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My heart was withered,--and my heart
Had ever been the world to me:
And love had been the first fond dream,
Whose life was in reality.
I had sprung from my solitude,
Like a young bird upon the wing
To meet the arrow; so I met
My poisoned shaft of suffering.
And as that bird, with drooping crest:
And broken wing, will seek his nest,
But seek in vain : so vain I sought
My pleasant home of song and thought.
There was one spell upon my brain,
Upon my pencil, on my strain ;
But one face to my colours came ;
My chords replied to but one name
Lorenzo !-all seemed vowed to thee,
To passion, and to misery !
PHEBE DAWSON. Two summers since, I saw, at Lammas Fair, The sweetest flower that ever blossom’d there, When Phæbe Dawson gaily cross'd the Green, In haste to see and happy to be seen : Her air, her manners, all who admired ; Courteous though coy, and gentle though retired ; The joy of youth and health her eyes display'd, And ease of heart her every look convey'd ; A native skill her simple robes express’d, As with untutor'd elegance she dress’d;
The lads around admired so fair a sight,
And Phæbe felt, and felt she gave, delight.
Admirers soon of every age she gain'd,
Her beauty won them and her worth retain'd;
Envy itself could no contempt display,
They wish'd her well, whom yet they wish'd away.
Correct in thought, she judged a servant's place
Preserved a rustic beauty from disgrace ;
But yet on Sunday-eve, in freedom's hour,
With secret joy she felt that beauty's power,
When some proud bliss upon the heart would steal,
That, poor or rich, a beauty still must feel.-
At length, the youth, ordain'd to move her
Before the swains with bolder spirit press'd ;
With looks less timid made his passion known,
And pleased by manners most unlike her own;
Loud though in love, and confident though young ;
Fierce in his air, and voluble of tongue ;
By trade a tailor, though, in scorn of trade,
He served the 'Squire, and brush'd the coat he
made : Yet now, would Phæbe her consent afford, Her slave alone, again he'd mount the board ; With her should years of growing love be spent, And growing wealth :—she sigh'd and look'd
consent. Now, through the lane, up hill, and 'cross the
green, (Seen by but few, and blushing to be seenDéjected, thoughtful, anxious, and afraid,) Led by the lover, walk'd the silent maid : Slow through the meadows roved they, many a mile Toy'd by each bank and trifled at each stile ;
Where, as he painted every blissful view,
And highly colour'd what he strongly drew,
The pensive damsel, prone to tender fears,
Dimm’d the false prospect with prophetic tears.-
Thus pass'd th' allotted hours, till lingering late,
The lover loiter'd at the master's gate ;
There he pronounced adieu ! and yet would stay,
Till chidden-soothed—entreated-forced away ;
He would of coldness, though indulged, complain,
And oft retire and oft return again;
When, if his teasing vex'd her gentle mind,
The grief assumed, compell’d her to be kind !
For he would proof of plighted kindness crave,
That she resented first and then forgave,
And to his grief and penance yielded more
Than his presumption had required before.-
Ah! fly temptation, youth ; refrain ! refrain,
Each yielding maid and each presuming swain !
Lo ! now with red rent cloak and bonnet black, And torn green gown loose hanging at her back, One who an infant in her arms sustains, And seems in patience striving with her pains ; Pinch'd are her looks, as one who pines for bread, Whose cares are growing and whose hopes are
Pale her parch'd lips, her heavy eyes sunk low,
And tears unnoticed from their channels flow;
Serene her manner, till some sudden pain
Frets the meek soul, and then she's calm again :-
Her broken pitcher to the pool she takes,
And every step with cautious terror makes;
For not alone that infant in her arms,
But nearer cause, her anxious soul alarms
With water burthen'd, then she picks her way,
Slowly and cautious, in the clinging clay:
Till, in mid-green, she trusts a place unsound,
And deeply plunges in th' adhesive ground ;
Thence, but with pain, her slender foot she takes,
While hope the mind as strength the frame for-
For when so full the cup of sorrow grows,
Add but a drop, it instantly o'erflows.
And now her path but not her peace she gains,
Safe from her task, but shivering with her pains ;
Her home she reaches, open leaves the door,
And placing first her infant on the floor,
She bares her bosom to the wind, and sits,
And sobbing struggles with the rising fits:
In vain, they come, she feels th' inflating grief,
That shuts the swelling bosom from relief ;
That speaks in feeble cries a soul distress'd,
Or the sad laugh that cannot be repress'd.
The neighbour-matron leaves her wheel and flies
With all the aid her poverty supplies ;
Unfee'd, the calls of Nature she obeys,
Not led by profit, not allured by praise ;
And waiting long, till these contentions cease,
She speaks of comfort, and departs in peace.
Friend of distress! the mourner feels thy aid, She cannot pay thee, but thou wilt be paid.
But who this child of weakness, want, and care ? 'Tis Phæbe Dawson, pride of Lammas Fair ; Who took her lover for his sparkling eyes, Expressions warm, and love-inspiring lies : Compassion first assail'd her gentle heart, For all his suffering, all his bosom's smart :
“ And then his prayers ! they would a savage
" And win the coldest of the sex to love :".
But ah! too soon his looks success declared,
Too late her loss the marriage-rite repaired ;
The faithless flatterer then his vows forgot,
A captious tyrant or a noisy sot :
If present, railing, till he saw her paid'd ;
If absent, spending what their labours gain'd ;
Till that fair form in want and sickness pined,
And hope and comfort fled that gentle mind.
Then fly temptation, youth ; resist, refrain !
Nor let me preach for ever and in vain !
This was the ruler of the land,
When Athens was the land of fame;
This was the light that led the band,
When each was like a living flame ;
The centre of earth's noblest ring,
Of more than men, the more than king.
Yet not by fetter, nor by spear,
His sovereignty was held or won : Feared-but alone as freemen fear ;
Loved-but as freemen love alone;