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SIR WILLIAM Jon Es. 1746–1794.
A PERSIAN SONG OF HAFiz.
Sweet maid, if thou wouldst charm my sight,
And bid these arms thy neck enfold—
That rosy cheek, that lily hand,
Would give thy poet more delight
Than all Boccara's vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarcand.
Boy, let yon liquid ruby flow,
And bid thy pensive heart be glad,
Whate'er the frowning zealots say:
Tell them their Eden cannot show
A stream so clear as Rocnabad,
A bower so sweet as Mosellay.
Oh! when these fair perfidious maids,
Whose eyes our secret haunts infest,
Their dear destructive charms display;
Each glance my tender breast invades,
And robs my wounded soul of rest,
As Tartars seize their destined prey.
In vain with love our bosoms glow:
Can all our tears, can all our sighs,
New lustre to those charms impart?
Can cheeks, where living roses blow,
Where nature spreads her richest dyes,
Require the borrow'd gloss of art?
Speak not of fate: ah! change the theme,
And talk of odours, talk of wine,
Talk of the flowers that round us bloom:
'Tis all a cloud, 'tis all a dream ;
To love and joy thy thoughts confine,
Nor hope to pierce the sacred gloom.
Beauty has such resistless power,
That even the chaste Egyptian dame
Sigh’d for the blooming Hebrew boy:
For her how fatal was the hour,
When to the banks of Nilus came
A youth so lovely and so coy
But ah! sweet maid, my counsel hear
(Youth should attend when those advise
Whom long experience renders sage):
While music charms the ravish'd ear,
While sparkling cups delight our eyes,
Begay; and scorn the frowns of age.
What cruel answer have I heard
And yet, by heaven, I love thee still:
Can aught be cruel from thy lip !
Yet say, how fell that bitter word
From lips which streams of sweetness fill,
Which naught but drops of honey sip !
Go boldly forth, my simple lay,
Whose accents flow with artless ease,
Like orient pearls at random strung:
Thy notes are sweet, the damsels say;
But oh! far sweeter, if they please
The nymph for whom these notes are sung.
No: men, high-minded men, With pow'rs as far above dull brutes endued In forest, brake, or den, As beasts excel cold rocks and brambles rude ; Men who their duties know, But know their rights, and, knowing, dare maintain, Prevent the long-aim'd blow, And crush the tyrant while they rend the chain: These constitute a state, And sov’reign law, that state's collected will, O'er thrones and globes elate Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill; Smit by her sacred frown, The fiend Discretion like a vapour sinks, And e'en th' all-dazzling crown Hides his faint rays, and at her bidding shrinks. Such was this heaven-loved isle, Than Lesbos fairer and the Cretan shore No more shall Freedom smile ! Shall Britons languish, and be men no more? Since all must hise resign, Those sweet rewards which decorate the brave, 'Tis folly to decline, And steal inglorious to the silent grave.
SAMUEL BIs Hop. 1731–1795.
To his WiFE.
“THEE, Mary, with this ring I wed”—
So, fourteen years ago, I said.
Behold another ring ! “for what?”
“To wed thee o'er again!” Why not
With that first ring I married youth,
Grace, beauty, innocence, and truth;
Taste long admired, sense long revered,
And all my Molly then appear'd.
If she, by merit since disclosed,
Prove twice the woman I supposed,
I plead that double merit now,
To justify a double vow.
Here then to-day (with faith as sure,
With ardour as intense, as pure,
As when, amid the rites divine,
I took thy troth and plighted mine),
To thee, sweet girl, my second ring
A token and a pledge I bring :
With this I wed, till death us part,
Thy riper virtues to my heart;
Those virtues which, before untried,
The wife has added to the bride :
Those virtues, whose progressive claim,
Endearing wedlock's very name,
My soul enjoys, my song approves,
For conscience' sake as well as love's.
And why? They show me every hour Honour's high thought, Affection's power, Discretion's deed, sound Judgment's sentence— And teach me all things but—repentance.
WILLIAM M A so N. 1725–1797.
EPITAPH ON MRS. MASON.
TAKE, holy earth' all that my soul holds dear:
Take that best gift which Heav'n so lately gave:
To Bristol's fount I bore with trembling care
Her faded form ; she bow'd to taste the wave,
And died. Does youth, does beauty read the line!
Does sympathetic Fear their breasts alarm!
Speak, dead Maria' breathe a strain divine:
Ev’n from the grave thou shalt have power to
Bid them be chaste, be innocent, like thee;
Bid them in duty's sphere as meekly move ;
And if as fair, from vanity as free ;
As firm in friendship, and as fond in love.
Tell them, though 'tis an awful thing to die
('Twas ev'n to thee), yet the dread path once trod,
Heav'n lifts its everlasting portals high,
And bids “the pure in heart behold their God.”
ERAs MUs D A Rw IN. 1732–1802.
FROM “THE BotANic GARDEN.”
Thus when the Plague, upborne on Belgian air,
Look'd through the mist, and shook his clotted hair;
O'er shrinking nations steer'd malignant clouds,
And rain'd destruction on the gasping crowds,
The beauteous AEgle felt the venom'd dart,
Slow roll'd her eye, and feebly throbb'd her heart ;
Each servid sigh seem'd shorter than the last,
And starting Friendship shunn’d her as she pass'd.
With weak, unsteady step the fainting maid
Seeks the cold garden's solitary shade,
Sinks on the pillowy moss her drooping head,
And prints with lifeless limbs her leafy bed.
On wings of love her plighted swain pursues,
Shades her from winds, and shelters her from dews,
Extends on tapering poles the canvass roof,
Spreads o'er the straw-wove mat the flaxen woof,
Sweet buds and blossoms on her bolster strows,
And binds his kerchief round her aching brows;
Sooths with soft kiss, with tender accents charms,
And clasps the bright infection in his arms.
With pale and languid smiles, the grateful fair
Applauds his virtues and rewards his care ;
Mourns with wet cheek her fair companions fled
On timorous step, or number'd with the dead;