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Poems and Translations


Canzonet for Three Friends [1]


When shall we three meet again?
When shall we three meet again?
Oft shall glowing Hope retire,
Oft shall wearied Love expire,
Oft shall Death and Sorrow reign,
Ere we three shall meet again!


Tho’ in distant lands we sigh,
Parch’d beneath an hostile sky,
Tho’ the deep between us rolls,
Friendship shall unite our souls;
Still in Fancy’s rich domain
Oft shall we three meet again!


When around this youthful pine
Moss shall creep and ivy twine;
When these burnish’d locks are grey,
Thinn’d by many a toil-spent day,
May this long-lov’d bow’r remain,
Here may we three meet again!


When the dreams of life are fled,
When its wasted lamp is dead,
When in cold oblivion’s shae,
Beauty, Pow’r, and Fame are laid,
Where immortal spirits reign,
Then may we three meet again!


War Song

Sent to the Craven Legion, on the Presentation of Their Colours, by Lady Ribblesdale


Sons of the Brave, whose timely blow,
Oft laid Rebellion’s hydra low! [2]
Pride of these plains where ancient days
Saw loyal Valour’s brightest blaze,
Still, still your envied birthright claim,
Still guard Britannia’s vital flame!
To you her noblest task she gives,
For you her richest laurel lives.


And tho’ beneath these frigid skies,
No spices burn, no vineyards rise,
Commerce and Health enrich our gales,
Content and Plenty gild our vales:
On Beauty’s lip our incense glows,
From Beauty’s lip our nectar flows;
No sordid earth our wealth confines,
Our loyal hearts are Britain’s mines.


Shall faithless Gallia’s empire spread,
Where Wentworth spoke, and Clifford[3] bled?
No, by the laurels Ida[4] won,
By royal Ælls’d godlike son!
By those proud tow’rs[5], that sacred flood,
Still rich with streams of loyal blood,
The throne our patriot fathers gave,
Our patriot band will die to save.


And hark! from Romeville’s[6] rev’rend walls,
Deiri’s ancient genius calls;
Nor in the grave her heroes rest,
Their spirit wakes in ev’ry breast:
A Wentworth’s voice, a Clifford’s hand,
Unite to lead our chosen band;
Their souls in other forms we view,
They live, they triumph her anew!


Behold Helvetia’s laurel’s stain’d,
The Crescent sunk, the Cross profan’d!
Th’ imperial Eagle droops and flies,
The soul of Rome in bondage lies;
From pale Iberia’s bosom torn,
Freedom, and Faith, and Valour mourn;
Here may the sister exiles meet,
Be Britain still their noblest seat!


Tho’ o’er a train of sceptred slaves,
A tyrant’s sanguine banner waves,
No Patriot’s arm his call obeys,
His threat no free-born bosom sways;
Here let the proud invader learn
What souls in free-born bosoms burn;
Heroes in every field shall rise,
In every heart a fortress lies!


A Song for the Nineteenth Century [7]

Yes, let us be social; sing, dance, and rejoice,
Let Friendship and Mirth raise the heart and the voice;
’Tho’ cynical sages our errors proclaim
Call Life but a shadow and Friendship a name!
While Hope is the Prompter of Youth’s busy stage,
While Friendship attends the safe sidebox of age,
Can Pleasure foresake us?—’tis Folly’s pretence;
’Twill bloom like the aloe a hundred years hence.

And let the gay nymph with her garlands be crown’d,
Let her eyes mock the stars and her footsteps the ground:
Their lustre may vanish, their graces may fly,
But others as potent their place shall supply;—
Still Fashion unvanquish’d her charter maintains,
Her Queens disappear, but her empire remains:
New caps, cards, and concerts shall rapture dispense,
And conquests reward them a hundred years hence!

Shall Frienship no more be our solace and guide,
Since merciless Death may her vot’ries divide?
No; still let the vestal her taper relume,
Still bid her strew flow’rs on our path to the tomb!
Kind Mem’ry her fugitive joys shall arrest,
Then Friendship’s bland pow’r shall be Memory’s guest:
Together from Death they shall prove our defence,
We’ll live in their records a hundred years hence!

