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ANSWER TO THE FOREGOING ELEGY.
And darest thou then, insulting youth, demand
A second spoil from love's impoverish'd store? Shall strains like thine a second kiss command ?
Thankless for one, because I gave no more! One lamp irradiates all yon starry heaven,
One polar star directs the pilot's way; Yet what bold wretch complains no more were
given, Or doubts the blessing of each friendly ray? One timorous kiss, which multitudes might bode,
At once thy sun and guiding star had proved, If while thy lips beneath its pressure glow'd,
And thy tongue flatter'd, thou hadst truly loved. The flame which burns upon the virgin cheek,
The rising sigh, half-utter'd, half-suppress' To him who fondly loves, will more than speak What wavering thoughts divide the impassion'd
breast. Such soft confusion could the Moor disarm,
And his rough heart like Desdemona's move; But soon her easy weakness broke the charm,
And ere her life she lost she lost his love. No—if I hate thee, wherefore should I press
A treacherous contract with love's favourite seal ? And if I wish thy future hours to bless,
Ah! why too soon that anxious care reveal ?
A ready conquest oft the victor scorns ;
His laurels fade whose foe ere battle yields : No shout attends the warrior who returns
To claim the palm of uncontested fields. But let thy soul each lawless wish disown
While yet my hate or love is undeclared
Thou'lt think Eliza but a poor reward.
My faithful bosom forms but one design :
And learn to keep thee ere I make thee mine.
WHAT scenes of bliss my raptured fancy framed
In some lone spot with Peace and thee retired ! Though reason then my sanguine fondness blamed,
I still believed what flattering Love inspired. But now my wrongs have taught my humbled mind
To dangerous bliss no longer to pretend; In books a calm but fix'd content to find ;
Safe joys! that on ourselves alone depend. With them the gentle moments I beguile
In learned ease and elegant delight, Compare the beauties of each different style,
Each various ray of wit's diffusive light. Now mark the strength of Milton's sacred lines,
Sense raised by genius, fancy ruled by art, Where all the glory of the Godhead shines,
And earliest innooence enchants the heart.
Now, fired by Pope and Virtue, leave the age
In low pursuit of self-undoing wrong;
Whose blameless life still answers to his song. If time and books my lingering pain can heal,
And Reason fix its empire o'er my heart; My patriot breast a noble warmth shall feel,
And glow with love, where weakness has no part. Thy heart, O Lyttelton ! shall be my guide;
Its fires shall warm me and its worth improve: Thy heart! above all envy and all pride,
Firm as man's sense, and soft as woman's love. And you, O West! with her your partner dear,
Whom social mirth and useful sense commend, With Learning's feast my drooping mind shall
cheer, Glad to escape from love to such a friend, But why so long my weaker heart deceive?
Ah! still I love in pride and reason's spite: No books, alas! my painful thoughts relieve, And, while I threat, this Elegy I write.
IN THE MANNER OF OVID.
O SAY, thou dear possessor of my breast!
I scorn the beauties common eyes adore;
And could I speak with eloquence and ease,
And now (for more I never must pretend) Hear me not as thy lover, but thy friend: Thousands will fain thy little heart ensnare, For, without danger, none like thee are fair; But wisely choose who best deserves thy flame, So shall the choice itself become thy fame; Nor yet despise, though void of winning art, The plain and honest courtship of the heart: The skilful tongue in love's persuasive lore, Though less it feels, will please and flatter more,
And, meanly learned in that guilty trade,
BENEATH an aged oak's embowering shade, Whose spreading arms with gray moss fringed
were, Around whose trunk the clasping ivy stray'd,
A lovelorn youth oft pensive would repair. Fast by, a Naiad taught her stream to glide,
Which through the dale a winding channel wore; The silver willow deck'd its verdant side,
The whispering sedges waved along the shore. Here oft when Morn peep'd o'er the dusky hill,
Here oft when Eve bedew'd the misty vale, Careless he laid him all beside the rill,
And pour'd in strains like these his artless tale. Ah! would he say—and then a sigh would heave:
Ah, Cynthia ! sweeter than the breath of morn, Soft as the gentle breeze that fans at eve,
Of thee bereft how shall I live forlorn?