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1 My soul is out of tune,
2 No harmony reigns here, 'tis discord all:
3 Be dumb, sweet Choristers, I heed you not;
4 Then why thus swell your liquid throats, to cheer
5 A wretch undone, for ever lost to joy,
6 And mark'd for ruin? Seek yon leafy grove,
7 Indulgent bliss there waits you; shun this spot
8 Drear, joyless, vacant, as my wasted soul,
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9 Disrob'd of all her bliss: here heave, my heart,
10 Here sigh thy woes away; unheard the groan,
11 Unseen the falling tear; in this lone wild
12 No busy fool invades thy hoarded griefs,
13 And smiles in ignorance at what he feels not.
14 Yet, yet indulge not, list'ning winds may catch
15 Coherent sighs, and waft them far away,
16 Where levity holds high the senseless roar
17 Of laughter, and pale woe, abash'd, retires.
18 Or, shou'd my woes be to the winds diffus'd,
19 No longer mine, once past the quiv'ring lip;
20 Like flying atoms in the sightless air,
21 Some might descend on the gay, grinning herd;
22 But few, how few, wou'd reach the feeling mind!
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23 Officious Truth! unwelcome guest to most,
24 Yet I will own thee, and bid Hope good night,
25 Fond, soothing flatterer! Nineteen years are past,
26 Since first I listen'd to her pleasing lore;
27 Ah, me! how bright she painted future scenes,
28 And sweetly spoke of blessings yet unborn!
29 Now, fond Deceiver, where's the promis'd good?
30 But, Oh! thou'rt lovely, and I'll ne'er accuse
31 Or hate thee, tho' we never meet again.
32 With thee, Despair, must I then tread the path
33 Of tedious life, nor cast one look behind,
34 On all the piles of bliss gay Hope had rais'd?
35 But Heaven thought otherwise O, generous world!
36 Thou who so frankly hold'st th'embitter'd draught,
37 Accept my surly thanks, and few are due
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38 Where little is bestow'd. The reasoner raves,
39 Lifts the hard eye, and with long-winded speech,
40 And self-applauding dialect, condemns
41 My mind, thus straying from the trodden path:
42 I heed you not, nor have I time to spin
43 The thread of argument; yet fain wou'd know
44 The ready road to rest. Teach me, ye wise,
45 You who have trod the endless, endless whirl
46 Of measureless conjecture, still upheld
47 By brilliant Fancy's rapture-giving wing:
48 O you! whose spirits rove beyond yon orbs,
49 To find the realms of rest, for such there are,
50 To prove a home when the sad soul shall need it.
51 Imagination wanders, while the eye
52 Seems far extended, tho' the senseless balls
53 Distinguish nought, but, every sense call'd in,
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54 Is buried in the dusky, deep recess
55 Of meditation. What's the grand result?
56 Ye studious sages, where's the fix'd abode?
57 Where's that eternal home, beyond the grave?
58 Oh! deign to tell a fellow-wretch like me,
59 Unwilling to be nothing; are not you?
60 Else why this search and where's the great success?
61 Say, have you found it? can you teach the road
62 Which thither leads? Ah, no! th'accounts brought home
63 Differ so far, millions of Heavens are formed;
64 Each vain philosopher, by pride misled,
65 Presents you a futurity his own;
66 By that secur'd, the self-sufficient sage,
67 Indifferent, views the groupe of anxious souls
68 Searching the path to rest; if his they miss,
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69 He swears no other way can e'er be found,
70 And then consigns them o'er to endless woe.
71 Oh! narrow notion of a God supreme!
72 Oh! barbarous portrait of a God all love!
73 I'll think no more. Ye deep-distracting doubts,
74 Bewilder not my soul; for see, the page
75 Of boundless Mercy, and of Christian Faith,
76 Clears up the doubtful future; all is peace,
77 Hope dawns, an earnest of the perfect day.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): A FRAGMENT.
Themes: grief; sadness; melancholy
Genres: blank verse; fragment

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Source edition

Yearsley, Ann, 1753-1806. Poems, on several occasions. By Ann Yearsley, a milkwoman of Bristol [poems only]. The second edition. London: printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand, 1785, pp. 37-42. xxxii, 127p. (ESTC N22108)

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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.