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“Where are my offspring tender!
Where is my widow'd mate? -Thou Guardian Moon! defend her! Ye stars! avert their fate!
O'erwhelm'd with killing anguish,
In iron cage, forlorn,
I hear their mother mourn! « Liberty! inspire me,
And eagle strength supply! Thou, Love almighty! fire me!
I'll burst my prison-or die!" He sung; and forward bounded :
He broke the yielding door! But, with the shock confounded,
Fell, lifeless, on the floor! Farewell, then, Philomela :
Poor martyr'd bird! adieu ! There's one, my charming fellow!
Who thinks, who feels, like you : The bard that pens thy story,
Amidst a prison's gloom,
-But freedom, or thy tomb! Feb. 12, 1796.
Here reside no furies gaunt,
Deign then, gentle Star! to shed Thy soft lustre round mine head; With cheering radiance gild the room, And melt the melancholy gloom. When I see thee, from thy sphere, Trembling like a brilliant tear, Shed a sympathizing ray On the pale expiring day, Then a welcome emanation Of reviving consolation, Swifter than the lightning's dart, Glances through my glowing heart; Soothes my sorrows, lulls my woes, In a soft, serene repose, Like the undulating motion Of the deep, majestic ocean, When the whispering billows glide Smooth along the tranquil tide; Calmly thus, prepared, resign'd, Swells the independent mind.
ODE TO THE EVENING STAR.
HAIL! resplendent Evening Star!
Now thy mild and modest ray
In these calmly-pleasing hours,
In the circle of this cell
But when, through clouds, thy beauteous light Streams, in splendor, on the night, Hope, like thee, my leading star, Through the sullen gloom of care, Sheds an animating ray On the dark, bewildering way. Starting, then, with sweet surprise, Tears of transport swell mine eyes ; Wildly through each throbbing vein, Rapture thrills with pleasing pain; All my fretful fears are banishid, All my dreams of anguish vanish'd : Energy my soul inspires, And wakes the muse's hallow'd fires ; Rich in melody, my tongue Warbles forth spontaneous song.
Thus my prison moments gay, Swiftly, sweetly, glide away; Till the last long day declining, O'er yon tower thy glory shining,
Shall the welcome signal be Of 10-morrow's liberty! Liberty, triumphant borne On the rosy wings of morn, Liberty shall then return! Rise, to set the captive free Rise, O Sun of Liberty!
Feb. 29, 1796.
Sun, moon, stars, the world, you see,
Spread his wings to soar away;
Pounced him up,-a helpless prey. - Couldst thou not, poor Wagtail! see, That the Hawk was made for THEE?
April 15, 1796.
SOLILOQUY OF A WATER-WAGTAIL,
ON THE WALLS OF YORK CASTLE. On the walls that guard my prison,
Swelling with fantastic pride, Brisk and merry as the season,
I a feather'd coxcomb spied : When the little hopping elf Gaily thus amused himself.
"Hear your sovereign's proclamation,
All good subjects, young and old ! I'm the Lord of the Creation ; * Ka Water-Wagtail bold! All around, and all you see, All the world, was made for me!
THE PLEASURES OF IMPRISONMENT,
Each morning, then, at five o'clock,
" Yonder sun, so proudly shining,
Rises— when I leave my nest; And, behind the hills declining,
Sets—when I retire to rest : Morn and evening, thus you see, Day and night, were made for ME!
“Vernal gales to love invite me:
Summer sheds for me her beams; Autumn's jovial scenes delight me;
Winter paves with ice my streams : All the year is mine, you see; Seasons change, like moons, for ME!
"On the heads of giant mountains,
Or beneath the shady trees;
I enjoy myself at ease :
" Boundless are my vast dominions :
I can hop, or swim, or fly;
Trace my empire through the sky:
But every thing is good in season,
When dressid, I to the yard repair,
Breakfast dispatch'd, I sometimes read, To clear the vapors from my head; For books are magic charms, I ween, Both for the crotchets and the spleen.
"Birds and insects, beasts and fishes,
All their humble distance keep; Man, subservient to my wishes,
Sows the harvest which I reap : Mighty man himself, you see, All that breathe, were made for ME.
"T was for my accommodation
Nature rose when I was born : Should I die-the whole creation
Back to nothing would return :
When genius, wisdom, wit abound,
Then by the enchantress Fancy led, On violet banks I lay my head; Legions of radiant forms arise, In fair array, before mine eyes ; Poetic visions gild my brain, And melt in liquid air again! As in a magic-lantern clear, Fantastic images appear, That beaming from the spectred glass, In beautiful succession pass, Yet steal the lustre of their light From the deep shadow of the night: Thus, in the darkness of my head, Ten thousand shining things are bred, That borrow splendor from the gloom, As glow-worms twinkle in a tomb.
