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Thine, too, these golden keys, immortal Boy!
This can unlock the gates of joy;
Of horror that, and thrilling fears,
Or ope the sacred source of sympathetic tears.'
Nor second he, that rode sublime
95 Upon the seraph-wings of Ecstasy, The secrets of the abyss to spy.
He passed the flaming bounds of place and time :
The living Throne, the sapphire-blaze,
Where angels tremble while they gaze,
He saw; but, blasted with excess of light,
Closed his eyes in endless night.
Behold, where Dryden's less presumptuous car,
Wide o'er the fields of glory bear
Two coursers of ethereal race,
105 With necks in thunder clothed, and long resounding pace.
Hark, his hands the lyre explore !
Bright-eyed Fancy, hovering o'er,
Scatters from her pictured urn
Thoughts that breathe, and words that burn.
But ah ! 'tis heard no more-
O lyre divine, what daring spirit
Wakes thee now? Though he inherit
Nor the pride, nor ample pinion,
That the Theban Eagle bear,
115 Sailing with supreme dominion
Through the azure deep of air :
Yet oft before his infant eyes would run
Such forms as glitter in the Muse's ray
With orient hues, unborrowed of the sun :
Yet shall he mount, and keep his distant way
Beyond the limits of a vulgar fate,
Beneath the good how far!—but far above the great.
When I behold thee, blameless Williamson,
Wrecked like an infant on a savage shore,
While others round on borrowed pinions soar,
My busy fancy calls thy thread misspun;
Till Faith instructs me the deceit to shun,
While thus she speaks,-'Those wings that from the store
Of virtue were not lent, howe'er they bore
In this gross air, will melt when near the sun.
The truly' ambitious wait for nature's time,
Content by certain, though by slow, degrees
To mount above the reach of vulgar flight;
Nor is that man confined to this low clime,
Who but the extremest skirts of glory sees,
And hears celestial echoes with delight.'
Benjamin Stilling fleet.
Ah! what a weary race my feet have run,
Since first I trod thy banks with alders crowned,
And thought my way was all through fairy ground,
Beneath thy azure sky and golden sun;
Where first my Muse to lisp her notes begun !
While pensive Memory traces back the round
Which fills the varied interval between,
Much pleasure, more of sorrow, marks the scene.
Sweet native stream! those skies and suns so pure
No more return, to cheer my evening road;
Yet still one joy remains—that not obscure,
Nor useless, all my vacant days have flowed,
From youth's gay dawn to manhood's prime mature,
Nor with the Muse's laurel unbestowed.
Mary! I want a lyre with other strings,
Such aid from heaven as some have feigned 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 ro 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 uttered 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 pressed, press gently mine,
Such feebleness of limbs thou prov'st
That now at every step thou mov'st
Upheld by two ; yet still thou lovost,
And still to love, though pressed 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 woe,
And should my future lot be cast
With much resemblance of the past,
Thy worn-out heart will break at last-
William Cowper. CLXII
TO THE EARL OF WARWICK, ON THE DEATH
If, dumb too long, the drooping Muse hath stayed,
And left her debt to Addison unpaid,
Blame not her silence, Warwick, but bemoan,
And judge, oh judge, my bosom by your own.
What mourner ever felt poetic fires !
Slow comes the verse that real woe inspires :
Grief unaffected suits but ill with art,
Or flowing numbers with a bleeding heart.
Can I forget the dismal night that gave My soul's best part for ever to the grave! How silent did his old companions tread, By midnight lamps, the mansions of the dead, Through breathing statues, then unheeded things, Through rows of warriors, and through walks of kings ! What awe did the slow solemn knell inspire;
15 The pealing organ, and the pausing choir; The duties by the lawn-robed prelate paid; And the last words that dust to dust conveyed ! While speechless o'er thy closing grave we bend, Accept these tears, thou dear departed friend. Oh, gone for ever! take this long adieu; And sleep in peace, next thy loved Montague.