TO MYRTILIS. THE NEW YEAR'S OFFERING.
1 LONG have I look'd my tablets o'er,
2 And find I've much to thank you for,
3 Out-standing debts beyond account;
4 And new — who knows to what amount?
5 Tho' small my wealth, not small my soul,
6 Come then, at once I'll pay the whole.
7 Ye Powers! I'm rich, and will command
8 The host of slaves that round me stand;
9 Come, Indian, quick disclose thy store,
10 And hither bring Peruvian ore;
11 Let yonder negroe pierce the main,
12 The choicest, largest pearl to gain;
13 Let all my slaves their arts combine
14 To make the blushing ruby mine,
15 From eastern thrones the diamonds bear
16 To sparkle at her breast and ear.
17 Swift, Scythian, point th' unerring dart
18 That strikes the Ermine's little heart,
19 And search for choicest furs the globe,
20 To make my MYRTILIS a robe.
21 Ah, no: Yon Indian will not go,
22 No Scythian deigns to bend his bow. [Page 256]
23 No sullen Negroe shoots the flood,
24 How, slaves! — Or am I understood!
25 All, all, my empty power disown,
26 I turn, and find myself alone;
27 'Tis Fancy's vain illusion all,
28 Nor Moor nor Scythian waits my call.
29 Call I command, can I consign?
30 Alas, what earthly thing is mine!
31 Come then, my Muse, companion dear
32 Of poverty, and soul sincere,
33 Come dictate to my grateful mind
34 A gift that may acceptance find;
35 Come, gentle Muse, and with thee bear
36 An offering worthy thee and her;
37 And tho' thy presents be but poor,
38 My MYRTILIS will ask no more.
39 An heart that scorns a shameful thing,
40 With love and verse, is all I bring;
41 Of love and verse the gift receive,
42 'Tis all thy servant has to give.
43 If all whate'er my verse has told,
44 Golconda's gems, and Afric's gold,
45 If all were mine from pole to pole,
46 How large her share who shares my soul?
47 But more than these may Heaven impart;
48 Be thine the treasures of the heart;
49 Be calm, and glad thy future days
50 With Virtue's peace, and Virtue's praise. [Page 257]
51 Let jealous Pride, and sleepless Care,
52 And wasting Grief, and black Despair,
53 And languor chill, and Anguish fell,
54 For ever shun thy grove and cell;
55 There only may the happy train
56 Of Love, and Joy, and Peace, remain:
57 May Plenty, with exhaustless store,
58 Employ thy hand to feed the poor,
59 And ever on thy honour'd head
60 The prayer of Gratitude be shed.
61 A happy mother, may'st thou see
62 Thy smiling virtuous progeny,
63 Whose sportful tricks, and airy play,
64 Fraternal love, and prattle gay,
65 Or wonderous tale, or joyful song,
66 May lure the lingering hours along;
67 Till Death arrive, unselt, unseen,
68 With gentle pace, and placid mien,
69 And waft thee to that happy shore
70 Where wishes can have place no more.