Part 14 out of 33
For him there's a story in every breeze,
And a picture in every wave.
Then sing to lighten the languid way;
When brows are glowing,
And faint with rowing,
'Tis like the spell of Hope's airy lay,
To whose sound thro' life we stray.
* * * * *
'Tis sweet to behold when the billows are sleeping,
Some gay-colored bark moving gracefully by;
No damp on her deck but the eventide's weeping,
No breath in her sails but the summer wind's sigh.
Yet who would not turn with a fonder emotion,
To gaze on the life-boat, tho' rugged and worn.
Which often hath wafted o'er hills of the ocean
The lost light of hope to the seaman forlorn!
Oh! grant that of those who in life's sunny slumber
Around us like summer-barks idly have played,
When storms are abroad we may find in the number
One friend, like the life-boat, to fly to our aid.
* * * * *
When Lelia touched the lute,
Not _then_ alone 'twas felt,
But when the sounds were mute,
In memory still they dwelt.
Sweet lute! in nightly slumbers
Still we heard thy morning numbers.
Ah, how could she who stole
Such breath from simple wire,
Be led, in pride of soul,
To string with gold her lyre?
Sweet lute! thy chords she breaketh;
Golden now the strings she waketh!
But where are all the tales
Her lute so sweetly told?
In lofty themes she fails,
And soft ones suit not gold.
Rich lute! we see thee glisten,
But, alas! no more we listen!
* * * * *
Young Love lived once in a humble shed,
Where roses breathing
And woodbines wreathing
Around the lattice their tendrils spread,
As wild and sweet as the life he led.
His garden flourisht,
For young Hope nourisht.
The infant buds with beams and showers;
But lips, tho' blooming, must still be fed,
And not even Love can live on flowers.
Alas! that Poverty's evil eye
Should e'er come hither,
Such sweets to wither!
The flowers laid down their heads to die,
And Hope fell sick as the witch drew nigh.
She came one morning.
Ere Love had warning,
And raised the latch, where the young god lay;
"Oh ho!" said Love--"is it you? good-by;"
So he oped the window and flew away!
* * * * *
Spirit of Joy, thy altar lies
In youthful hearts that hope like mine;
And 'tis the light of laughing eyes
That leads us to thy fairy shrine.
There if we find the sigh, the tear,
They are not those to sorrow known;
But breathe so soft, and drop so clear,
That bliss may claim them for her own.
Then give me, give me, while I weep,
The sanguine hope that brightens woe,
And teaches even our tears to keep
The tinge of pleasure as they flow.
The child who sees the dew of night
Upon the spangled hedge at morn,
Attempts to catch the drops of light,
But wounds his finger with the thorn.
Thus oft the brightest joys we seek,
Are lost when touched, and turned to pain;
The flush they kindle leaves the cheek,
The tears they waken long remain.
But give me, give me, etc.
* * * * *
To sigh, yet feel no pain.
To weep, yet scarce know why;
To sport an hour with Beauty's chain,
Then throw it idly by;
To kneel at many a shrine,
Yet lay the heart on none;
To think all other charms divine,
But those we just have won;
This is love, careless love,
Such as kindleth hearts that rove.
To keep one sacred flame,
Thro' life unchilled, unmoved,
To love in wintry age the same
As first in youth we loved;
To feel that we adore
To such refined excess.
That tho' the heart would break with _more_,
We could not live with _less_;
This is love, faithful love,
Such as saints might feel above.
* * * * *
Dear aunt, in the olden time of love,
When women like slaves were spurned,
A maid gave her heart, as she would her glove,
To be teased by a fop, and returned!
But women grow wiser as men improve.
And, tho' beaux, like monkeys, amuse us,
Oh! think not we'd give such a delicate gem
As the heart to be played with or sullied by them;
No, dearest aunt, excuse us.
We may know by the head on Cupid's seal
What impression the heart will take;
If shallow the head, oh! soon we feel
What a poor impression 'twill make!
Tho' plagued, Heaven knows! by the foolish zeal
Of the fondling fop who pursues me,
Oh, think not I'd follow their desperate rule,
Who get rid of the folly by wedding the fool;
No, dearest aunt! excuse me.
* * * * *
When Charles was deceived by the maid he loved,
We saw no cloud his brow o'er-casting,
But proudly he smiled as if gay and unmoved,
Tho' the wound in his heart was deep and lasting.
And oft at night when the tempest rolled
He sung as he paced the dark deck over--
"Blow, wind, blow! thou art not so cold
As the heart of a maid that deceives her lover."
Yet he lived with the happy and seemed to be gay,
Tho' the wound but sunk more deep for concealing;
And Fortune threw many a thorn in his way,
Which, true to one anguish, he trod without feeling!
And still by the frowning of Fate unsubdued
He sung as if sorrow had placed him above her--
"Frown, Fate, frown! thou art not so rude
As the heart of a maid that deceives her lover."
At length his career found a close in death,
The close he long wished to his cheerless roving,
For Victory shone on his latest breath,
And he died in a cause of his heart's approving.
But still he remembered his sorrow,--and still
He sung till the vision of life was over--
"Come, death, come! thou art not so chill
As the heart of a maid that deceives her lover."
* * * * *
When life looks lone and dreary,
What light can dispel the gloom?
When Time's swift wing grows weary,
What charm can refresh his plume?
'Tis woman whose sweetness beameth
O'er all that we feel or see;
And if man of heaven e'er dreameth,
'Tis when he thinks purely of thee,
Let conquerors fight for glory,
Too dearly the meed they gain;
Let patriots live in story--
Too often they die in vain;
Give kingdoms to those who choose 'em,
This world can offer to me
No throne like Beauty's bosom,
No freedom like serving thee,
A lottery, a Lottery,
In Cupid's court there used to be;
Two roguish eyes
The highest prize
In Cupid's scheming Lottery;
And kisses, too,
As good as new,
Which weren't very hard to win,
For he who won
The eyes of fun
Was sure to have the kisses in
A Lottery, a Lottery, etc.
This Lottery, this Lottery,
In Cupid's court went merrily,
And Cupid played
A Jewish trade
In this his scheming Lottery;
For hearts, we're told,
In _shares_ he sold
To many a fond believing drone,
And cut the hearts
In sixteen parts
So well, each thought the whole his own.
_Chor_.--A Lottery, a Lottery, etc.
* * * * *
Tho' sacred the tie that our country entwineth,
And dear to the heart her remembrance remains,
Yet dark are the ties where no liberty shineth,
And sad the remembrance that slavery stains.
O thou who wert born in the cot of the peasant,
But diest in languor in luxury's dome,
Our vision when absent--our glory, when present--
Where thou art, O Liberty! there is my home.
Farewell to the land where in childhood I've wandered!
In vain is she mighty, in vain, is she brave!
