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What was thy fate? A double fate to me;
Portent and pain, a menace and a blow,
Like the black raven hovering o'er my peace,
Not less a bird of omen than of prey.
It callid Narcissa long before her hour;
It call'd her tender soul, by break of bliss,
From the first blossom, from the buds of joy;
Those few our noxious fate unblasted leaves
In this inclement clime of human life.
Sweet harmonist! and beautiful as sweet!
And young as beautiful ! and soft as young!
And gay as soft! and innocent as gay!
And happy (if aught happy here) as good!
For fortune fond had built her nest on high.
Like birds quite exquisite of note and plume,
Transfix'd by fate (who loves a lofty mark,)
How from the summit of the grove she fell,
And left it unharmonious." All its charms
Extinguish'd in the wonders of her song !
still vibrates in
Still melting there, and with voluptuous pain
(O to forget her!) thrilling through my heart !
Song, beauty, youth, love, virtue, joy; this group Of bright ideas, flowers of paradise, As yet unforfeit! in one blaze we bind, Kneel and present it to the skies, as all
of heaven: and these were all her own. And she was mine; and I was-was most blest Gay title of the deepest misery! As bodies grow more ponderous robb’d of life, Good lost weighs more in grief than gain'd in joy, Like blossom’d trees o’erturn'd by vernal storm, Lovely in death the beauteous ruin lay; And if in death still lovely, lovelier there, Far lovelier! pity swells the tide of love. And will not the severe excuse a sigh? Scorn the proud man that is asham’d to weep; Our tears indulg'd indeed deserve our shame. Ye that e'er lost an angel, pity me!
Soon as the lustre languish'd in her eye, Dawning a dimmer day on human sight, And on her cheek, the residence of spring, Pale omen sat, and scatter'd fears around On all that saw (and who would cease to gaze That once had seen ?) with haste, parental haste, I flew, I snatch'd her from the rigid north, Her native bed, on which bleak Boreas blew, And bore her nearer to the sun : the sun (As if the sun could envy) check'd his beam, Denied his wonted succour; nor with more Regret beheld her drooping than the bells Of lilies; fairest lilies not so fair !
So man is made; nought ministers delight By what his glowing passions can engage; And glowing passions, bent on aught below,
Must, soon or late, with anguish turn the scale ;
And anguish, after rapture, how severe!
Rapture! Bold man! who tempt'st the wrath divine,
By plucking fruit denied to mortal taste,
While here, presuming on the rights of heaven.
For transport dost thou call on every hour,
Lorenzo ? At thy friend's expense be wise;
Lean not on earth; 'twill pierce thee to the heart;
A broken reed at best, but oft a spear;
On its sharp point peace bleeds, and hope expires.
Turn, hopeless thought! turn from her:—thought
Resenting rallies, and wakes every woe.
Snatch'd ere thy prime! and in thy bridal hour!
And when kind fortune, with thy lover, smild !
And when high flavour'd thy fresh opening joys !
And when blind man pronounc'd thy bliss complete !
And on a foreign shore, where strangers wept !
Strangers to thee; and, more surprising still,
Strangers to kindness, wept: their eyes let fall
Inhuman tears! strange tears ! that trickled down
From marble hearts ! obdurate tenderness !
A tenderness that call’d them more severe;
In spite of nature's soft persuasion steel'd;
While nature melted, superstition rar'd;
That mourn'd the dead, and this denied a grave.
Their sighs incens'd; sighs foreign to the will! Their will the tiger suck’d, outrag'd the storm. For, oh! the curst ungodliness of zeal! While sinful flesh relented, spirit nurst In blind infallibility's embrace,
The sainted spirit petrify'd the breast ;
Denied the charity of dust, to spread
O'er dust! a charity their dogs enjoy.
What could I do? What succour? What resource ?
With pious sacrilege, a grave I stole;
With impious piety, that grave I wrong'd;
Short in my duty; coward in my grief !
More like her murderer, than friend, I crept,
With soft-suspended step, and muffled deep
In midnight darkness, whisper'd my last sigh.
I whisper'd what should echo through their realms;
Nor writ her name, whose tomb should pierce the
Presumptuous fear! How durst I dread her foes,
While nature's loudest dictates I obey'd ?
Pardon necessity, blest shade! of grief
And indignation rival búrsts I pour’d;
Half execration mingled with my prayer;
Kindled at man, while I his God ador'd;
Sore grudg'd the savage land her sacred dust;
Stamp'd the curs’d soil; and with humanity
(Denied Narcissa) wish'd them all a grave.
COMPARISON OF THE SOUL VIEWING THE PROSPECTS
OF IMMORTALITY TO THE PRISONER ENLARGED FROM A DUNGEON.
As when a wretch, from thick, polluted air,
Darkness, and stench, and suffocating damps,
And dungeon horrors, by kind fate, discharg'd,
Climbs some fair eminence, where ether pure
Surrounds him, and Elysian prospects rise,
His heart exults, his spirits cast their load;
As if new-born, he triumphs in the change ;
So joys the soul, when, from inglorious aims,
And sordid sweets, from feculence and froth
Of ties terrestrial, set at large, she mounts
To Reason's region, her own element,
Breathes hope immortal, and affects the skies.
THE DANGER TO VIRTUE OF INFECTION FROM THE
VIRTUE, for ever frail, as fair, below,
Her tender nature suffers in the crowd,
Nor touches on the world, without a stain::.
The world's infectious; few bring back at eve,
Immaculate, the manners of the morn.
Something, we thought, is blotted; we resolv'd,
Is shaken; we renounc'd, returns again.
Each salutation may slide in a sin
Unthought before, or fix a former flaw.
Nor is it strange: light, motion, concourse, noise,
All, scatter us abroad; thought, outward-bound,
Neglectful of our home affairs, flies off
In fume and dissipation, quits her charge,
And leaves the breast unguarded to the foe.