Thomas Gent.

Poetic Sketches online

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How hard for him, the stranger's boon to crave,
And live to want the mite his bounty gave!

TO .........

Come, Jenny, let me sip the dew,
That on those coral lips doth play,
One kiss would every care subdue,
And bid my weary soul be gay.

For surely, thou wert form'd by love
To bless the suffrer's parting sigh;
In pity then, my griefs remove,
And on that bosom let me die!


Ah! who is he by Cynthia's gleam
Discern'd, the statue of distress:
Weeping beside the willow'd stream
That bathes the woodland wilderness?

Why talks he to the idle air?
Why, listless, at his length reclin'd,
Heaves he the groan of deep despair,
Responsive to the midnight wind?

Speak, gentle shepherd! tell me why?
- Sir! he has lost his wife, they say -
Of what disorder did she die?
- Lord, sir! of none - she ran away.



Sweet are the hours when roseate spring
With health and joy salutes the day,
When zephyr, borne on wanton wing,
Soft wispering 'wakes the blushing May:
Sweet are the hours, yet not so sweet
As when my blue-eyed maid I meet,
And hear her soul-entrancing tale,
Sequester'd in the shadowy vale.
The mellow horn's long-echoing notes
Startle the morn commingling strong;
At eve, the harp's wild music floats,
And ravish'd silence drinks the song;
Yet sweeter is the song of love,
When Emma's voice enchants the grove,
While listening sylphs repeat the tale,
Sequester'd in the silent vale.


Stranger! if thou e'er did'st love,
If nature in thy bosom glows,
A Minstrel, rude, may haply move,
Thine heart to sigh for Anna's woes.

Lo! beneath the humble tomb,
Obscure the luckless maiden sleeps;
Round it pity's flowerets bloom,
O'er it memory fondly weeps.

And ever be the tribute paid!
The warm heart's sympathetic flow:
Richer by far, ill-fated maid!
Than all the shadowy pomp of woe.

The shadowy pomp to thee denied.
While pity bade thy spirit rest:
While superstition scowl'd beside,
And vainly bade it not be blest.

Ah! could I with unerring truth,
Inspir'd by memory's magic power,
Pourtray thee, grac'd in ripening youth,
With new enchantment, every hour;

When fortune smil'd, and hope was young,
And hail'd thee like the bounteous May,
Renewing still thy steps among
The faded flowers of yesterday.

All plaintive, then my lute should sound,
While fancy sigh'd thy form to see;
The list'ning maids should weep around,
And swains lament thy fate with me.

And, Stranger, thou who hear'st the tale,
By soft infection taught to mourn,
Would'st wet with tears the primrose pale,
That blooms beside her sylvan urn.

For she was fair as forms of love,
Oft by the 'rapt enthusiast seen,
Who slumbers midst the myrtle grove,
With spring's unfolding blossoms green.

All eloquent, her eyes express'd
Her heart to each fine feeling true:
For in their orbs did pity rest,
Suffusing soft their beamy blue.

And silence, pleas'd, his reign resign'd.
Whene'er he heard her vocal tongue;
And grief in slumbers sweet reclin'd,
As on his ear its accents hung.

But vain the charms that grac'd the maid,
The eye where pity lov'd to reign,
The form where fascination play'd,
The voice that breath'd enchantment, vain!

Unequal, all their syren power,
To win from fate it's frown away:
When Bertram came in luckless hour
To sigh, to flatter, to betray!

He came, inform'd in every art,
That makes th'incautious virgin weep:
Beguiles the unsuspecting heart,
And lulls mistrust to silken sleep.

His tale she heard, nor thought the while,
That falshood such a tale could tell:
That dark deceit could e'er defile,
The tongue that talk'd of truth so well.

He woo'd, he wept, 'till all was won,
Then, as the spring-born zephyrs fly,
He fled, he left her, lost! undone!
In penitential tears to die.