Unblest is the blood that for tyrants is squandered,
And fame has no wreaths for the brow of the slave.
But hail to thee, Albion! who meet'st the commotion.
Of Europe as calm as thy cliffs meet the foam!
With no bonds but the law, and no slave but the ocean,
Hail, Temple of Liberty! thou art my home.
* * * * *
Oh think, when a hero is sighing,
What danger in such an adorer!
What woman can dream' of denying
The hand that lays laurels before her?
No heart is so guarded around,
But the smile of the victor will take it;
No bosom can slumber so sound,
But the trumpet of glory will wake it.
Love sometimes is given to sleeping,
And woe to the heart that allows him;
For oh, neither smiling nor weeping
Has power at those moments to rouse him.
But tho' he was sleeping so fast,
That the life almost seemed to forsake him,
Believe me, one soul-thrilling blast
From the trumpet of glory would wake him.
* * * * *
Mr. Orator Puff had two tones in his voice,
The one squeaking thus, and the other down so!
In each sentence he uttered he gave you your choice,
For one was B alt, and the rest G below.
Oh! oh, Orator Puff!
One voice for one orator's surely enough.
But he still talked away spite of coughs and of frowns,
So distracting all ears with his ups and his downs,
That a wag once on hearing the orator say,
"My voice is for war," asked him, "Which of them, pray?"
Oh! oh! etc.
Reeling homewards one evening, top-heavy with gin,
And rehearsing his speech on the weight of the crown,
He tript near a sawpit, and tumbled right in,
"Sinking Fund," the last words as his noddle came down.
Oh! oh, etc.
"Help! help!" he exclaimed, in his he and she tones,
"Help me out! help me out--I have broken my bones!"
"Help you out?" said a Paddy who passed, "what a bother!
Why, there's two of you there, can't you help one another?"
Oh I oh! etc.
SPOKEN BY MR. COBBY, IN THE CHARACTER OF VAPID, AFTER THE PLAY OF THE
DRAMATIST, AT THE KILKENNY THEATRE.
(_Entering as if to announce the Play_.)
Ladies and Gentlemen, on Monday night,
For the ninth time--oh accents of delight
To the poor author's ear, when _three times three_
With a full bumper crowns, his Comedy!
When, long by money, and the muse, forsaken,
He finds at length his jokes and boxes taken,
And sees his play-bill circulate--alas,
The only bill on which his name will pass!
Thus, Vapid, thus shall Thespian scrolls of fame
Thro' box and gallery waft your well-known name,
While critic eyes the happy cast shall con,
And learned ladies spell your _Dram. Person_.
'Tis said our worthy Managerintends
To help my night, and _he_, ye know, has friends.
Friends, did I say? for fixing friends, or _parts_,
Engaging actors, or engaging hearts,
There's nothing like him! wits, at his request.
Are turned to fools, and dull dogs learn to jest;
Soldiers, for him, good "trembling cowards" make,
And beaus, turned clowns, look ugly for his sake;
For him even lawyers talk without a fee,
For him (oh friendship) _I_ act tragedy!
In short, like Orpheus, his persuasive tricks
Make _boars_ amusing, and put life in _sticks_.
With _such_ a manager we can't but please,
Tho' London sent us all her loud O. P.'s,
Let them come on, like snakes, all hiss and rattle,
Armed with a thousand fans, we'd give them battle;
You, on our side, R. P.upon our banners,
Soon should we teach the saucy O. P.'s manners:
And show that, here--howe'er John Bull may doubt--
In all _our_ plays, the Riot-Act's cut out;
And, while we skim the cream of many a jest,
Your well-timed thunder never sours its zest.
Oh gently thus, when three short weeks are past,
At Shakespeare's altar, shall we breathe our last;
And, ere this long-loved dome to ruin nods,
Die all, die nobly, die like demigods!
 The late Mr. Richard Power.
 The brief appellation by which these persons were distinguished who,
at the opening of the new theatre of Convent Garden, clamored for the
continuance of the old prices of admission.
 The initials of our manager's name.
 This alludes to a scenic representation then preparing for the last
night of the performances.
FROM A PROLOGUE WRITTEN AND SPOKEN BY THE AUTHOR, AT THE OPENING OF THE
KILKENNY THEATRE, OCTOBER, 1809.
* * * * *
Yet, even here, tho' Fiction rules the hour,
There shine some genuine smiles, beyond her power;
And there are tears, too--tears that Memory sheds
Even o'er the feast that mimic fancy spreads,
When her heart misses one lamented guest,
Whose eye so long threw light o'er all the rest!
There, there, indeed, the Muse forgets her task,
And drooping weeps behind Thalia's mask.
Forgive this gloom--forgive this joyless strain,
Too sad to welcome pleasure's smiling train.
But, meeting thus, our hearts will part the lighter,
As mist at dawn but makes the setting brighter;
Gay Epilogue will shine where Prologue fails--
As glow-worms keep their splendor for their tails.
I know not why--but time, methinks, hath past
More fleet than usual since we parted last.
It seems but like a dream of yesternight.
Whose charm still hangs, with fond, delaying light;
And, ere the memory lose one glowing hue
Of former joy, we come to kindle new.
Thus ever may the flying moments haste
With trackless foot along life's vulgar waste,
But deeply print and lingeringly move,
When thus they reach the sunny spots we love.
Oh yes, whatever be our gay career,
Let this be still the solstice of the year,
Where Pleasure's sun shall at its height remain,
And slowly sink to level life again.
 The late Mr. John Lyster, one of the oldest members and best actors of
the Kilkenny Theatrical Society.
THE SYLPH'S BALL.
A sylph, as bright as ever sported
Her figure thro' the fields of air,
By an old swarthy Gnome was courted.
And, strange to say, he won the fair.
The annals of the oldest witch
A pair so sorted could not show,
But how refuse?--the Gnome was rich,
The Rothschild of the world below;
And Sylphs, like other pretty creatures,
Are told, betimes, they must consider
Love as an auctioneer of features,
Who knocks them down to the best bidder.
Home she was taken to his Mine--
A Palace paved with diamonds all--
And, proud as Lady Gnome to shine,
Sent out her tickets for a ball.
The _lower_ world of course was there,
And all the best; but of the _upper_
The sprinkling was but shy and rare,--
A few old Sylphids who loved supper.
As none yet knew the wondrous Lamp
Of DAVY, that renowned Aladdin,
And the Gnome's Halls exhaled a damp
Which accidents from fire were had in;
The chambers were supplied with light
By many strange but safe devices;
Large fire-flies, such as shine at night
Among the Orient's flowers and spices;--
Musical flint-mills--swiftly played
By elfin hands--that, flashing round,
Like certain fire-eyed minstrel maids,
Gave out at once both light and sound.
