Written In Richmond
Thames swept along in summer pride,
Sparkling beneath his verdant edge;
With frolic kiss, as, half-denied,
Light airs were glancing o'er the tide,
Or whispering in the secret sedge.
Cheerful the landscape's sunny green,—
Yet still, in pensive mood reclined,
Pondering of things to be, or been,
I shrank at many a visioned scene
Of fear—before; of grief—behind.
The insect-tribes, but newly born,
Were flaunting in the' awake'ning ray;
In me they woke no touch of scorn;
I saw them frail, but more to mourn
The kindred doom of man's decay.
For here, of old, his booty won,
The Dane caroused in barbarous glee,
Or Roman veteran, toil-foredone,
Lay stretched beneath the westering sun,
In dreams of pleasant Italy.
Or floating by, in gallant show,
Gay beauty glanced at monarch's jest,
Nor marked where, high above the prow,
'Mid mirth and wine, and music's flow,
Sat Change—a dark and threatening guest.
Their mirth is sped; their gravest theme
Sleeps with the things that cease to be;
Their longest life—a morning gleam;
A bubble bursting on the stream,
Then swept to Time's unfathomed sea.
Yes! all, beneath or Change or Chance,
And passing, like the passing river,
The wassail shout, the dreamer's trance,
And monarch's jest, and beauty's glance,
Were human all, and gone for ever!