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Were you in Asia? O relate,
If there your fabled sister's woes She seem'd in sorrow to narrate; Or sings she but to celebrate
Her nuptials with the rose?
I would inquire how, journeying long
The vast and pathless ocean o'er,
You ply again those pinions strong,
And come to build anew among
The scenes you left before;
But if, as cooler breezes blow,
Prophetic of the waning year,
You hide, though none know when or how,
In the cliff's excavated brow,
And linger torpid here;
Thus lost to life, what favouring dream
Bids you to happier hours awake;
And tells, that dancing in the beam,
The light gnat hovers o'er the stream,
The May-fly on the lake?
Or if, by instinct taught to know
Approaching dearth of insect food,
To isles and willowy aits you go,
And crowding on the pliant bough,
Sink in the dimpling flood:
How learn ye, while the cold waves boom
Your deep and oosy couch above,
The time when flowers of promise bloom,
And call you from your transient tomb,
To light, and life, and love?
Alas! how little can be known,
Her sacred veil where Nature draws;
Let baffled Science humbly own,
Her mysteries understood alone
By HIM who gives her laws.
SONNET WRITTEN AT THE CLOSE OF SPRING.
THE garlands fade that Spring so lately wove,
Each simple flower, which she had nurs'd in dew, Anemones, that spangled every grove,
The primrose wan, and harebell mildly blue. No more shall violets linger in the dell,
Or purple orchis variegate the plain,
Till Spring again shall call forth every bell,
And dress with humid hands her wreaths again.
Ah, poor humanity! so frail, so fair,
Are the fond visions of thy early day,
Till tyrant passion, and corrosive care,
Bid all thy fairy colours fade away!
Another May new buds and flowers shall bring;
Ah! why has happiness no second spring?
SHOULD the lone wanderer, fainting on his way,
Rest for a moment of the sultry hours,
And, though his path through thorns and roughness lay,
Pluck the wild rose or woodbine's gadding flowers,
Wearing gay wreaths beneath some sheltering tree,
The sense of sorrow he awhile may lose;
So have I sought thy flowers, fair Poesy!
So charm'd my way with Friendship and the Muse.
But darker now grows life's unhappy day,
Dark with new clouds of evil yet to come, Her pencil, sickening, Fancy throws away,
And weary Hope reclines upon the tomb, And points my wishes to that tranquil shore, Where the pale spectre Care pursues no more.
SONNET ON THE DEPARTURE OF THE NIGHTINGALE,
SWEET poet of the woods, a long adieu!
Farewell, soft minstrel of the early year!
Ah! 'twill be long ere thou shalt sing anew,
And pour thy music on the night's dull ear.
Whether on Spring thy wandering flights await,
Or whether silent in our groves you dwell,
The pensive Muse shall own thee for her mate.
And still protect the song she loves so well.
With cautious step the love-lorn youth shall glide
Thro' the lone brake that shades thy mossy nest;
And shepherd-girls from eyes profane shall hide
The gentle bird, who sings of pity best:
For still thy voice shall soft affections move.
And still be dear to sorrow, and to love!
I ONCE was happy, when, while yet a child
I learn'd to love these upland solitudes,
And when, elastic as the mountain air,
To my light spirit care was yet unknown,
And evil unforeseen :-early it came,
And childhood scarcely past, I was condemn'd,
A guiltless exile, silently to sigh,
While Memory, with faithful pencil, drew
The contrast; and regretting, I compar'd
With the polluted smoky atmosphere
And dark and stifling streets, the southern hills,
That, to the setting sun their graceful heads
Rearing, o'erlook the frith, where Vecta breaks
With her white rocks the strong impetuous tide,
When western winds the vast Atlantic urge
To thunder on the coast. Haunts of my youth!
Scenes of fond day-dreams, I behold ye yet!
Where 'twas so pleasant by thy northern slopes
To climb the winding sheep-path, aided oft
By scatter'd thorns; whose spring branches bore
Small woolly tufts, spoils of the vagrant lamb
There seeking shelter from the noonday sun:
And pleasant, seated on the short soft turf,
To look beneath upon the hollow way
While heavily upward mov'd the labouring wain,
And stalking slowly by, the sturdy hind,
To case his panting team, stopp'd with a stone
The grating wheel.
Advancing higher still,
The prospect widens, and the village church
But little, o'er the lowly roofs around,
Rears its grey belfry, and its simple vane;
Those lowly roofs of thatch are half conceal'd
By the rude arms of trees, lovely in Spring,
When on each bough the rosy tinctur'd bloom
Sits thick, and promises autumnal plenty.
For even those orchards round the Norman farms,
Which, as their owners mark the promis'd fruit,
Console them for the vineyards of the South,
Surpass not these.
Where woods of ash, and beech, And partial copses, fringe the green hill foot,