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TO LORD VISCOUNT STRANGFORD.
ABOARD THE PHAETON FRIGATE, OFF THE AZORES, BY
Sweet Moon! if, like Crotona's sage,*
By any spell my hand could dare
And write my thoughts, my wishes there ;
How little, when we parted last,
* Pythagoras; who was supposed to have a power of writing upon the Moon by the means of a magic mirror. — See Bayle, art. Pythag.
When, fresh from mirth to mirth again,
We thought the rapid hours too few;
To gather bliss from all we knew.
When, mingling lore and laugh together,
And turn'd the leaf with Folly's feather.
And yet, ’t was time; in youth's sweet days,
Oh! she awak'd such happy dreams,
For all its dearest, fondest schemes,
Or pant to be a wanderer more! *
Alluding to these animated lines in the 44th Carmen of Catullus:
Jam mens prætrepidans avet vagari,
Even now delusive hope will steal Amid the dark regrets I feel, Soothing, as yonder placid beam
Pursues the murmurers of the deep, And lights them with consoling gleam,
And smiles them into tranquil sleep. Oh! such a blessed night as this,
I often think, if friends were near, How we should feel, and gaze with bliss
Upon the moon-bright scenery here!
The sea is like a silvery lake,
And, o'er its calm the vessel glides Gently, as if it fear’d to wake
The slumber of the silent tides. The only envious cloud that lowers
Hath hung its shade on Pico's height, * Where dimly, mid the dusk, he towers,
And scowling at this heav'n of light,
Now, could I range those verdant isles,
Invisible, at this soft hour,
That brighten many an orange bower; And could I lift each pious veil,
* A very high mountain on one of the Azores, from which the island derives its name. It is said by some to be as high as the Peak of Teneriffe.
And see the blushing cheek it shades, – Oh! I should have full many a tale,
To tell of young Azorian maids.
Yes, Strangford, at this hour, perhaps,
Some lover (not too idly blest, Like those, who in their ladies' laps
May cradle every wish to rest) Warbles, to touch his dear one's soul,
Those madrigals, of breath divine, Which Camoens' harp from Rapture stole
And gave, all glowing warm, to thine.* Oh ? could the lover learn from thee,
And breathe them with thy graceful tone Such sweet, beguiling minstrelsy
Would make the coldest nymph his own.
But, hark !- the boatswain's pipings tell 'Tis time to bid my dream farewell: Eight bells :
the middle watch is set ; Good night, my Strangford !-- ne'er forget That, far beyond the western sea Is one, whose heart remembers thee.
* These islands belong to the Portuguese.
θυμος δε ποτ' εμος
– με προσφωνει ταδε: Γινωσκε τανθρωπεια μη σεβειν αγαν.
A BEAM of tranquillity smild in the west,
The storms of the morning pursued us no more ; And the wave, while it welcom'd the moment of rest,
Still heav'd, as remembering ills that were o'er.
Serenely my heart took the hue of the hour,
Its passions were sleeping, were mute as the dead; And the spirit becalm'd but remember'd their power,
As the billow the force of the gale that was fled.
I thought of those days, when to pleasure alone
My heart ever granted a wish or a sigh; When the saddest emotion my bosom had known,
Was pity for those who were wiser than I.
I reflected, how soon in the cup of Desire
The pearl of the soul may be melted away; How quickly, alas, the pure sparkle of fire We inherit from heav'n, may be quenched in the
And I pray'd of that Spirit who lighted the flame,
That Pleasure no more might its purity dim;