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Loses its feeble gleam,—and then
his master's breast, And licks his cheek, to break his rest.
Who envies now the shepherd's lot,
His crook, his scrip, his oaten reed,
Changes not so with us, my Skene, Of human life the varying scene? Our youthful summer oft we see Dance by on wings of game and glee, While the dark storm reserves its rage, Against the winter of our age: As he, the ancient Chief of Troy, His manhood spent in peace and joy ; But Grecian fires, and loud alarms, Call'd ancient Priam forth to arms. Then, happy those,-since each must drain His share of pleasure, share of pain, Then happy those, beloved of Heaven, To whom the mingled cup is given ; Whose lenient sorrows find relief, Whose joys are chasten’d by their grief. And such a lot, my Skene, was thine, When thou, of late, wert doom'd to twine,Just when thy bridal hour was by,The cypress with the myrtle tie.
Just on thy bride her Sire had smiled,
The widow's shield, the orphan's stay." Nor, though it wake thy sorrow, deem
My verse intrudes on this sad theme;
To thee, perchance, this rambling strain Recalls our summer walks again ; When, doing nought-and, to speak true, Not anxious to find aught to do,The wild unbounded hills we ranged, While oft our talk its topic changed, And, desultory as our way, Ranged, unconfined, from grave to gay. Even when it flagg'd, as oft will chance, No effort made to break its trance, We could right pleasantly pursue Our sports in social silence too ; Thou gravely labouring to pourtray The blighted oak’s fantastic spray ; I spelling o'er, with much delight,
The legend of that antique knight,
And blithesome nights, too, have been ours, When Winter stript the summer's bowers. Careless we heard, what now I hear, The wild blast sighing deep and drear, When fires were bright, and lamps beam'd gay, And ladies tuned the lovely lay ; And he was held a laggard soul, Who shunn'd to quaff the sparkling bowl. Then he, whose absence we deplore, Who breathes the gales of Devon's shore,