Lines for a Friendís Album
LINES, in addition to the treasure Of poesy, culled for the pleasure Of beau and belle and gentle dame, When seated round the evening flame, What time the social hour is waning, And tardy coachman guests detaining,-- A courteous friend hath bid me write Upon her Album's pages white. But age the easy grace hath lost That would become such pages most, While of a quondam rhymester's skill, Scarce aught is extant but the will; And sober, stinted age must use The school-girl's worn and stale excuse, When, long her correspondent's debtor, The apology becomes the letter. Apologies for those who need 'em! An Album is a thing of freedom, Receiving all with right good will That fortune sends from many a quill, And then displays like scaly store Which fisher's net brings to the shore: The herring sheathed in silvery green, The whiting in its pearly sheen, The lithe and wavy eel that glides Athwart the mackerel's tabbied sides; John Dory with his dolphin head, Where amber fins like horns are spread, And flounder, sole, and thornback, all In turn on some observer call To mark each varied form and tint; And from this simile a hint Of some encouragement I take, And humbly this my offering make, Which if received with favour, truly Will shew that I have reckoned duly On what might homelier things commend,-- On the good nature of a friend.
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