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The insect-youth are on the wing,
And float amid the liquid noon;
Quick-glancing to the sun.
To Contemplation's sober eye
Such is the race of Man;
Shall end where they began.
In Fortune's varying colors drest;
They leave, in dust to rest.
Methinks I hear, in accents low,
The sportive kind reply:
A solitary fly!
No painted plumage to display:
We frolic while 't is May.
ON A DISTANT PROSPECT OF ETON COLLEGE.
YE distant spires, ye antique towers,
That crown the watery glade,
Her Henry's holy shade;
Of grove, of lawn, of mead survey,
His silver-winding way!
Ah, happy hills ! ah, pleasing shade!
Ah, fields beloved in vain !
A stranger yet to pain!
I feel the gales that from ye blow
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
To breathe a second spring. Say, Father Thames, — for thou hast seen
Full many a sprightly race Disporting on thy margent green,
The paths of pleasure trace, Who foremost now delight to cleave With pliant arm thy glassy wave ?
The captive linnet which enthrall ? What idle progeny succeed To chase the rolling circle's speed,
Or urge the flying ball ?
While some, on earnest business bent,
Their murmuring labors ply 'Gainst graver hours that bring constraint
To sweeten liberty:
And unknown regions dare descry;
And snatch a fearful joy.
Gay hope is theirs, by fancy fed,
Less pleasing when possest; The tear forgot as soon as shed,
The sunshine of the breast: Theirs buxom health, of rosy bue, Wild wit, invention ever new,
And lively cheer, of vigor born; The thoughtless day, the easy night, The spirits pure, the slumbers light,
That fly th' approach of morn.
The little victim's play ;
No care beyond to-day:
And black Misfortune's baleful train! Ah, show them where in ambush stand, To seize their prey, the murtherous band !
Ah! tell them they are men ! These shall the fury Passions tear,
The vultures of the mind,
And Shame that skulks behind;
That inly gnaws the secret heart;
And Sorrow's piercing dart.
Then whirl the wretch from high,
And grinning Infamy.
That mocks the tear it forced to flow;
Amid severest woe.
A grisly troop are seen,
More hideous than their queen :
Those in the deeper vitals rage:
And slow-consuming Age.
Condemned alike to groan;
Th' unfeeling for his own. Yet, ah! why should they know their fate, Since sorrow never comes too late,
And happiness too swiftly flies ? Thought would destroy their Paradise. No more: where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise.
A PINDARIC ODE.
Ruin seize thee, ruthless King!
Confusion on thy banners wait! Though fanned by Conquest's crimson wing,
They mock the air with idle state.
Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail, Nor e'en thy virtues, Tyrant, shall avail
To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears !” Such were the sounds that o'er the crested pride
Of the first Edward scattered wild dismay, As down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side
He wound with toilsome march his long array. Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance; "To arms!” cried Mortimer, and couched his quivering lance.
On a rock, whose haughty brow
Robed in the sable garb of woe,
(Loose his beard, and hoary hair
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre:
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe ;
« Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hushed the stormy main ;
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song
On dreary Arvon's shore they lie,
The famished eagle screams, and passes by. Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear as the light that visits these sad eyes,
Dear as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
No more I weep: they do not sleep;
On yonder cliffs, a grisly band,
Avengers of their native land;
“ Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
Give ample room, and verge enough,
Mark the year, and mark the night,
When Severn shall re-echo with affright
Shrieks of an agonizing King!
From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs
Amazement in his van, with Flight combined And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.
“Mighty victor, mighty lord !
No pitying heart, no eye, afford
Is the sable warrior fled ?
Gone to salute the rising morn.
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm;
“Fill high the sparkling bowl!
The rich repast prepare!
Close by the regal chair
Fell Thirst and Famine scow)
Heard ye the din of battle bray,