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On best or worst which they and Nature give?
But most the Bard is true to inborn right, Lark of the dawn, and Philomel of night, Exults in freedom, can with rapture vouch For the dear blessings of a lowly couch, A natural meal,—days, months, from Nature's hand; Time, place, and business, all at his command !Who bends to happier duties, who more wise, Than the industrious Poet, taught to prize Above all grandeur a pure life uncrossed By cares in which simplicity is lost? That life, the flowery path that winds by stealth, Which Horace needed for his spirit's health ; Sighed for, in heart and genius, overcome By noise and strife, and questions wearisome, And the vain splendors of Imperial Rome? Let easy mirth his social hours inspire, And fiction animate his sportive lyre, Attuned to verse that, crowning light Distress
With garlands, cheats her into happiness ;
In a deep vision's intellectual scene, Such earnest longings and regrets as keen Depressed the melancholy Cowley, laid Under a fancied yew-tree's luckless shade; A doleful bower for penitential song, Where Man and Muse complained of mutual wrong; While Cam's ideal current glided by, And antique towers nodded their foreheads high, Citadels dear to studious privacy. But Fortune, who had long been used to sport With this tried Servant of a thankless Court, Relenting met his wishes; and to you The remnant of his days at least was true ; You, whom, though long deserted, he loved best; You, Muses, books, fields, liberty, and rest !
Far happier they who, fixing hope and aim On the humanities of peaceful fame,
Enter betimes with more than martial fire
Thus, gifted Friend, but with the placid brow That woman ne'er should forfeit, keep thy vow; With modest scorn reject whate'er would blind The ethereal eyesight, cramp the wingèd mind ! Then, with a blessing granted from above To every act, word, thought, and look of love, Life's book for Thee may lie unclosed, till age Shall with a thankful tear bedrop its latest page."
* There is now, alas! no possibility of the anticipation, with which the above Epistle concludes, being realized: nor were the verses ever seen by the Individual for whom they were intended. She accompanied her husband, the Rev. Wm. Fletcher, to India, and died of cholera, at the age of thirty-two or thirty-three years, on her way from Shalapore to Bombay, deeply lamented by all who knew her.
Her enthusiasm was ardent, her piety steadfast; and her great talents would have enabled her to be eminently useful in the difficult path of life to which she had been called. The opinion she entertained of her own performances, given to the world under her maiden name, Jewsbury, was modest and humble, and, indeed, far below their merits; as is often the case with those who are making trial of their powers, with a hope to discover what they are best fitted for. In one quality, namely, quickness in the motions of her mind, she had, within the range of the Author's acquaintance, no equal.
Now when the primrose makes a splendid show,
But while a thousand pleasures come unsought, Why fix upon his wealth or want a thought ? Is the string touched in prelude to a lay Of pretty fancies that would round him play When all the world acknowledged elfin sway? Or does it suit our humor to commend Poor Robin as a sure and crafty friend, Whose practice teaches, spite of names to show Bright colors whether they deceive or no ?
* The small wild Geranium known by that name.
Nay, we would simply praise the free good-will
(SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE.)
That happy gleam of vernal eyes,
That o'er thy brow are shed ;
a rose-bud from the thorn, I saw; and Fancy sped To scenes Arcadian, whispering, through soft air, Of bliss that grows without a care,