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When lightnings flash among the trees,
Or kites are hovering near,
I fear lest thee alone they seize,
And know no other fear.
'Tis then I feel myself a wife,
And press thy wedded side, Resolved a union form'd for life
Death never shall divide.
But oh! if, fickle and unchaste,
(Forgive a transient thought,) Thou couldst become unkind at last,
And scorn thy present lot,
No need of lightnings from on high,
Or kites with cruel beak; Denied the endearments of thine eye,
This widow'd heart would break.
Thus sang the sweet sequester'd bird,
Soft as the passing wind, And I recorded what I heard,
A lesson for mankind.
A RAVEN, while with glossy breast
Her new-laid eggs she fondly press'd,
And, on her wicker-work high mounted,
Her chickens prematurely counted,
(A fault philosophers might blame,
If quite exempted from the same,)
Enjoy'd at ease the genial day;
'Twas April, as the bumpkins say,
The legislature call’d it May.
But suddenly a wind, as high
As ever swept a winter sky,
Shook the young leaves about her ears,
And fill'd her with a thousand fears,
Lest the rude blast should snap the bough,
And spread her golden hopes below.
But just at eve the blowing weather
And all her fears were hush'd together :
And now, quoth poor unthinking Ralph,
'Tis over, and the brood is safe ;
(For ravens, though, as birds of omen,
They teach both conjurors and old women
To tell us what is to befall,
Can't prophesy themselves at all )
The morning came, when neighbour Hodge,
Who long had mark'd her airy lodge,
And destined all the treasure there
A gift to his expecting fair,
Climb'd like a squirrel to his dray,
And bore the worthless prize away.
'Tis Providence alone secures
In every change both mine and yours :
Safety consists not in escape
From dangers of a frightful shape;
An earthquake may be bid to spare
The man that's strangled by a hair.
Fate steals along with silent tread,
Found oft'nest in what least we dread,
Frowns in the storm with angry brow,
But in the sunshine strikes the blow.
ON AN INKGLASS ALMOST DRIED IN THE SUN.
Patron of all those luckless brains,
That, to the wrong side leaning, Indite much metre with much pains,
And little or no meaning;
Ah why, since oceans, rivers, streams,
That water all the nations,
Pay tribute to thy glorious beams,
In constant exhalations ;
Why, stooping from the noon of day,
Too covetous of drink, Apollo, hast thou stolen away
A poet's drop of ink?
Upborne into the viewless air,
It floats a vapour now,
Impellid through regions dense and rare,
By all the winds that blow.
Ordain'd perhaps, ere summer flies,
Combined with millions more, To form an iris in the skies,
Though black and foul before
Illustrious drop! and happy then
Beyond the happiest lot,
Of all that ever pass'd my pen,
So soon to be forgot!
Phæbus, if such be thy design,
To place it in thy bow,
Give wit, that what is left may shine
With equal grace below.
The lapse of time and rivers is the same,
Both speed their journey with a restless stream ;
The silent pace, with which they steal away,
No wealth can bribe, no prayers persuade to stay;
Alike irrevocable both when past,
And a wide ocean swallows both at last.
Though each resemble each in every part,
A difference strikes at length the musing heart;
Streams never flow in vain ; where streams abound,
How laughs the land with various plenty crown'd !
But time, that should enrich the nobler mind,
Neglected leaves a dreary waste behind.
ADDRESSED TO A YOUNG LADY.
Sweet stream, that winds through yonder glade,
Apt emblem of a virtuous maid-
Silent and chaste she steals along,
Far from the world's gay busy throng ;
With gentle yet prevailing force,
her destined course ;
Graceful and useful all she does,
Blessing and blest where'er she goes,
Pure-bosom'd as that watery glass,
And heaven reflected in her face.