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It is content of heart
Gives Nature power to please;
The mind that feels no smart
Enlivens all it sees;
Can make a wintry sky
Seem bright as smiling May,
And evening's closing eye
As peep of early day.
The vast majestic globe,
So beauteously array'd
In Nature's various robe,
With wondrous skill display'd,
Is to a mourner's heart
A dreary wild at best;
It flutters to depart,
SELECTED FROM AN OCCASIONAL POEM ENTITLED
OH Friendship! cordial of the human breast!
So little felt, so fervently profess'd!
Thy blossoms deck our unsuspecting years;
The promise of delicious fruit appears:
We hug the hopes of constancy and truth,
Such is the folly of our dreaming youth;
But soon, alas! detect the rash mistake
That sanguine inexperience loves to make;
And view with tears the expected harvest lost,
Decay'd by time, or wither'd by a frost.
Whoever undertakes a friend's great part
Should be renew'd in nature, pure in heart,
Prepared for martyrdom, and strong to prove
A thousand ways the force of genuine love.
He may be call'd to give up health and gain,
To exchange content for trouble, ease for pain,
To echo sigh for sigh, and groan for groan,
And wet his cheeks with sorrows not his own.
The heart of man, for such a task too frail,
When most relied on is most sure to fail;
And, summon'd to partake its fellow's woe,
Starts from its office like a broken bow.
Votaries of business and of pleasure prove
Faithless alike in friendship and in love.
Retired from all the circles of the gay,
And all the crowds that bustle life away,
To scenes where competition, envy, strife,
Beget no thunder-clouds to trouble life,
the charge of some good angel, find
One who has known, and has escaped mankind;
Polite, yet virtuous, who has brought away
The manners, not the morals, of the day:
With him, perhaps with her (for men have known
No firmer friendships than the fair have shown,)
Let me enjoy, in some unthought-of spot,
All former friends forgiven and forgot,
Down to the close of life's fast fading scene,
Union of hearts without a flaw between.
'Tis grace, 'tis bounty, and it calls for praise,
If God give health, that sunshine of our days!
And if he add a blessing shared by few,
Content of heart, more praises still are due—
But if he grant a friend, that boon possess'd
Indeed is treasure, and crowns all the rest;
And giving one, whose heart is in the skies,
Born from above and made divinely wise,
He gives, what bankrupt nature never can,
Whose noblest coin is light and brittle man,
Gold, purer far than Ophir ever knew,
A soul, an image of himself, and therefore true. Nov., 1783.
EPITAPH ON DR. JOHNSON.
HERE Johnson lies-a sage by all allow'd, Whom to have bred may well make England
Whose prose was eloquence, by wisdom taught, The graceful vehicle of virtuous thought; Whose verse may claim-grave, masculine, and strong
Superior praise to the mere poet's song;
Who many a noble gift from heaven possess'd,
And faith at last, alone worth all the rest.
O man, immortal by a double prize,
By fame on earth-by glory in the skies!
TO MISS C
How many between east and west
Disgrace their parent earth,
Whose deeds constrain us to detest
The day that gave them birth!
Not so when Stella's natal morn
Revolving months restore,
We can rejoice that she was born,
And wish her born once more!
ADDRESSED TO LADY HESKETH.
THIS cap, that so stately appears,
With ribbon-bound tassel on high,
Which seems by the crest that it rears Ambitious of brushing the sky: This cap to my cousin I owe,
She gave it, and gave me beside, Wreath'd into an elegant bow,
The ribbon with which it is tied.
This wheel-footed studying chair,
Contrived both for toil and repose, Wide-elbow'd, and wadded with hair, In which I both scribble and dose, Bright-studded to dazzle the eyes, And rival in lustre of that In which, or astronomy lies, Fair Cassiopeia sat:
These carpets so soft to the foot,
Caledonia's traffic and pride!
Oh spare them, ye knights of the boot,
Escaped from a cross-country ride!
This table, and mirror within,
Secure from collision and dust,
At which I oft shave cheek and chin
And periwig nicely adjust:
This moveable structure of shelves,
For its beauty admired and its use, And charged with octavos and twelves, The gayest I had to produce; Where, flaming in scarlet and gold, My poems enchanted I view, And hope in due time to behold My Iliad and Odyssey too:
This china, that decks the alcove,
Which here people call a buffet,
But what the gods call it above
Has ne'er been reveal'd to us yet:
These curtains that keep the room warm
Or cool, as the season demands,
Those stoves that for pattern and form
Seem the labor of Mulciber's hands:
All these are not half that I owe
To one, from our earliest youth,
To me ever ready to show
Benignity, friendship, and truth;
For time, the destroyer declared
And foe of our perishing kind,
If even her face he has spared,
Much less could he alter her mind.
Thus compass'd about with the goods
And chattels of leisure and ease,
I indulge my poetical moods
In many such fancies as these;
And fancies I fear they will seem-
Poets' goods are not often so fine;
The poets will swear that I dream
When I sing of the splendor of mine.
LINES COMPOSED FOR A MEMORIAL OF ASHLEY COWPER, ESQ.,
IMMEDIATELY AFTER HIS DEATH, BY HIS
NEPHEW WILLIAM OF WESTON.
FAREWELL! endued with all that could engage All hearts to love thee, both in youth and age! In prime of life, for sprightliness enroll'd Among the gay, yet virtuous as the old;