My Lady Nature and Her Daughters
Ladies, well I deem, delight In comely tire to move; Soft, and delicate, and bright, Are the robes they love. Silks, where hues alternate play, Shawls, and scarfs, and mantles gay, Gold, and gems, and crispèd hair, Fling their light o'er lady fair. 'Tis not waste, nor sinful pride, Name them not, nor fault beside, But her very cheerfulness Prompts and weaves the curious dress; While her holy thoughts still roam Mid birth-friends and scenes of home. Pleased to please whose praise is dear, Glitters she? she glitters there; And she has a pattern found her In Nature's glowing world around her. Nature loves, as lady bright, In gayest guise to shine, All forms of grace, all tints of light, Fringe her robe divine. Sun-lit heaven, and rain-bow cloud, Changeful main, and mountain proud, Branching tree, and meadow green, All are deck'd in broider'd sheen. Not a bird on bough-propp'd tower, Insect slim, nor tiny flower, Stone, nor spar, nor shell of sea, But is fair in its degree. 'Tis not pride, this vaunt of beauty; Well she 'quits her trust of duty; And, amid her gorgeous state, Bright, and bland, and delicate, Ever beaming from her face Praise of a Father's love we trace. Ladies, shrinking from the view Of the prying day, In tranquil diligence pursue Their heaven-appointed way. Noiseless duties, silent cares, Mercies lighting unawares, Modest influence working good, Gifts, by the keen heart understood, Such as viewless spirits might give, These they love, in these they live. Mighty Nature speeds her through Her daily toils in silence too: Calmly rolls her giant spheres, Sheds by stealth her dew's kind tears; Cheating sage's vex'd pursuit, Churns the sap, matures the fruit, And, her deft hand still concealing, Kindles motion, life, and feeling. Ladies love to laugh and sing, To rouse the chord's full sound, Or to join the festive ring Where dancers gather round. Not a sight so fair on earth, As a lady's graceful mirth; Not a sound so chasing pain, As a lady's thrilling strain. Nor is Nature left behind In her lighter moods of mind; Calm her duties to fulfil, In her glee a prattler still. Bird and beast of every sort Hath its antic and its sport; Chattering brook, and dancing gnat, Subtle cry of evening bat, Moss uncouth, and twigs grotesque, These are Nature's picturesque. Where the birth of Poesy? Its fancy and its fire? Nature's earth, and sea, and sky, Fervid thoughts inspire. Where do wealth and power find rest, When hopes have fail'd, or toil oppress'd? Parks, and lawns, and deer, and trees, Nature's work, restore them ease. Rare the rich, the gifted rare, Where shall work-day souls repair, Unennobled, unrefined, From the rude world and unkind? Who shall friend their lowly lot? High-born Nature answers not. Leave her in her starry dome, Seek we lady-lighted home. Nature 'mid the spheres bears sway, Ladies rule where hearts obey.
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