LAY OF AN IRISH HARP; OR
"Trifles light as air." SHAKESPEARE.
"Vrai Papillon de Parnasse." LA
FOR RICHARD PHILLIPS, 6, BRIDGE STREET
T. BENSLEY, PRINTER,
BOLT COURT, FLEET STREET, LONDON.
JOSEPH ATKINSON, ESQ.
TREASURER OF THE ORDNANCE IN IRELAND,
MY DEAR SIR,
IN the rites of Heathen piety we are told that
a Dove was propitiously received where the ability of the votarist was
inadequate to an Hecatomb. Suffer me then to believe that in friendship, as
in religion, the motive, not the value , of an offering propitiates its
acceptance; and that this little volume will be estimated by YOU, not according to its own worth,
but according to that sentiment with which it is presented by ME. At some distant day I might
solicit your attention to some less "IDLE vision;" but the ardour of gratitude
spurns the cold delay of protracted intention, while its impatient feelings
call for an immediate avowal. I have therefore seized on this opportunity,
not as the happiest, but the first that occurs of publicly acknowledging the
many acts of disinterested friendship I have received from your kindness, and
of assuring you that I am, with every sentiment of respect and admiration for
the benevolence of your heart, the liberality of your mind, and the literary
taste and talents you possess,
Your obliged and grateful servant,
ecrits--Enfants de mon repos." - VOLTAIRE
THE Romans had a term exclusively appropriate to poetical trifles, and the Greeks an epithet as
exclusively applied to poetical triflers.
Neither the Moorish
loftiness of the Spanish, nor the elevated gravity of the Italian literature,
has exempted them from that species of sportive composition which, though generally the effect of minor talent (tasteful in its mediocrity), is sometimes the effusion of superior genius,
in the absence of its higher inspiration. But I believe the French language
above any other abounds with those metrical trifles which, as the offspring
of minds elegantly gay and intimately associated, have obtained the name of
"vers de societe," and which frequently possess an exquisite finesse of thought,
that does not exclude nature, and is most happily adapted to the delicate
idiom of the language in which it flows.
Did this little volume
aspire to any
class in literature, I would rank it among the last and least of those bagatelles to which I
have alluded; for the fragments it contains were written at distant periods,
and in those careless intervals of life when judgment no longer breathes the Qui
va la? to fancy! when feeling is inspiration! and
when the mind, too desultory for narrative composition, or too indolent for
connected detail, resigns itself to the impulse of transient emotion, and
gives back to the heart some simple but endeared image the heart's own
feelings had supplied.
It may be alledged, that
a work so avowedly inconsequent ought not to be obtruded on public attention;
but in the freedom of human agency there is no act more optional than that of
that of perusing a book merely and professedly amusive. - And the success of my late
trivial publications, and the liberality of my publisher, (who, after all, as
Dr. Johnson remarks, "is the best patron,") rendered it an object
of pecuniary consequence to give to "an airy nothing a local habitation
and a name," which was too harmless to injure, if too insignificant to interest, those into whose hands chance or
curiosity may throw it.
It were perhaps politic
to anticipate the severity of criticism, by candidly acknowledging the too
admission of French quotations. But if there are many elegant triflers in English poetry, either the paucity of my reading or the treachery of
my memory prevented my claims on their assistance; while the poetical
badiers of France
came "skipping rank and file" to my aid, and illustrated MY (LESS felicitous) trifles by theirs, in a language
which above every other is constructed:
32, Stephen's Green North.
I. Why sleeps the Harp of Erin's pride?
II. Oh! return me the rose,
III. Oh why are not all those
close ties, &c.
IV. If once again thou'dst have me
V. When midst an idle, senseless,
VI. And did you then so noiseless
VII. There was a day when simply
but to be
VIII. Oh! say, didst thou know,
IX. Whilst over each lay thou
X. What need'st thou ask, or I
XI. Neglected long, and wrapt in
XII. Come, Apathy, and o'er me
breathe thy spell
XIII. Oh thou! who late with
glowing fingers, &c.
XIV. I love the warmth! the genial
XV. To-day around my Harp I twin'd
XVI. The castle lies low, &c.
XVII. Go, balmy zephyr, softly
XVIII. Silent and sad, deserted
XIX. Nay, if you threaten, all is
XX. Visions of fleeting pleasure,
XXI. Sweet timid trembling thing,
XXII. There is a mild, a solemn
XXIII. Dear shade of him, &c.
XXIV. Oh! no--I live not for the
XXV. There is a soft and fragrant
XXVI. Come, Sleep, thou transient,
XXVII. I saw the flow'rs, and
guess'd for me
XXVIII. Is this then the passion,
XXIX. Here, Iris, pr'ythee take my
XXX. Thy silent wing, oh Time!
XXXI. How! Love, thus wrapt in
XXXII. Oh! should I fly from the
XXXIII. Snowy gem of the earth,
XXXIV. Thou, whom unknown, &c.
XXXV. Old Scotia's jocund Highland
XXXVI. The quill that now traces,
XXXVII. Joy a fixt state, a
XXXVIII. By the first sigh that
o'er thy lip did hover
XXXIX. Hither, Love, thy wild wing
XL. And must I, ghastly guest,
XLI. Nymph of the mountain,
XLII. Return, ye fairy dreams of
XLIII. Fairer than Alpine sunless
XLIV. What form celestial greets
XLV. Gay soul of every picquante
XLVI. Go, mind-created phantom, go
XLVII. Child of a sun-beam, airy
XLVIII. As Love's delightful
THE IRISH HARP.*
"Voice of the days of old, let me hear
you.--Awake the soul of song." - OSSIAN.
WHY sleeps the Harp of Erin's pride?
Why with'ring droops its Shamrock wreath?
Why has that song of sweetness died
Which Erin's Harp alone can breathe?
Oh! 'twas the simplest,
The sighs of Eve
that faintest flow
O'er airy lyres, did never fling
So sweet, so sad, a song of woe.
And yet its sadness
seem'd to borrow
From love, or joy, a mystic spell;bliss or sorrow
From its melting lapses fell.
For if amidst its tone's
A note of love or joy e'er stream'd,
'Twas the plaint of love-sick anguish,
And still the "joy of grief" it seem'd.
'Tis said oppression taught the lay
To him - (of all the "sons of song"
That bask'd in Erin's brighter day)
The last of
the inspir'd throng;
That not in sumptuous
hall, or bow'r,
To victor chiefs, on tented plain,
To festive souls, in festal hour,
Did he (sad bard!) pour forth the strain.
Oh no! for he, opprest,
Wild, wand'ring, doubtful of his course,
With tears his silent Harp bedew'd,
That drew from Erin's woes their source.
It was beneath th'
Of some dark forest's deepest dell,
'Twas at some patriot hero's tomb,
Or on the drear heath where he fell.
It was beneath the
That roofs the brow of misery,
Or stems the ocean's wildest wave,
Or mocks the sea-blast's keenest sigh.
It was through night's
most spectral hours,
When reigns the spirit of dismay,
views demoniac pow'rs
Flit ghastly round in dread array.
Such was the time, and such
The bard respir'd his song of woe,
To those, who had of Erin's race
Surviv'd their freedom's vital blow.
Oh, what a lay the
How many bleeding hearts around,
In suff'ring sympathy enwreath'd,
Hung desponding o'er the sound!
For still his Harp's wild
Gave back their sorrows keener still,
sighs, heav'd deeper moans,
And wilder wak'd despair's wild thrill.
For still he sung the
ills that flow
From dire oppression's ruthless fang,
And deepen'd every patriot woe,
And sharpen'd every patriot pang.
Yet, ere he ceas'd, a
Sublim'd his lay, and louder rung
The deep-ton'd music of his lyre,
And Erin go brach*** he boldly sung.
an enthusiasm incidental to my natural and national character, I visited the
western part of the province of Connaught in the autumn of 1805, full of many
an evident expectation that promised to my feelings, and my taste, a festival of national
enjoyment. The result of this interesting little pilgrimage has already been
given to the world in the story of the" Wild Irish Girl," and in a
collection of Irish Melodies, learned among those who still "hum'd
the Song of other times." But the hope I had long cherished of hearing
the Irish Harp played in perfection was not only far from being
realized, but infinitely disappointed. That encouragement so nutritive to
genius, so indispensably necessary to perseverance, no longer stimulates the
Irish bard to excellence, nor rewards him when it is attained; and the
decline of that tender and impressive instrument, once so dear to Irish
enthusiasm, is as visibly rapid, as it is obviously unimpeded by any effort
of national pride or national affection.]
persecution begun by the Danes against the Irish bards finished in almost the
total extirpation of that sacred order in the reign of Elizabeth.]
Ireland for ever! - a national exclamation, and, in less felicitous times,
the rallying point to which many an Irish heart revolted from the influence of
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LA ROSE FLETRIE.
"Que l'amour est doux si
l'on aimer toujours!
Mais helas! il n'y a point d'eternel amour." - J. J. ROUSSEAU.
OH! return me the rose which I gather'd for
When thy love like the rose was in bloom,
For neglected it withers, though given by me,
And shares with thy love the same doom.
Yet so lately renew'd was
thy passion's frail vow
On that rose, which so lately was given,
That the rose's twin-buds which were wreath'd for my brow
Are still gem'd with the fresh dews of heaven.
For the twin-buds thy
fondness so tastefully wove
Were ne'er kiss'd by the sun's faintest ray,
While the rose, which receiv'd the warm vow of thy love,
Lies expos'd to the varying day.
So faded, so tintless, it
lives but to languish,
All its blushes, its freshness, decay'd,
And droops (hapless flow'r!) as tho' love's tender anguish
On its blushes and freshness had prey'd.
Then return me the rose
which I gather'd for thee,
When thy love like the rose was in bloom,
Since neglected it withers, though given by me,
And shares with thy love the same doom.
Thou return'st me the
rose; yet with sighs 'tis return'd,
And the drops which its pale bosom wears,
Were they shed from thine eye? is my rose then so mourn'd,
Or but dew'd with the eve's falling tears?
'Yet speak not! that look
is enough! Keep the flow'r
Since in death 'tis still precious to thee;
Since the odour that's deathless recalls the sweet hour
When the rose was presented by me.
And wilt thou*,a when
breathing the scent of its sighs,
E'er say, with a love-ling'ring thrill,
"Thus passion deep-felt in the bosom ne'er dies,
And if faded, is odorous still?"
Oh thou wilt! and the
rose which thus wither'd with thee,
From thy cares may recover its bloom,
And that love which thine eye again pledges to me
Will still share with the rose the same doom.
"--Whenever I have heard
A kindred melody, the scene recurs,
And with it all its pleasures and its pains," - COWPER.
