[Page 15]


1 Go, artess lay, and if thou canst disclose
2 The soft effusions which this breast enclose,
3 Go, humble lines, and tenderly impart
4 The dearest wishes of a grateful heart;
5 But neither tongue nor pen can e'er reveal
6 The warm emotions I must ever feel;
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7 Then fancy all thy own kind lips would say,
8 Think all esteem love gratitude can pay.
9 Had I the sweetness of an angel's tongue,
10 The charm of numbers, and the power of song,
11 Harmonious grace should flow in ev'ry line,
12 When offering gratitude at friendship's shrine
13 But since no muse will deign to aid this lay,
14 Let feeling dictate, and let truth display;
15 Oh! form'd with all that can the heart endear,
16 A temper generous, and a soul sincere,
17 With kind acceptance grace the offer'd line,
18 Where true regard and friendship mildly shine;
19 Then take, my Arthur, from these trembling hands,
20 The trifling tribute which thy love demands.
21 Auspicious hour! when nature fram'd thy mind
22 To bless and dignify the human kind;
23 Gave thee a heart to feel for others woe,
24 A generous tear for worth depress'd to flow;
25 Impress'd thy soul with virtue's sacred laws,
26 And firmest honour to support her cause,
27 Soft emanation sparkling in thine eyes,
28 Like those bright worlds that shine in evening's skies;
29 But what I think thee, cannot be exprest,
30 My future conduct will unfold it best;
31 Each rising morning, and each evening's close,
32 "I'll ask of Heav'n thy undisturb'd repose,"
33 That peaceful scenes thy slumbers may display,
34 And joy salute thee each returning day.
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35 And should again thy country claim thine arm,
36 To guard our rights, or shield our land from harm,
37 Amid the din of war, and martial strife,
38 I'd soothe the dangers of my soldier's life;
39 With all the softness in a female's power,
40 Beguile the languor of each painful hour;
41 No frown should cloud my brow, I'd happy be,
42 Nay feel it pleasure, being shared with thee;
43 Or should (which Heaven avert) some fated blow
44 Come arm'd with power to lay my Arthur low,
45 Fate would be kind to guide me to my rest,
46 My dearest home, my soldier's faithful breast,
47 To clasp his fainting form, close his dead eye,
48 Bless his lov'd name, and breathe my latest sigh:
49 Ne'er e'en in death my Arthur I'll resign,
50 Be all his sufferings, all his sorrows mine;
51 But should some sweet retirement be thy fate,
52 Far from ambition's path, far from the great,
53 To humble shades contented I'll descend,
54 With thee, my husband, my protecting friend;
55 The chearful day serenely will I fit,
56 Learn from thy goodness, and admire thy wit;
57 Whilst I delighted in my blest employ,
58 (For hours of innocence are hours of joy)
59 And when the evening warns thee to thy rest,
60 Peaceful repose upon thy faithful breast:
61 Thus rich in innocence, secure from wrong,
62 We'll bless the moments as they glide along;
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63 The blest above will view our peaceful fate,
64 And smile to see an emblem of their state;
65 Be this our meed, kind sovereign of the sky!
66 We'll live in innocence, in triumph die.
67 "All-giving Power!" great fountain of reward,
68 From perfect bliss Oh! deign me thy regard;
69 And if such worth can need my humble prayer,
70 Oh! make my Arthur thy distinguish'd care;
71 Let thy good angels all his steps await,
72 And shield his bosom from the storms of fate;
73 Around his couch let nightly guardians 'tend,
74 And from each unseen ill my love defend!
75 But in this erring, ever varying scene,
76 Should darker clouds o'ershade our state serene,
77 Oh! thou great Power, omnipotent and wise!
78 Teach us thou sendest blessings in disguise;
79 And when arrives that last important hour
80 When every pleasure loses every power,
81 When the last spark of vital spirit fails,
82 And peaceful conscience over death prevails,
83 Thou best of Beings! all our steps uphold,
84 To smooth the passage heavenly scenes unfold,
85 And safely bear our fainted spirits high,
86 To some bright mansion in our native sky:
87 Thus may our guiltless pleasures ever bloom,
88 And rise superior o'er the silent tomb.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): To ARTHUR.
Genres: heroic couplet; address

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Source edition

Kelly, Isabella, 1759-1857. Collection of Poems and Fables on Several Occasions. London: W. Richardson, 1794, pp. 15-18. 72p. (ESTC T122123) (Page images digitized from a copy at the British Library.)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. 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 Isabella Kelly (née Fordyce)