Page images
PDF
EPUB

ODE TO INDOLENCE.

Ah! why for ever on the wing

Persists my weary'd soul to roam ? Why, ever cheated, strives to bring

Or pleasure or contentment home?

Thus the poor bird, that draws his name

From Paradise's honour'd groves, Ceaseless fatigues his little frame,

Nor finds the resting place he loves.

Lo! on the rural mossy bed

My limbs with careless ease reclin’d; Ah, gentle Sloth! indulgent spread

The same soft bandage o'er my mind.

For why should ling’ring thought invade,

Yet ev'ry worldly prospect cloy? Lend me, soft Sloth, thy friendly aid,

And give me peace, debarr’d of joy.

Lov'st thou yon calm and silent flood,

That never ebbs, that never flows; Protected by the circling wood

From each tempestuous wind that blows? An altar on its banks shall rise,

Where oft thy votry shall be found;
What time pale Autumn lulls the skies,

And sick’ning verdure fades around.

Ye busy race, ye factious train,

That haunt Ambition's guilty shrine;
No more perplex the world in vain,

But offer here your vows with mine.

And thou, puissant queen! be kind:

If e'er I shar’d thy balmy pow'r;
If e'er I sway'd my active mind,

To weave for thee the rural bow'r ;

Dissolve in sleep each anxious care ;

Each unavailing sigh remove;
And only let me wake to share
The sweets of friendship and of love.

Shenstone.

EPIGRAM

ON TWO CHARACTERS OF THE SAME NAME.

To rob the public two contractors come,
One cheats in corn, the other cheats in rum;
Which is the greater, if you can explain,
A rogue in spirit, or a rogue in grain?

Nescio.

THE STORM.

With gallant pomp, and beauteous pride,

The floating pile in harbour rode, Proud of her freight, the swelling tide Reluctant left the vessel's side,

And rais'd it as she flow'd,

The waves, with eastern breezes curl'd,

Had silver'd half the liquid plain; The anchors weigh’d, the sails unfurld, Serenely mov'd the wooden world,

And stretch'd along the main.

The scaly natives of the deep

Press to admire the vast machine,
In sportive gambols round it leap,
Or, swimming low, due distance keep,

In homage to their queen.

Thus, as life glides in gentle gale,

Pretended friendship waits on pow'r,
But early quits the borrow'd veil
When adverse fortune shifts the sail,

And hastens to devour.

In vain we fly approaching ill,

Danger can multiply its form n;
Expos'd, we fly like Jonas still,
And heaven, when 'tis heaven's will,

O'ertakes us in a storm.

The distant surges' foamy white

Foretel the furious blast;
Dreadful, though distant was the sight,
Confed'rate winds and waves unite,

And menace every mast.

Winds whistling through the shrouds, proclaim

A fatal harvest on the deck ; Quick in pursuit as active flame, Too soon the rolling ruin came,

And ratify'd the wreck.

Thus, Adam smild with new-born grace,

Life's fame inspir'd by heav'nly birth:
Thus the same breath sweeps
Disorders Nature's beauteous face,

And spreads disease and death.

off his race,

Stripp'd of her pride the vessel rolls,

And as by sympathy she knew
The secret anguish of our souls,
With inward deeper groans condoles

The danger of her crew.

Now what avails it to be brave,

On liquid precipices hung ? Suspended on a breaking wave, Beneath us yawn'd a sea-green grave,

And silenc'd every tongue.

The faithless flood forsook her keel,

And downward launch'd the lab'ring hull, Stunn'd, she forgot awhile to reel, And felt almost, or seem'd to feel,

A momentary lull.

Thus in the jaws of death we lay,

Nor light, nor comfort found us there, Lost in the gulph and floods of spray, No sun to cheer us, nor a ray

Of hope, but all despair.

The nearer shore, the more despair,

While certain ruin waits on land; Should we pursue our wishes there, Soon we recant the fatal pray’r,

And strive to shun the strand,

At length, the Being whose behest

Reduc'd this chaos into form,
His goodness and His pow'r express'd,
He spoke--and, as a God, suppress'd
Our troubles, and the storm.

Dodsley.

« PreviousContinue »