Alexis' Complaint

Of joys departed, never to return,
How painful the remembrance!

'Twas where smooth Cartha rolls in winding pride,
Where willows fringe young Damon's garden side,
And o'er the rocks the boiling current roars,
Murm'ring to leave these peaceful, flowery shores;
There, sad and pensive, near an aged thorn,
Sat lone Alexis, friendless and forlorn.

  Pale was his visage, lost to joy his ear,
Involved in grief he shed the ceaseless tear:
Poor hapless swain, alas! he mourn'd alone,
His dearest friend, his kind companion gone.
Each listening bush forgot in air to play;
Round gazed the flock, mute hung the peopled spray;
Sad Silence reign'd, while thus the youth distrest,
Pour'd forth the sorrows of his burden'd breast:
O'er all the plain the mournful strains pervade,
O'er all the plain a solemn sadness spread,
Nor wak'd an echo but to murmur "dead!"
Thus sung the hapless swain—“Short is the span
Of fleeting time, allow'd to feeble man!
No sooner born, he fills the air with cries ;
No sooner known, than pale he droops and dies.
To-day he laughs the dancing hours away,
To-morrow lies extended lifeless clay;
While o'er the silent corpse each weeping swain
In anguish sigh, but sigh or weep in vain.
Such was thy fate, Horatio! from this shore
Too sudden torn, ne'er to revisit more.
The rigid debt, alas! thou now hast paid;
Thee on the couch relentless Fever laid;
Thy heaving breast with dread disorder rung,
And 'plaints still trembling from thy feeble tongue;
And scarce a soul thy frequent wants to ease,
Or soothe each moan, or whisper to thee peace —
While I, far distant, on a foreign plain,
Exulting roved, unconscious of thy pain.
Oh! had I known the pangs that tore thy breast,
Had some kind power but whisper'd, 'he's distrest,'
Soon had I measur'd back my lonely way,
And sought the bed where poor Horatio lay,
Kiss'd from thy face the cold, damp, deadly dew,
And groan'd my last distracted long adieu.
  “That dismal hour ne'er from my thought shall go,
When black appear'd the messenger of woe;
O'er all my soul a gloomy horror came,
And instant trembling shook my feeble frame.
Thy dying strains I read, still yet I hear
The solemn counsel sounding in my ear;
Words that shall tremble on my latest breath,
And only leave me when I sink in death.
Frantic with grief, twice fifty miles I sped
O'er severing seas and gain'd his silent bed;
Each weeping friend confirm'd my gloomy fear,
That earth had closed on all I held most dear!
Yes, mute he lies beneath yon rising sod,
While his lone cot, of Peace the late abode,
Now grim and drear, to tottering ruin falls,
Loud blasts wild howling through the naked walls,
His flowers torn up, his garden bare and waste.
And I lone left, a solitary guest.
  “Sad change indeed! ye once lov'd scenes where now
The growing bliss I felt at each fond view?
Where all that sweetness that perfum'd each flower,
That bless'd our walks and wing'd the passing hour?
For ever fled! fled with that pride of swains,
Whose presence graced these now forsaken plains!
When he appear'd, each warbler raised his note,
Each flower blow'd fresher 'midst the peaceful spot;
Ev'n while sweet Cartha pass'd the smiling scene,
She smoother flow'd, and left the place with pain.
Thrice happy times! when hid from Phoebus' beam,
From that green shade we angled in her stream,
Or wanton, stript, and from the hanging shore,
Exulting, plunged her pearly depths t' explore,
Tore from their rocky homes the pregnant dames,
And to the sun display'd the glob‘lous gems.