1 MIDST the proud fervor of the day,
2 Whilst the sun darts a torrid ray,
3 The humble daisey sinks its head,
4 And faints upon its lowly bed;
5 But when moist eve hath quench'd his fire,
6 And treads the fields in cool attire,
7 The daisy spreads again her bloom,
8 And offers up her mild perfume.
9 Thus your resuscitating praise,
10 Breathed life upon my dying lays.
11 REYNOLDS ADMIRES! flatt'ry so sweet
12 With blushing vanity I meet,
13 But Bard polite! how hard the task
14 Which with such elegance you ask.
15 When DIDO bad ENEAS tell
16 The woes he knew to paint so well —
17 Did he not tell the queen, she tore
18 His closing wounds, and drew fresh gore,[Page 46]
19 From stabs that time had almost heal'd? —
20 Such, REUBEN, such, the thorn conceal'd,
21 Within your verses' flow'ry spell,
22 Which barb'rous! dares my pen compel.
23 Yet how describe the various god,
24 T'whom Proteus' self's a heavy clod?
25 Differing in each differing heart,
26 Scorning to play a constant part.
27 A tyger! — tyrant! — such is he,
28 Whom painted with bandeau you see,
29 With downy wings, and childish face,
30 As though of the blest Cherub's race —
31 But oh! a serpent in disguise,
32 And as the lynx, his piercing eyes!
33 A raging fire, a deadly pain,
34 That gentlest heart-strings most will strain;
35 A fever, tempest, madness he —
36 Of all life's ills — A DREAD EPITOME!
37 Ha! dost thou fear, and wilt thou run?
38 The little monster try to shun?
39 And wilt thou, REUBEN, too succeed —
40 And shall thy bosom never bleed;
41 Never his poison'd rankling dart
42 Quiver within thy tender heart?
43 Oh, hapless man! — oh, wretched fate!
44 Fly to Love's altar ere too late,[Page 47]
45 And deprecate the doom accurst,
46 Or bid that heart with sorrow burst.
47 Welcome the deadly fiery pain,
48 That gentlest heart-strings most will strain —
49 MADNESS IS HIS — but 'tis replete
50 With all that makes life's blessings sweet; —
51 A TYRANT he, but oh! his chains
52 Are richer than an empire's gains!
53 Sweet, the delirium which by love is spread,
54 Whate'er the paths his raptur'd vot'ries tread!
55 He paints the mist which hangs upon the eve,
56 With colours dearer than the Sun can give;
57 'Tis he who lends the nightingale its trills,
58 When her rich pipe the Empyrean fills,
59 Oh, 'tis the softness in his heart
60 Which makes the Lover in her song take part,
61 And faint upon each touching pause,
62 And lengthen out each added clause,
63 Till rapt attention, strain'd too high,
64 Rolls down its gushing tear, and breathes its gentle sigh.
65 Charming to Love is MORNING's hour,
66 When, from her chrystal roseate tower,
67 She sees the Goddess HEALTH pursue
68 The skimming breeze thro' fields of dew:
69 Charming, the flaming hour of noon,
70 When the sunk Linnet's fading tune,[Page 48]
71 Allures him to the beechy grove —
72 Or when some crag'd grotesque alcove
73 Sounds in his ear its tinkling rill,
74 And tempts him to its moss grown sill;
75 Most charm'd when on his tranced mind
76 Is wisper'd in the passing wind,
77 The name of her, whose name is bliss;
78 Or when he all unseen can kiss
79 The fringed bank where late she lay,
80 Hidden from th' imperious day.
81 Oh, ye rapt glades, which glist'ring Luna decks,
82 Whose stretching shadows her refulgence checks!
83 Oh, ye soft floods, that hang upon the peak
84 Of lofty rocks, and bound in wanton freak,
85 Where thirsty meads your rushing streamlets crave,
86 And crowd their flowers around to drink your wave —
87 What are ye all, should Love withhold the dart,
88 Which wakes nice feelings in the torpid heart?
89 Where is the heart, that would such feelings fly,
90 Or fear th' inchanting, MAD'NING CUP to try?
91 Must I speak more of love? the boundless theme
92 Might run beyond the edge of life's short dream:
93 His spells are blessings — witch'ries so sublime
94 They triumph o'er distress, and fate, and time.
95 Wouldst ask the joys of love? — Oh! change the prayer,
96 Thou little know'st his power, to fasten there! [Page 49]
97 Let the mean bosom crave its love's return,
98 Thine shall with more distinguish'd ardors burn:
99 To know the passion — yes, be that thy strain,
100 Invoke the god of the mysterious pain!
101 Whate'er thy nature — gentle, fiery, rough —
102 To LOVE — learn but TO LOVE — and thou hast bliss enough!