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128 DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT.
And to his servant Israel
He gave their land, therein to dwell ;
For his, etc.
He hath, with a piteous eye,
Beheld us in our misery ;
For his, etc.
And freed us from the slavery
Of the invading enemy;
For his, etc.
All living creatures he doth feed,
And with full hand supplies their need;
For his, etc.
Let us, therefore, warble forth
His mighty majesty and worth ;
For his, etc.
That his mansion hath on high,
Above the reach of mortal eye ;
For his mercies aye endure,
Ever faithful, ever sure.
ON THE DEATH OF A FAIR INFANT
DYING OF A COUGH.
Anno ætatis 17.
O FAIREST flower, no sooner blown but blasted,
Soft silken primrose fading timelessly,
Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst outlasted
Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry;
For he, being amorous on that lovely dye
That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss, But killed, alas ! and then bewailed his fatal bliss.
For, since grim Aquilo, his charioteer,
By boisterous rape the Athenian damsel got,
He thought it touched his deity full near,
If likewise he some fair one wedded not,
Thereby to wipe away the infamous blot
Of long uncoupled bed and childless eld, Which 'mongst the wanton gods a foul reproach was held.
So, mounting up in icy-pearlèd car,
Through middle empire of the freezing air
He wandered long, till thee he spied from far;
There ended was his quest, there ceased his care:
Down he descended from his snow-soft chair,
But, all unwares, with his cold-kind embrace, 20 Unhoused thy virgin soul from her fair biding-place.
Yet art thou not inglorious in thy fate;
For so Apollo, with unweeting hand,
Whilom did slay his dearly-loved mate,
Young Hyacinth, born on Eurotas' strand,
Young Hyacinth, the pride of Spartan land;
But then transformed him to a purple flower : Alack, that so to change thee Winter had no power !
Yet can I not persuade me thou art dead,
Or that thy corse corrupts in earth's dark womb, 30
Or that thy beauties lie in wormy bed,
Hid from the world in a low-delved tomb;
Could Heaven, for pity, thee so strictly doom?
Oh no! for something in thy face did shine
Above mortality, that showed thou wast divine.
Resolve me, then, O Soul most surely blest
(If so it be that thou these plaints dost hear)!
Tell me, bright Spirit, where'er thou hoverest,
Whether above that high first-moving sphere,
Or in the Elysian fields (if such there were), 40
Oh, say me true if thou wert mortal wight,
And why from us so quickly thou didst take thy flight.
Wert thou some star, which from the ruined roof
Of shaked Olympus by mischance didst fall ;
Which careful Jove in nature's true behoof
Took up, and in fit place did reinstall ?
Or did of late Earth's sons besiege the wall
Of sheeny Heaven, and thou some goddess fled Amongst us here below to hide thy nectared head ?
Or wert thou that just maid who once before 50
Forsook the hated earth, oh! tell me sooth,
And camest again to visit us once more ?
Or wert thou [Mercy], that sweet smiling Youth ?
Or that crowned Matron, sage white-robed Truth?
Or any other of that heavenly brood
Let down in cloudy throne to do the world some good?
IX. Or wert thou of the golden-winged host, Who, having clad thyself in human weed, To earth from thy prefixed seat didst post, And after short abode fly back with speed, 60 As if to show what creatures Heaven doth breed ;
Thereby to set the hearts of men on fire To scorn the sordid world, and unto Heaven aspire ?
But, oh! why didst thou not stay here below
To bless us with thy heaven-loved innocence,
To slake his wrath whom sin hath made our foe,
To turn swift-rushing black perdition hence,
Or drive away the slaughtering pestilence,
To stand 'twixt us and our deserved smart ?
But thou canst best perform that office where
Then thou, the mother of so sweet a child,
Her false-imagined loss cease to lament,
And wisely learn to curb thy sorrows wild ;
Think what a present thou to God hast sent,
And render him with patience what he lent:
This if thou do, he will an offspring give
That till the world's last end shall make thy name to
AT A VACATION EXERCISE IN THE COLLEGE, PART LATIN, PART ENGLISH.
Anno ætatis 19. The Latin Speeches ended, the English thus began :HAIL, Native Language, that by sinews weak Didst move my first endeavouring tongue to speak, And mad’st imperfect words with childish trips, Half unpronounced, slide through my infant lips, Driving dumb Silence from the portal door, Where he had mutely sat two years before : Here I salute thee, and thy pardon ask That now I use thee in my latter task ! Small loss it is that thence can come unto thee; I know my tongue but little grace can do thee. 10
132 AT A VACATION EXERCISE.
Thou need'st not be ambitious to be first;
Believe me, I have thither packed the worst :
And, if it happen as I did forecast,
The daintiest dishes shall be served up last.
I pray thee then deny me not thy aid,
For this same small neglect that I have made;
But haste thee straight to do me once a pleasure,
And from thy wardrobe bring thy chiefest treasure,
Not those new-fangled toys, and trimming slight
Which takes our late fantastics with delight; 20
But cull those richest robes and gayest attire,
Which deepest spirits and choicest wits desire.
I have some naked thoughts that rove about,
And loudly knock to have their passage out,
And, weary of their place, do only stay
Till thou hast decked them in thy best array;
That so they may, without suspect or fears,
Fly swiftly to this fair assembly's ears.
Yet I had rather, if I were to choose,
Thy service in some graver subject use,
Such as may make thee search thy coffers round,
Before thou clothe my fancy in fit sound :
Such where the deep transported mind may soar
Above the wheeling poles, and at Heaven's door
Look in, and see each blissful deity
How he before the thunderous throne doth lie,
Listening to what unshorn Apollo sings
To the touch of golden wires, while Hebe brings
Immortal nectar to her kingly sire;
Then, passing through the spheres of watchful fire, 40
And misty regions of wide air next under,
And hills of snow and lofts of pilèd thunder,
May tell at length how green-eyed Neptune raves,
In Heaven's defiance mustering all his waves ;
Then sing of secret things that came to pass
When beldam Nature in her cradle was;