The Philosophy of Love. [A Plea in Defence of Virtue and Truth!] A Poem in Six Cantos, with Other Poems
Of fond affection, who can tell the strength;
Or ev’n of its existence be aware,
Unless some trial brings it to the test?
Affections well accredited may be,
In peacefulness, and in enjoyments smooth;
page 22 Love; Ocean; SufferingAs sails the barque upon a tranquil sea,
’Neath summer’s sky, and with a steady breeze
Moved gently on; then, all would pleasure seem:
But then, there’s nothing to commend its worth,
Its strength of build, and how it braves the storm,
When striving with head winds and adverse tides;
As storms, and tempests best its virtues try!
So will cross fortunes in the cause of love,
Well try the spirit and the faith of those,
Who may the victims of such fate become!
’Twas well with Adam, in earth’s paradise,
Before the Tempter came. ’Twas all smooth then:
Love; Religion; Joy’Twas all delight, and harmony, and peace;
With not a shade of trial to becloud
The happy days and hours of sinless love!
But when the Tempter came, to interfere
With primal joys, by tempting the glad pair
To break their cov’nant union with their God;
Ah! then they felt what ne’er before was known,
A change in all their mutual joy! They felt
Misgivings rise, with other omenous cares,
Of which, their minds had ne’er susceptive been!
page 23 With much of self-reproach, and repremand,
Which might have proved the source of double woe,
But for th’ unchanging influence of love!
Here was the power of love.display’d; this bond
Of union shewn more clearly, than when peace,
And joy, were native to their primal state.
In such condition, love no trial had
To prove that strength, or virtue it possess’d;
Or in Man’s soul it was enthroned Supreme!
Love; Change; WorkLove then seem’d dormant, or had but possess’d
Mere infant life, as being void of care,
In passiveness; while no activity
It had to shew progressiveness in life;
’Twas mere child’s play, compared to earnest work!
—But now ’tis roused; ’tis actively awake;
It feels its own existence, even in
Recrimination, and their mutual grief,
At having lost the joys they once possess’d.
Lone, like the threefold cord, unites their hearts
To bear each other’s burdens, while it acts
An antidote against the baue despair!
page 24 Love; Land; JoyYes, but for Love; their hearts-uniting love;
Their lost condition had been barren ground,
Full worse than land, which brings forth noisome weeds;
On which no sweet enjoyment can exist.
Love breathed its hopes, encouraging their hearts,
And made them feel “not quite cast off for aye,”
While yielding with submission to their doom!—
They felt assured God’s love was on their side,
Though fallen had they from their high estate:
While; thus submissive to the curse pronounced,
Their mutual love bore witness, that of earth,
Its origin was not, but was Divine!
’Tis thus, the penitents to either cling,
As each should prove the other’s best support;
And as they own God’s justice on their sin,
Their hearts reflect the Image of His love,
And that reflection nurtures living faith,
Which grasp’d the promise ’s if ,twere now fulfil’d.
Religion; Change; EducationOn looking through the history of life,
We see the wisdom of God’s providence;
In making man the being that he is;
page 25 By the implantment of Love’s principle
Within his soul, uniting earth with Heaven!
Love, in its rise from infancy, and taught
By stern Experience, in the world’s great school,
Much wisdom gains; as much it does require,
Its ends to gain, and virtue to defend.
Such training must produce developments,
To quicken noble feelings’—prompt the soul
T’ aspire, where otherwise ’twould stand aghast
At obstacles, though distantly they loom!
The soul; love-stirr’d, what other can it see
Than virtues of the purest water, in
The object of esteem? then, what dare mar
Its efforts, while such beauties are in view?
Until th’ attainment of the prize is gain’d.
Religion; LoveThus, Love will prove its virtue; and declare
Itself an active principle of life,
As part and parcel of the soul of man;
And prove a link, a most important link,
Of close connection with its prize in Heaven.
Love; MoralityThat soul, how void of aught that is sublime,
page 26 Where much deficiency of love exists;
How destitute it is of heavenly thoughts,
And much of moral worth becoming Man:
His faculties thus earthward, nought can stir
Him to excell in virtue’s purposes,
As such scarce rise ’bove brute capacity!
Religion; PoetryStill, what is Love? and what its principles
Of vital Truth?—Oh! for a living coal
From off the sacred altar, such that touch’d
The lips of rapt Isaiah, when he felt
His inability to grasp his theme:
So may some hand devine such task perform,
And touch my lips; yes touch my rising thoughts;
To purge off all impurity; so that
The Muse may be more capable, to treat
The various subjects, which themselves present
For due elucidation in this song.