Oh! could she live, condemn'd to feel,
The insults of exulting scorn?
Relentless as the three-edg'd steel!
Illicit pleasure's eldest-born!

Who 'mid despair's impervious gloom,
Should bid her soul's sad wand'rings cease:
Th'extinguish'd spark of hope relume,
And sooth the penitent to peace?

She saw her aged mother bow,
Subdued by exquisite distress:
For every hope was faded now,
And life a weary wilderness.

She saw her in the cold earth laid,
And not a tear was seen to start,
And not a sigh the pangs allay'd,
That agoniz'd her bursting heart.

And when the mournful rite was done,
A sculptur'd woe, she seem'd to move:
As close she clasp'd her infant son,
The pledge of faithless Bertram's love.

While slow she pac'd the lone church-yard,
With pity's accents, soft and sad,
We strove to win her fix'd regard,
But vainly strove, for Ann was mad!

'Lorn, listless, like a wither'd flower,
Blown o'er the plain by every blast,
Impell'd by fancy's fitful power,
The lovely, luckless, victim past.

'Till, left alone, the wood she sought,
Where first her Bertram's vows she heard,
And first with soft affection fraught,
His vows return'd, to Heaven prefer'd.

Each scene she trac'd, to memory dear,
Tho' memory lent a feeble ray,
Reason's benighted bark to steer,
Thro' dark distraction's stormy way.

At length, where yon translucent tide,
Meanders slow the meads among:
Reclining on its sedgy side,
Thus to her sleeping babe she sung:

"Sweet cherub! on the green bank rest,
And balmy may thy slumbers be;
For tempests tear thy mother's breast,
Alas! it cannot pillow thee.

"I'll wander 'till thy sire I've found,
I'll lure his footsteps where you lie;
While mantling waters murmur round,
And wild-winds sing your lullaby.

"Haply, shalt thou, his scorn subdue,
Thy helpless innocence to save;
But if unmov'd, he turns from you,
I'll lead him to my mother's grave

"Sure, waken'd there, remorse shall rise,
And bid his perjur'd bosom shed,
That tender tear, my heart denies,
Cold, icy cold, congeal'd, and dead."

Then, wildly through each well-known way
Again she fled, the youth to seek:
Nor paus'd, 'till Cynthia's mournful ray,
Play'd paly, on her paler cheek.

Once more she sought the river's side,
The goal of her accomplish'd way,
Where, 'whelm'd beneath the rising tide,
Her heart's dissever'd treasure lay!

Amaz'd! convuls'd! she shriek'd! she sprung!
She clasp'd it in its wat'ry bed!
The dirge of death the night-blasts sung;
The morn, in tears, beheld them dead.

Their pale remains with pious care,
Beneath the vernal turf we laid;
Remembrance loves to linger there,
And weep beneath the willow shade.

And oft, the fairest flowers of spring,
What time the hours of toil are spent,
The village youths and virgins bring,
To grace her moss-clad monument.


Come, gentle sleep! thou soft restorer, come,
And close these wearied eyes, by grief oppress'd;
For one short hour, be this thy peaceful home,
And bid the sighs that rend my bosom rest.

Depriv'd of thee, at midnight's awful hour,
Oft have I listen'd to the angry wind;
While busy memory, with tyrant pow'r,
Would picture faded joys, or friends unkind.

Or tell of her who rear'd my helpless years,
But torn away, ere yet I knew her worth;
How oft, tho' nature still the thought endears,
Has my worn bosom heav'd its tribute forth.

Come, then, soft pow'r, whose balmy roses fall
As heavenly manna sweet, or morning dew;
Beneath thy wings, my troubled thoughts recall,
And, haply, lend them some serener hue.



Hail! Heavenly Maid, my pensive mind,
Invokes thy woe-subduing strain;
For there a shield my soul can find,
Which subjugates each dagger'd pain.
When beauty spurns the lover's sighs,
'Tis thine soft pity to inspire;
And cold indifference vanquish'd lies,
Beneath thy myrtle-vested lyre.
Oh! could contention's demon hear
Thy seraph voice, his blood-lav'd spear
He'd drop, and own thy power;
That smiling o'er each hapless land,
Sweet peace might call her hallow'd band,
To crown the festive hour.

