For you, my Margaret dear, I have no art
To sing a jocund hymeneal strain:
What rises strong and deep within the heart
Must ever have some touch, at least, of pain.
Nor know I that the bird of merriest lay
Gives happiest omen in the bridal hour;
That gaudy flowers, with brilliant tints and gay,
May best adorn the sacred nuptial bower.
But think me not of mind morose and sad,
Where naught but sullen censure finds abode,
If, in the midst of voices blithe and glad,
I greet you with a song of graver mode.
The glow on pleasure's cheek, it is not this
That always tells where heartfelt joys appear;
The hidden wellsprings of our purest bliss
Are oft betoken'd by the gushing tear.
I am not like the parent bird that tries
To lure its young one from the fostering home;
That gladly sees its new-fledg'd offspring rise
On outspread wing, in distant shades to roam:
Yet I were form'd in Nature's sternest mood,
Did not my inmost soul with you rejoice,
To see your lot amid the wise and good,
The gentlest friends, the husband of your choice.
Mysterious bond, that kindred souls unites!
Great law of nature hallowed from above!
Bless'd remnant of lost Eden's pure delights!
The sum of all our bliss -- connubial love!
Oh, holy flame! seraphic influence mild!
Sweet incense, kindled by celestial ray!
For ever warm the bosom of my child,
And gently sooth her through life's rugged way!
And you, my child, while yet your life is strong,
While in the calm of peace your thoughts repose,
Prepare for ills that to our state belong,
And arm you to contend with numerous foes.
For many ills unseen beset us round,
And many foes within ourselves we raise.
What sudden checks in smoothest paths are found!
How few and fleeting are our golden days!
At Hymen's altar when we plight our truth,
For better and for worse, we thoughtless say;
We dream of only good; the heart of youth
Drives ev'ry fear of distant ills away.
Till death do part, how gaily we repeat
When joy and health are in their prime and strength:
Life is a vista then whose borders meet;
So endless, to our fancy, seems its length.
But oh! how soon we pass this endless track,
That, like perspective art, deludes our view:
And, when we turn and on our path look back,
How short the distance! and our steps how few!
Trust not the gilded mists and clouds that rise
Where flattering Hope and fickle Fancy reign;
But turn from these, and seek with anxious eyes
The clear bright atmosphere of Truth's domain.
Ascend, full oft, her highest vantage ground,
And look beyond the circuit of this earth.
Review the things its narrow limits bound;
And, with her guidance, learn to scan their worth.
Nor think that with relentless stern regard
She frowns on all our fleeting pleasures here.
Believe me, no true joys by her are marr'd,
But, in her light, more lovely they appear.
And now, while youth and health are in their bloom,
Why should you dread to look beyond this state?
The traveller's pleasure knows no boding gloom
Because the charms of home his steps await.
Thus, like the compass, shall your tranquil soul,
With one wish'd haven steady in its view,
Thought tempest rage and threat'ning billows roll,
Rest even-pois'd, and point for ever true.