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May claim this merit still—that she admits
The worth of what she mimics with such care,
And thus gives virtue indirect applause;
But she has burnt her mask not needed here,
Where vice has such allowance, that her shifts
And specious semblances have lost their use."
ALEXANDER SELKIRR during his solitary Abode in the Island of Juan Fernandes.
I am monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute;
From the centre all round to the sea,
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
O Solitude 1 where are the charms,
That sages have seen in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
Than reign in this horrible place.
I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone;
Never hear the sweet music of speech,
I start at the sound of my own.
The beasts that roam over the plain
My form with indifference see:
They are so unacquainted with man,
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,
And be cheered by the sallies of youth.
Religion'—what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word
More precious than silver or gold,
Or all that this earth can afford.
But the sound of the church-going bell
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
Some cordial endearing report
Of a land I shall visit no more.
My friends, do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me *
O tell me I yet have a friend,
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.
But the sea-fowl has gone to her nest,
The beast has laid down in his lair:
Ev’n here is a season of rest,
And I to my cabin repair.
There's mercy in every place:
And mercy, encouraging thought !
Gives even affliction a grace,
And reconciles man to his lot.
O THAT those lips had language 1 Life has pass'd
With me but roughly since I heard thee last.
Those lips are thine—thy own sweet smile I see,
The same, that oft in childhood solac'd me;
Voice only fails, else how distinct they say,
“Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears away!”
The meek intelligence of those dear eyes.
(Blest be the art that can immortalize,
The art that baffles Time's tyrannic claim
To quench it) here shines on me still the same.
Faithful remembrancer of one so dear,
O welcome guest, though unexpected here !
Who bidd'st me honour with an artless song, .
Affectionate, a mother lost so long.
I will obey, not willingly alone,
But gladly, as the precept were her own:
And, while that face renews my filial grief,
Fancy shall weave a charm for my 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 bliss—
Ah 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 !
But was it such It was.—Where thou art gone,
Adieus and farewells are a sound unknown.
May I but meet thee on that peaceful shore,
The parting word shall pass my lips no more 1
Thy maidens, griev'd themselves at my concern,
Oft gave me promise of thy quick return.
What ardently I wish'd, I long believ'd,
And disappointed still, was still deceiv'd.
By expectation ev'ry day beguil'd,
Dupe of to-morrow even from a child.
Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went,
Till all my stock of infant sorrow spent,
I learn'd at last submission to my lot,
But, though I less deplor'd thee, ne'er forgot,
'Tis past—another year for ever gone
Proclaims the end of all ; with awful voice
It calls the soul to thought: awhile she turns
From present scenes, and wanders o'er the past;
Or darting forward strives to pierce the veil
Which hides from mortal eyes the time to come.
O thou, to grateful mem'ry ever dear!
Whom fond affection still delights to name!
Whom still my heart exults to call my friend!
In fancy yet be present. Oft with thee,
In many a lonely walk and silent shade,
My soul holds converse; oft recalls the hours
When pleas'd attention hung upon thy voice,
While the pure dictates of celestial truth
In friendship's gentlest accents charm'd my ear,
And sooth'd each anxious thought, and shew'd
the way -
Which leads to present peace, and future bliss.
Tho' now far distant, yet in thought be near,
And share with me reflection's sacred hour.
And oh! to thee may each revolving year
Its choicest blessings bring! May heavenly peace,
To every thoughtless mind unknown, pursued
In vain thro' scenes of visionary good,