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That thou mightst know me safe and warmly laid;
Thy morning bounties ere I left my home,
The biscuit or confectionary plum;
The fragrant waters on my cheeks bestowed
By thy own hand, till fresh they shone and glowed;
All this, and, more endearing still than all,
Thy constant flow of love, that knew no fall,
Ne'er roughened by those cataracts and breaks
That humour interposed too often makes;
All this, still legible on memory's page,
And still to be so to my latest age,
Adds joy to duty, makes me glad to pay
Such honours to thee as my numbers may,
Perhaps a frail memorial, but sincere,
Not scorned in heaven though little noticed here.
Could Time, his flight reversed, restore the hours
When, playing with thy vesture's tissued flowers,
The violet, the pink, the jessamine,
I pricked them into paper with a pin
(And thou wast happier than myself the while,
Wouldst softly speak, and stroke my head and smile),
Could those few pleasant days again appear,
Might one wish bring them, would I wish them here?
I would not trust my heart—the dear delight
Seems so to be desired, perhaps I might.
But no—what here we call our life is such,
So little to be loved, and thou so much,
That I should ill requite thee to constrain
Thy unbound spirit into bonds again.
Thou, as a gallant bark from Albion's coast, The storms all weathered and the ocean crossed, Shoots into port at some well-havened isle, Where spices breathe and brighter seasons smile, There sits quiescent on the floods, that show Her beauteous form reflected clear below, While airs impregnated with incense play Around her, fanning light her streamers gay, So thou, with sails how swift, hast reached the shore Where tempests never beat nor billows roar,' And thy loved consort on the dangerous tide Of life long since has anchored by thy side.
But me, scarce hoping to attain that rest,
Always from port withheld, always distressed,
Me howling blasts drive devious, tempest-tossed,
Sails ripped, seams opening wide, and compass lost,
And day by day some current's thwarting force
Sets me more distant from a prosperous course.
Yet, oh, the thought that thou art safe, and he,
That thought is joy, arrive what may to me.
My boast is not that I deduce my birth
From loins enthroned and rulers of the earth;
But higher far my proud pretensions rise
The son of parents passed into the skies !
And now, farewell. Time unrevoked has run
His wonted course, yet what I wished is done:
By contemplation's help, not sought in vain,
I seem t have lived my childhood o'er again,
To have 'renewed the joys that once were mine,
Without the sin of violating thine;
And while the wings of Fancy still are free,
And I can view this mimic show of thee,
Time has but half succeeded in his theft-
Thyself removed, thy power to soothe me left.
The twentieth year is well-nigh past,
Since first our sky was overcast;
Ah, would that this might be the last !
Thy spirits have a fainter flow,
I see thee daily weaker grow;
'Twas my distress that brought thee low,
Thy needles, once a shining store,
For my sake restless heretofore,
Now rust disused, and shine no more,
For though thou gladly wouldst fulfil
The same kind office for me still,
Thy sight now seconds not thy will,
But well thou playedst the housewife's part,
And all thy threads with magic art
Have wound themselves about this heart,
Thy indistinct expressions seem
Like language uttered in a dream;
Yet me they charm, whate'er the theme,
Thy silver locks, once auburn bright,
Are still more lovely in my sight
Than golden beams of orient light,
For, could I view nor them nor thee,
What sight worth seeing could I see?
The sun would rise in vain for me,
Partakers of thy sad decline,
Thy hands their little force resign,
Yet, gently pressed, press gently mine,
My Mary! !
Such feebleness of limbs thou provest,
That now at every step thou movest
Upheld by two, yet still thou lovest,
And still to love, though pressed with ill,
In wintry age to feel no chill,
With me is to be lovely still,
But ah! by constant heed I know,
How oft the sadness that I show
Transforms thy smiles to looks of woe,
And should my future lot be cast
With much resemblance of the past,
Thy worn-out heart will break at last,
Obscurest night involved the sky,
The Atlantic billows roared, When such a destined wretch as I,
Washed headlong from on board, Of friends, of hope, of all bereft, His floating home forever left.
No braver chief could Albion boast
Than he with whom he went, Nor ever ship left Albion's coast
With warmer wishes sent. He loved them both, but both in vain, Nor him beheld, nor her again.
Not long beneath the whelming brine,
Expert to swim, he lay;
Nor soon he felt his strength decline,
Or courage die away;
But waged with death a lasting strife,
Supported by despair of life.
He shouted: nor his friends had failed
To check the vessel's course,
But so the furious blast prevailed,
That, pitiless perforce,
They left their outcast mate behind,
And scudded still before the wind.
Some succour yet they could afford;
And such as storms allow,
The cask, the coop, the floated. cord,
Delayed not to bestow.
But he (they knew) nor ship nor shore,
Whate'er they gave, should visit more.
Nor, cruel as it seemed, could he
Their haste himself condemn,
Aware that flight, in such a sea,
Alone could rescue them;
Yet bitter felt it still to die
Deserted, and his friends so nigh.
He long survives, who lives an hour
In ocean, self-upheld;
And so long he, with unspent power,
His destiny repelled;
And ever, as the minutes flew,
Entreated help, or cried 'Adieu !'
At length, his transient respite past,
His comrades, who before
Had heard his voice in every blast,
Could catch the sound no more:
For then, by toil subdued, he drank
The stifling wave, and then he sank.
No poet wept him; but the page
Of narrative sincere,
That tells his name, his worth, his age,
Is wet with Anson's tear:
And tears by bards or heroes shed
Alike immortalize the dead.
I therefore purpose not, or dream,
Descanting on his fate,
To give the melancholy theme
A more enduring date:
But misery still delights to trace
Its semblance in another's case.
No voice divine the storm allayed,
No light propitious shone, When, snatched from all effectual aid,
We perished, each alone: But I beneath a rougher sea, And whelmed in deeper gulfs than he.