TO ******

0 Nymph! with cheeks of roseate hue,
Whose eyes are violets bath'd in dew,
So liquid, languishing, and blue,
How they bewitch me!
Thy bosom hath a magic spell,
For when its full orbs heave and swell,
I feel - but, oh! I must not tell,
Lord! how they twitch me!


Lamented Chief! at thy distinguish'd deeds
The world shall gaze with wonder and applause,
While, on fair hist'ry's page, the patriot reads
Thy matchless valor in thy country's cause.

Yes, it was thine amid destructive war,
To shield it nobly from oppression's chain;
By justice arm'd, to brave each threat'ning jar,
Assert its freedom, and its rights maintain.

Much-honor'd Statesman, Husband, Father, Friend,
A generous nation's grateful tears are thine;
E'en unborn ages shall thy worth commend,
And never-fading laurels deck thy shrine.

Illustrious Warrior! on the immortal base,
By Freedom rear'd, thy envied name shall stand;
And Fame, by Truth inspir'd, shall fondly trace
Thee, Pride and Guardian of thy Native Land!


Oh! never will I leave my love,
My captive soul would sigh to stray,
Tho' seraph-songs its truth to prove,
Call it from earth to heaven to away.

For heaven has deign'd on earth to send
As rich a gift as it can give;
Alas! that mortal bliss must end,
For mortal man must cease to live.

Yet transient would my sorrows be
Should Delia first her breath resign;
Sweet Maid! my soul would follow thee,
For never can it part from thine.



Sweet Insect! that on two small wings doth fly,
And, flying, carry on those wings yourself;
Methinks I see you, looking from your eye,
As tho' you thought the world a wicked elf.
Offspring of summer! brimstone is thy foe;
And when it kills ye, soon you lose your breath:
They rob your honey; but don't let you go,
Thou harmless victim of ambitious death!
How sweet is honey! coming from the Bee;
Sweeter than sugar, in the lump or not:
And, as we get this honey all from thee,
Child of the hive! thou shalt not be forgot.
So when I catch, I'll take thee home with me,
And thou shall be my friend, oh! Bee! Bee! Bee!


How oft have I seen her upon the sea-shore,
While tearful, her face, she would hide,
In sad silence the loss of the Sailor deplore
Who from infancy call'd her his bride,

The Sailor she lov'd was a Fisherman's son,
All dangers he triumph'd to meet;
Well repaid, if a smile from his Mary he won,
As he proffer'd his spoils at her feet.

But soon from her smiles was he summon'd away,
His fortunes at sea to pursue:
And grav'd on their hearts was the sorrowful day
That witness'd their final adieu.

They spoke not, ah, no; for they felt their hearts speak
A language their tongues could not tell;
As he kiss'd off the tears that fell fast on her cheek,
As she sigh'd on his bosom, farewel.

Full oft, the sad season of absence to charm,
To the rock or the dale she retir'd;
Where he told her the story, impassion'd and warm
That faithful affection inspir'd.

And now on the eve of his promis'd return,
All anxious, she flies to the strand;
But the night-shades descend ere her eye can discern
The white-sail approaching the land.

With night comes the tempest, unaw'd by the blast
She stood hem'd by ruin around;
She saw a frail bark on the rugged rock cast,
And heard its lasts signals resound.

My lover is lost! we shall never meet more!
She shriek'd with prophetic dismay,
The morn seal'd her sorrows - the wreck on the shore
Was the vessel that bore him away.

Each hope her young bosom had cherish'd before,
Was consign'd with the youth to the grave:
She madden'd, she smil'd, as her ringlets she tore,
And buried her woes in the wave.



