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Poems and Translations

Miscellanies or Occasional Trifles

To the Hon. Miss C. on Her First Introduction at Court, Feb. 16, 1806

Does sullen Winter still delay?
Can favor’d mortals feel his sway,
When Beauty, Nature’s better sun,
Its radiant empire has begun,
And fair Creation’s fairest flow’r
Enfolds to grace the envied hour?
But Nature, frugal and benign,
Forbids an useless light to shine;
Imperial Fashion’s laws ordain,
Two Suns together shall not reign;
Till Summer’s envious pomp decays,
She hides resplendent Beauty’s blaze,
Reserving her divinest pow’r
To cheer the dim and frigid hour;
Then bids her sacred flame supply
The warmth these sullen climes deny.
From Summer’s bright and busy day,
Insidious Cupid steals away,
But pleas’d in Winter’s lap he sits
To laugh and chide and weep by fits;
And if his glitt’ring toys are new,
May stay, perhaps, a month or two.
Thus, gentle Ann, ’tis kind and wise,
First on the wond’ring world to rise;
When angry Winter’s stern controul
Arrests the desolated soul;
When only Beauty’s roses bloom,
And only Friendship gilds the gloom.
But you, Maternal Wisdom’s care,
Should prove the wisest of the fair;
Teach short-liv’d Beauty to maintain,
A longer, brighter, nobler reign;
Bid her with Virtue at her side,
Thro’ all the varying year preside,
Enrich ambrosial Summer’s smile,
Or Winter’s iron hand beguile;
And bid Creation’s Lord confess
Her empire never should be less.


To Two Sisters [1]

Well, now twice twenty years are o’er
(I almost fear, twice twenty-four)
Since first in ditties soft and quaint
I welcom’d Beauty’s patron-saint;
Talk’d of the muses and the loves,
And won a hundred pair of gloves.
Those days are past—no matter when;
To Beauty I devote my pen:
Fair Sisters! think not Love again,
Conducts me in his blindfold train;
These eyes are dim, this brow is hoar,
The spells of Beauty bind no more:
No humble strain your pity seeks,
A prophet, not a lover speaks.
Tho’ touch’d by Fashion’s magic wand,
First in her smiling train you stand,
A time shall come to teach those eyes
And old and faithful heart to prize;
When Fashion’s wizard pow’rs decline,
And those bright tresses change like mine.
Yes, when your cheeks’ once-envied red
Is like this wintry season dead;
When Pleasure’s soul-dissolving ray
Fades like the summer sun’s away;
When Love itself, perverse and old,
Grows as the touch of Winter, cold;
Life’s brightest star shall never leave
The twilight of its placid eve,
If Reason welcomes to your shrine,
An old and faithful heart like mine!


The Favourites [2]

(See Anacreon’s 8th Ode)

Anacreon, grown austere and old,
Dislik’d the tales his Pigeon told;
And swore to Venus, in a pet,
Such treachery he never met.
The Goddess of the favor’d isle
Received her plaintiff with a smile—
“What asks my faithful servant now?
That Pigeon was my pride, I vow!
With such an eye, and shape and grace—
Sir, ’tis the loveliest of the race!”
The Sage replied—”this praise is fit,
But then your Pigeon is a wit!
And wit or eloquence to some men
Is quite a pest in birds or women—”
“Anacreon!” said the queen of Beauty,
“To praise my fav’rites is your duty;
Now, tho’ my Pigeon’s worth is rare,
A Partridge merits half my care;
Take, then, your choice; I give you either,
But celebrate them both or neither.”
The doubtful question thus decided,
For both her fav’rites she provided;
The Pigeon live in golden chains,
The Partridge claims her Poet’s strains.



On a Silver Tea-chest, Presented to the Rt. Hon. Lady C.

Where Taste and Elegance preside,
With soft domestic Peace allied,
My presence gives Good humour birth,
Brisk Eloquence and polish’d Mirth:
Then sparkling on the social board,
Fair Friendship’s nectar I afford;
Bid Wit and Freedom take their places,
And crown the banquet of the Graces.
There let me chuse my envied stand!
There wait the touch of Beauty’s hand!
There, rich in China’s fragrant treasure,
Prolong the hour of social leisure:
And ever may Maria see,
Friendship and Pleasure’s pledge in me!



