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TO A YOUNG LADY,

WITH A POEM ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.

Much on my early youth I love to dwell,
Ere yet I bade that friendly dome farewell,
Where first, beneath the echoing cloisters pale,
I heard of guilt and wondered at the tale !
Yet though the hours flew by on careless wing,
Full heavily of Sorrow would I sing.
Aye as the star of evening flung its beam
In broken radiance on the wavy stream,
My soul amid the pensive twilight gloom
Mourned with the breeze, O Lee Boo !* o'er thy tomb.
Where'er I wandered, Pity still was near,
Breathed from the heart and glistened in the tear :
No knell that tolled, but filled my anxious eye,
And suffering Nature wept that one should die !t

Thus to sad sympathies I soothed my breast,
Calm, as the rainbow in the weeping West :
When slumbering Freedom roused by high Disdain
With giant fury burst her triple chain !
Fierce on her front the blasting Dog-star glowed ;
Her banners, like a midnight meteor, flowed ;
Amid the yelling of the storm-rent skies
She came, and scattered battles from her eyes !
Then Exultation waked the patriot-fire
And swept with wild hand the Tyrtæan lyre:
Red from the Tyrant's wound I shook the lance,
And strode in joy the reeking plains of France !
Fallen is the oppressor, friendless, ghastly, low,
And my heart aches, though Mercy struck the blow
With wearied thought once more I seek the shade,
Where peaceful Virtue weaves the myrtle braid.

Lee Boo, the son of Abba Thule, Prince of the Pelew Islands, came over to England with Captain Wilson, died of the small-pox, and is buried in Greenwich church-yard. See Keate's Account.

Southey's Retrospect.

C*

And O! if Eyes whose holy glances roll,
Swift messengers, and eloquent of soul ;
If Smiles more winning, and a gentler Mien
Than the love-wildered Maniac's brain hath seen
Shaping celestial forms in vacant air,
If these demand the impassioned Poet's care-
If Mirth and softened Sense and Wit refined,
The blameless features of a lovely mind ;
Then haply shall my trembling hand assign
No fading wreath to Beauty's saintly shrine.
Nor, Sara ! thou these early flowers refuse-
Ne'er lurked the snake beneath their simple hues ;
No purple bloom the Child of Nature brings

From Flattery's night-shade: as he feels he sings.
September, 1792.

SONNET I.

“ Content, as random Fancies might inspire,
If his weak harp at times or lonely lyre
He struck with desultory hand, and drew
Some softened tones to Nature not untrue.”

BOWLES.

My heart has thanked thee, Bowles! for those soft strains
Whose sadness soothes me, like the murmuring
Of wild-bees in the sunny showers of spring !
For hence not callous to the mourner's pains
Through Youth's gay prime and thornless paths I went :
And when the mightier throes of mind began,
And drove me forth, a thought-bewildered man,
Their mild and manliest melancholy lent
A mingled charm, such as the pang consigned
To slumber, though the big tear it renewed ;
Bidding a strange mysterious Pleasure brood
Over the wavy and tumultuous mind,
As the great Spirit erst with plastic sweep
Moved or the darkness of the unformed decp.

SONNET II.

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As late I lay in slumber's shadowy vale,
With wetted cheek and in a mourner's guise,
I saw the sainted form of Freedom rise :
She spake ! not sadder moans the autumnal gale-

Great Son of Genius! sweet to me thy name,
Ere in an evil hour with altered voice
Thou bad'st Oppression's hireling crew rejoice
Blasting with wizard spell my laurelled fame.
Yet never, Burke ! thou drank'st Corruption's bowl .
Thee stormy Pity and the cherished lure
Of Pomp, and proud Precipitance of soul
Wildered with meteor fires. Ah Spirit pure !
That error's mist had left thy purged eye:
So might I clasp thee with a Mother's joy !"

SONNET III.

