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When first thy Sire to send on earth
Virtue, his darling child, design'd, To thee he gave the heavenly birth
And bade to form her infant mind. Stern, rugged nurse ; thy rigid lore With patience many a year she bore ;
What sorrow was, thou bad'st her know,
Self-pleasing Folly's idle brood,
And leave us leisure to be good.
By vain Prosperity received, To her they vow their truth, and are again believede Wisdom in sable garb array'd
Immersed in rapturous thought profound,
With leaden eye, that loves the ground,
With Justice, to herself severe,
Dread goddess, lay thy chastening hand !
Nor circled with the vengeful band (As by the impious thou art seen)
With thundering voice, and threatening mien, Despair, and fell Disease, and ghastly Poverty ;Thy form benign, oh 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.
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 me. Society, Friendship, and Love Divinely bestow'd upon man, Oh, 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 !
TO MARY UNWIN 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.
TO THE SAME
Partakers of thy sad decline
My Mary !
Obscurest night involved the sky,
The Atlantic billows roar'd,
Wash'd headlong from on board,
Than he with whom he went,
With warmer wishes sent.