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The Gamester

Ah! what is he, whose haggard eye,
Scarce dares to meet the morning ray
Who trembling, would, but cannot fly
From man, and from the busy day.
Mark how his lip is fever'd o'er,
Behold his cheek, how deathly is eappears!
See how his blood-shot eye-balls pour
A burning torrent of unpitied tears!

Now watch the varying gesture, wild,
See how his tortur'd bosom heaves!
Behold, misfortune's wayward child,
For whom no kindred nature grieves.
Dispis'd, suspected, ruined, lost!
His fortun, health, and reputation flown;
On mis'ry's stormy ocean tost,
condemn'd to curse his fate, and curse alone!

Once, were his prospects bright and gay,
and independance blest his hours;
His was the smooth and sunny way,
Where tip-toe pleasure scatter'd flow'rs.
Love bound his brow with thornless sweets,
And smiling friendship fill'd his cup of joy;
Now, not a firend the victim meets,
for, like a wolf, he wanders to destroy.

All day, upon a couch of thorn,
His weary, fev'rish limbs recline;
All night distracted and forlorn,
He hovers round the fateful shrine!
Eager to seize, with grasping hands,
The slender pittance of the easy fool;
He links himself with caitiff bands,
And learns the lesson of the Gamester's school!

One hour, elate with ill got gold,
and dazzled by the shining ore,
In plenitude of joys, behold
The Prodigal display his store!
the next is poverty and fear,
He hides him, trembling at approaching fate,
While greedy creditors appear,
And with remorseless rage lurk round his gate.

Then comes the horror-bleeding hour!
While secreant suicide attends;
And madness with impetuous pow'r,
The scene of desolation ends!
Upon his grave no parent mourns,
No widow'd love laments with graceful woe;
No dawn of joy for him returns -
For Heav'n denies that peace, his frenzy lost below!

(The Derby Mercury (Derby, England), Thursday, January 30, 1800; Issue 3542.)

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