Love; Nature; ChangeLove’s that instinctive feeling which pervades
All Nature; but particularly in Man
’Tis prominently shewn, as he begins
To feel the impulse, of progressive life,
Astir wilthin his breast. ’Tis then he feels
page 27 An active pow’r within him working change;
His nature as renewing, stirring up
Emotions latent, of which unaware,
In thoughtless days, that such he had possess’d;
But now he feels a void within himself,
A longing want which craves to be supplied,
Though not from old associates and friends:
His eyes are now abroad in active search,
For one to correspond with heart’s desires:—
’Tisour first Father’s feelings acted o’er,
When pleading for a life-companion meet!
Such are true love’s emotions and desires!——
But, Oh! when brutal passions rule supreme
Within man’s heart: when evil principles
Would grow as parasites on virtue’s root;
Such, plainly shew the sad declension, made
By true-love in his sin: corruptions now
Would much defile the fountain of all worth,
And make the stream still more or less impure!
When carnal feelings gain ascendance, such
Would farther still love’s damaged beauty mar,
And quite subvert its Truth, and make it nill!
page 28 As fungi mark decay, and oft a state,
Of deep corruption, wheresoe’er they spring;
So will base thoughts, arising from the heart,
Declare its love degenerate and vile;
Such, that would taint sweet virtue, or would soil
The holiest affections of the soul!
True Love will harbour no unseemly thoughts:
Unseemly thoughts had no connection with
Love’s nature, when it came from the Great SIRE.
Love; Perception; JoyTrue love, in man existing, will maintain
Truthful integrity towards the one,
It singles out, as worthy its regards,
Despite temptations; and rejoice to see
The image of his love reflected there,
In its entirely; — as undefiled
Unblemish’d, good, and comely to behold!—
Such is love’s nature: and its chief delight
Is to contemplate the intrinsic worth,
Of the sole being when it most esteems
As sum and centre of its happiness!
Yes, it is happiness, the most replete,
To be so pleased, the heart so much rejoiced,
page 29 At feeling sure one’s ideal’s realized,
In due reciprocation of regards!
One’s love receiv’d, and then reflected back
Untarnish’d on the heart, which gave the gift:—
When heart communicates with heart their full
Oe’rflowings of affections,—such, how blest!
’Tis like the beauties of the summer sun,
And azure sky, when view’d in mirror’s sheen!
Love; PerceptionTruth ever must to falsehood be averse;
And counterfeited love is never pure:
’Tis like the muddy pool, that ne’er reflects
In truth the beauty of the scenes around!
So, counterfeited love is ever prone
T’ indulge in thoughts unholy, with a will
Apt to deceive, and ready to betray
That confidence, which true-love best defends!
Professions bland where true affections are
A blank, as mere pretence, are but the mask
Of evil passions in th’ unmanly soul;
Such shews the divel’s semblance, when he would
In guile, some holy angel’s garb assume!
Such practises pursued, simply display
page 30 To view the vileness of the wicked heart
Where such things harbour find. Love counterfeite
Will aye oppose the Majesty of Heaven:
’Tis war proclaim’d against Hrs sacred will:
And those who such maintain, would still contemn
The blessings offer’ in reward for Truth;
Thus would they act the agents of that feind,
Whose joys are but the woes of the deceived!
Such counterfeits deceitful ne’er can claim
Participations in the bliss of Heaven;
Nor that, in time, reflected on the soul
Like what arises from true faith in love!
No earthly joys more true, than those which rise
From true-love’s chaste enjoyments, ev’n although
Temptations should surround, or dare assail;
Yet, such temptations love their pow’r, as turns
From them the heart, to look with earnest faith
Toward the source of Truth, and there lays claim
To that protection ready to be given
In the defence of Love’s integrity!—
Oh! what a contrast ’twixt the true and false.
True love, is Truth, existing in the heart;
page 31 ’Tis seen in all th’ affections as pourtray’d
In actions good, or breath’d in truthful tales,
Fit to gain credence, or ensure esteem;
And win the confidence of the beloved;
To whom all honour, and good faith are shown,
With every motive in advances pure!—
The false, is full of treachery, and deceit;
Bland in pretensions, cunning to beguile,—
Betraying confidence when such is won!
Love; Morality; SocietyTrue love will never tamper with the heart
That yields implicit faith, relying ou
The truth of his professions as sincere:
But will maintain integrity, and shew
Uprightness in his conduct to the end!—
The false is full of self—of worthless self,
And cunning pride; in flattery, an adept;
While purpose base is ever in his aim;
Is reckless of the peace of the betrayed,
When ends are gain’d, and victim plunged in woe!
