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and yet ;

XLII. I WATCH, and long have watched, with calm regret Yon slowly-sinking star immortal Sire (So might he seem) of all the glittering quire! Blue ether still surrounds him — yet. But now the horizon's rocky parapet Is reached, where, forfeiting his bright attire, He burns transmuted to a sullen fire, That droops and dwindles, — and, the appointed debt To the flying moments paid, is seen no more. Angels and gods! we struggle with our fate, While health, power, glory, pitiably decline, Depressed and then extinguished: and our state, In this, how different, lost star, from thine, That no to-morrow shall our beams restore!'

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High is our calling, Friend! - Creative Art
(Whether the instrument of words she use,
Or pencil pregnant with ethereal hues,)
Demands the service of a mind and heart,
Though sensitive, yet, in their weakest part,
Heroically fashioned — to infuse
Faith in the whispers of the lonely Muse,
While the whole world seems adverse to desert.
And, oh! when Nature sinks, as oft she may,
Through long-lived pressure of obscure distress,
Still to be strenuous for the bright reward,
And in the soul admit of no decay,
Brook no continuance of weak-mindedness
Great is the glory, for the strife is hard!


From the dark chambers of dejection freed,
Spurning the unprofitable yoke of care,
Rise, GILLIES, rise: the gales of youth shall bear
Thy genius forward like a winged steed.
Though bold Bellerophon (so Jove decreed
In wrath) fell headlong from the fields of air,
Yet a rich guerdon waits on minds that dare,
If aught be in them of immortal seed,
And reason govern that audacious flight
Which heaven-ward they direct. — Then droop not thou,
Erroneously renewing a sad vow
In the low dell 'mid Roslin's faded grove:
A cheerful life is what the Muses love,
A soaring spirit is their prime delight.

XLV. Fair Prime of life! were it enough to gild With ready sunbeams every straggling shower; And, if an unexpected cloud should lower, Swiftly thereon a rainbow arch to build For Fancy's errands, — then, from fields half-tilled Gathering green weeds to mix with poppy flower, Thee might thy Minions crown, and chant thy power, Unpitied by the wise, all censure stilled. Ah! show that worthier honours are thy due; Fair Prime of Life! arouse the deeper heart; Confirm the Spirit glorying to pursue Some path of steep ascent and lofty aim; And, if there be a joy that slights the claim Of grateful memory, bid that joy depart.

XLVI. I HEARD (alas! 'twas only in a dream) Strains which, as sage Antiquity believed, By waking ears have sometimes been received Wafted adown the wind from lake or stream; A most melodious requiem, a supreme And perfect harmony of notes, achieved By a fair Swan on drowsy billows heaved, O’er which her pinions shed a silver gleam. For is she not the votary of Apollo? And knows she not, singing as he inspires, That bliss awaits her which the ungenial hollow* Of the dull earth partakes not, nor desires ? Mount, tuneful Bird, and join the immortal quires ! She soared — and I awoke, struggling in vain to follow.

If the whole weight of what we think and feel,
Save only far as thought and feeling blend
With action, were as nothing, patriot Friend !
From thy remonstrance would be no appeal;
But to promote and fortify the weal
Of our own Being is her paramount end;
A truth which they alone shall comprehend
Who shun the mischief which they cannot heal.
Peace in these feverish times is sovereign bliss;
Here, with no thirst but what the stream can slake,
And startled only by the rustling brake,
Cool air I breathe; while the unincumbered Mind,
By some weak aims at services assigned
To gentle Natures, thanks not Heaven amiss.


* See the Phedo of Plato, by which this Sonnet was suggested.


TO THE MEMORY OF RAISLEY CALVERT. CALVERT! it must not be unheard by them Who may respect my name, that I to thee Owed many years of early liberty. This care was thine when sickness did condemn Thy youth to hopeless wasting, root and stem: That I, if frugal and severe, might stray Where'er I liked; and finally array My temples with the Muse’s diadem, Hence, if in freedom I have loved the truth, If there be aught of pure, or good, or great, In my past verse; or shall be, in the lays Of higher mood, which now I meditate, It gladdens me, O worthy, short-lived Youth! To think how much of this will be thy praise.

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