And the effect produced by the recurrence of a sweet strain, or a
delicious odour, heard and inhaled under the influence of circumstances dear
to the heart or interesting to the fancy, may be deemed twin sensations: for
my own part (and perhaps I am drawing conclusions from an individual rather
than a general feeling) I have never listened to the air of Erin go brach, or breathed the
perfume of the rose geranium, without a thrill of emotion which was
sweet, though mournful, to the soul, and which drew its birth from a feeling
memory, had inseparably connected with the melody of the one and the perfume
of the other. It is indeed but just and natural that the safest and purest of
all the senses should claim the closest kindred with the memory and the soul. "L'oreille est le chemin du coeur," said
Voltaire. And the rose had never witnessed its frequent apothesis, had its bloom
been its only or its sweetest boast.
memory at this moment supplies me with innumerable poems addressed to the
Rose. Among the most beautiful are, I think, one by Anacreon, so elegantly
translated by Moore; one by Sappho, one by Ausonius, one by Francisco
de Biojo (Parnasso Espagnol), one by Camoens, one by Bernard le Jeune, one by Cowper, two by Metastasio, one from the Persian, and one by a
German poet (whose name has escaped recollection) beginning,
fruhling wird nunbald entmeichen."]
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TO MRS. LEFANUE*
"Helas! en l'amitie - les
talents la virtue
Pouront-il trouver tou egale." - VOLTAIRE.
OH why are not all those close ties which enfold
Each human connexion like those which unite us!
Why should interest or pride,
or feelings so cold,
Alone to sweet amity's bondage invite us?
Thou were just in that
age when the soul's brightest ray
Illumines each mellowing charm of the face,
And the graces of youth still delightedly play
O'er each mind-beaming beauty which TIME cannot
I was young,
inexperienc'd, unknowing, unknown,
Wild, ardent, romantic, a stranger to thee;
But I'd heard worth, wit, genius, were all, all thine own;
And forgetting that thou wert a stranger to me.
My heart overflowing, and
new to each form
Of the world, I sought thee, nor fear'd to offend
By unconscious presumption: oh sure 'twas some charm
That thus led
me to seek in a stranger, a friend!
Yes, yes, 'twas a charm
of such magical force
herself never wish'd to repel,
For it drew its sweet magic from Sympathy's source,
And Reason herself bows to Sympathy's spell.
Yet fearful of failing,
and wishful of pleasing,
How timidly anxious thy notice I woo'd!
But oh! thy first warm glance each wild doubt appeasing,
With courage, with fondness, my faint heart endu'd.
No never (till mem'ry by
death shall be blighted)
Can our first touching interview fade from my mind,
When thou, all
delighting, and I all delighted,
I, more than
confiding; thou much more than kind.
Forgetful scarce germ'd
was our friendship's young flower,
My heart o'er my lips unrestrain'd seem'd to rove,
sweetly veiling thy MIND'S BRIGHTER power,
Left me much to admire, yet still more to love.
Till warm'd by a kindness
endearing, as dear,
A wild, artless, song was respir'd for thee;
'Twas a national lay!** and oh! when shall the tear
Which was shed o'er that song, be forgotten by me.
And now since that sweet
day some years have flown by,
And some golden hours of those years have been mine;
But each year as it fled never twisted one tie,
Round my heart, like that tie which first bound it to thine.
Grand-daughter to the friend of Swift - daughter to the
celebrated Thomas Sheridan - to the Author of Sidney
Biddulph - and sister to the Right Hon. Richard Brinsley Sheridan - claiming a
connexion equally intimate with many other CHARACTERS scarcely less
eminent; yet by a unity in her OWN of the most unblemished virtue and the most brilliant
talents, reflecting back upon her distinguished kindred a lustre pure and
permanent as that she has received from it.]
"Eamunh a Cnuic" or, "Edmund of the Hill."]
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VIVE LA PLATONIQUE!
To * * * * * * * * .
"Quand le coeur se tait,
l'amour a beau parler." - T. CORNEILLE.
IF once again thou'dst have me love,
Revive my fancy's faded beam;
Give back each vision that illum'd
My early youth's ecstatic dream.*
'Tis true, not many
Have fall'n upon my life's fresh flow'r:
But feelings that should last an HOUR.
Too sanguine to be calmly
The "life of life" I sought, and in it
Found many a joy my fancy drew,
But found their span, a raptur'd minute.
Too ardent to be constant
If Love's wild rose I haply gather'd,
I scarcely breathed its fragrant bloom,
When Love's wild rose grew pale, and wither'd.
Too delicate to seek a
Disrob'd of Fancy's magic veil,
but BEGIN to love,
Love's faintest throb, I ceas'd to feel.***
Then let me be thy tender
Thy mistress since I cannot be:
Thou'lt soon forget thou'rt not belov'd,
And I! I'm not adored by thee.
'Twill be the chastest,
That round two hearts was ever twin'd;
Than friendship 'twill be warmer still,
Than passion 'twill be more refin'd.
Each soul shall meet its
Each heart shall share the same sensation;
Between pure sentiment and sense
Each feeling play with sweet vibration.
And though in the Platonic
Some little LOVE should Nature fling,
The balance Reason would restore,
And give th' intrusive urchin wing.
de l'Enclos speaks of "le don d'aimer" as one not
indiscriminately bestowed; and certainly the disposition of the object on
whom it is lavished must in some degree not only ascertain its value, but
regulate its duration. It can never indeed be laid totally aside (like the unused
talent of the indolent steward), but it may be husbanded for life, or
expended in an instant; one may live too fast in a feeling as well as in
a physical senses and languish of a premature atrophy of the heart as well as of
the body. Thus Montesquieu is surprized to find he could love at
thirty-five; while St. Aulaire wrote his last amatory verses at ninety! -
"Anacreon moins vieux," says VOLTAIRE, "fit des bien moins
the instability which sometimes (perhaps too often) accompanies an ardent,
and even a tender nature, could admit of excuse, it might find it in the
elegant sophistry of Marivaux. "Les
ames tendres et delicats (says he) ont involontier le defaut de se relacher
dans leur tendresse quand elles ont obtenu tonte la votre - l'envie en vous
plaire, leur fournit des graces infinies qui sont delicieux pour elles; mais
des quelles ont phît - les voila
[*** "Oh! amour (says the refined
Florian) je te regrete moins pour tes derniers faveurs, que pour tes premier
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THE DRAWING ROOM
TO LADY C--FT--N,
OF L----D HOUSE.
"Dans un Salon froidement
Que la Luxe decore a grand frais
Bien ne parle a mon coeur
Quand tout parle a mes yeux,
Il semble dans ces vastes lieux
Que le sentiment s'evapore." - DE
WHEN midst an idle, senseless, crowd,
The flutt'ring insects of the day,
Thou seest thy pouting little friend
pleas'd, so sadly gay;
Thou know'st at least my young heart's
Still gaily throbs to joy's wild measure,
And that each sense is still alive
To every dream of youthful pleasure.
Too prone perhaps to pleasure's dreams,
"thrillingly alive all o'er,"
And oh! too prone at every woe.
To "agonize at every pore."
But that sad medium, dull
Of gayless revels, heartless joys,
Wears not ecstatic pleasure 's air
To me; 'tis nought but din and noise.
THOU know'st me playful, sportive, wild,
Simple, ardent, tender, glowing;*
A glance can chill my bosom's spring,
A glance can set it warmly flowing.
Thou'st seen me midst the
That forms thine own domestic heaven,
By youthful spirits (wildly gay)
To many a childish frolic driven.
But oh! the heart some think lies still,
Resembles most my lute, whose string
Breathes not (Eolian-like) untouch'd,
Nor vibrates to each insect's wing.
But when the sympathetic touch
Calls forth the magic of its wires,
How soft, how tender is the strain
Each trembling, thrilling, chord respires!
And seem'd I ever dull to
Or strove I to resist the art,
With which thou oft wert wont to thrill
Each latent feeling of my heart?
Oh no! for though the MANY slight,
at least my trivial worth,
For thou (who best canst touch my heart)
Canst call its best vibrations forth.
"It is certain," says the elegant St. Evremond, "that
nature has placed in our hearts something gay and laughing
- some secret principle of affection which conceals its tenderness from the
multitude, and only communicates itself when it feels it will be understood."]
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TO MY SISTER.
AND did you then so noiseless creep
As not to chase my doubtful sleep,*
Nor scare my cheery dream away?
And did a smile so lightly play
O'er those lips, in slumbers clos'd,
When every thrilling sense repos'd?
Yes! 'twas a cheery dream that stole
Its vision o'er my sleepless soul.
Methought that wand'ring wild with thee
(As oft in childhood's careless glee
We fondly stray'd, to danger blind,
Our arms, our hearts, as closely twin'd),**
Methought we reach'd an hallow'd grove,
It seem'd the sacred haunt of Love,
Where, pointing to the orient day,
An odour-breathing structure lay;
On rosy shafts was rear'd the bower,
And many a sweet though transient flower,
And many a bud and wreathy band,
Twin'd by Nature's tasteful hand,
In rich luxuriance closely wed,
Form'd a sweetly simple shed,
To canopy the thoughtless brow
Of youth, in life's first ardent glow;
And as methought we loitering stray'd,
Delighted in th' Elysian shade,
We saw approach th' enchantress Youth,
Led by Simplicity and Truth,
With bounding step, and careless air,
Laughing eye, and flowing hair;
Blest and blessing beyond measure,
Grasping every transient pleasure;
Pleas'd with life as with a toy,
Pursuing still the urchin joy;
At cold Caution's precept smiling,
Time of every
Till with all her jocund train
She reach'd her own delicious fane,
And around the hallow'd bower
The VIRTURES throng'd to own her power,
And Innocence, and Peace serene,
And Confidence with candid mien,
And infant loves,
and harmless wiles, And frolic sports, and rosy smiles,
And young delights, and laughing pleasures,
their tribute treasures;
And Health, by
Around her dearest blessings shed;
on Hope's fair
Her arm round Expectation twin'd,
Blushing view'd the Graces bland
Lead chasten'd Passion by the hand;
swept his lyre to prove
The soul of life was Youth and Love.
Oh thou! whose blessings still are mine,
Delightful Youth! thy powers divine
Protract to life's maturer day,
And all thy "ling'ring blooms delay."
And when I pass thy golden hour,
And watch thy last declining flow'r
Fade o'er my brow, thy soul-sent blush
Change to a sickly hectic flush,
And each warm life-illumin'd ray
In my dimming eye decay;
When all thy
transient spells are flown
(Which now, alas! are all my own),
When all thy sorceries expire,
Yet still, oh! still with fond desire
Back may each with'ring spirit flee
To live in memory with thee,
To catch thy fire's reflected beams,
And feel thy joys again in DREAMS.
[* Rousseau, in that
affecting and delicate manner which is all his own, exquisitely describes the
delicious feelings that accompany those moments vibrating between waking
consciousness and the senseless torpidity of sleep - moments, of which Locke treated as a logician and a philosopher, and which Martial delineated as a
voluptuary and a poet.
lifeless yet with life how sweet to lie!
Thus without dying oh how sweet to die." - (Translated by PETER PINDAR, Esq.)]
[** Of the tye which binds me to this dearest object of my heart's
best affections, I may say with Tasso,
" - Conforme era létate;
Ma il pensier; piu conforme."
perhaps scarcely justifiable to force a detail of private feeling on public
attention, but Nature will sometimes get the start of Authorship, and she who
writes FROM the HEART, may insensibly
forget she is writing for the WORLD.]
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"Sans esperance - et même
Je regrettais les sensible plaisirs
Dont la douceur enchanta ma jeunesse
Sont il perdu? desais-je sans retour." - MARQUIS DE LA FARE.
