as oft in musing mood my eye
Has markd the gradual hues of fading light
When dimly darkening oer the dusky sky
Slow rising mists had mantled round the sight
My saddening soul enwrapt in kindred gloom
Has felt the pensive power & ponderd oer the
Nature whose bounteous blessings bloom around
As good as wise proclaim the important truth
Each springing flower that ornaments the ground
Each rising morn address the heart of youth
From every atom in her boundless reign
May Contemplation pour the moralizing strain
Nor ever beams the opening orb of day
Refulgent thro the shadowy viel of night
Nor ever dimly dies his refluent ray
When rising vapors viel the beam of light
But as the sage surveys the expanse of sky
He marks the mystic sign that mortal man must die
More forceful now the annual course is past
The mournful lesson sure should strike my friend
Befits to future days the ken to cast
Behove remember Time himself must end
Behoves thee now my friend to well discern
How little left to live how much is left to learn.
Steep is the path that leads to Science fane
And many a wildering maze dissects the road
And few the chosen mortals who attain
Tho sought by many be the blest abode
For Prejudice defends the toilsome way
And Custom chains the best & gives to dull
Tho few the chosen mortals who attain
From every danger scaped the blest abode
Yet not devoid of pleasure or of gain
To pluck the various flowers that gem the road
Tho few may twine the laurel round their brow
The Fates the primrose wreath to many an imp allow.
And easier leads the path to that strawd roof
Where Virtue with her heavenly strain resorts
From Folly & from Fashions reign aloof
The buz of cities & the pride of courts
No wiley fiends the purposd course withstand
For Natures self my friend will thither guide thy
Small is the sum of needful lore — Be Just —
Be just ye sons of earth & know not fear.
Then calmly shall the soul forsakes its dust
And sink to sleep without one guilty tear
Secure the equity of heaven to prove
Secure that Justice here assures reward above.
thro the ample realms of space
Far as can Fancy range the world survey
In every scene thine eye this lore may trace
From every object learn that man is clay.
Mark every object that the world can give
And Nature best will teach how mortal man should
Canst thou behold the busy bee untaught
Range oer the painted plain from flower to flower
And thence his thighs with sweetest balsam fraught
Return to guard against the wintry hour
Canst thou one moment on the scene reflect
Nor know how black the crime of lingering long neglect
Yet as the busy bee but toils in vain
To heap up treasure for his treacherous Lord
Doomd for his honest labour to be slain
That man may seize unharmd the luscious hoard
Remember thus how fickle Fortunes power
That one day thus may come Misfortunes baleful hour.
Yet should thy life be doomd to taste of woe
To man is Reason best of blessings given
To spurn the wayward turns of fate below
And seek a firmer truer bliss in heaven
To know that een as dust returns to dust
So heavens etherial climes receive the good &
The Bee will make a tit bit of democracy ere long for Edmund Seward.
Monday. December 30. 1793.
1/2 past ten in the morning .
five hours have elapsed since I was obliged to shut my casette
but how I can hardly tell you. I have however discovered a very dangerous
peculiarity in myself which may get me into some awkward scrapes unless I check
it — on a walk thro Bristol streets to pay a long neglected morning visit I read
a letter just received & caught myself commenting & rhapsodizing
aloud! see how communicative is my disposition — a heart full of romance
& a head full too, both beating away most vehemently are very dangerous
in the streets. now what there is peculiar to thought meditation or love lorn
fancy in folded arms, natural philosophers must determine — my musings were of
the agreable order but my arms wanted sadly to cross each other.
so much for rhapsody. “out of the fullness of the heart the mouth
speaketh.”  a little food is overpowering
to the starvd man as poor Cadman  will tell you. why are you
silent Horace? you know how dearly I love letters in spite
of CCs cold investigation of
their inutility. now tomorrow I go to Bath & if you will write
immediately twill be like Manna to a starved wretchd. direct No 8 Westgate
Buildings Bath. never mind tho you should have written to Bristol.
“idleness is the first step of the ladder of iniquity”  my good things come so seldom that I am
proud of them. remember that maxim my friend & be assured that business
is the only antidote against melancholy. & now I am going to dinner —
then to call a council in my own mind whether I shall obey Romance or Reason.
Romance carries the day — then to the Play for once with pleasure. then to my
toasted cheese — then to bed — up at five — walk to Bath to breakfast &
then — sink into listless languor & curse the dull course of Time. “a
dram of sweete is worth a pound of sour  so said our Spenser — but my sweets comes by atoms & my sours by tons.
now one translation being enough for my purpose — I do not transcribe Cowper. can
there be a more licentious paraphrase than Popes is of this passage?
Tuesday morning. my departure is delayd till after
breakfast & the cold interval is yours. should your letter as I expect
arrive tomorrow it will be forwarded or rather backwarded to me. my casette
& I are inseperable — all my guathel
 goes with me & Akenside  & Lucan are my pocket companions. you would be
astonishd at the number of volumes I have read in this manner. it is very seldom
that I am without a book in my pocket. & the half & quarters of
hours wasted so often in waiting amount to a great deal in the year. ten to one
but I read all the way to Bath & should the sun shine it makes glad the
heart of man spout vociferously to the edification of all the stage coachmen.
this however only happens in abstraction. Shall you join our party at Balliol? if not what do you do with
yourself? another year should not pass in solitude & what CC calls originalizing. with us
you are sure of society & employment & I may say you will seldom
find a better set tho Christ Church may furnish a genteeler. it is time you
should determine. this seclusion of yourself you have already practised too
long. experience shows me its ill effects. you must mix more with the world —
study men & manners & forget melancholy in employment. Edmund Seward will be at Balliol till June next & if
you enter there our party will be six in that college. your brother knows how we
live & upon what friendly unceremonious terms. I will venture to affirm
that we live there as agreably as any young men can live at college — come
& try — put on a cap & gown break your spectacles & come
to chapel with me twice a day. CC
has invited me to Maize Hill but it
was impossible to accept his invitation. my life here is as bad as yours with
this difference — yours is choice mine necessity. since I quitted Brixton I have only walked out for the
air twice. & except that have not walked two miles in the whole two
months. you will call this wrong but I am chained to my casette for want of
employment, & like Calypso island  tis difficult to escape from it.
my hands ache with the cold & breakfast is preparing. my
shirts &c are packing up & momentary interruptions disturb me.
write immediately. why not write some odes &c &c? has your brother seen any of
Lovells verses? I have two
beautiful sonnets of his in my casette for transcription the snowdrop &
the nightingale. shall I send them? his verses flow more naturally than mine but
I feel pleased at finding a superior. thank God I have neither envy nor