Bologna stones that drink the sun;
And water from that Indian sea,
Whose waves at night like wildfire run--
Corked up in crystal carefully.
Glow-worms that round the tiny dishes
Like little light-houses, were set up;
And pretty phosphorescent fishes
That by their own gay light were eat up.
'Mong the few guests from Ether came
That wicked Sylph whom Love we call--
My Lady knew him but by name,
My Lord, her husband, not at all.
Some prudent Gnomes, 'tis said, apprised
That he was coming, and, no doubt
Alarmed about his torch, advised
He should by all means be kept out.
But others disapproved this plan,
And by his flame tho' somewhat frighted,
Thought Love too much a gentleman
In such a dangerous place to light it.
However, _there_ he was--and dancing
With the fair Sylph, light as a feather;
They looked like two fresh sunbeams glancing
At daybreak down to earth together.
And all had gone off safe and well,
But for that plaguy torch whose light,
Though not _yet_ kindled--who could tell
How soon, how devilishly, it _might_?
And so it chanced--which, in those dark
And fireless halls was quite amazing;
Did we not know how small a spark
Can set the torch of Love a-blazing.
Whether it came (when close entangled
In the gay waltz) from her bright eyes,
Or from the _lucciole_, that spangled
Her locks of jet--is all surmise;
But certain 'tis the ethereal girl
_Did_ drop a spark at some odd turning,
Which by the waltz's windy whirl
Was fanned up into actual burning.
Oh for that Lamp's metallic gauze,
That curtain of protecting wire,
Which DAVY delicately draws
Around illicit, dangerous fire!--
The wall he sets 'twixt Flame and Air,
(Like that which barred young Thisbe's bliss,)
Thro' whose small holes this dangerous pair
May see each other but not kiss.
At first the torch looked rather bluely,--
A sign, they say, that no good boded--
Then quick the gas became unruly.
And, crack! the ball-room all exploded.
Sylphs, gnomes, and fiddlers mixt together,
With all their aunts, sons, cousins, nieces,
Like butterflies in stormy weather,
Were blown--legs, wings, and tails--to pieces!
While, mid these victims of the torch,
The Sylph, alas, too, bore her part--
Found lying with a livid scorch
As if from lightning o'er her heart!
* * * * *
"Well done"--a laughing Goblin said--
Escaping from this gaseous strife--
"'Tis not the _first_ time Love has made
"A _blow-up_ in connubial life!"
_After a Conversation with Lord John Russell, in which he had intimated
some Idea of giving up all political Pursuits. _
What! _thou_, with thy genius, thy youth, and thy name--
Thou, born of a Russell--whose instinct to run
The accustomed career of thy sires, is the same
As the eaglet's, to soar with his eyes on the sun!
Whose nobility comes to thee, stampt with a seal,
Far, far more ennobling than monarch e'er set;
With the blood of thy race, offered up for the weal
Of a nation that swears by that martyrdom yet!
Shalt _thou_ be faint-hearted and turn from the strife,
From the mighty arena, where all that is grand
And devoted and pure and adorning in life,
'Tis for high-thoughted spirits like thine to command?
Oh no, never dream it--while good men despair
Between tyrants and traitors, and timid men bow,
Never think for an instant thy country can spare
Such a light from her darkening horizon as thou.
With a spirit, as meek as the gentlest of those
Who in life's sunny valley lie sheltered and warm;
Yet bold and heroic as ever yet rose
To the top cliffs of Fortune and breasted her storm;
With an ardor for liberty fresh as in youth
It first kindles the bard and gives life to his lyre;
Yet mellowed, even now, by that mildness of truth
Which tempers but chills not the patriot fire;
With an eloquence--not like those rills from a height,
Which sparkle and foam and in vapor are o'er;
But a current that works out its way into light
Thro' the filtering recesses of thought and of lore.
Thus gifted, thou never canst sleep in the shade;
If the stirrings of Genius, the music of fame,
And the charms of thy cause have not power to persuade,
Yet think how to Freedom thou'rt pledged by thy Name.
Like the boughs of that laurel by Delphi's decree
Set apart for the Fane and its service divine,
So the branches that spring from the old Russell tree
Are by Liberty _claimed_ for the use of her Shrine.
"My birth-day"--what a different sound
That word had in my youthful ears!
And how, each time the day comes round,
Less and less white its mark appears!
"When first our scanty years are told,
It seems like pastime to grow old;
And as Youth counts the shining links
That Time around him binds so fast,
Pleased with the task, he little thinks
How hard that chain will press at last.
Vain was the man, and false as vain,
Who said--"were he ordained to run
"His long career of life again,
"He would do all that he _had_ done."--
Ah, 'tis not thus the voice that dwells
In sober birth-days speaks to me;
Far otherwise--of time it tells,
Lavished unwisely, carelessly:
Of counsel mockt; of talents made
Haply for high and pure designs,
But oft, like Israel's incense, laid
Upon unholy, earthly shrines;
Of nursing many a wrong desire,
Of wandering after Love too far,
And taking every meteor fire
That crost my pathway, for his star.--
All this it tells, and, could I trace
The imperfect picture o'er again.
With power to add, retouch, efface
The lights and shades, the joy and pain,
How little of the past would stay!
How quickly all should melt away--
All--but that Freedom of the Mind
Which hath been more than wealth to me;
Those friendships, in my boyhood twined,
And kept till now unchangingly,
And that dear home, that saving ark,
Where Love's true light at last I've found,
Cheering within, when all grows dark
And comfortless and stormy round!
The more I've viewed this world, the more I've found,
That filled as 'tis with scenes and creatures rare,
Fancy commands within her own bright round
A world of scenes and creatures far more fair.
Nor is it that her power can call up there
A single charm, that's not from Nature won,--
No more than rainbows in their pride can wear
A single tint unborrowed from the sun;
But 'tis the mental medium; it shines thro',
That lends to Beauty all its charm and hue;
As the same light that o'er the level lake
One dull monotony of lustre flings,
Will, entering in the rounded raindrop, make
Colors as gay as those on angels' wings!
Yes! had I leisure to sigh and mourn,
Fanny dearest, for thee I'd sigh;
And every smile on my cheek should turn
To tears when thou art nigh.
But between love and wine and sleep,
So busy a life I live,
That even the time it would take to weep
Is more than my heart can give.
Then wish me not to despair and pine,
Fanny, dearest of all the dears!
The Love that's ordered to bathe in wine,
Would be sure to take cold in tears.
Reflected bright in this heart of mine,
Fanny dearest, thy image lies;
But ah! the mirror would cease to shine,
If dimmed too often with sighs.
They lose the half of beauty's light,
Who view it thro' sorrow's tear;
And 'tis but to see thee truly bright
That I keep my eye-beams clear.
Then wait no longer till tears shall flow--
Fanny, dearest! the hope is vain;
If sunshine cannot dissolve thy snow,
I shall never attempt it with rain.
