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Joanna Baillie (Джоанна Бейли)

Lines for a Friend’s 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. 

Joanna Baillie's other poems:
  1. The Maid of Llanwellyn
  2. It Fell on a Morning Whan We Were Thrang
  3. Hooly and Fairly
  4. A Reverie
  5. Lines to a Parrot

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