[Page 305]

VERSES, supposed to be written by ALEXANDER SELKIRK, during his solitary Abode in the Island of JUAN FERNANDEZ.

1 I AM monarch of all I survey,
2 My right there is none to dispute,
3 From the center all round to the sea,
4 I am lord of the fowl and the brute.
5 Oh solitude! where are the charms
6 That sages have seen in the face?
7 Better dwell in the midst of alarms,
8 Than reign in this horrible place.
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9 I am out of humanity's reach,
10 I must finish my journey alone,
11 Never hear the sweet music of speech,
12 I start at the sound of my own.
13 The beasts that roam over the plain,
14 My form with indifference see,
15 They are so unacquainted with man,
16 Their tameness is shocking to me.
17 Society, friendship, and love,
18 Divinely bestow'd upon man,
19 Oh had I the wings of a dove,
20 How soon wou'd I taste you again!
21 My sorrows I then might assuage
22 In the ways of religion and truth,
23 Might learn from the wisdom of age,
24 And be cheer'd by the fallies of youth.
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25 Religion! what treasure untold
26 Resides in that heav'nly word!
27 More precious than silver and gold,
28 Or all that this earth can afford.
29 But the sound of the church going bell
30 These vallies and rocks never heard,
31 Ne'er sigh'd at the sound of a knell,
32 Or smil'd when a sabbath appear'd.
33 Ye winds that have made me your sport,
34 Convey to this desolate shore,
35 Some cordial endearing report
36 Of a land I shall visit no more.
37 My friends do they now and then send
38 A wish or a thought after me?
39 O tell me I yet have a friend,
40 Though a friend I am never to see,
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41 How fleet is a glance of the mind!
42 Compar'd with the speed of its flight,
43 The tempest itself lags behind,
44 And the swift winged arrows of light.
45 When I think of my own native land,
46 In a moment I seem to be there;
47 But alas! recollection at hand
48 Soon hurries me back to despair.
49 But the sea fowl is gone to her nest,
50 The beast is laid down in his lair,
51 Ev'n here is a season of rest,
52 And I to my cabbin repair.
53 There is mercy in ev'ry place,
54 And mercy, encouraging thought!
55 Gives even affliction a grace,
56 And reconciles man to his lot.


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Title (in Source Edition): VERSES, supposed to be written by ALEXANDER SELKIRK, during his solitary Abode in the Island of JUAN FERNANDEZ.
Themes: imprisonment; nature
Genres: occasional poem

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Source edition

Cowper, William, 1731-1800. Poems: by William Cowper, of the Inner Temple, Esq. London: printed for J. Johnson, 1782, pp. 305-308. [4],367,[1]p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T14895; OTA K027775.000) (Page images digitized by the University of California Libraries.)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, 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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