CELADON to MIRA.
1 TO thee, O Mira, I these Lines commend,
2 These from thy gentle and immortal Friend,
3 Tho' not to thee my airy Form appears,
4 Yet I've been oft a Witness to thy Tears,
5 (At Night when, lonely by the Taper's Flame,
6 In a still Whisper thou hast breath'd my Name)
7 And in thy Eyes beheld the rising Woe;
8 (Ah simple Sorrows when for me they flow!)
9 Think not, O Mira, not in me to find
10 A Friend like Vido, or like Rosalind,
11 Or like Courtine to cheat thy dazzl'a Eye,
12 And sooth thy Weakness with a well-bred Lye:
13 These are (as thou wilt by the Sequel find)
14 Below a Spirit of the blissful kind:
15 And was thy Form, as wanton Helen gay,
16 Or did thy Eyes outshine the Lamp of Day,[Page 137]
17 These please not me — Bright Eyes in vain may roll,
18 I read no Charms but in the purer Soul.
19 By thy chang'd Features I too often find
20 The wild Ideas of thy restless Mind;
21 All serious now abstracted from the Crew,
22 No prudent Stoick more serene than you,
23 Till in your Brain some gaudy Pictures spring,
24 All gay and careless, then you laugh and sing:
25 These vanish like a painted Cloud — and now
26 Pale Discontent o'er-shades thy mournful Brow:
27 You form dark Visions and at Phantoms start,
28 These Woes proceed from an ill-govern'd Heart,
29 From a too thoughtless or too roving Mind;
30 For these are Strangers to a Soul resign'd.
31 Canst thou presume thy little Bark may steer
32 From Griefs black Eddy and the Gulphs of Fear?
33 Or canst thou hope to scape the gloomy Land,
34 Where Disappointments crowd the rocky Strand?
35 Not so — nor let thy Vanity pretend
36 To hope for more than ever blest thy Friend;[Page 138]
37 In Life I shone conspicuous o'er the rest,
38 While the pure Beams malignant Eyes opprest;
39 Sound Judgment, Learning, Wisdom, too was mine,
40 And piercing Wit superior far to thine;
41 Yet gaping Rage stood ready to devour,
42 And Dulness rain'd on me a leaden Shower:
43 Now stung with Scoffs, and now with Flatt'ry tir'd,
44 Defam'd, applauded, envy'd, and admir'd:
45 This Fate was mine — to hope canst thou presume
46 A milder Passage and more easy Doom?
47 Deluded Girl! let not a Thought so vain
48 Elate thy Spirits, nor ascend thy Brain.
49 But hear, O Mira, nor too late be wise,
50 From painted Trifles turn thy longing Eyes;
51 Ask not for what will make thy Pray'r offend,
52 But ask Content, a Parent and a Friend;
53 Ask Bread and Peace, 'tis all that Nature craves,
54 This Kings acknowledge, when they find their Graves.
55 Say, why thy Features lose their healthful Dye,
56 And the Tears tremble in the languid Eye? [Page 139]
57 The mighty Conflict I with pity see,
58 When thy rude Passions struggle to be free,
59 And rack thy Breast — the incoherent Stage,
60 Where grave and comick jar like Youth and Age;
61 Now Death appears all horrible and grim:
62 But the next Moment none so fair as him,
63 And now you sigh — Ah, let me calmly die:
64 Then shrinking, trembling from the Grave you fly,
65 Such jarring Tumults in your Bosom roll;
66 (Ah, what so various as a Woman's Soul!)
67 But thou, beware, and if thy Fate has join'd
68 A sickly Body to a roving Mind;
69 Be calm nor mourn at the Supreme Decree,
70 Nor think the Mandate shall be chang'd for thee,
71 But meet with Patience what thou canst not flee.
72 Wou'dst thou repine to see thy Form decay,
73 When Spio's Eye-lids are forbid the Day!
74 Might'st thou with us unbodied Spirits fly,
75 From Sphere to Sphere and trace the boundless Sky?
76 Then wou'd the Lives of little Mortals shew,
77 Like empty Bubbles rais'd of Morning Dew:[Page 140]
78 All seem as Trifles, whether we behold
79 A Monarch banish'd, or a Sparrow sold;
80 A thoughtless Insect trampled in the Mire,
81 Or a proud Beauty in her Bloom expire.
82 More noble Scenes enraptur'd Spirits view,
83 But the grand Prospect is too large for you:
84 A closer Bound best suits thy narrow Mind,
85 A few Examples of thy fading kind.
86 Hast thou forgot the soft Iphenia's Name,
87 Whose smiling Face not Spleen itself could blame;
88 Scarce nineteen Years her dawning Beauties knew,
89 E'er the young Roses bid her Cheeks adieu;
90 Yet bless'd with all, cou'd please a Woman's Pride:
91 In this gay Bloom the bright Iphenia dy'd;
92 Her Sire lifts to Heav'n his mournful Eyes,
93 And her sad Brother fills the Air with Cries:
94 Her Brother Clodius, who to Grief resign'd
95 To fruitless Passion all his manly Mind.
96 What simple Sorrow to the dead you pay,
97 Who soon must follow the same dusky Way. [Page 141]
98 For e'er the Transport of his Grief was o'er,
99 Fate gave the Sign and Clodius was no more.
100 Still Pero liv'd a yet surviving Son,
101 A little Space and Pero's Race was done:
102 Death's icy Hand his youthful Limbs invades,
103 And bids him mingle with his kindred Shades.
104 So quickly Pero and Narcissa fell,
105 Scarce looking round them e'er they bid farewel:
106 Yet dang'rous 'tis to wander here too long;
107 These went more willing as they fell more young;
108 But Laura's Name demands thy flowing Tears,
109 Whose Doubts increasing with her lengthen'd Years,
110 Serv'd not to clear but cloud the dusky Way,
111 And gave new Terrors to her final Day:
112 The dreadful Moment wou'd have past as well,
113 At sixteen Years had weeping Laura fell.
114 Let this, O Mira, chear thy drooping Mind,
115 To bear the Sentence past on all Mankind:
116 I bore the same, whose Life was more desir'd,
117 More lov'd, more known, and justly more admir'd:[Page 142]
118 Yet this grand Fear is wove with Nature's Laws;
119 Is sometimes right, and sometimes has no Cause:
120 Repent and mend — these Vapours then will fly,
121 And the Clouds brighten to a purer Sky;
122 Still look to Heav'n and its Laws attend,
123 And next the Lines of thy aerial Friend.