To a FRIEND in LOVE.
1 ACCEPT, dear Youth, a sympathizing Lay,
2 The only Tribute pitying Love can pay.
3 Tho' vain the Hope thine Anguish to asswage,
4 Charm down Desire, or calm fierce Passion's Rage;
5 Yet still permit me in thy Griefs to grieve,
6 Relief to offer, if I can't relieve;
7 Near thy sick Couch with fond Concern t' attend,
8 And reach out Cordials to my Dying Friend.
9 Poor hapless Youth! what Words can ease thy Pain,
10 When Reason pleads, and Wisdom cries in vain! [Page 21]
11 Can feeble Verse impetuous Nature guide,
12 Or stem the Force of blind Affection's Tide?
13 If Reason checks, or Duty disallows,
14 "Reason, you cry, and Duty are my Foes:
15 " Religion's Dictates ineffectual prove,
16 "And GOD Himself's Impertinence in Love.
17 What art Thou, Love? Thou strange mysterious Ill,
18 Whom none aright can know, tho' all can seel.
19 From careless Sloth thy dull Existence flows,
20 And feeds the Fountain whence itself arose:
21 Silent its Waves with baleful Influence roll,
22 Damp the young Mind, and sink th' aspiring Soul
23 Poison its Virtues, all its Pow'rs restrain,
24 And blast the Promise of the future Man.
25 To Thee, curst Fiend, the captive Wretch consign'd,
26 "His Passions rampant, and his Reason blind,
27 Reason, Heav'n's great Vicegerent, dares disown,
28 And place a Foolish Idol in its Throne:
29 Or wildly raise his frantic Raptures higher,
30 And pour out Blasphemies at thy Desire.
31 At thy Desire he bids a Creature shine,
32 He decks a Worm with Attributes Divine;
33 Hers to Angelic Beauties dares prefer,
34 " Angels are painted fair to look like Her!
35 Before her Shrine the lowly Suppliant laid,
36 Adores the Idol that Himself has made:
37 From her Almighty Breath his Doom receives,
38 Dies by her Frown, as by her Smile he lives.
39 Supreme she reigns in all-sufficient State,
40 To her he bows, from her expects his Fate,
41 "Heav'n in her Love, Damnation in her Hate.
42 He rears unhallow'd Altars to her Name,
43 Where Lust lights up a black, polluted Flame;[Page 22]
44 Where Sighs impure, as impious Incense rise,
45 Himself the Priest, his Heart the Sacrifice:
46 And thus GOD's Sacred Word his Horrid Pray'r supplies.
47 "Center of All Perfection, Source of Bliss,
48 " In whom thy Creature lives and moves and is,
49 "Save, or I perish! hear my humble Pray'r,
50 " Spare thy poor Servant — O in Mercy spare.
51 "Thou art my Joy, on Thee depends my Trust,
52 " Hide not thy Face, nor frown me into Dust.
53 "Send forth thy Breath, and rais'd again I see
54 " My Joy, my Life, my Final Bliss in Thee.
55 "For Thee I Am: for Thee I All resign,
56 " Be Thou my One thing Needful, Ever Mine!
57 But O forbear, presumptuous Muse forbear,
58 Nor wound with Rant profane the Christian Ear:
59 A just Abhorrence in my Friend I see,
60 He starts from Love, when Love's Idolatry.
61 "Give me thy Heart," if the Creator cries,
62 "'Tis giv'n the Creature," What bold Wretch replies?
63 Not so my Friend — he wakes, he breaths again,
64 And "Reason takes once more the slacken'd Rein."
65 In vain rebellious Nature claims a Part,
66 When Heav'n requires, he gives up All his Heart:
67 ( "For Love Divine no Partnership allows,
68 " And Heav'n averse rejects divided Vows)
69 Fixt tho' she be, he rends the Idol thence,
70 Nor lets her Pow'r exceed Omnipotence.
71 Commands his GOD, "Cut off th' offending Hand?"
72 He hears, Obedient to his GOD's Command:
73 "Pluck out thine Eye," let the Redeemer say;
74 He tears, and casts the bleeding Orb away. [Page 23]
75 Victorious now to Nobler Joys aspires,
76 His Bosom, touch'd with more than Earthly Fires:
77 He leaves rough Passion for calm Virtue's Road,
78 Gives Earth for Heav'n, and quits a Worm for GOD.