Yesterday E— told me that the publication [Poems, chiefly by Gentlemen of Devonshire and Cornwall] drew to a conclusion, and shewed me a sonnet he intended to send this evening; and said that some lesser poems were wanting, if I understand him right, to make up the quantum. Last night gave birth to the following lines, the only ones I have written since "Good King Arthur's golden days," a sonnet to Downman excepted.
I think no title is necessary to be prefixed; possibly it might not be an improper finale to the publication.
Yours very sincerely,
Ah, wherefore urge my weary limbs to climb
Again with fruitless toil th' Aonian mount?
Why bid me quaff Castalia's nectar'd fount,
And stretch'd in rapture on the brow sublime,
Mark the fair forms that mid Parnassus stray,
Gliding thro' sunny glade, or shadowy bower,
Like orient beams that gild the vernal shower,
And trace each image in the living day?
How vain th' attempt when envy mines the way,
And Power beholds with eyes that glance disdain!
Whose aspect, colder than the icy ray
Of the pale star that chills the polar sky,
Withers the bay to Phoebus dear in vain,
That else would Time and Jove's red bolt defy.