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For you to try my dull, unlearned quill.
Nor should I now, but that I've known you long;
That you first taught me all the sweets of song:
The grand, the sweet, the terse, the free, the fine:
What swell’d with pathos, and what right divine :
Spenserian vowels that elope with ease,
And float along like birds o'er summer seas,
Miltonian storms, and more, Miltonian tenderness :
Michael in arms, and more, meek Eve's fair slenderness.
Who read for me the sonnet swelling loudly
Up to its climax, and then dying proudly?
Who found for me the grandeur of the ode,
Growing, like Atlas, stronger from its load;
Who let me taste that more than cordial dram,
The sharp, the rapier-pointed epigram?
Show'd me that epic was of all the king,
Round, vast, and spanning all, like Saturn's ring?
You too upheld the veil from Clio's beauty,
And pointed out the patriot's stern duty;
The might of Alfred, and the shaft of Tell;
The hand of Brutus, that so grandly fell
Upon a tyrant's head. Ah ! had I never seen,
Or known your kindness, what might I have been?
What my enjoyments in my youthful years,
Berest of all that now my life endears ?
And can I e'er these benefits forget?
And can I e'er repay the friendly debt ?
No, doubly no ;-yet should these rhymings please,
I shall roll on the grass with two-fold ease;
For I have long time been my fancy feeding
With hopes that you would one day think the reading
Of my rough verses not an hour misspent;
Should it e’er be so, what a rich content !
Some weeks have pass'd since last I saw the spires
In lucent Thames reflected :-warm desires
To see the sun o'er-peep the eastern dimness,
And morning-shadows streaking into slimness
Across the lawny fields, and pebbly water;
To mark the time as they grow broad and shorter ;
To feel the air that plays about the hills,
And sip its freshness from the little rills ;
To see high, golden corn wave in the light
When Cynthia smiles upon a summer's night,
And peers among the cloudlets, jet and white,
As though she were reclining in a bed
Of bean-blossoms, in heaven freshly shed.
No sooner had I stepp'd into these pleasures,
Than I began to think of rhymes and measures ;
The air that floated by me seem'd to say
“Write! thou wilt never have a better day.”
And so I did. When many lines I'd written,
Though with their grace I was not oversmitten,
Yet, as my hand was warm, I thought I'd better
Trust to my feelings, and write you a letter.
Such an attempt required an inspiration
Of a peculiar sort,-a consummation ;-
Which, had I felt, these scribblings might have been
Verses from which the soul would never wean.;
But many days have past since last my heart
Was warm'd luxuriously by divine Mozart ;
By Arne delighted, or by Handel madden'd;
Or by the song of Erin pierced and sadden'd:
What time you were before the music sitting,
And the rich notes to each sensation fitting.
Since I have walk'd with you through shady lanes
That freshly terminate in open plains,
And revell’d in a chat that ceased not,
When, at night-fail, among your books we got:
No, nor when supper came, nor after that,-
Nor when reluctantly I took my hat;
No, nor till cordially you shook my hand
Mid-way between our homes :-your accents bland
Still sounded in my ears, when I no more
Could hear your footsteps touch the gravelly floor.
Sometimes I lost them, and then found again,
You changed the foot-path for the grassy plain.
In those still moments I have wish'd you joys
That well you know to honour :-“ Life's very toys
With him," said I,“ will take a pleasant charm ;
It cannot be that aught will work him harm.”
These thoughts now come o'er nie with all the might :-
Again I shake your hand,-.friend Charles, good night.
IN a drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne'er remember
Their green felicity :
The north cannot undo them,
With a sleety whistle through them,
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.
In a drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne'er remember
Apollo's summer look;
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
About the frozen time.
Ah! would 'twere so with many
A gentle girl and boy !
But were there ever any
Writhed not at passed joy?
To know the change and feel it, When there is none to heal it, Nor numbed sense to steal it, Was never said in rhyme.