How sad, when the respondent’s heart, wherein
True love is foster’d, meets with base deceit!
She trusts too fondly to professions bland,
page 32 Which lulls all watchfulness asleep; and thus,
By falsehood lured, her love becomes betray’d!
Yes, sad it is when falsehood wins the ear,
With its deceitful cunning, to beguile;
’Tisworse than the assassin’s cold-blood deed,
Which lays his victim low! It is the source
Of sorrow heartlessly repaid, in ’turn
For faith, in honest truthfulness bestow’d.—
Oh! would the hand of vengeance lay him low
Who dares in guile betray confiding faith,
Inflicting wounds he heeds not how to heal!
Who would not mourn the fallen’s hapless state,
Rather than blame her love so ill bestow’d?
’Tis quite enough of punishment, to have
Affections mock’d, of virtue’s worth, despoill’d:
The loving heart, left desolate to mourn,
Feels ’tis enough, and hard to be endured!
—Why vex her farther with thy cold disdain?
Thou Cynic, virtuous in hypocrisy!—
Why blame her weakness for a wretch’s guile?
On whom stern retribution should descend!—
*Speak kindly to the fallen; cheer her heart;
page 33 Nor let her be despondent, lest she’ll lose
All self respect, and farther rush on woe!—
From sorrows, Oh! relieve her; let her feel
Thy kind compassion for her, that she may
Look up, acknowledging her errors, and
Become repentant, so feel on her heart
Forgiveness sweet recorded, yielding joy!
Compassion can work wonders, bringing round
Great reformations; leading those astray
To seek “the good old path”, more than your scorn;
Which rather harden would, than melt to tears;
And drive the victim farther into sin!—
He, who looks on the heart, can see His Truth;
In chaste simplicty, existing there,
Though mock’d it has been by a traitor’s guile.
Though such a truth may undiscover’d be
By thy blind judgement, ready to denounce
Thy sister in her weakness; yet, even then,
Its genuineness thy judgement would condemn!
Would Jesus sit in judgement o’er the one
Brought captive to Him from a nameless deed?—
He, rather on th’ accusers turn’d a look
Of condemnation for their covert guile!
page 34 And as He stooped and wrote upon the ground;
Heedless of their demands and questionings,
He wrote conviction on each tempter’s soul;
Pourtraying there, their own enormous sins:
Such, reckon’d once too small to be observed,
Now magnifying to importance great,
Too hideous to contemplate; forcing each
To leave the court with conscience-stricken awe;
Thus setting mildly the poor captive free,
Compassion shewing, rather than disdain,
To her weak soul; and, thus, the sin’scondemn’d!
Love; Religion; Friendship; JoyHow good is love, reciprocated love:
When hearts are knit together, with that tie,
Which binds there closely to the throne of Heaven!
Such happy union Heaven can best approve;
Such happy pair can through life’s pilgrimage
Go hand in hand companions;—bosom friends
In every time of need; and ready be
To hold each other up, should adverse things
Their steps waylay: or cheer each other on,
Where aught, which tends to grieve, might them befall:
Such fellowship, how happy! ’Tis foretaste
Of bliss beyond the confines of this world!
Love; SocietySome lovers, in their natures, bear the power
Of fond attraction; like the magnate, which
Would draw things most congenial to itself,
When they become united, not to part,
Save when they’re sunder’d by superior power:—
So, loving hearts attractive ever prove
To others of a kindred nature, form’d
To love, until united they become,
Still loving onward till the hour of death;
And even then, Death scarcely can them part!—
—’Twas thus with young Clarinda, when she lost
The husband of her youth. Sad was the stroke,
Inflicting a deep wound upon her heart!——
He left his home on business, full of life,
And promising a quick return, though far
His destination lay. He had to cross
Some river on his way, in usual times
Both broad and rapid; which by recent rains,
Had somewhat swollen got beyond its wont:
His business urgent, and on faithful steed,
No danger fear’d he, and he dared th’ attempt
Of crossing the deep current’s strengthen’d flow
At the accustom’d ford; when, sad to say,
Some accident befell him, when he met!
page 36 His unsuspected doom, while none was near
To bring deliverance!—He was seen no more,
Till drawn from where the current had him borne
Caught on some obstacle within the stream!
Short was her wedded life: hard was the stroke
Of such misfortune on a loving heart,
Which banish’d from her cheek the rosy bloom,
And sadly dimm’d her laughter-beaming eye!
Her sadden’d heart now felt how much she loved,
More than could have been taught by lasting joys!
