Hail thou unfledged! thou nestling of an hour!
Hail to thy puny, unclothed nakedness!
Hail! darling offspring of old Time--all hail!
Thrice welcome to the hearts, and hopes of men!
Fain would I offer thee the homage due,
And crown thy advent with a poet's wreath!
Fain would I clasp thee to my yearning breast,
And keep thee young, and innocent, and pure!
But who may stop thy course? or curb thy speed?
Or pluck a feather from thy pinion's strength,
As, with a fugitive and meteor sweep,
Thou pressest onwards to eternity?
Gone! ere the mind can realise--THOU ART!
Who may behold the colour of thy plumes?
Or future story? or resistless flight,
That, as thy wings expand, outstrips the wind,
Folding the earth in its complete embrace
Ere lost in the dim regions of the past?
The royal parent dead, bequeathed thee to us,
And with dumb language eloquent, pointed
To her past reign as the signed document,
And sealèd bond of her last act, and will;
A testament of legal eminence,
And vital consequence; wherein the vast,
And wond'rous treasures, and rich mines of wealth,
Her labour gained, and genius mastered,
Are registered in text indelible,
And left, without reserve, to all her heirs.
Thou beautiful unknown! Hope gilds thy couch
With bright enchanting hues, and gleaming crown,
As if man sees in thee a proper child,
And wraps thee lovingly, with tender care,
Watching thy young existence with delight,
And, with exceeding joy, and warm caress,
Offers thee early worship, praise, and pray'r.
Imagination lifts thy swaddling lawn,
And, gazing on thy feeble infancy,
Depicts thy slumb'ring vision's scenes of bliss,
And by impulsive eagerness impelled,
Erects her airy castles on thy sands.
Experience, that aged philosopher,
Whose oracles are wise, and keen, and true,
With sage and calculating brow, consults
His glass, thy horoscope to cast, and learn
The good and evil of thy destiny.
What ominous and varied shades he views,
Flitting in quick succession 'cross its lens!
War, Famine, Lust, Fire, Pestilence, and Storm;
Oppression, Madness, Misery, and Death;
Subtle Ambition with obsequious mien,
And haughty Pride and gaunt-eyed Poverty,
And dark fanatic Bigotry, and Zeal,
With hosts of followers in Pleasure's train--
In crowded prominence, and mystic form,
Rush by impetuous, a mingled throng,
All fierce and eager to play out their parts.
But now with fairer scenes the crystal gleams,
And goodly nature's works arrest the sight.
The seasons hand-in-hand with rosy wreaths,
And luscious fruits entwined, come on,
Tripping their fairy feet to music sweet,
All ardent to perform their annual dance.
How nature laughs and claps her eager hands,
As each rebounds with quick and matchless grace!
What glowing tints they scatter on the earth!
What gems, and precious gifts, and crystal show'rs!
What golden ears they drop for man to glean!
And fragrant fruits and oily essences!
And pure refreshing streams and balmy gales!
What jocund mirth prevails where'er they tread!
What beaming smiles and universal song,
And soft melodious murmurs fill the air,
When Morn and Eve throw wide their palace doors!
Wealth, Peace, and Liberty their banners wave,
While Genius points to new discoveries,
That Art and Science foster with much care;
And Learning, bending 'neath their pond'rous weight,
His precious ingots brings from golden mines,
Stamped with the seals of Truth and Equity.
Britannia smiles! for, on her breast again,
The Rose of Albion's glory freshly blooms!
No more its head to adverse storm is bowed!
No more with Sorrow's drops its cup runs o'er!
But, full of royal dignity and grace,
It glads a nation's heart, and feeds its pride,
And pours refreshing odours all around!
Then hie thee on, thou young and budding year!
Cast thick thy blessings o'er the universe!
Let Joy and Health and Peace thy steps attend,
And we will call thy reign "The Golden Age,"
And with our hearts and souls bid thee "Godspeed!"