Where thy enraptured sight the dark woods meet,
Ah! rest awhile, and contemplate the scene.
These hoary pillars clasped by ivy round,
This hallowed floor by holy footsteps trod,
The mold'ring choir by spreading moss embrowned,
Where fasting saints devoutly hymned their God.
Unpitying Time, with slow but certain sweep,
Has laid, alas! their ancient splendor low:
Yet here let pilgrims, while they muse and weep,
Think on the lesson that from hence may flow.
Like theirs, how soon may be the tottering state
Of man, —the temple of a shorter date.
Ah dear associate of youth's tender days,
When round my heart my Laura's charms entwined:
When ardent sighs quick blew the kindling rays,
That flashed the flames of frenzy on the mind.
Art thou of human kind the dreadful curse?
For sure thy poisons cauterize the soul;
Or of contentment sweet the soothing nurse,
When o'er the swelling heart thy mighty raptures roll.
O thou art both, for midst the pangs of pain,
Warm hope and joy in quick succession flow,
And floods of bliss too mighty to sustain,
A moment check the bitter waves of woe.
Still varying Goddess, still we bow to thee,
Thou daughter bland of Sensibility.
Joseph Hucks was a close friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with whom he
made a walking tour through Wales, recorded in Hucks's Pedestrian Tour
through North Wales (1795). During their walk, Hucks contributed to the
conception of Coleridge and Southey's utopian scheme, “Pantisocracy.” He
was educated at Eton and St. Catherine's Hall, Cambridge. His sonnet “To
Freedom” demonstrates something of the revolutionary fervor for democ-
racy characteristic of the 1790s. He died while still a young man.