THERE was a day when simply but to BE,
To live, to breathe, was purest ecstasy;
Then Life was
new, and with a smiling air
Robb'd of his thorny wreath intrusive CARE;
And o'er the drear path I was doom'd to tread
Beneath the little wand'rer's footsteps shed
Full many a beam of gay prismatic hue,
And many a bud from FANCY'S bosom threw;
While the young HOURS, in wild
and frolic play,
tell-tale record, I idly flung away;
And LOVE (but then a child) from hour to hour
Would fondly rove, and from each fragrant flow'r
Suck'd honey'd essence*," to imbue his dart,
And though he thrill'd, ne'er pain'd the flutt'ring heart;
Pleasing and pleas'd; still blessing, still most blest;
In life alone
each transport was possest:
But now, in life alone no charms I view -
And oh! Time, Hours, and Love, how chang'd are you!
Cupid of Anacreon is represented as tempering his arrows with gall;
"Non e pene magiore
Che in vecchie membre
Il piggior d'armore." - GUARINI.
And Horace, (Carmen viii.
lib. 2. v. 15.) "pleasantly terrible" makes his deity imbue his
arms in blood: but the tutelar Love that presides over the
first enchantment of a young and tender heart may surely be supposed
to bathe his shafts in honey; whose healing attribute is by some believed the
best remedy for the sting of its own bee.]
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To her who sent me the Spring's first Violets.
"Poiche d'altro honorate
Non posso, prendi liete
Guesti negre VIOLE
Dall umor rugiadose." - B. TASSO.
OH! say, didst thou know 'twas mine own idol
That my heart has just welcom'd from thee?
And, guided alone by sweet sympathy's power,
Didst thou rear it expressly for me?
Sure thou didst! and how
richly it glows through the tears
That dropt o'er its beauties from heaven!
Like those which the rosed-cheek of fond woman wears
When her bosom to rapture is given.
And meek, modest, and
lovely, it still
seems to shun,
E'en as though it still blush'd in the vale,
Ev'ry too glaring beam of the too ardent sun,
Ev'ry rudely breath'd sigh of the gale.
Oh! dear is the friend
whom the blossom resembles,
Who as sweet, as retiring is found;
In whose eye
the warm tear of feeling oft trembles,
Who unseen, sheds her fragrance around.
And thou art that friend!
and thy emblem believe
Has now found in my bosom a shrine;
And ne'er did the holiest relic receive
An homage more fervent than mine.
I to indulge my fancy as often as I have done my heart in a communion with
the sweet and simple children of Flora, there is no plant, no blossom,
from the venerable aloe to "the small modest crimson-tipped flower," but would
have received some poetic tribute from the fancy they had awakened, and the
feelings they had touched. Rather a sentimental than a scientific florist, at
"all times, all seasons, and their changes," a garden has for me an
indescribable charm! Let the philosophic naturalist ascertain the
constituent properties of the plant; let him deny it sensation,
or endow it with irritability; let him limit the nice boundary, or trace the
delicate shades of discrimination which divide the animal from the vegetable
world, or mark the almost imperceptible degrees of sensation which separate
man from the sea-nettle. But without being deeply studied in Linnæus, or knowing
scarcely more of Bonet, Ludwig, or Zunguis, than the titles
of their works, the winter's solitary snow-drop, the spring's early violet, the summer's
first rose, and the autumn's last carnation, speak to my heart a language it
understands, which Nature dictates, and Science could scarcely improve and
ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."]
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TO MRS. C--N--LLE.
WHILST over each lay thou didst
In triumph I cried, "'Tis all mine,"
Unconscious 'twas thou didst inspire as I sang,
And in fact that the lay was all thine.*
Then take it - but oh!
still be present the while,
When another that lay shall respire;
For at least I have felt 'tis the spell of thy smile
That alone can the songstress inspire.
little impromptu was written on the back of some songs presented to a friend,
who ever lavished on the composer that smile of encouraging approbation
which, to the conscious inferiority of timid talent, is the sweetest
inspiration, and without which even genius shrinks back upon itself
spiritless and languid.]
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"La, vers le fin du jour
la simple verite
Honteux de paroitre nud
Pour cacher sa rougeur, cherche l'obscurité.
La, sa confidence legitime rapproche deux amis. - DE MOUSLIER.
WHAT need'st thou ask, or I reply?
Mere WORDS are for the stupid many;
I've ever thought a speaking look
The sweetest eloquence of any!
Yes, thou may'st come,
and at the hour
We consecrate to pensive pleasures,
When feeling, fancy, music, taste,
Profusely shed their dearest treasures.
Yet come not ere the
sun's last beam
Sleeps on the west wave's purpled breast,
Nor wait thee till the full-orb'd moon
Resplendent lifts her silver crest.
But steal the softer hour between,
drops her mystic veil,
And brings the anxious mind's repose,
And leaves the sensient heart to feel.
Yet turn not towards the
That echoes to the joyless laugh
DAMES, nor seek the
Where Riot's sons her goblet quaff.
But with a stilly
Glide to the well known fairy room,
Where fond affection visits oft,
And never finds the heart from home.
Fear not to meet
Thou'lt only find my harp and me,
Breathing perhaps some pensive song,
And waiting anxiously for thee.
And I will wear the
Thou lov'st, I know, to see me wear;
And with that sweet wreath form'd by thee
(Though faded now) I'll bind my hair,
And round my harp fresh
buds I'll twine,
O'er which departing day has wept;
As wildly soft its chords I'll touch
As though a sigh
its chords had swept.
And I will hum the song thou lov'st,
Or thou each bosom-chord shalt thrill
With thine own
we'll be happier still.
Well now, thou know'st
the time, the place,
And - but I merely meant to tell thee
That thou might'st come! yet still I write
As though some witchcraft charm befel me.
[* "Le secret d'ennuyer - est celui de tout dire."]
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THE SPANISH GUITAR.*
"E'l cantar che n'elle
anima si sente."
NEGLECTED long, and wrapt in idle slumber,
Forlorn, obscure, this hapless thing I found;
Thy chords relax'd, and ev'ry tuneful number
Latent and still with thy sweet soul of sound.
Not always thus didst
thou abandon'd languish;
The matin hymn, the midnight serenade,
The lover's wish, the rival's jealous anguish,
Claim'd from thy tones, and found no trivial aid.
Of vanquish'd Moor, of
immortal feats thou'st rung,
And oft beneath the grated casement woo'd
bright charms thy tender master sung.
And who was he, by adverse
Far from his native land (sad youth!) to stray,
By all abandon'd but by thee and Heaven,
Of all bereft but thy care-soothing lay?**
Who ceaseless breath'd to
thee his song of woe,
And haply o'er thy chords inanguish'd hung,
As still thy chords in sympathy would flow,
And sadder breath'd each woe he sadly sung.
Whose e'er thou wert, at
least I owe
Kind little soother of each weary hour;
Obedient ever to the faintest touch
That call'd to sympathy thy passive pow'r.
For when the star of eve
unveil'd her light,
To bathe its glories in some lucid stream,
Or twilight hung upon the day's swift flight,
I've woo'd thy tones to aid my vision'd dream.
Or when the roving
moon-beam seem'd to gather
From every shutting rose its pendent dew,
And heartless joys with flaunting sun-beam wither,
Softly I hum'd my pensive song to you.***
And found thee erst
responsive to my soul,
Thy fainting tones each faint breath'd note return'd,
With every sigh thy sighing accents stole,
With pathos trembled, or in sadness mourn'd.
As true vibrative to the
To ev'ry careless touch of laughing pleasure,
As wildly playful, and as simply gay,
As madly jocund was thy sportive measure.
Oh then to NATURE'S touch be sacred still!
To HER I consecrate thy soothing pow'r;
Let passion, fancy, feeling, wake the thrill
That gives to bliss each visionary hour.
human heart, ere time has chilled its glow, or experience regulated its
pulse, overflows with an ardour of affection often indiscriminate in its
object, undefinable in its nature, and even independent of sympathy.
Sterne declares, in the effervescence of his cordial disposition, that he
could attach himself to a myrtle, if deprived of human intercourse; and
though I am well aware that I shall smile some years hence at the interest I
feel for the little instrument I have endeavoured to celebrate, yet I do not
now feel that interest the less. It arose, I believe, from
the circumstance under which it became mine. - Travelling through a small
town in the north of Ireland, the female servant who accompanied me
mentioning that she had seen a large violin hanging up in the chimney
of a neighbouring cabin, which she had by chance entered while the horses
were changing, I (in the mere idleness of curiosity) sent for it. It was a
Spanish guitar, partly unstrung, covered with dust and mould, and inscribed
on the inside with the name of Lorenzo Alonso, Madrid, 1784. The
peasant who brought it said it had been the property of a young man who some
years back had taken up his residence in his cabin for a few weeks, and that
at his departure he had left the guitar to defray the expence of his lodging,
having no other means. The man gladly parted with, and I purchased, the
instrument, for a trifle. It is well toned, and at this moment in excellent
unhappy Tasso ever retained a tender gratitude for the lyre whose strains had
consoled him in exile, and soothed the horrors of a long and unjust
imprisonment: even when he fancied he had survived the power of calling forth
its latent strains, he pathetically supposes the sympathy it would take in
his sorrows -
"Tu che va in Pindo
Ivi pende mia CITRA ad un Cipresso
Salutate in mio nome, e dille poi
Chio son daglio anni e da fortuna oppresso."]
"The Nightingale, if she should sing by DAY,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the Hen."
certainly may be deemed hyperbole - but who will not pardon the extravagance
of an enthusiasm so nutritive to the most refined emotions of soul, the most
exquisite enjoyments of taste? and who, like Shakespeare, is alive to the
influence of music, and has not felt that influence most sweetly
exerted amidst the stilly softness of the twilight hour?]
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"Che s'altro amanta na
piu destra fortuna
Mille piacer ne voglion un tormento." - PETRARCH.
COME, Apathy, and o'er me breathe thy spell,
Whilst I devote to thee those bosom'd treasures
gave, and thou shalt sound the knell
Of my departed joys and dying pleasures.
For they were but
illusions - senseless power!
while they charm'd the dazzled mind
In joy's gay wreath, in pleasure's sweetest flower,
Nor bloom nor odour can thy vot'rist find.
Then come! and thou shalt
be my god supreme,
And I will worship at thy gloomy shrine;
Nor from the light of memory shall beam
One ray, to
shew that bliss or joy were mine.
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OH thou! who late with glowing fingers wreath'd
Around my youthful brow thy blooming flow'rs,
Sweet Fancy! thou who late so warmly breath'd
Thy frolic spirit o'er my careless hours:
Was it by thought or study thou wert banish'd?
Did care or sorrow chill thy vital glow?
That from so young a mind thy dreams are vanish'd,
That droops thy wild wreath round so young a brow.
Why fade thy fairy visions
on my view
(And every spell that cheer'd my sinking heart)?
Why change thy iris-tints to sablest hue?
Why latent sleeps thy gay creative art?
Oh come! but come not as
thou late wert wont,
With faded blush, and matted locks unbound,
Chasing my foot-steps in each dreary haunt,
And scattering rue and deadly night-shade round.
But come with kindling
blush and sunny tress,
The tear of rapture gleaming in thine eye;
Thy lip (where revel'd many a fond caress!)
Thy ruby lip, exhaling transport's sigh.
