Addressed To Miss ----, On Reading The Prayer For Indifference, An Ode, By Mrs. Greville.

A poem by William Cowper

And dwells there in a female heart,
By bounteous Heaven design’d,
The choicest raptures to impart,
To feel the most refined—

Dwells there a wish in such a breast
Its nature to forego,
To smother in ignoble rest
At once both bliss and woe!

Far be the thought, and far the strain,
Which breathes the low desire,
How sweet soe’er the verse complain,
Though Phœbus string the lyre.

Come, then, fair maid (in nature wise),
Who, knowing them, can tell
From generous sympathy what joys
The glowing bosom swell:

In justice to the various powers
Of pleasing, which you share,
Join me, amid your silent hours,
To form the better prayer.

With lenient balm may Oberon hence
To fairy-land be driven,
With every herb that blunts the sense
Mankind received from heaven.

“Oh! if my sovereign Author please,
Far be it from my fate
To live unblest in torpid ease,
And slumber on in state;

“Each tender tie of life defied,
Whence social pleasures spring,
Unmoved with all the world beside,
A solitary thing—”

Some Alpine mountain, wrapt in snow,
Thus braves the whirling blast,
Eternal winter doom’d to know,
No genial spring to taste.

In vain warm suns their influence shed,
The zephyrs sport in vain,
He rears unchanged his barren head,
Whilst beauty decks the plain.

What though in scaly armour dress’d,
Indifference may repel
The shafts of woe—in such a breast
No joy can ever dwell.

‘Tis woven in the world’s great plan,
And fix’d by Heaven’s decree,
That all the true delights of man
Should spring from sympathy.

‘Tis nature bids, and whilst the laws
Of nature we retain,
Our self-approving bosom draws
A pleasure from its pain.

Thus grief itself has comforts dear
The sordid never know;
And ecstacy attends the tear
When virtue bids it flow.

For, when it streams from that pure source,
No bribes the heart can win
To check, or alter from its course,
The luxury within.

Peace to the phlegm of sullen elves,
Who, if from labour eased,
Extend no care beyond themselves,
Unpleasing and unpleased.

Let no low thought suggest the prayer,
Oh! grant, kind Heaven, to me,
Long as I draw ethereal air,
Sweet Sensibility!

Where’er the heavenly nymph is seen,
With lustre-beaming eye,
A train, attendant on their queen,
(Her rosy chorus) fly;

The jocund loves in Hymen’s band,
With torches ever bright,
And generous friendship, hand in hand
With pity’s wat’ry sight.

The gentler virtues too are join’d
In youth immortal warm;
The soft relations, which, combined,
Give life her every charm.

The arts come smiling in the close,
And lend celestial fire;
The marble breathes, the canvas glows,
The muses sweep the lyre.

“Still may my melting bosom cleave
To sufferings not my own,
And still the sigh responsive heave
Where’er is heard a groan.

“So pity shall take virtue’s part,
Her natural ally,
And fashioning my soften’d heart,
Prepare it for the sky.”

This artless vow may heaven receive,
And you, fond maid, approve:
So may your guiding angel give
Whate’er you wish or love!

So may the rosy-finger’d hours
Lead on the various year,
And every joy, which now is yours,
Extend a larger sphere!

And suns to come, as round they wheel,
Your golden moments bless
With all a tender heart can feel,
Or lively fancy guess!

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