1811 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Dr. Hugh Downman

Anonymous, "Lines written on a Blank Leaf of Downman's Infancy" Port Folio [Philadelphia] NS 5 (March 1811) 276-77.



If, much lov'd fair! who late with tremb'ling foot,
Didst press the threshold of that hallow'd fane
Where Hymen holds his court, and where the Loves
And Graces join in sweet accordance,
Weaving chaplets gay of blooming flow'rs,
Thrown in the liberal hand of smiling Hope,
To grace the brows of those whom Love impels
To bend before his altar — If haply, "born
Beneath the beam of some propitious star,"
Lucina's mystic rites should ere reward
The fond embrace of thy faithful spouse,
With prattling pledges of your mutual love;
O! then, with eager eye, and heedful pause,
The following strains didactic oft peruse.
For know, their little tender frames demand
Unceasing care — their future health and strength,
A form erect, the roseate bloom of youth,
Athletic firmness, with a vigorous mind,—
Or, dull and moping imbecility,
Distorted joints, and nerves of feeble texture,
Complexion wan, with aptness to imbibe
The various taints of fell Disease's train—
All these, with num'rous other joys or woes,
Depending on the treatment they receive,
At their first entrance on the stage of life,
And, during helpless Infancy. — Here then learn
Those various pleasing duties to discharge,
Which th' endearing name of Mother doth enjoin;
And which, observed, will crown your future days,
With ample recompense for all your care.
Philad. Aug. 30, 1808.