[Page [245]]



1 DEAR Boys! dismiss'd awhile from school,
2 From sober learning's thorny rule,
3 The annual race of glory run,
4 The prize bestow'd, the laurels won,
5 Ye leave the scientific dome,
6 While noisy rapture hails your home:
7 Home cherish'd spot! whose magic power
8 Can charm with hope the studious hour;
9 And where the heart however far
10 Points, like the needle to its star!
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11 And now, with many a fond oration,
12 Ye ask, to crown this dear vacation,
13 Saturnian time of sport and play,
14 A FÊTE! to grace SAINT HELEN'S DAY!
15 But will the Saint propitious see
16 A Fête dear Boys! prepar'd for me?
17 I! who her altar never sought,
18 An heretic! who idly thought
19 She liv'd alone in pagan fame,
20 And half forgot her sainted name!
21 But since that name, entwin'd with palms,
22 The legend's deathless page embalms,
23 And since historic truth must own
24 Her crested votary fill'd a throne
25 We'll lay our offerings at her shrine,
26 And call her, as she is, divine!
27 Then haste, dear Boys! and deck the bowers,
28 This chosen day, with festive flowers!
29 The votive bouquet joyful bring;
30 And bid your muse, on lofty wing,
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31 The steep Parnassian summits climb,
32 And weave the tributary rhyme.
33 The soothing song which ye rehearse
34 Though form'd of perishable verse,
35 And, like the bouquet, born to die
36 Shall fill with tears affection's eye;
37 Shall touch, with eloquence confest,
38 The chords which vibrate in her breast!
39 Then hither bring the early friend,
40 With whom your bounding hearts unbend;
41 Till then, in vain the Fête prepared
42 What Fête, unless by friendship shar'd?
43 Together, happy band! advance;
44 Together frame the sportive dance;
45 Together tread the mimic stage,
46 The TALMAS of another age;
47 And then, to crown this favor'd night,
48 Unquestion'd symbol of delight,
49 The soaring rocket swift shall rise,
50 And, sweeping, gild the midnight skies;
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51 Bright wheels of fire shall rapid turn;
52 And suns, that soon must set, shall burn;
53 SAINT HELEN, with a smile, shall view
54 Her rites all paid in order due.
55 The Saint, become my patron now,
56 To her and you I breathe my vow:
57 Listen, dear Boys! nor take amiss
58 A lesson, with a parting kiss
59 Your life has clos'd its baby span,
60 And childhood ripens into man:
61 On youth's gay threshold now ye tread;
62 The path unfolds, with roses spread,
63 That leads the unsuspecting guest
64 Where Pleasure holds her Circean feast;
65 With bosoms yet from evil free,
66 Now promise to the Saint and me,
67 Oft as the years, on circling wing,
68 This fond returning day shall bring,
69 While o'er the world ye lightly roam,
70 Far from the long-lost scene of home,
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71 This day in Pleasure's course to pause,
72 This day let Reason plead her cause!
73 When come the years for come they must
74 When her ye love is laid in dust;
75 Her who for you has learn'd to prove
76 A mother's care a mother's love!
77 From you all ill has sought to chase,
78 And fill a mother's vacant place:
79 Still on this day, to duty true,
80 Remember that she liv'd for you!
81 Ah! give her one recording sigh,
82 Nor pass this day with tearless eye!
83 Still may its chosen hours impart
84 The throb of virtue to the heart,
85 And be the talisman whose spell
86 Shall Passion's wild delirium quell;
87 Controul, with some good angel's power,
88 Seduction in her smiling hour.
89 This day, from all her wiles secure,
90 With nobler hopes, with purpose pure,
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91 Resolve to feel that best delight
92 Reserv'd for those who live aright:
93 And thus, dear Boys! your tribute pay;
94 Thus consecrate SAINT HELEN'S DAY!


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Williams, Helen Maria, 1759-1827. Poems on various subjects: with introductory remarks on the present state of science and literature in France. London: G. and W. B. Whittaker, 1823, pp. [245]-250.  (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [8º W 229 BS].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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