TRANSLATIONS FROM CATULLUS.
_dicebas quondam, etc_.
Thou told'st me, in our days of love,
That I had all that heart of thine;
That, even to share the couch of Jove,
Thou wouldst not, Lesbia, part from mine.
How purely wert thou worshipt then!
Not with the vague and vulgar fires
Which Beauty wakes in soulless men,--
But loved, as children by their sires.
That flattering dream, alas, is o'er;--
I know thee now--and tho' these eyes
Doat on thee wildly as before,
Yet, even in doating, I despise.
Yes, sorceress--mad as it may seem--
With all thy craft, such spells adorn thee,
That passion even outlives esteem.
And I at once adore--and scorn thee.
_pauca nunciate meae puellae_.
Comrades and friends! with whom, where'er
The fates have willed thro' life I've roved,
Now speed ye home, and with you bear
These bitter words to her I've loved.
Tell her from fool to fool to run,
Where'er her vain caprice may call;
Of all her dupes not loving one,
But ruining and maddening all.
Bid her forget--what now is past--
Our once dear love, whose rain lies
Like a fair flower, the meadow's last.
Which feels the ploughshare's edge and dies!
_peninsularum Sirmio, insularumque ocelle_.
Sweet Sirmio! thou, the very eye
Of all peninsulas and isles,
That in our lakes of silver lie,
Or sleep enwreathed by Neptune's smiles--
How gladly back to thee I fly!
Still doubting, asking--_can_ it be
That I have left Bithynia's sky,
And gaze in safety upon thee?
Oh! what is happier than to find
Our hearts at ease, our perils past;
When, anxious long, the lightened mind
Lays down its load of care at last:
When tired with toil o'er land and deep,
Again we tread the welcome floor
Of our own home, and sink to sleep
On the long-wished-for bed once more.
This, this it is that pays alone
The ills of all life's former track.--
Shine out, my beautiful, my own
Sweet Sirmio, greet thy master back.
And thou, fair Lake, whose water quaffs
The light of heaven like Lydia's sea,
Rejoice, rejoice--let all that laughs
Abroad, at home, laugh out for me!
TIBULLUS TO SULPICIA.
_nulla tuum nobis subducet femina lectum, etc.,
Lib. iv. Carm. 13_.
"Never shall woman's smile have power
"To win me from those gentle charms!"--
Thus swore I, in that happy hour,
When Love first gave thee to my arms.
And still alone thou charm'st my sight--
Still, tho' our city proudly shine
With forms and faces, fair and bright,
I see none fair or bright but thine.
Would thou wert fair for only me,
And couldst no heart but mine allure!--
To all men else unpleasing be,
So shall I feel my prize secure.
Oh, love like mine ne'er wants the zest
Of others' envy, others' praise;
But, in its silence safely blest,
Broods o'er a bliss it ne'er betrays.
Charm of my life! by whose sweet power
All cares are husht, all ills subdued--
My light in even the darkest hour,
My crowd in deepest solitude!
No, not tho' heaven itself sent down
Some maid of more than heavenly charms,
With bliss undreamt thy bard to crown,
Would he for her forsake those arms!
FROM THE FRENCH.
With women and apples both Paris and Adam
Made mischief enough in their day:--
God be praised that the fate of mankind, my dear Madam,
Depends not on _us_, the same way.
For, weak as I am with temptation to grapple,
The world would have doubly to rue thee:
Like Adam, I'd gladly take _from_ thee the apple,
Like Paris, at once give it _to_ thee.
INVITATION TO DINNER.
ADDRESSED TO LORD LANSDOWNE.
Some think we bards have nothing real;
That poets live among the stars so,
Their very dinners are ideal,--
(And, heaven knows, too oft they _are_ so,)--
For instance, that we have, instead
Of vulgar chops and stews and hashes,
First course--a Phoenix, at the head.
Done in its own celestial ashes;
At foot, a cygnet which kept singing
All the time its neck was wringing.
Side dishes, thus--Minerva's owl,
Or any such like learned fowl:
Doves, such as heaven's poulterer gets,
When Cupid shoots his mother's pets.
Larks stewed in Morning's roseate breath,
Or roasted by a sunbeam's splendor;
And nightingales, berhymed to death--
Like young pigs whipt to make them tender.
Such fare may suit those bards, who are able
To banquet at Duke Humphrey's table;
But as for me, who've long been taught
To eat and drink like other people;
And can put up with mutton, bought
Where Bromham rears its ancient steeple--
If Lansdowne will consent to share
My humble feast, tho' rude the fare,
Yet, seasoned by that salt he brings
From Attica's salinest springs,
'Twill turn to dainties;--while the cup,
Beneath his influence brightening up,
Like that of Baucis, touched by Jove,
Will sparkle fit for gods above!
 A picturesque village in sight of my cottage, and from which it is
separated out by a small verdant valley.
VERSES TO THE POET CRABBE'S INKSTAND.
(WRITTEN MAY, 1832.)
All, as he left it!--even the pen,
So lately at that mind's command,
Carelessly lying, as if then
Just fallen from his gifted hand.
Have we then lost him? scarce an hour,
A little hour, seems to have past,
Since Life and Inspiration's power
Around that relic breathed their last.
Ah, powerless now--like talisman
Found in some vanished wizard's halls,
Whose mighty charm with him began,
Whose charm with him extinguisht falls.
Yet, tho', alas! the gifts that shone
Around that pen's exploring track,
Be now, with its great master, gone,
Nor living hand can call them back;
Who does not feel, while thus his eyes
Rest on the enchanter's broken wand,
Each earth-born spell it worked arise
Before him in succession grand?
Grand, from the Truth that reigns o'er all;
The unshrinking truth that lets her light
Thro' Life's low, dark, interior fall,
Opening the whole, severely bright:
Yet softening, as she frowns along,
O'er scenes which angels weep to see--
Where Truth herself half veils the Wrong,
In pity of the Misery.
True bard!--and simple, as the race
Of true-born poets ever are,
When, stooping from their starry place,
They're children near, tho' gods afar.
How freshly doth my mind recall,
'Mong the few days I've known with thee,
One that, most buoyantly of all,
Floats in the wake of memory;
When he, the poet, doubly graced,
In life, as in his perfect strain,
With that pure, mellowing power of Taste,
Without which Fancy shines in vain;
Who in his page will leave behind,
Pregnant with genius tho' it be,
But half the treasures of a mind,
Where Sense o'er all holds mastery:--
Friend of long years! of friendship tried
Thro' many a bright and dark event;
In doubts, my judge--in taste, my guide--
In all, my stay and ornament!
He, too, was of our feast that day,
And all were guests of one whose hand
Hath shed a new and deathless ray
Around the lyre of this great land;
In whose sea-odes--as in those shells
Where Ocean's voice of majesty
Seems still to sound--immortal dwells
Old Albion's Spirit of the Sea.
