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Not Happiness itself makes good her name;
Our very wishes give us not our wish.
How distant oft the thing we dote on most
From that for which we dote, felicity!
The smoothest course of nature has its pains ;
And truest friends through error, wound our rest.
Without misfortune, what calamities !
And what hostilities, without a foe!
Nor are foes wanting to the best on earth.
But endless is the list of human ills,
And sighs might sooner fail than cause to sigh.
COMPLAINT FOR NARCISSA.
Oh, Philander !
What was thy fate? A double fate to me;
Portent and pain, a menace and a blow,
Like the black raven hovering o'er my peace,
Not less a bird of omen than of prey.
It call'd Narcissa long before her hour;
It call'd her tender soul, by break of bliss,
From the first blossom, from the buds of joy ;
Those few our noxious fate unblasted leaves
In this inclement clime of human life.
Sweet harmonist! and beautiful as sweet!
And young as beautiful! and soft as young !
And gay as soft! and innocent as gay!
And happy (if aught happy here) as good!
For fortune fond had built her nest on high.
Like birds quite exquisite of note and plume,
Transfix'd by fate (who loves a lofty mark),
How from the summit of the grove she fell,
And left it unharmonious. All its charms
Extinguish'd in the wonders of her song!
Her song still vibrates in my ravish'd ear,
Still melting there, and with voluptuous pain
(Oh to forget her!) thrilling through my heart !
Song, beauty, youth, love, virtue, joy, this groap
Of bright ideas, flowers of Paradise,
As yet unforfeit! in one blaze we bind,
Kneel, and present to the skies, as all
We guess of heaven: and these were all her own;
And she was mine; and I was-was!-most bless'd-
Gay title of the deepest misery!
As bodies grow more ponderous robb’d of life,
Good lost weighs more in grief than gain’d in joy,
Like blossom'd trees o’erturn'd by vernal storm,
Lovely in death the beauteous ruin lay;
And if in death still lovely, lovelier there,
Far lovelier! pity swells the tide of love.
And will not the severe excuse a sigh?
Scorn the proud man that is ashamed to weep;
Our tears indulged indeed deserve our shame.
Ye that e'er lost an angel, pity me!
Soon as the lustre languish'd in her eye,
Dawning a dimmer day on human sight,
And on her cheek, the residence of Spring,
Pale omen sat, and scatter'd fears around
On all that saw (and who would cease to gaze
That once had seen ?), with haste, parental haste,
I flew, I snatch'd her from the rigid North,
Her native bed, on which bleak Boreas blew,
And bore her nearer to the sun : the sun
(As if the sun could envy) check'd his beam,
Denied his wonted succour ; nor with more
Regret beheld her drooping than the bells
Of lilies; fairest lilies, not so fair!
So man is made ; ght ministers delight
But what his glowing passions can engage ;
And glowing passions, bent on aught below,
Must, soon or late, with anguish turn the scale ;
And anguish, after rapture, how severe !
Rapture ? Bold man ! who tempt'st the wrath divine,
By plucking fruit denied to mortal taste,
While here, presuming on the rights of Heaven.
For transport dost thou call on every hour,
Lorenzo ? At thy friend's expense, be wise ;
Lean not on Earth; 'twill pierce thee to the heart;
A broken reed at best, but oft a spear;
On its sharp point Peace bleeds, and Hope expires.
Turn, hopeless thought! turn from her : thought
Resenting rallies, and wakes every wo.
Snatch'd ere thy prime! and in thy bridal hour!
And when kind Fortune, with thy lover, smiled!
And when high flavour'd thy fresh-opening joys!
And when blind man pronounced thy bliss complete!
And on a foreign shore, where strangers wept !
Strangers to thee, and, more surprising still,
Strangers to kindness, wept: their eyes let fall
Inhuman tears! strange tears ! that trickled down
From marble hearts ! obdurate tenderness!
