Love Triumphant; or, Constancy Rewarded, by Abner Reed (Troy, NY: Luther Pratt & Co., 1797)
[text of presentation to Anna Mills]
[frontispiece; missing in my copy]
frontispiece: Emma sits dejectedly in a grove
[title page; missing in my copy]
Series of Familiar Letters,
Amusement & Instruction
In Language suited to their Capacities.
To which is Added, a
By a Friend to Youth
Printed by Luther Pratt & Co.,
Copy Right Secured.
Several Young Persons
For whose immediate instruction these Letters were originally written, as a testimony of continued friendship and sincere regard, they are now humbly dedicated, by their
Extract of a letter from the Rev. David M’Clure, to the Author.
East-Windsor Feb. 1794.
“I have just read your manuscript, and approve of your purpose of printing it for the instruction of youth. Lessons of knowledge and virtue find easiest access to youthful minds by picturesque scenes, and such descriptions as interest the passions and imagination.”
From Emma, after four years banishment from her father’s house, for being in love with Ferdino, and refusing to marry Milander. To her friend Fanny.
I am now sitting beneath the covert of a wide spreading elm,
at the foot of a steep craggy cliff; near whose awful summit issues a small rivulet, which winding in various directions, to seek a passage among the cliffs, falls in gentle murmurs from one rock to another ’till it reaches the foot; and after playing in many purling circles, passes gently off in a smooth limpid stream.
Before me lies the beautiful prospect of an extensive level meadow, adorned with numberless lillies and flowers of different hues, delightful to the eye, and regaling to the smell. It is interspersed with scattering elms, whose refreshing shades
serve for a covert of rest to the toil-weary husbandman. On the topmost branches of the elms, the morning larks, are perched, and have just begun their matin lays: for the dawning light has scarcely dispelled the curtains of night, and the bright monarch of day has not yet gilded the morn.
On my right stands an elegant square of tall poplars, once the arbor of a sequestered hermit, who formerly resided here; but the seats are demolished by time.—On the bark of each corner tree is an inscription engraved; of which, the following only, is so legible as to be understood:
“Here can I sit in pleasure’s lap,
Free from the noisy town;
Earth yields me food, the trees their sap,
And sweet content’s my own.”
On my left is his cell pleasantly situated in the side of the cliff before described. It has a magnificent appearance, and once would imagine must have been the product of years: It is hewn out of a rock, the face of which is nine feet in perpendicular height, and entirely smooth. The mouth of the cave is more than two feet wide and nearly four feet in height, with a curiously arched top—You enter a room by two descending steps—The
floor is twelve feet square and quite level and smooth. On one side are his table and seat, curiously projecting from the wall: on the opposite side, in the centre, is his fire-place wrought out in an half round form; and a small winding hole or crevice, which seems to have been formed by nature, serves for the conveyance of smoke.—Over the fireplace are the following lines, carved in the rock;
“Contented I’ll live and contented depart,
Nor envy the pleasures of men;
And Polly’s bright charms that once wounded my heart,
Shall never delude me again.”
At one corner of the cave is a small hole penetrating some distance through a natural cavity in the rock, till it reaches a partition of earth, where is a large and convenient cellar; having a rock over head—for a floor—and for walls on two sides.—This cave, one would naturally conceive to be beyond the thought of man to undertake; and would perhaps have been impracticable, had not nature at firs formed it hollow. It has the most beautiful prospect: the rocks on each side project many yards in front, which leave a straight and level aisle, from the mouth of the cell, ’till past the walls; and then, in a gradual slo-
ping descent, subsides into the beautiful meadow before mentioned.
You will wonder, perhaps, at seeing such a description as introductory to this letter; but what will be your surprise, when I tell you that I spent the two first months of my banishment in this recluse cavern?
