To the Memory of a Young Friend
(Obiit, Dec 11, 1802)
“On ne me répond pas, mais peut-être on m’entend!”
Thou too art gone, but ever shall my heart
The balmy essence of our love retain;
Still faithful Fancy shall thy form supply,
Thy smile’s enchantment, thy soul-melting eye
Soft as the moon-light on the sleeping main.
And never, never from this chasten’d breast
May thy meek spirit’s gentle sway depart!
There still preside, a soft and sacred guest
By no vain cares and sullen griefs opprest,
But ’midst the treasures of a quiet heart.
Not like the lamp which lingers in the tomb,
’Mid spectres wild and never-ending gloom:
But like the sun whose mild and constant ray
Gilds the light clouds of Life’s uncertain day!
Inscribed on Her Portrait, Painted from Memory, 1804
Vain artist! tho’ by fond remembrance taught,
Can thy frail tints with Beauty’s self compare?
If with Promethean fire they pencil glow’d,
If the clear morn her richest tints bestow’d,
Thy hand might emulate a cheek as fair
Or form a lip with brighter vermil fraught,
Or lead in magic rings as beauteous hair;
But never shall they daring pencil reach
The gentle spirit which that eye inform’d;
The heart’s pure glow which every beauty warm’d,
And gifted every glance with more than speech:
Yet shall this frail similitude be dear,
While the true image to my soul is near.
On the Anniversary of Her Death
Dec. 11, 1805
Blest spirit! now I woo thee not to hear
Fond Sorrow’s murmurs o’er thy ruthless grave;
I call thee not while angry tempest rave,
To tempt the sullen sigh and fruitless tear:
Come rather at the hour to Friendship dear,
While circling round the hearth, a jocund quire,
We bid gay Fancy trim her brightest fire,
While meagre winter shrouds the lifeless year.
Come then in all thy native beauty drest,
Rich mem’ry’s stores unfold, and with thee bring
The rosy hours of many a long-past spring,
And many a golden dream of joy arrest!
Thy image shall the social feat increase,
Bland Pleasure’s herald still, and minister of Peace.
Written on Dec. 11, 1806
Now spreads Ambition’s deluge! yet sweet Peace,
Here may they ark repose! Content shall build
Thy temple on some hoary mountain’s side,
Where Ceres smiles and southern sun-beams gild
The bounteous stream and shelt’ring forest’s pride.
There hide me ere the golden moments cease
Of Life’s mild noon; if Leisure’s graceful train
Bland Mirth and Ease, and modest Science deign
To grace my white-wall’d dome; where all I crave
Is on the dawn of Hope and Truth to gaze,
Till the slow lapse of undistinguish’d days
Conducts me to the grave—a quiet grave
Like thine, Beloved! with Friendship’s roses strew’d,
And many a holy tear, unseen, bedew’d.
Nine summer suns have shone since by thy side
O’er the rich bank of gentle Fleet I hung;
And saw thy fair face in its lucid tide,
And heard the echoes woo thy tuneful tongue.
Now on Life’s level current I rejoice,
But never shall thy beaming eye again
Gild its smooth lapse; nor thy melodious voice
Bid truth and peace, and social pleasure reign!
Yet on this fatal day, tho’ years are flown,
Still in her fleeting mirror Fancy shews
Thy beauty’s semblance; still the silver tone
Of thy lov’d voice her magic pow’r renews.
And ever in my sad soul’s inmost seat
Shall that lov’d voice responsive echoes meet!
Love’s early dawn is past, but not yet past
Is the rich dream which wing’d its envied hours;
Still in my bosom bloom the balmy flow’rs
By frolic Hope and Fancy’s cradle cast.
Life’s dawn is fled! but still the source remains
Of mild delights not spent tho’ long enjoy’d;
Soft glides the year in social cares employ’d,
While Hope, sweet Hope! repays its gentle pains.
Thou too are present still!—ah, still be near!
Teach me like thee, the silver cord to twine
Round kindred bosoms; and the smooth decline
Of sacred age with willing duty cheer:
And if our spirits meet in heav’nly bow’rs,
Still may such blissful tasks, such precious care be ours!