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Rose from a seed of tiny size,
That seem'd to promise no such prize ;
A transient visit intervening,
And made almost without a meaning,
(Hardly the effect of inclination,
Much less of pleasing expectation)
Produced a friendship, then begun,
That has cemented us in one;
And placed it in our power to prove,
By long fidelity and love,
That Solomon has wisely spoken ;
66 A threefold cord is not soon broken.”
Close by the threshold of a door nail'd fast
Three kittens sat; each kitten look'd aghast.
I, passing swift and inattentive by,
At the three kittens cast a careless eye;
Not much concern'd to know what they did there;
Not deeming kittens worth a poet's care.
But presently a loud and furious hiss
Caused me to stop, and to exclaim, “ What's this?”
When lo! upon the threshold met my view,
With head erect, and eyes of fiery hue,
A viper, long as Count de Grasse's queue.
Forth from his head his forked tongue he throws,
Darting it full against a kitten's nose ;
Who, having never seen, in field or house,
The like, sat still and silent as a mouse;
Only projecting, with attention due,
Her whisker'd face, she ask'd him, “Who are you?”
On to the hall went I, with pace not slow,
But swift as lightning, for a long Dutch hoe:
With which well arm'd I hasten’d to the spot,
To find the viper, but I found him not.
And, turning up the leaves and shrubs around,
Found only that he was not to be found.
But still the kittens, sitting as before,
Sat watching close the bottom of the door.
“I hope,” said I, “ the villain I would kill
Has slipp'd between the door and the door-sill ;
And if I make dispatch, and follow hard,
No doubt but I shall find him in the yard :"
For long ere now it should have been rehearsed,
'Twas in the garden that I found him first.
E'en there I found him, there the full-grown cat
His head, with velvet paw, did gently pat;
As curious as the kittens erst had been
To learn what this phenomenon might mean.
Filled with heroic ardour at the sight,
And fearing every moment he would bite,
And rob our household of our only cat
That was of age to combat with a rat;
With outstretch'd hoe I slew him at the door,
And taught him NEVER TO COME THERE NO MORE.
WRITTEN IN THE SUMMER OF 1783, AT THE REQUEST OF
LADY AUSTEN, WHO GAVE THE SENTIMENT.
Air—“My fond Shepherds of late."
No longer I follow a sound;
No longer a dream I
O happiness ! not to be found,
Unattainable treasure, adieu !
I have sought thee in splendour and dress,
In the regions of pleasure and taste;
I have sought thee, and seem'd to possess,
But have proved thee a vision at last.
An humble ambition and hope
The voice of true wisdom inspires ; "Tis sufficient, if peace be the scope,
And the summit of all our desires.
Peace may be the lot of the mind
That seeks it in meekness and love ;
But rapture and bliss are confined
To the glorified spirits above.
ALSO WRITTEN AT THE REQUEST OF LADY AUSTEN,
AIR—“The Lass of Pattie's Mill.”
When all within is peace,
How Nature seems to smile!
Delights that never cease
The livelong day beguile.
From morn to dewy eve
hand she showers
Fresh blessings, to deceive
And soothe the silent hours.
It is content of heart
Gives Nature power to please ;
The mind that feels no smart
Enlivens all it sees;
Can make a wintry sky
Seem bright as smiling May,
And evening's closing eye
As peep of early day.
The vast majestic globe,
So beauteously array'd
In Nature's various robe,
With wondrous skill display'd,
Is to a mourner's heart
A dreary wild at best;
It futters to depart,
And longs to be at rest.
VERSES SELECTED FROM AN OCCASIONAL
POEM ENTITLED “VALEDICTION.”
Oh Friendship! cordial of the human breast !
So little felt, so fervently profess'd!
Thy blossoms deck our unsuspecting years ;
The promise of delicious fruit appears :
We hug the hopes of constancy and truth,
Such is the folly of our dreaming youth;
But soon, alas ! detect the rash mistake
That sanguine inexperience loves to make ;
And view with tears the expected harvest lost,
Decay'd by time, or wither'd by a frost.
Whoever undertakes a friend's great part
Should be renew'd in nature, pure in heart,
Prepared for martyrdom, and strong to prove
A thousand ways the force of genuine love.
He may be call'd to give up health and gain,
To exchange content for trouble, ease for pain,
To echo sigh for sigh, and groan for groan,
And wet his cheeks with sorrows not his own.
The heart of man, for such a task too frail,
When most relied on is most sure to fail ;
And, summon'd to partake its fellow's woe,
Starts from its office like a broken bow.
Votaries of business and of pleasure prove
Faithless alike in friendship and in love.