
The torch of Hell around the murd'rer's bed.
At ev'ry solemn pause the crowd recoil,
Gazing each other speechless, and congeal'd
With shiv’ring sighs; till, eager for th' event,
Around the beldam all erect they hang,
Each trembling heart with grateful terrors quell’d.
WAEN erst Contagion, with mephitic breath,
And wither's Famine, urg'd the work of death,
Marseilles' good bishop, London's gen'rous mayor,
With food and faith, with med'cine and with pray'r,
Rais'd the weak head, and stay'd the parting sigh,
Or with new life relum'd the swimming eye.
- And now, Philanthropy! thy rays divine
Dart round the globe from Zembla to the line;
O’er each dark prison plays the cheering light,
Like northern lustres o'er the vault of night.
Froin realm to realm, with cross or crescent crown'd,
Where'er mankind and misery are found,
O’er burning sands, deep waves, or wilds of snow,
Thy Howard journ'ying seeks the house of Woe.
Down many a winding step to dungeons dank,
Where Anguish wails aloud, and fetters clank;
To caves bestrew'd with many a mould'ring bone,
And cells, whose echoes only learn to groan;
Where no kind bars a whisp’ring friend disclose,
No sunbeam enters, and no zephyr blows,
He treads, inemulous of fame or wealth,
Profuse of toil, and prodigal of health ;
With soft assuasive eloquence expands
Power's rigid heart, and opes his clenching hands ;
Leads stern-ey'd Justice to the dark domains,
If not to sever, to relax the chains ;
Or guides awaken'd Mercy through the gloom,
And shows the prison sister to the tomb!
Gives to her babes the self-devoted wife,
To her fond husband liberty and life!
The spirits of the good, who bend from high
Wide o’er these earthly scenes their partial eye
When first, array'd in Virtue's purest robe,
They saw her Howard traversing the globe ;
Saw round his brows her sunlike glory blaze
circles of unwearied rays;
Mistook a mortal for an angel guest,
And ask'd what seraph foot the earth impress’d.
Onward he moves ! Disease and Death retire,
And murm’ring demons hate him, and admire.
The rose had been wash'd, just wash'd in a show'r,
Which Mary to Anna convey’d,
The plentiful moisture incumber'd the flow'r,
And weigh'd down its beautiful head.
The cup was all fill’d, and the leaves were all wet,
And it seem'd, to a fanciful view,
To weep for the buds it had left with regret
On the flourishing bush where it grew.
I hastily seiz'd it, unfit as it was
For a nosegay, so dripping and drown'd,
And swinging it rudely, too rudely, alas!
I snapp'd it—it fell to the ground.
And such, I exclaim’d, is the pitiless part
Some act by the delicate mind,
Regardless of wringing and breaking a heart
Already to sorrow resign'd.
This elegant rose, had I shaken it less,
Might have bloom’d with its owner awhile ;
And the tear that is wip'd with a little address
May be follow'd perhaps by a smile.
THE POET'S NEW YEAR'S GIFT.
MARIA ! I have ev'ry good
For thee wish'd many a time, Both sad, and in a cheerful mood,
But never yet in rhyme.
To wish thee fairer is no need,
More prudent, or more sprightly, Or more ingenious, or more freed
From temper-flaws unsightly.
What favour, then, not yet possess'd,
Can I for thee require,
In wedded love already bless'd
To thy whole heart's desire ?
None here is happy but in part ;
Full bliss is bliss divine;
There dwells some wish in ev'ry heart,
And, doubtless, one in thine.
That wish, on some fair future day,
Which fate shall brightly gild, ('T is blameless, be it what it may,) I wish it all fulfill'd.
ON AN INKGLASS ALMOST DRIED IN THE SUN.
PATRON of all those luckless brains,
That, to the wrong side leaning, Endite much metre with much pains,
And little or no meaning;
Ah! why, since oceans, rivers, streams,
That water all the nations,
Pay tribute to thy glorious beams,
In constant exhalations;
Why, stooping from the noon of day,
Too covetous of drink,
Apollo, hast thou stol'n away
A poet's drop of ink?
Upborne into the viewless air
It floats a vapour now,
Impell’d through regions dense and rare,
By all the winds that blow.
Ordain’d, perhaps, ere summer flies,
Combin’d with millions more, To form an iris in the skies,
Though black and foul before.
Illustrious drop! and happy then
Beyond the happiest lot
Of all that ever pass'd my pen
So soon to be forgot !
Phæbus, if such be thy design,
To place it in thy bow,
Give wit, that what is left may
With equal grace below.
ADDRESSED TO MISS STAPLETON.
SHE came—she is gone -we have met
To meet perhaps never again ; The sun of that moment is set,
And seems to have risen in vain. Catharina has fled like a dream
(So vanishes pleasure, alas !) But has left a regret and esteem,
That will not so suddenly pass.