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Voice only fails, else how distinct they say,
“ Grieve not, my child, chase all thy fears away!"
The meek intelligence of those dear eyes
(Bless'd 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,
Oh 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 revery,
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 sorrowing son,
Wretch even then, life's journey just begun ?
Perhaps thou gav'st me, though unfelt, a kiss ;
Perhaps a tear, if souls can weep in bliss :
Ah, that maternal smile! it answers-Yes.
I heard the bell tolld 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 words shall pass my lips no more!
Thy maidens, grieved themselves at my concern,
Oft gave me promise of thy quick return.
What ardently I wish'd, I long believed,
And, disappointed still, was still deceived.
By expectation every day beguiled,
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 deplored thee, ne'er forgot.
Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more,
Children not thine have trod thy nurs’ry floor;
And where the gard'ner Robin, day by day,
Drew me to school along the public way,
Delighted with my bawble coach, and wrapp'd
In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet capp'd,
'Tis now become a hist’ry little known,
That once we call’d the pastral house our own.
Short-lived possession! but the record fair,
That mem'ry keeps of all thy kindness there,
Still outlives many a storm that has effaced
A thousand other themes less deeply traced.
Thy nightly visits to my chamber made,
That thou mightst know me safe and warmly laid;
Thy morning bounties ere I left my home,
The biscuit, or confectionary plumb;
The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestow'd
By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and glow'd!
All this, and more endearing still than all,
Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall,
Ne'er roughen'd by those cataracts and breaks
That humour interposed too often makes;
All this still legible in mem'ry's page,
And still to be so to my latest age,
Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay
Such honours to thee as my numbers may;
Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere,
Not scorn'd in Heav'n, though little noticed here.
ON THE LOSS OF THE ROYAL GEORGE.
Toll for the brave !
The brave that are no more!
All sunk beneath the wave,
Fast by their native shore !
Eight hundred of the brave,
Whose courage well was tried, Had made the vessel heel,
And laid her on her side.
A land-breeze shook the shrouds,
And she was overset;
Down went the Royal George,
With all her crew complete.
Toll for the brave !
Brave Kempenfelt is gone ; His last seafight is fought ;
His work of glory done. It was not in the battle,
No tempest gave the shock ;
She sprang no fatal leak,
She ran upon no rock.
His sword was in its sheath,
His fingers held the pen,
When Kempenfelt went down
With twice four hundred men. Weigh the vessel up,
Once dreaded by our foes ! And mingle with our cup
The tear that England owes. Her timbers yet are sound,
And she may float again Full-charged with England's thunder,
And plough the distant main.
But Kempenfelt is gone,
His victories are o'er;
And he and his eight hundred
Shall plough the wave no more.
THE TASK." Hark! 'tis the twanging horn o'er yonder bridge, That with its wearisome but needful length Bestrides the wintry flood, in which the moon Sees her unwrinkled face reflected bright; He comes, the herald of a noisy world, [locks ; With spatter'd boots, strapp'd waist, and frozen News from all nations lumb'ring at his back. True to his charge, the close pack'd load behind, Yet careless what he brings, his one concern Is to conduct it to the destined inn; And, having dropp'd th' expected bag, pass on. He whistles as he.goes, light-hearted wretch, Cold and yet cheerful : messenger of grief Perhaps to thousands, and of joy to some ; To him indiff'rent whether grief or joy. Houses in ashes, and the fall of stocks, Births, deaths, and marriages, epistles wet With tears, that trickled down the writer's cheeks Fast as the periods from his fluent quill, Or charged with am'rous sighs of absent swains, Or nymphs responsive, equally affect His horse and him, unconscious of them all. But oh th' important budget! usher'd in With such heart-shaking music, who can say What are its tidings ? have our troops awaked? Or do they still, as if with opium drugg'd, Snore to the murmurs of th Atlantic wave ? Is India free? and does she wear her plumed And jewell'd turban with a smile of peace, Or do we grind her still? The grand debate, The popular harangue, the tart reply, The logic, and the wisdom, and the wit, And the loud laugh— 1 long to know them all ; I burn to set th' imprison'd wranglers free, And give them voice and utt'rance once again.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let sall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful ev’ning in.
Not such his ev’ning, who, with shining face,
Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeezed
And bored with elbow-points through both his sides,
Outscolds the ranting actor on the stage:
Nor his who patient stands till his feet throb,
And his head thumps, to feed upon the breath
Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage,
Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles.
This folio of four pages, happy work!
Which not ev'n critics criticise; that holds
Inquisitive Attention, while I read,
Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair,
Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break;
What is it but a map of busy life,
Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns ?
Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge
That tempts Ambition. On the summit see
The seals of office glitter in his eyes ;
He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels,
Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends,
And with a dextrous jerk soon twists him down,
And wins them, but to lose them in his turn.
Here rills of oily eloquence in soft
Meanders lubricate the course they take;
The modest speaker is ashamed and grieved
T'engross a moment's notice; and yet begs,
Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts,
However trivial all that he conceives.
Sweet bashfulness! it claims at least this praise :
The dearth of information and good sense
That it foretels us, always comes to pass.
Cat’racts of declamation thunder here ;
There forests of no meaning spread the page,
In which all comprehension wanders lost ;