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WRITTEN IN AUTUMN.
Now mute and naked, cheerful Toil retires;
And darts more faint his horizontal fires.
And bare their foreheads to the wintry blast. To those who riot in the mad career
Of wealth and luxury and idleness, (tear Whose souls ne'er felt, whose eyes ne'er shed a
For worth forsaken, or for pale distress, No moral charm these pensive scenes impart;
But they of softer mould, to nature true, Now own a kindly influence on the beart,
And love even fields and groves of sadder hue. These teach that mortal bliss must swiftly die,
And man return to night's unending shade; That some on sorrow's dreary couch must lie,
And wait for peace a pitying brother's aid ; That, while through fortune's path we jocund tend,
'Tis ours each headlong passion to restrain, A heart too frail from vanity defend,
And serious think on those who suffer pain. These too with tender thoughts awhile may charm,
And wake the memory of departed hours, That, mid the wilds of life, beset with harm
And pain and sorrow, smile like summer flowers; VOL. IV.
Endear'd, perhaps, by those whose looks we loved,
Whose gentle voice was music to our ears, Now far away by fates unkind removed,
Or gone where love is vain, and vain our tears. These too may speak of early friendship flown,
As through life's ever changing paths we go, Of blending hearts, estranged and careless grown,
And beaming looks that now no longer glow. Spring shall return, and these forsaken glades
And faded hills and woods of foliage pale Again shall bloom, again the forest shades Will charm, and birds the dew-eyed morning
hail; But ne'er shall youth nor youth's delights return,
Nor youth's warm sentiments that love create, Bidding with stronger, purer flames to burn;
Nor those we mourn escape the bonds of fate,
ELEGIAC EPISTLE TO A FRIEND *.
FRIEND of my youth, shedd'st thou the pitying
tear O'er the sad relics of my happier days? Of nature tender, as of soul sincere,
Pour'st thou for me the melancholy lays ? Oh! truly said !-the distant landscape bright,
Whose vivid colours glitter'd on the eye, Is faded now, and sunk in shades of night, As on some chilly eve the closing flowerets die.
* Written under a dejection of spirits.
Yet had I hoped, when first, in happier times,
I trod the magic paths where Fancy led, The Muse to foster in more friendly climes,
Where never Misery rear'd its hated head. How vain the thought! hope after hope expires !
Friend after friend, joy after joy is lost; My dearest wishes feed the funeral fires,
And life is purchased at too dear a cost. Yet could my heart the selfish comfort know,
That not alone I murmur and complain; Well might I find companions in my woe,
All born to grief, the family of Pain! Full well I know in life's uncertain road
The thorns of misery are profusely sown; Full well I know, in this low vile abode,
Beneath the chastening rod what numbers groan. Born to a happier state, how many pine
Beneath the’oppressor's power, or feel the smart Of bitter want, or foreign evils join
To the sad symptoms of a broken heart! How many, fated from their birth to view
Misfortunes growing with their ripening years, The same sad track through various scenes
pursue, Still journeying onward through a vale of tears. To them, alas! what boots the light of heaven, While still new miseries mark their destined
way, Whether to their unhappy lot be given
Death's long sad night, or life's short busy day!
Me not such themes delight:-1 more rejoice
When chance some happier, better change I see ; Though no such change await my luckless choice,
And mountains rise between my hopes and me. For why should he who roves the dreary waste
Still joy on every side to view the gloom? Or, when upon the couch of sickness placed, Well pleased survey a hapless neighbour's
tomb? If e'er a gleam of comfort glads my soul,
If e'er my brow to wonted smiles unbends, 'Tis when the fleeting minutes, as they roll,
Can add one gleam of pleasure to my friends. Even in these shades, the last retreat of grief,
Some transient blessings will that thought beTo Melancholy's self yield some relief, [stow;
And ease the breast surcharged with mortal
Long has my bark, in rudest tempest toss'd,
Buffeted seas, and stemm'd life's hostile wave; Suffice it now, in all my wishes cross'd,
To seek a peaceful harbour in the grave. And when that hour shall come (as come it must,
Ere many moons their waning horns increase), When this frail frame shall mix with kindred dust,
And all its fond pursuits and troubles cease; When those black gates that ever open stand,
Receive me on the irremeable shore,
And the dull jest repeated charms no more;
Then may my friend weep o'er the funeral hearse,
Then may his presence gild the awful gloom, And his last tribute be some mournful verse,
To mark the spot that holds my silent tomb. This—and no more :—the rest let Heaven pro
To which, resign'd, I trust my weal or woe, Assured, howe'er its justice shall decide, To find nought worse than I have left below.
TO A WITHERED LEAF,
WHICH FLEW INTO THE BOSOM OF THE AUTHOR.
PALE, wither'd wanderer, seek not here
A refuge from the boisterous sky;
Than the rude blighting breeze you fly.
When storms assail the barren breast;
In bosoms where the heart has rest;
Where silent sorrows buried lie;
Or what, alas ! to hope have I ?
In yonder field the village dead,
Who all their mortal tears have shed.