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IMPROMPTU.—ON A SMALL VOLUME OF POEMS BEING PLACED
IN THE LIBRARY OF LADY BLESSINGTON.
"What' earthly' was before, is now divine;'
Minerva's priestess placed it in her shrine."
Exeter, September 16, 1842.
Lines addressed to Lady Blessington (no name or date).
"Some dear friend a present has made me,
Of an instrument armed like a dart;
But the warning of witches forbad me
To use it secundum the art.
“It may be by some fairy designed,
A blow aimed through my lips at my heart ;
Ah! my heart has already resigned !
And my lips claimed their share of the smart!"
Enclosed in a letter of Dr. W. Beattie.
THE CLOSING YEAR.
“Cosi trapassa-a'l trapassar' d’un giorno."
“Could time contract the heart,
As time contracts our years ;
I'd weep to see my days depart,
In undissembled tears.
“If time could steel the breast
To human weal or woe
Then would I long to be at rest,
“ But no! while I can cheer
One sad or stricken heart,
Unreckoned, let my days appear-
Unmourned, let them depart !
“ Time-reckoned by our deeds,
And not by length of days,
Is often blessed, where it speeds,
Unbless'd where it delays !
“But oh! when deaf to human sighs—
When dead to human woes-
Then drop the curtain !--close my eyes,
And leave me to repose !"
December, 30, 1840.
Such, Lady! is the creed
Thy gifted pen has taught;
And well the daily-practised deed
Gives body to the thought!
“Thy mind's an intellectual fount,
Where Genius plumes his wing ;
And fancy's flowers, like Eden's bowers,
Enjoy perennial spring !" Lines of Dr. Wm. Beattie to the Countess of Blessington, on perusing “ The Book of Beauty,” for 1839.
“As Dian, ʼmid yon isles of light,
With starry train illumes the region ;
So, Lady! here, with eyes as bright,
Thou lead'st abroad thy starry legion.
All marshalled in thy brilliant Book,
What fascinations fix the reader !
Ah! when had stars so bright a look ?
Or when had Beauty such a leader ?
And, gazing on that starry train,
In each, methinks, I see the token
Of conquests won-of suitors slain-
Of heads they've turned, and hearts they've broken.
Lady! thy task is nobly done!
Who else could have performed the duty ?
Where find, unless in Blessington,
The synonyme for wit and beauty ?”
Nov. 7th, 1838.
Lines " A L'Arabe,” to Lady Blessington, by an Eastern Traveller.
“If e'er the price of tinder rise,
To smoking as I'm given,
I'll light my pipe at your bright eyes,
And steal my fire from heaven.
“In Paynim climes, when forced to sip
Cold water thro' devotion,
I'd think the cup had touched your lip,
To nectarize my potion.
“If dread simoom swept o'er my tent,
I'd call back scenes enchanting :
On blissful hours in Naples spent,
And your abode descanting.
“In dread Eclipse like that which threw
Half Naples into terror,
'Twould seem to me perhaps that you
Had breathed upon your mirror.
“In Antres vast and desert wild,
With jackals screaming round me,
I'd dream of you when toil and fright
• In slumber's chain had bound me.'
“I'd fancy beauty's Queen, arrayed
In smiles, was watching o'er me,
And waking, find the picture laid
Of Lady B-
From Mrs. P-s to Lady Blessington, St. James's Square. “In this frigid season of stupified spleen,
October, when nothing goes down but the Queen,
(Tho’ lately her Majesty seems to get up,
So oft is the slip 'twixt the lip and the cup ;)
Methinks it were proper, of one of my trips
By sea, in the steam vessel call'd the Eclipse,
I with pen, ink, and paper, and table and chair,
who lives in the square.
“Oh say what philosophers found out in steam,
That wonderful property stemming a stream:
It could not be Locke, for a lock dams the splasher ;
It could not be Bacon, that makes sailors rasher.
It is not Sir Isaac the vessel that surges,
Tho' certainly Eyes Ache when looking on surges :
Des cartes sounds more like it : for Gallican art
Moves over the waves by assistance Des-cartes :
No! now I remember : the man who by toil
Of noddle, and midnight consumption of oil,
First hit upon steam, was Philosopher Boyle.
“ This learned discussion has made me to forget,
Proceed we to sing of our voyage from Margate.
As the clock sounded eight, I myself and my maiden,
(Having coffee'd at Broadstairs) with band-boxes laden,
Both spurning the pier, and the coast out of reach of,
(If spurning a Peer should be privilege breach of,
Keep this to yourself, and if sworn on the Bible,
Lest the Lords, in a rage, should commit for the libel) –
Embark'd on the main, which erst tranquil and steady,
Soon heav’d, like the tragical chest of Macready.
One Mr. Mac Donald on board also came,
(Related I'm told to the Lord of that name,)
And Smith, christened James, of the whole of the crew,
These twain were the only two people I knew.
I straight introduced both these voyagers with
* Mr. Smith, Mr. Mac: Mr. Mac, Mr. Smith ;' * The Queen Caroline. This poetical Epistle is not dated; but as Lady Blessington was not living in St. James's Square after 1822, not previous to 1819, the epistle must have been written in the interval.
We then talk'd a trio, harmonious together,
Of Naples, and Spain, and the Queen and the weather,
Of Margate, its windmills, its balls, and of raffles,
Of Misses in curls, and of donkies in snaffles :
In gay sprightly pace, tho’I sing it in dull verse,
Then pass'd the two steeples they call the Reculvers,
When finding Dan Phæbus preparing to unshine,
We entered the cabin and ordered a luncheon.
But ere we went down, I forgot to inform
Your Ladyship, Jupiter pour'd down a storm.
Smith raised his umbrella, my kid leather shoes,
Unused to such scenes, were beginning to ooze,
When a German, who look'd at me, all in a float,
Most civilly lent me his wrapping great coat.
Thus muffled, while Iris poured rain from her window,
I looked like a Sylph keeping watch on Belinda.
I laugh'd at the tempest this tunic of drab in,
But laid it aside when we enter'd the cabin.
There hanging my straw bonnet up on a peg,
Sitting down on a stool with a rickety leg,
And doffing my shawl to sit down to my meal,
I flatter myself I look'd rather genteel.
Smith sat with each leg on the side of a column,
Which check'd him in eating and made him look solemn.
So, hastily quitting our seats when we all had
Sufficient cold lamb, beef, potatoes, and salad,
I went upon deck, and when seated upon it,
I put on again my drab wrapper and bonnet.
A woman and daughter had borrowed the streamer
That floats, red and white, from the stern of the steamer :
This form’d a deck-tent, and from Jupiter's thunder it
Guarded us safely: 'twas nothing to wonder at,
For non mi ricordo' that any slept under it!
When qualms (not of conscience) seized one of the crew,
To a berth near the chimney I quickly withdrew,
And beat with my right foot the devil's tattoo.
Of one of our minstrels, an Irish Pandaan,
I asked if that ocean was call’d the Ægean;