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SHEPHERD, if near thy artless breast
The God of fond desires repair; Implore him for a gentle guest,
Implore him with unwearied prayer.
Should beauty's soul-enchanting smile,
Love-kindling looks, and features gay, Should these thy wandering eye beguile,
And steal thy wareless heart away;
That heart shall soon with sorrow swell,
And soon the erring eye deplore, If in the beauteous bosom dwell
No gentle virtue's genial store.
Far from his hive one summer-day
A young and yet unpractised bee, Borne on his tender wings away,
Went forth the flowery world to see.
The morn, the noon, in play he passed,
But when the shades of evening came, No parent brought the due repast,
And faintness seized his little frame.
By nature urged, by instinct led,
The bosom of a flower he sought, Where streams mourned round a mossy bed,
And violets all the bank enwrought.
Of kindred race, but brighter dies,
On that fair bank a Pansy grew, That borrowed from indulgent skies
A velvet shade and purple hue.
The tints that streamed with glossy gold,
The velvet shade, the purple hue, The stranger wondered to behold,
And to its beauteous bosom flew.
Not fonder haste the lover speeds,
At evening's fall, his fair to meet, When o'er the hardly-bending meads
He springs on more than mortal feet.
Nor glows his eye with brighter glee,
When stealing near her orient breast, Than felt the fond enamoured bee,
When first the golden bloom he prest.
Ah! pity much his youth untried,
His heart in beauty's magic spell! So never passion thee betide,
But where the genial virtues dwell.
In vain he seeks those virtues there;
No soul-sustaining charms abound: No honeyed sweetness to repair
The languid waste of life is found.
An aged bee, whose labours led
Thro' those fair springs, and meads of gold, His feeble wing, his drooping head
Beheld, and pitied to behold.