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Her martial sounds can fainting troops inspire
With strength unwonted, and enthusiasm raise; Infuse new ardour, and with youthful fire
Urge on the warrior gray with length of days.
Far better she, when, with her soothing lyre,
She charms the falchion from the savage grasp, And melting into pity vengeful ire,
Looses the bloody breastplate's iron clasp.
With her in pensive mood I long to roam,
At midnight's hour, or evening's calm decline, And thoughtful o'er the falling streamlet's foam,
In calm seclusion's hermit walks recline.
Whilst mellow sounds from distant copse arise,
Of softest flute or reeds harmonic join’d, With rapture thrill'd each worldly passion dies,
And pleased attention claims the passive mind.
Soft through the dell the dying strains retire,
Then burst majestic in the varied swell; Now breathe melodious as the Grecian lyre,
Or on the ear in sinking cadence dwell.
Romantic sounds! such is the bliss ye give, That heaven's bright scenes seem bursting on
the soul, With joy I'd yield each sensual wish, to live
For ever 'neath your undefiled control,
Oh! surely melody from heaven was sent,
To cheer the soul when tired with human strife, To soothe the wayward heart by sorrow rent,
And soften down the rugged road of life.
ON BEING CONFINED TO SCHOOL ONE
PLEASANT MORNING IN SPRING.
WRITTEN AT THE AGE OE THIRTEEN.
The morning sun's enchanting rays
Now call forth every songster's praise ;
Now the lark, with upward flight,
Gaily ushers in the light;
While wildly warbling from each tree,
The birds sing songs to Liberty.
But for me no songster sings,
· For me no joyous lark upsprings;
For I, confined in gloomy school,
Must own the pedant's iron rule,
And far from sylvan shades and bowers,
In durance vile must pass the hours;
There con the scholiast's dreary lines,
Where no bright ray of genius shines,
And close to rugged learning cling,
While laughs around the jocund spring.
How gladly would my soul forego
All that arithmeticians know,
Or stiff grammarians quaintly teach,
Or all that industry can reach,
To taste each morn of all the joys
That with the laughing sun arise ;
And unconstrain'd to rove along
The bushy brakes and glens among;
And woo the muse's gentle power
In unfrequented rural bower:
But, ah! such heaven-approaching joys
Will never greet my longing eyes;
Still will they cheat in vision fine,
Yet never but in fancy shine.
Oh, that I were the little wren
That shrilly chirps from yonder glen!
Oh, far away I then would rove
To some secluded bushy grove;
There hop and sing with careless glee,
Hop and sing at liberty;
And, till death should stop my lays,
Far from men would spend my days.
Thee do I own, the prompter of my joys,
The soother of my cares, inspiring peace;
And I will ne'er forsake thee. Men may rave,
And blame and censure me, that I don't tie
My every thought down to the desk, and spend
The morning of my life in adding figures
With accurate monotony: that so
The good things of the world may be my lot,
And I might taste the blessedness of wealth :
But, oh! I was not made for money getting ;
For me no much respected plum awaits.
Nor civic honour, envied. For as still
I tried to cast with school dexterity
The interesting sums, my vagrant thoughts
Would quick revert to many a woodland haunt,
Which fond remembrance cherish’d, and the pen
Dropp'd from my senseless fingers as I pictured,
In my mind's eye, how on the shores of Trent
I erewhile wander'd with my early friends
In social intercourse. And then I'd think
How contrary pursuits had thrown us wide,
One from the other, scatter'd o'er the globe ;
They were set down with sober steadiness,
Each to his occupation. I alone,
A wayward youth, misled by Fancy's vagaries,
Remain'd unsettled, insecure, and veering
With every wind to every point of the compass.
Yes, in the countinghouse I could indulge
In fits of close abstraction ; yea, amid
The busy bustling crowds could meditate,
And send my thoughts ten thousand leagues away
Beyond the Atlantic, resting on my friend.
Ay, Contemplation, even in earliest youth
I woo'd thy heavenly influence! I would walk
A weary way when all my toils were done,
To lay myself at night in some lone wood,
And hear the sweet song of the nightingale.
Oh, those were times of happiness, and still
To memory doubly dear; for growing years
Had not then taught me man was made to mourn;
And a short hour of solitary pleasure,
Stolen from sleep, was ample recompense
For all the hateful bustles of the day.
My opening mind was ductile then, and plastic,
And soon the marks of care were worn away,
While I was sway'd by every novel impulse,
Yielding to all the fancies of the hour.
But it has now assumed its character;
Mark'd by strong lineaments, its haughty tone,
Like the firm oak, would sooner break than bend.
Yet still, oh, Contemplation! I do love
To indulge thy solemn musings; still the same
With thee alone I know to melt and weep,
In thee alone delighting. Why along
The dusky tract of commerce should I toil,
When, with an easy competence content,
I can alone be happy; where with thee
I may enjoy the loveliness of Nature,
And loose the wings of Fancy? Thus alone
Can I partake of happiness on earth;
And to be happy here is man's chief end,
For to be happy he must needs be good.