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THE AUTUMNAL FLOWER.
WRITTEN IN THE ISLAND OF MALTA.
AH why, when all the scene around
Has told approaching Winter nigh, When dark November's gloom has frown'd
And sadden'd all the sickly sky;
Ah why, soft flow'ret, dost thou dare
Upon this bleak ascent to bloom? Thou com'st amid the dying year
To waste untimely thy perfume.
Thou should'st have hail'd the vernal tide,
When first the green bud cloth'd the plain, Or sought the breezy valley's side
When Summer held his golden reign.
Then many a morning's sunny sheen
Had wak'd thee with soft magic spells,
many a dewy eve had seen
Soft fostering gales had made their care
To chase each nipping frost away, And murmuring wild bees linger'd near
Thy odours all the joyful day.
But summer's golden reign is o'er,
And genial spring long since has flown, The wild bees murmur here no more,
And every tepid gale is gone.
Already o'er the sea-girt hill
The blasts that lead the tempest blow; And lo! the frighten'd billows swell,
And whiten all the shore below.
Soft flower, thy fate the Wanderer mourns,
Who o'er these rocky summits strays, While eve with chilling damps returns
And dims the sun's departing rays.
Poor flower! before those rays once more
Shall kindle up the tardy day, Thy life, thy fragrance shall be o'er,
Thy simple beauties die away.
No sunny morn shall call thee forth,
Nor evening smile on thy repose; For dark and cold the coming North
Bids all thy shpinking flow'rets close.
Só fades each hope, so fades each joy
That sanguine youth hath cherish'd long; That with gay thoughts the mind employ
And prompt the poet's glowing song!
For disappointment rules the day,
And straight the fond delusions flee, And shed their bloom, and fade away,
And shrink, and die, sweet flower! like thee.
Then die!-upon thy hapless state
The Wanderer shall bestow a tear, And musing on the flow'ret's fate,
Forget awhile each other care.
“No, stranger!-thy complaint forbear!"
Methinks a gentle voice replies. (Softly it steals upon mine ear, ,
And from thy petals seems to rise.)
« Mourn not the flow'ret's fate; for here
“ No nipping frosts the winter knows: " No death of nature blots the
year, “ Nor glittering ice, nor drifting snows.
“No-in this favour'd clime his reign
young herb ventures forth again, “And life inspires the teeming soil.
“ Behold the ripening orange swell
“In golden contour to the view; “ The vi'let lurks in yonder dell,
“And drinks unharm'd the morning dew.
" What though with mirk and low'ring clouds,
“ That all the morning sky deform, “ Pale eve her waning light enshrouds,
“ And chilly gales portend the storm;
“Those threatening gales no winter bear;
“ Those clouds contain no icy store: “ With blush as sweet, and form as fair
“ The morning rises as before.
" I see where all thy error lies:
“ Some foreign region gave thee birth; 56. Some clime where half the
denies “ Its wonted vigour to the earth.
“ Still on that clime thou keep'st thine eye,
“ Still bring'st its distant prospects near, " And think’st (forgot the change of sky)
" To find thine own November here."
True! gentle monitor; aright
Thou hast my error's cause divin'd; The spot where first I hail'd the light
Is hence by many a league disjoin'd.
Full oft I turn the mental eye
To trace each well-known scene again: Full oft by fancy's aid descry
Each shady grove and grassy plain.
Across the ocean borne afar,
To every fond connexion lost, While pallid pestilence and war
Spread horror round my native coast,
My mind with boding gloom opprest
To view those shores unlicens'd roves, And in those musings seeks for rest;
For memory lingers where she loves,
'Tis hence those fond ideas spring
That bring my soul into my eyes; And now that thou hast touch'd the string,
I feel them in my bosom rise.
In vain the radiant step of Spring
Awakes the year ere autumn close; No vernal joys now spread the wing:-
No-give me to my native snows!
To these I go.-Farewel, sweet flower!
Thou rocky, sea-girt isle, farewel! Where hostile strangers* strive for power,
And fear and superstition dwell.
Yon vessel in the bay below
To-morrow bears me o'er the foam; And some returning morn shall show
A land of freedom and a home.
The siege of Malta was at that time carrying on