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Those ills, that wait on all below,
Shall ne'er be felt by me,
Or gently felt, and only so,
As being shared with thee.
When lightnings flash among the trees,
Or kites are hovering near,
I fear lest thee alone they seize,
And know no other fear.
'Tis then I feel myself a wife,
And press thy wedded side,
Resolved an union formed for life
Death never shall divide.
But oh! if fickle and unchaste
(Forgive a transient thought),
Thou couldst become unkind at last,
And scorn thy present lot;
No need of lightning from on high,
Or kites with cruel beak;
Denied th' endearments of thine eye,
This widowed heart would break.
Thus sang the sweet sequestered bird,
Soft as the passing wind,
And I recorded what I heard,
A lesson for mankind.
A RAVEN, while with glossy breast Her new-laid eggs she fondly pressed, And on her wicker-work high mounted, Her chickens prematurely counted
(A fault philosophers might blame
If quite exempted from the same),
Enjoyed at ease the genial day;
'Twas April as the bumpkins say,
The legislature called it May.
But suddenly a wind as high,
As ever swept a winter sky,
Shook the young leaves about her ears,
And filled her with a thousand fears,
Lest the rude blast should snap the bough,
And spread her golden hopes below.
But just at eve the blowing weather
And all her fears were hushed together :
And now, quoth poor unthinking Ralph,
"Tis over, and the brood is safe;
(For ravens, though as birds of omen
They teach both conjurors and old women
To tell us what is to befall,
Can't prophesy themselves at all.)
The morning came when neighbour Hodge,
Who long had marked her airy lodge,
And destined all the treasure there,
A gift to his expecting fair,
Climbed like a squirrel to his dray,
And bore the worthless prize away.
"Tis Providence alone secures
In every change both mine and yours:
Safety consists not in escape
From dangers of a frightful shape;
An earthquake may be bid to spare
The man that's strangled by a hair.
Fate steals along with silent tread,
Found oftenest in what least we dread,
Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
But in the sunshine strikes the blow.
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 prayer persuade to stay;
Alike irrevocable both when past,
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 crowned!
But time, that should enrich the nobler mind,
Neglected leaves a dreary waste behind.
ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG LADY.
SWEET stream, that winds through yonder glade,
Apt emblem of a virtuous maid
Silent and chaste she steals along,
Far from the world's gay busy throng;
With gentle yet prevailing force,
Intent upon her destined course;
Graceful and useful all she does,
Blessing and blest where'er she goes,
Pure-bosomed as that watery glass,
And heaven reflected in her face.
POET'S NEW YEAR'S GIFT.
TO MRS. (NOW LADY) THROCKMORTON.
MARIA! I have every good
For thee wished 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 possessed
Can I for thee require,
In wedded fove already blest,
To thy whole heart's desire?
None here is happy but in part:
Full bliss is bliss divine;
There dwells some wish in every heart,
And doubtless one in thine.
That wish, on some fair future day,
Which fate shall brightly gild
('Tis blameless, be it what it may),
I wish it all fulfilled.
ON AN INK-GLASS ALMOST DRIED IN THE SUN.
PATRON of all those luckless brains,
That to the wrong side leaning
Indite 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 stolen away
A poet's drop of ink?
Upborne into the viewless air,
It floats a vapour now,
Impelled through regions dense and rare,
By all the winds that blow.
Ordained perhaps ere summer flies,
Combined 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 passed my pen,
So soon to be forgot!
Phoebus, if such be thy design,
To place it in thy bow,
Give wit, that what is left may shine
With equal grace below.
PAIRING TIME ANTICIPATED.
I SHALL not ask Jean Jacques Rousseau*,
If birds confabulate or no;
It was one of the whimsical speculations of this philoso pher, that all fables which ascribe reason and speech to animals should be withheld from children, as being only vehicles of deception. But what child was ever deceived by them, or can be, against the evidence of his senses?