A Word to Two Young Ladies


WHEN tender Rose-trees first receive
On half-expanded Leaves, the Shower;
Hope’s gayest pictures we believe,
And anxious watch each coming flower.
Then, if beneath the genial Sun 5
That spreads abroad the full-blown May,
Two infant Stems the rest out-run,
Their buds the first to meet the day,
With joy their op’ning tints we view,
While morning’s precious moments fly: 10
My pretty Maids, ’tis thus with you;
The fond admiring gazer, I.
Preserve, sweet Buds, where’er you be,
The richest gem that decks a Wife;
The charm of female modesty: 15
And let sweet Music give it life.
Still may the favouring Muse be found:
Still circumspect the paths ye tread:
Plant moral truths in Fancy’s ground;
And meet old Age without a dread. 20
Yet, ere that comes, while yet ye quaff
The cup of Health without a pain,
I’ll shake my grey hairs when you laugh,
And, when you sing, be young again. [1] 


[1] [1st edn, 1st state adds notes by Lofft and Bloomfield:] Partial and interesting in all respects. C. L. Both the young Ladies had addressed to me a few complimentary lines, (and I am sorry that those of the elder sister were never in my possession;) in return for which I sent the above. It was received on the day on which the younger completed her ninth year. Surely it cannot be ascribed to vanity, if, in gratitude to a most amiable family, I here preserve verbatim an effort of a child nine years old. I have the more pleasure in doing it, because I know them to be her own. R. B.

Accept, dear Bard, the Muse’s genuine thought,
And take not ill the tribute of my heart:—
For thee the laureat wreath of praise I’ll bind;
None that have read thy commendable mind
Can let it pass unnotic’d—nor can I—
For by thy lays I know thy sympathy.’ F. P.] Lofft’s note omitted in 1st edn, 2nd state and later edns