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XXXIV.

TO A LOFTY BEAUTY, FROM HER POOR KINSMAN.

Fair maid, had I not heard thy baby cries,
Nor seen thy girlish, sweet vicissitude,
Thy mazy motions, striving to elude,
Yet wooing still a parent's watchful eyes,
Thy humours, many as the opal's dyes,
And lovely all ;-methinks thy scornful mood,
And bearing high of stately womanhood, -
Thy brow, where Beauty sits to tyrannize
O'er humble love, had made me sadly fear thee;
For never sure was seen a royal bride,
Whose gentleness gave grace to so much pride-
My very thoughts would tremble to be near thee:
But when I see thee at thy father's side,
Old times unqueen thee, and old loves endear thee.

THOUGHTS AND FANCIES.

A TASK AD LIBITUM.

TO A LADY.

shafts of poesy

You bid me write, and yet propose no theme.
Must I then shoot

my
At the vast, void, invulnerable air?
Or lead my Pegasus a steeple-hunting ?
Or issue forth with chiming hue and cry,
With trampling feet of thorough-paced blank verse
And winding horn of long-drawn melody
In chase of butterflies ? Or shall I rather,
In gentler figure, make believe to hang
My careless harp upon a willow tree,
That every gale may prattle with its strings ?
'Tis strange that any bard should lack a theme
In such a world of wonders. Look abroad,
Around you,

and above

you,

and within you:
The stars of heaven (as elder sages told)
Roll on from age to age their lonely way
To their own music. So the humbler spirit
Hears in the daily round of household things
A low sweet melody, inaudible

To the gross sense of worldlings.-Aye, I grant
That earth and sky are cunning instruments;
But who may rouse their sleeping harmony,
And not torment the strings to grinding discord,
Or vex the hearers with the

weary drone
Of half-forgotten lays, like buzzing night-flies,
Thwarting the drowsiness themselves produce ?
All, all is stale : the busy ways of men,
The gorgeous terrors of the steel-clad warrior,
The lover's sighs, the fair one's cruelty,
Or that worst state, when love, a rayless fire,
Is sever'd quite from hope and tenderness,
Or dogg'd by base suspicion, hurries onward,
Scared by its own black shadow.—These are themes
Unmeet for thee, or old, or harsh and strange.
The gentler joys, the calm sequester'd hours
Of wedded life, the babble sweet of babes,
That unknown tongue, which mothers best expound,
Which works such witchery on a parent's heart,
Turning grave manhood into childishness,
Till stoic eyes with foolish rheum o'erflow,
And fluent statesmen lisp again,-for love
Will catch the likeness of the thing beloved, -
These have been sung a thousand times before ;
And should I sing of thee and thy soft brilliance,
Thy tender thoughts, in reckless laughter melting,
Thy beautiful soul, that shapes thine outward form

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