John Hamilton Reynolds (1796-1852)

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Copied from the Album of a Wholesale House in the City

It is the precious province of true thought--
Of the divine creations of the mind--
To live unwearied in a heart overwrought
By busy intercourse with town--Mankind:
Poor merchant I! whom the dull world's trade-wind
Blows ever onward on a steady sea,
Feel oftentimes, mid murkiest men, refined
By visitants that come alone to me.

Perchance I class not with the worldly wise;
But mine is not the spirit that avoids,
Mid temporal dealings, these communions strange,
Albeit "disgracious to the city's eyes,"
Often I meet rare Trinculo at Lloyd's!
And Hamlet sweetly walks with me on 'Change!

To Vauxhall: "The English Garden" (Mason)

The cold transparent ham is on my fork
It hardly rains--and hark the bell!--ding dingle
Away! Three thousand feet at gravel work,
Mocking a Vauxhall shower!--Married and single
Crush--rush;--soaked silks with wet white satin mingle.
Hengler! Madame! round whom all bright sparks lurk,
Calls audibly on Mr. and Mrs. Pringle
To study the sublime, &c.--(vide Burke),
All noses are upturned! Whish-ish!--on high
The rocket rushes, trails, just steals in sight--
Then droops and melts in bubbles of blue light--
And darkness reigns--then balls flare up and die--
Wheels whiz--smack crackers--serpents twist--and then
Back to the cold transparent ham again!

To Spenser

Yet that have hearts vexed with unquiet thought
Of worldly grievance, and of lost delight;
Oh! turn to Spenser's Faerie Tale,--so fraught
With all that's mild, and beautiful, and bright,--
There revel in the fancies he hath wroght,--
Fancies more fair than May,--or morning light,--
Or solitary star awake at night,--
Or breath from Lovers' lips in kisses caught.
Sweet Spenser! how I love thy faerie pages,--
Where gentle Una lives so radiantly;
Fair is thy record of romantic ages,
And calm and pure the pleasure which it yields:
While life and thought are with me,--thou shalt be
My dear companion in the silent fields.

On the Picture of a Lady

Sorrow hath made thine eyes more dark and keen,
And set a whiter hue upon thy cheeks,
And round thy pressèd lips drawn anguish-streaks,
And made thy forehead fearfully serene.
Even in thy steady hair her work is seen;
For its still parted darkness--till it breaks
In heavy curls upon thy shoulders--speaks,
Like the stern wave, how hard the storm hath been.
So looked that hapless Lady of the south,
Sweet Isabella, at the dreary part
Of all the passioned hours of her youth
When her green basil pot by brothers' art
Was stolen away: so looked her painèd mouth
In the mute patience of a breaking heart.

(Text of last sonnet from The Book of Sorrow.)