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Loading the west-winds with its soft perfume !
And fancy, elfin form of gorgeous wing,
On every blossom hung her fostering dews,
That, changeful, wonton'd to the orient day!
But soon upon thy poor unshelter'd head
Did penury her sickly mildew shed.
And soon the scathing Light'ning bade thee stand
In frowning horror o'er the blighted land !
Ah! where are fled the charms of vernal Grace,
And Joy's wild gleams, light-flashing o'er thy face?
Youth of tumultuous soul, and haggard eye !
Thy wasted form, thy hurried steps I view,
On thy cold forehead starts the anguish'd dew :
And dreadful was that bosom-rending sigh!
Such were the struggles of the gloomy hour,
When Care, of wither'd brow,
Prepar'd the poison's power :
Already to thy lips was rais'd the bowl,
When near thee stood Affection meek
(Her bosom bare, and wildly pale her cheek)
Thy sullen gaze she bade thee roll
On scenes that well might melt thy soul;
Thy native cot she flash'd upon thy view,
Thy native cot, where still, at close of day,
Peace smiling sate, and listen’d to thy lay ;
Thy Sister's shrieks she bade thee hear,
And mark thy Mother's tear;
See, see her breast's convulsive throe,
Her silent agony of woe!
Ah! dash the poison'd chalice from thy hand !
And thou had'st dash'd it, at her soft command,
But that Despair and Indignation rose,
And told again the story of thy woes ;
Told the keen insult of th' unfeeling heart ;
The dread dependence on the low-born mind; Told every pang, with which thy soul must smart,
Neglect, and grinning Scorn, and Want combin'd! Recoiling quick, thou bad’st the friend of paip Roll the black tide of Death thro' every freezing
Ye woods! that wave o'er Avon's rocky steep,
To Fancy's ear sweet is your murm’ring deep !
For here she loves the cypress wreath to weave;
Watching, with wistful eye, the sad’ning tints of eve.
Here, far from men, amid this pathless grove,
In solemn thought the Minstrel wont to rove,
Like star-beam on the slow sequester'd tide
Lone-glittering, thro' the high tree branching wide.
And here, in Inspiration's eager hour,
When most the big soul feels the mad’ning pow'r,
These wilds, these caverns roaming o'er,
Round which the screaming sea-gulls soar,
With wild unequal steps he pass'd along,
Oft pouring on the winds a broken song:
Anon, upon some rough rocks fearful brow
Would pause abrupt—and gaze upon the waves below.
Poor Chatterton! he sorrows for thy fate
Who would have prais'd and lov'd thee, ere too late.
Poor Chatterton! farewell! of darkest hues
This chaplet cast I on thy unshap'd tomb;
But dare no longer on the sad theme muse,
Lest kindred woes persuade a kindred doom.
For oh! big gall-drops, shook from Folly's wing,
Have blacken'd the fair promise of my spring;
And the stern Fate transpierc'd with viewless dart
The last pale Hope, that shiver'd at iny heart !
Hence, gloomy thoughts! no more my soul shall dwell
On joys that were ! No more endure to weigh
The shame and anguish of the evil day,
Wisely forgetful! O'er the ocean swell
Sublime of Hope I seek the cottag'd dell,
Where Virtue calm with careless step may stray;
And, dancing to the moon-light roundelay,
The wizard Passions weave an holy spell !
O Chatterton! that thou wert yet alive!
Sure thou would'st spread the canvass to the gale, And love, with us, the tinkling team to drive
O'er peaceful Freedom's undivided dale;
And we, at sober eve, would round thee throng,
Hanging, enraptur’d, on thy stately song!
And greet with smiles the young-eyed Poesy
All deftly mask'd, as hoar Antiquity.
Alas vain Phantasies ! the fleeting brood
Of Woe self-solac'd in her dreamy mood !
Yet will I love to follow the sweet dream,
Where Susquehannah pours his untam'd stream ;
And on some hill, whose forest-frowning side
Waves o'er the murmurs of his calmer tide,
Will raise a solemn Cenotaph to thee,
Sweet Harper of time-shrouded Minstrelsy!
And there, sooth'd sadly by the dirgeful wind,
Muse on the sore ills I had left behind.
SONGS OF THE PIXIES. The Pixies, in the superstition of Devonshire, are a race of beings invisibly small, and harmless or friendly to man. At a small distance from a village in that county, half way up a wood-covered hill, is an excavation, called the Pixies' Parlour. The roots of old trees form its ceiling; and on its sides are innumerable cyphers, among which the author discovered his own cypher and those of his brothers, cut by the hand of their childhood. At the foot of the hill flows the river Otter. To this place the author conducted a party of young ladies, during the summer months of the year 1793, one of whom, of stature elegantly small, and of complexion colourless yet clear, was proclaimed the Fairy Queen, on which occasion, and at which time, the following irregular ode was written.
Whom the untaught Shepherds call
Pixies in their madrigal,
Fancy's children, here we dwell:
Welcome, Ladies! to our cell.
Here the wren of softest note
Builds it's nest and warbles well;
Here the blackbird strains his throat:
Welcome, Ladies ! to our cell.
When fades the moon all shadowy pale,
And scuds the cloud before the gale,
Ere Morn with living gems bedight
Streaks the East with purple light,
We sip the furze-flowr's fragrant dews
Clad in robes of rainbow hues
Richer than the deepen'd bloom
That glows on Summer's scented plume:
Or sport amid the rosy gleam,
Sooth’d by the distant tinkling team,
While lusty Labour scouting sorrow
Bids the Dame a glad good morrow,
Who jogs th' accustom'd road along,
And paces cheery to her cheering song.
But not our filmy pinion
We scorch amid the blaze of day, When Noontide's fiery-tressed minion Flashes the fervid ray.
Aye, from the sultry heat
We to the cave retreat. O’ercanopied by huge roots intertwin'd With wildest texture, blacken'd o'er with age: Round them their mantle green the ivies bind,
Beneath whose foliage pale
Fann'd by the unfrequent gale We shield us from the Tyrant's mid-day rage.
Thither, while the murm'ring throng
Of wild bees hum their drowsy song,
By Indolence and Fancy brought,
A youthful Bard, “ unknown to Fame,”
Wooes the Queen of Solemn Thought,
And heaves the gentle mis’ry of a sigh,
Gazing with tearful eye,
As round our sandy grot appear
Many a rudely sculptur’d name
To pensive Mem'ry dear!
Weaving gay dreams of sunny-tinctur'd hue
We glance before his view : O'er his hush'd soul our soothing witch’ries shed And twine our fairy garlands round his head.