When the smooth currents on its placid breast
Flow calm as my past moments used to flow;
Or, when its troubled waves refuse to rest,
And seem the symbol of my present woe.
Pathway of light! o'er thy empurpled zone,
With lavish charms perennial summer strays;
Soft 'midst thy spicy groves the zephyr plays,
While far around the rich perfumes are thrown;
The amadavid-bird for thee alone,
Spreads his gay plumes that catch thy vivid rays;
For thee the gems with liquid luster blaze,
And nature's various wealth is all thy own.
But ah! not thine is twilight's doubtful gloom,
Those mild gradations, mingling day with night;
Here, instant darkness shrouds thy genial bloom,
Nor leaves my pensive soul that lingering light,
When musing memory would each trace resume
Of fading pleasures in successive flight.
Bird of the Tropic! thou, who lov'st to stray,
Where thy long pinions sweep the sultry line,
Or mark'st the bounds which torrid beams confine
By thy averted course, that shuns the ray
Oblique, enamored of sublimer day—
Oft' on yon cliff thy folded plumes recline,
And drop those snowy feathers Indians twine,
To crown the warrior's brow with honors gay—
O'er trackless oceans what impels thy wing?
Does no soft instinct in thy soul prevail?
No sweet affection to thy bosom cling,
And bid thee oft thy absent nest bewail?—
Yet thou again to that dear spot can'st spring—
But I my long-lost home no more shall hail!
William Lisle Bowles was a clergyman whose literary pursuits kept him in the
public eye for much of his life. The success of his Fourteen Sonnets (1789)
encouraged him to expand this series of topographical sonnets. Reviewers
initially compared Bowles's sonnets with Charlotte Smith's, sometimes