Such was our host; and tho', since then,
Slight clouds have risen 'twixt him and me,
Who would not grasp such hand again,
Stretched forth again in amity?
Who can, in this short life, afford
To let such mists a moment stay,
When thus one frank, atoning word,
Like sunshine, melts them all away?
Bright was our board that day--tho' _one_
Unworthy brother there had place;
As 'mong the horses of the Sun,
One was, they say, of earthly race.
Yet, _next_ to Genius is the power
Of feeling where true Genius lies;
And there was light around that hour
Such as, in memory, never dies;
Light which comes o'er me as I gaze,
Thou Relic of the Dead, on thee,
Like all such dreams of vanisht days,
Brightly, indeed--but mournfully!
 Soon after Mr. Crabbe's death, the sons of that gentleman did me the
honor of presenting to me the inkstand, pencil, etc., which their
distinguished father had long been in the habit of using.
 The lines that follow allude to a day passed in company with Mr.
Crabbe, many years since, when a party, consisting only of Mr. Rogers, Mr.
Crabbe, and the author of these verses, had the pleasure of dining with
Mr. Thomas Campbell, at his house at Sydenham.
TO CAROLINE, VISCOUNTESS VALLETORT.
WRITTEN AT LACOCK ABBEY, JANUARY, 1832.
When I would sing thy beauty's light,
Such various forms, and all so bright,
I've seen thee, from thy childhood, wear,
I know not which to call most fair,
Nor 'mong the countless charms that spring
For ever round thee, _which_ to sing.
When I would paint thee as thou _art_,
Then all thou _wert_ comes o'er my heart--
The graceful child in Beauty's dawn
Within the nursery's shade withdrawn,
Or peeping out--like a young moon
Upon a world 'twill brighten soon.
Then next in girlhood's blushing hour,
As from thy own loved Abbey-tower
I've seen thee look, all radiant, down,
With smiles that to the hoary frown
Of centuries round thee lent a ray,
Chasing even Age's gloom away;--
Or in the world's resplendent throng,
As I have markt thee glide along,
Among the crowds of fair and great
A spirit, pure and separate,
To which even Admiration's eye
Was fearful to approach too nigh;--
A creature circled by a spell
Within which nothing wrong could dwell;
And fresh and clear as from the source.
Holding through life her limpid course,
Like Arethusa thro' the sea,
Stealing in fountain purity.
Now, too, another change of light!
As noble bride, still meekly bright
Thou bring'st thy Lord a dower above
All earthly price, pure woman's love;
And showd'st what lustre Rank receives,
When with his proud Corinthian leaves
Her rose this high-bred Beauty weaves.
Wonder not if, where all's so fair,
To choose were more than bard can dare;
Wonder not if, while every scene
I've watched thee thro' so bright hath been,
The enamored muse should, in her quest
Of beauty, know not where to rest,
But, dazzled, at thy feet thus fall,
Hailing thee beautiful in all!
Of all speculations the market holds forth,
The best that I know for a lover of pelf,
Is to buy Marcus up, at the price he is worth,
And then sell him at that which he sets on himself.
TO MY MOTHER.
WRITTEN IN A POCKET BOOK, 1822.
They tell us of an Indian tree,
Which, howsoe'er the sun and sky
May tempt its boughs to wander free,
And shoot and blossom wide and high,
Far better loves to bend its arms
Downward again to that dear earth,
From which the life that, fills and warms
Its grateful being, first had birth.
'Tis thus, tho' wooed by flattering friends,
And fed with fame (_if_ fame it be)
This heart, my own dear mother, bends,
With love's true instinct, back to thee!
LOVE AND HYMEN.
Love had a fever--ne'er could close
His little eyes till day was breaking;
And wild and strange enough, Heaven knows,
The things he raved about while waking.
To let him pine so were a sin;--
One to whom all the world's a debtor--
So Doctor Hymen was called in,
And Love that night slept rather better.
Next day the case gave further hope yet,
Tho' still some ugly fever latent;--
"Dose, as before"--a gentle opiate.
For which old Hymen has a patent.
After a month of daily call,
So fast the dose went on restoring,
That Love, who first ne'er slept at all,
Now took, the rogue! to downright snoring.
LINES ON THE ENTRY OF THE AUSTRIANS INTO NAPLES, 1821.
Ay--down to the dust with them, slaves as they are,
From this hour let the blood in their dastardly veins,
That shrunk at the first touch of Liberty's war,
Be wasted for tyrants, or stagnate in chains.
On, on like a cloud, thro' their beautiful vales,
Ye locusts of tyranny, blasting them o'er--
Fill, fill up their wide sunny waters, ye sails
From each slave-mart of Europe and shadow their shore!
Let their fate be a mock-word--let men of all lands
Laugh out with a scorn that shall ring to the poles,
When each sword that the cowards let fall from their hands
Shall be forged into fetters to enter their souls.
And deep, and more deep, as the iron is driven,
Base slaves! let the whet of their agony be,
To think--as the Doomed often think of that heaven
They had once within reach--that they _might_ have been free.
Oh shame! when there was not a bosom whose heat
Ever rose 'bove the _zero_ of Castlereagh's heart.
That did not, like echo, your war-hymn repeat,
And send all its prayers with your Liberty's start;
When the world stood in hope--when a spirit that breathed
The fresh air of the olden time whispered about;
And the swords of all Italy, halfway unsheathed,
But waited one conquering cry to flash out!
When around you the shades of your Mighty in fame,
FILICAJAS and PETRARCHS, seemed bursting to view,
And their words and their warnings, like tongues of bright flame
Over Freedom's apostles, fell kindling on you!
Oh shame! that in such a proud moment of life
Worth the history of ages, when, had you but hurled
One bolt at your tyrant invader, that strife
Between freemen and tyrants had spread thro' the world--
That then--oh! disgrace upon manhood--even then,
You should falter, should cling to your pitiful breath;
Cower down into beasts, when you might have stood men,
And prefer the slave's life of prostration to death.
It is strange, it is dreadful:--shout, Tyranny, shout
Thro' your dungeons and palaces, "Freedom is o'er;"--
If there lingers one spark of her light, tread it out,
And return to your empire of darkness once more.
For if _such_ are the braggarts that claim to be free,
Come, Despot of Russia, thy feet let me kiss;
Far nobler to live the brute bondman of thee,
Than to sully even chains by a struggle like this!
Ere Psyche drank the cup that shed
Immortal Life into her soul,
Some evil spirit poured, 'tis said,
One drop of Doubt into the bowl--
Which, mingling darkly with the stream,
To Psyche's lips--she knew not why--
Made even that blessed nectar seem
As tho' its sweetness soon would die.
