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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 wiped with a little address,
May be follow'd perhaps by a smile.
THE WINTER NOSEGAY.
WHAT Nature, alas! has denied
To the delicate growth of our isle,
Art has in a measure supplied,
And Winter is deck'd with a smile.
See, Mary, what beauties I bring
From the shelter of that sunny shed, Where the flowers have the charms of the spring, Though abroad they are frozen and dead.
"Tis a bower of Arcadian sweets,
Where Flora is still in her prime, A fortress to which she retreats
From the cruel assaults of the clime.
While Earth wears a mantle of snow,
These pinks are as fresh and as gay
As the fairest and sweetest that blow
On the beautiful bosom of May.
See how they have safely survived
The frowns of a sky so severe;
Such Mary's true love, that has lived
Through many a turbulent year.
The charms of the late-blowing rose
Seem graced with a livelier hue, And the winter of sorrow best shows The truth of a friend such as you.
WHICH THE AUTHOR HEARD SING ON NEW YEAR'S DAY. 1792.
WHENCE is it, that amazed I hear
From yonder wither'd spray,
This foremost morn of all the year,
The melody of May?
And why, since thousands would be proud
Of such a favour shown,
Am I selected from the crowd,
To witness it alone?
Sing'st thou, sweet Philomel, to me,
For that I also long
Have practised in the groves like thee,
Though not like thee in song?
Or sing'st thou rather under force
Of some divine command,
Commission'd to presage a course
Of happier days at hand?
Thrice welcome then! for many a long
And joyless year have I,
As thou to-day, put forth my song
Beneath a wintry sky.
But thee no wintry skies can harm,
Who only need'st to sing,
To make e'en January charm,
And every season Spring.
THE POPLAR FIELD.
THE poplars are fell'd, farewell to the shade,
And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade:
The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves,
Nor Ouse in his bosom their image receives.
Twelve years have elapsed since I last took a
Of my favourite field, and the bank where they
And now in the grass behold they are laid,
And the tree is my seat, that once lent me a shade.
The blackbird has fled to another retreat,
Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat,
And the scene where his melody charm'd me
Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.
My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast, and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.
The change both my heart and my fancy employs,
I reflect on the frailty of man and his joys;
Shortlived as we are, yet our pleasures, we see,
Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.
WRITTEN IN A TIME OF AFFLICTION.
Oн happy shades-to me unbless'd!
Friendly to peace, but not to me!
How ill the scene that offers rest,
And heart that cannot rest, agree!
This glassy stream, that spreading pine,
Those alders quivering to the breeze,
Might sooth a soul less hurt than mine,
And please, if any thing could please.
But fix'd unalterable Care
Foregoes not what she feels within,
Shows the same sadness every where,
And slights the season and the scene. For all that pleased in wood or lawn, While Peace possess'd these silent bowers, Her animating smile withdrawn,
Has lost its beauties and its powers.
The saint or moralist should tread
This moss grown alley musing slow;
They seek like me the secret shade,
But not like me to nourish woe!
Me fruitful scenes and prospects waste
Alike admonish not to roam;
These tell me of enjoyments past,
And those of sorrows yet to come.
WEAK and irresolute is man;
The purpose of to-day,
Woven with pains into his plan,
To-morrow rends away.
The bow well bent, and smart the spring,
Vice seems already slain;
But Passion rudely snaps the string,
And it revives again.
Some foe to his upright intent
Finds out his weaker part;
Virtue engages his assent,
But Pleasure wins his heart.
"Tis here the folly of the wise
Through all his art we view;
And, while his tongue the charge denies,
His conscience owns it true.
Bound on a voyage of awful length
And dangers little known,
A stranger to superior strength,
Man vainly trusts his own.
But oars alone can ne'er prevail
To reach the distant coast:
The breath of Heaven must swell the sail,
Or all the toil is lost.
THE lapse of time and rivers is the same,
Both speed their journey with a restless stream;
The silent pace with which they steal away
No wealth can bribe, no prayers persuade to stay;
Alike irrevocable both when pass'd,
And a wide ocean swallows both at last.
Though each resemble each in every part,
A difference strikes at length the musing heart;
Streams never flow in vain; where streams abound
How laughs the land with various plenty crown'd!
But Time, that should enrich the nobler mind,
Neglected leaves a dreary waste behind.