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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 rock 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!)
In being touch'd, and crying.... Don't!
A poet, in his ev’ning walk,
O’erheard and check'd this idle talk.
And your fine sense, he said, and your's,
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 enclos’d,
Complain of being thus expos’d:
Yet nothing feel in that rough coat,
Save when the knife is at your throat,
Wherever driv'n by wind or tide,
Exempt from ev'ry 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, shew'd he felt it.
THE GIFT OF MY COUSIN ANN BODHAM.
Oh that those lips had language ! Life has pass’d
With me but roughly since I heard thee last.
Those lips are thine....thy own sweet smiles 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,
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 reverie,
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 unseen, 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 sound shall pass my lips no more !
Thy maidens griev'd themselves at my concern,
gave me promise of a quick return.
What ardently I wish'd, I long believ'd,
And, disappointed still, was still deceiv'd;
By disappointment every day beguild,
Dupe of to-morrow even from a child.
Thus many a sad to-morrow came and went,
stock of infant sorrow spent,
I learn'd at last submission to my lot,
But, though I less deplor'd thee, ne'er forgot.
Where once we dwelt our name is heard no more, Children not thine have trod my nurs’ry floor ; And where the gard'ner 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 capt,
'Tis now become a history little known,
That once we calld the past’ral house our own.
Short liv'd possession! but the record fair,
That mem'ry keeps of all thy kindness there,
Still outlives many a storm that has effac'd
A thousand other themes less deeply trac’d.
Thy nightly visits to my chamber made,
That thou might'st know me safe and warmly laid;
Thy morning bounties ere I left my home,
The biseuit, 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 interpos'd too often makes;
All this still legible in mem'ry's page,
And still to be
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 notic'd here.
Could time, his flight revers'd, restore the hours,
When, playing with thy vesture's tissued flow'rs,
The violet, the pink, and jessamine,
I'prick'd them into paper with a pin,
(And thou wast happier than myself the while,
Would'st softly speak, and stroke my head and smile)
Could those few pleasant hours again appear,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here?