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Leaned on her elbow, watching Time, whose course, Eventful, should supply her with a theme. 161
TO THE NIGHTINGALE
WHICH THE AUTHOR HEARD SING ON NEW
WHENCE is it, that amazed I hear
From yonder withered spray,
The melody of May ?
And why, since thousands would be proud 5
Of such a favor shown,
To witness it alone?
Singest thou, sweet Philomel, to me,
For that I also long
Though not like thee in song?
Or singest thou rather under force
Of some divine command,
Of happier days at hando?
Thrice welcome, then! for many a long
And joyless year have I,
As thou to-day, put forth my song
Beneath a wintry sky.
But thee no wintry skies can harm,
Who only needest to sing,
And every season Spring.
The twentieth year is well nigh past,
Thy spirits have a fainter flow,
Thy needles, once a shining store,
– For though thou gladly wouldst fulfil
The same kind office for me still,
But well thou playdest the housewife's part,
My Mary! 20
Thy indistinct expressions seem
Thy silver locks once auburn bright,
For could I view nor them nor thee,
Partakers of thy sad decline,
Such feebleness of limbs thou provest,
My Mary! 40
And still to love, though prest with ill,
But ah! by constant heed I know,
And should my future lot be cast
OBSCUREST night involved the sky,
The Atlantic billows roared,
Washed headlong from on board,
No braver chief could Albion boast
Than he, with whom he went,
With warmer wishes sent.
Not long beneath the whelming brine,
Expert to swim, he lay;
Or courage die away;
He shouted; nor his friends had failed
To check the vessel's course,
That, pitiless, perforce,
Some succor yet they could afford;
And, such as storms allow,
Delayed not to bestow.
Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he
Their haste himself condemn.
Alone could rescue them;
He long survives, who lives an hour
In ocean, self-upheld;