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1 TO you who ne'er the willing Verse refuse,
2 Thus sings an humble but a grateful Muse:
3 Our Theme is Hope but of a diff'rent kind,
4 The Bane or Blessing of the subject Mind;
5 This dawning Joy that to the Soul was given,
6 As a short Earnest of its future Heav'n:
7 To blame is not the Purpose of my Song,
8 But warn our Sisters not to place it wrong.
9 Shun trifling Hope, that bids your Fancy roll,
10 The constant Torment of a restless Soul:
11 For two pale Handmaids are for ever near,
12 Sick Disappointment and the secret Tear:
13 'Tis this that makes the restless Heart repine,
14 Beneath the Treasures of an Indian Mine
15 Much Fortune gives Yet, Give us more, they cry,
16 And some new Prospect lures the dazzl'd Eye:
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17 Like wanton Babes they reach at something more,
18 And drop the Gewgaws which they held before.
19 See the puff'd Tradesman strut before his Door,
20 Whose Birth was humble and whose Fortune poor;
21 Yet you may see his roving Thoughts depend
22 On some bold Venture or some wealthy Friend,
23 Till the lost Bankrupt drops into the Jaw
24 Of pale Discredit and voracious Law.
25 The grave-fac'd Student better learn'd than fed
26 With Store of Logick in his aking Head,
27 Sees pleasing Pictures in his Bosom drawn,
28 The Dean's soft Cushion and the Bishop's Lawn:
29 He dines with Lords and takes the highest Place,
30 And weds a Countess, Cousin to his Grace.
31 But soon his Heart the lost Delusion mourns:
32 And the proud Prelate to a Curate turns
33 On some dark Dome with thirty Pounds per-ann,
34 He sips his Liquors in a pewter Cann.
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35 Young Seizum, fated to distract the Law,
36 Who talks of Men and Books he never saw,
37 Now struts a Counsellor, a Serjeant now,
38 While the quick Turns elate his scornful Brow.
39 Behold the Judge in that commanding Frown:
40 See then: just then he strok'd his Ermin'd Gown.
41 Cecilia soft, whose pleasing Features shine
42 Bright in their Wane, and beauteous in Decline,
43 Still to her eyes recalls the scatter'd Darts,
44 Still hopes the Conquest of a thousand Hearts.
45 Care stalks around: Vexation hovers nigh;
46 Her Friends bewail her, and her Children cry:
47 Her wounded Ears their hateful Whinings tire,
48 Whose Fancy dwells upon a wealthy 'Squire:
49 Wrap'd in soft Visions on her Couch she lies;
50 Knights, Peers, and Garters swim before her Eyes.
51 She rides in triumph through her Husband's Fields,
52 And hears the rattling of her Chariot Wheels,
53 Till her charm'd Senses will contain no more;
54 Then flies the Vision through its Iv'ry Door,
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55 See Acamas with Time's sad Burden bow,
56 Guilt in his Breast and Wrinkles on his Brow;
57 Yet points out Cloe for his charming Bride,
58 And fain would tempt her to his frozen Side:
59 At Chapel where soft Grace and Virtue calls,
60 And pale Vice trembles at the sacred Walls;
61 Where Conscience warns the guilty Wretch to pray,
62 And beg a Blessing on his closing Day.
63 The Preacher reads: But Acamas the while
64 Grins at his Cloe with a ghastly Smile.
65 In their red Orbs his waiting Eye-balls roll,
66 And Charming Cloe rushes on his Soul:
67 But Death will teach the silver-bearded Fool
68 Some other Lesson in his gloomy School.
69 Blank Disappointment with its Train attends
70 In Delia's Heart, if Delia's Heart depends
71 On Silia's Tongue so aptly hung with Guile,
72 On Cynthio's Friendship or on Clara's Smile:
73 Such courtly Friends are like the show'ry Bow,
74 Ting'd with false Lustre by Reflexion glow:
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75 Like its faint Rays they hardly last an Hour,
76 Lost in a Cloud or melted in a Show'r.
77 If trifling Hope has any room to plead,
78 'Tis that where Nature's simple Dictates lead:
79 So the wet Hind, who travels o'er the Plain
80 Through the cold Mire and afflicting Rain;
81 Tho' his low Roofs with trickling Show'rs run,
82 May hope next Morn to see the chearful Sun:
83 Or when keen Hunger at the ev'ning Tide
84 Drives home the Shepherd to his rustick Bride,
85 His honest Reason haply might not stray,
86 Tho' he should dream of Dumpling all the way.
87 See sad Aemilia doom'd by fatal Vows
88 To the harsh Usage of a Tyrant Spouse,
89 To see his Mistress in her Woes rejoice,
90 Her Fortune wasted on his guilty Choice,
91 To bear Reproaches doubled on her Ear,
92 Yet only answer with a silent Tear.
93 Tho' patient Wives must wait the Fate's good time;
94 Yet she, I think, may hope without a Crime.
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95 But the grand Hope that yields perpetual Joy,
96 No trifles gave, no trifles can destroy;
97 With Mercy from the blest Abode it came,
98 Its Birth Celestial and its End the same;
99 That bids our Days in one smooth Tenor roll,
100 Its task to chear and harmonize the Soul.
101 On smarting Want it pours a healing Balm,
102 Makes Toil seem pleasant and Affliction calm.


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Title (in Source Edition): An ESSAY on HOPE.
Author: Mary Leapor
Themes: hope
Genres: heroic couplet; essay
References: DMI 23739

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Leapor, Mrs. (Mary), 1722-1746. Poems upon several occasions: By Mrs. Leapor of Brackley in Northamptonshire. London: printed: and sold by J. Roberts, 1748, pp. 60-65. 15,[5],282p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T127827; Foxon p. 413; OTA K101776.000) (Page images digitized from a copy at University of California Libraries.)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, 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 Mary Leapor