Recreations for Solitary Hours
To a Poetess
To a Poetess.
Come gentle muse, with social kindness come,
And lend thy heavenly guidance to my song.
While thus I tune the lyre; do thou become
My kind assistant, generously strong;—
So thus I thee invoke amid my throng,
For what I've fondly heard, love's genial fire
Within my breast has kindled;—as I long
Requested—but now's granted my desire—
To hear a fair one's harp soft joins the minstrel's choir.
Hail Poetess! though thou'rt to me unknown,
Need that arrest the pleasures I enjoy,
When first of thee I heard, I truely own
My soul was roused with inward ecstacy;
Oh had it angels' wings, then could it fly—
But ah! this sad impediment of clay
Me anchored from my flight of rapt'rous joy—
In quest of thee, nor could it long delay,
Till I'd delighted lean, and listen every lay.
Who taught thy gentle hand to tune the lyre?
If scoffers ask; I answer in defence;
'Twas Heav'n who did her graceful soul inspire,
With higher motives than mere carnal sense,
Such virtues, beauty, grace,13 without pretence,
Outvieing those which deck external forms,
Whose soul aspires to other objects hence,
And nobler pleasures,—such intrinsic charms,
Disparage all aspiring scarce 'bove scale of worms.
For who can feel the exquisite delight,
Of those who hold sweet converse with the muse.
While still progressive to perfections height,
The soul aspires, whose pleasures are profuse;
page 41 Though envy oft envet'rately doth use
Her powers infernal, 'deavouring to mar
It's gentle progress,—anxious to confuse
With deep dismay, so fond t' involve in war
The lyrest, and the pleasures of the lyre debar.
Oh! Heav'n stoop,—my invocation hear,
Preserve her soul from ev'ry painful care,
And from intrusive flattery insincere,
Her guard against, and vanity so spare;14
That nothing may that dignity impair,
Or qualities disgrace, with which she's bless'd:
Such rich internal talents, 'bove compare,
Exalt her 'mongst her fellows, much caress'd,
Of such endearments due, long may she be possess'd.
Blest nymph of song!—I hail thee with delight,
My soul its ecstacies doth still retain:—
Could it forbear? Thee let not such incite
To treat my forwardness with cold disdain;
For few such nobleness of soul attain,
While low their minds to weakness are subdued,
So often tatt'ling to their neighbour's pain,
Degenerous converse!—happy thou! endued
With nobler feelings, bliss thus to thy mind accrued.
Lo! how delightful to the soul refined,
To sing the symmetry of Nature's plan;
This gives delight to the reflective mind,
When tired of worldly cares. And state of man;
How heaven's almighty King once led the van,
And Satan with his armies put to flight;
Who to our Father sore provoked began,
To reconcile and save us;—such excite
To pleasures, subjects highly worthy our delight.
Aye, these are themes most worthy our regard;
Which when attended to ne'er fail t' inspire
The soul with heav'nly thoughts;—nor will retard
The honour, or the pleasures of the lyre.
But with efficience fan the sacred fire
Of warm devotion in the soul divine
Whose fervour and infusive grace conspire
To calm our cares, while cheerfulness doth join
The soul's sweet harmonies:—Such blessings long be thine.
Think not in flatt'ry guilefully I feign;
My honours pledge I cheerfully bestow
Thee with respect.—Accept without disdain,
These heart devotions sweet, of Mistress Rowe,
page 43 In imitation may thy bosom glow
With genial christian love:—her ways pursue
With all composure:—but please let not go
Remembrance of me, but of lines a few
Oh write! while your well wisher I remain—adieu.