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This movable structure of shelves,

For its beauty admired and its use, And charged with octavos and twelves,

The gayest 1 had to produce; Where, flaming in scarlet and gold,

My poems enchanted I view, And hope in due time to behold

My Iliad and Odyssey too: This china, that decks the alcove,

Which here people call a boufet, But what the gods call it above

Has ne'er been reveal'd to us yet: These curtains, that keep the room warm,

Or cool, as the season demands, Those stoves, that for pattern and form,

Seem the labour of Mulciber's hands: All these are not half that I owe

To one, from our earliest youth To me ever ready to show

Benignity, friendship, and truth; For Time, the destroyer declared,

And foe of our perishing kind, If even her face he has spared,

Much less could he alter her mind.

Thus compass'd about with the goods

And chattels of leisure and ease, I indulge my poetical moods

In many such fancies as these; And fancies I fear they will seem

Poets' goods are not often so fine; The poets will swear that I dream,

When I sing of the splendour of mine.

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TO MY COUSIN

ANNE BODHAM,

ON RECEIVING FROM HER A NETWORK PURSE, MADE

BY HERSELF.

1793.
My gentle Anne, whom heretofore,
When I was young, and thou no more

Than plaything for a nurse,
I danced and fondled on my knee,
A kitten both in size and glee,

I thank thee for my purse.
Gold pays the worth of all things here;
But not of love;—that gem's too dear

For richest rogues to win it;
I, therefore, as a proof of love,
Esteem thy present far above

The best things kept within it.

TO MRS. KING.

ON AER KIND PRESENT TO THE AUTHOR, A PATCHWORK

COUNTERPANE OF HER OWN MAKING.

1790.
The Bard, if e'er he feel at all,
Must sure be quicken’d by a call

Both on his heart and head,
To pay with tuneful thanks the care
And kindness of a lady fair

Who deigns to deck his bed.

A bed like this, in ancient time,
On Ida's barren top sublime

(As Homer's epic shows), Composed of sweetest vernal flowers, Without the aid of sun or showers,

For Jove and Juno rose.
Less beautiful, however gay,
Is that which in the scorching day

Receives the weary swain,
Who, laying his long scythe aside,
Sleeps on some bank with daisies pied,

Till roused to toil again. What labours of the loom I see! Looms numberless have groan’d for me! Should every

maiden come To scramble for the patch that bears The impress of the robe she wears,

The bell would toll for some. And oh, what havoc would ensue! This bright display of every hue

All in a moment fled!
As if a storm should strip the bowers
Of all their tendrils, leaves, and flowers-

Each pocketing a shred.
Thanks then to every gentle fair,
Who will not come to peck me bare

As bird of borrow'd feather.
And thanks to one above them all,
The gentle fair of Pertenhall,

Who put the whole together.

/

TO LADY AUSTEN.

1781.

Dear Anna--between friend and friend,
Prose answers every common end;
Serves in a plain and homely way,
To’express the occurrence of the day;
Our health, the weather, and the news;
What walks we take, what books we chuse;
And all the floating thoughts we find
Upon the surface of the mind.

But when a poet takes the pen,
Far more alive than other men,
He feels a gentle tingling come
Down to his finger and his thumb.
Derived from nature's noblest part,
The centre of a glowing heart:
And this is what the world who knows
No flights above the pitch of prose,
His more sublime vagaries slighting,
Denominates an itch for writing.
No wonder I, who scribble rhyme
To catch the triflers of the time,
And tell them truths divine and clear,
Which, couch'd in prose, they will not hear;
Who labour hard to allure and draw
The loiterers I never saw,
Should feel that itching, and that tingling,
With all my purpose intermingling,
To
your

intrinsic merit true, When call'd to address myself to you. Mysterious are His ways,

whose

power Brings forth that unexpected hour,

When minds, that never met before,
Shall meet, unite, and part no more:
It is the allotment of the skies,
The hand of the Supremely Wise,
That guides and governs our affections,
And plans and orders our connexions;
Directs us in our distant road,
And marks the bounds of our abode.
Thus we were settled when you found us,
Peasants and children all around us,
Not dreaming of so dear a friend,
Deep in the abyss of Silver End'.
Thus Martha, e'en against her will,
Perch'd on the top of yonder hill;
And you, though you must needs prefer
The fairer scenes of sweet Sancerre,
Are come from distant Loire to choose
A cottage on the banks of Ouse.
This page of Providence quite new,
And now just opening to our view,
Employs our present thoughts and pains,
To guess and spell what it contains:
But day by day, and year by year,
Will make the dark enigma clear;
And furnish us perhaps at last,
Like other scenes already past,
With proof, that we and our affairs
Are part of a Jehovah's cares:
For God unfolds, by slow degrees,
The purport of his deep decrees;

* An obscure part of Olney, adjoining to the residence of Cowper, which faced the market-place.

? Lady Austen's residence in France.

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