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Our portion is not large, indeed,
But then how little do we need,
For nature's calls are few !
In this the art of living lies,
To want no more than may suffice,
And make that little do.
We'll therefore relish with content
Whate'er kind Providence has sent,
Nor aim beyond our power; For, if our stock be very small, 'Tis prudence to enjoy it all,
Nor lose the present hour.
To be resign'd when ills betide,
Patient when favours are denied,
And pleased with favours given;
Dear Chloe, this is wisdom's part,
This is that incense of the heart,
Whose fragrance smells to heaven. We'll ask no long-protracted treat, Since winter-life is seldom sweet;
But, when our feast is o'er, Grateful from table we'll arise, Nor grudge our sons, with envious eyes,
The relics of our store. Thus hand in hand through life we'll go; Its checker'd paths of joy and wo
With cautious steps we'll tread; Quit its vain scenes without a tear, Without a trouble or a fear,
And mingle with the dead.
While conscience, like a faithful friend,
Shall through the gloomy vale attend,
And cheer our dying breath;
Shall, when all other comforts cease,
Like a kind angel whisper peace,
And smooth the bed of death.
SIR WILLIAM JONES. 1746-1794.
Sweet maid, if thou wouldst charm my sight,
And bid these arms thy neck enfold-
That rosy cheek, that lily hand,
Would give thy poet more delight
Than all Boccara's vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarcand.
Boy, let yon liquid ruby flow,
And bid thy pensive heart be glad,
Whate'er the frowning zealots say:
Tell them their Eden cannot show
A stream so clear as Rocnabad,
A bower so sweet as Mosellay.
Oh! when these fair perfidious maids,
Whose eyes our secret haunts infest,
Their dear destructive charms display;
Each glance my tender breast invades,
And robs my wounded soul of rest,
As Tartars seize their destined prey.
In vain with love our bosoms glow:
Can all our tears, can all our sighs,
New lustre to those charms impart ?
Can cheeks, where living roses blow,
Where nature spreads her richest dyes,
Require the borrow'd gloss of art?
Speak not of fate : ah! change the theme,
And talk of odours, talk of wine,
Talk of the flowers that round us bloom:
"Tis all a cloud, 'tis all a dream ;
To love and joy thy thoughts confine,
Nor hope to pierce the sacred gloom.
Beauty has such resistless power,
That even the chaste Egyptian dame
Sigh'd for the blooming Hebrew boy :
For her how fatal was the hour,
When to the banks of Nilus came
A youth so lovely and so coy!
But ah! sweet maid, my counsel hear
(Youth should attend when those advise
Whom long experience renders sage):
While music charms the ravish'd ear,
While sparkling cups delight our eyes,
Be gay; and scorn the frowns of age.
What cruel answer have I heard !
And yet, by heaven, I love thee still:
Can aught be cruel from thy lip?
how fell that bitter word
From lips which streams of sweetness fill,
Which naught but drops of honey sip?
Go boldly forth, my simple lay,
Whose accents flow with artless ease,
Like orient pearls at random strung :
Thy notes are sweet, the damsels say ;
But oh! far sweeter, if they please
The nymph for whom these notes are sung.
AN ODE, IN IMITATION OF ALCÆUS.
What constitutes a State ?
Not high-raised battlement or labour'd mound,
Thick wall or moated gate;
Not cities proud, with spires and turrets crown'd;
Not bays and broad-arm’d ports,
Where, laughing at the storm, rich navies ride;
Not starr'd and spangled courts,
Where low-brow'd baseness wafts perfume to pride.
No: men, high-minded men,
With pow'rs as far above dull brutes endued
In forest, brake, or den,
As beasts excel cold rocks and brambles rude ;
Men who their duties know,
But know their rights, and, knowing, dare maintain,
Prevent the long-aim'd blow,
And crush the tyrant while they rend the chain:
These constitute a state,
And sov’reign law, that state's collected will,
O'er thrones and globes elate
Sits empress, crowning good, repressing ill ;
Smit by her sacred frown,
The fiend Discretion like a vapour sinks, 246.4
And e'en th' all-dazzling crown
Hides his faint rays, and at her bidding shrinks.
Such was this heaven-loved isle,
Than Lesbos fairer and the Cretan shore !
No more shall Freedom smile?
Shall Britons languish, and be men no more?
Since all must life resign,
Those sweet rewards which decorate the brave,
"Tis folly to decline,
And steal inglorious to the silent grave.
SAMUEL BISHOP. 1731–1795.
“THEE, Mary, with this ring I wed”-
So, fourteen years ago, I said.
Behold another ring ! "for what ?"
“To wed thee o'er again ?" Why not?
With that first ring I married youth,
Grace, beauty, innocence, and truth ;
Taste long admired, sense long revered,
And all my Molly then appear'd.
If she, by merit since disclosed,
Prove twice the woman I supposed,
I plead that double merit now,
To justify a double vow.
Here then to-day (with faith as sure,
With ardour as intense, as pure,
As when, amid the rites divine,
I took thy troth and plighted mine),
To thee, sweet girl, my second ring
A token and a pledge I bring :
With this I wed, till death us part,
Thy riper virtues to my heart;
Those virtues which, before untried,
The wife has added to the bride :
Those virtues, whose progressive claim,
Endearing wedlock’s very name,
My soul enjoys, my song approves,
For conscience' sake as well as love's.
And why? They show me every hour Honour's high thought, Affection's power, Discretion's deed, sound Judgment’s sentenceAnd teach me all things but-repentance.
Take, holy earth! all that my soul holds dear :
Take that best gift which Heav'n so lately gave: To Bristol's fount I bore with trembling care
Her faded form ; she bow'd to taste the wave, And died. Does youth, does beauty read the line ?
Does sympathetic Fear their breasts alarm? Speak, dead Maria! breathe a strain divine: Ev'n from the grave thou shalt have power to