To My Own Minature Picture Taken At Two Years Of Age

And I was once like this! that glowing cheek

Was mine, those pleasure-sparkling eyes, that brow

Smooth as the level lake, when not a breeze

Dies o'er the sleeping surface! twenty years

Have wrought strange alteration! Of the friends

Who once so dearly prized this miniature,

And loved it for its likeness, some are gone

To their last home; and some, estranged in heart,

Beholding me with quick-averted glance

Pass on the other side! But still these hues

Remain unalter'd, and these features wear

The look of Infancy and Innocence.

I search myself in vain, and find no trace

Of what I was: those lightly-arching lines

Dark and o'erhanging now; and that mild face

Settled in these strong lineaments!--There were

Who form'd high hopes and flattering ones of thee

Young Robert! for thine eye was quick to speak

Each opening feeling: should they not have known

When the rich rainbow on the morning cloud

Reflects its radiant dies, the husbandman

Beholds the ominous glory sad, and fears

Impending storms? they augur'd happily,

For thou didst love each wild and wonderous tale

Of faery fiction, and thine infant tongue

Lisp'd with delight the godlike deeds of Greece

And rising Rome; therefore they deem'd forsooth

That thou shouldst tread PREFERMENT'S pleasant path.

Ill-judging ones! they let thy little feet

Stray in the pleasant paths of POESY,

And when thou shouldst have prest amid the crowd

There didst thou love to linger out the day

Loitering beneath the laurels barren shade.

SPIRIT of SPENSER! was the wanderer wrong?

This little picture was for ornament

Design'd, to shine amid the motley mob

Of Fashion and of Folly,--is it not

More honour'd by this solitary song?

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