A view of this beautiful prospect, this morning, of which, I have here given you a description, recalled to my mind the former scenes of pleasurable, rural sports, which we used to enjoy together in our earlier and happy days. This seemed to swell my grief, and aggravate my sor-
row; and for a few moments almost overcame me!—I cast back a thought on the place of my nativity, my friends, and all that was once dear to me! Time, far from erasing them from my memory, augments the desire of seeing them again.—But, this can never be!—I resolved however, if possible, to communicate my situation to you: but I know not whether I am writing to the living or the dead; for I have not heard from you, or any of my acquaintance, since my departure from the habitation of my cruel parents!—
You was present at that scene of
inhuman barbarity on the one hand, and of sighing, sorrow and dispair on the other! You heard the last adieu that I took of my unfeeling mother! You heard, you saw, and the tears of sympathy bursting from your eye, spoke the tenderness of your heart, and your undissembled friendship!—But—how can I express the emotions of my heart, and the distressing agitations of my mind at our last parting! When you accompanied me to the vessel; when the merciless master, obsequious to the unjust command of my cruel father, hoisted the sails to the unfriendly gale,
which soon separated us from each other! Confined I was, to the cabin; but through the window I saw—I saw you cast your eyes and hands up towards Heaven, praying I trust for my prosperity! With wishful eyes bedimmed with tears, I viewed my native shore; and with a sigh that spoke, what my lips could not utter, bid adieu to all the pleasures of life! Each dashing wave seemed a friendly messenger of death! Each moment added to my grief, till overwhelmed and sunk in dispair, fain would I, if possible, have plunged myself into the bosom of the ocean, and wel-
comed death beneath the boisterous waves!—
Such, my dear Fanny, is the effect of parent’s cruelty, and the result of despair! Such was the effect now, that the thought of ridding myself of the present afflictions, overcame, and drowned the apprehension of future misery, and banished the thought of endless, and yet attainable bliss and unmolested happiness.—
Had I now been irretrievably lost; had I, in the depth of my despair, put an end to my unhappy exist-
ance; would not this have softened the hearts, and filled the minds of my too cruel parents with horror at the thought of having it required at their hands?—Or would they, deaf before, to all the sighs and tears, to all the sorrows, cries and pleadings, of an innocent and duteous daughter, now continue obstinate, and their cruel and revengeful spirit have followed me even to the grave, my watery lodging? Undoubtedly they would have rejoiced at my end: for what differs banishment from death!—But I was spared for yet more trying and melancholy scenes!—
Thro bleaky winds, and waves and storms,
With rapid speed the vessel bore,
To waft me, doomed, ne’er to return,
Nor view again my native shore!
When thirty long and tedious days
Had run their melancholy round,
My guards, with many a generous sigh
Left me alone on unknown ground!
It is not possible for me to describe or you to imagine what I felt at this juncture! In vain did I plead with the barbarous Captain, to take me as a servant forever, and relieve me from this desert uninhabited Isle, as it then appeared to be! But here I must stay; cast upon providence, without provision or
clothing, except a scanty covering allowed me by my parents at my first setting out! nothing to shelter me from pinching cold and driving storms, but thick and lonely woods! I fixed my eyes on the departing barque, till it was beyond the reach of my aching sight!—Dusky evening had now overspread the sky! I cast my eyes up to Heaven, and with a sigh of despair, fainted backward to the ground!—I recovered—Impenetrable darkness surrounded me! Nothing was heard but the rustling of hollow winds in the tops of the trees that over-hung the bank, and the dashing of waves below! Where am I? I cried; and I seem-
ed for a moment to have forgot my banishment. I called to my friends as though around me! Fanny was the first that struck my thoughts, and a faithful and bereaved lover, sunk the impression still deeper! My Fanny, my disconsolate Ferdino! I cried. This recalled to my mind my cruel parents and my misfortunes! The reflection struck me with double force, and nature sunk beneath the thought. Heavens! where am I? alas! sighed I, again I swooned! again I somewhat revived.—But being worn down with fatigue and hunger, and too feeble to remove myself fro the place where I lay; I recommended myself to the care
of divine providence and yielded my aching eyes to sleep: But still my heart and my mind were in continual agitation under the burthen of their afflictions! At length daylight appeared: I awoke and had gained some strength. I determined if possible, to think no more of my miseries; or at least, to bear them with fortitude; and made it my first care to seek for something to satisfy my hunger. I walked some distance into the wood, ascending as I departed from the shore, finding nothing to allay the cravings of nature, but a few acorns, which I greedily eat! At length I approached the summit of the hill,
