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Now is the time for those who wisdom love,
Who love to walk in Virtue's flow'ry road,
Along the lovely paths of spring to rove,
And follow Nature up to Nature's God.
Thus Zoroaster studied Nature's laws;
Thus Socrates, the wisest of mankind;
Thus heav'n-taught Plato, trac'd th' Almighty cause, And left the wond'ring multitude behind.
Thus Ashley gather'd academic bays ;
Thus gentle Thomson, as the seasons roll, Taught them to sing the great Creator's praise, And bear their poet's name from pole to pole.
Thus have I walk'd along the dewy lawn ;
My frequent foot the blooming wild hath worn;
Before the lark I've sung the beauteous dawn,
And gather'd health from all the gales of morn.
And, ev'n when Winter chill'd the aged year,
I wander'd lonely o'er the hoary plain:
Tho' frosty Boreas warn'd me to forbear,
Boreas, with all his tempests, warn'd in vain.
Then, sleep my nights, and quiet bless'd my days;
I fear'd no loss, my MIND was all my store;
No anxious wishes e'er disturb'd my ease;
Heav'n gave content and health-I ask'd no more.
Now Spring returns: but not to me returns
The vernal joy my better years have known;
Dim in my breast life's dying taper burns,
And all the joys of life with health are flown.
Starting and shiv'ring in th' inconstant wind,
Meagre and pale, the ghost of what I was,
Beneath some blasted tree I lie reclin'd,
And count the silent moments as they pass:
The winged moments, whose unstaying speed
No art can stop, or in their course arrest ;
Whose flight shall shortly count me with the dead,
And lay me down in peace with them that rest.
Oft morning-dreams presage approaching fate;
And morning-dreams, as poets tell, are true.
Led by pale ghosts, I enter Death's dark gate,
And bid the realms of light and life adieu.
I hear the helpless wail, the shriek of woe;
I see the muddy wave, the dreary shore,
The sluggish streams that slowly creep below,
Which mortals visit, and return no more.
Farewell, ye blooming fields! ye cheerful plains!
Enough for me the church-yard's lonely mound,
Where melancholy with still silence reigns,
And the rank grass waves o'er the cheerless
There let me wander at the shut of eve,
When sleep sits dewy on the lab'rers eyes; The world and all its busy follies leave,
And talk with Wisdom where my Daphnis lies.
There let me sleep forgotten in the clay,
When death shall shut these weary aching eyes;
Rest in the hopes of an eternal day,
Till the long night's gone, and the last morn arise. MICHAEL BRUCE'S POEMS.
A PICTURE OF MENTAL DISEASE.
Look where he comes in this embow'r'd alcove
Stand close conceal'd, and see a statue move;
Lips busy, and eyes fix'd, foot falling slow,
Arms hanging idly down, hands clasp❜d below,
Interpret to the marking eye distress,
Such as its symptoms can alone express.
That tongue is silent now; that silent tongue
Could argue once, could jest or join the song,
Could give advice, could censure or commend,
Or charm the sorrows of a drooping friend.
Renounc'd alike its office and its sport,
Its brisker and its graver strains fall short;
Both fail beneath a fever's secret sway,
And like a summer brook are past away.
This is a sight for Pity to peruse,
Till she resemble faintly what she views,
Till Sympathy contract a kindred pain,
Pierc'd with the woes that she laments in vain.
This, of all maladies that man infest,
Claims most compassion, and receives the least:
Job felt it, when he groan'd beneath the rod
And the barb'd arrows of a frowning God;
And such emollients as his friends could spare,
Friends such as his for modern Jobs prepare.
Blest, rather curst, with hearts that never feel,
Kept snug in caskets of close-hammer'd steel,
With mouths made only to grin wide and eat,
And minds, that deem derided pain a treat,
With limbs of British oak, and nerves of wire,
And wit that puppet-prompters might inspire,
Their sov'reign nostrum is a clumsy joke
enforc'd with God's severest stroke.
But with a soul, that ever felt the sting
Of sorrow, sorrow is a sacred thing:
Not to molest, or irritate, or raise
A laugh at his expense, is slender praise;
He that has not usurp❜d the name of man,
Does all, and deems too little all, he can,
T'assuage the throbbings of the fester'd part,
And staunch the bleedings of a broken heart.
'Tis not, as heads that never ache suppose,
Forg❜ry of fancy, and a dream of woes;
Man is a harp, whose chords elude the sight,
Each yielding harmony dispos'd aright;
The screws revers'd (a task which, if he please,
God in a moment executes with ease),
Ten thousand thousand strings at once go loose,
Lost, till he tune them, all their pow'r and use.
Then neither heathy wilds, nor scenes as fair
As ever recompens'd the peasant's care,
Nor soft declivities with tufted hills,
Nor view of waters turning busy mills,
Parks in which Art preceptress Nature weds,
Nor gardens interspers'd with flow'ry beds,
Nor gales, that catch the scent of blooming groves,
And waft it to the mourner as he roves,
Can call up life into his faded eye,
That passes all he sees unheeded by;