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To his Friend, written under the Confinement of a long
Indisposition. W HILE calm you sit beneath your secret shade,
And lose in pleasing thought the summer-day, Or tempt the wish of some unpractis'd maid,
Whose heart at once inclines and fears to stray:
The sprightly vigour of my youth is fled,
Lonely and sick, on death is all my thought; Oh spare, Persephone, this guiltless head!
Love, too much love, is all thy suppliant's fault.
No virgin's easy faith I e'er betray’d,
My tongue ne'er boasted of a feign'd embrace: No poisons in the cup have I convey'd,
Nor veil'd destruction with a friendly face:
No secret horrors gnaw this quiet breast,
This pious hand ne'er robb’d the sacred fane; I ne'er disturb'd the gods' eternal rest
\Vith curses loud-but oft have pray'd in vain.
No stealth of time has thinn’d my flowing hair,
Nor age yet bent me with his iron hand: Ah! why so soon the tender blossom tear,
Ere autumn yet the ripen’d fruit demand?
Ye gods, whoe'er in gloomy shades below,
Now slowly tread your melancholy round; Now wandering view the paleful rivers flow,
And musing hearken to their solemn sound:
Oh, let me still enjoy the cheerful day,
Till, many years unheeded o'er me rolld, Pleas’d in my age, I trifle life away,
And tell how much we lov’d, ere I grew old.
But you who now, with festive garlands crown'd,
In chace of pleasure the gay moments spend, By quick enjoyment heal love's pleasing wound,
And grieve for nothing but your absent friend.
IF aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
Like thy own solemn springs,
O nymph reserv'd, while now the bright-hair'd sun
Now air is hush'd, save where the weak-eyed bat,
Or where the beetle winds
As oft he rises 'midst the twilight path,
Now teach me, maid compos’d,
Whose numbers, stealing through thy darkening
As, musing slow, I hail
For when thy folding-star arising shows · His paly circlet, at his warning lamp,
The fragrant hours, and elves
And many a nymph who wreathes her brows with
sedge, And sheds the freshening dew; and, lovelier still,
The pensive pleasures sweet
Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene,
Whose walls more awful nod
Or if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
VOL. II. . E
That from the mountain's side
And hamlets brown, and dim-discover'd spires,
Thy dewy fingers draw
While Springshall pour his showers, as oft he wont, · And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve!
While Summer loves to sport
While sallow Autumn fills thy lap with leaves,
Affrights thy shrinking train,
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Thy gentlest influence own,