Occasioned by a very accomplished lady challenging the writer to prove the power of the mind’s ear, by composing without an instrument.

No, not to Fancy’s eye alone,
Is Pleasure’s purest banquet known;
The richest bliss, the softest spell,
In Fancy’s ear delights to dwell.
That magic eye can only trace
The harmony of form and face;
But sounds which harmonize the mind
Are to her faithful ear consign’d.
Fond Fancy! let thy magic eye
Maria’s form and face supply:
Her gentle smile thine eye shall bless,
But let thine EAR her voice possess;
Then all that wit and wisdom give,
Shall in thine ear unite and live.


To a Young Lady on Her Return to Copenhagen


A long but not a sad adieu
Sweet Pilgrim! let our hearts renew!
Go like thy kindred dove and prove
A harbinger of peace and love;
But from thy Cimbria’s blood-stain’d tow’rs,
Thy fancy send to Albion’s bow’rs:
For in they warm and gentle heart
Thy frozen Cimbria claims no part;
But happy Albion’s clime serene
Is in thy smiling aspect seen:
Its lustre in thine eye we find,
Its beauty in thy open mind.

On my smooth life’s secluded stream,
Thy friendship shed a passing beam;
Short as the glance the sun bestows
On Cimbria’s subject world of snows:
But like that sun’s inspiring ray,
Reserv’d to bless a future day.
Oft may such gleams of bliss illume
Our quiet journey to the tomb!
And when these golden gleams are past,
Long may their rich reflection last,
Till in that happier world we rest,
When Friendship is no passing guest!


The Birthday

January 14

“Haste, Genii! quite the realms of air!
Awake, your treasure claims your care,
 Your favor’d charge attend!
You that the roving zephyrs guide,
You that on sportive moon-beams ride,

They hear! In silver clouds embrac’d,
On wings of painted air they haste,
 Their long-lov’d task to share;
Soft round their sleeping favorite’s bed,
Unseen ambrosial dews they shed,
 And heav’nly gifts prepare.

Some to inferior cares consign’d,
With amber tresses lightly twin’d,
 Sly Cupid’s snare compose;
Some to enrich her polish’d cheek,
The lily’s purest tincture seek,
 Or rob the glowing rose.

Ambrosia sipp’d from op’ning flow’rs,
Now bath’d in summer’s balmy show’rs,
 Her damask lip they lend;
Her brow’s majestic arch they trace,
And bid the witcheries of grace,
 Her lambent smile attend.

Last for her eyes, from Cynthia’s light,
One piercing ray, supremely bright,
 They steal—with useless care!
Already in those sable shrines,
Proud Beauty all her power combines,
 And claims her empire there!

“Like thee (they sing) serene and sweet,
Like thee with nature’s gifts replete,
 The infant year shall prove;
Be thou of happiness possest,
Pure as thy envied mother’s breast,
 Unbounded as her love!

“High in the register of time,
Imperial sway and souls sublime,
 Have former Margarets plac’d;
Far from their perils and their pride,
In thee to native worth allied,
 May all their charms be trac’d!

“For thee may Denmark’s sov’reign grace,
Navarre’s keen with and angle face,
 With Anjou’s fire combine;
May the soft magic of Valois [3],
Her milder sway and purer joys,
 ’Midst Fortune’s gifts be thine!”

“Like her by white-rob’d Honour led,
The tranquil path securely tread,
 To Virtue’s rich reward;
And when the grave thy debt shall claim,
Another Margaret’s spotless name,
 May smiling Heaven record!”


