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Princess 1 if our aged eyes
Weep upon thy matchless wrongs,
"Tis because resentment ties
All the terrors of our tongues.
Rome shall perish—write that word
In the blood that she has spilt;
Perish, hopeless and abhorr'd,
Deep in ruin as in guilt.
Rome, for empire far renown'd,
Tramples on a thousand states;
Soon her pride shall kiss the ground—
Hark! the Gaul is at her gates.
Other Romans shall arise,
Heedless of a soldier's name ;
Sounds, not arms, shall win the prize,
Harmony the path to fame.
Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land,
Arm'd with thunder, clad with wings,
Shall a wider world command.
Regions Caesar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway,
Where his eagles never flew,
None invincible as they.
Such the bard's prophetic words,
Pregnant with celestial fire,
Bending as he swept the chords
Of his sweet but awful lyre,
She, with all a monarch's pride,
Felt them in her bosom glow,
Rush'd to battle, fought, and died;
Dying, hurl’d them at the foe.
Ruffians, pitiless as proud,
Heav'n awards the vengeance due ;
Empire is on us bestow'd,
Shame and ruin wait for you.
THE POET, THE OYSTER, AND SENSITIVE
N Oyster, cast upon the shore,
Was heard, though never heard before,
Complaining in a speech well worded,
And worthy thus to be recorded :
Ah, hapless wretch condemn'd to dwell
For ever in my native shell,
Ordain'd to move when others please,
Not for my own content or ease;
But toss'd and buffeted about,
Now in the water, and now out ;
'Twere better to be born a stone.
Of ruder shape and feeling none,
Than with a tenderness like mine,
And sensibilities so fine !
I envy that unfeeling shrub,
Fast-rooted against ev'ry rub.
The plant he meant grew not far off,
And felt the sneer with scorn enough
Was hurt, disgusted, mortified,
And with asperity replied.
When, cry the botanists, and stare,
Did plants call'd sensitive grow there
No matter when—a poet's muse is
To make them grow just where she chooses.
You shapeless nothing in a dish,
You that are but almost a fish,
I scorn your coarse insinuation,
And have most plentiful occasion
To wish myself the 10ck I view,
Or such another dolt as you.
For many a grave and learned clerk,
And many a gay unletter'd spark,
With curious touch examines me,
If I can feel as well as he ;
And when I bend, retire, and shrink,
Says—Well, 'tis more than one would think—
Thus life is spent (oh, fie upon't l)
In being touch'd, and crying—Don't
A poet, in his evening walk,
O'erheard and check'd this idle talk:
And your fine sense, he said, and yours,
Whatever evil it endures,
Deserves not, if so soon offended,
Much to be pitied or commended.
Disputes, though short, are far too long,
Where both alike are in the wrong;
Your feelings, in their full amount,
Are all upon your own account.
You in your grotto-work enclosed,
Complain of being thus exposed;
Yet nothing feel in that rough coat,
Save when the knife is at your throat,
Wherever driven by wind or tide,
Exempt from every ill beside.
And as for you, my Lady Squeamish,
Who reckon ev'ry touch a blemish,
If all the plants that can be found
Embellishing the scene around,
Should droop and wither where they grow,
You would not feel at all, not you.
The noblest minds their virtue prove
By pity, sympathy, and love ;
These—these are feelings truly fine,
And prove their owner half divine.
His censure reach'd them as he dealt it,
And each by shrinking show'd he felt it.
TO THE REW, WILLIAM CAWTHORNE UNWIN.
UNYE I should but ill repay
The kindness of a friend,
Whose worth deserves as warm a lay
As ever friendship penn'd,
Thy name omitted in a page
That would reclaim a vicious age.
An union form'd, as mine with thee,
Not rashly or in sport,
May be as fervent in degree,
And faithful in its sort,
And may as rich in comfort prove,
As that of true fraternal love.
The bud, inserted in the rind,
The bud of peach or rose,
Adorns, though diffring in its kind,
The stock whereon it grows,
With flow'r as sweet, or fruit as fair,
As if produced by nature there.
Not rich, I render what I may—
I seize thy name in haste,
And place it in this first essay,
Lest this should prove the last.
Tis where it should be, in a plan
That holds in view the good of man.
The poet's lyre, to fix his fame,
Should be the poet's heart,
Affection lights a brighter flame
Than ever blazed by art.
No muses on these lines attend,
I sink the poet in the friend.
BOOK I. —THE SOFA.
[“The o of the following production is briefly this: A lady, fond of blank verse, demanded a poem of that kind from the author, and to: him the SOFA for a subject. . He obeyed, and having muc leisure, connected another subject with it; and, pursuing the train of thought to which his situation an turn of mind led him, brought forth, at length, instead of the trifle which he at first intended, a serious affair—a Volume.” Such was the short and graceful introduction to The Task.]
SING the Sofa. I, who lately sang Truth, Hope, and Charity, and touch'd with awe The solemn chords, and with a trembling hand, Escaped with pain from that advent'rous flight, Now seek repose upon a humbler theme; The theme though humble, yet august and proud Th' occasion—for the Fair commands the song.