which on the other side was steep, and filled with shelving rocks.—I set myself down, and was surprised to view, at the foot of the cliff, a large, beautiful and fertile meadow! This, said I, is the habitation of mortals; but I had no relish for their society!—
I espied, a little below me, a spring, issuing from the rock.—I crept softly supporting myself by the shrubs, which grew scattering among the shelving rocks, and slaked my thirst at the spring: and in the forementioned manner, I crept to the bottom. The sun was intensely warm, and I seated myself beneath
the friendly shade of a spreading elm, which stood near the foot. My strength was exhausted; I was unable to proceed farther! Here I gave myself up to the reflection, and all the tortures of mind which it could inflict!—The heat had some-what abated, and my spirits a little revived. I rose and walked along under the cliff to find something to satisfy my hunger, which was raging, I soon found some wild roots and fruits, which were well flavored and nourishing. At length I came to a narrow and blind path, scarcely visible, I followed it, slowly ascending, and it soon led me to a hole in the rock which I entered. Here was an el-
egantly wrought room, which seemed formed for the habitation of human beings; but it was overgrown with moss. Happy retreat said I, this shall be my future abode! Here will I spend the remainder of my miserable days!—
This is the place I have described to you in the beginning of my letter, and where I now am.—
Two months I spent in this unfrequented abode, undiscovered by any mortal eye! At length I was espied by some husbandmen as I was entering my den; and I was surprised to see soon after, enter a man, whose manner and dress distinguish-
ted him to be of high birth and fortune! After questioning me and being made acquainted with my circumstances and situation, he eagerly requested me to follow him. I refused at first, but at length complied. He led me to a country seat, which was about two miles distant. Here, with his amiable wife, and two agreeable young daughters, I spent the remainder of the summer, but frequently visited this humble cell, to unburthen my distracted mind, by indulging my sorrows alone!
When winter came, they returned to town, (for this was only their
summer retreat.) Fain would they have persuaded me to go with them, but I could not consent; and the youngest of these daughters, out of sincere friendship, soon returned and tarried with me through the winter:—This family are the only persons I have seen—
In this manner have passed four years of my life! four long and tedious years! though nothing in the power of the family with whom I live, has been wanting to make me contented and happy. This cannot be, since I am separated from all that is dear to me in life! My parents, though they are cruel, are yet re-
vered by me. My Fanny! my Ferdino!—How can I endure the thought of an eternal separation from you; the sincerest friend and the most faithful lover!
I long once more, Ferdino dear,
To hear your soothing voice:
But I must bid adieu, and ne’er
Be partner of your joys!
Farewell my Fanny dear, if we
Must never meet again;
But never let our friendship cease,
’Till death dissolve the chain.
I shall not inform you where I am, for I foresee the consequence: your anxiety to see me would put you upon the hazardous attempt;
and for other private reasons, which you shall, if possible, hereafter know.
Tell not Ferdino that I am alive; for time perhaps, has erased me from his memory; and why should I awaken his sorrows? for we must never meet again! Desponding thought!—
Neglect not to inform me, by the bearer of this, of your situaiton, of Ferdino, and my parents. Though you know not the place of my abode, and I have charged the bearer to keep it a secret, yet you may deliver any thing to his charge, with
the assurance of his fulfilling the trust.—
Adieu my Fanny dear, adieu!
I long to see my love and you!
A lover and a friend indeed,
Shut from my succor when I’ve need!
Adieu, perhaps forever!—
It is not possible for me to describe the surprise your letter gave me! I read it with astonishment and amaze! I often perused the description you gave of our last parting! The melancholy reflections I made thereon, seemed to awaken the horrors I then felt! I seemed to realize that was then experienced! The mournful language of our last adieu rose fresh in my memory! This, with the recollec-
tion of our friendship, and your misfortunes, was too much for nature, with firmness to support! It appeared like a dream, or a vision; and scarce would my heart admit the belief that Emma was yet alive! In vain did I plead with the bearer of your letter to discover to me the place of your abode!—
Why Emma, did you let me know that you was yet alive! Why did you thus awaken my sorrows again, which time, that makes impression on all things, had in some measure alleviated? and yet aggravate them, by hiding from me the place of your residence! How can I endure the
thought of never beholding you again!—
Suffer these gentle reproaches, for they flow from my sincere friendship for you: for had I been permitted to remain in total ignorance of your fate, I should still, as I ever have done, believed you was forever removed from the earth, and freed from trouble and sorrow! for your parents had reported, that you had sailed on a voyage for the recovery of your health from a disorder they feared would shortly prove fatal: and the perpetrators of the horrid deed of your banish-
ment had affirmed, that you had died on your return home!
