TO ANNA MATILDA.
Age, jam meorum,
1 AND have I strove in vain to move
2 Thy Heart, fair Phantom of my Love?
3 And cou'dst thou think 'twas my design,
4 Calmly to list thy Notes Divine,
5 That I responsive Lays might send,
6 To gain a cold Platonic Friend?
7 Far other hopes thy Verse inspir'd,
8 And all my Breast with Passion fir'd.
9 For Fancy to my mind had given
10 Thy form, as of the forms of Heaven —
11 Had bathed thy lips with vermil dew;
12 Had touch'd thy cheek with Morning's hue!
13 And down thy neck had sweetly roll'd
14 Luxuriant locks of mazy gold. [Page 73]
15 Yes, I had hopes, at least to press,
16 And lure thee to the chaste caress;
17 Catch from thy breath the quiv'ring sigh,
18 And meet the murder of thine eye.
19 Ah! when I deem'd such joys at hand,
20 Remorseless comes the stern command,
21 Nor calls my wand'ring footsteps home,
22 But far, and farther bids me roam;
23 And then thy Vestal Notes dispense
24 The meed of COLD INDIFFERENCE!
25 Curs'd Pow'r! that to myself unknown,
26 Still turns the heart I love, to stone!
27 Dwells with the Fair whom most I prize,
28 And scorns my tears, and mocks my sighs.
29 Yes, ANNA! I will hasten forth
30 To the bleak regions of the North,
31 Where Erickson, immortal Lord!
32 Pour'd on the Dane his vengeful sword;
33 Or where wide o'er the barb'rous plain,
34 Fierce Rurick held his ancient reign.
35 Then once more will I trace the Rhine,
36 And mark the Rhone's swift billows shine;
37 Once more on VIRGIL's tomb I'll muse,
38 And Laura's gemm'd with evening dews;
39 Once more ROME's Via Sacra tread,
40 And ponder on the mighty dead. [Page 74]
41 More Eastward then direct my way,
42 To thirsty Egypt's desarts stray,
43 Fix in wonder, to behold
44 The Pyramids renown'd of old;
45 Fallen near one of which, I ween,
46 The Hieroglyphic Sphinx is seen!
* The overflowing of the Nile always happens while the Sun is in Leo and Virgo. Lion Virgin Sphinx, that shows
48 What time the rich Nile overflows.
49 Then will I sail th' Egean tide,
50 Or seek Scamander's tuneful side;
51 Wander the secret groves among,
52 Where HOMER wak'd th' immortal Song;
53 Traverse the Nemaean Wood,
54 Mark the spot where Sparta stood;
55 Or at humbled Athens see
56 Its still remaining Majesty! —
57 Yet to Indiff'rence e'er a foe,
58 May Beauty other joys bestow;
59 Her rapt'rous Science I'll pursue,
60 The Science NEWTON never knew.
61 Now blows the wind with melancholy force,
62 And o'er the Baltic points my weary course;
63 Loud shout the mariners, the white sails swell —
64 ANNA MATILDA! fare thee, fare thee well! [Page 75]
65 Farewell, whoe'er thou art, and may'st thou find
66 Health and repose, and lasting peace of mind;
67 Still pour the various Verse with fancy clear,
68 To thrill the pulse, and charm th' attentive ear;
69 Nor may relentless Care thy days destroy,
70 But ev'ry hope be ripen'd into joy!
71 And O! farewell to distant Britain's shore,
72 Which I perhaps am doom'd to see no more;
73 Where Valour, Wisdom, Taste, and Virtue dwell,
74 Dear Land of Liberty, alas! farewell, —
75 Yet oft, e'en there, by wild Ambition tost,
76 The Soul's best season settles in a frost.
77 Yet even there, desponding, late I knew,
78 That Friendship, foreign-form'd, is rarely true.
79 For they, whom most I lov'd, whose kindness sav'd
80 My shatter'd Bark, when erst the tempest rav'd:
81 At home, e'en with the common herd could fly,
82 Gaze on the wounded Deer, and pass him by!
83 Nor yet can Pride subdue my pangs severe,
84 But scorn itself evap'rates in a Tear.
85 Thou, too, delusive Maid! whose winning charms
86 Seduced me first from slow Wealth's beck'ning arms;
87 Sweet POETRY! my earliest, falsest Friend,
88 Here shall my frantic adoration end.
89 Take back the simple Flute thy treach'ry gave,
90 Take back, and plunge it in Oblivion's wave,[Page 76]
91 So shall its sad Notes hence no malice raise —
92 The Bard unknown — forgotten be the Lays.
93 But should, with ANNA's Verse, his hapless Rhime,
94 In future meet th' impartial eye of Time,
95 Say, that thy wretched victim long endur'd,
96 Pains which are seldom felt, and never cur'd!
97 Say, 'midst the lassitude of hopes o'erthrown,
98 MATILDA's strain could comfort him alone.
99 Yet was the veil mysterious ne'er remov'd,
100 From him th' admiring, and from her the lov'd,
101 And no kind intercourse the Song repaid,
102 But each to each remain'd — a Shadow and a Shade.