From Mirth's bright circle, from the giddy throng,
How sweet it is to steal away at eve,
To listen to the homeward fisher's song,
Whilst dark the waters of the ocean heave; -
And on the sloping beach to bear the spray
Dash 'gainst some hoary vessel's broken side;
Whilst, far illumin'd by the parting ray,
The distant sail is faintly seen to glide.
Yes, 'tis Reflection's chosen hour; for then,
With pensive pleasure mingling o'er the scene,
Th' erratic mind treads over life again,
And gazes on the past with eye serene.
Those stormy passions which bedimm'd the soul,
That oft have bid the joys it treasur'd fly,
Now, like th' unruffled waves of Ocean, roll
With gentle lapse - their only sound a sigh.
The galling wrong no longer knits the brow,
Ambition feels the folly of her aim;
And Pity, from the heart expanding, now
Pants to extend relief to ev'ry claim.
Thus, as I sit beside the murm'ring sea,
And o'er its darkness trace light's parting streak,
I feel, O Nature! that serenity
Which vainly poetry like mine can speak!
O'er the drear tract of Time, Remembrance views
Some dear, some long-departed, pleasure gleam; -
So o'er the dark expanse the eye pursues
Upon the wat'ry edge a transient beam.
The spot fraternal love has sacred made,
Solemn, yet sweet, like groves in twilight gloom,
Mem'ry revisits, and beneath its shade
Faintly it sees each faded joy re-bloom.
By Fancy led, from Death's cold bed of stone,
Lovely, tho' wan, what cherish'd form appears?
Oh! gentle Anna[A]! at thy name alone,
Genius, and Grace, and Virtue, smile in tears.
Half-wrapp'd in mist I see thy figure move,
O'er thy pale cheek appears its wonted smile;
With lunar lustre beam those looks of love,
That once could life of ev'ry care beguile:
Faintly I hear thy angel-voice again;
There's music in the sweet and dying sound;
Like Philomela's soft and echo'd strain,
It spreads a soothing consolation round.
Adieu, bless'd shade! - Imagination roves
To distant regions, o'er th' Atlantic wave;
Ah! not to genial skies, or fragrant groves,
To drop a tear upon a kindred grave.
Hard was thy fate, Eliza[B]! - It was thine,
Tho' wit thy mind, tho' beauty grac'd thy form,
Behind Affliction's weeping cloud to shine,
With star-like radiance, in a night of storm.
Fierce from the sun the fiery fever flew,
And bade the burning sand become thy tomb!
O'er thee no willow drops its mourning dew,
Nor spotless lilies o'er thy bosom bloom!
Oh! when we stood around our brother's bier,
And wept in life's full bloom to see him torn,
Ah! little did ye think that such a tear
As then ye shed so soon your fate would mourn.
Farewell, dear shades! accept this mournful song,
At once the tribute of my grief and love;
Fain would it try your virtues to prolong,
Here priz'd and honour'd, and now bless'd above.