—When she would at the church attendance give,
At hour of worship, in the darkest weeds
Deep sorrow could select;—a widow’d youth,
As by love’s impulse guided, would she come,
Bend o’er his lowly tomb, as if she held
Sweet converse with the dead! Yes, she had there
A treasure hard to part with; and whose power
Of love-attraction seem’d as proof against
Death’s dissolution; while the heaving sigh
Would speak, not more of sorrow, than of love,
At such a sight, who could, but with her feel?
Or, pray that Heaven would bliss her loving heart
With peace, and resignation to His will!
But from another point, come take a view
page 37 A problem to nnfold:—Such seeming shew
Of fond affection o’er th’ unconscious dust,
As if to make amends for past neglects,
Had such there been, towards his weal in life;
(Thus, suppositions hidden truths disclose:)
Such an affecting shew of love would prove,
“Love’s truth she knew not well, till on her forced,
Admonitary to all after life!”
Such roused her soul more quickly, than if sound
Of trumpet loud proclaim’d it in her ears!
And which, more than aught else, a truth declares,
—Society; MoralityWhen we re deprived of blessings, -only held
In small esteem, like other common things,
Not likely to get rid of; then is felt
Their double value, aye a thousand-fold,
More than when such possess’d were, as secure;
Which works within us woe at such a loss!
So was it with a tippler: one who loved
His bosom friend most dearly; even as would
One of exemplar habits love his own!
And him she fondly loved; though often vexed
By his anomalous ways; but trouble came,
A dropsical disease, which on her grew,
Till death removed her from all worldly cares!—
page 38 Then, —then it was he to his senses came,
When oft at night, he wander’d to her grave,
And there gave vent to grief before unknown,
While cursing habits, which had on him grown
Uncheck’d, till they resistless had become,
As of his being, part,—a fell disease,
Worse than a fever’s rage: Moralityto him it proved
The death of self-respect, and moral worth!—
A bodily distemper oft will prove
The prompter of the t’ aspire to Heaven,
But this degrades it to the lowest hell!—
Thus left alone, as startled from a dream
Of fancied pleasure, to a consciousness
Of loss past reckoning; while his neglects
Would harrow up his soul with poignant grief
Which made him cry—“Oh were she back again!”
—Vain cry indeed! His sorrow long was such,
That even th’ old inebriating cup
Fail’d to assuage, or aid him to forget,
When such forgetfulness had proved a bliss!
Yet, notwithstanding thoughtlessness to prize
Duly in time the blessing we enjoy;
Love; Joy; SocietyHow good it is, when mutually agreed
Are either’s best affections, to unite
page 39 In truth, to bear each other company
Upon the path of life; even although
Their daily cares should soil the novelty
Of nuptial joys, as frequent use will make
The gay gloss of a marriage garb decay:
Still loving hearts, united, feel the bliss
Of union, (as a common thing, of course;)
Although Love’s utmost power be then unknown!
But others are, who differ in their loves.
Love; SocietyTo them, attraction proves the cause of woe!
As when th’ electric fluid, from the clouds
Surcharged, is drawn by some attractive mean;
On which it strikes, that object meets its doom!
So, sad it is, when True-love in its truth,
(Whose nature’s most attractive,) meets with such
Of counterfeit, with whom it gets beset,
As would a fly, in meshes of the snare
A spider weaves t’entrap! A fair one’s charms
In policy put forth, t’engratiate
Herself, in mere advacement’s aim; yet void
Of heart-affection’s TRUTH, oft prove the source
Of a whole life-time’s woe! The victim won,
Secured in wedlock’s vows, how sad to see
page 40 His fate at length before him; one of grief,
Instead of what he hoped would have been joy!
The victim thus inveigled by deceit,—
What signifies a joining of the hands,
If her affections are, to his, unwed?
United hearts would study eithers weal;
But otherwise, repulsive they become,
With interests dissevered, and astray:
Though human law may binding hold the form,
(And well it is such human laws exist—
Deceit, like other sins, has its own bane!)
It is no union God will deign to bless!
Love; Future; Change; ImaginationSo feels, th’ enamour’d swain, whose loving heart
Has got entrapp’d, suspecting nought of guile,
In her, who, took his fancy, wiled his heart,
Until attainment of her ends she gain’d:—
Now base deceit, no longer held in check,
Must out anon! and that to his dismay,
O’erwhelming all his prospects bright with gloom!
Such sudden change appals; he feels its shock
Quite paralizing all his energies
For future weel;—defeating all his plans,—
Like casting dust into his eyes, which blinds
Him in their execution, so must fail!
page 41 He finds himself the victim of deceit;
While all good hopes are driven to the winds!