Oft, in the very arms of Love,
A chill came o'er her heart--a fear
That Death might, even yet, remove
Her spirit from that happy sphere.
"Those sunny ringlets," she exclaimed.
Twining them round her snowy fingers;
"That forehead, where a light unnamed,
"Unknown on earth, for ever lingers;
"Those lips, thro' which I feel the breath
"Of Heaven itself, whene'er they sever--
"Say, are they mine, beyond all death,
"My own, hereafter, and for ever?
"Smile not--I know that starry brow,
"Those ringlets, and bright lips of thine,
"Will always shine, as they do now--
"But shall _I_ live to see them shine?"
In vain did Love say, "Turn thine eyes
"On all that sparkles round thee here--
"Thou'rt now in heaven where nothing dies,
"And in these arms--what _canst_ thou fear?"
In vain--the fatal drop, that stole
Into that cup's immortal treasure,
Had lodged its bitter near her soul.
And gave a tinge to every pleasure.
And, tho' there ne'er was transport given
Like Psyche's with that radiant boy,
Here is the only face in heaven,
That wears a cloud amid its joy.
A JOKE VERSIFIED.
"Come, come," said Tom's father, "at your time of life,
"There's no longer excuse for thus playing the rake--
"It is time you should think, boy, of taking a wife"--
"Why, so it is, father--whose wife shall I take?"
ON THE DEATH OF A FRIEND.
Pure as the mantle, which, o'er him who stood
By Jordan's stream, descended from the sky,
Is that remembrance which the wise and good
Leave in the hearts that love them, when they die.
So pure, so precious shall the memory be,
Bequeathed, in dying, to our souls by thee--
So shall the love we bore thee, cherisht warm
Within our souls thro' grief and pain and strife,
Be, like Elisha's cruse, a holy charm,
Wherewith to "heal the waters" of this life!
TO JAMES CORRY, ESQ.
ON HIS MAKING ME A PRESENT OF A WINE STRAINER.
BRIGHTON, JUNE, 1825.
This life, dear Corry, who can doubt?--
Resembles much friend Ewart's wine,
When _first_ the rosy drops come out,
How beautiful, how clear they shine!
And thus awhile they keep their tint,
So free from even a shade with some,
That they would smile, did you but hint,
That darker drops would _ever_ come.
But soon the ruby tide runs short,
Each minute makes the sad truth plainer,
Till life, like old and crusty port,
When near its close, requires a strainer.
_This_ friendship can alone confer,
Alone can teach the drops to pass,
If not as bright as _once_ they were,
At least unclouded, thro' the glass.
Nor, Corry, could a boon be mine.
Of which this heart were fonder, vainer,
Than thus, if life grow like old wine,
To have _thy_ friendship for its strainer.
 A wine-merchant.
FRAGMENT OF A CHARACTER.
Here lies Factotum Ned at last;
Long as he breathed the vital air,
Nothing throughout all Europe past
In which Ned hadn't some small share.
Whoe'er was _in_, whoe'er was _out_,
Whatever statesmen did or said,
If not exactly brought about,
'Twas all, at least, contrived by Ned.
With Nap, if Russia went to war,
'Twas owing, under Providence,
To certain hints Ned gave the Tsar--
(Vide his pamphlet--price, sixpence.)
If France was beat at Waterloo--
As all but Frenchmen think she was--
To Ned, as Wellington well knew,
Was owing half that day's applause.
Then for his news--no envoy's bag
E'er past so many secrets thro' it;
Scarcely a telegraph could wag
Its wooden finger, but Ned knew it.
Such tales he had of foreign plots,
With foreign names, one's ear to buzz in!
From Russia, _shefs_ and _ofs_ in lots,
From Poland, _owskis_ by the dozen.
When George, alarmed for England's creed,
Turned out the last Whig ministry,
And men asked--who advised the deed?
Ned modestly confest 'twas he.
For tho', by some unlucky miss,
He had not downright _seen_ the King,
He sent such hints thro' Viscount _This_,
To Marquis _That_, as clenched the thing.
The same it was in science, arts,
The Drama, Books, MS. and printed--
Kean learned from Ned his cleverest parts,
And Scott's last work by him was hinted.
Childe Harold in the proofs he read,
And, here and there infused some soul in't--
Nay, Davy's Lamp, till seen by Ned,
Had--odd enough--an awkward hole in't.
'Twas thus, all-doing and all-knowing,
Wit, statesman, boxer, chymist, singer,
Whatever was the best pie going,
In _that_ Ned--trust him--had his finger.
* * * * *
WHAT SHALL I SING THEE?
What shall I sing thee? Shall I tell
Of that bright hour, remembered well
As tho' it shone but yesterday,
When loitering idly in the ray
Of a spring sun I heard o'er-head,
My name as by some spirit said,
And, looking up, saw two bright eyes
Above me from a casement shine,
Dazzling my mind with such surprise
As they, who sail beyond the Line,
Feel when new stars above them rise;--
And it was thine, the voice that spoke,
Like Ariel's, in the mid-air then;
And thine the eye whose lustre broke--
Never to be forgot again!
What shall I sing thee? Shall I weave
A song of that sweet summer-eve,
(Summer, of which the sunniest part
Was that we, each, had in the heart,)
When thou and I, and one like thee,
In life and beauty, to the sound
Of our own breathless minstrelsy.
Danced till the sunlight faded round,
Ourselves the whole ideal Ball,
Lights, music, company, and all?
Oh, 'tis not in the languid strain
Of lute like mine, whose day is past,
To call up even a dream again
Of the fresh light those moments cast.
COUNTRY DANCE AND QUADRILLE.
One night the nymph called country dance--
(Whom folks, of late, have used so ill,
Preferring a coquette from France,
That mincing thing, _Mamselle_ quadrille)--
Having been chased from London down
To that most humble haunt of all
She used to grace--a Country Town--
Went smiling to the New-Year's Ball.
"Here, here, at least," she cried, tho' driven
"From London's gay and shining tracks--
"Tho', like a Peri cast from heaven,
"I've lost, for ever lost, Almack's--
"Tho' not a London Miss alive
"Would now for her acquaintance own me;
"And spinsters, even, of forty-five,
"Upon their honors ne'er have known me;
"Here, here, at least, I triumph still,
"And--spite of some few dandy Lancers.
"Who vainly try to preach Quadrille--
"See naught but _true-blue_ Country Dancers,
"Here still I reign, and, fresh in charms,
"My throne, like Magna Charta, raise
"'Mong sturdy, free-born legs and arms,
"That scorn the threatened _chaine anglaise_."
'Twas thus she said, as mid the din
Of footmen, and the town sedan,
She lighted at the King's Head Inn,
And up the stairs triumphant ran.