Your parent’s report I knew to be false, yet the fear of their threatenings, should I so do, kept me from disclosing the important secret! As to the Captain’s affirmation, I little doubted of your death, but thought rather you had suffered the cruelty of their hands; or, that the torrent of your grief had overwhelmed you, and you had, in the rage of despair, plunged yourself into the ocean!—
You desired me to give you an account of my situation, of Ferdino, and your parents.—This is an
unpleasing task to me; and the relation, since it cannot mitigate, may perhaps aggravate your sufferings: but at your request I shall do it in brief, trusting you are prepared by former sufferings to bear with resignation what I have to relate.—
My own situation I can hardly describe. Much of my time has been spent in solitary walks and unfrequented shades reflecting on your, Ferdino’s, and my own misfortunes.
When two fond hearts united are,
In friendship’s sacred tie,
Each other’s woes they kindly bear,
And mingle every joy.
When fate dissolves the social tie,
And they divided are,
How drowned in sorrow is each joy,
And heightened every care?
Heaven has blest me with health, and I am united to one whose tenderness and affection will not willingly permit the least of the wants of life to go unsupplied. He sees with regret the gloomy impression that your misfortunes and our separation make on my mind, and tries in vain to relive me!
Your parents are yet alive, but live in wretchedness! The judgments of Heaven will not permit them to rest in quiet!
Ferdino, ah! unhappy youth!
Ferdino’s far removed!
He’s fled from sorrow, or he’s gone
To seek for her he loved!
O’ercast with melancholy gloom,
Dejected and forlorn!
So near he bordered on despair,
He treated life with scorn!
Four days he wandered up and down,
Refusing rest and ease;
And often cast his wishful eyes,
Across the billowy seas!
Then disappeared! He’s closed his eyes
In death’s long silent sleep;
Or on some distant isle he is;
Or floating on the deep!
His parents comfortless remain,
And mourn his hapless fate!
O Emma, bear with gentle mind,
The tidings I relate!
Forgive me, Emma; I am ungenerous! This relation must be too much for you in your present situation to bear! But he who has ever been your supporter, will, I trust, still support you, through all the trials he is pleased to make you the subject of. Kind Heaven will not permit your virtues to go unrewarded; He will, perhaps, restore you to your native home once more in peace; and to the arms of your faithful Ferdino, if he is yet on this side the grave! Then may I behold
my friend once more, and we enjoy in our friendship, redoubled delight.
But if you never must return,
Nor view your native shore;
And I must live your fate to mourn,
And never see you more:
Adieu my Emma dear, if we,
Must never meet again!
But faithful let our friendship be,
’Till death dissolve the chain.
P. S. Remember your promise to let me know the reasons for hiding from me the place of your abode, and be not fearful to disclose
any secret to a friend who has so often been proved sincere and faithful.
EMMA TO FANNY.
Again I draw my willing pen,
And spend this hour in sweet employ;
In writing to my dearest friend,
Alternate scenes of grief and joy.
I was walking in a very pensive manner by the side of the rivulet, in front of my cell, when the bearer approached and delivered to me your letter. I asked him concerning the welfare of you all: he was speechless, and I read in his counte-
nance, the news of sorrow! I hastened to my cell; and when I was seated, I opened the letter. The thought of receiving it from you, gave me a sort of pleasure, which I had not lately experienced; but the apprehension of finding in it, something which would still augment my woes, if this were possible, greatly depressed the sense of pleasure! But fortifying my mind with the peaceful thought, and firm belief that God, who had hitherto supported me through all my sufferings, would still be my supporter and deliverer, I read the letter.