Though roused by that dark Vizir Riot rude
Have driven our Priestley o'er the ocean swell ;
Though Superstition and her wolfish brood
Bay his mild radiance, impotent and fell ;
Calm in his halls of brightness he shall dwell!
For lo! Religion at his strong behest
Starts with mild anger from the Papal spell,
And flings to earth her tinsel-glittering vest,
Her mitred state and cumbrous pomp unholy ;
And Justice wakes to bid the Oppressor wail
Insulting aye the wrongs of patient Folly:
And from her dark retreat by Wisdom won
Meek Nature slowly lifts her matron veil
To smile with fondness on her gazing son!

SONNET IV.

When British Freedom for a happier land
Spread her broad wings, that fluttered with affright,
Erskine ! thy voice she heard, and paused her flight
Sublime of hope! For dreadless thou didst stand

(Thy censer glowing with the hallowed flame)
A hireless Priest before the insulted shrine,
And at her altar pour the stream divine
Of unmatched eloquence. Therefore thy name
Her sons shall venerate, and cheer thy breast
With blessings heaven-ward breathed. And when the doom
Of nature bids thee die, beyond the tomb
Thy light shall shine: as sunk beneath the West
Though the great Summer Sun eludes our gaze,
Still burns wide Heaven with his distended blaze.

SONNET V.

It was some Spirit, Sheridan! that breathed
O'er thy young mind such wildly various power!
My soul hath marked thee in her shaping hour,
Thy temples with Hymmettian flow’rets wreathed .
And sweet thy voice, as when o'er Laura's bier
Sad music trembled through Vauclusa's glade ;
Sweet, as at dawn the love-lorn Serenade
That wafts soft dreams to Slumber's listening ear.
Now patriot rage and indignation high
Swell the full tones! And now thine eye-beams dance
Meanings of Scorn and Wit's quaint revelry!
Writhes inly from the bosom-probing glance
The Apostate by the brainless rout adored,
As erst that elder Fiend beneath great Michael's sword

SONNET VI.

O WHAT a loud and fearful shriek was there,
As though a thousand souls one death-groan poured!
Ah me! they saw beneath a hireling's sword
Their Kosciusko fall! Through the swart air
(As pauses the tired Cossac's barbarous yell
of triumph) on the chill and midnight gale
Rises with frantic burst or sadder swell
The dirge of murdered Hope! while Freedom pale
Bends in such anguish o'er her destined bier,

As if from eldest time some Spirit meek
Had gathered in a mystic urn each tear
That ever on a Patriot's surrowed cheek
Fit channel found, and she had drained the bowl
In the mere wilfulness, and sick despair of soul !

SONNET VII.

As when far off the warbled strains are heard
That soar on Morning's wing the vales among,
Within his cage the imprisoned matin bird
Swells the full chorus with a generous song
He bathes no pinion in the dewy light,
No Father's joy, no Lover's bliss he shares,
Yet still the rising radiance cheers his sight;
His fellows' freedom soothes the captive's cares !
Thou, Fayette ! who didst wake with startling voice
Life's better sun from that long wintry night,
Thus in thy Country's triumphs shalt rejoice,
And mock with raptures high the dungeon's might:
For lo ! the morning struggles into day,
And Slavery's spectres shriek and vanish from the ray!

SONNET VIII.

Thou gentle Look, that didst my soul beguile,
Why hast thou left me ? Still in some fond dream
Revisit my sad heart, auspicious Smile!
As falls.on closing flowers the lunar beam :
What time, in sickly mood, at parting day
I lay me down and think of happier years ;
Of Joys, that glimmered in Hope's twilight ray,
Then left me darkling in a vale of tears.
O pleasant days of hope-forever gone ! -
Could I recall you !—But that thought is vain.
Availeth not Persuasion's sweetest tone
To lure the fleet-winged Travellers back again :
Yet fair, though faint, their images shall gleam
Like the bright Rainbow on a willowy stream.

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