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Vignettes in Verse   By: (1776-1852)

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As far as the seventy fourth page, these Poems have been printed about two years; during which many things happened likely to prevent their ever appearing. The time, however, is now come, and I have to day found the remainder, up to where the lines end with

"Its unpolluted birthright."

On reading the whole over, they struck me with much surprise, as they appear in a singular manner prophetic. I wrote them with a general, and somewhat undefined view; and they now take the aspect of speaking on what has since happened to myself a long seclusion, during which I was bereft of the common means of study, having given rise to one that has turned out far more important than I at first imagined, and which I have continued since, to the exclusion of every other pursuit.

Stonkam, May 10th , 1818.



If writing Journals were my task, From cottagers to kings A little book I'd only ask, And fill it full of wings!

Each pair should represent a day: On some the sun should rise, While others bent their mournful way Through cold and cloudy skies.

And here I would the light'ning bring With threatening, forked glare; And there the hallowed rainbow fling Across the troubled air.

Some faint and wearily should glide Their broken flight along While some high in the air should ride Dilated, bold, and strong.

Some agitated and adrift, Against their will should rove; Some, steering forward, sure and swift, Should scarcely seem to move

While others, happiest of their kind! Should in the ether soar, As if no care would ever find, No sorrow reach them more;

When soon an arrow from below Should wound them in their flight, And many a crimson drop should flow Before they fell in sight.

The rapid and abrupt descent, The stain'd and ruffled plume, Would seem as if they were not meant Their ardour to resume.

But soon their beauty and their force Sweet hours of rest renew; Full soon their light, their varied course Careering they pursue.

Alternately to rise and fall, Or float along the day And this is Fortune This is all I would vouchsafe to say!


Lucy, I think not of thy beauty, I praise not each peculiar grace; To see thee in the path of duty, And with that happy, smiling face, Conveys more pleasure to thy friend, Than any outward charm could lend.

I see thy graceful babes caress thee, I mark thy wise, maternal care, And sadly do the words impress me, The magic words that thou art fair. I wonder that a tongue is found To utter the unfeeling sound!

For, art thou not above such praises? And is this all that they can see? Poor is the joy such flattery raises, And, oh! how much unworthy thee! Unworthy one whose heart can feel The voice of truth, the warmth of zeal!

O Lucy, thou art snatch'd from folly, Become too tender to be vain, The world, it makes me melancholy, The world would lure thee back again! And it would cost me many sighs, To see it win so bright a prize!

Though passing apprehensions move me, I know thou hast a noble heart; But, Lucy, I so truly love thee, So much admire thee as thou art, That, but the shadow of a fear, Wakes in my breast a pang sincere.



This twilight gloom. This lone retreat This silence to my soul is sweet! Awhile escap'd from toil and strife, And all the lesser ills of life, Here only at the evening's close, My weary spirit finds repose; My sinking heart its freedom gains, Which poverty had bound in chains!

For here unheard the moments fly And so secure, so happy I, That, often at the very last, I feel not that my dream is past. The little hour of bliss I spend, With thee, my chosen, only friend! That transient hour the heart sustains, Which poverty has bound in chains!

And for this dear, this precious hour, I would not, if I had the power, Exchange a worldling's life of ease, Whom all around him seek to please... Continue reading book >>

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