Page images
PDF
EPUB

What if thine heav'n be overcast,
The dark appearance will not last;

Expect a brighter sky.
The God that strings the silver bow,
Awakes sometimes the muses too,

And lays his arrows by.
If hind'rances obstruct thy way,
Thy magnanimity display,

Ånd let thy strength be seen;
But, O! if fortune fill thy sail
With more than a propitious gale,

Take half thy canvass in.

A REFLECTION

ON THE FOREGOING ODE. And is this all ? Can Reason do no'more, Than bid me shun the deep, and dread the shore; Sweet moralist! afloat on life's rough sea, The Christian has an art unknown to thee. He holds no parley with unmanly fears; Where duty bids, he confidently steers, Faceş a thousand dangers at her call, And, trusting in his God, surmounts them all.

THE LILY AND THE ROSE.
The nymph must lose her female friend,

If more admir'd than she
But where will fierce contention end,

If flow'rs can disagree?
Within the garden's peaceful scene

Appear'd two lovely foes,
Aspiring to the rank of queen,

The Lily and the Rose.

The Rose soon redden'd into rage,

And, swelling with disdain,
Appeal’d to many a poet's page
To

prove her right to reign,
The Lily's height bespoke command,

A fair, imperial flow'r;
She seem’d design’d for Flora's hand,

The sceptre of her pow'r.
This civil bick’ring and debate

The goddess chanc'd to hear,
And flew to save, ere yet too late,

The pride of the parterre.
“ Yours is,” she said, “ the nobler hue,

And yours the statelier mien ;
And, till a third surpasses you,

Let each be deem'd a queen."
Thus, sooth'd and reconcil'd, each seeks

The fairest British fair :
The seat of empire is her cheeks,

They reign united there.

THE POPLAR FIELD. The poplars are felled, farewell to the shade, And the whispering sound of the cool colonnade ; The winds play no longer and sing in the leaves, Nor Ouse on his bosom their image receives. Twelve years have elaps’d, since I last took a view Of my favourite field, and the bank where they grew; And now in the grass behold they are laid, And the tree is my seat, that once lent me a shade. The blackbird has fled to another retreat, Where the hazels afford him a screen from the heat, And the scene, where his melody charm’d me before, Resounds with his sweet-flowing ditty no more.

My fugitive years are all hast ning away,
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast, and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.
'Tis a sight to engage me, if any thing can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Though his life be a dream, his enjoyments, I see,
Have a being less durable even than he.*

THE GLOW-WORM.
A TRANSLATION FROM THE LATIN.
BENEATH the hedge, or near the stream,

A worm is known to stray;
That shows by night a lucid beam,

Which disappears by day.
Disputes have been, and still prevail,

From whence his rays proceed;
Some give that honour to his tail,

And others to his head.
But this is sure—the hand of night,

That kindles up the skies,
Gives him a modicum of light

Proportion'd to his size,
Perhaps indulgent Nature meant,

By such a lamp bestow'd,
To bid the trav'ller, as he went,

Be careful where he trod.
Nor crush a worm, whose useful light

Might serve, however small,
To show a stumbling-stone by night,

And save him from a fall. * Mr. Cowper afterwards altered this last stanza 'in the following inanner :

The change both my heart and my fancy employs,
I reflect on the frailty of man, and his joys;
Short-liv'd as we are, yet our pleasures, we see,
Have a still shorter date, and die sooner than we.

Whate'er she meant, this truth divine

Is legible and plain,
'Tis pow'r almighty bids him shine,

Nor bids him shine in vain.
Ye proud and wealthy, let this theme

Teach humbler thoughts to you,
Since such a reptile has its gem,

And boasts its splendour too.

THE JACKDAW.
A TRANSLATION FROM THE LATIN.
THERE is a bird, who by his coat,
And by the hoarseness of his note,

Might be suppos’d a crow;
A great frequenter of the church,
Where bishop-like he finds a perch,

And dormitory too.
Above the steeple shines a plate,
That turns and turns, to indicate

From what point blows the weather : Look up-your brains begin to swim, 'Tis in the clouds—that pleases him,

Hè chooses it the rather.
Fond of the speculative height,
Thither he wings his airy flight,

And thence securely sees
The bustle and the raree-show,
That occupy mankind below,

Secure and at his ease.
You think, no doubt, he sits and muses
On future broken bones and bruises,

If he should chance to fall.
No; not a single thought like that
Employs his philosophic pate,

Or troubles it at all.

He sees, that this great roundabout, The world, with all its motley rout,

Church, army, physic, law, Its customs, and its busʼnesses, Is no concern at all of his,

And says--what says he ?-Caw. Thrice happy bird! I too have seen Much of the vanities of men;

And, sick of having seen 'em, Would cheerfully these limbs resign For such a pair of wings as thine,

And such a head between 'em.

THE CRICKET. A TRANSLATION FROM THE LATIN. LITTLE inmate, full of mirth, Chirping on my kitchen hearth, Wheresoe'er be thine abode, Always harbinger of good. Pay me for thy warm retreat With a song more soft and sweet; In return thou shalt receive Such a strain as I can give. Thus thy praise shall be express'd Inoffensive, welcome guest! While the rat is on the scout, And the mouse with curious snout, With what vermin else infest Ev'ry dish, and spoil the best; Frisking thus before the fire, Thou hast all thine heart's desire. Though in voice and shape they be Form’d as if akin to thee, Thou surpassest, happier far, Happiest grasshoppers that are;

« PreviousContinue »