Thy glance reviving every
The young loves sporting in thy frolic train,
And many a fairy JOY and
Chasing in rosy groups DESPAIR and PAIN.
Oh! thus return, thou source of all my
And though bereft of all but HOPE and THEE
Yet they who count as theirs exhaustless treasures,
And empires sway, perhaps might envy ME.
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TO MRS. BROWNE.
OF MOUNT PROSPECT, NEAR DUBLIN.
"La Sagesse est bonne!
quelquefois mais toujours de la Sagesse!!!" - MARMONTEL.
I LOVE the warmth! the genial warmth,
That from thine heart's core seems to flow;
That lights thine eye's benignant glance,
And lends thy smile its brightest glow.
I love the warmth, the
That animates thy artless air,
That still extends thy cordial hand,
And bids each word a welcome wear.
For I (TOO oft) am doom'd to meet
The eye whose glance MY ardour chills,
Where still I seek that eye of soul
Whose glance o'er every fine nerve thrills.
And still, alas! I'm
doom'd to touch
Some hand more cold than wintry dew,
Where still I seek that hand's fond press
Whose pulse to mine throbs sweetly true.
And oh! how oft I'm
doom'd to hear
A voice that from the heart new stole,
Where still I languish for those tones
That woo and win the list'ning soul.
And still I'm sadly doom'd to play
The mental gladiator's part,*
When, weary of the strife of wits,
I seek an intercourse of heart.
But thou, dear friend!
didst sweetly wake
Each nerve where bosom-pleasures slumber'd,
And warm'd to life those latent joys
Which grieving mem'ry ceaseless number'd.
With thee too happy to be wise,
Yet wiser in my folly's dream**
Than, when to trim cold study's lamp,
neglected nature's beam.
With thee! no longer sadly sage,
wise, but wisely simple,
The close-knit brow appears the tomb
Of WISDOM, and her throne the DIMPLE.
[* Voltaire passes, in my opinion, the highest eulogium on the character of Mad. du Chatelet (his "belle Emilie") when he says, "De toutes les Femmes qui
ont illustri la France c'est
elle qui a le plus de veritable esprit, et qui a moins affecté LE BEL ESPRIT."]
[** "As for Virtue!" says Jean-Baptiste Rousseau,
"Plus legere que le vent
Elle fuit d'un faux Savant
a sombre melancholic
Et se sauvre bien souvent
Dans les bras de la folie."
can scarcely be deemed a solecism in ethic decorum to assign to Wisdom such a sans-souci retreat as Virtue flies to from
the austerity of self-invested excellence or assumed perfection.
That species of elegant relaxation enjoyed by superior minds; to which the
French give the epithet of "l'aimable folie," is not
yet perfectly understood among US, to whom the word folly conveys an idea distinctly
opposite to that refined trifling, which, like the soul of St. Evremond's mistress, unites
in a certain degree pleasure and wisdom.
"La volupté et Epicure
Et la verité de Caton."
Which D'Alembert enjoyed in the
turret of Madsell. de l'Espinasse; which Voltaire studied amidst
the shades of Ferney; and which, after all, was perhaps the only philosophy
imbibed by Socrates at the feet of Aspasia.]
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THE MUSICAL FLY.
TO * * * * * .
"De pouvoir sans nous
Eterniser la bagatelle." - DE
TO-DAY around my HARP I twin'd
A rose, whose
bosom veil'd a fly,
Some insect Epicure in bliss,
Who sip'd her dews, and breath'd her sigh;
Till surfeit drove him from the feast,
And, pleasure-cloy'd, the tiny rover
Fled his idol rose's breast,
O'er the harp's still chords to hover.
Nor seem'd unconscious of
That lurk'd in every silent string,
For oft the little vagrant swept
O'er every chord his lucid wing.
While THEY (too like the sensient soul
That vibrates to the least impression)
E'en to th' ephemeral's breathy touch
Return'd a faint, but sweet, expression.
"Charm'd with the
sound himself had made,"
Still flutter'd o'er the chords the minion,
And oh! it was a fairy strain
That died beneath his fairy pinion,*
Distinctly soft, and
It scarce was fancied, scarce was caught:
Just such a sighing sound it breath'd
As I by thee one eve was taught.
Whilst thou upon my
Didst hang in Fancy's wildest dream,
And I, not "touch'd, but rapt," made thee
and my theme.
trifle, like all the other trifles to be found in this recueil des
bagatelles, owed its birth to the circumstance of the moment: no disciple of the
doctrine of the Metempsychosis could have watched the
Harmonic Fly with more breathless attention than did its self-created poetess
laureat, and had it reposed on the lyre of Pythagoras, or embodied the
transmigrated spirits of Sappho or Corrina, could it have
been treated with more deference or respect.]
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TO SIGNOR ALPHONSO PILLIGRINNI, LL.D.
Professor of Italian and Spanish, Trinity College, Dublin. (Written on the
north-west coast of CONNAUGHT, at the Seat of Sir M. C--N , Bart.)
THE castle lies low,* whose towers frown'd so high,
And the landscape is awful and bold;
The mountains around lift their heads to the sky,
And the woods many ages have told.
And the world's greatest ocean still dashes its wave
'Gainst the coast that is savagely wild:
Midst the castle's grey ruins there still yawns a cave
Where the sun's cheering light never smil'd.**
And steep is the precipice,*** horrid to view,
That rears o'er the ocean its crest:
They say that no bird to its summit e'er flew,****
And its base 'neath the waves seems to rest.
And the blast that awakes
Unimpeded here breathes its last sigh,
And the rocks round whose brow th' Atlantic winds roar
The spent storms of Columbia defy.
Nor is there a spot midst
this scene of romance
Obscur'd by oblivion's dark veil,
Nor is there a fragment that rivets the glance
But stone charm from tradition can steal.
For many a pilgrim has pillow'd his head
In that CELL
that now moulders away,
And many a brave chief and warrior has
Near these walls†† that now fall to decay.
In that spot, by the thistle and long grass o'er-grown,
That breathes round a desolate gloom,
When the blasts through the old abbey's††† grey ruins moan,
Lies the pilgrim and warrior's tomb.
But the little enthusiast who
boasts THEE her friend,
And who strays midst this world of romance,
Where nature such scenes e'en to fancy
As ne'er floated on fancy's rapt glance;
Who roams midst this landscape, so awful and wild,
Who hangs on th' Atlantic's deep roar,
Who visits the cave where the sun never smil'd,
And wanders the desolate shore;
Who sighs o'er the tomb where the
warrior's laid low,
Where the rough thistle waves its lone head,
Where the blasts o'er the old abbey's grey ruins flow,
And a requiem breathe over the dead;
Yes, th' enthusiast e'en here, midst these scenes drear and wild,
The gentlest of spirits has found,
And many a bosom "ethereally mild,"
By the sweet ties of sympathy bound.
And that polish of manner which
only can flow
From the soul that is warm and refin'd,
And those heart-born
endearments which shed their soft glow
O'er the stronger endowments of mind.
Then, oh! tell me, dear friend,†††† what has place, what has scene,
To do with the heart or the soul?
For like theirs, sure thine own gen'rous bosom had been
The same 'neath the line or the pole.
[* Longford Castle, founded by the
O'Dowels, and purchased by the C----n family in the reign of Elizabeth. It
was a place of considerable strength, but its ruins now strew the earth, and
are scarcely discernible amidst the vegetation with which they are covered.]
[** These caves were accidentally
discovered a few months back.]
[*** The precipice of ALT-BO - of
which Shakespeare 's exquisite description of the
"--Cliff whose high and bending head
Look'd dreadfully down on the roaring deep,"
will give the most adequate idea.]
[**** "The shrill-tun'd lark so high
Cannot be seen or heard." - LEAR, Act iv.]
[† A north-east point of the North American
coast lies exactly opposite to these shores, without the intervention of any
[†† A small chapel, whose almost unimpaired
walls are hung with a crucifix, and the richly carved heads of many of the
[††† The abbey of Drumard.]
[†††† Of this solicitous friend of my
maturer life, and attentive preceptor of my earliest days, it may be truly
said that he is
"Homme de tous les pais
Comme les savants sont de tous les temps."
There are few countries whose language and literature have not contributed to
enrich his mind; while his heart, in the most benevolent and liberal sense of
the term, has ever proved itself a citizen of the world!]
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(IMITATED FROM THE ITALIAN.)
Go, balmy zephyr, softly breathe
To her for whom these buds I wreath;
Yes, breathe the echo of my sigh
To her whose soul-seducing eye
Has look'd, I fear, MY soul away:
But, zephyr, dare not to betray
That 'tis to her I lay my doom;
Tell her I die - but not for
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"There to return, and die
at home at last." - GOLDSMITH.
SILENT and sad, deserted and alone,*
In mem'ry drooping o'er my faded pleasures,
Each homedelight, each soul-felt
A little bankrupt in the heart's rich treasures.
Sweet social ties, to every feeling dear!
Still round that heart's most vital fibre twining,
If I relinquish ye, 'tis with a tear,
Sadly resign'd, and tenderly repining.
Home of my heart! of every wish the goal,
Where'er thy little wand'rer's doom'd to stray;
"Though Alps between us rise, and oceans roll,"
Thou'lt be the Pharos of my devious
For tho' the world's fleet joys awhile deceive me,
Though dazzled by my more than meed of
Should thy dear threshold, Home, again receive me,
Thou'lt find my warm, my untouch'd heart the same.
For if, O world! to other eyes you wear
A syren aspect! yet your vaunted treasures
Ne'er valued to my heart a single tear,
Dropt to my simple Home's departed pleasures.
[* This trifle was scribbled on a tablet
when the recollection of endeared home opposed itself to the comfortless
solitude of an inn; for surely the term solitude is arbitrary in its application;
and the heart, independent of situation, may, in the midst of the busiest
haunts, shrink back upon itself solitary and, unanswered.]
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"Sans depit sans legerte
je quitte un amant volage,
Et je reprend ma liberte--sans regreter mon esclavage." - BERNARD LE JEUNE.
NAY, if you threaten, all is over;
Ne'er dart that rebel look at me!
I languish too, to turn a
So take your shackles - both
No galling steel that chain composes,
Which once I fondly wove for thee;
See! it is form'd of breathing roses,
And dew'd with tears love stole from
But now if o'er its bloomy flushing
INDIFF'RENCE sheds her chilling air,
And o'er each bud (still faintly blushing)
Congeals each tear that lingers there,
Why break at once the useless fetter,
Since round thy heart no more 'tis bound;
But while its roses thus you scatter,
Think not its thorns my breast shall
And yet hadst thou still been that lover,
That all I hoped to find in thee,
I ne'er had turn'd a careless rover,
I ne'er had been thus idly free.
But o'er my lip, in fondness dying,
No sigh of love e'er breath'd its soul,
Until some heart more fondly sighing,
My sigh into existence stole.
And if some tender pangs I
From thee I caught the pleasing
But when with thee those sweet
I felt them in my bosom
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" - Nessun maggior
Che recordarsi del tempo felice, nella miseria." - DANTE
VISIONS of fleeting pleasure! spare,
oh! spare me!
Hence! shades of many a bliss, and many a sorrow;
In vain from this cool medium* would
ye tear me,
With joys indeed to-day - but, what to-morrow?
