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TO THE REV, WILLIAM BULL.
June 22, 1782.
If reading verse be your delight,
'Tis mine as much, or more, to write ;
But what we would, so weak is man,
Lies oft remote from what we can.
For instance, at this
I feel a wish, by cheerful rhyme,
To soothe my friend, and, had I power,
To cheat him of an anxious hour;
Not meaning, (for, I must confess,
It were but folly to suppress,)
His pleasure or his good alone,
But squinting partly at my own.
But though the sun is flaming high
In the centre of yon arch, the sky,
And he had once (and who but he ?)
The name for setting genius free,
Yet whether poets of past days
Yielded him undeserved praise,
And he by no uncommon lot
Was famed for virtues he had not;
Or whether, which is like enough,
His Highness may have taken huff,
So seldom sought with invocation,
Since it has been the reigning fashion
To disregard his inspiration,
I seem no brighter in my wits,
For all the radiance he emits,
Than if I saw, through midnight vapour,
The glimmering of a farthing taper.
Oh for a succedaneum, then,
To'accelerate a creeping pen!
Oh for a ready succedaneum,
Quod caput, cerebrum, et cranium
Pondere liberet exoso,
Et morbo jam caliginoso !
this oval box well fill'd
With best tobacco, finely millid,
Beats all Anticyra's pretences
To disengage the encumber'd senses.
Oh Nymph of Transatlantic fame,
Where'er thine haunt, whate'er thy name.
Whether reposing on the side
Of Oroonoquo's spacious tide,
Or listening with delight not small
To Niagara's distant fall,
'Tis thine to cherish and to feed
The pungent nose-refreshing weed,
Which, whether pulverized it gain
A speedy passage to the brain,
Or whether, touch'd with fire, it rise
In circling eddies to the skies,
Does thought more quicken and refine
Than all the breath of all the Nine;
Forgive the bard, if bard he be,
Who once too wantonly made free,
To touch with a satiric wipe
That symbol of thy power, the pipe;
So may no blight infest thy plains,
And no unseasonable rains;
And so may smiling peace once more
Visit America's sad shore;
And thou, secure from all alarms,
Of thundering drums, and glittering arms,
Rove unconfined beneath the shade
Thy wide-expanded leaves have made;
So may thy votaries increase,
And fumigation never cease.
May Newton with renew'd delights
Perform thine odoriferous rites,
While clouds of incense half divine
Involve thy disappearing shrine;
And so may smoke-inhaling Bull
Be always filling, never full.
TO MISS STAPLETON, NOW MRS. COURTENAY.
-she is gone—we have metAnd meet perhaps never again ; The sun of that moment is set,
And seems to have risen in vain ; Catharina has fled like a dream,
(So vanishes pleasure, alas !) But has left a regret and esteem
That will not so suddenly pass.
The last evening ramble we made,
Catharina, Maria, and I, Our progress was often delay'd
By the nightingale warbling nigh.
We paused under many a tree,
And much she was charm'd with a tone Less sweet to Maria and me,
Who so lately had witness'd her own.
My numbers that day she had sung,
And gave them a grace so divine,
As only her musical tongue
Could infuse into numbers of mine.
The longer I heard, I esteemid
The work of
more, And e’en to myself never seem'd
So tuneful a poet before.
Though the pleasures of London exceed
In number the days of the year, Catharina, did nothing impede,
Would feel herself happier here; For the close-woven arches of limes
On the banks of our river, I know, Are sweeter to her many times
Than aught that the city can show.
So it is, when the mind is endued
With a well judging taste from above, Then, whether embellish'd or rude,
'Tis nature alone that we love. The achievements of art may amuse,
May even our wonder excite,
But groves, hills, and valleys diffuse
A lasting, a sacred delight.
Since then in the rural recess
Catharina alone can rejoice, May it still be her lot to possess
The scene of her sensible choice! To inhabit a mansion remote
From the clatter of street-pacing steeds, And by Philomel's annual note
To measure the life that she leads. With her book, and her voice, and her lyre,
To wing all her moments at home,
And with scenes that new rapture inspire,
As oft as it suits her to roam,
She will have just the life she prefers,
With little to hope or to fear,
And ours would be pleasant as hers,
Might we view her enjoying it here.
ON HER MARRIAGE TO GEORGE COURTENAY, ESQ.
Believe it or not, as you chuse,
The doctrine is certainly true,
That the future is known to the Muse,
And poets are oracles too.
I did but express a desire,
To see Catharina at home,
At the side of my friend George's fire,
And lo—she is actually come.