Alone, in an Inn, at Southhampton

by Aaron Hill

Aaron Hill

TWENTY lost years have stoln their hours away,
Since, in this inn, ev'n in this room, I lay:
How chang'd! what, then, was rapture, fire, and air,
Seems, now, sad silence, all, and blanc despair!
Is it, that youth paints every view too bright,
And, life advancing, fancy fades her light?
Ah! no--nor, yet, is day so far declin'd,
Nor can time's creepng coldness reach the mind.

'Tis--that I miss th' inspirer of that youth;
Her, whose soft smile was love, whose soul was truth,
Her, from whose pain, I never wish'd relief,
And, for whose pleasure, I could smile at grief.
Prospects, that (view'd with her) inspir'd, before,
Now, seen without her, can delight no more.
Death snatch'd my joy, by cutting off her share,
But left her griefs, to multiply my care.

Pensive, and cold, this room, in each chang'd part,
I view, and shock'd, from ev'ry object, start:
There hung the watch, that beating hours, from day,
Told its sweet owner's lessening life away.
There, her dear diamond taught the sash my name;
'Tis gone! frail image of love, life, and fame.
That glass, she dress'd at, keeps her form no more;
Not one dear foot-step tunes th' unconscious floor.
There sat she--yet, those chairs no sense retain,
And busy recollection smarts, in vain.
Sullen, and dim, what faded scenes are here!
I wonder, and retract a starting tear.
Gaze, in attentive doubt--with anguish, swell,
And o'er, and o'er, on each weigh'd object, dwell.
Then, to the window, rush, gay views invite,
And tempt idea, to permit delight.
But unimprssive, all in sorrow, drown'd,
One void forgetful desert glooms, around.

On life!--deceitful lure of lost desires!
How short thy period, yet, how fierce thy fires!
Scarce can a passion start, (we change so fast)
E're new lights strike us, and the old are past.
Schemes following schemes, so long life's taste explore,
That, e'er we learn to live, we live no more.
Who, then, can think--yet sigh, to part with breath?
Or shun the healing hand of friendly death?
Guilt, penitence, and wrongs; and pain, and strife,
Form thy whole heap'd amount, thou flatterer, life!
Is it for this, that toss'd, 'twixt hope, and fear,
Peace, by new shipwrecks, numbers each new year?
Oh, take me, death! indulge desir'd repose,
And draw thy silent curtain round my woes.

Yet hold--one tender pang revokes that pray'r,
Still, there remains one claim, to tax my care.
Gone tho' she is, she left her soul behind,
In four dear transcripts of her copy'd mind.
They chain me down to life, new task supply,
And leave me not, at leisure, yet, to die!
Busied, for them, I, yet, forego release;
And teach my wearied heart, to wait for peace.
But, when their day breaks broad, I welcome night,
Smile at discharge from care, and shut out light.

Last updated August 10, 2015