Page images
PDF
EPUB

in conception, and abound with the purest precepts of religion and morality. With this praise, slight as it is, her poetic memory must be content.

THOUGHTS AT MIDNIGHT.

[ocr errors]

While night in solemn shade invests the Pole,
And calm reflection soothes the pensive soul ;
While reason undisturb'd asserts her sway,
And life's deceitfnl colours fade away:
To thee! all-conscious presence ! I devote
This peaceful interval of sober thought.
Here all my better faculties confine,
And be this hour of sacred silence thine.

If, by the day's illusive scenes misled,
My erring soul from virtue's path has stray’d;
If, by example snar'd, by passion warm’d,
Some false delight my giddy sense has charm'd,
My calmer thoughts the wretched choice reprove,
And my best hopes are center'd in thy love :
Depriv'd of this, can life one joy afford !
It's utmost boast a vain unmeaning word.
• But, ah! how oft' my lawless passions rove,
Aud break those awful precepts I approve !
Pursue the fatal impulse I abhor,
And violate the virtue I adore !
Oft when thy gracious spirit's guardian care
Warn'd my fond soul to shun the tempting snare,
My stubborn will his gentle aid represt,
And check'd the rising goodness in my breast ;
Mad with vain hopes, or urg'd by false desires,
Still'd his soft voice, and quench'd his sacred fires.

With grief oppress'd and prostrate in the dust, Should'st thou condemn, I own the sentence just. But, oh! thy softer titles let me claim, And plead my cause by mercy's gentle name: Mercy, that wipes the penitential tear, And dissipates the horrors of despair; From rig'rous justice steals the vengeful hour; Softens the dreadful attribute of

power; Disarms the wrath of an offended God, And seals my pardon in a Saviour's blood.

All pow'rful grace, exert thy gentle sway, And teach my rebel passions to obey; Lest lurking folly, with insiduous art, Regain my volatile inconstant heart. Shall ev'ry high resolve devotion frames, Be only lifeless sounds and specious names ? Or rather, while thy hopes and fears controul, In this still hour each motion of my soul, Secure its safety by a sudden doom, And be the soft retreat of sleep my tomb. Calm let me slumber in that dark repose, 'Till the last morn it's orient beam disclose: Theu, when the great Archangel's potent sound, Shall echo through creation's ample round, Wak'd from the sleep of death, with joy survey The op'ning splendors of eternal day.

TO THE MEMORY OF. Could modest sense with softest manners join'd Attract the due attention of mankind, Unhappy Florio ! thy ungentle fate Had ne'er reproach'd the wealthy or the great.

In vain admir'd, applauded, and reverd,
No gen'rous hand thy drooping genius cheer'd;
It's useless talents destin'd to deplore,
And sink neglected on a foreign shore;
There all thy prospects, all thy sufferings cease,
In death, the last kind refuge of distress,

Though by the world abandon'd and forgot,
Let one be just and mourn thy hapless lot;
Unlike thy sex whom selfish views inspire,
To pain the guiltless object they admire,
Thy silent truth each teazing suit represt,
And only wish'd to see another blest.
Though cold to passion, true to thy desert,
Take the last tribute of a grateful heart,
Which not unconscious saw thy generous aim,
And gave thee, all it had to give, esteem;
Still o'er thy tomb its pious sorrows rise,
And virtue sheds the tear which love denies.

ON THE SAME.
Oft has the wintry blast deform'd the year,

And zephyr oft restor'd the vernal bloom,
Florio! since first I breath'd the sigh sincere,

And twin'd the cypress garland round thy tomb.

Though long compos'd thy peaceful ashes sleep

In worlds remote beneath the southern pole; Nor wide stretch'd lands, nor interposing deep,

Can check the progress of th' unfetter'd soul.

Perhaps thy gentle spirit still surveys,

With some regard ise object once so dear, Nor undelighted feels the honest praise

Which truth bestows on death's unflatter'd ear.

Yet no vain wish recals thee from the tomb

To tread the toilsome round of mortal years, But kind compassion, smiling, heard the doom, .

That stopt thy progress through a vale of tears. A vale of tears to thee was all below,

Where no glad prospect cheered the thorny way, Save that which virtue's piercing eyes bestow

Through death's dark perspective to endless day.

TO MISS LYNCH. Occasioned by an Ode written by Mrs. PHILIPS.

Narcissa! still through ev'ry varying name, My constant care and bright enlip'ning theme, In what soft language shall the muse declare The fond extravagance of love sincere ? How all those pleasing sentiments convey, That charm my fancy, when I think on thee? A theme like this Orinda's thoughts inspir’d, Nor less by friendship than by genius fir'd. Then let her happier, more persuasive art Explain th' agreeing dictates of my heart: Sweet may her fame to late remembrance bloom, And everlasting laurels shade her tomb, Whose spotless verse with genuine force exprest The brightest passion of the human breast.

In what blest clime, beneath what fav'ring skies, Did thy fair form, propitious friendship ! rise? With mystic sense, the poet's tuneful tongue Urania's birth in glitring fiction sung, That Paphos first her smiling presence own'd, Which wide diffus'd its happy influence round.

With hands united, and with looks serene,
Th' attending graces hail their now-born queen ;.
The zephyrs round her war'd their purple wing,
And shed the fragrance of the breathing spring :
The rosy hours, advanc'd in silent flight,
Led sparkling youth, and ever new delight.
Soft sigh the winds, the waters gently roll,
A purer azure vests the lucid pole,
All nature welcom'd in the beauteous train,
Aud heav'n and earth smil'd conscious of the scenea
But long ere Paphos rose, or poet sung,
In beav'nly breasts the sacred passion sprung;
The same bright flames in raptur'd seraphs glow,
As warm consenting tempers here below:
While one attraction mortal, angel binds,
Virtue, which forms the unison of minds;
Friendship her soft harmonious touch affords,
And gently strikes the sympathetic chords,
Th’agreeing notes in social measures roll,
And the sweet concert flows from soul to.soul.

By heaven's enthusiastic impulse taught
What shining visions rose on Plato's thought !
While by the muses' gently winding flood,
His searching fancy trac'd the sovereign good!
The laurellid sisters touch'd the vocal lyre,
And wisdom's goddess led their tuneful choir.
Beneath the genial plantane's spreading shadey.
How sweet the philosophic music play'd !
Through all the grove, along the flow'ry shore,
The charming sounds responsive echoes bore..
Here from the cares of vulgar life-refir'd,
Immortal pleasures open'd on bis mind:

« PreviousContinue »