[Page [32]]


1 O HAPPINESS! where art thou to be found?
2 What bow'r is blest with thy perpetual gleam?
3 From court, from cot, ev'n while they seek thy stay,
4 On thy soft pinions, rapid is thy flight.
5 Thy name, not substance, is to mortals known.
6 Repulse from thee makes drunkards stand aghast,
7 Who nightly revel o'er the flowing bowl.
8 In vain they seek thy progress to retard,
9 A guest too noble to be thus detain'd.
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10 Thy quick elopement shews their sad mistake;
11 Baulks hope, and certain disappointment brings.
12 Misers for thee grope 'midst their bags of wealth,
13 Nor find thy residence in golden ore:
14 Fear, anxious care, bleak av'rice, and distrust,
15 Forbid thy access to the grov'ling soul.
16 Not riches, though in gorgeous pomp array'd,
17 With all the dazzling splendour of the east,
18 Secure thee 'mongst the gay, fantastic train.
19 Pride and Ambition, vulture-like, appear,
20 Gain access to the op'lent master's heart,
21 And bid defiance to thy sacred charms,
22 Now swiftly banish'd from his sumpt'ous seat.
23 Nor even the voice of honour can recal
24 Thy hasty steps: thee Pleasure sues in vain;
25 A stranger to the gay, licentious crowd,
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26 The giddy flutt'ring sons of dance and song.
27 Thou to the libertine dost ever prove
28 An airy phantom; mock'st his eager grasp;
29 Leaves him to cruel disappointment's rage,
30 Remorse, despair, the inmates of his soul.
31 In hopes to meet thee in some distant clime,
32 The ardent warrior quits his native shore,
33 Inur'd to martial toil; at danger smiles,
34 And unconcern'd treads o'er the heaps of slain:
35 His en'mies fly before him; at his feet
36 Millions fall prostrate, and for mercy call:
37 Yet still in vain he makes his court to thee;
38 Thou scarce vouchsafes him one auspicious smile.
39 See lovers too, in yon sequester'd grove,
40 Seek lonely walks, and spend their sighs in vain,
41 For thee! For what? for some bewitching fair,
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42 Whose smiles they deem can boundless bliss secure:
43 Their views contracted would thee thus confine.
44 Nor art thou found in Hymen's sacred rites,
45 Though silken cords of sweet affection bind.
46 A thousand ills encompass the fond pair,
47 And mix their sweets with bitterness and wo.
48 Bent in pursuit, through many a devious track,
49 All seem to say, "Successless is the search;
50 To nobler objects henceforth bend your view."
51 All hail, Religion! thou celestial power!
52 Thy force alone can soothe the anxious breast,
53 And quite dispel the solitary gloom,
54 There sullen shades that steal upon the soul.
55 O let me hear thy salutary voice!
56 Thy sacred dictates let me still revere;
57 And ever prone in virtue's steps to tread,
58 My hopes, my wishes center'd all in Him,
59 Whose hand omnipotent the world did frame.
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60 O Thou, great Source of all supreme delight!
61 Without reluctance may I ever prove
62 Submissive to thy providential sway,
63 To know and to observe thy laws divine,
64 My sole solicitude.
65 How mean soe'er my humble station be,
66 Content, and calm serenity of mind,
67 Shall pave my paths along the rugged vale;
68 And when the vain delusive vision's past,
69 Then happiness, in all its vast extent
70 Unmeasurable, ignorant of bounds,
71 Shall through eternal ages be my lot;
72 The lot of all whose hope is fix'd on thee.


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Title (in Source Edition): ON HAPPINESS.
Genres: blank verse; mock heroic

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Little, Janet, 1759-1813. The Poetical Works of Janet Little, the Scotch Milkmaid. Air: Printed by John & Peter Wilson, 1792, pp. [32]-36.  (ESTC T126549) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Library of the University of California, Los Angeles.)

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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 Janet Little (later Richmond)