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Young courage, buoyant on the venturous surge,
Taunting the prescience of maternal fear,
Swims light and joyous with the out-bound tide,
That evermore, at stated hour, comes home,
And brings a freight of crimson shells, and weeds,
That mock the things of earth with semblance quaint,
Imperial cradles of purpureal sheen,
And wreathed trumpets, curiously convolved,
Wherein the ocean's mighty harmonies
Serenely murmur in a humming slumber.
So childhood passes—but the whistling breeze
Of Time calls shrill, and forth the vessel flies :-
The mother, wailing on the wave-kiss'd shore,
Trusts her last counsels to the impatient breeze
That will not hear them—strains her dewy eyes
Till the proud sails diminish to a speck-
That speck to nothing,-questions still the grey
Unfixt horizon, till the setting sun
Sinks sudden in the darkness of the waves,
Then homeward hastening, looks upon the stars,
And knows that he beholds them, who no more
Shall look with her upon their household flowers.
Where will he go? To lands of pearl and gold
In search of gain? or to the fields of Fame,
Where the coarse herb, with honourable blood
Manured and water'd-marld with bleaching bones
Flags rank and noisome o'er promiscuous graves ?
Will he, with petty traffic, slow and sure,
From point to point, along the low flat coast,
Wakeful and cautious cruise ? or launching forth
On the vast main, spread every glittering sail
To catch the winds of chance, and bear away
For frozen continents, or empires dark
With howling woods, or girt with burning sand?
Or will he loiter by the enchanted isles
Of Love, where oft the languid air becalms
The willing bark? or doth he seek in vain
For that lost land, in elder time submerged
Beneath the Atlantic wave ?
But hold—no more.-
Too long we dally with a quaint conceit,
While the swift birth-day wears to jocund night.
Thrice happy they, who rest, ere day declines,
Beneath the trees they planted in the morn:-
And thou, my friend, whom honourable toil
Hath timely raised to honourable wealth,
And power to diffuse that happiness
Which thou hast earned—may worthily rejoice,
Oft as thy annual natal feast arrives, to see
Thy sire, and hers, whom love to thee hath join'd
In holy bands, beside thy cheerful board,
Placidly smiling in their calm old age,
And blessing Heaven that they can bless the day
When thou wast born.
Child of woman, and of Heaven,
Ere thy birth, of sire bereaven,
Offspring of a widow'd dove,
Of half thy heritage of love
Defeated, ere thy little breath
Was drawn from atmosphere of death,
Smiler, that shalt ne'er beguile,
Father's tear with baby smile,
Never laugh on father's knee,
Knows thy father aught of thee?
May the spirit of the Blest,
Look upon its earthly nest ?
Breathe upon thine infant slumbers,
The music of angelic numbers,
Glide into the growing soul,
To form, “ to kindle, or controul ?”
May the sainted parent bless,
His own, the new-born fatherless ?
Far from all measured space, yet clear and plain
As sun at noon," a mighty orb of song”
Illumes extremest Heaven. Beyond the throng
Of lesser stars, that rise, and wex, and wane,
The transient rulers of the fickle main,
One steadfast light gleams through the dark, and long,
And narrowing aisle of memory. How strong,
How fortified with all the numerous train
Of human truths, Great Poet of thy kind,
Wert thou, whose verse, capacious as the sea,
And various as the voices of the wind,
Swell'd with the gladness of the battle's glee-
And yet could glorify infirmity,
When Priam wept, or shame-struck Helen pined.
These, if not the first verses that I ever wrote, are the first with which I succeeded in pleasing even myself :-in fact, the first in which I was able to express a preconceived thought in metre. I have selected them from a mass of juvenile, or more properly, puerile poetry, not as any better, or much worse, than the rest, but from the pleasant associations connected with them. It will do nobody any harm, and to some may be an agreeable remembrancer of old times. The young lady to whom it was addressed is the eldest daughter of the late William Green, an artist of great merit, who possessed a true sense of the beautiful in nature. The lady is now a wife and mother, and probably regards the pictorial skill of her youth, and the compliments it may have gained her, as things that have been.
O, MISTRESS of that lovely art
Which can to shadows form impart-
Can fix those evanescent tints,
Fainter by far than lovers' hints,
And bring the scenes we love to mind,
When we have left them far behind,
Thou seest an image in thy glass
Which does e’en Raphael's art surpass,
But which Dan Cupid has been able
To copy in my heart's soft table.