The Squires and their Squiresses all,
With young Squirinas, just _come out_,
And my Lord's daughters from the Hall,
(Quadrillers in their hearts no doubt,)--
All these, as light she tript upstairs,
Were in the cloak-room seen assembling--
When, hark! some new outlandish airs,
From the First Fiddle, set her trembling.
She stops--she listens--_can_ it be?
Alas, in vain her ears would 'scape it--
It _is "Di tanti palpiti"_
As plain as English bow can scrape it.
"Courage!" however--in she goes,
With her best, sweeping country grace;
When, ah too true, her worst of foes,
Quadrille, there meets her, face to face.
Oh for the lyre, or violin,
Or kit of that gay Muse, Terpsichore,
To sing the rage these nymphs were in,
Their looks and language, airs and trickery.
There stood Quadrille, with cat-like face
(The beau-ideal of French beauty),
A band-box thing, all art and lace
Down from her nose-tip to her shoe-tie.
Her flounces, fresh from _Victorine_--
From _Hippolyte_, her rouge and hair--
Her poetry, from _Lamartine_--
Her morals, from--the Lord knows where.
And, when she danced--so slidingly,
So near the ground she plied her art,
You'd swear her mother-earth and she
Had made a compact ne'er to part.
Her face too, all the while, sedate,
No signs of life or motion showing.
Like a bright _pendule's_ dial-plate--
So still, you'd hardly think 'twas _going_.
Full fronting her stood Country Dance--
A fresh, frank nymph, whom you would know
For English, at a single glance--
English all o'er, from top to toe.
A little _gauche_, 'tis fair to own,
And rather given to skips and bounces;
Endangering thereby many a gown,
And playing, oft, the devil with flounces.
Unlike _Mamselle_--who would prefer
(As morally a lesser ill)
A thousand flaws of character,
To one vile rumple of a frill.
No rouge did She of Albion wear;
Let her but run that two-heat race
She calls a _Set_, not Dian e'er
Came rosier from the woodland chase.
Such was the nymph, whose soul had in't
Such anger now--whose eyes of blue
(Eyes of that bright, victorious tint,
Which English maids call "Waterloo")--
Like summer lightnings, in the dusk
Of a warm evening, flashing broke.
While--to the tune of "Money Musk,"
Which struck up now--she proudly spoke--
"Heard you that strain--that joyous strain?
"'Twas such as England loved to hear,
"Ere thou and all thy frippery train,
"Corrupted both her foot and ear--
"Ere Waltz, that rake from foreign lands,
"Presumed, in sight of all beholders,
"To lay his rude, licentious hands
"On virtuous English backs and shoulders--
"Ere times and morals both grew bad,
"And, yet unfleeced by funding block-heads,
"Happy John Bull not only _had_,
"But danced to, 'Money in both pockets.'
"Alas, the change!--Oh, Londonderry,
"Where is the land could 'scape disasters,
"With _such_ a Foreign Secretary,
"Aided by Foreign Dancing Masters?
"Woe to ye, men of ships and shops!
"Rulers of day-books and of waves!
"Quadrilled, on one side, into fops,
"And drilled, on t'other, into slaves!
"Ye, too, ye lovely victims, seen,
"Like pigeons, trussed for exhibition,
"With elbows, _a la crapaudine_,
"And feet, in--God knows what position;
"Hemmed in by watchful chaperons,
"Inspectors of your airs and graces,
"Who intercept all whispered tones,
"And read your telegraphic faces;
"Unable with the youth adored,
"In that grim _cordon_ of Mammas,
"To interchange one tender word,
"Tho' whispered but in _queue-de-chats_.
"Ah did you know how blest we ranged,
"Ere vile Quadrille usurpt the fiddle--
"What looks in _setting_ were exchanged,
"What tender words in _down the middle_;
"How many a couple, like the wind,
"Which nothing in its course controls,
Left time and chaperons far behind,
"And gave a loose to legs and souls;
How matrimony throve--ere stopt
"By this cold, silent, foot-coquetting--
"How charmingly one's partner propt
"The important question in _poussetteing_.
"While now, alas--no sly advances--
"No marriage hints--all goes on badly--
"'Twixt Parson Malthus and French Dances,
"We, girls, are at a discount sadly.
"Sir William Scott (now Baron Stowell)
"Declares not half so much is made
"By Licences--and he must know well--
"Since vile Quadrilling spoiled the trade."
She ceased--tears fell from every Miss--
She now had touched the true pathetic:--
One such authentic fact as this,
Is worth whole volumes theoretic.
Instant the cry was "Country Dance!"
And the maid saw with brightening face,
The Steward of the night advance,
And lead her to her birthright place.
The fiddles, which awhile had ceased,
Now tuned again their summons sweet,
And, for one happy night, at least,
Old England's triumph was complete.
 An old English country dance.
Haste, Maami, the spring is nigh;
Already, in the unopened flowers
That sleep around us, Fancy's eye
Can see the blush of future bowers;
And joy it brings to thee and me,
My own beloved Maami!
The streamlet frozen on its way,
To feed the marble Founts of Kings,
Now, loosened by the vernal ray,
Upon its path exulting springs--
As doth this bounding heart to thee,
My ever blissful Maami!
Such bright hours were not made to stay;
Enough if they awhile remain,
Like Irem's bowers, that fade away.
From time to time, and come again.
And life shall all one Irem be
For us, my gentle Maami.
O haste, for this impatient heart,
Is like the rose in Yemen's vale,
That rends its inmost leaves apart
With passion for the nightingale;
So languishes this soul for thee,
My bright and blushing Maami!
LINES ON THE DEATH OF JOSEPH ATKINSON, ESQ., OF DUBLIN.
If ever life was prosperously cast,
If ever life was like the lengthened flow
Of some sweet music, sweetness to the last,
'Twas his who, mourned by many, sleeps below.
The sunny temper, bright where all is strife.
The simple heart above all worldly wiles;
Light wit that plays along the calm of life,
And stirs its languid surface into smiles;
Pure charity that comes not in a shower,
Sudden and loud, oppressing what it feeds,
But, like the dew, with gradual silent power,
Felt in the bloom it leaves along the meads;
The happy grateful spirit, that improves
And brightens every gift by fortune given;
That, wander where it will with those it loves,
Makes every place a home, and home a heaven:
All these were his.--Oh, thou who read'st this stone,
When for thyself, thy children, to the sky
Thou humbly prayest, ask this boon alone,
That ye like him may live, like him may die!
GENIUS AND CRITICISM.
_scripsit quidem fata, sed sequitur_.
Of old, the Sultan Genius reigned,
As Nature meant, supreme alone;
With mind unchekt, and hands unchained,
His views, his conquests were his own.
But power like his, that digs its grave
With its own sceptre, could not last;
So Genius' self became the slave
Of laws that Genius' self had past.
