The Harp, And Despair, Of Cowper

A poem by William Lisle Bowles

Sweet bard, whose tones great Milton might approve,
And Shakspeare, from high Fancy's sphere,
Turning to the sound his ear,
Bend down a look of sympathy and love;
Oh, swell the lyre again,
As if in full accord it poured an angel's strain!
But oh! what means that look aghast,
Ev'n whilst it seemed in holy trance,
On scenes of bliss above to glance!
Was it a fiend of darkness passed!
Oh, speak,
Paleness is upon his cheek,
On his brow the big drops stand,
To airy vacancy
Points the dread silence of his eye,
And the loved lyre it falls, falls from his nerveless hand!
Come, peace of mind, delightful guest!
Oh, come, and make thy downy nest
Once more on his sad heart!
Meek Faith, a drop of comfort shed;
Sweet Hope, support his aged head;
And Charity, avert the burning dart!
Fruitless the prayer, the night of deeper woes
Seems o'er the head even now to close;
In vain the path of purity he trod,
In vain, in vain,
He poured from Fancy's shell his sweetest hermit strain,
He has no hope on earth: forsake him not, O God!

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