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Poem by Margaret Chalmers

Lines, on the Drawing Room of an Intimate Friend of the Authors

SWEET scene, on me full often hast thou smil'd,
And for a while my pressing cares beguil'd;
In thee have I spent many a chearful day,
And thus to me thou sayst, or seemst to say,--
"Welcome, consider me as a true friend,
"To whom thou freely mayst thy mind unbend,
"A truce to irksome thought, forget thy care,
"And in my social influences share."
I thank thee, and thy offer do accept,
But thou must not my grateful verse reject,
On the Parnassian Ladies lay the blame
If I unequal prove to sing thy fame,
For I a recent suppliant at their shrine
Have sued, they would a gracious ear incline,
And though their powerful aid they should refuse,
Thou hast a willing Poet, tho' coy Muse.
Sure thou wilt not deny thy greatest charm
Is borrow'd from thy owners, friendly, warm;
The Master's manner open, frank, and kind,
Bespeaks an ardent, free, and generous mind;
The Mistress gentle, sympathetic, mild,
Sweet Sensibility's distinguished child,
An air engaging and a courteous grace,
Heighten the mingling beauties of her face.
From flowers of various sorts we often see
Is drawn the treasur'd nectar of the bee,
So from these different qualities a zest
Which crowns the pleasure of the happy guest.
How sweet thou seemst when on a summer's day
Nature and art conspire to deck thee gay,
Dispos'd by the judicious hand of taste,
A mirror view to such advantage plac'd,
As to reflect the garden in full bloom,
Seen as an antichamber to the room,
Which 'twixt the real and shadowy garden seems,
Whilst thro' the whole bright dart the sunny beams.
It must be own'd that in our Northern clime
Summer is rather chary of his time,
His tardy visit transient and sweet,
Slow in advance, but in retreating fleet;
What can we more to counteract his haste
Than doubly view his beauties while they last.
And now arrives the hour which brings the board
With China's fragrant leaf and porcelain stor'd,
Where British cups with China's porcelain vie,
(What cannot British industry supply?)
The spotless white and golden circles gay,
Simplicity with splendour join'd display,
And rival that which every tint doth show,
Which gaily paints the bright ethereal bow.
And see the native produce of our ground,
The crimson jelly "in its crystal bound,"
Does honour to Lerwegian clime and soil,
And well rewards the active gardener's toil,
To gain advantage the whole scene is seen,
From the presiding hand of lovely Jean,*
Whose hospitable welcome, true and kind,
Sheds pleasure over each surrounding mind.
Why deem the fair so void of candour, sense,
Of sprightly wit, of sweet benevolence,
As that they cannot spend the hour of tea
Unless an absent sacrifice there be?
Hence, far, far hence, Demon of Scandal flee.
When Phoebus' latest western ray has fled,
And gentle twilight spreads her dusky shade,
The thought-inspiring hour doth oft invite
Me to the casement, where with calm delight,
With the fair Jean I list the soothing sound
Of waving willow in the garden's bound,
Whose solemn motion vibrates on the mind
To sympathetic harmony inclin'd;
Or when the autumnal moon displays her beams,
Draw pensive pleasure from the silver gleams.
The windows have their sweet attraction lost,
And can of numerous guests no longer boast,
Those guests who in them bask'd the live-long day,
All, all withdraw with Phoebus' feeble ray;
New aims do now their veering thoughts inspire,
Lo! see them all to pay their court retire,
Not to the rising sun--but rising fire.
The scene now changes yet it still doth please,
Comfort-crown'd nights succeed those chearful days,
Loud howls the blast, thick drifts the fleaky snow,
Now , Social Genius! bid thy influence glow.
Stir up the fuel, let the taper blaze,
Bring the newspapers, bring the pipe and glass,
Tobacco's leaf, its votaries say, affords
A grateful steam, I take it on their words;
Around the beaming fire the circle form,
Let friendly lore beguile the wintry storm,
While the soft Thulian fleece the busy fair
Weave, while they the general converse share.
Quick, Royal George's health each glass must drain,
Else Loyal George full loudly will complain,
Political discussion warmly flows,
Mean-while the patriotic spirit glows;
But these are themes my muse not understands,
And leaves to deeper heads and abler hands.
Anon--the sprightly, stingless jest flies round,
Which sweetly pleases all, and none doth wound;
And sometimes to beguile the evening hours
The card-table forth its various armies pours,
Say, tuneful Sisters, who amongst you sings
The rise and fall of pasteboard Queens and Kings,
And daring knaves, (may I forgiven be!
For naming knaves amid such company.)
Oft doth a knave's impending fate, impart
Or hope or fear unto the anxious heart;
But here, their power restricted, is confin'd
To interest, not agitate the mind;
I call'd in vain, the unpropitious Nine,
To sing those party-colour'd feats decline.
List, list, I hear the violin advance,
In welcome summons to the lively dance;
Each pause let Scotia's vocal measures fill,
And thro' the heart in moving sweetness thrill.
Farewell lov'd scene! Farewell ye virtuous pair!
Long live the swain to bless the gentle fair.
Whether sweet Flora breathe upon the plain,
Or gay Pomona hold her sunny reign,
Or liberal Ceres tend the golden grain;
Or these scar'd hence when angry Boreas lowers,
Still crown'd with pleasure roll the circling hours,
And virtue's sacred, homefelt joy be yours!

Margaret Chalmers

Margaret Chalmers's other poems:
  1. The Author's Address to the Critics
  2. Verses on the Jubilee Night at Lerwick
  3. Address to the Evening Star
  4. On the Banks of the Esk
  5. The Rose of the Rock

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