« PreviousContinue »
THE DOG AND THE WATER-LILY°
THE noon was shady, and soft airs
Swept Ouse's silent tide,
I wandered on his side.
My spaniel, prettiest of his race,
And high in pedigree, (Two nymphso adorned with every grace
That spaniel found for me)
Now wantoned, lost in flags and reeds,
Now starting into sight,
With scarce a slower flight.
It was the time when Ouse displayed
His lilies newly blown;
And one I wished my own.
With cane extended far, I sought
To steer it close to land;
Escaped my eager hand.
Beau marked my unsuccessful pains
With fixed considerate face,
And puzzling set his puppy brains
To comprehend the case.
Dispersing all his dream,
The windings of the stream.
My ramble ended, I returned;
Beau trotting far before,
And plunging left the shore.
I saw him with that lily cropped
Impatient swim to meet
The treasure at my feet.
Charmed with the sight, “The world,” I cried,
“Shall hear of this thy deed: My dog shall mortify the pride Of man's superior breed:
But chief myself I will enjoin,
Awake at duty's call,
To Him who gives me all.”
WRITTEN IN A TIME OF AFFLICTION
Oh happy shades ! to me unblest !
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 soothe a soul less hurt than mine,
And please, if anything could please.
But fixed unalterable Care
Foregoes not what she feels within, Shows the same sadness everywhere,
And slights the season and the scene.
For all that pleased in wood or lawn,
While peace possessed these silent bowers, Her animating smile withdrawn,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.
THE NEGRO'S COMPLAINT
FORCED from home and all its pleasures,
Afric's coast I left forlorn,
O’er the raging billows borne.
Paid my price in paltry gold;
Minds are never to be sold.
Still in thought as free as ever,
What are England's rights, I ask, Me from my delights to sever,
Me to torture, me to task ? Fleecy locks and black complexion,
Cannot forfeit Nature's claim;
Skins may differ, but affection
Dwells in white and black the same.
Why did all-creating Nature
Make the plant for which we toil ? Sighs must fan it, tears must water,
Sweat of ours must dress the soil.
Lolling at your jovial boards,
For the sweets your cane affords.
as ye sometimes tell us, Is there One, who reigns on high? Has He bid you buy and sell us,
Speaking from His throne, the sky ? Ask Him, if your knotted scourges,
Matches, blood-extorting screws, Are the means that duty urges
Agents of His will to use?
Hark! He answers ! — Wild tornadoes,
Strewing yonder sea with wrecks, Wasting towns, plantations, meadows,
Are the voice with which He speaks. He, foreseeing what vexations
Afric's sons should undergo, Fixed their tyrants' habitations
Where His whirlwinds answer "No."