« PreviousContinue »
How proud 'twould make a connoisseur
To have so beauteous a picture !
me, I own, it ill contents me
To have a copy, but torments me,
Unless I might possess, as well,
That copy's fair original.
THE FORSAKEN TO THE FAITHLESS.
I do not write to bid thee come unto me-
I will not pray thee spare my virgin fame:
Since I am won, 'tis useless now to woo me-
Undone I am, thou canst not more undo me.
Boast thy poor triumph o’er an empty name,
When she that shamed it sleeps in silent death;
For what is reputation but a bubble,
Blown up by Vanity's unthinking breath,-
A thing which few, with all their toil and trouble,
Can carry with them to their home, the grave.
Since men are fire, and we are as the stubble :
Men's faults are wink'd at-ours, alas ! seen double,
No pardon of the partial world I crave,
That still is Folly's mouth-piece, Custom's slave.
Not for my name I mourn—but thou hast ta’en
A dearer jewel—even my precious soul.
Nor thou, nor all the world, can give again
What I have thrown away! Tho' Time may roll
His centuries on, when I shall be forgotten,
Thy falsehood mute, and cold thy fickle lust,-
When this polluted body shall be rotten,
And, undistinguished, sleep with virgin dust,-
Tho' all may cease, the stars give o'er to shine,
Nor more be witness to that sin of mine,
Still should I feel my unredeemed loss,
And ’mongst the blessed be a thing unblest ;
power that is can make me what I wasOh, might I then not be ! Oh, vain request !
TO THE MEMORY OF CANNING.
Early, but not untimely, Heaven recallid
To perfect bliss, thy pure, enlighten'd mind;
And tho' the new-born freedom of mankind
Is sick of fear to be again enthrall’d,
Since thou art gone ; and this fair island, wall’d
With the impregnable, unmaster'd sea,
Mourns with a widow's grief for loss of thee,-
Should we repine, as if thou wert installd
In Heaven too soon ? Nay, I will shed no tear.
Thy work is done. It was enough for thee
To own the glorious might of Liberty,
And cast away the bondage and the fear
Of rotten custom ; so the hope, which Fate
Snatch'd from thy life, thy Fame shall consummate.
SAY, What is Freedom? What the right of souls,
Which all who know are bound to keep, or die,
And who knows not, is dead? In vain ye pry
In musty archives, or retentive scrolls,
Charters and statutes, constitutions, rolls,
And remnants of the old world's history
These shew what has been, not what ought to be,
Or teach at best how wiser Time controuls
Man's futile purposes. As vain the search
Of restless factions, who, in lawless will,
Fix the foundations of a creedless church-
A lawless rule—an anarchy of ill.
But what is Freedom ? Rightly understood,
A universal license to be good.