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Still on thy solemn steps attend :
Warm Charity, the general friend,

With Justice, to herself severe,
And Pity dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.
O, gently on thy suppliant's head

Dread Goddess, lay thy chastening hand ! Not in thy Gorgon terrors clad,

Nor circled with the vengeful band (As by the impious thou art seen) With thundering voice, and threatening mien,

With screaming Horror's funeral cry, Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty : Thy form benign, O Goddess, wear,

Thy milder influence impart, Thy philosophic train be there

To soften, not to wound my heart. The generous spark extinct revive, Teach me to love and to forgive,

Exact my own defects to scan, What others are to feel, and know myself a Man.

T. GRAY.

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160

THE SOLITUDE OF ALEXANDER SELKIRK

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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.

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The beasts that roam over the plain

My form with indifference see ; They are so unacquainted with man,

Their tameness is shocking to me. Society, friendship, and love

Divinely bestow'd upon man, O had I the wings of a dove

How soon would I taste you again ! 20 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 ?

30 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-winged 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 seafowl 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 is mercy in every place,

And mercy, encouraging thought !
Gives even affliction a grace
And reconciles man to his lot.

W. COWPER.

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161

TO MARY UNWIN Mary! I want a lyre with other strings,

Such aid from heaven as some have feign'd they

drew,

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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,
Verse that immortalizes whom it sings
But thou hast little need. There is a Book

. By seraphs writ with beams of heavenly light, 10 On which the eyes of God not rarely look,

A chronicle of actions just and brightThere all thy deeds, my faithful Mary, shine ; And since thou own'st that praise, I spare thee mine.

W. COWPER. 162

TO THE SAME
The twentieth year is well-nigh past
Since first our sky was overcast ;
Ah, would that this might be the last !

My Mary!
Thy spirits have a fainter flow,
I see Thee daily weaker grow
'Twas my distress that brought thee low,

My Mary !
Thy needles, once a shining store,
For my sake restless heretofore,
Now rust disused, and shine no more ;

My Mary !

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For though thou gladly wouldst fulfil
The same kind office for me still,
Thy sight now seconds not thy will,

My Mary !
But well thou play'dst the housewife's part,
And all thy threads with magic art
Have wound themselves about this heart,

My Mary !
Thy indistinct expressions seem
Like language utter'd in a dream ;
Yet me they charm, whate'er the theme,

My Mary !
Thy silver locks, once auburn bright,
Are still more lovely in my sight
Than golden beams of orient light,

My Mary!
For could I view nor them nor thee,
What sight worth seeing could I see ?
The sun would rise in vain for me,

My Mary !
Partakers of thy sad decline
Thy hands their little force resign ;
Yet, gently press'd, press gently mine,

My Mary !
Such feebleness of limbs thou provost
That now at every step thou mov'st
Upheld by two ; yet still thou lov'st,

My Mary!
And still to love, though press’d with ill,
In wintry age to feel no chill,
With me is to be lovely still,

My Mary !
But ah ! by constant heed I know
How oft the sadness that I show
Transforms thy smiles to looks of woe,

My Mary!

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And should my future lot be cast
With much resemblance of the past,
Thy worn-out heart will break at last-
My Mary !

W. COWPER.

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THE DYING MAN IN HIS GARDEN

Why, Damon, with the forward day
Dost thou thy little spot survey,
From tree to tree, with doubtful cheer,
Observe the progress of the year,
What winds arise, what rains descend,
When thou before that year shalt end ?

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What do thy noonday walks avail,
To clear the leaf, and pick the snail,
Then wantonly to death decree
An insect usefuller than thee ?
Thou and the worm are brother-kind,
As low, as earthy, and as blind.

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Vain wretch ! canst thou expect to see
The downy peach make court to thee?
Or that thy sense shall ever meet
The bean-flower's deep-embosom'd sweet
Exhaling with an evening's blast ?
Thy evenings then will all be past !

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Thy narrow pride, thy fancied green
(For vanity's in little seen),
All must be left when Death appears,
In spite of wishes, groans, and tears ;
Nor one of all thy plants that grow
But Rosemary will with thee go.

G. SEWELI.

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