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Ye rhymers, whose bosoms with phantasy glow,
Whose pastoral passions are made for the grove;
From what blest inspiration your sonnets would flow,
Could you ever have tasted the first kiss of love!
If Apollo should e'er his assistance refuse,
Or the Nine be disposed from your service to rove, Invoke them no more, bid adieu to the muse,
And try the effect of the first kiss of love!
I hate you, ye cold compositions of art!
Though prudes may condemn me, and bigots reprove, I court the effusions that spring from the heart
Which throbs with delight to the first kiss of love!
Your shepherds, your flocks, those fantastical themes,
Perhaps may amuse, yet they never can move.
Arcadia displays but a region of dreams:
What are visions like these to the first kiss of love?
Oh! cease to affirm that man, since his birth,
From Adam till now, has with wretchedness strove : Some portion of paradise still is on earth,
And Eden revives in the first kiss of love.
When age chills the blood, when our pleasures are past,
For years fleet away with the wings of the dove,
The dearest remembrance will still be the last,
Our sweetest memorial the first kiss of love.
ON A CHANGE OF MASTERS AT A GREAT PUBLIC
WHERE are those honours, Ida! once your own,
When Probus fill'd your magisterial throne?
As ancient Rome, fast falling to disgrace,
Hail'd a barbarian in her Cæsar's place;
So you, degenerate, share as hard a fate,
And seat Pomposus where your Probus sate.
Of narrow brain, yet of a narrower soul,
Pomposus holds you in his harsh control;
Pomposus, by no social virtue sway'd,
With florid jargon, and with vain parade;
With noisy nonsense, and new-fangled rules,
Such as were ne'er before enforced in schools.
Mistaking pedantry for learning's laws,
He governs, sanction'd but by self-applause;
With him the same dire fate attending Rome,
Ill-fated Ida! soon must stamp your doom:
Like her o'erthrown, for ever lost to fame,
No trace of science left you, but the name.
TO THE DUKE OF DORSET.*
DORSET! whose early steps with mine have stray'd,
Exploring every path of Ida's glade;
Whom still affection taught me to defend,
And made me less a tyrant than a friend,
Though the harsh custom of our youthful band
Bade thee obey, and gave me to command ;+
Thee, on whose head a few short years will shower
The gift of riches and the pride of power;
E'en now a name illustrious is thine own,
Renown'd in rank, not far beneath the throne.
Yet, Dorset, let not this seduce thy soul
To shun fair science, or evade control,
Though passive tutors, fearful to dispraise +
The titled child, whose future breath may raise,
View ducal errors with indulgent eyes,
And wink at faults they tremble to chastise.
When youthful parasites, who bend the knee
To wealth, their golden idol, not to thee,
And even in simple boyhood's opening dawn
Some slaves are found to flatter and to fawn,-
When these declare, "that pomp alone should wait
On one by birth predestined to be great;
That books were only meant for drudging fools,
That gallant spirits scorn the common rules ;'
Believe them not ;-they point the path to shame,
And seek to blast the honours of thy name.
Turn to the few in Ida's early throng,
Whose souls disdain not to condemn the wrong;
Or if, amidst the comrades of thy youth,
None dare to raise the sterner voice of truth,
Ask thine own heart; 'twill bid thee, boy, forbear;
For well I know that virtue lingers there.
Yes! I have mark'd thee many a passing day,
But now new scenes invite me far away;
Yes! I have mark'd within that generous mind
A soul, if well matured, to bless mankind.
Ah! though myself, by nature haughty, wild,
Whom Indiscretion hail'd her favourite child;
Though every error stamps me for her own,
And dooms my fall, I fain would fall alone;
Though my proud heart no precept now can tame,
I love the virtues which I cannot claim.
• In looking over my papers to select a few additional poems for this second edition, I found the above lines, which I had totally forgotten, composed in the summer of 1805, a short time previous to my departure from Harrow. They were addressed to a young schoolfellow of high rank, who had been my frequent companion in some rambles through the neighbouring country: however, he never saw the lines, and most probably never will. As, on a reperusal, I found them not worse than some other pieces in the collection, I have now published them, for the first time, after a slight revision.
At every public school the junior boys are completely subservient to the upper forms till they attain a seat in the higher classes. From this state of probation, very properly, no rank is exempt; but after a certain period, they command in turn those who succeed. Allow me to disclaim any personal allusions, even the most distant: I merely men. tion generally what is too often the weakness of preceptors.
"Tis not enough, with other sons of power,
To gleam the lambent meteor of an hour;
To swell some peerage page in feeble pride,
With long-drawn names that grace no page beside;
Then share with titled crowds the common lot-
In life just gazed at, in the grave forgot;
While nought divides thee from the vulgar dead,
Except the dull cold stone that hides thy head,
The mouldering 'scutcheon, or the herald's roll,
That well-emblazon'd but neglected scroll,
Where lords, unhonour'd, in the tomb may find
One spot, to leave a worthless name behind.
