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ON HER PLAYING UPON THE HARPSICHORD, IN A
ROOM HUNG WITH
WHEN Stella strikes the tuneful string,
In scenes of imitated spring,
Where beauty lavishes her pow'rs
On beds of never-fading flow'rs,
And pleasure propagates around
Each charm of modulated sound;
Ah! think not, in the dang'rous hour,
The nymph fictitious as the flow'r;
But shun, rash youth, the gay alcove,
Nor tempt the snares of wily love.
When charms thus press on ev'ry sense,
What thought of flight, or of defence?
Deceitful hope, and vain desire,
For ever flutter o'er her lyre,
Delighting, as the youth draws nigh,
To point the glances of her eye,
And forming, with unerring art,
New chains to hold the captive heart.
But on those regions of delight
Might truth intrude with daring flight,
Could Stella, sprightly, fair, and young,
One moment hear the moral song,
Instruction, with her flowers, might spring,
And wisdom warble from her string.
Mark, when from thousand mingled dies
Thou seest one pleasing form arise,
How active light, and thoughtful shade
In greater scenes each other aid;
* Printed among Mrs. Williams's Miscellanies.
Mark, when the different notes agree
In friendly contrariety,
How passion's well-accorded strife
Gives all the harmony of life;
Thy pictures shall thy conduct frame,
Consistent still, though not the same;
Thy musick teach the nobler art,
To tune the regulated heart.
Ev'NING now from purple wings
Sheds the grateful gifts she brings;
Brilliant drops bedeck the mead,
Cooling breezes shake the reed;
Shake the reed, and curl the stream,
Silver'd o'er with Cynthia's beam;
Near the checquer'd, lonely grove,
Hears, and keeps thy secrets, love.
Stella, thither let us stray,
Lightly o'er the dewy way.
Phoebus drives his burning car
Hence, my lovely Stella, far;
In his stead, the queen of night
Round us pours a lambent light;
Light, that seems but just to show
Breasts that beat, and cheeks that glow.
Let us now, in whisper'd joy,
Ev'ning's silent hours employ;
Silence best, and conscious shades,
Please the hearts that love invades ;
Other pleasures give them pain,
Lovers all but love disdain.
TO THE SAME.
WHETHER Stella's eyes are found
Fix'd on earth, or glancing round,
If her face with pleasure glow,
If she sigh at others' woe,
If her easy air express
Conscious worth, or soft distress,
Stella's eyes, and air, and face,
Charm with undiminish'd grace.
If on her we see display'd
Pendent gems, and rich brocade;
If her chints with less expense
Flows in easy negligence;
Still she lights the conscious flame,
Still her charms appear the same;
If she strikes the vocal strings,
If she's silent, speaks, or sings,
If she sit, or if she move,
Still we love, and still approve.
Vain the casual, transient glance,
Which alone can please by chance;
Beauty, which depends on art,
Changing with the changing heart,
Which demands the toilet's aid,
Pendent gems and rich brocade.
I those charms alone can prize,
Which from constant nature rise,
Which nor circumstance, nor dress,
E'er can make, or more, or less.
TO A FRIEND.
No more thus brooding o'er yon heap,
With av'rice, painful vigils keep;
Still unenjoy'd the present store,
Still endless sighs are breath'd for more.
Oh! quit the shadow, catch the prize,
Which not all India's treasure buys!
To purchase heav'n has gold the power?
Can gold remove the mortal hour?
In life, can love be bought with gold?
Are friendship's pleasures to be sold?
No-all that's worth a wish-a thought,
Fair virtue gives unbrib'd, unbought.
Cease then on trash thy hopes to bind,
Let nobler views engage thy mind.
With science tread the wondrous way,
Or learn the muses' moral lay;
In social hours indulge thy soul,
Where mirth and temp'rance mix the bowl;
To virtuous love resign thy breast,
And be, by blessing beauty-blest.
Thus taste the feast, by nature spread,
Ere youth, and all its joys are fled;
Come, taste with me the balm of life,
Secure from pomp, and wealth, and strife.
I boast whate'er for man was meant,
In health, and Stella, and content;
And scorn! oh! let that scorn be thine!
Mere things of clay that dig the mine.
WHEN lately Stella's form display'd
The beauties of the gay brocade,
The nymphs, who found their pow'r decline,
Proclaim'd her not so fair as fine.
"Fate! snatch away the bright disguise,
And let the goddess trust her eyes."
Thus blindly pray'd the fretful fair,
And fate malicious heard the pray'r;
But, brighten'd by the sable dress,
As virtue rises in distress,
Since Stella still extends her reign,
Ah! how shall envy sooth her pain?
Th' adoring youth and envious fair,
Henceforth, shall form one common prayer:
And love and hate, alike, implore
The skies" That Stella mourn no more."
NOT the soft sighs of vernal gales,
The fragrance of the flow'ry vales,
The murmurs of the crystal rill,
The vocal grove, the verdant hill;
Not all their charms, though all unite,
Can touch my bosom with delight.
Not all the gems on India's shore,
Not all Peru's unbounded store,
Not all the power, nor all the fame,
That heroes, kings, or poets claim;
Nor knowledge, which the learn'd approve ;
To form one wish my soul can move.
Yet nature's charms allure my eyes,
And knowledge, wealth, and fame I prize;
Fame, wealth, and knowledge I obtain,
Nor seek I nature's charms in vain;
In lovely Stella all combine;
And, lovely Stella! thou art mine.
WRITTEN AT THE REQUEST OF A GENTLEMAN, TO WHOM A LADY HAD GIVEN A SPRIG OF MYRTLE".
WHAT hopes, what terrours, does thy gift create!
Ambiguous emblem of uncertain fate!
h These verses were first printed in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1768, p. 439, but were written many years earlier. Elegant as they are, Dr. Johnson assured me, they were composed in the short space of five minutes.-N.