ON THE DUTCHESS OF MAZARIN's RETIRING INTO A CONVENT.
1 YE holy cares that haunt these lonely cells,
2 These scenes where salutary sadness dwells;
3 Ye sighs that minute the slow wasting day,
4 Ye pale regrets that wear my life away;
5 O bid these passions for the world depart,
6 These wild desires, and vanities of heart!
7 Hide every trace of vice, of follies past,
8 And yield to Heaven the victory at last.
9 To that the poor remains of life are due,
10 'Tis Heaven that calls, and I the call pursue.
11 Lord of my life, my future cares are thine,
12 My love, my duty greet thy holy shrine:
13 No more my heart to vainer hopes I give,
14 But live for thee, whose bounty bids me live.
15 The power that gave these little charms their grace,
16 His favours bounded, and confin'd their space;
17 Spite of those charms shall time, with rude essay,
18 Tear from the cheek the transient rose away;[Page 170]
19 But the free Mind, ten thousand ages past,
20 Its maker's form, shall with its maker last.
21 Uncertain objects still our hopes employ;
22 Uncertain all that bears the name of joy!
23 Of all that feels the injuries of fate
24 Uncertain is the search, and short the date:
25 Yet ev'n that boon-what thousands wish to gain?
26 That boon of Death, the sad resource of pain!
27 Once on my path all fortune's glory fell,
28 Her vain magnificence, and courtly swell:
29 Love touch'd my soul at least with soft desires,
30 And Vanity there fed her meteor fires.
31 This truth at last the mighty scenes let fall,
32 An hour of Innocence was worth them all.
33 Lord of my life! O let thy sacred ray
34 Shine o'er my heart, and break its clouds away!
35 Deluding, flattering, faithless world adieu!
36 Long hast thou taught me GOD IS ONLY TRUE.
37 That God alone I trust, alone adore,
38 No more deluded, and misled no more.
39 Come, sacred hour, when wavering doubts shall cease!
40 Come, holy scenes of long repose and peace!
41 Yet shall my heart, to other interests true,
42 A moment balance 'twixt the world and you?
43 Of pensive nights, of long-reflecting days,
44 Be yours, at last, the triumph and the praise!
45 Great, gracious Master! whose unbounded sway,
46 Felt thro' ten thousand worlds, those worlds obey,
47 Wilt thou for once thy awful glories shade,
48 And deign t' espouse the creature thou hast made?
49 All other ties indignant I disclaim,
50 Dishonour'd those, and infamous to name!
51 O fatal ties, for which such tears I've shed,
52 For which the pleasures of the world lay dead!
53 That world's soft pleasures you alone disarm;
54 That world without you still might have its charm.
55 But now those scenes of tempting hope I close,
56 And seek the peaceful studies of Repose;
57 Look on the past as time that stole away,
58 And beg the blessings of a happier day.
59 Ye gay saloons, ye golden-vested halls,
60 Scenes of high treats, and heart-bewitching balls!
61 Dress, figure, splendor, charms of play, farewel,
62 And all the toilet's science to excel!
63 Ev'n Love, that ambush'd in this beauteous hair,
64 No more shall lie, like Indian archers, there.
65 Go, erring Love! for nobler objects given!
66 Go, beauteous hair, a sacrifice to Heaven!
67 Soon shall the veil these glowing features hide,
68 At once the period of their power and pride!
69 The hapless lover shall no more complain
70 Of vows unheard, or unrewarded pain;
71 While calmly sleep in each untortur'd breast
72 My secret sorrow, and his sighs profest.
73 Go, fiattering train! and, slaves to me no more,
74 With the same sighs some happier fair adore!
75 Your alter'd faith I blame not, nor bewail —
76 And haply yet (what woman is not frail?)
77 Yet, haply, might I calmer minutes prove,
78 If he that lov'd me knew no other love!
79 Yet were that ardor, which his breast inspir'd,
80 By charms of more than mortal beauty fir'd,
81 What nobler pride! could I to Heaven resign
82 The zeal, the service that I boasted mine!
83 O change your false desires, ye flattering train!
84 And love me pious, whom ye love profane!
85 These long adieus with lovers doom'd to go,
86 Or prove their merit, or my weakness shew;
87 But Heaven, to such soft frailties less severe,
88 May spare the tribute of a female tear,
89 May yield one tender moment to deplore
90 Those gentle hearts that I must hold no more.