As Jove, who forged the chain of Fate,
Was, ever after, doomed to wear it:
His nods, his struggles all too late--
"_Qui semel jussit, semper paret_."
To check young Genius' proud career,
The slaves who now his throne invaded,
Made Criticism his prime Vizir,
And from that hour his glories faded.
Tied down in Legislation's school,
Afraid of even his own ambition,
His very victories were by rule,
And he was great but by permission.
His most heroic deeds--the same,
That dazzled, when spontaneous actions--
Now, done by law, seemed cold and tame,
And shorn of all their first attractions.
If he but stirred to take the air,
Instant, the Vizir's Council sat--
"Good Lord, your Highness can't go there--
"Bless me, your Highness can't do that."
If, loving pomp, he chose to buy
Rich jewels for his diadem,
"The taste was bad, the price was high--
"A flower were simpler than a gem."
To please them if he took to flowers--
"What trifling, what unmeaning things!
"Fit for a woman's toilet hours,
"But not at all the style for Kings."
If, fond of his domestic sphere,
He played no more the rambling comet--
"A dull, good sort of man, 'twas clear,
"But, as for great or brave, far from it."
Did he then look o'er distant oceans,
For realms more worthy to enthrone him?--
"Saint Aristotle, what wild notions!
"Serve a '_ne exeat regno_' on him."
At length, their last and worst to do,
They round him placed a guard of watchmen,
Reviewers, knaves in brown, or blue
Turned up with yellow--chiefly Scotchmen;
To dog his footsteps all about
Like those in Longwood's prison grounds,
Who at Napoleon's heels rode out,
For fear the Conqueror should break bounds.
Oh for some Champion of his power,
Some _Ultra_ spirit, to set free,
As erst in Shakespeare's sovereign hour,
The thunders of his Royalty!--
To vindicate his ancient line,
The first, the true, the only one,
Of Right eternal and divine,
That rules beneath the blessed sun.
TO LADY JERSEY.
ON BEING ASKED TO WRITE SOMETHING IN HER ALBUM.
Written at Middleton.
Oh albums, albums, how I dread
Your everlasting scrap and scrawl!
How often wish that from the dead
Old Omar would pop forth his head,
And make a bonfire of you all!
So might I 'scape the spinster band,
The blushless blues, who, day and night,
Like duns in doorways, take their stand,
To waylay bards, with book in hand,
Crying for ever, "Write, sir, write!"
So might I shun the shame and pain,
That o'er me at this instant come,
When Beauty, seeking Wit in vain,
Knocks at the portal of my brain,
And gets, for answer, "Not at home!"
TO THE SAME.
ON LOOKING THROUGH HER ALBUM.
No wonder bards, both high and low,
From Byron down to ***** and me,
Should seek the fame which all bestow
On him whose task is praising thee.
Let but the theme be Jersey's eyes,
At once all errors are forgiven;
As even old Sternhold still we prize,
Because, tho' dull, he sings of heaven.
At night, when all is still around.
How sweet to hear the distant sound
Of footstep, coming soft and light!
What pleasure in the anxious beat,
With which the bosom flies to meet
That foot that comes so soft at night!
And then, at night, how sweet to say
"'Tis late, my love!" and chide delay,
Tho' still the western clouds are bright;
Oh! happy, too, the silent press,
The eloquence of mute caress.
With those we love exchanged at night!
 These lines allude to a curious lamp, which has for its device a
Cupid, with the words "at night" written over him.
TO LADY HOLLAND.
ON NAPOLEON'S LEGACY OP A SNUFF-BOX.
Gift of the Hero, on his dying day,
To her, whose pity watched, for ever nigh;
Oh! could he see the proud, the happy ray,
This relic lights up on her generous eye,
Sighing, he'd feel how easy 'tis to pay
A friendship all his kingdoms could not buy.
_Paris, July_, 1821
WRITTEN FOR LADY DACRE'S TRAGEDY OF INA.
Last night, as lonely o'er my fire I sat,
Thinking of cues, starts, exits, and--all that,
And wondering much what little knavish sprite
Had put it first in women's heads to write:--
Sudden I saw--as in some witching dream--
A bright-blue glory round my book-case beam,
From whose quick-opening folds of azure light
Out flew a tiny form, as small and bright
As Puck the Fairy, when he pops his head,
Some sunny morning from a violet bed.
"Bless me!" I starting cried "what imp are you?"--
"A small he-devil, Ma'am--my name BAS BLEU--
"A bookish sprite, much given to routs and reading;
"'Tis I who teach your spinsters of good breeding,
"The reigning taste in chemistry and caps,
"The last new bounds of tuckers and of maps,
"And when the waltz has twirled her giddy brain
"With metaphysics twirl it back again!"
I viewed him, as he spoke--his hose were blue,
His wings--the covers of the last Review--
Cerulean, bordered with a jaundice hue,
And tinselled gayly o'er, for evening wear,
Till the next quarter brings a new-fledged pair.
"Inspired by me--(pursued this waggish Fairy)--
"That best of wives and Sapphos, Lady Mary,
"Votary alike of Crispin and the Muse,
"Makes her own splay-foot epigrams and shoes.
"For me the eyes of young Camilla shine,
"And mingle Love's blue brilliances with mine;
"For me she sits apart, from coxcombs shrinking,
"Looks wise--the pretty soul!--and _thinks_ she's thinking.
"By my advice Miss Indigo attends
"Lectures on Memory, and assures her friends,
"''Pon honor!--(_mimics_)--nothing can surpass the plan
"'Of that professor--(_trying to recollect_)--psha! that memory-man--
"'That--what's his name?--him I attended lately--
"''Pon honor, he improved _my_ memory greatly.'"
Here curtsying low, I asked the blue-legged sprite,
What share he had in this our play to-night.
'Nay, there--(he cried)--there I am guiltless quite--
"What! choose a heroine from that Gothic time
"When no one waltzed and none but monks could rhyme;
"When lovely woman, all unschooled and wild,
"Blushed without art, and without culture smiled--
"Simple as flowers, while yet unclassed they shone,
"Ere Science called their brilliant world her own,
"Ranged the wild, rosy things in learned orders,
"And filled with Greek the garden's blushing borders!--
"No, no--your gentle Inas will not do--
"To-morrow evening, when the lights burn blue,
"I'll come--(_pointing downwards_)--you understand--till then adieu!"
And _has_ the sprite been here! No--jests apart--
Howe'er man rules in science and in art,
The sphere of woman's glories is the heart.
And, if our Muse have sketched with pencil true
The wife--the mother--firm, yet gentle too--
Whose soul, wrapt up in ties itself hath spun,
Trembles, if touched in the remotest one;
Who loves--yet dares even Love himself disown,
When Honor's broken shaft supports his throne:
If such our Ina, she may scorn the evils,
Dire as they are, of Critics and--Blue Devils.