[Page 72]



1 O! Goddess, in whose green retreat
2 Mirth, youth, and laughter, love to meet,
3 And round thy flaunting, breezy bowers,
4 Weave many a knotted fringe of flowers,
5 Whose sweet heads, nodding, seem to say
6 If Health you seek, we show the way!
7 But not 'midst green retreats alone,
8 The shrub-built court, or mossy throne,
9 Where flowers with meek contention vie
10 To yield perfume, or win the eye,
11 Inquiring swains the goddess find
12 On the hoar rock beat by the wind;
13 Indifferent though her glossy hair
14 Trembles at every breath of air
15 E'en though her playful curls are flowing
16 Upon the breeze that's round her blowing.
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17 Still she bounds on the swains pursue
18 Through daisied fields and woodlands too;
19 And, on the pathless mountain's side,
20 Take exercise to be their guide;
21 For she bestows the well-earn'd[ wealth]
22 The generous Almoner of Health;
23 Her gifts hands round to those who know
24 To brush the mead, or climb the brow;
25 To rise when ruddy morn bestows
26 On the pale sky the blushing rose,
27 While yet the hawthorn hangs with dew,
28 And spangles bright with every hue;
29 While birds yet sing their first good-morrow,
30 And Nature's smiles bode nought of sorrow:
31 'Tis then that Health holds forth her hand,
32 And bids them trip the furrowed land;
33 That exercise shall warmly glow
34 The fair-won treasures to bestow;
35 That sleep shall ask no downy bed,
36 Alike to her where rests her head,
37 Whether on moss-grown turf reclin'd,
38 In shady grot, or cooling wind,
39 On earth's green lap o'erhung with oak,
40 Or soundly slumbering on the rock;
41 For Exercise unerring knows
42 The varied couch of sweet repose;
43 Knows, too, that Health the path shall tread,
44 And turn to down the rocky bed.
45 Ah! Goddess, wilt thou ne'er attend?
46 Wilt thou ne'er meet one as a friend?
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47 'Tis not because I have not been
48 Amidst the nymphs and shepherds seen;
49 For, as they frolick'd o'er the mead,
50 Gay bounding to the oaten reed,
51 This foot, I ween, as light could pass
52 As any yet that trod the grass;
53 Why then, ah! why hast thou still been
54 The saddener of my mirthful scene!
55 For thee I've sought in every shade,
56 To thee I've due oblation paid;
57 With waking morn have left my bed,
58 While the light breeze play'd round my head;
59 And cowslips rose beneath my feet,
60 Aurora's infant rays to meet.
61 When sober Eve, "the matron gray,"
62 Was taking leave of sultry Day;
63 E'er yet the sun, that scorch'd before,
64 With beams oblique glanc'd on the shore;
65 E'er yet his radiance left the skies,
66 And dewy damps began to rise;
67 E'er the blue mist, at distance seen,
68 Had furl'd his dark unwholesome screen;
69 I eager went with searching eyes
70 To meet thee, mountain Exercise,
71 Still trusting thou would'st bring to me
72 The buskin'd nymph I fear I ne'er again shall see!
73 But since in vain I search around
74 Since Health is nowhere to be found,
75 To Cheerfulness I bend the knee,
76 The Goddess next of kin to thee!
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77 And she, so soft, thy form shall wear,
78 Hang round my bed, and o'er my chair,
79 That Sickness shall let minutes pass,
80 Nor see one sand forsake the glass.
81 Though ever fainting as she moves,
82 And drooping e'en in fragrant groves;
83 Whose lifeless frame no art can cheer,
84 Nor all the changes of the year;
85 Nor song, nor pipe, can bid her raise
86 One cheering thought of better days;
87 Nor all the flow'rets Nature spreads
88 On her green lap in leafy beds,
89 Can o'er her cheek prolong the smile,
90 Though balmy zephyrs play the while,
91 Till touch'd by thee, thou goddess dear!
92 Who'st dried this eye of many a tear.
93 And oft, when sickness by my side
94 Has every other joy denied,
95 With Hope or Fancy in thy train
96 Thou sooth'd, or seem'd to soothe my pain,
97 And banish'd every thought of sorrow
98 By gaily pointing to to-morrow.
99 Fancy would weave a wreath of flowers,
100 And dress the nimble-footed hours,
101 That henceforth ever more should go
102 "Upon the light fantastic toe;"
103 Not heavily, as beating time
104 To every plaintive note of mine;
105 For Hope, with smiles that might deceive
106 A heart less willing to believe,
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107 Would wave her hand, and pointing, say,
108 Health keeps for thee yon coming day.
109 Again deceiv'd; the flatterer sends
110 Her second self, and best of friends;
111 She, who her cup so oft has brought,
112 Not fill'd with the enlivening draught,
113 Yet tastes so like, you scarce can tell,
114 Content can imitate so well;
115 So well can counterfeit her air,
116 So well can chant her notes that cheer,
117 That ever, when she meets mine eye,
118 Methinks the rosy Goddess by.
119 Hygea, then, bound through the vale,
120 And listen to each shepherd's tale,
121 And let the nymphs around thee throng,
122 Enraptur'd with thy matin song;
123 And on the heart feel every word
124 Strike the soft, sweet, harmonic chord,
125 Which thrilling through the frame shall rise,
126 And sparkle in the telltale eyes.
127 But what have I of comfort lost,
128 That healthier, stouter frames can boast!
129 Have I not sisters, ever near,
130 O ever kind! O ever dear!
131 Who suffer not the winds to wave
132 O'er the bent shrub they prop and save.
133 From Autumn's faded form they hide,
134 And Winter's stripping hand they guide;
135 And even midst the Summer's heat
136 An equal watchfulness I meet.
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137 Away then, Health! thy frowns are vain,
138 Thou canst not touch my soul with pain!


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Title (in Source Edition): ADDRESS TO HEALTH. — 1784.
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Blamire, Susanna, 1747-1794. The Poetical Works of Miss Susanna Blamire “The muse of Cumberland.” Now for the first time collected by Henry Lonsdale, M.D. with a preface, memoir, and notes by Patrick Maxwell, ... Edinburgh: John Menzies, 61 Princes Street; R. Tyas, London; D. Robertson, Glasgow; and C. Thurnam, Carlisle. MDCCCXLII., 1842, pp. 72-77.  (Page images digitized from a copy in the Bodleian Library [42.256].)

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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 Susanna Blamire