For every blessing your possession brought me
Left in its absence still a kindred sorrow,
And tho' to-day with many a joy you
You'd leave me, lost to every joy, to-morrow.
Like this rich flow'r, which now in sweet decay
Droops on my breast its head in seeming sorrow;
For though its beauties charm each sense to-day,
My breast will only wear its thorns to-morrow.
[* "A cool suspense from pleasure and
from pain." - POPE.]
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THE SENSITIVE PLANT.
SWEET timid trembling thing,* no
Shalt thou beneath each rude breath sink;
Thy vestal attribute is o'er,
E'en from the softest sigh to shrink.**
No more the balmy zephyr's kiss
Shall find thy chaste reluctance such
That, fading from the fragrant bliss,
Thou shun'st the balmy zephyr's touch.
Proud of thy sensient pow'rs, the breast
Of Emily, with rival pride,
Thou sought'st, but drooping there, confest
That sensient pow'r surpass'd, and died.
[* This little impromptu arose from
observing a sprig of the Sensitive Plant dead on a very feeling and affectionate bosom.]
[** "Every vegetable as well as the Sensitive
Plant shrinks when wounded," says the Naturalist. But SENTIMENT,
unwilling to relinquish the delicate attribute of its own sweet shrub,
replies to Science, "It is true; but in other plants, even when wounded, the motion is too slow to be perceptible; while
the vibration of the Sensitive Plant, even to the faintest touch, is as quick as it is visible."]
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"The pensive pleasures
Prepare thy shadowy car." - COLLINS.
THERE is a mild, a solemn hour,
And oh! how soothing is its pow'r
To smile away Care's sombre low'r!
This hour I love!
It follows last the feath'ry train
That hovers round Time's rapid wain.
'Tis then I rove.
'Tis when the day's last beam of light
Sleeps on the rude tow'r's mould'ring height,
With many an age's moss bedight,
The dreary home
Of some sad victim of despair,
Who from the world finds shelter there;
'Tis then I roam.
'Tis when the west clouds faintly blush,
And his last vesper sings the thrush,
And soft mists veil gay nature's flush,
And not a ray
From the morn's cloud-embosom'd crest
Silvers the green wave's swelling breast;
'Tis then I stray.
'Tis the soft stilly dawn of night,
When many an elf and fairy sprite
Pursue the glow-worm's furtive light,
Like me fonder
Of that soft, pale, mysterious beam
Which lures wild fancy's wizard dream,
While I wander.
Day cannot claim this charming hour,
Nor night subdue it to its power,
Nor sunny smiles, nor gloomy low'r,
Does it betray:
But blandly soothing, sweetly wild,
Soft silent, stilly, fragrant, mild,
It steals away.
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DEAR shade of him my heart holds
more than dear,
Author of all that fond heart's purest bliss,
Dear shade, I hail thee with a rapturous tear,
And welcome thee with many a tender kiss.
Beneath each mimic tint still let me find
Each dear remember'd feature, each lov'd trait,
Each emanation of that ardent mind
That lent reflection's power, or
Oh yes! this brow is his, broad,
That speaks the true, the guileless, honest soul;
But o'er the spotless transcript morbid Care
And Time (of late) their withering fingers stole.
And this th' expressive eye, whose glance I've woo'd,
For sure beneath that glance each task seem'd light;
Dear eye, how oft with tears of fondness dew'd
I've seen thy humid beam shine mildly bright!
But, painter, far above thy wond'rous art
Were those dear lips, those lips where ever play'd
The smile benignant! where the honest heart
In undisguis'd effusions careless stray'd.
Where oft for me the fond endearment glow'd,
Slow to reprove, but ever prompt to praise;
Where oft for me the anxious counsel flow'd,
The moral precept, or amusive lays.
These shoulders too I've climb'd to steal a kiss,
These locks my infant hands have oft carest;
How oft these arms I've fill'd, and shared the bliss
With her (to me) the dearest and the best!
Yes, the twin objects of a father's care,
A mother's loss we rather knew than felt;
Twin objects of that father's every prayer,
In whom his thoughts, his hopes, his wishes dwelt.
Then come, his second self, nor trust me more;
Thou true and lov'd resemblance, shall we part?
For till my heart's last vital thrill is o'er,
Dear shade, I'll wear thee next that beating heart.
[* A miniature likeness of my FATHER!]
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To him who said," You live
only for the World."
"Vivons pour nous .....
Oue l'amitie qui nous unie
Nous tiens lieu du monde." - VOLTAIRE
OH! no - I live not for the throng
Thou seest me mingle oft among,
By fashion driven.
Yet one may snatch in this same world
Of noise and din, where one is hurl'd,
Some glimpse of heaven!
When gossip murmurs rise around,
And all is empty shew and sound,
Or vulgar folly,
How sweet! to give wild fancy play,
Or bend to thy dissolving sway,
When silly beaux around one flutter,**
and silly belles gay nonsense utter,
How sweet to steal
To some lone corner (quite perdue)
And with the dear elected few
Converse and feel!
When forced for tasteless crowds to sing,
Or listless sweep the trembling string,
Say, when we meet
The eye whose beam alone inspires,
And wakes the warm soul's latent fires,
Is it not sweet?
Yes, yes, the dearest bliss of any
Is that which midst the BLISSLESS many
So oft we stole:
Thou know'st 'twas midst much cold parade
And idle crowds, we each betray'd
To each - a soul.
[* "Our ideas," says Zimmerman, "never flow more copiously than in those
moments which we rescue from an uninteresting and fashionable risk."]
[** "Ces enfants dont la folie recrue,
Societés vient tomber tous les ans." - MOLIERE.]
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"Tempo era dal principio
THERE is a soft and fragrant hour,
Sweet, fresh, reviving is its pow'r;
'Tis when a ray
Steals from the veil of parting night,
And by its mild prelusive light
Foretels the day.
'Tis when some ling'ring stars scarce shed
O'er the mist-clad mountain's head
Their fairy beam;
Then one by one retiring, shroud,
Dim glitt'ring through a fleecy cloud,
Their last faint gleam.
'Tis when (just wak'd from transient death
By some fresh zephyr's balmy breath)
Th' unfolding rose*
Sheds on the air its rich perfume,
While every bud with deeper bloom
And beauty glows.
'Tis when fond Nature (genial power!)
Weeps o'er each drooping night-clos'd flower,
While softly fly
Those doubtful mists, that leave to view
Each glowing scene of various hue
That charms the eye.
'Tis when the sea-girt turret's
Receives the east's first
And the dark wave,
Swelling to meet the orient gleam,
Reflects the warmly strength'ning beam
It seems to lave.
'Tis when the restless child of sorrow,
Watching the wish'd-for rising morrow,
His couch foregoes,
And seeks midst scenes so sweet, so mild,
To sooth those pangs so keen, so wild,
Of hopeless woes.
Nor day, nor night, this hour can claim,
Nor moon-light ray, nor noon-tide beam,
Does it betray;
But fresh, reviving, dewy, sweet,
It hastes the glowing hours to meet
Of rising day.
[* The sleep of plants,
and the clustering folds of their leaves during the night, is as faithfully
ascertained by the botanist as the expansion of their charms, with renewed
bloom and vigour, at the approaching return of the sun. - "The common
appearance of most vegetables," says an eminent naturalist, "are so
changed in the night that it is difficult to recognize the different kinds
even by the assistance of light."]
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COME, Sleep, thou transient, but thou sure relief,
Shed o'er my aching eyes thy soothing pow'r,
And mingle with their ceaseless tear of grief
One drop, extracted from thy
Shroud oh! sweet Sleep! in thy
Each woe that would repel thy balmy reign,
And o'er each wearied sense as softly steal
The welcome bondage of thy unfelt chain.
Sooth to forgetfulness my care-worn mind,
Dispel awhile each sad prophetic fear,
And mem'ry in thy gentle thraldom bind,
And steal this sigh, and chase this starting tear;
And call the mimic Fancy to thy
With all her frolic, illusory train;
With rosy visions cheer thy vot'rist maid,
With welcome treach'ry steal her bosom's pain.
Each fond affection in her heart revive,
By waking apathy long lull'd to rest;
Once to each thrilling tone of joy alive,
Though dormant now within her joyless breast.
Thus come, delightful and delusive Sleep,
Thus o'er my wither'd spirits claim thy pow'r;
In thy sweet balm each anguish'd feeling steep;
For days of suff'ring give one
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To him who flung in at my
window a bunch of
Myrtle Blossoms and Two Faces under a
Hood, after a little fracas.
I SAW the flow'rs! and guess'd for
The bloomy buds were cull'd by thee;
I snatch'd the flow'rs, and to my breast
Thy fragrant off'ring fondly prest;
And quite forgot the pouting fray
That gloom'd our cold adieus to-day,
Till as I closer, fonder, hung
O'er every bud, a sad doubt sprung
Within my heart, and chill'd their bloom,
And robb'd them of their rich perfume:
For oh! thy gift appear'd methought
With cruel, DOUBTFUL, meaning fraught;
For one sweet blossom placed in view
Seem'd each delighted sense to woo,
Yet close beneath the fragrant veil
Deception's flow'r was seen to steal.
Why didst thou send me this bouquet?
Cruel! oh! didst thou mean to say,
"These flowers, delusive girl, receive,
Like thee they charm, like thee deceive;
Alternate emblem of thy wile,
Thy obvious grace, thy hidden
guile - "
And is it so? then keep thy flow'r!
And trust me, 'tis no dewy show'r
Shed from nature's genial eye
That glitters o'er its purple dye,
But a tear, a tear that stole
From a fond but wounded soul,
The essence of a pang severe,
By thee extracted, form'd that tear;
Yet still 'tis thine, the chemic pow'r,
To change that tear, to change the flow'r:
Transmuted to a gem the tear
(Joy's precious gem!) the flow'r shall wear,
The flow'r that robb'd my heart of rest
Shall bloom an "heart's ease"
in my breast,
If thou but swear, my captious lover,
Thou ne'er didst think thy friend a rover,
And that the flow'rs were sent by thee
But as peace offerings to me.
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"Airs empressés! vous
n'etes pas l'amour." - VOLTAIRE.
Is this then the passion, is this the sweet anguish?
Fondly to feel, and as fondly inspire;
My poor silly heart in its folly would languish,
And sigh, the true martyr of love to
Oh no! this is fury, 'tis rage, or 'tis madness,
It scares the mild feelings that dwell in the heart;
It wearies the senses, or sinks into sadness
The soul that in riot can ne'er take a part.
Oft in the sweet dream that play'd o'er my pillow,
Or in my warm'd fancy, Love's vision would beam;
But oh! how unlike fleeting passion's wild billow
O'er each yielding sense did it tenderly stream!
Led by the graces, surrounded by pleasures
Which aim at the heart, or which flow from the soul;
Profusely endow'd with the mind's sterling treasures,
And veil'd in sweet sympathy's magical stole.
Though obvious, reserved, mysterious, yet simple,
Chastely endearing, and timidly wild;
Repuls'd by a frown, recall'd by a dimple;
Placid, though tender; though ardent,
And couldst thou (thou maniac in passion) thus woo me,
And lay by these freaks, less persuasive, than fright'ning,
And cease with this fury of
love to pursue me,
Nor always approach me - in THUNDER
If my poor little heart thou wouldst win, my wild rover,
First give me of safety some positive token;
For to tell you the truth, my too vehement lover,
My fear is, my poor little HEAD will be broken.
