THE WISH: AN ELEGY.
1 LET others travel, with incessant pain,
2 The wealth of earth and ocean to secure;
3 Then with fond hopes caress the precious bane;
4 In grandeur abject, and in affluence poor.
5 But soon, too soon, in Fancy's timid eyes,
6 Wild waves shall roll, and conflagrations spread;
7 While bright in arms, and of gigantic size,
8 The fear-form'd robber haunts the thorny bed.
9 Let me, in dreadless poverty retir'd,
10 The real joys of life, unenvied, share:
11 Favour'd by Love, and by the Muse inspir'd,
12 I'll yield to Wealth its jealousy and care.
13 On rising ground, the prospect to command,
14 Unting'd with smoke, where vernal breezes blow,
15 In rural neatness let my cottage stand;
16 Here wave a wood, and there a river flow.
17 Oft from the neighbouring hills and pastures round,
18 Let sheep with tender bleat salute my ear;
19 Nor fox insidious haunt the guiltless ground,
20 Nor man pursue the trade of murder near:
21 Far hence, kind heaven! expel the savage train,
22 Inur'd to blood, and eager to destroy;
23 Who pointed steel, with recent slaughter stain,
24 And place in groans and death their cruel joy.
25 Ye Powers of social life and tender song!
26 To you devoted shall my fields remain;
27 Here undisturb'd the peaceful day prolong,
28 Nor own a smart but Love's delightful pain.
29 For you, my trees shall wave their leafy shade;
30 For you, my gardens tinge the lenient air;
31 For you, be Autumn's blushing gifts display'd,
32 And all that Nature yields of sweet or fair.
33 But, O! if plaints which love and grief inspire,
34 In heavenly breasts could e'er compassion find,
35 Grant me, ah! grant my heart's supreme desire,
36 And teach my dear Urania to be kind.
37 For her, black Sadness clouds my brightest day;
38 For her, in tears the midnight vigils roll;
39 For her, cold horrors melt my powers away,
40 And chill the living vigour of my soul.
41 Beneath her scorn each youthful ardor dies,
42 Its joys, its wishes, and its hopes, expire!
43 In vain the fields of Science tempt my eyes;
44 In vain for me the Muses string the lyre.
45 O! let her oft my humble dwelling grace,
46 Humble no more, if there she deign to shine;
47 For heaven, unlimited by time or place,
48 Still waits on god-like worth and charms divine.
49 Amid the cooling fragrance of the morn,
50 How sweet with her through lonely fields to stray!
51 Her charms the loveliest landskip shall adorn,
52 And add new glories to the rising day.
53 With her, all Nature shines in heighten'd bloom;
54 The silver stream in sweeter music flows;
55 Odours more rich the fanning gales perfume;
56 And deeper tinctures paint the spreading rose.
57 With her, the shades of night their horrors lose,
58 Its deepest silence charms if she be by;
59 Her voice the music of the dawn renews,
60 Its lambent radiance sparkles in her eye.
61 How sweet, with her, in Wisdom's calm recess,
62 To brighten soft desire with wit refin'd!
63 Kind Nature's laws with sacred Ashley trace,
64 And view the fairest features of the mind!
65 Or borne on Milton's flight, as heaven sublime,
66 View its full blaze in open prospect glow;
67 Bless the first pair in Eden's happy clime,
68 Or drop the human tear for endless woe.
69 And when, in virtue, and in peace grown old,
70 No arts the languid lamp of life restore;
71 Her let me grasp with hands convuls'd and cold,
72 Till every nerve relax'd can hold no more.
73 Long, long on her my dying eyes suspend,
74 Till the last beam shall vibrate on my sight;
75 Then soar where only greater joys attend,
76 And bear her image to eternal light.
77 Fond man, ah! whither would thy fancy rove?
78 'Tis thine to languish in unpitied smart;
79 'Tis thine, alas! eternal scorn to prove,
80 Nor feel one gleam of comfort warm thy heart.
81 But, if my fair this cruel law impose,
82 Pleas'd, to her will I all my soul resign;
83 To walk beneath the burden of my woes,
84 Or sink in death, nor at my fate repine.
85 Yet when, with woes unmingled and sincere,
86 To Earth's cold womb in silence I descend;
87 Let her, to grace my obsequies, appear,
88 And with the weeping throng her sorrows blend.
89 Ah! no, be all her hours with pleasure crown'd,
90 And all her soul from every anguish free:
91 Should my sad fate that gentle bosom wound,
92 The joys of heaven would be no joys to me.