“I too have gloried in my waving hair,
No ringlets now remain to raise my pride;
Nor can I now lay the white forehead bare,
And push the too luxuriant locks aside.”
Thus, like a child, I sigh’d for pleasures past,
And lost my hours in a delusive dream;
But Reason op’d my blinded eyes at last,
And clear’d each mist by her refulgent beam.
I saw futurity before me spread,
A scourge or sceptre offer’d to my view,
Alarm’d, from Folly’s erring mazes fled,
And to my God with humble rev’rence drew.
I bow’d, submissive, at the holy shrine,
His mercy with warm gratitude confest,
Which had reveal’d the spark of life divine,
That slumber’d in my earth-enamoured breast.
Had I, as friendship and self-love desir’d,
Still suck’d delirium at the fane of praise,
I might, my conscience lull’d and passions fir’d,
Have lost my soul in the bewitching blaze.
Dear rising train, let not my words offend!
Nor the pure dictates of my love despise;
To one, late like yourselves, attention lend,
And, taught by his experience, be wise!
Ah! banish from your eye the fiend Disdain;
Let fair simplicity supply its place;
Nor longer let conceit the bosom stain;
The child of weakness, follow’d by disgrace.
Should time from you each glowing beauty wrest,
You will not then those self-reproaches feel,
Which every eye awaken’d in my breast,
And twenty winters scarce suffic’d to heel.
Nor will your friends observe each faded charm,
Since still your countenance its smile retains,
And the same lov’d companion, kind and warm,
With unassuming manners, yet remains.
SEPT. 8, 1795.
ON A FAN.
Now I’ve painted these flowers, say what can
To render them worthy acceptance from you?
I know of no sybil, whose wonderful art
Could to them superior virtues impart,
Who, of magical influence wonders could tell,
And, who over each blossom could mutter a spell.
You only the humbler enchantments can prove,
That arise from esteem, from respect, and from love;
With such I assail you, and pow’rful the charm,
When applied to a heart sympathetic and warm;
To a heart such as that, which, if right I divine,
O C—ll—n—n! dwells in that bosom of thine.
NOV. 10, 1795.
Fair village nymph, ah! may I meet
Thy pleasing form where’er I stray!
With open air and converse sweet,
Still cheer my undiscover’d way!
With eyes, that shew the placid mind,
And with no feign’d emotions roll;
With mien, that sprightly or resign’d,
Bespeaks the temper of the soul.
With smiles, where not the lips alone
Receive a brighter, vermil hue,
The cheek does warmer roses own,
And the eyes beam, a deeper blue!