1 To thee thy Harriot, exercis'd in care,
2 School'd in the discipline of black despair,
3 Harriot, to thee, her sister and her friend,
4 Dares the vast treasure of her woes commend;
5 Now fear forbids — then hope persuades again,
6 Both love and horror guide my trembling pen,
7 Horror — that knows not where it shou'd begin,
8 To wail the lover lost, or weep the sin;
9 While love presents his beauties to my eyes,
10 Then in my drooping fancy's sight he dies. [Page ]
11 A dire report has lately reach'd my ears,
12 (The source of these complaints and falling tears)
13 'Twas said — I heard and fainted at the sound,
14 'Twas said — the poor fond Caledon is drown'd:
15 Hoping 'tis false — yet dreading more 'tis true,
16 A certain answer I request from you;
17 I'd fain believe some busy meddling friend
18 May, thro' kind policy, his death pretend,
19 Thinking (how vain) when I believ'd him lost,
20 My heart would then by care no more be toss'd,
21 And when his death had well possess'd my mind,
22 'Twou'd banish all that love had left behind.
23 Alas! how weak such artifice must prove,
24 How little do they know the force of love;
25 Were he but living, my poor heart no more
26 The loss of friends or fortune wou'd deplore;
27 Perhaps in time too I'd contented been
28 Ne'er to have seen the dear-lov'd youth again.
29 But, oh! his death is agony to bear,
30 To think on't only is extreme despair.
31 "Then truly tell me, nor with flattering gloss,
32 Varnish or hide the greatness of my loss,
33 Tell the sad truth, by doubts I'm doubly curs'd,
34 To doubt is ever to believe the worst.
35 Art thou then gone, my daily, nightly care,
36 My ALL that parents, friends or husband were,
37 My CALEDON — oh hide me from my shame!
38 Still must I kiss his dear unhappy name." [Page ]
40 Join not the world, O be not you severe;
41 By all those joys, you're destin'd to afford,
42 (With Heav'n's permission) to some worthy lord:
43 Mock not, oh blame not my unhappy love,
44 Pity that weakness which you can't approve.
45 Was there no cliff, no rock, no island near,
46 Did no kind plank his fainting body bear?
47 Thus do I strive, thus arguments invent,
48 Thus are my days in fruitless wishes spent:
49 He's lost, he's gone, on the rough waves he's borne,
50 For ever from his faithful Harriot torne,
51 Por ever gone — the sea, with sullen roar,
52 Denies my treasure — to the friendly shore,
53 To me denies to kiss his clay-cold face,
54 Or clasp his body in a last embrace.
55 Oh cruel parents! ruffians to employ,
56 To seize my soul's delight, my heart's sole joy;
57 Ah cruel parents! but more cruel they
58 To tear him from his native home away,
59 Far, far away — to join a horrid crew,
60 And, dying, pay the debt to vengeance due.
61 Dear hapless youth, belov'd, bemoan'd in vain,
62 There ends thy hope, there ends thy every pain,
63 An end to every grief, and every care,
64 No love, or Harriot more remember'd there.
65 Peace to thy soul, no time my grief shall 'swage,
66 In youth neglected, or despis'd in age,[Page 11]
67 No change of place to me brings change of mind,
68 No joy in sweet variety I find;
69 To me all light or darkness is the same,
70 My nights are horror, and my days all shame.
71 Say, sister, must my tears for ever flow,
72 While Heav'n forgives, yet unforgiv'n below.
73 Young as I was, e'er reason taught to tame
74 The unruly passion that destroy'd my fame;
75 Unheedful of the event my heart was won,
76 Before I knew what 'twas to be undone,
77 By slow degrees I drew the spreading fire,
78 I saw the youth, and seeing must admire,
79 In his sad eye the languid tale he bore,
80 He ask'd my pity — then he hop'd no more:
81 Oh little did I think how soon to prove
82 How near akin compassion is to love;
83 I lov'd him, sister, what cou'd weakness do?
84 Had'st thou but known him, thou hadst lov'd him too;
85 Tho' mean his state, tho' humble his degree,
86 His soul was noble, and his heart was free,
87 Fond foolish heart, by ME to ruin led,
88 Me, me alone, the fatal passion sed.
89 Weep, Harriot, weep, Heav'n claims each gushing tear,
90 But reaps, alas! the gleanings of despair,
91 Oh, Caroline! if the kind tender name
92 Of Friend and Sister [...][Page 12]
93 Come to thy Harriot, and with generous care
94 Teach my poor suffering heart its woes to bear,
95 Teach me, tho' humbl'd, to look up to Heav'n,
96 To sue for grace, and hope to be forgiven,
97 And when my task of penitence is o'er,
98 And injur'd Heaven of me requires no more,
99 When every grief sinks with me to the grave,
100 From blasting tongues my hapless mem'ry save;
101 But ah! be careful, let there not be known
102 A name so wretched on the wounded stone.