It gave me joy to read that you
was happy, if happiness consisteth in this world of trouble: but with it there seemed to be conveyed a sort of melancholy recollection of those happy days that were spent in innocent diversions and cheerful duty; when my active hopes were big with the pleasing prospect, and the delightful anticipation of those joys which you now possess—But they are no more!— Those youthful pleasures are forever over!—
My parents, you say, live in wretchedness;—With a sigh of pity and tear of filial affection, I read this! It is but just; it is the jus-
tice of Heaven they now feel! God will be just, and will punish the cruel! My parents now feel the effects of their cruelty to me, said I; yet I pitied them, and mourned for their hard lot! May they yet find comfort; may the blessings of Heaven rest upon them.—
But when the dismal news I read,
Of lost Ferdino’s cruel fate;
My sorrows rose with equal dread!
My spirits sunk beneath the weight!
There senseless, helpless and alone,
A while I lay, nor knew my woes!
My wake from ease appeared too soon,
When to new scenes of grief I rose!
How dreadful was the scene! My
parents wretched for their cruelty to me! myself banished from them forever, and from every worldly comfort, and plunged into a labyrinth of woes! Ferdino lost; forever lost, for my sake!—
I shall leave to the display of your imagination to conceive what I felt in this melancholy moment! It is beyond the power of words to describe it! And yet, for aught I knew, or had reason to expect, I had to continue in this situation, and live in the sad remembrance of this distressing scene, and under the tormenting reflections that must naturally arise therefrom, ’till the friend-
ly shafts of death cut off the thread of my miserable days!—
The cheering hope of being received to yon’ bright world of eternal happiness, where bliss is perfect as it is permanent, when this animal frame shall have done with sufferings here, in a great measure alleviated my sorrows and depressed the weight of woes that overwhelmed me! In all my afflictions religion is my only solace.
I had now spent a week in this place, without seeing any of the family with whom I had spent the greater part of each summer? ex-
cept the daughter mentioned in my former letter, and who often attended me here; and from this moment I made a resolve never to return to them again; but spend the short remainder of my life in this solitary cell, and in the adjoining woods and meadow!
One in your circumstances may think me very inconsiderate; But what is life to me? I have but little concern for its supplies. Trusting to Providence for these, and knowing that those who had so long manifested the sincerity of their friendship, by acts of the greatest kindness, would not now permit me
to suffer through want, the resolve was the more easily made. It was hard however, to part with a society who were to me instead of parents, and even much more kind than they.
This family consisted of six persons; the parents, two daughters, and two servants: who were the husbandmen that I first saw in the meadow, one of whom is our letter bearer.
Two months passed in this solitary manner, when, as I was sitting one morning at the mouth of my den, and ruminating on all my past
misfortunes, I was suddenly surprised by an uncommon noise which seemed to be the voice of sorrow and lamentation. I rose and went, but with fear, to find the cause of these sounds. I had not proceeded far, before I perceived, on a steep part of the cliff, the figure of a man, sitting on the ground, and faintly leaning his head against the trunk of a shady oak! I started back at the sight! He saw me, and seemed equally surprised! After fixing his eyes upon me for a moment, he beckoned for my approach! I moved slowly towards him, while every rattling leaf excited my fear, and
each advancing step encreased my timidity! He saw my embarrassment, and with a becoming gesture that might embolden my confidence, he rose to meet me!
His covering was tattered, and he appeared to be an object of misery! We came up close to each other, and stood for some time, fixed in amazement! His mind seemed to be in great agitation, and I saw the tears steal down his cheek, which he tried, but in vain, to conceal.—Why is Emma afraid? said he, in a faltering tone, and held out his arms to receive me! I knew him! It was Ferdino! I
flew to his embrace! O rapturous moment! O moment of transport! And yet mingled with cruelty! For to rise suddenly from the depth of distressing woes, to the summit of unexpected joys, was too much for us, in our dejected and miserable condition, to support. It overcame us, and we remained for some time speechless! After recovering from our first ecstacy, I conducted him to my cave, and fed him with some nourishing food, which the day before I had received from my benefactors.