Let Death the full banquet of Pleasure invade,
Confus’d in oblivion, let Beauties be laid;
But Honour, proud Honour! ascends from the grave;
Her spirit still breathes from the dust of the Brave!
The flame which enrich’d them shall never expire,
New heroes shall feel it, new ages admire;
Still Britain in Britons shall find her defence,
And Glory surround her a thousand years hence!


A Welch Student’s Wish

To Annabella V..E

When ancient sages shew their wit
To prove the scheme of Nature fit,
 The argument they seize on,
“She bids the hoof and antler grace
The noblest of the savage race;
 And teaches us to reason.

But Beauty braves the hostile field,
She sways the sceptre—mocks the shield;
 ’Tis labour lost to wear one:
Prime ministers have begg’d her aid,
And Generalissimos obey’d,
 The whisper of a fair one.”

The rosy sire of song and jest
His laughing pupils thus addrest,
 Wise hints and maxims giving:
But Bella! can I join his lay?
For him ’twas easy to be gay.

 Anacreon had a living,
Then leave me in my straw-roof’d cot.
A Cambrian curate’s humble lot.
 No mitred pomp requiring:
Content may bless the thread-bare gown,
But Beauty seldom wears her crown
 With neither food nor firing.

But if yon church and white-wall’d dome
Where Peace and Science find a home,
 Should be my Fate’s donation;
May Famine from my shelves remove,
And may a gentle housewife prove
 The next good presentation!

May she with never-ceasing smiles
Well-measur’d chat and frugal toils
 From care and tatters save me;
Let Fortune bishoprics refuse—
But if she grants me what I chuse
 I’ll say to Fortune—AVE!


The Married Traveler’s Return

How sweet the hour to those who roam
 When many a weary wand’ring past,
Their tranquil fields and native home
 Salute their longing eyes at last!

In yonder lone wood many a spring,
 I jocund pass’d the live-long day;
The gay birds there have heard me sing
 As blithe, as innocent as they.

And see, he comes with eager bound,
 My dog his master lov’d to greet;
He wags, he crunches on the ground
 And fondly licks my wearied feet.

Poor Tray! how oft with faithful mark
 Hast thou betray’d the feather’d prey:
With sportive tricks and wanton bark,
 How oft beguil’d my weary way!

Perhaps the trees may yet display
 My Lucy’s name in yonder grove;
’Twas there—may blessings crown the day—
 My blushing Lucy bade me love!

How sweet the hour to those who roam
 When many a weary wand’ring past,
Their tranquil fields and native house
 Salute their longing eyes at last!


The Unmarried Traveler’s Return

A Parody of the Preceding

How sad the hour to those who roam,
 When many a weary wand’ring past,
No long-lov’d face, no cheerful home,
 Salutes their longing eyes at last!

Low lies the wood where many a spring,
 I gave to joy the transient day;
Where Fancy plumed her sportive wing,
 And short-liv’d Friendships claim’d their sway.

Low lies the roof where oft and long
 Rich Plenty spread her golden store;
Ah! where is now the social throng?
 Those joys, those friendships are no more!

Poor Tray! no more with eager bound
 He comes my lonely steps to join,
He pants, he crouches on the ground,
 His tearful eye solicits mine.

Perhaps some tree may yet display
 My Lucy’s name in yonder grove;
Frail record of departed days,
 Frail pledge of long-forgotten love!

Forgot—O no! my wounded heart
 Still with repentant anguish swells;
Still in my sad soul’s better part,
 My Lucy’s gentle image dwells.

For me a mother’s guardian eye,
 No more its tender vigil keeps;
Cold in the dust her relics lie,
 Beneath this turf my father sleeps!

No friends receive this wither’d hand,
 No friends the festive board prepare;
No wife with smiles and duty bland,
 No kindred spirit meets me there!

How sad the hour to those who roam,
 When many a weary wand’ring past,
No long-lov’d face, no cheerful home,
 Salutes their longing eyes at last!


The Philosopher’s Return

Yes, sweet is the hour when the Pilgrim returning,
Sees love and Felicity smile at his door;
While brightly the tape of Hymen is burning,
And long-treasur’d Friendship enriches his store!
Like him I return not! But why should I sigh?
Brisk Fancy shall banquets and resources supply;
Tho’ lonely my cottage, its sweets are my own,
My peace is my wealth, and my freedom my throne.

