(John Kenyon)

For the Sisters Album

Soft lays, that dwell on lips and eyes.
Long since with me have had their day;
At fifty, hearts grow cold or wise;
This book receives a graver lay.
Ill suits with would-be-youthful rhyme
Clogged ink, for keeping all the worse;
Come, halting pen! grown stiff by time,
And limp admonitory verse.
Should he, who fawningly deceives,
His flatteries here be fain to write,
Then, budding volume! close thy leaves,
Like flowers, that shut them from the night.
Not wholesome every breeze that sighs;
And they who tend thee, Sister-pair,
Shall guard thy blossom from surprise
Of vulgar touch or baleful air.
E'en wit, too reckless in his game,
Might fray thy bloom; but biting sneer,
Though dignified with satire's name,
Let him not bring his canker here.
But here would open-hearted love,
Or friendship here inscribe his strain,
Then, gentle book! each fear remove,
And bid thy leaves expand again.
Nor needs it second-sighted eyes,
To know that both shall hither come,
(Sly love perchance in friendship's guise)
And join to feed the flow'ret's bloom.
But oh! if She, the matron Muse,
The loving Mother and the dear,
Some lay of her's should interfuse,
As sunny dew-drop bright and clear;
Then, Flower of Albums! clasp the gem
She hangs amid thy leaves; and tower,
With freshened hues and straighter stem,
A happyfondrejoicing flower.

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