ODE TO ADVERSITY;
INSCRIBED TO MISS H—.
1 THOU Touchstone of the human soul!
2 Of Virtue the stern, awful Test,
3 Whose fierce, terrific, high, control,
4 Subdues the loftiest, plumed Crest,
5 And makes the meekest heart repine:
6 The Thunder scaths the Mountain Pine;
7 It blasts the foliage of the Dale,
8 Nor turns aside to spare the Lilly of the Vale.
9 Against Thee, where's the Panoply?
10 Impregnable to Thee what Place?
11 Nor Cots too low, nor Thrones too high,
12 O'er all thy Ravages we trace. [Page 420]
13 One only Champion has the force
14 To stand erect against thy course,
15 Arm'd with invulnerable shield, —
16 Exalted Fortitude, — thou ne'er subdu'dst to yield.
17 Ah, ruthless Power! dare I complain,
18 That against me thy shafts are sped?
19 Whilst peace, whilst self-content remain,
20 Nor hopes of Happiness are fled?
21 Like Sickness, thou art hard to bear,
22 But real Friends come round to cheer:
23 Kindness can soothe the Throb of Pain,
24 When Gilead's Balm shall fail, and Opiates are in vain.
25 Yet when thy Storms are hovering near,
26 FALSE FRIENDS to drop the mask presume,
27 As Blossoms fall, ne'er meant to bear,
28 Fair, but deceitful, steril Bloom.
29 But yet of Friends how few pass'd by,
30 Averting their stern, alter'd eye?
31 How many faithful, gathering round,
32 Pour'd Oil and Wine to cheer, and bound up ev'ry Wound?
33 For hearts there are where still presides
34 Virtue, in all her health sublime;
35 Where ev'ry Duty fix'd resides,
36 Proof against Fortune's wreck, or Time.
37 For native worth, from selfish pride,
38 The winnowing Storm will sure divide;[Page 421]
39 As the light Chaff, along the plain,
40 Flies devious far away, and leaves the golden grain.
41 When first the Storm burst o'er my head,
42 You, Anna! never kept aloof;
43 Such kindness through your heart is shed,
44 Your Friendship has been Tempest Proof.
45 For fraught with Candour, Sweetness, Truth,
46 In the gay Prime of smiling Youth,
47 When Pleasures on each hour attend,
48 Me then you generous sought, your chosen, earliest Friend
49 Your kind attention pours a balm
50 O'er troubles, which my Soul must bear;
51 Consol'd by you, it feels a calm;
52 You lessen Griefs you deign to share.
53 The noble Virtues of your mind,
54 With all the social Graces join'd,
55 Distinguish what you owe your birth,
56 And in my Anna shines her Father's genuine worth.
57 Pity full oft is Sympathy,
58 When we ourselves have felt like woe;
59 Unwounded by Adversity,
60 You heal the ills you ne'er can know.
61 This is that Virtue those attain
62 Whose happy Fate is free from pain;
63 'T is Godlike others Griefs to share:
64 For Mortals, Angels feel, themselves exempt from Care.