Blest be the hour that gave my Lydia birth,
The day be sacred 'mid each varying year;
How oft the name recalls thy spotless worth,
And joys departed, still to memory dear!
If matchless friendship, constancy, and love,
Have power to charm, or one sad grief beguile.
'Tis thine the gloom of sorrow to remove,
And on that tearful cheek imprint a smile.
May every after season to thee bring
New joys; to cheer life's dark eventful way,
'Till time shall close thee in his pond'rous wing,
And angels waft thee to eternal day!
Lov'd maid, farewel! thy name this heart shall fill
'Till memory sinks, and all its griefs are still!



"Why, there's Peace, Jack, come damme let's push
round the grog,
And awhile altogether in good humor jog,
For they say we shall soon go ashore;
Where the anchor of friendship may drift or be lost,
As on life's troubled ocean at random we're tost,
And, perhaps, we may never meet more."

Thus spoke Tom; while each messmate approvingly heard
That the contest was ended, their courage ne'er fear'd,
And soon Peace would restore them to love;
And the hearts by wrongs rous'd, that no fear could assuage,
At Humanity's shrine dropt the thunder of rage,
And the Lion resign'd to the Dove!

Heaven smil'd on the olive that Reason had rear'd,
With her rich pearly tribute sweet Pity appear'd,
And plac'd it on each brilliant eye;
'Twas the tear that Compassion had nurs'd in her breast,
To bestow on the friend, or the foe, if distress'd.
Like dew-drops distill'd from the sky!

Next on friends lost in battle they mournfully dwelt
'Twas a theme that together the heart and eye felt,
And a bumper to valor they gave;
While the liquor that flow'd in the bless'd circling bowl
Was enrich'd by a tribute that flow'd from the soul,
"A tear for the tomb of the brave!"


TO ............


Fair flower! that fall'n beneath the angry blast,
Which marks with wither'd sweets its fearful way,
I grieve to see thee on the low earth cast,
While beauty's trembling tints fade fast away.
But who is she, that from the mountain's head
Comes gaily on, cheering the child of earth;
The walks of woe bloom bright beneath her tread,
And nature smiles with renovated mirth?
'Tis Health! she comes, and hark! the vallies ring.
And hark! the echoing hills repeat the sound;
She sheds the new-blown blossoms of the spring,
And all their fragrance floats her footsteps round.
And hark! she whispers in the zephyr's voice,
Lift up thy head, fair flower! rejoice! rejoice!


Oh, Youth! could dark futurity reveal
Her hidden worlds, unlock her cloud-hung gates,
Or snatch the keys of mystery from time,
Your souls would madden at the piercing sight
Of fortune, wielding high her woe-born arms
To crush aspiring genius, seize the wreath
Which fond imagination's hand had weav'd,
Strip its bright beams, and give the wreck to air.

Forth from Cimmeria's nest of vipers, lo!
Pale envy trails its cherish'd form, and views,
With eye of cockatrice, the little pile
Which youthful merit had essay'd to raise;
From shrouded night his blacker arm he draws,
Replete with vigor from each heavenly blast,
To cloud the glories of that infant sun,
And hurl the fabric headlong to the ground.
How oft, alas! through that envenom'd blow,
The youth is doom'd to leave his careful toils
To slacken and decay, which might, perchance,
Have borne him up on ardor's wing to fame.

And should we not, with equal pity, view
The fair frail wanderer, doom'd, through perjur'd vows,
To lurk beneath a rigid stoic's frown,
'Till that sweet moment comes, which her sad days
Of infamy, of want, and pain have wing'd.
But here the reach of human thought is lost!
What, what must be the parent's heart-felt pangs,
Who sees his child, perchance his only child!
Thus struggling in the abyss of despair,
To sin indebted for a life of woe.
Still worse, if worse can be! the thought must sting
(If e'er reflection calls it from the bed
Of low oblivion) that ignoble wretch,
The cruel instrument of all their woe;
Sure it must cut his adamantine heart
More than ten thousand daggers onward plung'd,
With all death's tortures quivering on their points.

