On Dreaming That She Saw her Heart at her Feet.
1 When Nature tir'd with thought was sunk to rest.
2 And all my senses were by Sleep possest,
3 Sweet Sleep, that soft and balmy comfort brings
4 Alike to Beggars and despotic Kings,
5 I dreamt of peace I never felt before,
6 I dreamt my Heart was lying on the floor.
7 Observ'd it, strange to tell! with joyful eyes.
8 And stranger still without the least surprise.
9 Elated with the sight, I smiling sat
10 Exulting o'er the victim at my feet;
11 But soon with words of anguish thus addrest
12 This painful, sweet disturber of my Breast: –
13 "Say busy, lively, trembling, hopping thing,
14 " What new disaster hast thou now to bring,
15 "To torture with thy fears my tender frame,
16 " Who must for all her ills thee only blame?
17 "Speak now, and tell me why, ungrateful guest
18 " For ten years past hast thou denied me rest?
19 "That in my Bosom thou wast nurs'd tis true,
20 " And with my Life and with my Stature grew.
21 "At first so small were all thy wants, that I
22 " Vainly imagin'd I cou'd ne'er deny
23 "Whate'er thy fancy ask'd — Alas! but now
24 " I find thy wants my ev'ry sense outgrow;
25 "And ever having, ever wanting more,
26 " A power to please, to give, or to adore.
27 "Say, why like other Hearts dost thou not bear
28 " With callous apathy each worldly care?
29 "Why dost thou shriek at Envy's horrid cries?
30 " In thee Compassion, Hatred's place supplies,
31 "Why not with malice treat malicious Men?
32 " Why ever pity when thou shou'dst condemn?
33 "Why, at the hearing of a dismal tale,
34 " Dost thou with sorrow turn my Beauty pale?
35 "Why, when distress in any shape appears,
36 " Dost thou dissolve my very soul in Tears?
37 "Why in thy secret folds is Friendship bred?
38 " In other hearts its very name is dead.
39 "Why, if keen Wit and learned Sense draw nigh
40 " Dost thou with emulation beat so high?
41 "And while approving, wish to be approv'd?
42 " And when you love, wish more to be belov'd?
43 "Why not, in cold indifference ever clad,
44 " Alike, unmov'd, regard the good and bad?
45 "Why dost thou waste my youthful bloom with care,
46 " And sacrifice myself, that I may share
47 "Distress in others? why wilt thou adorn
48 " Their days with roses and leave me a thorn? "
49 But here I saw it heave an heavy sigh
50 And thus in sweetest sounds it did reply:
51 "Ah! cease, Eliza! cease thy speech unjust. [Page 254]
52 " Thy heart has e'er fulfill'd its sacred trust;
53 "And ever will its tender mansion serve,
54 " Nor can it from thee this reproach deserve
55 "Against my dictates murmuring have I found
56 " Which thus has laid me bleeding on the Ground,
57 "Compare thyself in this same hour depriv'd
58 " Of this soft Heart, from whence all are deriv'd
59 "The same bewitching graces which adorn,
60 " And make thy Face appear like beauteous Morn:
61 "With me its brilliant ornaments are fled,
62 " And all thy features, like thy Soul, are dead.
63 "'Tis I that make thee others' pleasures share,
64 " And in a Sister's joy forget thy care.
65 "'Tis by my dictates thou art taught to find,"
66 "A Godlike pleasure in a godlike mind;
67 " That makes thee oft relieve a Stranger's woes,
68 "And often fix those friends, that wou'd be foes,
69 " 'Tis I that tremblingly have taught thine Ear
70 "To cherish Music; and 'tis I appear
71 " In all its softest dress, when to the Hearts,
72 "Of all beholders my dear Voice imparts
73 " Harmonic strains; 'tis not because 'tis fine,
74 "For ev'ry note that's felt is surely mine.
75 " In smoothest numbers all that I indite,
76 "For 'tis I taught thy fearful hand to write,
77 " My genius has with watchful care supplied.
78 "What Education to thy sex denied;
79 " Made Sentiment and Nature all combine,
80 "To melt the Reader in each flowing line,
81 " Till they in words this feeling truth impart,
82 "She needs no more who will consult the Heart;
83 " And own in reading what is writ by thee,
84 "No study ever cou'd improve like me.
85 " And when thy bloom is gone, thy beauty flown,
86 "And laughing Youth to wrinkled Age is grown,
87 " Thy actions, writings, friendship, which I gave,
88 "Still shall remain an Age beyond the Grave.
89 " Then do not thus displac'd let me remain
90 "But take me to thy tender breast again."
91 [ "Yes, soft persuader, (I returned), I will,
92 " And if I am deceived, deceive me still. "]
93 Seduc'd I was in haste, then stooping low,
94 Soon reinstated my sweet, pleasing foe;
95 And waking, found it had nor less nor more
96 Than all the Joys, the pangs it had before!