But when the keen stings of indifference meet him,
When first the rich visions of friendship depart,
When clos’d is the eye which once sparkled to greet him,
And fled is the smile which gave heav’n to his heart,
Ah! then let the exile his ruin deplore!
Then deep is the wound—but I feel it no more!
Since few are my riches, unfetter’d I roam,
A soul without stain is tranquillity’s home.

Where now is the spell that to Lucy allured me?
Where now is the beauty I lived to adore?
’Tis past! shall I murmur if reason has cured me,
Or mourn that a meteor deceives me no more?
Let Beauty still flutter in Life’s peevish morn,
Let Love like the rainbow its vapours adorn;
But who would the fugitive insect enchain,
Or bid the frail rainbow for ever remain?

Or why the cold shadows of mem’ry pursuing,
Why, days of my youth, should I languish for you?
For life, like the phœnix, shall rise from its ruin,
To Beauty immortal and joys ever new.
No more for the downfall of friendship I mourn,
Its root is enrich’d tho’ its branches are shorn;
Still, still in my bosom I feel it extend,
The world is my palace, all nature my friend.

In Life’s little warfare contentedly neuter,
I ask not for rapture, I shrink not from pain;
I cherish the present, I welcome the future,
But pleasures departed I woo not again.
Fond Lovers! ye tell me my bosom is cold,
But ice may the purest of spirits enfold;
In Lapland’s chill caverns the amethyst glows,
The olive may bloom amid Appennine snows!

Yes, sweet is the hour to the Pilgrim returning,
When Reason’s clear sunbeam illumines his breast;
Contentment and Truth from adversity learning,
Religion his tutor, and Quiet his guest!
Where’er fickle fortune his pilgrimage guides,
Brisk Fancy her banquets and pleasures provides;
New friendships shall greet him, new Edens extend;
His soul is his haven, all nature his friend!


The Musical Philosopher’s Apology

(For an Harmonic Society)


A truce to the flatt’ry of courtiers and belles!
The music of love in its overture dwells:
Let daughters of Eve their prerogative tracee
From true social Harmony’s fix’d thorough-bass,
But we who their airs and capriccios disdain,
Know dull thorough-bass is but harmony’s chain.


They tell us no sounds ever pleasure impart
Till varied with spirit and lengthen’d with art;
They whisper, since jarring duettos we fear,
No concord is perfect till discords are near;
But tell us, ye lovers of conjugal jingle,
What discord can be in a note that is single?


What signifies telling how reck’nings perplex us?
How ministers tax and how laundresses vex us?
They say tho’ contented we sit with our cat,
Our movements are minor, our moods are all flat
But often ’tis found in the conjugal scheme,
The flats may be double—the sharps are extreme!


They say the grave Bass would be surly and faint
Without the brisk treble’s accompaniment;
They tell us kind Nature when Reason was young,
Meant woman to govern, and gave her a tongue
Of musical engines the first and the best—


Since Life’s little fuge no Da Capo affords,
Why cross it with bars and confound it with chords?
Must Care in the concert still taking a part,
Fill with crotchets the head and with quavers the heart?
Tho’ Chloe cries “fie!” and tho’ Strephon says “O no!”
The dead march of Hymen is worse than a solo.


Philosophers! tune all your heart-strings to glee,
Let honest content be your natural key:
Our days and our years are but easy rondeaus;
Piano they open, piano they close.
While Joy leads the band the Bottle beats time,
Let others chuse Beauty, we chuse the Sublime!
But when, tell us when does it come to a rest?


On the Marriage of Earl Moira to the Countess of Loudoun


ERIN to SCOTIA said and smil’d
“A pledge of amity I tender;
To thee my bravest son I yield,
To me thy fairest maid surrender.
Valour and Truth to me belong,
Benevolence as heav’n unbounded;
Faith, in the raging tempest strong,
And Fame, with cloudless light surrounded.


“The eloquence of Love is thine,
Thy gifts are Wisdom, Wit and Beauty;
Now let our richest treasures join,—
To guard the fair is Valour’s duty.”
Said SCOTIA, “Take the envied dame!
But mark! no glory I surrender;
My pride, my blessings grace her name,
That sacred name shall still attend her!”


