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The Triumph Of Melancholy

James Beattie 1735 (Laurencekirk) – 1803 (Aberdeen)



Memory, be still! why throng upon the thought
These scenes deep-stain'd with Sorrow's sable dye?
Hast thou in store no joy-illumined draught,
To cheer bewilder'd Fancy's tearful eye?

2

Yes—from afar a landscape seems to rise,
Deck'd gorgeous by the lavish hand of Spring:
Thin gilded clouds float light along the skies,
And laughing Loves disport on fluttering wing.

3

How blest the youth in yonder valley laid!
Soft smiles in every conscious feature play,
While to the gale low murmuring through the glade,
He tempers sweet his sprightly-warbling lay.

4

Hail, Innocence! whose bosom, all serene,
Feels not fierce Passion's raving tempest roll!
Oh, ne'er may Care distract that placid mien!
Oh, ne'er may Doubt's dark shades o'erwhelm thy soul!

5

Vain wish! for, lo! in gay attire conceal'd,
Yonder she comes, the heart-inflaming fiend!
(Will no kind power the helpless stripling shield?)
Swift to her destined prey see Passion bend!

6

O smile accursed, to hide the worst designs!
Now with blithe eye she woo's him to be blest,
While round her arm unseen a serpent twines—
And, lo! she hurls it hissing at his breast.

7

And, instant, lo! his dizzy eyeball swims
Ghastly, and reddening darts a threatful glare;
Pain with strong grasp distorts his writhing limbs,
And Fear's cold hand erects his bristling hair!

8

Is this, O life, is this thy boasted prime?
And does thy spring no happier prospect yield?
Why gilds the vernal sun thy gaudy clime,
When nipping mildews waste the flowery field?

9

How Memory pains! Let some gay theme beguile
The musing mind, and soothe to soft delight.
Ye images of woe, no more recoil;
Be life's past scenes wrapt in oblivious night.

10

Now when fierce Winter, arm'd with wasteful power,
Heaves the wild deep that thunders from afar,
How sweet to sit in this sequester'd bower,
To hear, and but to hear, the mingling war!

11

Ambition here displays no gilded toy
That tempts on desperate wing the soul to rise,
Nor Pleasure's flower-embroider'd paths decoy,
Nor Anguish lurks in Grandeur's gay disguise.

12

Oft has Contentment cheer'd this lone abode
With the mild languish of her smiling eye;
Here Health has oft in blushing beauty glow'd,
While loose-robed Quiet stood enamour'd by.

13

Even the storm lulls to more profound repose:
The storm these humble walls assails in vain:
Screen'd is the lily when the whirlwind blows,
While the oak's stately ruin strews the plain.

14

Blow on, ye winds! Thine, Winter, be the skies;
Roll the old ocean, and the vales lay waste:
Nature thy momentary rage defies;
To her relief the gentler seasons haste.

15

Throned in her emerald car, see Spring appear!
(As Fancy wills, the landscape starts to view)
Her emerald car the youthful Zephyrs bear,
Fanning her bosom with their pinions blue.

16

Around the jocund Hours are fluttering seen;
And, lo! her rod the rose-lipp'd power extends.
And, lo! the lawns are deck'd in living green,
And Beauty's bright-eyed train from heaven descends.

17

Haste, happy days, and make all nature glad—
But will all nature joy at your return?
Say, can ye cheer pale Sickness' gloomy bed,
Or dry the tears that bathe the untimely urn?

18

Will ye one transient ray of gladness dart
'Cross the dark cell where hopeless slavery lies?
To ease tired Disappointment's bleeding heart,
Will all your stores of softening balm suffice?

19

When fell Oppression in his harpy fangs
From Want's weak grasp the last sad morsel bears,
Can ye allay the heart-wrung parent's pangs,
Whose famish'd child craves help with fruitless tears?

20

For ah! thy reign, Oppression, is not past,
Who from the shivering limbs the vestment rends,
Who lays the once rejoicing village waste,
Bursting the ties of lovers and of friends.

21

O ye, to Pleasure who resign the day,
As loose in Luxury's clasping arms you lie,
O yet let pity in your breast bear sway,
And learn to melt at Misery's moving cry.

22

But hop'st thou, Muse, vain-glorious as thou art,
With the weak impulse of thy humble strain,
Hop'st thou to soften Pride's obdurate heart,
When Errol's bright example shines in vain?

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:40 min read
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James Beattie

James Scott Beattie is an English footballer who is a striker who plays for and manages Accrington Stanley. more…

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