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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.”

Hodgson's Juvenal.

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;

TO A FEMALE RELATION.

55

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.

LINES

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.

* Placed as a weather-cock on the Custom House at Venice.

LINES UPON THE DOGANA AT VENICE.

57

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;"

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