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"Un dolz plosar, non vaut
quatorez ris." - GUILEM
HERE, Iris, pr'ythee take my lyre,
No more its pathos or its fire
Shall wrap me in delusive bliss,
Its chords my flying fingers kiss,
Nor to its sweet responsive string
Her song of soul thy mistress sing,
And hang upon yon willow's bough
The myrtle wreath that twined her brow:
Thou know'st by whom that wreath was gather'd,
Thou seest how soon that wreath is wither'd.
Oh! quick the emblem-gift
I cannot sing, and must not
Or touch the lyre, or myrtle wear,
Exempt from bliss, and free from care.
Henceforth flow on, my torpid hours;
Indifference! I hail thy
Come, and each keen sensation lull,
And make me languishingly dull,
While thus I offer at thy shrine
What (oh Indifference!) ne'er was thine,
The raptured sigh, the glowing tear,
The fervid hope, the anxious fear,
The blissful thrill, the anguish'd woe,
The freezing doubt, the feeling glow;
Nay, take the ling'ring wish to please,
But give, oh! give thy vot'rist
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THE MINSTREL BOY.
THY silent wing, oh Time! hath
Some feathery hours of youth's fleet frolic joy,
Since first I hung upon the simple lay,
And shared the raptures of a minstrel boy.
Since first I caught the ray's reflected light
Which genius emanated o'er his soul,
Or distant follow'd the enthusiast's
Or from his fairy dreams a vision stole.
His bud of life was then but in its spring,
Mine scarce a germ, in nature's bloomy wreath;
He taught my infant muse t'
expand her wing,
I taught his youthful heart's first sigh to breathe.
In sooth he was not one of common
His fervid soul on thought's
fleet pinions borne,
Now sought its kindred heaven sublimely bold,
Now stoop'd the woes of kindred man to mourn.
For in his dark eye beams of genius
Through the pure crystal of a feeling tear,
And still pale Sorrow claim'd him as her own,
By the sad shade she taught his
SMILE to wear.
Though from his birth the Muses'
Though still she taught his
wild strain's melting flow,
And proudly own'd him with a mother's joy,
He only call'd himself
"the CHILD of WOE."
For still the world each finer transport chill'd
That stole o'er feeling's nerve or fancy's dream,
And when each pulse to Hope's warm
Experience chased Hope's illusory beam.
Too oft indeed, by Passion's whirlwind driven,
Far from cold Prudence' level path to stray,
Too oft he deem'd that light "a light from heaven"
That lured him on to PLEASURE's
To bliss abandon'd; now pursued by woe;
The world's sad outcast; now the world's proud gaze;
The vine and yew alternate wreath'd
The soldier's laurel, and the
Example's baleful force, temptation's wile,
Guided the wand'rings of his pilgrim years;
Fancy's warm child, deceiv'd by Fortune's smile,
That steep'd th' expecting glance in mis'ry's tears.
The sport of destiny, "Creation's heir,"
From realm to realm, from clime to clime he rov'd,
Check'd by no guardian tie, no parent care,
Yet vain did Absence wave the oblivious wand
One spark still glim'ring in his
breast to chill,
Illum'd by Sympathy's unerring hand,
That still awaked his lyre's responsive thrill.
Though o'er eternity's unbounded space
The knell of many a fleeting year had
And weeping mem'ry many a change could trace
That made affection's vital stream run cold;
Yet still those laws immutable and
To nature's void, attraction's
Each spirit to its kindred
Of sweet effects, the fond and
But oh! when cherish'd Hope reposed
Upon a new-born certainty of
Death from the arms of pending
And years of promis'd bliss,
the Minstrel Boy.
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On whose Easel I found a beautiful
Painting of CUPID sleeping.)
tandis qu'il someille
Et craignons un jour, ce Dieu ne seveille." - J. J. ROUSSEAU.
thus wrapt in soft repose;
Ah! whence didst thou thy model borrow,
Or Love, with waking transport
Or restless weeps, a waking
Perhaps thou'st borrow'd from thyself,
For in thine heart, they say,
While in thine eye some swear
An everlasting vigil keeps.
Oh! where, my charming artist, lies
The mystic secret of thy art?
To keep Love waking in the eyes
And guard him sleeping in the heart!
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OH! should I fly from the world, Love, to thee,
Would solitude render me dearer?
Would our flight from the world draw thee closer to me,
Or render thy passion sincerer?
Would the heart thou hast touch'd more tumult'ously beat
Than when its wild pulse fear'd detection?
Would the bliss unrestrain'd be more poignantly sweet
Than the bliss snatch'd by timid affection?
Though silence and solitude breathed all
And each cold law of prudence was banish'd,
Though each wish of the heart and the fancy was crown'd,
We should sigh for those hours that are vanish'd.
When in secret we suffer'd, in secret were blest,
Lest the many should censure our union;
And an age of restraint, when oppos'd and opprest,
Was repaid by a moment's communion.
When virtue's pure tear dew'd our love's
It hallow'd the bliss it repented;
When a penitent sigh breath'd o'er passion's wild dream
It absolv'd half the fault it lamented:
And how thrillingly sweet was each pleasure we stole,
In spite of each prudent restriction,
When the soul unrestrain'd met its warm kindred soul,
And we laugh'd at the world's interdiction!
Then fly, oh my love! to the world back
Since the bliss it denies it enhances,
Since dearest the transient delight shar'd with thee,
Which is snatch'd from the world's prying glances:
Nor talk thus of death till the warm thrill of love
From each languid breast is retreating;
Then may the life pulse of each heart cease to move
When love's vital throb has ceas'd beating.
[* Trifling one evening at the piano
forte, I accidentally produced a
simple melody that pleased me, and, before I left the instrument, adapted to
it the few ideas to be found in the above fragment. It was a maxim of one of
the ancients, that no pleasure was so dangerous as that which proceeded from
the approbation of a friend: and the partiality with which this little
unprovisatore effort was received in the limited and social circle to whom it
was first sung, induced me to publish and dedicate it to her whose taste and sanction procured it a reception in
the world it could never otherwise have obtained -
To the Lady Charlotte Homan.]
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SNOWY gem of the earth! whose fair modest head
Droops beneath the chill sigh of hoar winter's cold breath;
Snowy gem of the earth! on thy pure sunless bed
I carelessly nearly had crush'd thee to death.
And indeed I have torn thee, thou sweet snowy gem!
From the young kindred tendrils thou lov'st to entwine;
Nay, I've sever'd thee quite
from thy fair parent stem,
That droops in reluctance thy charms to resign.
Yet it is from a drear fate, sweet blossom,
I snatch thee,
Thy meek prostrate head to each rude foot a prey,
And now in a clime far more genial I'll watch thee,
And retard thy frail beauties' too rapid decay.
For instead of the sighs of the icicled hours,
I'll breathe o'er those beauties a sigh of the heart,
And its glow may restore thee, thou sweetest of flow'rs,
And some warmth to thy icy-chill'd bosom impart.
And where the froze dew-drop once gem'd thy
That fair brow a dew-drop more precious shall wear;
Such a drop as the mild eyes of Pity bestow,
When she sheds o'er the pale brow of SORROW her TEAR.
For I too have suffer'd! I too have been
From a sweet kindred blossom, a
dear parent stem,
And each nerve from the breath of oppression has smarted,
As the sharp sigh of winter
chill'd thee, snowy gem.
Yet like thee, no kind heart to its bosom e'er press'd me,
Nor beam'd o'er my suff'rings a pitying eye,
With care-soothing tenderness fondly caress'd me,
And repaid all my woes with a tear
and a sigh.
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repos de l'indifference
Pouroit-il recompenser la porte du plaisir?
Non! aimer, joucir, et soufrir
De l'homme! voila l'existence."
THOU! whom unknown, my suff'ring heart implor'd
To fling thy spell athwart the anguish'd hour,
Spirit of Apathy! unfelt ador'd,
Oh! now I feel, now deprecate thy pow'r.
This once too sensate, tender, glowing heart,
I thought could never own THY chilling
Where fester'd late the wound of Sorrow's dart,
Where lately beam'd, oh Joy! thy
Suspense in all its torturing forms I've
And many a tender, many an anxious fear;
And on my lip has died the stifled
And in mine eye has swam the silent tear.
And I have known sweet Friendship's
Perhaps have felt Love's first-born pure delight;
And I have worship'd Fancy's
And (fond enthusiast!) dared her wildest flight.
But now! no raptur'd moment, no soft woe,
Can sublimate the soul or touch the heart;
No more the solemn "joys of grief" bestow,
Or pensive bliss, or gracious pangs impart.
Stagnate each feeling, frozen every sense,
Each fairy thought enrob'd in Languor's stole;
No visionary joy can now dispense,
Or with "an airy nothing"
cheer the SOUL.
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send the soul upon a jig to heaven." - POPE.
jocund Highland Reel
Might make an hermit play the deel!
So full of gig!
Famed for its Cotillions gay France is;
But e'en give me the dance of dances,
An Irish jig.
The slow Pas Grave, the brisk Coupée,
The Rigadoon, the light Chassée,
Devoid of gig,
I little prize; or Saraband
Of Spain; or German Allemande:
Give me a jig!*
When once the frolic jig's begun,**
Then hey! for spirit, life, and fun!
And with some gig,
Trust me, I too can play my part,
And dance with all my little heart
The Irish jig.
Now through the mazy figure flying,
With some (less active) partner vying,
And full of gig;
Now warm with exercise and pleasure,
Each pulse beats wildly to the measure
Of the gay jig!
New honours to the saint be given***
Who taught us first to dance to
I'm sure of gig,
And laugh and fun, his soul was made,
And that he often danced and play'd
An Irish jig.
I think 'tis somewhere clearly proved
That some great royal prophet loved
A little gig;
And though with warrior fire he glow'd,
The prowess of his heel he
In many a jig!
Nay, somewhere too I know they tell
How a fair maiden danced so well,
With so much gig,
That (I can scarce believe the thing)
She won a saint's head from a king
For one short jig!
But I (so little my ambition)
Will fairly own, in meek submission,
(And with some gig)
That for no HOLY head I burn;
One poor LAY heart would serve MY turn
For well danced jig.
Since then we know from "truths
That saints and patriarchs did incline
To fun and gig,
Why let us laugh and dance for ever,
And still support with best endeavour
THE IRISH JIG.
[* This trifle is given as it was written, impromptu, in the first flush of triumph, after having
"simply gained renown," by tiring out two famous jig dancers, at
the seat of a particular friend in TIPPERARY. There are few countries, whose inhabitants are
strictly natives, that have not a national Dance, as well as a national Song: "This must have
peculiarly been the case in Ireland," says Noverres, in his Essay on
Dancing; "for such a natural and native taste for music as I have spoken
of, is usually accompanied by, or includes in it, a similar one for
[** The influence which an Irish Jig holds
over an Irish heart is strongly illustrated in the following singular anecdote,
borrowed from the appendix of Mr. Walker's interesting Memoir of the Irish
Bards. "The farce of the Half Pay Officer having been brought out at Drury-lane Theatre, the
part of an old Grandmother was assigned to Mrs. Fryer, an Irish woman, who
had quitted the stage in the reign of Charles the Second, and had not
appeared on it for fifty years; during the representation she exerted her
utmost abilities; when however she was called on to dance a jig at the age of
eighty-five, she loitered, and seemed overcome; but as soon as the music
struck up the Irish Trot, she
footed it as nimbly as any girl of five-and-twenty."]