There sleep, unnoticed as the gloomy vaults
That veil their dust, their follies, and their faults,
A race, with old armorial lists o'erspread,
In records destined never to be read.
Fain would I view thee, with prophetic eyes,
Exalted more among the good and wise,
A glorious and a long career pursue,
As first in rank, the first in talent too:
Spurn every vice, each little meanness shun;
Not Fortune's minion, but her noblest son.
Turn to the annals of a former day;
Bright are the deeds thine earlier sires display.
One, though a courtier, lived a man of worth,
And call'd,-proud boast! the British drama forth.
Another view, not less renown'd for wit;
Alike for courts, and camps, or senates fit;
Bold in the field, and favour'd by the Nine;
In every splendid part ordain'd to shine;
Far, far distinguish'd from the glittering throng,
The pride of princes, and the boast of
Such were thy fathers; thus preserve their name;
Not heir to titles only, but to fame.
The hour draws nigh, a few brief days will close
To me, this little scene of joys and woes;
Each knell of Time now warns me to resign
Shades where Hope, Peace, and Friendship, all were mine:
Hope, that could vary like the rainbow's hue,
And gild their pinions as the moments flew ;
Peace, that reflection never frown'd away,
By dreams of ill to cloud some future day;
Friendship, whose truth let childhood only tell;
Alas! they love not long, who love so well.
To these adieu! nor let me linger o'er
Scenes hail'd, as exiles hail their native shore,
Receding slowly through the dark-blue deep,
Beheld by eyes that mourn, yet cannot weep.
Dorset, farewell! I will not ask one part
Of sad remembrance in so young a heart;
The coming morrow from thy youthful mind
Will sweep my name, nor leave a trace behind.
And yet, perhaps, in some maturer year,
Since chance has thrown us in the self-same sphere,
Since the same senate, nay, the same debate,
May one day claim our suffrage for the state,
We hence may meet, and pass each other by,
With faint regard, or cold and distant eye.
For me, in future, neither friend nor foe,
A stranger to thyself, thy weal or woe,
With thee no more again I hope to trace
The recollection of our early race;
No more, as once, in social hours rejoice,
Or hear, unless in crowds, thy well-known voice:
Still, if the wishes of a heart untaught
To veil those feelings which perchance it ought-
If these but let me cease the lengthen'd strain-
Oh! if these wishes are not breathed in vain,
The guardian seraph who directs thy fate
Will leave thee glorious, as he found thee great.
WRITTEN SHORTLY AFTER THE MARRIAGE OF MISS CHAWORTH.
HILLS of Annesley! bleak and barren,
Where my thoughtless childhood stray'd,
How the northern tempests, warring,
Howl above thy tufted shade!
Now no more, the hours beguiling,
Former favourite haunts I see;
Now no more my Mary smiling
Makes ye seem a heaven to me.
Αργυρέαις λόγχαισι μάχου, καὶ πάντα κρατήσεις.
OH! Could Le Sage's demon's gift*
Be realized at my desire,
This night my trembling form he'd lift
To place it on St. Mary's spire.
Then would, unroof'd, old Granta's halls
Pedantic inmates full display;
Fellows who dream on lawn or stalls,
The price of venal votes to pay.
Then would I view each rival wight,
Petty and Palmerston survey;
Who canvass there with all their might,
Against the next elective day.
The "Diable Boiteux" of Le Sage, where Asmodeus, the demon, places Don Cleofas
on an elevated situation, and unroofs the houses for inspection.
Lo! candidates and voters lie
All lull'd in sleep, a goodly number:
A race renown'd for piety,
Whose conscience won't disturb their slumber.
Lord H, indeed, may not demur;
Fellows are sage reflecting men :
They know preferment can occur
But very seldom,-now and then.
They know the Chancellor has got
Some pretty livings in disposal:
Each hopes that one may be his lot,
And therefore smiles on his proposal.
Now from the soporific scene
I'll turn mine eye, as night grows later,
To view, unheeded and unseen,
The studious sons of Alma Mater.
There, in apartments small and damp,
The candidate for college prizes
Sits poring by the midnight lamp;
Goes late to bed, yet early rises.
He surely well deserves to gain them,
With all the honours of his college,
Who, striving hardly to obtain them,
Thus seeks unprofitable knowledge:
Who sacrifices hours of rest
To scan precisely metres Attic;
Or agitates his anxious breast
In solving problems mathematic.
Who reads false quantities in Seale,*
Or puzzles o'er the deep triangle;
Deprived of many a wholesome meal;
In barbarous Latin doom'd to wrangle:†
Renouncing every pleasing page
From authors of historic use;
Preferring to the letter'd sage,
The square of the hypothenuse.
Still, harmless are these occupations,
That hurt none but the hapless student,
Compared with other recreations,
Which bring together the imprudent;
Seale's publication on Greek metres displays considerable talent and ingenuity, but, as might be expected in so difficult a work, is not remarkable for accuracy.
The Latin of the schools is of the canine species, and not very intelligible.
The discovery of Pythagoras, that the square of the hypothenuse is equal to the
squares of the other two sides of a right-angled triangle.