To Mrs. V—N[ed.]
Elizabeth Vaughan, wife of the financier Richard Vaughan who rescued the destitute
Yearsley family in 1784.
1 Sequester'd from the busy whirl of man,
2 Permit soft Fancy in the vale to stray;
3 In dark obscurity my life began,
4 Where Science scorn'd to cheer the dreary way.
5 Bright sentiment, if unimprov'd, must die,
6 And great ideas, unassisted, fall;
7 On Learning's wing we pierce th'empyreal sky;
8 But Nature's untaught efforts are but small. [Page 30]
9 Pardon, bright fair! my hapless fate deplore,
10 Nor scorn the grateful, tho' unletter'd line;
11 The Eastern slave's permitted to adore,
12 When in bright Sol he sees a Godhead shine.
13 Heaven spurns him not, but spares the untaught mind,
14 Who ne'er religion's nobler truths has prov'd;
15 Thus, in thy bosom, where each virtue's join'd,
16 Let Pity plead where Reason can't approve.
17 To cheer the gloom of solitude's lone hour,
18 In this sad bosom desert made by woe,
19 May busy memory's ever pleasing power,
20 In grateful vision still your form bestow. [Page 31]
21 Belov'd idea, on my heart imprest,
22 Which time or anguish never shall efface,
23 Till Death shall sternly bid its motion rest,
24 And in its stead his barbed dart shall place.
25 Not valued less, with gratitude refin'd,
26 Shall my warm heart your honour'd partner share;
27 With joy I'll own how great, how good his mind,
28 And hail each heavenly virtue planted there.
29 O! had there stepp'd before offended Heaven,
30 But ten so perfect for a guilty race,
31 The dread, tremendous word had ne'er been given,
32 Nor streaming fires have purg'd the blasted place. [Page 32]
33 How different those who waste the thoughtless hour,
34 And, jocund, dance to Folly's trifling lay;
35 Death, mask'd, oft shares the ball and festive bower,
36 And beckons, unawares, the soul away.
37 Aghast she views the dark and dismal vale,
38 Where ghosts of long-departed Pleasures roam;
39 Sad comforts! where their poor expedients fail,
40 Say, what pleas'd guide shall waft the trembler home?
41 O, Misery! readier than the pitying eye
42 Of Heaven, why do thy terrors round me wait?
43 Avaunt! my spirits mount with extacy,
44 For V—'s bright virtues speak a happier fate. [Page 33]
45 Then may not I, with humblest hope aspire,
46 At distance follow where they boldly stray?
47 Ah, no! I want that strong, celestial fire,
48 Which, eagle-like, dares the Meridian ray.
49 Capacious virtues fill th'extensive mind,
50 That mind which this low world could ne'er contain;
51 O'er peopled orbs it wanders unconfin'd;
52 Yet sounds of woe oft lure it back again:
53 And fix'd, like Niobe, o'er the rueful scene
54 Of human mis'ry the mild spirit stands;
55 No more the bosom boasts a state serene,
56 But melts, distress'd by Pity's soft commands. [Page 34]
57 Dissolv'd in woe, it scorns the gay parade
58 Of dazzling pride, and with the mourner mourns;
59 Flies with pale Mis'ry to the dreary shade,
60 And brings it back by soft, yet swift returns.
61 Rais'd as I am to sweet domestic joy
62 By bounteous V—n, will she the line refuse?
63 You who, like Heaven, wou'd save and not destroy,
64 Say, will you scorn the poor unpolish'd Muse?
65 Oft when the frugal meal salutes my eyes,
66 Big rapture heaves my late desponding breast;
67 I see your form in every blessing rise,
68 It smiles content, and bids my sorrows rest. [Page 35]
69 Hope, lovely phantom! is, and shall be mine,
70 She hovers round, amidst this waste of woe;
71 Points my once cheerless soul to views sublime,
72 From Earth's sad scene, and Mis'ry's wreck below.
73 Pour down, great God! thy choicest blessings here,
74 Such virtues merit thy peculiar love;
75 O! make their beauteous progeny thy care,
76 And lift them late to all thy joys above!