An Ode, Humbly Inscribed to CONSTANTIA.
Fair, heavenly form! To thy Philander dear,
For whom, the soul dissolving, pearly tear
Oft gently trembles, mid th’etherial blue
Of fond affections’ grief bath’d eye:
Whose sainting spires, drink of sorrows’ dew
Or feed on mem’ry’s bitter sigh:
A pitying seraph, wing’d from realms of day
Melts at thy woes, and thus attunes the lay.
Though mild Constantia’s voice, as summer’s breath,
That gently whispers to the flow’ring heath;
Yet why should stern affliction rive the breast
Where all the softest feelings blend?
Canst thou, of virtue, honour, truth possest,
From the dark graves its mantle rend?
Relume the vital lamp, extinct in death,
New tone the pulse, or swell the lungs with breath?
Sad are thy plaintive notes, as turtle dove,
That coo’s a requiem to her dying love
But ah! Of what avail the mournful strain,
Which echoes round the hollow tomb?
‘Tis useless, as the sweets of Barca’s plain,
Or happy Ceylon’s rich perfume,
Whose incens’d odours breathe themselves away,
In wafting fragrances on a bed of clay.
Then hush the bursting groan of deep despair!
Immortal cherubs trill the dulcet air
Of soft compassion, touch’d at mighty woe;
And, borne from worlds whence evils fly,
On mercy’s pinions oft descend below,
To wipe the drop from grief’s swoln eye;
To check in mid career affliction’s rage;
Or gild with hope’s bright ray, life’s future page.
Is not that gold, which forms th’ harmonick lyre,
Tortur’d, and tried in fierce dissolvent fire?
Thus, whilst Constantia quaffs the full charg’d bowl,
Nor leaves one bitter dreg behind
Of venom’d gall-it purifies the soul,
And nobly sublimates the mind;
Opes to the view, fair radiant climes of love,
And woos from earth, to glorious scenes above.