« AnteriorContinuar »
TO LADY AUSTEN.
Dear ANNA-between friend and friend, Prose answers every common end; Serves, in a plain and homely way, To express the occurrence of the day; Our health, the weather, and the news; What walks we take, what books we chuse ; And all the floating thoughts we find Upon the surface of the mind.
But when a poet takes the pen, Far more alive than other men, He feels a gentle tingling come Down to his finger and his thumb, Derived from nature's noblest part, The centre of a glowing heart: And this is what the World, who knows No flights above the pitch of prose, His more sublime vagaries slighting, Denominates an itch for writing. No wonder I, who scribble rhyme To catch the triflers of the time, And tell them truths divine and clear, Which, couch'd in prose, they will not hear; Who labour hard to allure and draw The loiterers I never saw, Should feel that itching, and that tingling, With all my purpose intermingling,
To your intrinsic merit true,
Mysterious are His ways, whose power
* An obscure part of Olney, adjoining to the residence of Cowper, which faced tbe market-place.
# Lady Austen's residence in France.
But day by day, and year by year, Will make the dark enigma clear ; And furnish us, perhaps, at last, Like other scenes already past, With proof, that we and our affairs Are part of a Jehovah's cares: For God unfolds, by slow degrees, The purport of his deep decrees; Sheds every hour a clearer light In aid of our defective sight; And spreads, at length, before the soul, A beautiful and perfect whole, Which busy man's inventive brain Toils to anticipate in vain.
Say, Anna, had you never known The beauties of a rose full blown, Could you, though luminous your eye, By looking on the bud, descry, Or guess, with a prophetic power, The future splendour of the flower? Just so the Omnipotent, who turns The system of a world's concerns, From mere minutiæ can educe Events of most important use; And bid a dawning sky display The blaze of a meridian day. The works of man, tend, one and all, As needs they must, from great to small; And vanity absorbs at length The monuments of human strength.
But who can tell how vast the plan
Not that I deem, or mean to call
MRS. MONTAGU'S FEATHER-HANGINGS.
The Birds put off their every hue,
The Peacock sends his heavenly dyes,
To the same patroness resort,