Proud ALBION heard her sisters plead—
“Unite!” she said, “unite for ever!
Fate, Love, and Wisdom have decreed
ERIN and SCOTIA shall not sever!
To grace and guard my favor’d land,
Your noblest names unite in story—”
They smil’d—and now a sacred band
Joins SCOTIA’s bliss and ERIN’s glory!


Occasional Hymn

(For a Benevolent Society)

Almighty Love call’d into birth
The spangl’d heavens and verdant earth,
Sheds blessings round from pole to pole,
And cheers and animates the whole.

How blest are they whose bosoms prove
The rich delights of Social Love!
In whom approving Heav’n surveys,
Its brightest image and its praise?

O best of Fathers! Brothers! Friends!
For you our daily pray’r ascends!
May Sorrow to your hearts be known
By social sympathy alone!


Second Occasional Hymn

Sung by the Freemasons’ Orphans

When faint and comfortless we stray’d
In Poverty’s neglected shade,
Expos’d to error, want and woe,
And vice, a still more deadly foe,
Your fost’ring care our bosoms cheer’d,
Our infant minds with science rear’d:
For you our hands to Heav’n we raise
With grateful hearts in pray’r and praise!

Long may your bosoms doubly know
The joys your bounteous hands bestow!
Long, long thro’ years revolving prove
The blessings of Fraternal Love;
Prove that to hearts humane is giv’n
A foretaste of the bliss of Heav’n!


For you our hands to Heav’n we raise,
With grateful hearts in pray’r and praise!


Third Occasional Hymn


Sublimer than the choral song,
Assembled Seraphim prolong,
Sublimer homage, purer praise,
Whitehanded Charity conveys;
As, while before her shrine we bend,
She bids the Orphan’s sorrows end!


To Heav’n more sacred and more dear,
In Gratitude’s ambrosial tear;
More blest the softly-soothing voice,
Which bids the Orphan’s heart rejoice,
While thus our artless hymns ascend,
And thus our pray’rs with blessings blend!


Spirit of Him whose high command,
Gave Charity her empire bland,
 Here form they bright abode!
Bid those whose bounteous bosoms prove,
“His Love is Heav’n, his heav’n is Love,”
 Feel and confess their God!