But lest these glories should confound me, Kind Dullness draws her curtain round me; The visions vanish in a trice, And I awake as cold as ice; Nothing remains of all the vapor, Save—what I send you—ink and paper.
At half-past ten, or thereabout, My eyes are all upon the scout,
To see the lounging post-boy come, With letters or with news from home. Believe it, on a captive's word, Although the doctrine seem absurd, The paper-messengers of friends For absence almost make amends : But if you think I jest or lie, Come to York Castle, sir, and try.
Thus flow my morning hours along, Smooth as the numbers of my song : Yet let me wander as I will, I feel I am a prisoner still. Thus Robin, with the blushing breast, Is ravish'd from his little nest By barbarous boys, who bind his leg, To make him flutter round a peg: See, the glad captive spreads his wings, Mounts, in a moment, mounts and sings, When suddenly the cruel chain Twitches him back to earth again. -The clock strikes one I can't delay, For dinner comes but once a day. At present, worthy friend, farewell; But by to-morrow's post I'll tell, How, during these half-dozen moons, I cheat the lazy afternoons.
June 13, 1796.
Sometimes to fairy-land I rove:
That bill and coo their pretty loves;
EPISTLE II. In this sweet place, where freedom reigns, Secured by bolts, and snug in chains ; Where innocence and guilt together Roost like two turtles of a feather; Where debtors safe at anchor lie From saucy duns and bailiffs sly; Where highwaymen and robbers stout Would, rather than break in, break out; Where all so guarded and recluse, That none his liberty can lose ; Here each may, as his means afford, Dine like a pauper or a lord, And those who can't the cost defray May live to dine another day.
Now let us ramble o'er the green, To see and hear what's heard and seen ; To breathe the air, enjoy the light, And hail yon sun, who shines as bright
And vet the fellow ne'er is safe From the tremendous beak of Ralph ; A raven grim, in black and blue, As arch a knave as e'er you knew; Who hops about with broken pinions, And thinks these walls his own dominions. This wag a mortal foe to Bill is, They fight like Hector and Achilles; Bold Billy runs with all his might, And conquers, Parthian-like, in flight; While Ralph his own importance feels, And wages endless war with heels : Horses and dogs, and geese and deer, He slily pinches in the rear; They start, surprised with sudden pain, While honest Ralph sheers off again.
Upon the dungeon and the gallows
A melancholy stag appears. With rueful look and flagging ears; A feeble, lean, consumptive elf, The very picture of myself! My ghost-like form, and new-moon phiz, Are just the counterparts of his : Blasted like me by fortune's frown; Like me, TWICE hunted, TWICE run down! Like me, pursued almost to death, He's come to gaol to save his breath! Still, on his painful limbs, are seen The scars where worrying dogs have been ; Still on his woe-imprinted face, I weep a broken heart to trace. Daily the mournful wretch I feed With crumbs of comfort and of bread; But man, false man! so well he knows, He deems the species all his foes : In vain I smile to soothe his fear, He will not dare to come too near; He lingers--looks-and fain he would Then strains his neck to reach the food. Oft as his plaintive looks I see, A brother's bowels yearn in me. What rocks and tempests yet await Both him and me, we leave to fate; We know, by past experience taught, That innocence availeth nought: I feel, and 't is my proudest boast, That conscience is itself a host : While this inspires my swelling breast, Let all forsake me I'm at rest; Ten thousand deaths, in every nerve, I'd rather SUFFER than DESERVE.
But lo! my frisking dog attends, The kindest of four-footed friends; Brim-full of giddiness and mirth, He is the prettiest fool on earth. The rogue is twice a squirrel's size, With short snub nose and big black eyes ; A cloud of brown adorns his tail, That curls and serves him for a sail ; The same deep auburn dyes his ears, That never were abridged by shears : While white around, as Lapland snows, His hair, in soft profusion, flows; Waves on his breast, and plumes his feet With glossy fringe, like feathers fleet. A thousand antic tricks he plays, And looks at once a thousand ways; His wit, if he has any, lies Somewhere between his tail and eyes ; Sooner the light those eyes will fail, Than Billy cease to wag that tail.
But yonder comes the victim's wife, A dappled doe, all fire and life: She trips along with gallant pace, Her limbs alert, her motion grace: Soft as the moon-light fairies bound, Her footsteps scarcely kiss the ground; Gently she lifts her fair brown head, And licks my hand, and begs for bread: I pat her forehead, stroke her neck, She starts, and gives a timid squeak: Then, while her eye with brilliance bume, The fawning animal returns ;