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The deep impression long my heart shall fill,
And ev'ry fainter trace be perfect still.
Forgive, my friend, if wounded mem’ry melt,
You best can pardon who have deepest felt.
You, who for Britain's Hero* and your own
The deadliest pang which rends the soul have known;
You, who have found how much the feeling heart
Shapes its own wound, and points itself the dart;
You, who are call’d the varied loss to mourn;
You, who have clasp'd a son's untimely urn;
You, who from frequent fond experience feel
The wounds such minds receive can never heal;
That grief a thousand entrances can find,
Where parts superior dignify the mind ;
Yet would you change that sense acute to gain
A dear-bought absence from the poignant pain ;
Commuting every grief those feelings give,
In loveless, joyless apathy to live ?
For though in souls where energies abound,
Pain, through its num'rous avenues, can wound;
Yet the same avenues are open still,
To casual blessings as to casual ill.
Nor is the trembling temper more awake
To every wound calamity can make,
Than is the finely-fashion'd nerve alive
To every transport pleasure has to give.
Let not the vulgar read this pensive strain,
Their jests the tender anguish would profane.
Yet these some deem the happiest of their kind,
Whose low enjoyments never reach the mind;
Who ne'er a pain but for themselves have known,
Who ne'er have felt a sorrow but their own;
Who deem romantic every finer thought
Conceiv'd by pity, or by friendship wrought;
Whose insulated souls ne'er feel the pow'r
Of gen'rous sympathy's ecstatic hour;
Whose disconnected hearts ne'er taste the bliss
Extracted from another's happiness;
Who ne'er the high heroic duty know,
For public good the private to forego.
Then wherefore happy? Where's the kindred mind ?
Where the large soul which takes in human kind ?
Yes —- 'tis the untold sorrow to explain,
To mitigate the but suspected pain;
The rule of holy sympathy to keep,
Joy for the joyful, tears for them that weep :
To these the virtuous half their pleasures owe,
Pleasures the selfish are not born to know;
They never know, in all their coarser bliss,
The sacred rapture of a pain like this:
Then take, ye happy vulgar, take your part
Of sordid joy which never touch'd the heart.
Benevolence, which seldom stays to choose,
Lest pausing prudence tempt her to refuse ;
I'riendship, which once determin'd never swerves,
Weighs ere it trusts, but weighs not ere it serves;
And sofl-ey'd pity, and forgiveness bland,
And melting charily with open hand;
And artless love, believing and believ'd,
And honest confidence which ne'er deceiv'd;
And mercy stretching out ere want can speak,
To wipe the tear which stains affliction's cheek :
These ye have never known — then take your part Of sordid joy, which never touch'd the heart.
You, who have melted in bright glory's flame, Or felt the grateful breath of well-earn’d fame; Or you, the chosen agents from above, Whose bounty vindicates Almighty love; You, who subdue the vain desire of show, Not to accumulate but to bestow; You, who the dreary haunts of sorrow seek, Raise the sunk heart, and flush the fading cheek; You, who divide the joys and share the pains, When merit triumphs, or oppress’d, complains ; You, who with pensive Petrarch love to mourn, Or weave the garland for Tibullus urn; You, whose touch'd hearts with real sorrows swell, Or feel, when genius paints those sorrows well ; Would you renounce such energies as these For vulgar pleasures or for selfish ease ? Would you, to 'scape the pain, the joy forego, And miss the transport to avoid the woe? Would you the sense of actual pity lose, And cease to share the mournings of the Muse? No, GREVILLE *, no! Thy song, though steep'd in tears, Though all thy soul in all thy strain appears ; Yet wouldst thou all thy well-sung anguish choose, And all th' inglorious peace thou begg’st refuse.
And while Discretion all our views should guide, Beware, lest secret aims and ends she hide; Though midst the crowd of virtues, 'tis her part, Like a firm sentinel, to guard the heart;
Beware, lest Prudence self become unjust,
Who never was deceiv’d, I would not trust;
Prudence must never be suspicion's slave,
The world's wise man is more than half a knave.
And you, Boscawen, while you fondly melt
In raptures none but mothers ever felt ;
And as you view, prophetic, in your race,
All Levison's sweetness, and all BEAUFORT's grace ;
Yet dread what dangers each lov’d child may share,
The youth, if valiant, or the maid, if fair ;
You who have felt, so frail is mortal joy!
That, while we clasp the phantom, we destroy ;
That perils multiply as blessings flow,
That sorrows grafted on enjoyments grow;
That clouds impending dim our brightest views,
That who have most to love have most to lose:
Yet from these fair possessions would you part,
To shelter from contingent ills your heart ?
Would you forego the objects of your prayer
To save the dangers of a distant care ?
Renounce the brightness op’ning to your view,
For all the safety dulness ever knew ?
Would you consent to shun the fears you prove,
That they should merit less, or you less love?
Yet while we claim the sympathy divine,
Which makes, O man, the woes of others thine;
While her fair triumphs swell the modish page,
She drives the sterner virtues from the stage ;
While Feeling boasts her ever-tearful eye,
Fair truth, firm faith, and manly justice fly :
Justice, prime good! from whose prolific law,
All worth, all virtue, their strong essence draw.
Justice, a grace quite obsolete, we hold
The feign’d Astrea of an age of gold :
The sterling attribute we scarcely own,
While spurious Candour fills the vacant throne.
Sweet SENSIBILITY! Thou secret pow'r
Who shedd'st thy gifts upon the natal hour,
Like fairy favours; art can never seize,
Nor affectation catch thy pow'r to please:
Thy subtle essence still eludes the chains
Of definition, and defeats her pains.
Sweet SENSIBILITY! thou keen delight!
Unprompted moral! sudden sense of right!
Perception exquisite! fair virtue's seed!
Thou quick precursor of the lib’ral deed!
Thou hasty conscience! reason's blushing morn!
Instinctive kindness e'er reflection's born!
Prompt sense of equity! to thee belongs
The swift redress of unexamin'd wrongs:
Eager to serve, the cause perhaps untried,
But always apt to choose the suff'ring side;
To those who know thee not no words can paint,
And those who know thee, know all words are faint.
She does not feel thy pow'r who boasts thy flame,
And rounds her every period with thy name;
Nor she who vents her disproportion’d sighs
With pining Lesbia, when her sparrow dies ;
Nor she who melts when hapless Shore expires,
While real mis’ry unreliev'd retires !
Who thinks feign'd sorrows all her tears deserve,
And weeps o'er WERTER, while her children starve.
As, words are but th' external marks to tell The fair ideas in the mind that dwell;