Oh! that we could but pierce the siren guise,
Spread out before the unsuspecting mind,
Which, conscious of its innocence within,
Treads on the rose-strew'd path, but finds, too late,
That ruin opes its ponderous jaws beneath.
Lo! frantic grief succeeds the bitter fall,
And pining anguish mourns the fatal step;
'Till that great Pow'r who, ever watchful stands,
Shall give us grace from his eternal throne
To feel the faithful tear of penitence,
The only recompense for ill-spent life.



Bring the sad cypress wreath to grace the tomb,
Where rests the liberal friend of human kind,
Around its base let deathless flow'rets bloom,
Wet with the off'rings of the grateful mind.

Firm was thy friendship, ardent, and sincere;
Gen'rous thy soul, to ev'ry suff'rer prov'd:
Rest, sainted shade! blest with the heart-felt tear,
On earth lamented, and in heaven belov'd.

Now will the widow weep that thou art gone,
Who oft her unprotected babes hast fed:
While tottering age shall heave the sigh forlorn,
As slow they move to beg their bitter bread.

Long shall the memory of thy worth survive,
Grav'd on the heart, when sinks the trophied stone;
Oh! may the plenty-bless'd as freely give,
And from thy life of virtue form their own.



When discord blew her fell alarm
On Gallia's blood-stain'd ground;
When usurpation's giant arm
Enslav'd the nations round:
The thunders of avenging heaven
To Nelson's chosen hand were given;
By Nelson's chosen hand were hurl'd
To rescue the devoted world!

The tyrant pow'r, his vengeance dread,
To Egypt's shores pursued;
At Trafalgar its hydra-head
For ever sunk subdued.
The freedom of mankind was won!
The hero's glorious task was done!
When heaven, oppression's ensigns furl'd,
Recall'd him from the rescued world.



Sons of Renown! ye heirs of matchless fame,
Whose Sires in Glory's path victorious fell;
Adding new honors to the British name,
That future ages shall with transport tell.

Yet not unpity'd nor forgot they die,
For gen'rous Britons to their mem'ry raise;
A tribute will their children's wants supply,
A living monument of grateful praise.

To the sad mother, who, in speechless grief,
Mourn'd o'er her infant's unprotected state,
Benignant charity affords relief,
And bids her bosom glow, with joy elate.

Great your reward who thus impassion'd move,
By nature taught the heart's persuasive play;
Such deeds your God with pleasure shall approve,
And endless blessings cheer your parting day.

What better boon can feeling hearts bestow,
What nobler ornament can deck our isle;
Than one that robs the wretched of their woe,
And makes the widow and the orphan smile?

[*Footnote: A Society, established by Voluntary
Contributions, for the Support and Education of the
Children of the Sailors and Marines, who have fallen
during the War.]


Oh! lay me where my Rosa lies,
And love shall o'er the moss-crown'd bed,
When dew-drops leave the weeping skies,
His tenderest tear of pity shed.

And sacred shall the willow be,
That shades the spot where virtue sleeps;
And mournful memory weep to see
The hallow'd watch affection keeps.

Yes, soul of love! this bleeding heart
Scarce beating, soon its griefs shall cease;
Soon from his woes the suff'rer part,
And hail thee at the Throne of Peace!



Oh, ye! who pine, in London smoke immur'd,
With spirits wearied, and with pains uncur'd,
With all the catalogue of city evils,
Colds, asthmas, rheumatisms, coughs, blue-devils!
Who bid each bold empiric roll in wealth,
Who drains your fortunes while he saps your health,
So well ye love your dirty streets and lanes,
Ye court your ailments and embrace your pains.

And scarce ye know, so little have ye seen,
If corn be yellow, or if grass be green;
Why leave ye not your smoke-obstructed holes
With wholesome air to cheer your sickly souls?
In scenes where health's bright goddess 'wakes the breeze,
Floats on the stream, and fans the whisp'ring trees,
Soon would the brighten'd eye her influence speak,
And her full roses flush the faded cheek.