Inscribed on the Portrait of an Infant God-daughter

Born May 8th

To gentle Spring we owe thy birth!
Thrice thirty times with welcome words,
May gentle Spring return and see,
Her best and fairest gift to thee!
Long may thy velvet cheek display
The roses of thy parent May;
Already in thy op’ning grace,
Her love-inviting pow’r we trace!
May Summer on thy heart bestow
Her mild, benign, and constant glow;
There still may innocence prevail
Such as her own ambrosial gale.
Then, like a friend serene and sage,
May Autumn bless thy later age;
Then may thy wit and knowledge ripe
Of fruitful Autumn be the type.
May Winter next, a matron grey,
Teach thee to honour life’s decay;
And in thy spotless bosom store
The comforts of her season hoar.
Like her, belov’d one! may thy care
Protect a race of blossoms fair;
Like her, to rich perfection bring
The glories of a future Spring!


Enigma, Found in a Lady’s Instrument

 Fair ladies! humbly I present ye
A faithful Cavalier Servantè;
My wit, I grant, is little known,
But who can rival me in ton?
Ton, which by general convention
Claims all a modern dame’s attention!
No honest blush with rosy grace
Adorns my fashionable face;
But ever thro’ the changing year
It shines unspotted, smooth and clear.
With lungs of brass and nerves of steel
I scorn to reason or to feel;
Yet if by graceless hands opprest,
Deep groans escape my ample breast.
Tho’ neither eye, nor brain, nor heart
Is of my faultless frame a part,
No modern swain was ever found
More humbly to your service bound.
To all your whims and airs resign’d
I answer notes of every kind;
Trust to your management my keys,
And speak as seldom as you please;
But in a voice so rich and clear,
’Tis magic to the feasted ear!
As ancients thought and poets tell
“None but a God can speak so well.”
Has wealth, you ask, my virtues crown’d?
Alas! my wealth is only sound!
Yet twenty slaves in sable state
Stand marshall’d at my spacious gate:
And twenty more in liv’ry white
Attend your orders day and night.
At home, your solace and your treasure,
Abroad, a harbinger of pleasure,
Still let me try my envied pow’r,
On me bestow the vacant hour!
Not useless if my silver voice
Bids one dejected heart rejoice;
And you, fair Ladies, deign to find
In me the music of the mind!

N.B. Written at eleven years of age.


Impromptu on Lindley Murray’s Works

 Still when the fiends of war insatiate rage,
A Murray’s valour claims the crown of fame:
 Still in the record of her brightest page
Imperial Justice stamps a Murray’s name:

 Yet known too late, or lost in envious gloom,
Oft to the dust her guiding star descends,
 Accusing spectres haunt the warrior’s tomb,
The tear-stained cypress with his laurel blends.

 Far happier he, who taught by modest Truth
Wins to the list’ning heart his flow’ry way:
 Bids Faith, meek vestal! guard the fires of youth,
And drooping Nature own her gentle sway.

 Thrice blest on earth! by smiling Virtue led
Science and Peace shall gild his easy hours;
 With bounteous hand their richest banquet spread,
And crown their herald’s placid brow with flow’rs.

 Thrice blest in Heav’n! when from her sov’reign sent
Eternal Mercy hails her chosen son;
 While chasten’d souls their guardian pilot greet,
And share th’ immortal bliss his precepts won?


On an Ice-plant

 Pale hoary stranger! in a secret shade
Like thee I sprung from blighting blasts secure:
For Fame too low, for avarice too poor,
 But not like thee of social haunts afraid:
 Not to the dwelling of stern night condemn’d,
Thankful I hail’d the mild and cloudless light
Of pleasures’ sun in youth’s meridian bright,
 And friendship’s purest pearls my bosom gemm’d;
 Like morning dew-drops, soon renew’d again:
But when, like thee, my silver locks I hide
On the dim margin of life’s frozen tide,
 May some soft trace of brighter days remain!
As thy rich leaves with ruby lustre shine,
May the warm tints of hope, the bloom of peace be mine!

  1. Written at the request of an old friend. 
  2. On Mrs. P.g..on (lately married) and Miss P..rt...ge. 
  3. Margaret of Valois, wife to Henry the Great of France, was a pattern of meekness, prudence, and conjugal affection. Margaret of Navarre was the most celebrated Beauty, Wit, and Poet of her age. Queen Margaret of Denmark’s talents, and Margaret of Anjou’s heroism as a wife and mother, are well known.