Knelt for a look, and duell’d for a smile.
The scourge and ridicule of Goth and Vandal,
Her tea she sweetens, as she sips, with scandal;
With modern Belles eternal warfare wages,
Like her own birds that clamour from their cages;
And shuffles round to bear her tale to all,
Like some old Ruin, ‘nodding to its fall!’
Thus WOMAN makes her entrance and her exit;
Not least an actress, when she least suspects it.
Yet Nature oft peeps out and mars the plot,
Each lesson lost, each poor pretence forgot;
Full oft, with energy that scorns controul,
At once lights up the features of the soul;
Unlocks each thought chain’d by coward Art,
And to full day the latent passions start!
—And she, whose first, best wish is your applause,
Herself exemplifies the truth she draws.
Born on the stage—thro’ every shifting scene,
Obscure or bright, tempestuous or serene,
Still has your smile her trembling spirit fir’d!
And can she act, with thoughts like these inspir’d?
Thus from her mind all artifice she flings,
All skill, all practice, now unmeaning things!
To you, uncheck’d, each genuine feeling flows;
For all that life endears—to you she owes.
[Footnote: After a Tragedy, performed for her benefit, at the Theatre Royal in Drury-lane, April 27, 1795.]
To — — — — —
Go—you may call it madness, folly;
You shall not chase my gloom away.
There’s such a charm in melancholy,
I would not, if I could, be gay.
Oh, if you knew the pensive pleasure
That fills my bosom when I sigh,
You would not rob me of a treasure
Monarchs are too poor to buy.
The Sailor sighs as sinks his native shore,
As all its lessening turrets bluely fade;
He climbs the mast to feast his eye once more,
And busy Fancy fondly lends her aid.
Ah! now, each dear, domestic scene he knew,
Recall’d and cherish’d in a foreign clime,
Charms with the magic of a moonlight-view;
Its colours mellow’d, not impair’d, by time,
True as the needle, homeward points his heart,
Thro’ all the horrors of the stormy main;
This, the last wish that would with life depart,
To meet the smile of her he loves again.
When Morn first faintly draws her silver line,
Or Eve’s grey cloud descends to drink the wave;
When sea and sky in midnight darkness join,
Still, still he views the parting look she gave.
Her gentle spirit, lightly hovering o’er,
Attends his little bark from pole to pole;
And, when the beating billows round him roar,
Whispers sweet hope to sooth his troubled soul.
Carv’d is her name in many a spicy grove,
In many a plaintain-forest, waving wide;
Where dusky youths in painted plumage rove,
And giant palms o’er-arch the golden tide.