[*** At Limages not long ago the people
used to dance round the choir of
the church, which is under the invocation of their patron saint, and at the end of each psalm, instead of the
"Gloria Patria," they sung as follows - "Saint Marcel, pray
for us, and we will dance in
honour of you!" - GALLINI.]
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* * * * * * * * * *
THE quill that now traces the thought of my heart,
And speeds the soft wand'rer to thine,
From the pinion of love, by thy hand's erring dart,
Was sever'd, and then became mine.*
"Preserve it," thou saidst,
"for it shatter'd the breast
Which once glow'd with love's purest fire;
And it fell as the mistress and mother caress'd
In love's transport, the offspring and sire."
When thou toldst me the tale, and I wept
o'er the quill,
Where already thy tear had been shed;
"And oh!" I exclaim'd, "may its point ever thrill
O'er the nerve where soft pity is bred.
"From that point may the fanciful
sorrow still flow
Which, though fancied, ne'er misses the heart;
Be it sacred alone to the
Which genius and feeling
But little I dream'd the first trace it
With a sorrow not fancied should flow,
And that, that real sorrow
should spring from my heart,
And that thou shouldst awaken that woe.
For they tell me, alone and unfriended
On the pillow of sickness to languish;
By absence, by fate, of the fond friend bereft
Who could feel for, and solace, thy
May this quill then convey one fond truth to thy heart,
And its languid pulsation elate;
That still in each suff'ring that friend takes a part,
as she mourns for thy fate.
When fancy thou viewest that tear of the
Which thy destiny draws to her eye,
And believe that no sigh from thy
bosom e'er stole
But she gave thee as heart-felt a sigh.
For sweet is the solace that lurks in the
Which flows from the eye that we love;
And what is the suff'ring, oh! what is the care
That sympathy cannot remove?
Oh! then speed thy return, and thy sweet
Which affection and friendship present,
From her who by pity was taught
And who feels, where she ought to resent.**
[* "I aimed my fowling-piece,"
said the friend from whom I received the quill, "at some birds that
floated on the lake; but its contents were unfortunately lodged in the breast
of a swan which lay sheltered amongst the reeds on the shore. I flew to the
spot, and found the mate hovering near his wounded love; and two cygnets fluttering
beneath the wings from which this quill dropped."]
[** In allusion to a petite broullerie,
which occasioned the absence of the friend to whom this fragment is
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a fix'd state - a tenure, not a start." - YOUNG.
"JOY a fix'd state - a tenure, not a start!"
Whence came that thought, sublime and pensive sage?
Did Joy e'er play upon thy grief-chill'd heart,
Or flash its warm beam o'er the life's sad page?
And felt'st thou not 'twas but a start indeed,
A rainbow lustre o'er the clouds
Of many an anxious hope the golden meed,
The bright, tho' transient heaven
Oh Joy, I know thee well! and in that hour
Which gave me to the dearest father's arms,
(Arms long unfill'd by me) have felt thy pow'r
Sweetly dispelling absence' fond alarms.
And I have felt thy evanescent gleam
Illume the vision youthful fancy
Have known thee in my slumbers' rosy dream
Give many a bliss I (waking)
From thee what sweet truths would cold REASON borrow,
Whilst thou (tumultuous in thy reign) would chase
Each gloomy phantom of my bosom's sorrow,
And send thy sunny spirits in their place.
Wild, warm, and tender, was thy witching
Delight's wild throb, and
rapture's tear was thine,
And every feeling own'd thy
Oh! such at least thou wert,
when thou wert mine.
Transient indeed, as young spring's iris
And ever fleetest in thy dearest bliss;
Chas'd by a doubt, a frown, a tear, a sigh;
Lured by a glance, a thought, a smile, a kiss.
Yet though so fleeting in thy poignant
Though thy brief span is scarce a raptured hour,
Though still least palpable thy richest treasure,
Though as we cull, still fades thy sweetest flow'r;
Yet come! delicious Joy! ere yet the chill
Of age repels thy influence o'er my heart,
While yet each sense responsive meets thy thrill,
Oh come! delicious Joy! all transient as thou art!
[* This little fragment, in a very
imperfect and unfinished state, has already been published.]
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him who will best understand it.
By the first sigh that o'er thy lip did
And sweetly breath'd a secret sweeter still;
By thy reproachful glance, thou mock reprover!
The speechless transport, and the vaunted thrill:
By thy assumed despair and fancied sorrow,
The sudden languor, and the transient glow;
By all those wiles thou know'st from love to borrow,
The timid doubt, the
By the soft murmurs of thy flatt'ring
By all thy looks have told, or smiles exprest,
By all thou'st sworn, or wrote, or said, or sung,
By all the arts thou aimest at my breast:
By the feign'd tear of love (delusive
Thou know'st to conjure to thy dang'rous eye,
And by that dang'rous eye, thou arch dissembler,
I still am free, and Love and thee defy!
For not a faultless form or perfect face,
Or studied arts, can win a soul
It must be more than mere external grace,
It must be more than ever can be thine.*
Why (though thy tender vow exalt another)
May not my rapt imagination rove
Beyond the solemn softness of a brother,
And live in fancy on thy looks of love?
Ah! surely of celestial growth the flowers
That bloom'd so brightly o'er our early scene;
For tho' that sunny scene was dash'd with showers,
How glorious was each glitt'ring space between!
Young Innocence, array'd in guiltless
Would then preside o'er each delightful prank;
Wild Laughter wreath her mimic crown of rushes,
And pluck her jewels from the lilied bank.
Now sterner cares impel of big ambition,
The glare of beauty, and the din of praise;
And nature quite disown'd, that playful vision
Is but the vision of departed days.
Mid the mad waves of life's inconstant
My solitary skiff shall
And mem'ry, smiling at the dread commotion,
Paint on each cloud affection's harbour near.
Thy gilded bark o'er the glad billows bounding,
Ætesian gales shall smoothly bear along,
And sighing crowds its charming freight surrounding,
Salute thy splendid progress with a song.
While thou dost to the choral flatt'ry
More gently soothed by melancholy bliss,
Perchance thy meek averted eye may glisten
O'er some neglected strain--sincere as this.
[* I should scarcely have thought this
trifle worthy a place even amidst the kindred trifles where it appears, but that it gives me an
opportunity of quoting some beautiful lines, written in reply, by the late
unfortunate Thomas Dermoody, into whose hands it accidentally fell at a
period when time and absence (the great dissolvents of all human ties!) had
rendered him in some degree a stranger to their author. As the posthumous
work in which the poem is inserted is little (if at all) known in his native
country, I would be happy to give the whole poem, but that many of the
stanzas are too flattering to be quoted by their subject; and indeed even
those she has selected are perhaps liable to the same proscription!]
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Son l'arti magichi, del dio d'amor.
HITHER, Love, thy wild wing bend,
Or on thy mother's dove descend;
Or let some breeze thy light form bear,
Or mount some "courser of the air;"
Or float thee on a lover's sigh,
But hither, Love, oh! hither
And come while yet the wish is warm,
To portrait true, thy changeful form;
Yes, come, with all thy magic arts,
"Quips, cranks, and smiles," bows, arrows, darts;
Approach thee cap-a-pee in arms,
Muster ten thousand strong in
Then (if thou canst) repose thy pinion,
And give me one good sitting, minion.
Shake not at me those golden locks,
Thy pow'r my dauntless spirit mocks;
Nay, think not by that look to bind me;
I'll paint thee, rascal, as I find thee.
Yes, thou shalt have a seraph's face,
A childish air, an infant grace,
A bashful blush, a movement shy,
A timid glance, a downcast eye,
A frolic gait, a playful mien,
A cherub's smile, a brow serene;
Such is thy outward form, I
"But that within, which passeth shew,"
And thou wouldst slily keep perdû,
I'll paint in colours strong and
So now have at thee, trait'rous
Thou bitter sweet , thou painful joy;
Thou thing compos'd of contradictions,
Of blessings and of maledictions,
Of vivid hopes, of sombre doubts,
Of sports and joys, of frowns and pouts,
Of gay delight, of anxious care,
Of thrilling bliss, of wild despair,
Of confidence, of dark suspicion,
Of tyranny, of meek submission,
Of sympathy, of jealous fire,
Of tenderness, of wrathful ire,
Of certainties, of mad'ning fears,
Of melting smiles, of treach'rous tears,
Of vestal blush, of roguish eye,
Of speaking look, of stifled sigh,
Of present joy, of future woe,
Of chill disdain, of genial glow,
Of simple air, of practis'd guile,
Of candid words, of hidden wile;
Thou imp, thou seraph,** good or evil,
Thou ofttimes angel, ofttimes devil;
Thou all on earth we most should fear,
Thou all on earth we hold most dear;
Whom now we trust, whom now we doubt,
Whom none can live with, nor without,
Thou woe, fear, grief, thou bliss, hope, joy,
Thou - oh! thou too delightful
Go, go, I dare not longer gaze,
For well I know thy wily ways,
And that while I with critic stricture
Thus coldly finish off thy picture,
Thou haply point'st thy keenest dart
At the simple painter's heart.
[* The idea and many of the lines in this fragment are taken
from a trifle that appeared in my first little publication, and was written
at fifteen. I have endeavoured
to correct and improve it - It was probably not worth the effort.]
[** I think it is Origen who gives Love two souls, one from God, the other from the devil.]
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this complexion must we come at last." - SHAKSPEARE.
AND must I, ghastly guest of this dark dwelling,
Pale senseless tenant! must I come to this?
And must this heart congeal, now warmly swelling
To woe's soft languor, rapture's melting bliss?
And must this pulse that beats to joy's gay
(Throbbing with bloomy health!) this pulse lie still,
And every sense alive to guileless pleasure
Resist, oh transport! thy warm vital thrill?
And must each sensient feeling too decay,
(Each feeling anguish'd by another's sorrow)
This form, that blushes youth and health to-day,
Lie cold and senseless thus like thee to-morrow?
Terrific death! to shun thy dreaded pow'r,
Who would not brave existence' direst strife,
But that beyond thy dark shade's gloomy low'r
Faith points her vista to
[* Scribbled on a tablet amidst the sombre
but interesting ruins of Sligo Abbey.]
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NYMPH of the mountain! blithsome maid,
Whose bloom no midnight revels
That breath'st the grey dawn's scented air,
And with its dew-pearls deck'st
Thy brow with Alpine myrtle crown'd,
Thy waist with deathless aloes bound,
Thy lip with wild-bees' nectar
Thine eye with rapture's tear imbued,
Thy cheek imbrown'd, and rosed with blushes
Warm as the rich carnation flushes,
Thy step of devious frolic measure,
And all around thee breathing pleasure;
Thou dearest gift of bounteous Heaven,
To its most favour'd object given,
Source of the richest joys the heart
Can feel, or senses can impart,
Enchantress Health! what offering, say,
What tribute can thy vot'rist pay,
While now, delicious nymph, you shed
Your richest blessings o'er her head?
