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Some joy still lost, as each vain year runs o’er,
And all we gain some sad reflection more,—
Is that a birthday ? 'Tis, alas! too clear,
'Tis but the funeral of the former year.
Let joy or ease, let affluence or content,
And the gay conscience of a life well spent,
Calm every thought, inspirit every grace,
Glow in thy heart and smile upon thy face.
Let day improve on day, and year on year,
Without a pain, a trouble, or a fear,
Till Death unfelt that tender frame destroy
In some soft dream, or ecstasy of joy ;
Peaceful sleep out the Sabbath of the tomb,
And wake to raptures in a life to come.

Dr. Johnson, when about nineteen years of age, composed almost impromptu, in the presence of his future biographer, Boswell, a short poem

TO A YOUNG LADY ON HER BIRTHDAY. This tributary verse receive, my fair, Warm with an ardent lover's fondest prayer. May this returning day for ever find Thy form more lovely, more adornd thy mind; All pains, all cares, may favouring Heaven remove, All but the sweet solicitudes of love! May powerful Nature join with grateful Art To point each glance, and force it to the heart ! Oh then, when conquered crowds confess thy sway, When e'en proud Wealth and prouder Wit obey, May you be mindful of the mighty trust Alas! 'tis hard for Beauty to be justThose sovereign charms with strictest care employ, Nor give the generous pain, the worthless joy ; With his own form acquaint the forward fool Shown in the faithful glass of ridicule ;

Teach mimic Censure her own faults to find,
No more let coquettes to themselves be blind,
So shall Belinda's charms improve mankind.

Another of these pleasant trifles was written by Dr. Johnson for a friend who wished to present the




OF MYRTLE. What hopes, what terrors, does thy gift create, Ambiguous emblem of uncertain fate! The myrtle, ensign of supreme command, Consigned by Venus to Melissa's hand; Not less capricious than a reigning fair, Now grants, and now rejects, a lover's

In myrtle shades oft sings the happy swain,
In myrtle shades despairing ghosts complain.
The myrtle crowns the happy lovers' heads,
The unhappy lover's grave the myrtle spreads ;
Oh, then, the meaning of thy gift impart,
And ease the throbbings of an anxious heart!
Soon must this bough, as you shall fix his doom,
Adorn Philander's head, or grace his tomb.
Pithy and pointed are these verses by Burns :-
Again the silent wheels of time

Their annual round have driven;
And you, though scarce in maiden prime,

Are so much nearer heaven.
No gifts have I from Indian coast

The infant year to hail;
I send you more than Indian boasts,

In Edwin's simple tale.

Our sex with guile and faithless love

Is charg'd, perhaps, too true;

dear maid, each lover prove
An Édwin still to you!

Admirable is Cowper's


Deem not, sweet rose, that bloom'st ’midst many a

thorn, Thy friend, though to a cloister's shade consign'd,

Can e'er forget the charms he left behind, Or pass unheeded this auspicious morn!

In happier days to brighter prospects born,

Oh, tell thy thoughtless sex, the virtuous mind,

Like thee, content in every state may find, And look on Folly's pageantry with scorn ;

To steer with nicest art betwixt the extreme
Of idle mirth and affectation coy,

To blend good sense with elegance and ease,
To bid Affliction's eye no longer stream,
Is thine ; best gift, the unfailing source of joy,

: The guide to pleasures which can never cease !

The next two poems are by Thomas Moore:

TO JULIA, ON HER BIRTHDAY. When Time was entwining the garland of years,

Which to crown my beloved was given, Though some of the leaves might be sullied with

tears, Yet the flow'rs were all gather'd in heaven.


And long may this garland be sweet to the eye,

May its verdure for ever be new !
Young Love shall enrich it with many a sigh,

And Sympathy nurse it with dew.

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In witching slumbers of the night,
I dreamt I was the airy sprite

That on thy natal moment smiled ;
And thought I wafted on my wing
Those flow'rs which in Elysium spring,

To crown my lovely mortal child.

With olive-branch I bound thy head,
Heartsease along thy path I shed,

Which was to bloom through all thy years;
Nor yet did I forget to bind
Love's roses, with its myrtle twined,

And dew'd by sympathetic tears.

Such was the wild but precious boon
Which Fancy, at her magic noon,

Bade me to Nona's image pay;
And were it thus my fate to be
Thy little guardian deity,

How blest around thy steps I'd play!

Thy life should glide in peace along,
Calm as some lonely shepherd's song

That's heard at distance in the grove;
No clouds should ever dim thy sky,
No thorns along thy pathway lie,

But all be beauty, peace, and love.

Indulgent Time should never bring
To thee one blight upon his wing,

So gently o'er thy brow he'd fly;
And death itself should but be felt
Like that of sunbeams when they melt,

Bright to the last in evening's sky!
The next birthday composition is graced by
the name of that consummate lyrist, Thomas
Campbell :

If any white-winged Power above

My joys and griefs survey,
The day when thou wert born, my

He surely bless'd that day.
I laugh'd (till taught by thee) when told

Of Beauty's magic powers,
That ripen'd life's dull ore to gold,

And changed its weeds to flowers.

My mind had lovely shapes portrayed;

But thought I, earth had one
Could make even Fancy's visions fade

Like stars before the sun ?

I gazed, and felt upon my lips

The unfinish'd accents hang;'
One moment’s bliss, one burning kiss,

To rapture changed each pang.

And though as swift as lightning's flash

Those tranced moments flew,
Not all the waves of time shall wash
Their memory

from my


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