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Their raptures now that wildly flow
No yesterday nor morrow know;
'Tis Man alone that joy descries
With forward and reverted eyes.
Smiles on past Misfortune's brow
Soft Reflection's hand can trace, And o'er the cheek of Sorrow throw
A melancholy grace; While Hope prolongs our happier hour, Or deepest shades, that dimly lour And blacken round our weary way, Gilds with a gleam of distant day.
Still, where rosy Pleasure leads,
See a kindred Grief pursue ;
Behind the steps that Misery treads
Approaching Comfort view :
The hues of bliss more brightly glow
Chastised by sabler tints of woe,
And blended form, with artful strife,
The strength and harmony of life.
See the wretch that long has tost
On the thorny bed of pain,
At length repair his vigour lost
And breathe and walk again :
The meanest floweret of the vale,
The simplest note that swells the gale,
The common sun, the air, the skies,
To him are opening Paradise.
Happy the man, whose wish and care
A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air
In his own ground.
Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
Whose flocks supply him with attire ;
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
In winter, fire.
Blest, who can unconcern'dly find
Hours, days, and years, slide soft away
In health of body, peace of mind,
Quiet by day,
Sound sleep by night; study and ease
Together mix'd ; sweet recreation,
And innocence, which most does please
Thus let me live, unseen, unknown ;
Thus unlamented let me die ;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.
O say what is that thing call'd Light,
Which I must ne'er enjoy ;
What are the blessings of the sight,
O tell your poor blind boy!
You talk of wondrous things you seo,
You say the sus shines bright;
I feel him warm, but how can he
Or make it day or night?
My day or night myself I make
Whene'er I sleep or play ;
And could I ever keep awake
With me 'twere always day.
With heavy sighs I often hear
You mourn my hapless woe ;
But sure with patience I can bear
A loss I ne'er can know.
Then let not what I cannot have
My cheer of mind destroy :
Whilst thus I sing, I am a king,
Although a poor blind boy.
120. ON A FAVOURITE CAT, DROWNED
IN A TUB OF GOLD FISHES.
'Twas on a lofty vase's side
Where China's gayest art had dyed
The azure flowers that blow,
Demurest of the tabby kind
The pensive Selima, reclined,
Gazed on the lake below.
Her conscious tail her joy declared :
The fair round face, the snowy beard,
The velvet of her paws,
Her coat that with the tortoise vies,
Her ears of jet, and emerald eyes-
She saw, and purr'd applause.
Still had she gazed, but 'midst the tide
Two angel forms were seen to glide,
The Genii of the stream:
Their scaly armour's Tyrian hue
Through richest purple, to the view
Betray'd a golden gleam.
The hapless Nymph with wonder saw:
A whisker first, and then a claw
With many an ardent wish
She stretch'd, in vain, to reach the prize
What female heart can gold despise ?
What Cat's averse to fish ?
Presumptuous maid ! with looks intent
Again she stretch'd, again she bent,
Nor knew the gulf between-
Malignant Fate sat by and smiled-
The slippery verge her feet beguiled ;
She tumbled headlong in !
Eight times emerging from the flood
She mew'd to every watery God
Some speedy aid to send :-
No Dolphin came, no Nereid stirr'd,
Nor cruel Tom nor Susan heard
A favourite has no friend !
From hence, ye Beauties! undeceived
Know one false step is ne'er retrieved,
And be with caution bold :
Not all that tempts your wandering eyes
And heedless hearts, is lawful prize,
Nor all that glisters, gold !
121. TO CHARLOTTE PULTENEY.
Timely blossom, Infant fair,
Fondling of a happy pair,
Every morn and every night
Their solicitous delight,
Sleeping, waking, still at ease,
Pleasing, without skill to please
Little gossip, blithe and hale,
Tattling many a broken tale,
Singing many a tuneless song,
Lavish of a heedless tongue ;
Simple maiden, void of art,
Babbling out the very heart,
Yet abandon'd to thy will,
Yet imagining no ill,
Yet too innocent to blush,
Like the linnet in the bush
To the mother-linnet's note
Moduling her slender throat;
Chirping forth thy petty joys,
Wanton in the change of toys,
Like the linnet green, in May
Flitting to each bloomy spray ;
Wearied then and glad of rest,
Like the linnet in the nest :
This thy present happy lot
This, in time will be forgot:
Other pleasures, other cares,
Ever-busy Time prepares ;
And thou shalt in thy daughter see,
This picture, once, resembled thee.