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These, and more, in courtly lays,
Many an aching heart shall praise.
Happy thrice, and thrice again,
Happiest he of happy men,
Who, in courtship greatly sped,
Wins the damsel to his bed,
Bears the virgin-prize away,
Counting life one nuptial day:
For the dark-brown dusk of hair,
Shadowing thick thy forehead fair,
Down the veiny temples growing,
O'er the sloping shoulders flowing,
And the smoothly pencil'd brow,
Mild to him in every vow,
And the fringed lid below,
Thin as thinnest blossoms blow,
And the hazely-lucid eye,
Whence heart-winning glances fly,
And that cheek of health, o'erspread
With soft-blended white and red,
And the witching smiles which break
Round those lips, which sweetly speak,
And thy gentleness of mind,
Gentle from a gentle kind,
These endowments, heavenly dower!
Brought him in the promised hour,
Shall for ever bind him to thee,
Shall renew him still to woo thee,
WAKE the British harp again,
To a sad melodious strain ;
Wake the harp, whose every string,
When Halifax resign'd his breath,
Accused inexorable Death;
For I, once more, must in affliction sing,
One song of sorrow more bestow,
The burden of a heart o'ercharged with woe:
Yet, O my soul, if aught may bring relief,
Full many grieving, shall applaud thy grief,
The pious verse that Cowper does deplore,
Whom all the boasted powers of verse cannot
Not to her, his fondest care,
Not to his loved offspring fair,
Nor his country ever dear,
From her, from them, from Britain torn:
With her, with them, does Britain mourn:
His name, from every eye, calls forth a tear;
And, intermingling sighs with praise,
All good men wish the number of his days
Had been to him twice told, and twice again,
In that seal'd book, where all things which pertain
To mortal man, whatever things befall,
Are from eternity confirm'd, beyond recall:
Where every loss, and every gain,
Where every grief, and every joy,
Every pleasure, every pain,
Each bitter, and each sweet alloy,
To us uncertain though they flow,
Are pre-ordain'd, and fix'd, above.
Too wretched state, did man foreknow
Those ills, which man cannot remove!
Vain is wisdom for preventing
What the wisest live lamenting.
Hither sent, who knows the day
When he shall be call'd away?
Various is the term assign'd:
An hour, a day, some months, or years,
The breathing soul on earth appears;
But through the swift succession of mankind,
Swarm after swarm! a busy race,
The strength of cities, or of courts the grace,
Or who in camps delight, or who abide
Diffused o'er lands, or float on oceans wide,
Of them, though many here long lingering dwell,
And see their children's children, yet, how few
Here we come, and hence we go,
Shadows passing to and fro,
Seen a while, forgotten soon:
But thou, to fair distinction born,
Thou, Cowper, beamy in the morn
Of life, still brightening to the pitch of noon,
Scarce verging to the steep decline,
Hence summon'd while thy virtues radiant shine,
Thou, singled out the fosterling of fame,
Secure of praise, nor less secured from blame,
Shalt be remember'd with a fond applause,
So long as Britons own the same indulgent laws.
United in one public weal,
Rejoicing in one freedom, all,
Cowper's hand applied the seal,
And levell'd the partition-wall.
The chosen seeds of great events
Are thinly sown, and slowly rise:
And time the harvest-scythe presents,
In season, to the good and wise:
Hymning to the harp my story,
Fain would I record his glory.
Pouring forth, with heavy heart,
Truth unleaven'd, pure of art,
Like the hallow'd bard of
Who chanted in authentic rhymes
The worthies of the good old times,
Ere living vice in verse was varnish'd o'er,
And virtue died without a song.
Support of friendless right, to powerful wrong
A check, behold him in the judgment seat!
Twice, there, approved, in righteousness complete:
In just awards, how gracious! tempering law
With mercy, and reproving with a winning awe.
Hear him speaking, and you hear
Reason tuneful to the ear!
Lips with thymy language sweet,
Distilling on the hearer's mind
The balm of wisdom, speech refined;
Celestial gifts!—Oh, when the nobles meet,
When next, thou sea-surrounded land,
Thy nobles meet at Brunswick's high command:
In vain they shall the charmer's voice desire!
In vain those lips of eloquence require!
That mild conviction which the soul assails
By soft alarms, and with a gentle force prevails!
To such persuasion, willing yields
The liberal mind, in freedom train'd,
Freedom, which in crimson'd fields,
By hardy toil, our fathers gain'd,
Inheritance of long descent!
The sacred pledge so dearly prized
By that bless'd spirit we lament:
Grief-easing lays, by grief devised,
Plaintive numbers, gently flowing,
Sooth the sorrows to him owing!
Early on his growing heir,
Stamp what time may not impair
As he grows; that coming years,
Or youthful pleasures, or the vain
Gigantic phantom of the brain,
Ambition! breeding monstrous hopes and fears,