Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, VERSES TO A YOUNG FRIEND, by BERNARD BARTON

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VERSES TO A YOUNG FRIEND, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: If, long ere this, no lay of mine
Last Line: And on a fool 'tis wasted!
Alternate Author Name(s): Quaker Poet
Subject(s): Youth; Praise

IF, long ere this, no lay of mine
Has been to thee devoted;
'Tis not because such worth as thine
Has idly pass'd unnoted.

To charms more transient, tribute due
I oft have cheaply chaunted;
And auburn locks, or eyes of blue,
Have gain'd what folly wanted!

To beauty's song and beauty's smile
My muse has homage render'd,
And unto many a trifling wile
Some trifling meed has tender'd.

In praising such, my short-liv'd song
Did all that I desir'd it:
It liv'd, perchance, about as long
As that which first inspir'd it.

Not such, my friend, the song for thee:
Did I that lyre inherit,
Which Cowper woke, its strings should be
Responsive to thy merit.

Still, such a wreath as I can twine,
Thy virtues well have won thee;
Could I an apter one assign,
I'd gladly place it on thee.

Thou art not one whose path has been
Strew'd but with summer roses;
With sky above of blue serene,
Which never storm discloses.

Who tread such paths, with graceful glee,
May cull what clusters round them:
And, fading, may to memory be
Just like the flowers that crown'd them.

But, in the bloom of youth to tread
As through a desert dreary;
With much to harass heart and head,
And many a care to weary;

With much to jar each mood of joy,
With much to tease and try thee,
With many a duty to employ
Each hour that passes by thee;

So circumstanc'd, to cultivate
Each flower that leisure graces;
And thus to find, in spite of fate,
Sweet spots in desert places:

To do all this, yet still to be,
In social life, a woman,
From half thy sex's follies free,
Is merit far from common.

Nor think this flattery! I've been taught
One maxim worth receiving,
Which every passing day has brought
Fresh motive for believing:

That flattery no excuse can find!
'Tis loath'd as soon as tasted,
When offer'd to a well taught mind;
And on a fool 'tis wasted!

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