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My fugitive years are all hasting away,
And I must ere long lie as lowly as they,
With a turf on my breast and a stone at my head,
Ere another such grove shall arise in its stead.
'Tis a sight to engage me, if anything can,
To muse on the perishing pleasures of man;
Short-lived as we are, our enjoyments, I see,
Have a still shorter date; and die sooner than we.
THE SOLITUDE OF ALEXANDER SELKIRK
I AM monarch of all I survey;
My right there is none to dispute;
From the centre all round to the sea
I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
O Solitude! where are the charms
That sages have seen in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
Than reign in this horrible place.
I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone,
Never hear the sweet music of speech;
I start at the sound of my own.
The beasts that roam over the plain
My form with indifference see;
They are so unacquainted with man,
Their tameness is shocking to mè.
Society, Friendship, and Love
Divinely bestow'd upon man,
O, had I the wings of a dove
How soon would I taste you again!
My sorrows I then might assuage
In the ways of religion and truth;
Might learn from the wisdom of age,
And be cheer'd by the sallies of youth.
Ye winds that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore
Some cordial endearing report
Of a land I shall visit no more:
My friends, do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me?
O tell me I yet have a friend,
Though a friend I am never to see.
How fleet is a glance of the mind!
Compared with the speed of its flight,
The tempest itself lags behind,
And the swift-wingèd arrows of light.
When I think of my own native land
In a moment I seem to be there;
But alas! recollection at hand
Soon hurries me back to despair.
But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,
The beast is laid down in his lair;
Even here is a season of rest,
And I to my cabin repair.
There's mercy in every place,
And mercy, encouraging thought!
Gives even affliction a grace
And reconciles man to his lot.
MARY! I want a lyre with other strings,
Such aid from heaven as some have feign'd they drew,
An eloquence scarce given to mortals, new
And undebased by praise of meaner things,
That ere through age or woe I shed my wings
I may record thy worth with honour due,
In verse as musical as thou art true,
And that immortalizes whom it sings:-
But thou hast little need. There is a Book
By seraphs writ with beams of heavenly light,
On which the eyes of God not rarely look,
A chronicle of actions just and bright-
There all thy deeds, my faithful Mary, shine;
And since thou own'st that praise, I spare thee mine.
THE twentieth year is well-nigh past
Since first our sky was overcast;
Ah would that this might be the last!
Thy spirits have a fainter flow,
I see thee daily weaker grow—
'Twas my distress that brought thee low,
Thy needles, once a shining store,
For my sake restless heretofore,
Now rust disused, and shine no more;
For though thou gladly wouldst fulfil
The same kind office for me still,
Thy sight now seconds not thy will,
But well thou play'dst the housewife's part,
And all thy threads with magic art
Have wound themselves about this heart,
Thy indistinct expressions seem
Like language utter'd in a dream;
Yet me they charm, whate'er the theme,
Thy silver locks, once auburn bright,
Are still more lovely in my sight
Than golden beams of orient light,
For could I view nor them nor thee,
What sight worth seeing could I see?
The sun would rise in vain for me,
Partakers of thy sad decline,
Thy hands their little force resign;
Yet, gently press'd, press gently mine,
Such feebleness of limbs thou prov'st
That now at every step thou mov'st
Upheld by two; yet still thou lov'st,
And still to love, though press'd with ill,
In wintry age to feel no chill,
With me is to be lovely still,
But ah! by constant heed I know
How oft the sadness that I show
Transforms thy smiles to looks of wo
And should my future lot be cast
With much resemblance of the past,
Thy worn-out heart will break at last-
BOADICEA: AN ODE
WHEN the British warrior queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Sought, with an indignant mien,
Counsel of her country's gods,
Sage beneath a spreading oak
Sat the Druid, hoary chief;
Every burning word he spoke
Full of rage, and full of grief.
'Princess! if our aged eyes
Weep upon thy matchless wrongs, 'Tis because resentment ties All the terrors of our tongues.
'Rome shall perish-write that word
In the blood that she has spilt;
Perish, hopeless and abhorred,
Deep in ruin as in guilt.
'Rome, for empire far renowned,
Tramples on a thousand states;
Soon her pride shall kiss the ground—
Hark! the Gaul is at her gates!
'Other Romans shall arise,
Heedless of a soldier's name; Sounds, not arms, shall win the prizeHarmony the path to fame.
'Then the progeny that springs
From the forests of our land,
Armed with thunder, clad with wings,
Shall a wider world command.
'Regions Cæsar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway,
Where his eagles never flew,
None invincible as they.'
Such the bard's prophetic words,
Pregnant with celestial fire,
Bending, as he swept the chords
Of his sweet but awful lyre.