SWEET CHILD OF REASON! maid serene; With folded arms, and pensive mien, Who wand'ring near yon thorny wild, So oft, my length'ning hours beguil'd; Thou, who within thy peaceful call, Canst laugh at LIFE'S tumultuous care, While calm repose delights to dwell On beds of fragrant roses there; Where meek-ey'd PATIENCE waits to greet The woe-worn Trav'ller's weary feet, 'Till by her blest and cheering ray The clouds of sorrow fade away; Where conscious RECTITUDE retires; Instructive WISDOM; calm DESIRES; Prolific SCIENCE,lab'ring ART; And GENIUS, with expanded heart.
Far from thy lone and pure domain, Steals pallid GUILT, whose scowling eye Marks the rack'd soul's convulsive pain, Tho' hid beneath the mask of joy; Madd'ning AMBITION'S dauntless band; Lean AVARICE with iron hand; HYPOCRISY with fawning tongue; Soft FLATT'RY with persuasive song; Appall'd in gloomy shadows fly, From MEDITATION'S piercing eye.
How oft with thee I've stroll'd unseen O'er the lone valley's velvet green; And brush'd away the twilight dew That stain'd the cowslip's golden hue; Oft, as I ponder'd o'er the scene, Would mem'ry picture to my heart, How full of grief my days have been, How swiftly rapt'rous hours depart; Then would'st thou sweetly reas'ning say, "TIME journeys thro' the roughest day."
THE HERMIT, from the world retir'd, By calm Religion's voice inspir'd, Tells how serenely time glides on, From crimson morn, 'till setting sun; How guiltless, pure, and free from strife, He journeys thro' the vale of Life; Within his breast nor sorrows mourn, Nor cares perplex, nor passions burn; No jealous fears, or boundless joys, The tenor of his mind destroys; And when revolving mem'ry shows The thorny world's unnumber'd woes; He blesses HEAV'N's benign decree, That gave his days to PEACE and THEE.
The gentle MAID, whose roseate bloom Fades fast within a cloyster's gloom; Far by relentless FATE remov'd, From all her youthful fancy lov'd; When her warm heart no longer bleeds, And cool Reflection's hour succeeds; Led by THY downy hand, she strays Along the green dell's tangled maze; Where thro' dank leaves, the whisp'ring show'rs Awake to life the fainting flow'rs; Absorb'd by THEE, she hears no more The distant torrent's fearful roar; The well-known VESPER's silver tone; The bleak wind's desolating moan; No more she sees the nodding spires, Where the dark bird of night retires; While Echo chaunts her boding song The cloyster's mould'ring walls among; No more she weeps at Fate's decree, But yields her pensive soul to THEE.
THE SAGE, whose palsy'd head bends low 'Midst scatter'd locks of silv'ry snow; Still by his MIND's clear lustre tells, What warmth within his bosom dwells; How glows his heart with treasur'd lore, How rich in Wisdom's boundless store; In fading Life's protracted hour, He smiles at Death's terrific pow'r; He lifts his radiant eyes, which gleam With Resignation's sainted beam: And, as the weeping star of morn, Sheds lustre on the wither'd thorn, His tear benign, calm comfort throws, O'er rugged Life's corroding woes; His pious soul's enlighten'd rays Dart forth, to gild his wint'ry days; He smiles serene at Heav'n's decree, And his last hour resigns to THEE.
When Learning, with Promethean art, Unveils to light the youthful heart; When on the richly-budding spray, The glorious beams of Genius play; When the expanded leaves proclaim The promis'd fruits of rip'ning Fame; O MEDITATION, maid divine! Proud REASON owns the work is THINE.
Oft, have I known thy magic pow'r, Irradiate sorrow's wint'ry hour; Oft, my full heart to THEE hath flown, And wept for mis'ries not its own; When pinch'd with agonizing PAIN, My restless bosom dar'd complain; Oft have I sunk upon THY breast, And lull'd my weary mind to rest; 'Till I have own'd the blest decree, That gave my soul to PEACE and THEE.