As by the fix'd decrees of Heaven,
'Tis vain to hope that Joy can last;
The dearest boon that Life has given,
To me is - visions of the past.
For these this toy of blushing hue
I prize with zeal before unknown,
It tells me of a Friend I knew,
Who loved me for myself alone.
It tells me what how few can say
Though all the social tie commend;
Recorded in my heart 'twill lay, 2
It tells me mine was once a Friend.
Through many a weary day gone by,
With time the gift is dearer grown;
And still I view in Memory's eye
That teardrop sparkle through my own.
And heartless Age perhaps will smile,
Or wonder whence those feelings sprung;
Yet let not sterner souls revile,
For Both were open, Both were young.
And Youth is sure the only time,
When Pleasure blends no base alloy;
When Life is blest without a crime,
And Innocence resides with Joy.
Let those reprove my feeble Soul,
Who laugh to scorn Affection's name;
While these impose a harsh controul,
All will forgive who feel the same.
Then still I wear my simple toy,
With pious care from wreck I'll save it;
And this will form a dear employ
For dear I was to him who gave it.
Footnote 1: From an autograph MS. at Newstead, now for the first time printed.
Footnote 2: For the irregular use of "lay" for "lie," compare "The Adieu" (st. 10, 1. 4, p. 241), and the much-disputed line, "And dashest him to earth - there let him lay" ('Childe Harold', canto iv. st. 180).