[Page 226]


1 A JUDGEMENT clear, a pensive mind
2 With feelings tender and refined;
3 A generous heart in kindness glowing,
4 An open hand on all bestowing;
5 A temper sweet, and calm, and even
6 Through petty provocations given;
7 A soul benign, whose cheerful leisure
8 Considers still of others' pleasure,
9 Or, in its lonely, graver mood,
10 Considers still of others' good;
11 And joined to these the visioned eye,
12 And tuneful ear of poesy;
13 Blest wight, in whom those gifts combine,
14 Our dear Sophia, sister mine!
[Page 227]
15 How comes it that, from year to year,
16 This day hath passed without its cheer,
17 No token passing time to trace,
18 No rhymester's lay to do it grace?
19 Love was not wanting, but the muse,
20 Reserved, unpliant, and recluse,
21 Sat in her unreal kingdom, dreaming
22 Through baseless scenes of airy seeming,
23 And could not turn her 'wildered eye
24 On plain, unfancied verity.
25 Yet be it so! once in my life
26 I'll hold with her a generous strife;
27 With or without her aid, my lay
28 Shall hail with grateful lines this happy day.
29 The day when first thy infant heart
30 Did from inactive being start,
31 And in thy baby bosom beat,
32 Its doubtful, dangerous, fragile seat,
33 A heavenly spark that downward came
34 To mount again a brighter flame.
[Page 228]
35 Meantime, a warm and fostering blessing,
36 More precious felt in long possessing,
37 'Tis lent to those who daily prove
38 Its gentle offices of love.
39 Ah! for their sake, long be the date
40 Of this its more ignoble state!
41 I who, so near its influence set,
42 Owe it a long and pleasing debt,
43 In course of nature launched before
44 From mortal nature's foggy shore,
45 Would fain behind me leave some token
46 Of friendly kindred love unbroken,
47 Which in some hour, retired and lone,
48 Thine eyes may sometimes look upon,
49 While in thy saddened tender breast
50 Ah, no! I may not think the rest,
51 Lest, both bereft of words and strain
52 My silent thoughts alone remain:
53 This token then do thou receive.
54 I will not tell thee to believe
55 How in my heart its spirit glows,
56 How soothly from my pen it flows.
[Page 229]
57 Through years unmarked by woe or pain,
58 Oft may this day return again,
59 Blessed by him whose rough career
60 Of toil and care thy love doth cheer.
61 Whose manly worth by Heaven was fated
62 To be through life thus fitly mated;
63 Blessed by those thy youthful twain,
64 Who by thy side their place maintain,
65 Still nestling closer to thy bosom
66 As the fair flowers of reason blossom;
67 By all who thy dear kindred claim,
68 And love to see thy face, and love to hear thy name.
69 And so I end my simple writing,
70 The muse in fault, but love enditing
71 That which, but for this love alone,
72 I thought not ever to have done,
73 A birth-day lay. Then sister mine,
74 Keep thou in kindness this propine,
75 And through life's yet untrodden scene
76 Still be to me what thou hast been.


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Title (in Source Edition): VERSES SENT TO MRS. BAILLIE ON HER BIRTHDAY, 1813.
Genres: address; occasional poem

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Baillie, Joanna, 1762-1851. Fugitive Verses. By Joanna Baillie, author of “Dramas on the Passions,“ etc. London: Edward Moxon, Dover Street. MDCCCXL., 1840, pp. 226-229.  (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [40.17].)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Other works by Joanna Baillie