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And keep the polish of the manners clean,
From the Task. Book 3. Domestic happiness, thou only bliss Of Paradise, that hast survived the Fall! Though few now taste thee unimpaired and pure, Or tasting long enjoy thee! too infirm, Or too incautious, to preserve thy sweets Unmixt with drops of bitter, which neglect Or temper sheds into thy crystal cup; Thou art the nurse of Virtue, in thine arms She smiles, appearing, as in truth she is, Heaven-born, and destined to the skies again. Thou art not known where Pleasure is adored, That reeling goddess with the zoneless waist And wandering eyes, still leaning on the arm Of Novelty, her fickle frail support; For thou art meek and constant, hating change, And finding in the calm of truth-tried love Joys, that her stormy raptures never yield. Forsaking thee, what shipwreck have we made Of honour, dignity, and fair renown! Till Prostitution elbows us aside In all our crowded streets, and senates seem Convened for purposes of empire less, Than to release the adultress from her bond. The adultress! what a theme for angry verse! What provocation to the indignant heart, That feels for injured love! but I disdain The nauseous task to paint her as she is. Whom matrons now of character unsmirch’d, And chaste themselves, are not ashamed to own. Virtue and Vice had boundaries in old time Not to be passed : and she, that had renounc'd Her sex's honour, was renounced herself By all that prized it; not for prudery's sake, But dignity's, resentful of the wrong. Twas hard perhaps on here and there a waif,
Desirous to return, and not receiv'd,
in the Island of Juan Fernandes.
My right there is none to dispute ;
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
sages have seen in thy face?
Than reign in this horrible place.
I must finish my journey alone ;
I start at the sound of my own.
My form with indifference see:
Their tameness is shocking to me.
Society, friendship, and love,
Divinely bestowed upon man, O had I the wings of a dove,
How soon would I taste you again! My sorrows I then might assuage
In the ways of religion and truth ; Might learn from the wisdom of age,
Ånd be cheered by the sallies of youth. Religion !--what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word!
Or all that this earth can afford.
These valleys and rocks never heard ; Never sighed at the sound of a knell,
Or smiled when a Sabbath appear’d. Ye winds, that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore
Of a land I shall visit no more.
A wish or a thought after me?
Though a friend I am never to see How fleet is a glance of the mind!
Compared with the speed of its flight The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swift-winged arrows of light. When I think of my own native land,
In a moment I seem to be there; But alas! recollection at hand
Soon hurries me back to despair.
The beast has laid down in his lair :
There's mercy in every place :
And mercy, encouraging thought! Gives even affiction a grace,
And reconciles man to his lot.
HIS MOTHER'S PICTURE.'
O That those lips had language! Life has pass’d
relief, Shall steep me in Elysian reverie, A momentary dream, that thou art she. My Mother! when I learn'd that thou wast dead, Say, wast thou conscious of the tears I shed ? Hover'd'thy spirit o'er thy sorr’wing son, Wretch even then, life's journey just begun? Perhaps thou gav'st me, though unseen, a kiss; Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in blissAh that maternal smile! it answers, Yes. I heard the bell toll’d on thy burial day, I saw the hearse that bore thee slow away, And, turning from my nurs’ry window, drew A long, long sigh, and wept a last adieu !