* * * * *
TO MARTIN CHARLES BURNEY, ESQ.
(The Dedication to Vol. II. of Lamb’s Works, 1818)
Forgive me, BURNEY, if to thee these late
And hasty products of a critic pen,
Thyself no common judge of books and men,
In feeling of thy worth I dedicate.
My verse was offered to an older friend;
The humbler prose has fallen to thy share:
Nor could I miss the occasion to declare,
What spoken in thy presence must offend—
That, set aside some few caprices wild,
Those humorous clouds that flit o’er brightest days,
In all my threadings of this worldly maze,
(And I have watched thee almost from a child),
Free from self-seeking, envy, low design,
I have not found a whiter soul than thine.
IN THE ALBUM OF A CLERGYMAN’S LADY
An Album is a Garden, not for show
Planted, but use; where wholesome herbs should grow.
A Cabinet of curious porcelain, where
No fancy enters, but what’s rich or rare.
A Chapel, where mere ornamental things
Are pure as crowns of saints, or angels’ wings.
A List of living friends; a holier Room
For names of some since mouldering in the tomb,
Whose blooming memories life’s cold laws survive;
And, dead elsewhere, they here yet speak, and live.
Such, and so tender, should an Album be;
And, Lady, such I wish this book to thee.
IN THE AUTOGRAPH BOOK OF MRS. SERGEANT W------
Had I a power,
Lady, to my will,
You should not want Hand Writings. I would fill
Your leaves with Autographs—resplendent names
Of Knights and Squires of old, and courtly Dames,
Kings, Emperors, Popes. Next under these should stand
The hands of famous Lawyers—a grave band—
Who in their Courts of Law or Equity
Have best upheld Freedom and Property.
These should moot cases in your book, and vie
To show their reading and their Serjeantry.
But I have none of these; nor can I send
The notes by Bullen to her Tyrant penn’d
In her authentic hand; nor in soft hours
Lines writ by Rosamund in Clifford’s bowers.
The lack of curious Signatures I moan,
And want the courage to subscribe my own.
IN THE ALBUM OF LUCY BARTON
Little Book, surnamed of white,
Clean as yet, and fair to sight,
Keep thy attribution right.
Ugly blot, that’s worse than all;
On thy maiden clearness fall!
each letter, here design’d,
Let the reader emblem’d find
Neatness of the owner’s mind.
margins count a sin,
Let thy leaves attraction win
By the golden rules within;