A tenderness that calựd them more severe;
In spite of Nature's soft persuasion, steel'd!
While nature melted, superstition raved;
That mourn'd the dead, and this denied a grave.
Their sighs incensed; sighs foreign to the will! Their will the tiger suck’d, outraged the storm. For, oh! the cursed ungodliness of Zeal! While sinful flesh relented, spirit nursed In blind Infallibility's embrace, The sainted spirit petrified the breast : Denied the charity of dust to spread O’er dust! a charity their dogs enjoy. What could I do? What succour? What resource ? With pious sacrilege, a grave I stole ; With impious piety, that grave I wrong'd; Short in my duty! coward in my grief! More like her murderer than friend I crept, With soft-suspended step, and muffled deep In midnight darkness, whisper'd my last sigh. I whisper'd what should echo through their realms ; Nor writ her name, whose tomb should pierce the
skies. Presumptuous fear! How durst I dread her foes,
While Nature's loudest dictates I obey'd ?
Pardon necessity, bless'd shade! Of grief,
And indignation rival bursts I pour'd;
Half execration mingled with my prayer;
Kindled at man, while I his God adored ;
Sore grudged the savage land her sacred dust;
Stamp'd the cursed soil; and with humaņity
(Denied Narcissa) wish'd them all a grave.
FROM THE PLEASURES OF IMAGINATION.
With what attractive charms this goodly frame
Of Nature touches the consenting hearts
Of mortal men; and what the pleasing stores
Which beauteous imitation thence derives
To deck the poet's or the painter's toil ;
My verse unfolds. Attend, ye gentle powers
of musical delight! and while I sing
Your gifts, your honours, dance around my strain.
Thou, smiling queen of every tuneful breast,
Indulgent Fancy! from the fruitful banks
Of Avon, whence thy rosy fingers cull
Fresh flowers and dews to sprinkle on the turf
Where Shakspeare lies, be present : and with thee
Let Fiction come upon her vagrant wings,
Wafting ten thousand colours through the air,
Which, by the glances of her magic eye,
She blends and shifts at will, through countless
Her wild creation. Goddess of the lyre, [forms,
Which rules the accents of the moving sphere,
Wilt thou, eternal Harmony! descend
And join this festive train ? for with thee comes
The guide, the guardian of their lovely sports,
Majestic Truth; and where truth deigns to come,
Her sister Liberty will not be far.
Be present, all ye genii, who conduct
The wandering footsteps of the youthful bard,
New to your springs and shades: who touch his ear
With finer sounds : who heighten to his eye
The bloom of Nature, and before him turn
The gayest, happiest attitude of things.
Oft have the laws of each poetic strain
The critic-verse employ’d; yet still unsung
Lay this prime subject, though importing most
A poet's name : for fruitless is th' attempt,
By dull obedience and by creeping toil
Obscure to conquer the severe ascent
Of high Parnassus. Nature's kindling breath
Must fire the chosen genius ; Nature's hand
Must string his nerves, and imp his eagle-wings,
Impatient of the painful steep, to soar
High as the summit; there to breathe at large
Ethereal air; with bards and sages old,
Immortal sons of praise. These flattering scenes,
To this neglected labour court my song;
Yet not unconscious what a doubtful task
To paint the finest features of the mind,
And to most subtle and mysterious things
Give colour, strength, and motion. But the love
Of Nature and the Muses bids explore,
Through secret paths erewhile untrod by man,
The fair poetic region, to detect
Untasted springs, to drink inspiring draughts,
And shade my temples with unfading flowers
Cull'd from the laureate vale's profound recess,
Where never poet gain'd a wreath before.
From Heaven my strains begin; from Heaven de-
scends The flame of genius to the human breast, And love and beauty, and poetic joy And inspiration. Ere the radiant sun Sprang from the east, or mid the vault of night The moon suspended her serener lamp; Ere mountains, woods, or streams adorn'd the globe,