This smile is thine, this laughing eye,
This form suffused with thy warm dye,
These rising spirits gay, yet even,
By thee alone, oh Health! were given,
That point each hope, and sooth each care,
And gaily mock the fiend Despair,
That smile away the frowns of life,
Exalt each bliss, and calm each strife;
With whom, and thee, each
Has swiftly flown, while every tear
Which woe shed o'er my fervid cheek
You fondly chased, and bade me seek
In motives pure, and guileless mind,
For every woe a balm to find.
Led by thy hand my feather'd hours,
Enwreath'd with fancy's blooming
Time's progress check'd with frolic play,
And "gaily trifled life away;"
Reviv'd the chaplet on my brow,
Unchill'd indeed by age's snow,
But where each bud my hopes had gather'd
By disappointment's blast was
And hush'd the song of syren ease,
And wak'd each latent wish to please,
And many a harmless joy bestow'd
Which from no source but thine e'er flow'd;
Yet oh! for all thou'st done for me
I've nothing, Health, to offer thee,
For all thy joys and all thy blisses,
But such - an idle song as this is
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il ne me reste de mes contentments
Qu'ne souvenir funesti
Qui me les convertit a toute heurs in tourments."
RETURN, ye fairy dreams of promis'd joy,
My youthful fancy's flatt'ring pencil drew,
Nor suffer time your visions to destroy,
Nor strike the bright tints from my raptur'd view.
Again, oh Hope! thy glowing prospects spread,
Restore thy scenes so distant and so fair;
Oh! be each thought by thee, sweet syren, led,
And drown in fancied bliss each real care.
For what can "flat reality" bestow,
E'en when, illum'd by fortune's brightest beam,
To compensate those joys that sweetly flow
From youthful HOPE, and youthful fancy's dream?
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from the Italian)
FAIRER than Alpine sunless snows
Wert thou, in thy primæval hour,
Eternal odour-breathing rose!
Queen of every lovely flow'r;
Till, upon a festive day,
When the Loves with Hymen sported,
Revel'd wild in antic play,
And the brimming goblet courted,
An urchin wilder than the rest
Tript in many a mazy ringlet,
The luscious grape insatiate prest,
And shook fresh odours from his winglet.
While the bowl of nectar'd dews
Trembles in his nerveless clasp,
Thy modest form (sweet rose!) he views,
And reels, thy fragrant charms to grasp.
But reeling, spills the crimson tide
Which o'er thy tintless bosom
And now that bosom's snowy pride
With love's own colouring warmly glows.
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form the Italian of Metastasio.)
WHAT form celestial greets my sight,
In such a panoply of light,
Whose robes of air so brightly flow,
Like sun-ting'd show'rs of feather'd snow?
Ah! 'tis the lovely queen of blisses,
Of melting sighs, and tender kisses!
She hither bends to shed her roses
Over the couch where Love reposes,
Softly lull'd on Hymen's breast,
His suff'rings hush'd, his cares at rest.
And whence that group, that elfin bevy,
That crowd the Hymeneal levy?
With antic sport and frolic leer,
What brings the urchin rabble here?
Ah! these are Venus' rosy boys,
Her tiny sports, and roguish
These cunning loves and laughing
Are thy sly brood, arch queen of smiles!
See how their shafts they idly shiver,
And empty every golden quiver,
And break their bows in idle play,
And fling their pointless darts away;
For every dart has done its duty,
And conquer'd in the cause of beauty.
But whose soft sigh now meets my ear?
Whence is the melting plaint I hear?
Who comes, so like a drooping flow'r,
Whose fair head bends beneath the show'r
That sheds its tear from zephyr's wing,
And weeps amidst the smiles of spring?
It is the Bride! but say why flow
From eyes of bliss the dews of woe?
And art thou then so wondrous simple?
And seest thou not the roguish dimple
That lurks in either cheek so fair,
And mocks the tear that glitters there?
And know'st thou not these wiles but prove
The policy of timid love?
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quel viso furbarello
V'e un incognita magia
Non si sa diavol sia!
Ma fa l'uomo, delivar."
GAY soul of every piquante charm
That can the torpid senses warm,
Mistress of the Non sa che
Toute ensemble, sweet Naivité!
Darting from thy unfixed eye
The pointed glance of meaning sly,
Flinging round with comic air
The shaft that wounds cold "wrinkled care;"
Thy brow with many a feather crown'd,
In many a different climate found,
Thy robe of every rainbow hue,
As bright, as gay, as changeful too;
Thy girdle by the graces wove,
And breath'd on by the queen of
Or gay or grave, still sure to please
With novel airs and playful ease;
Before th' enchantment of thine eye
Dull beauty's fair disciples fly;
Man worshipping variety,
Finds all its magic charms in thee.
And I invoke thee, winning maid!
When the spell of youth shall fade,
To touch the alter'd form and face
With thine own bewitching grace;
When time shall pale my life's fresh flow'r,
Oh give me then thy bizarre pow'r!
Let me, oh WHIM! thy cestus wear,
And make the stupid many stare,
With gay caprice, and outré thought,
The petit pointe, the pun
The bon trovaté, tour d'expression,
And all that's in thine own
Thus, thus the pow'r of age disarming,
Thus ever changing, ever charming.
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GO, mind-created phantom, go,
Hence, flatt'rer, wander,
Lest of thee, my bosom's foe,
I still grow fonder.
Thou viewless soother, hence away,
I'll ne'er believe thee;
For, deck'd in fancy's glowing ray,
Thou'dst still deceive me.
Yet should I free thee much I fear
Thou'dst idly rove,
And thy course, arch betrayer, steer
To him you love.
And if by him, incautious rover,
As mine thou'rt known,
Each bosom secret thou'dst discover:
I'd guard my own.
Let go! and shouldst thou near his breast
Still haply view
Thy mistress still its idol guest,
There rest thee too.
For then each doubting, hoping thrill
Awak'd by thee,
The sweetest certainty shall still
To rest for me.
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CHILD of a sun-beam, airy minion,
Whither points thy flutt'ring pinion?
Pinion dipt in rainbow hues,
Pinion gem'd with sparkling dews
Shed from many a weeping flower,
Bathed in matin's rosy shower;
Tell me why thy form so bland
Still eludes my eager hand?
Tell me, wanton, wouldst thou be
Madly wild, and wildly free?
If freedom is thy life's best treasure,
Then get thee hence, gay child of pleasure,
From feudal tow'r and cloistral cell,
For freedom there did never dwell;
And I no more thy form will woo,
But pleas'd thy varied flight pursue;
And now upon a zephyr's sigh
Thou seem'st in languid trance to die,
Now flutt'ring wild, thy golden winglet
Sports in many a wanton ringlet,
Or soar'st to drink the sun's first gleam,
Or bask thee in the infant beam;
Then panting in thy heaven-snatcht glow,
I feel thee flutt'ring o'er my brow,
Whence thy breezy plumage chases
Each tear the hand of sorrow traces,
Or, as athwart my lip you fly,
Fan away the woe-born sigh,
Tear of sorrow*, sigh of woe,
Early taught by fate to flow,
From an heart a stranger still
To nature's dearest, sweetest thrill;
Tear of sorrow, sigh of woe,
Ne'er given thee, happy thing, to know;
Thee, whose life a raptured minute
Bears an age of blisses in it;
Thee, whose life a minute's measure,
Dawns, exists, and fades in pleasure.
Oh! insect of the painted wing,
I've watch'd thee from the morning's spring,
As idly lapt in soft repose
Midst the blushes of the rose,
The playful zephyr's balmy breath
Has wak'd thee from thy transient death,
Or the bee in tuneful numbers
Put to flight thy fragrant slumbers;
And as thy wings of varied hue
(Dipt in rose-embosom'd dew)
You flutt'ring imp and deftly try,
Still I follow, still you fly
Midst the lavish charms of Nature,
Thou her freest, gayest creature;
Now the vi'let's balmy sigh,
Now the tulip's changeful dye,
Now the rose's orient glow,
Now the lily's tintless snow,
Woo and win thy brief caress,
Alternate pall, alternate bless,
Till the summer's glow is o'er,
Till her beauties bloom no more,
Then the flow'r whose fragrant sigh
Survives her warmly blushing dye,
Lures thee to an heaven of rest
On her pale but od'rous breast,
And amidst her balmy treasures
Thou diest in th' excess of pleasures.
Oh happy careless thing! could I
But live like thee, but like thee die,
Like thee resign my fleeting breath,
My life of bliss, in blissful death,
I'd envy not th' extended span,
The patriarchal day of man.
For him let time's protracting pow'rs
Still spare existence ' drooping flow'rs,
And wreaths of joyless years entwine,
But oh! one raptured hour be mine.
[* This fragment has already appeared in
the Novice of St. Dominick, and the above lines are an allusion to the
destiny of the heroine.]
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delightful mother prest
The sportive urchin to her breast,
And he, like other idle boys,
Play'd with her trinkets and her toys,
Unbound her tresses, scar'd her doves,
Or teaz'd his younger brother loves;
"Come, tell me," cries the queen of charms,
"Why hast thou never turn'd thine arms
Against the sage Minerva's heart?
Does she defy thy potent art?"
"'Tis true," abash'd her son replies,
"A single glance from wisdom's eyes
Can all my best resolves destroy,
And quite repels thy daring boy,
As often as he strives to plunder
The heart of that same vestal wonder;
And sure the snakes that twine her crest,
The gorgon head that shields her breast,
Might well an infant soul dismay,
And chase a timid child away.
One night, with luscious nectar warm,
(I swear ne'er dreaming ought of harm)
I strove in frolic play to scorch
Her owl's grey pinion with my torch,
And then (as though I did not fear her)
Flash'd my little flambeau near her;
When turning round, (her eyes on fire)
'I swear,' she cried, 'by Jove my sire,
If thus again you venture near me,
To pieces, urchin, will I tear thee;
Dare but a single step advance,
I'll pierce thee, mischief! with my lance;
Raise but thy bow, and strait from heaven
To Tartarus shalt thou be driven.'
I took the hint, and from that hour
Ne'er threw myself in wisdom's pow'r."
"Well, if Minerva's gorgon head
Awakes my timid Cupid's dread
More than the thunder-bolt of Jove,
Say, do the Muses frighten Love?"
"Oh no, mamma!" replies the elf,
"I love the Muses next thyself;
E'en I revere, with all my folly,
Their sweet voluptuous melancholy,
And oft I steal their groves among
To catch, unseen, their pensive song!"
Th' experienced mother archly smiles,
And cries, "Alas! with all thy wiles,
Thou'rt still a child; for where can Love
Unseen repose, unthought of, rove?
Thy faintest sigh that scents the air
Would still thy vicinage declare;
And when thou steal'st their groves among,
Well may the Muses' pensive song
Breathe the soul of melody,
Still sweetest breathed when breathed for thee;
For sure the song the soul holds dearest
Is sweetest breathed when Love is nearest."
[* It is
scarcely necessary to observe that the idea of this fragment is borrowed from
the ninth dialogue of LUCIAN.]
Bolt Court, Fleet Street, London.