SWEET WILLIAM’S FAREWELL TO BLACK-EYED SUSAN
All in the Downs the fleet was moored,
The streamers waving in the wind,
When black-eyed Susan came aboard:
’Oh, where shall I my true love find?
Tell me, ye jovial sailors, tell me true
If my sweet William sails among the crew?’
William, who high upon the yard
Rocked with the billow to and fro,
Soon as her well-known voice he heard,
He sighed and cast his eyes below;
The cord slides swiftly through his glowing hands,
And, quick as lightning, on the deck he stands.
So the sweet lark, high poised in air,
Shuts close his pinions to his breast,
If chance his mate’s shrill call he hear,
And drops at once into her nest.
The noblest captain in the British fleet
Mighty envy William’s lip those kisses sweet.
’O, Susan, Susan, lovely dear,
My vows shall ever true remain!
Let me kiss off that falling tear:
We only part to meet again.
Change as ye list, ye winds! my heart shall be
The faithful compass that still points to thee.
’Believe not what the landmen say,
Who tempt with doubts thy constant mind:
They’ll tell thee sailors, when away,
In every port a mistress find—
Yes, yes, believe them when they tell thee so,
For thou art present wheresoe’er I go.
’If to far India’s coast we
Thy eyes are seen in diamonds bright;
Thy breath is Afric’s spicy gale,
Thy skin is ivory so white.
Thus every beauteous object that I view
Wakes in my soul some charm of lovely Sue.
’Though battle call me from thy
Let not my pretty Susan mourn;
Though cannons roar, yet, safe from harms,
William shall to his dear return.
Love turns aside the balls that round me fly,
Lest precious tears should drop from Susan’s eye.’
The boatswain gave the dreadful word;
The sails their swelling bosom spread;
No longer must she stay aboard:
They kissed—she sighed—he hung his head.
Her lessening boat unwilling rows to land;
‘Adieu!’ she cries, and waved her lily hand.
MY OWN EPITAPH
Life is a jest, and all things show it:
I thought so once, but now I know it.
FROM THE VISION
Pensive beneath a spreading oak I stood
That veiled the hollow channel of the flood:
Along whose shelving bank the violet blue
And primrose pale in lovely mixture grew.
High overarched the bloomy woodbine hung,
The gaudy goldfinch from the maple sung;
The little warbling minstrel of the shade
To the gay morn her due devotion paid
Next, the soft linnet echoing to the thrush
With carols filled the smelling briar-bush;
While Philomel attuned her artless throat,
And from the hawthorn breathed a trilling note.