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BIRTH-DAY OFFERING

TO

A YOUNG LADY,

FROM HER LOVER.

BY GEO. CANNING, ESQ.

ERE this short winter's day be gone,
My MARY-ANNE is twenty-one.

Of days still shorter just a Lent,
Patch'd up from different years is spent,
Since her Devoted fairly reckon'd
The close of year the thirty-second.
Bending beneath the weight of years,
Full as infirm as he appears,
What can a worn-out lover do,
With twenty-one at thirty-two?
For such a phrenzy no defence is—
The girl has clearly lost her senses.

Perhaps deceiv'd by some fond notion,. Embrac'd in rapture of devotion,

(I quote such fancies to expose 'em)
She dreams of bliss in Abraham's bosom;
And chuses an Antique, the rather
With better grace to call him father.

Perhaps but fiction be suppress'd, While real joy expands my breast— My faithful flame her heart approves, And O! transporting thought! she loves.

When Souls, by impulse sympathetic, By intuition most prophetic,

By feelings, which they cannot smother,
Leap at first glance to meet each other,
When each itself in t' other traces,
What matter for their diff'rent cases?
Of kin, perhaps, in pre-existence,
Without dull Reason's slow assistance,
They recollect the happy union,
And long to recommence communion.
I must confess that such attraction,
For ease, convenience, satisfaction,
Were best if, on deliberation,
It met with Reason's approbation:
Not as of absolute dominion,
To rule by dint of dark opinion;
Not as a Lord of sovereign sway,
Whom love must worship and obey;

But merely as the herd inferior

May judge the acts of Powers superior ;
As my poor intellect, or thine,

May scan authority divine

In short, I'd have our simple love,
Not against reason, but above.

Two birds, suppose, of various feather, Hung in one room by chance together, To airs melodious tune their voices, While each the other's ear rejoices: If, without half a note erroneous, The song be perfectly harmonious, What matter for the forms or ages, Of bills, of feathers, and of cages?

DEAN SWIFT, whose talent lives no more, His Stella sung at forty-four;

And breath'd an idle wish to split

In twain her beauty, years, and wit—
Of half her charms he made a proffer
For youth; but Time disdain'd his offer.
Far happier I, who well could spare,
Of each accomplishment a share,
Yet leave an ample store of charms,
To bring Elysium to my arms,
Am not reduc'd those charms to barter,
And
cry to heedless Time for quarter-

Fly, Sluggard, on thy swiftest wing,
My charmer yields not All till Spring!

Then firm in Constancy's reliance,
I bid thy cruel scythe defiance;
Deal when thou wilt the deadly blow,
Thou canst but separate below;
Thy first can but for moments sever,
Thy second re-unites for ever.

Perhaps, suspending mortal rage, By silent sap, and creeping age, By subtile, secret slow approaches, As mildew on the blade incroaches, Thou hop'st, malignant fiend! to tame The ardor of love's fiercest flameVain shalt thou find thy keenest blast, Bliss once possess'd, thy power is past. Can years, while sense remains, destroy The memory of transcendent joy? Can years bright innocence impair? Can years make Virtue look less fair?

But Beauty, by thy influence curst, May sicken-Tyrant, do thy worst! I know thy power, and am prepar'd To meet thy sharpest darts unscar'd. Though Body, Mind, thou canst control, Own thy survivor in the Soul;

Vol. VI.

Whose perfect bliss is not enjoy'd
Till thou art utterly destroy'd.

Ev'n here, as health and beauty fail, While lilies o'er the rose prevail, Long ere thy menac'd ills can harm, Though every hour should steal a charm. Long ere, by twenty stars a day, The spangled Heavens would wear away.

Unconscious of the gradual wane, As years their empire slowly gain, While my Ideas, in the race, Observe a due-proportioned pace, And limbs grow cold, and senses faulter, I sha'nt perceive her Person alter. When Age her dimpled cheek beguiles, And wrinkles plants, instead of smiles, Though every Cupid he should smother, I'll think her handsome as their mother. When, steady to his barbarous plan, To spoil my lovely MARY-ANNE, The savage unrelenting creature Has robb'd her face of every feature, And, to conceptions merely common, My charmer seems a plain old woman, Still in my heart she'll hold her throne, Still in my eyes be twenty-one.

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