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SONNET TO WILLIAM HAYLEY, ESQ.

1793.

Dear architect of fine Chateaux in air,

Worthier to stand for ever if they could,

Than any built of stone, or yet of wood,
For back of royal elephant to bear!
O for permission from the skies to share,

Much to my own, though little to thy good,

With thee, (not subject to the jealous mood!) A partnership of literary ware! But I am bankrupt now; and doom'd henceforth

To drudge, in descant dry, on others' lays; Bards, I acknowledge, of unequallid worth!

But what is commentator's happiest praise? That he has furnish'd lights for other eyes, Which they, who need them, use, and then despise.

SONNET TO DR. AUSTIN.

1792.

Austin! accept a grateful verse from me,
The poet's treasure, no inglorious fee.
Loved by the Muses, thy ingenuous mind
Pleasing requital in my verse may find;
Verse oft has dash'd the scythe of Time aside,
Immortalizing names which else had died.

And oh! could I command the glittering wealth
With which sick kings are glad to purchase health ;
Yet, if extensive fame, and sure to live,
Were in the power of verse like mine to give,
I would not recompense his art with less,
Who, giving Mary health, heals my distress.

Friend of my friend! * I love thee, though unknown, And boldly call thee, being his, my own.

SONNET TO GEORGE ROMNEY, ESQ.

On his Picture of me in Crayons, drawn at Eartham, in

the 61st Year of my Age, in the Months of August and September

1792.

Romney, expert infallibly to trace

On chart or canvas, not the form alone

And semblance, but, however faintly shown, The mind's impression too on every face

With strokes that time ought never to erase

Thou hast so pencilld mine, that though I own

The subject worthless, I have never known The artist shining with superior grace.

* Hayley.

But this I mark—that symptoms none of woe

In thy incomparable work appear. Well-I am satisfied it should be so,

Since, on maturer thought, the cause is clear; For in my looks what sorrow couldst thou see When I was Hayley's guest, and sat to Thee?

SONNET TO MRS. UNWIN.

1793.

MARY! I want a lyre with other strings, [drew,

Such aid from Heaven as some have feign'd they

An eloquence scarce given to mortals, new And undebased by praise of meaner things, That ere through age or wo I shed my wings,

I may record thy worth with honour due,

In verse as musical as thou art true, And that immortalizes whom it sings.

But thou hast little need. There is a book

By seraphs writ with beams of heavenly light, On which the eyes of God not rarely look,

A chronicle of actions just and bright;

There all thy deeds, my faithful Mary, shine,
And, since thou own'st that praise, I spare thee mine.

TO MARY.

AUTUMN OF 1793.

The twentieth year is well nigh past,
Since first our sky was overcast,
Ah would that this might be the last !

My Mary!
Thy spirits have a fainter flow,
I see thee daily weaker grow-
'Twas my distress that brought thee low,

My Mary! Thy needles, once a shining store, For my sake restless heretofore, Now rust disused, and shine no more,

My Mary! For though thou gladly wouldst fulfil The same kind office for me still, Thy sight now seconds yot thy will,

My Mary! But well thou play’dst the housewife's part, And all thy threads with magic art Have wound themselves about this heart,

My Mary! Thy indistinct expressions seem Like language utter'd in a dream; Yet me they charm, whate'er the theme,

My Mary!

Thy silver locks, once auburn bright,
Are still more lovely in my sight
Than golden beams of orient light,

My Mary!

For could I view nor them nor thee,
What sight worth seeing could I sce?
The sun would rise in vain for me,

My Mary!

Partakers of thy sad decline,
Thy hands their little force resign;
Yet gently press'd, press gently mine,

My Mary!

Such feebleness of limbs thou provest,
That now at every step thou movest
Upheld by two, yet still thou lovest,

My Mary!
And still to love, though press'd with ill,
In wintry age to feel no chill,
With me is to be lovely still,

My Mary! But ah! by constant heed I know, How oft the sadness that I show, Transforms thy smiles to looks of woe,

My Mary! And should my future lot be cast With much resemblance of the past, Thy worn-out heart will break at last,

My Mary!

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