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ADDRESSED TO A FEMALE RELATION;
WITH MADAME DE SEVIGNE'S LETTERS,
PREVIOUS TO HER EMBARKATION FOR THE CONTINENT.
“ Youth wastes away, and withers like a flower,
“ The lovely phantom of a fleeting hour ;
“ While, unperceived, the silent foot of Age,
“ Steals on our joys, and drives us from the stage.”
THESE Letters shew, my young and charming maid,
The ardent love a mother once display'd;
In them you trace, with manly sense combined,
The winning softness of the female mind.
In them observe, with warmest friendship fraught,
All proud Versailles's high-bred circle taught;
When Pleasure, dazzling as an Eastern queen,
Could add refinement to the splendid scene;
When rival Art with Nature almost vied,
And polish'd manners soften'd feudal pride.
Ere then at Spa you seek the flow'ring dell,
Or health imbibe at Baden's far-famed well,
Reflect each season will purloin a grace,
Or leave a wrinkle in that blooming face ;
With faded lustre, in each fleeting year,
The toilette, theatre, and ball appear.
Nor yet to Fashion's gay pursuit confined,
With hasty step decay unnerves the mind;
No more to books—from ev'ry care we fly-
Books can no more the aching void supply.
Each year the soldier, with a fainter glow,
Forms the dread line, and bids the trumpet blow;
Each year deprives the poet of his fire,
Weakens his genius, and unstrings his lyre ;
Restrains the lover in his tow'ring flight,
Damps all his ardour with the chill of night;
And as gay dreams of future life we view,
How soon, reflect, may be the last Adieu.
But why ʼmidst pleasure such remarks intrude ?
Haste--let them vanish, with their “ sombre" brood;
Dispel each feeling of regret or care,
And shine the foremost of the young and fair ;
Each varied charm of foreign climes explore,
The stately palace, or romantic shore ;
From Seine's green border to Schaffhausen's Fall,
Helvetian forests, or the Louvre's hall;
Yet when in solitude you fondly roam,
How oft will rise the magic thoughts of Home!
Though ivied ruins crown the fertile plain,
Or some old convent wakes reflection's train
Though the proud Vatican's imposing scene,
Or lovely Naples, of each joy the queen;
Though gay St. Carlos may the bosom fire,
Or, lost in thought, Vesuvius you admire ;
(While balmy zephyrs scent the azure sky,
And rival artists in each beauty vie ;)
That talisman in every spot we trace,
And Albion's star no distance can efface.
UPON THE DOGANA AT VENICE.
“ Oh! nostras vita! ch' e' si bella in vista,
“ Che perde, all'improviso, che gran pena s'acquista."
In yon bright mansion Commerce calls her own,
Where the “Winged Lion” held his sea-girt throne,
And proudly swept th’ Adriatic main,
In search of conquest, or pursuit of gain ;
View Fortune’s goddess, fickle, fair and blind,*
Turn with each breeze, and change with every wind;
Emblem too true of transitory sway,
As dull canals their stagnant weeds display.
LINES UPON THE DOGANA AT VENICE.
If, courteous reader, then, a son you claim,
The last possessor of an honoured name;
By birth and station not exempt from care,
Who must some plan of future life prepare ;
Calmly address him in prophetic voice
(Lik young Alcides musing o'er his choice) –
Howe'er with pleasure or retirement cloy'd,
Discretion cries—Commercial life avoid ;
Exposed alike to shipwreck and to fire,
An hostile tariff, or a monarch's ire;
In quick descent observe the proudest fall,
From ease and comfort to a straw-roof'd wall.
And though, perchance, to opulence you tower,
Or court the Muses in some rustic bower;
With soft compassion and with friendship glow,
Prompt to alleviate poverty and woe;
While manly strength and dignity of mind,
May the profession's narrow chain unbind;
Crown'd with success, oh ! learn your certain fate,
The nobles scorn you, and the people hate ;
Should Home, dear Home, and tranquil joys delight,
“ Gold is your dream from morn to dewy night;"