Then, where romantic Hornsey courts the eye
With all the charms of sylvan scenery.
Let the pale sons of diligence repair,
And pause, like me, from sedentary care;
Here, the rich landscape spreads profusely wide,
And here, embowering shades the prospect hide;

Each mazy walk in wild meanders moves,
And infant oaks, luxuriant, grace the groves:
Oaks! that by time matur'd, remov'd afar,
Shall ride triumphant, 'midst the wat'ry war;
Shall blast the bulwarks of Britannia's foes,
And claim her empire, wide as ocean flows!

O'er all the scene, mellifluous and bland,
The blissful powers of harmony expand;
Soft sigh the zephyrs 'mid the still retreats,
And steal from Flora's lips ambrosial sweets;
Their notes of love the feather'd songsters sing,
And Cupid peeps behind the vest of Spring.

Ye swains! who ne'er obtain'd with all your sighs,
One tender look from Chloe's sparkling eyes,
In shades like these her cruelty assail,
Here, whisper soft your amatory tale;
The scene to sympathy the maid shall move,
And smiles propitious, crown your slighted love.

While the fresh air with fragrance, Summer fills,
And lifts her voice, heard jocund o'er the hills
All jubilant, the waving woods display
Her gorgeous gifts, magnificently gay!
The wond'ring eye beholds these waving woods
Reflected bright in artificial floods,
And still, the tufts of clust'ring shrubs between,
Like passing sprites, the nymphs and swains are seen;
'Till fancy triumphs in th'exulting breast,
And care shrinks back, astonish'd! dispossess'd!
For all breathes rapture, all enchantment seems,
Like fairy visions, and poetic dreams!

Tho' on such scenes the fancy loves to dwell,
The stomach oft a different tale will tell;
Then, leave the wood, and seek the shelt'ring roof,
And put the pantry's vital strength to proof;
The aerial banquets of the tuneful nine,
May suit some appetites, but faith! not mine;
For my coarse palate, coarser food must please,
Substantial beef, pies, puddings, ducks, and pease;
Such food, the fangs of keen disease defies,
And such rare feeding Hornsey House supplies:
Nor these alone, the joys that court us here,
Wine! generous wine! that drowns corroding care,
Asserts its empire in the glittering bowl,
And pours promethean vigor o'er the soul.
Here, too, _that_ bluff John Bull, whose blood boils high
At such base wares of foreign luxury;
Who scorns to revel in imported cheer,
Who prides in perry, and exults in beer:
On these his surly virtue shall regale,
With quickening cyder, and with fattening ale.

Nor think, ye Fair! our Hornsey has denied,
The elegant repasts where you preside:
Here, may the heart rejoice, expanding free
In all the social luxury of Tea!
Whose essence pure, inspires such charming chat,
With nods, and winks, and whispers, and _all that_.
Here, then, while 'rapt, inspir'd, like Horace old,
We chaunt convivial hymns to Bacchus bold;
Or heave the incense of unconscious sighs,
To catch the grace that beams from beauty's eyes;
Or, in the winding wilds sequester'd deep,
Th'unwilling Muse invoking, fall asleep;
Or cursing her, and her ungranted smiles,
Chase butterflies along the echoing aisles:
Howe'er employ'd, _here_ be the town forgot,
Where fogs, and smokes, and jostling crowds _are not_.


TO ............

Thou bud of early promise, may the rose
Which time, methinks, will rear in envied bloom,
By friendship nurs'd, its grateful sweets disclose,
Nor e'er be nipt in life's disast'rous gloom.
For much thou ow'st to him whose studious mind
Rear'd thy young years, and all thy wants supplied;
Whose every precept breath'd affection kind,
And to the friend's, a father's love allied.
Oh! how 'twill glad him in life's evening day,
To see that mind, parental care adorn'd,
With grateful love the debt immense repay,
And realize each hope affection form'd.
The deed be thine - 'twill many a care assuage,


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