To the Hon. Colonel C.....n

Supposed to have been written on a recent Occasion

“From that inglorious—that detested shade
By frenzied guilt its transient refuge made,
A Brother calls!—to quench its final flame
And heal with blood a sister’s wounded name.”
Is this our refuge?—Ah! in what retreat
Shall Guilt, despairing Guilt, a refuge meet?
Here unrelenting fiends their victims claim,
Heart-fix’d Remorse and never-dying Shame.
Seek’st thou revenge?—behold thy banquet near—
Urge not her speed—Revenge is busy here!
Far keener wounds our bleeding bosoms feel
Than the brief vengeance of destroying steel:
Can guiltless blood those rankling wounds assuage?
Is Honour ransom’d by a murd’rers rage?
Deep sunk enough in Passion’s turbid wave,
From depths past hope a fallen victim save!
Close the dire havock by his crimes begun,
Nor add their last—worst prey—a slaughter’d son!
Yet spare me not—thy exil’d sister spare!
Its ruthless author should her anquish share-
Shall he who crush’d the loveliness he prais’d,
Grasp’d to destroy—and blighted while he gaze’d,
Seal with a brother’s blood her hopeless doom,
Or, unrepenting, seek a hated tomb!—
And shall that hand which in a deathful hour
Rais’d to thy gen’rous breast the blighted flow’r,
To Pagan laws of savage vengeance yield,
And challenge Fate in murder’s impious field?
But deem not this a dream! offended Heav’dn
Seems the base bribe by savage vengeance giv’n:
Shall man affrighted Nature’s scourge prolong?
Heap guilt on guilt and balance wrong with wrong?
Heav’n, mild in Justice, spares the sinner’s breath,
And asks Repentance, not Revenge and Death!
“A traitor well may act a coward’s part,”—
Indignant answers thy mistaken heart:
’Tis bravery to live when Life is pain—
Death were my bliss—oblivion were my gain—
Life can no solace to Despair supply,
And did the grave protect, ’twere heav’n to die!
Take then my life—the worthless bribe seize,
Thy wounded peace, thy tortur’d pride appease—
On this polluted breast thy rage record,
It seeks—it welcomes the avenging sword.
Well pleased its load of anguish to resign,
It asks the friendly stroke—yet not from thine!
From thee Remorse my trembling hand retains—
Despair, dark, dire despair! my spirit chains.
Go, gallant Soldier! in a nobler cause
Avenge lost Faith and violated Laws!
Thy country calls thee—in yon bleeding Land
Fame, Freedom, Justice wait thy conqu’ring hand.
Once there, like thee, by glowing Honour led,
Truth nerv’d my arm and laurels crown’d my head—
Blest, tenfold blest!—if in her lap repos’d
There my frail spirit had its labours clos’d!
A patriot’s praise, a parent’s blissful tear
Had grac’d my dirge and gemm’d my early bier;
A wife’s pure lip had press’d the storied urn,
And bid her babes their father’s virtue learn:
No Mother torn from Honour’s shelt’ring breats
Had curst th’ apostate friend—the faithless guest!
No babes forsaken mourn’d their hated name,
No blushing senates eterniz’d their shame:
Nor thou, my sire! with double anguish bent,
Sought the sad refuge by oblivion lent!
O fatal force of passion unrepress’d!
Still the fierce venom triumphs in my breast—
While that meek eye, once Love’s unsullied shrine,
Dimm’d with repentant tears, reproaches mine;
While Virtue, torn unwilling from her throne,
Looks back and sighs for treasures once her own,
And only hers! content and holy pride,
Love twin with Peace, and cares to joy allied:
Still while my soul th’ eternal wreck surveys
Remorse recoils, but Love returns to gaze!
As ruthless demons in the tempest low’r,
And view with gloomy joy their fatal pow’r!
Love! shadowy idol! pow’r in madness priz’d!
Still grasp’d yet hated—worshipp’d, yet despis’d!
For thee I yield whate’er ennobles life—
My fame—my country, children, father, wife—
Wife! name once lov’d, and honour’d now in vain,
Dare these polluted lips the sound profane?
Ah! happiest he whom from his hut obscure
No pageant calls—no tinsel joys allure!
Whose humble and domestic peace endears,
Whose scanty board the smile of welcome cheers—
The smile sincere! the welcome unalloy’d!
By no false doubt, no wand’ring wish destroy’d:
Far from that throng where wrapp’d in Pleasure’s guise
Triumphant Vice her nectar’d cup supplies;
Where Fashion’s slaves the reign of Riot hail,
Stab Virtue’s guard and rend her sacred veil:
While Beauty’s syren smile invites her foe,
And FRIENDSHIP gives, and HONOUR masks the blow.
Honour! vain vassal to a tyrant grown!
Infirm usurper of Religion’s throne!
False Pilot, tost on Passion’s stormy flood,
Or borne triumphant on a sea of blood!
Rest, busy fiend! thy bleeding prey resign—
Enough of victims load they baseless shrine!
For me in vain they feeble Pharos burn’d—
He flies from Honour who has Reason spurn’d.
Thou, too obedient to a Phantom’s call,
Too rash avenger of a sister’s fall,
Spare the last relic of her mangled pence,
From blood, a brother’s blood her soul release:
Her babes—ah, there her widow’d bosom bleeds!
There every pang a keener pang succeeds—
Shall they, bereav’d of Kindred’s dearest claim,
Brand with still deeper curse a mother’s name?
For them she pleads—extend they gen’rous care,
Teach their frail feet to shun the deathful snare.
Tell them how bright in Duty’s sphere she shone,
Clad by the Graces in the magic zone;
In innocence how fair! in bliss how high!
Heav’n in her heart, its sun-beam in her eye,
Till Caution slept, and from her fenceless soul,
Its gem past price a murd’rous spoiler stole.
Tell them what pangs the murd’rous spoiler wrung,
What vengeful scorpions round his pillow clung;
Tell them his doom!—a path by demons trod,
Abhorr’d by Man, abandon’d by his GOD!

  1. Written on leaving Scotland at thirteen years of age. 
  2. In 1408 and 1745. 
  3. The faithful and eloquent Wentworth, Earl Strafford, first appeared at York. Lord Clifford was the most active royalist of the 15th century. 
  4. Ancient kings of Yorkshire, then called Deiri. 
  5. Pomfret. 
  6. Skipton Castle, built by Robert de Romeville soon after the conquest. 
  7. Suggested by a Secular Song published in 1700.