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Thine all, that cheer the moment as it flies,
The zoneless Cares, and smiling Courtesies.
Nurs'd in thy heart the firmer Virtues grew,
And in thy heart they wither'd! Such chill dew
Wan Indolence on each young blossom shed;
And Vanity her filmy net-work spread,
With eye that rollid around in asking gaze,
And tongue that traffick'd in the trade of praise.
Thy follies such! the hard world mark'd them well-
Were they more wise, the proud who never fell ?
Rest, injur'd shade! the poor man's grateful prayer
On heaven-ward wing thy wounded soul shall bear.
As oft as twilight gloom thy grave I pass,
And sit me down upon its recent grass,
With introverted eye I contemplate
Similitude of soul, perhaps of—Fate !
To me hath Heaven with bounteous hand assign'd
Energic Reason and a shaping mind,
The daring ken of Truth, the Patriot's part,
And Pity's sigh, that breathes the gentle heart.
Sloth-jaundic'd all! and from my graspless hand
Drop Friendship's precious pearls, like hour-glass sand.
I weep, yet stoop not ! the faint anguish flows,
A dreamy pang in Morning's fev'rish doze.
Is this pil'd earth our Being's passless mound ?
Tell me, cold grave! is Death with poppies crown'd?
Tir'd Centinel ! \mid fitful starts I nod,
And fain would sleep, though pillow'd on a clod !
WITH A POEM ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
Much on my early youth I love to dwell,
Ere yet I bade that friendly dome farewell,
Where first, beneath the echoing cloisters pale,
I heard of guilt and wonder'd at the tale!
Yet tho' the hours flew by on careless wing,
Full heavily of sorrow would I sing.
Aye as the star of evening flung its beam
In broken radiance on the wavy stream,
My soul, amid the pensive twilight gloom,
Mourn'd with the breeze, O Lee Boo ! * o'er thy tomb:
Where'er I wander'd, Pity still was near,
Breath'd from the heart and glisten’d in the tear:
No knell that toll’d, but fill'd my anxious eye,
And suff'ring Nature wept that one should die! +
Thus to sad sympathies I sooth'd my breast, Calm as the rainbow in the weeping West : When slumb’ring Freedom rous d by high Disdain With giant fury burst her triple chain ! Fierce on her front the blasting Dog-star glow d; Her Banners, like a midnight Meteor, flow'd; Amid the yelling of the storm-rent skies She came, and scatter'd battles from her eyes ! Then exultation wak'd the patriot fire And swept with wilder hand th' Alcon lyre: * Lee Boo, the son of Abba Thule, Prince of the Pelew Islands, came over to England with Captain Wilson, died of the small-pox, and is buried in Greenwich Church-yard. See Keate's Account. † Southey's Retrospect.
Red from the Tyrant's wound I shook the lance,
And strode in joy the reeking plains of France !
Fall'n is th' oppressor, friendless, ghastly, low,
And my heart aches, tho' Mercy struck the blow.
With wearied thought once more I seek the shade,
Where peaceful Virtue weaves the Myrtle braid.
And O! if Eyes, whose holy glances roll,
Swift messengers, and eloquent of soul;
If Smiles more winning, and a gentler Mien
Than the love-wilder'd Maniac's brain hath seen
Shaping celestial forms in vacant air,
If these demand th’empassion’d Poet's care-
If Mirth, and soften’d Sense, and Wit refin'd,
The blameless features of a lovely mind;
Then haply shall my trembling hand assign
No fading wreath to Beauty's saintly shrine.
Nor Sara ! thou these early flowers refuse-
Ne'er lurk'd the snake beneath their simple hues :
No purple bloom the Child of Nature brings
From Flatt’ry's night-shade: as he feels, he sings.
TOGETHER WITH AN UNFINISHED POEM.
Thus far my scanty brain hath built the rhyme
Elaborate and swelling: yet the heart
Not owns it. From thy spirit-breathing powers
I ask not now, my friend ! the aiding verse,
Tedious to thee, and from thy anxious thought
Of dissonant mood. In fancy (well I know)
From business wand'ring far and local cares,
Thou creepest round a dear-loy'd Sister's bed
With noiseless step, and watchest the faint look,
Soothing each pang with fond solicitude,
And tenderest tones medicinal of love.
I too a Sister had, an only Sister-
She lov'd me dearly, and I doted on her !
To her I pour'd forth all my puny sorrows,
(As a sick Patient in his Nurse's arms)
And of the heart those hidden maladies
That shrink asham'd from even Friendship's eye.
O! I have woke at midnight, and have wept,
Because she was not !-Cheerily, dear Charles !
Thou thy best friend shalt cherish many a year:
Such warm pressages feel I of high Hope.
For not uninterested the dear maid
I've view'd, her soul affectionate yet wise,
Her polish'd wit as mild as lambent glories
That play around a sainted infant's head.
He knows (the Spirit that in secret sees,
Of whose omniscient and all spreading Love
Aught to implore * were impotence of mind)
That my mute thoughts are sad before his throne,
Prepar'd, when he his healing ray vouchsafes,
To pour forth thanksgiving with lifted heart,
And praise Him Gracious with a Brother's Joy!
* I utterly recant the sentiment contained in the Lines
Of whose omniscient and all-spreading Love
Aught to implore were impotence of mind, it being written in Scripture, “ Ask, and it shall be given you,” and my human reason being moreover convinced of the propriety of offering petitions as well as thanksgivings to Deity.
ATTEMPTED IN THE MANNER OF THE REV. W. L. BOWLES.
Non ita certandi cupidus, quam propter amorem
Quod te imitari aveo.
INTRODUCTION TO THE SONNETS.
The composition of the Sonnet has been regulated by Boileau in his Art of Poety, and since Boileau, by William Preston, in the elegant preface to his Amatory Poems: the rules, which they would establish, are founded on the practice of Petrarch. I have never yet been able to discover either sense, nature, or poetic fancy in Petrarch's poems; they appear to me all one cold glitter of heavy conceits and metaphysical abstractions. However, Petrarch, although not the inventor of the Sonnet, was the first who made it popular; and his countrymen have taken his poems as the model. Charlotte Smith, and Bowles are they who first made the Sonnet popular among the present English: I am justified, therefore, by analogy, in deducing its laws from their compositions. The Sonnet then is a small poem, in which some lonely feeling is developed. It is limited to a particular number of lines, in order that the reader's mind, having expected the close at the place in which he finds it, may rest satisfied; and that so the poem may acquire, as it were, a totality,--in plainer phrase, may become a whole. It is confined to fourteen lines, because as some particular number is necessary, and that particular number must be a small one, it may as well be fourteen as any other number. When no reason can be adduced against a thing, custom is a sufficient reason for it. Perhaps, if the Sonnet were comprised in less than fourteen lines, it would become a serious Epigram; if it extended to more, it would encroach on the province of the Elegy. Poems, in which no lonely feeling is developed, are not Sonnets because the author has chosen to write them in fourteen lines; they should rather be entitled Odes, or Songs, or Inscriptions. The greater part of Warton's Sonnets are severe and masterly likenesses of the style of the Greek επιγραμματα. .
In a Sonnet, then, we require a development of some lonely feeling, by whatever cause it may have been excited; but thcse Sonnets