Hard is the struggle, as for life’s best good,
To hold by that integrity he claims!—
The false ambitious of dominion’s power
Unconsciously would banish love from home,
Instead of studying to cherish ’t there:
Thus raking up great misery to herself,
Such being quite her nature, unrestrain’d:—
While he, in dear remembrance of the past,
From all endured, would judge himself accursed,
Oft tempted to desert, such woes to leave:
Though fondly rather, as his nature prompts,
He’d wish his partner’s waywardness to cease,
And be agreed to vote for mutual Love!
So, see again’ the loving maiden’s heart
Won by the flatte’ry of the wooing swain,
Who would shew bland attentions, ’s if sincere;
So bent to gain her unsuspecting troth!—
Love; SocietyTrue Love, misguided by an itching ear
For adulation, oft is led astray;
Aye, such will often prove a mean, to blind
Suspicion, and debar enquiring thought
page 42 From profitable search, to know if truth
Is the foundation of the wooer’s plea.
Thus, falsehood oft will undetected reign,
And gain its purpose, where the truth will fail:
While True-love, guileless in itself, will not
Believe that guile ’neath bland profession lurks;
But open hearted, all, for truth, receives!
Love; Joy; Future’Tis truly sad, when thus her heart is given,
And troth is pledged, unto a worthless one,
Then find herself deceived; and each fond hope,
Of future bliss, which once her heart inspired
Are blighted,—fled—and left, a painful void!
Thus feels she now her sad position; thus
She feels new energies, undream’d of once,
Arise within her heart, to cope with cares
Unthought of, ere such had her lot become!
Though vex’d by the sad waywardness of him,
In whom she put such trust,—aye ev’n although
Her first fond hopes are nill; yet, still she’ll hope
(With such sad sense of a misgiving kind,
She almost fears to trust) good Time may bring
Along some pleasing change, and on his heart
Impress his duties, and recall his mind
To their fulfillment: then would all be well!—
Truth is so much the prompter of her thoughts,
That notwithstanding all, she still must hold
Affections to him sacred for his weal;
As no one is forbid to hope the best,
SocietyThough first fond hopes be blighted, and dispell’d;
While grieving o’er his reckless follies, she
Must witness, and their consequence endure;
Her prayer is for his welfare,—that the time
May yet arrive, when he’ll no longer prove
Her source of woe, and bane of wedded bliss;
But rather prove her sum of earthly joys!
Society; MoralityOr when remonstrance, in its mildest form,
She feels obliged to offer, with a heart
That trembles sensible of all the truth
She would express, and that too for his weal
And mutual joy; when such is roughly met
With scorn, (that sad reverse of social love;)
’Tis like the poignard’s thrust, which to the heart
Goes keenly, wounding deeply, till it bleeds;—
Aye bleeds! till she dispirited becomes!
Society; LoveA drunkard’s home!—What is it? Where his vice
Prevails o’er every sense of moral worth:
What is it?—but, a den of misery;
Whose wretchedness tends to demoralize
page 44 That virtuous one beneath its influence brought!
That love he pledged to her confiding heart,
Which yielded to his plea.—What was it?—but
A cheat!—which only divels would applaud;
On which the withering frown of Heav’n descends!
’Tis vexing when affection thus is used:
When faithful love is snibb’d, and grief-subdued,
Its sweets transform’d to rank acidity,
Which preys with cancer-greed upon her soul:
When merely cold endurance takes the place
Of former cherish’d hopes, become “no more.”
Her fond affections, trampled to the dust,
Give now no zest to life! A settled grief
Hard presses on her heart; and seems akin
To dark despair: but for that heavenly gleam
Of hope, in bliss, beyond this world of cares,
Which pierces the deep gloom, that would becloud
Her soul; that gleam prompts to resist
Temptations to some wrong; and her inspires
With courage fresh t’ endure! Her feelings vex’d
Now turn from earth, and upward look with faith
To Him, who best can recompence that Truth
Long foster’d in heart, and sorely tried;
While from her trials she this lesson learns
page 45 Liberty; Religion; Love“Affliction turns the soul from earth to Heaven.”
Her confidence thus fix’d, she now can wait
With patience Heaven’s decree to say “Enough;
Now give her rest:—her, set at liberty
From falshood’s bondage, and a worldly hell,
Where plighted love has proved itself a Cheat!”
Such are the trials True-love often meets,
While prosecuting duty’s path, in truth,
As Nature prompts;—like, when the die is cast,
In hopes a prize to gain; when the result
Turns up a blank;—sad woe, instead of joy!
Meanwhile, the counterfeit no joys can reap
In all the falsity it would maintain;
Which proves at length a self-inflicted curse;
To which, both Heaven and earth pronounce Amen!
In their approval of its righteous doom!