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Couldst thou reprove me, when I nurs'd the flame
On lift'ning CHERWELL’s osier banks reclin'd ? While foe to fortune, unseduc'd by fame,
I footh'd the biass of a careless mind.
Youth's gentle kindred, health and love were met;
What tho' in Alma's guardian arms I play'd ? How shall the muse those vacant hours forget ?
Or deem that bliss by folid cares repaid ?
Thou know'st how transport thrills the tender breast,
Where love and fancy fix their op'ning reign; How nature shines in livelier colours drest,
To bless their union, and to grace their train.
So first when PHOEBUS met the Cyprian queen,
And favour'd Rhodes beheld their passion crown'd, Unusual flow'rs enrich'd the painted green;
And swift spontaneous roses blush'd around.
Now fadly lorn, from TWITNAM's widow'd bow'r,
The drooping muses take their casual way ; And where they itop, a flood of tears they pour ;
And where they weep, no more the fields are gay,
Where is the dappled pink, the sprightly rose ?
The cowslip’s golden cup no more I see: Dark and discolour'd ev'ry flow'r that blows, To form the garland, Elegy! for thee !
Enough of tears has wept the virtuous dead;
Ah might we now the pious rage controul ! Hush'd be my grief ere ev'ry smile be fled,
Ere the deep fwelling sigh lubvert the soul !
If near some trophy spring a stripling bay,
Pleas’d we behold the graceful umbrage rise ; But soon too deep it works its baneful way,
And, low on earth, the proftrate * ruin lies.
* Alludes to what is reported of the bay-tree, that if it is planted too near the walls of an edifice, its roots will work their way underneath, till they destroy the foundation,
E L EGY : IX.
He describes his disinterestedness to a friend.
T NE’ER must tinge my lip with Celtic wines; 1 The pomp of India muft I ne'er display ; Nor boast the produce of Peruvian mines,
Nor, with Italian sounds, deceive the day.
Down yonder brook my crystal bev'rage flows ;
My grateful sheep their annual fleeces bring; Fair in my garden buds the damask rose,
And, from my grove, I hear the throstle sing,
My fellow swains ! avert your dazled eyes;
In vain allur'd by glittring spoils they rove; The fates ne'er meant them for the shepherd's prize,
Yet gave them ample recompence, in love.
They gave you vigour from your parent's veins ;
They gave you toils ; but toils your sinews brace; They gave you nymphs, that own their amorous pains,
And shades, the refuge of the gentle race.
To carve your loves, to paint your mutual flames,
See! polish'd fair, the beech's friendly rind !
Wou'dlt thou, my STREPHOŇ, love's delighted Nave!
Tho’ sure the wreaths of chivalry to share, Forego the ribbon thy MATILDA gave ?
And giving, bade thee in remembrance wear.
Ill fare my peace, but ev'ry idle toy,
If to my mind my Delia's form it brings, Has truer worth, imparts sincerer joy, · Than all that bears the radiant stamp of kings.
O my soul weeps, my breast with anguish bieeds,
When love deplores the tyrant pow'r of gain! Disdaining riches as the futile weeds,
I rise superior, and the rich disdain.
Oft from the stream, slow-wandering down the glade, · Pensive I hear the nuptial peal rebound; “ Some miser weds, I cry, the captive maid,
“ And some fond lover fickens at the found.”
Not SOMERVILLE, the muse's friend of old,
Tho' now exalted to yon ambient sky,
So lov'd the pure, the generous breast, as I.
Scorn'd be the wretch that quits his genial bowl,
His loves, his friendships, ev’n his self, resigns ; Perverts the sacred instinct of his foul, And to a ducate's dirty sphere confines... D 2
But come, my friend, with taste, with science bleft,
Ere age impair me, and ere gold allure; Restore thy dear idea to my breast,
The rich deposit shall the shrine secure, .
Let others toil to gain the fordid ore,
The charms of independence let us sing ;' Blest with thy friendship, can I wish for more?
I'll spurn the boasted wealth of * Lydia's king.