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Strikes through their wounded hearts the sudden
dread: But their hearts wounded, like the wounded air, Soon close; where, past the shaft, no trace is found. As from the wing no scar the sky retains, The parted wave no furrow from the keel, So dies in human hearts the thought of death: Even with the tender tear which nature sheds O'er those we love, we drop it in their grave.
DESCRIPTION OF THE SWISS.
My soul turn from them, turn we to survey
Where rougher climes a nobler race display;
Where the bleak Swiss their stormy mansions tread,
And force a churlish soil for scanty
No product here the barren hills afford,
But man and steel, the soldier and his sword:
No vernal blooms their torpid rocks array,
Bat winter, lingering, chills the lap of May;
No zephyr fondly sues the mountain's breast,
But meteors glare, and stormy glooms invest.
Yet still, even here, content can spread a charm,
Redress the clime, and all its rage disarm.
Though poor the peasant's hut, his feasts though
He sees his little lot the lot of all;
Sees no contiguous palace rear its head,
To shame the meanness of his humble shed;
No costly lord the sumptuous banquet deal,
To make him loathe his vegetable meal :
But calm, and bred in ignorance and toil,
Each wish contracting, fits him to the soil.
Cheerful at mom, he wakes from short repose,
Breathes the keen air, and carols as he goes;
With patient angle trolls the finny deep,
Or drives his venturous ploughshare to the stoep;
Or seeks the den where snow-tracks mark the way,
And drags the struggling savage into day.
At night returning, every labour sped,
He sits him down the monarch of a shed;
Smiles by his cheerful fire, and round surveys
His children's looks, that brighten at the blaze ;
While his loved partner, boastful of her hoard,
Displays her cleanly platter on the board:
And haply too some pilgrim thither led,
With many a tale repays the nightly bed.
Thus every good his native wilds impart,
Imprints the patriot passion on his heart;
And even those hills that round his mansion rise,
Enhance the bliss his scanty fund supplies :
Dear is that shed to which his soul conforms,
And dear that hill which lifts him to the storms;
And as a child, when scaring sounds molest,
Clings close and closer to the mother's breast;
So the loud torrent, and the whirlwind's roar,
But bind him to his native mountains more.
Such are the charms to barren states assign'd;
Their wants but few, their wishes all confined :
Yet let them only share the praises due,
If few their wants, their pleasures are but few;
For every want that stimulates the breast,
Becomes a source of pleasure when redress'd.
ON THE RECEIPT OF HIS MOTHER'S
Oh, that those lips had language! Life has pass'd With me but roughly since I heard thee last. Those lips are thine,—thine own sweet smile I see, The same that oft in childhood solaced me;
Voice only fails, else how distinct they say,
“Grieve not, my child; chase all thy fears away!"
The meek intelligence of those dear eyes,
(Blest 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,
O welcome guest, though unexpected here !
Who bidst 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 reverie,
A momentary dream, that thou art she.
My mother! when I learnt 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 toll’d on thy burial day,
saw the hearse that bore thee slow away,
And, turning from my nursery 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 word 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 my nursery floor; And where the gardener Robin, day by day, Drew me to school along the public way, Delighted with my bauble coach, and wrapt In scarlet mantle warm, and velvet cap, 'Tis now become a history little known, That once we call’d the pastoral house our own. Short-lived possession! but the record fair, That memory 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 plum; 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 memory'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 heaven, though little noticed here. Could Time, his flight reversed, restore the hours, When, playing with thy vesture's tissued flowers, The violet, the pink, and Jessamine, I prick'd them into paper with a pin, (And thou wast happier than myself the while, Wouldst softly speak, and stroke my head, and smile)
Could those few pleasant hours again appear,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them
I would not trust my heart,—the dear delight
Seems so to be desired, perhaps I might.
But nowhat here we call our life is such,
So little to be loved, and thou so much,
That I should ill requite thee to constrain
Thy unbounded spirit into bonds again.
Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast,
The storms all weather’d, and the ocean cross'd,
Shoots into port at some well-favour'd isle,
Where spices breathe, and brighter seasons smile,
There sits quiescent on the floods, that show
Her beauteous form reflected clear below,
While airs impregnated with incense play
Around her, fanning light her streamers gay:
So thou, with sails how swift! hast reach'd the shore,
“Where tempests never beat, nor billows roar;"
And thy loved consort on the dangerous tide
Of life long since has anchor'd by thy side.
But me, scarce hoping to attain the rest,
Always from port withheld, always distress'd-
Me howling blasts drive devious, tempest-toss'd,
Sails ripp'd, seams opening wide, and compass lost;
And day by day some current's thwarting force
Sets me more distant from a prosperous course.
Yet O! the thought, that thou art safe, and he!
That thought is joy, arrive what may to me.
My boast is not that I deduce my birth
From loins enthroned, and rulers of the earth ;
But higher far my proud pretensions rise
The son of parents pass'd into the skies.
And now, farewell-Time unrevoked has run
His wonted course, yet what I wish'd is done.
By contemplation's help, not sought in vain,
I seem to have lived my childhood o'er again;