We were both anxious to know each other’s sufferings since our
parting, but it was not a time for words; we were unable to bear them now!
As night drew on, we walked together to the mansion house of my friend, on whose kindness I greatly depended for protection. Here we were received with marks of astonishment, and welcomed with joy! The evening was spent in the recital of our lives, which gave to each other a sort of melancholy pleasure, and mingled in the whole family circle, the tender feelings of humanity and sympathetic sorrow, which their tears expressed; and our narration was often interrupt-
ed by gushing tears and rising sobs, that choked the power of utterance!
You shall yet be happy, said the master of the family; the sufferings which Heaven has been pleased to bring upon you, will enable you the better to know the value of life, and will double the satisfaction you will receive in the remainder of it. Trust it to my management; you shall yet be happy.
He was as good as his word, for the next day he rode to town, which was not many miles distant, and
returned in the evening with a respectable clergyman, who appeared feelingly anxious for our happiness, as did all the others.
Here we united heart and hand
In wedlock’s sacred tie;
No more to lose the nuptial band,
Nor separate till we die;
Now I am happy, O! my friend:
I’m happy in a spouse;
My sufferings all are at an end,
And I’ve forgot my woes!
In ease and pleasure now I live,
With my Ferdino blest;
Yet thoughts of Fanny’s absence, give
Disturbance to my rest.
But time flies swiftly off, and we
Shall shortly meet again,
And in our friendship happy be
Till death dissolve the chain.
P. S. I shall not answer the request in your postscript, for I trust I shall see you in a few months, and then you shall know, with that, the relation of Ferdino; for which reason it is omitted in this letter—but left your anxiety to know it should give you uneasiness, I will here just mention some of the particulars of his adventure.
He, at the time you mention of his disappearing, set sail on board a
ship bound for one of the Marian Isles, there either to find me, or spend his days in obscurity. They were overtaken by a storm, and after driving about at the mercy of a boisterous sea for forty days, the ship was driven upon a rock and foundered; and all the crew perished except Ferdino, who was saved on a piece of the broken ship, and driven on shore at a small Island not far distant from here.
After suffering many hardships on this desolate island for several months, he made shift, on a sort of raft which he made of some pieces of the wreck, to ar[r]ive at an
uninhabited and desolate point of the island on which I live, (for it is in sight of the other isle.)—Here he has ever since lived without beholding any human being, from the time he was cast away ’till the day he saw me.—
SEVERUS, TO HIS DAUGHTER EMMA.
If my injuries to you are not too great and too highly aggravated to meet with pardon, let my humble intreaties and sincere repentance be crowned with success.
In a solitary grove,
Compassed by a lonely vale,
Where the nightly spectres rove,
Sounds of sorrow haunt the dale;
Where the brooks run murm’ring on;
Winds howl echoing through the grove;
There I join my plaintive moan:
There I often mourning rove!
Grief and sorrow break my peace;
Frightening dreams disturb my rest!
When, O! when shall I have ease?
When shall terrors flee my breast?
Emma, O! forgive, forgive,
A repenting father’s crime!
O! forgive me while I live;
Ere I’m sumoned out of time!
I am wretched indeed; but I deserve to be so! Your mother, my companion in cruelty, is now no more! The slings of a guilty conscience tormented her, and wasted her away! she lingered a life of
misery, ’till death released her from the unsupportable burden. I am now left alone, to bear the horrors of guilt, and waste a life of wretchedness and woe! It is beyond the power of eloquence to paint, or the reach of thought to image my distress! A train of evils surround me! A complication of woes overwhelm me! Hunger, poverty and want, are marked upon my visage! My garments are tattered and decayed! My possessions—I have none!—They are in the hands of cruel masters! Cruel, because I deserve their cruelty! Grief and sickness have brought me almost to the grave! Death stares
me full in my face! And would my sufferings end with my wretched life, how welcome should be his imbrace! How willingly would I resign myself into his friendly arms!—But—there is a state of futurity; a day of retribution and judgment of all things!—I have been cruel! I have been inflexible to your cries; deaf to your intreaties and tears; and I justly deserve the inexorable severity of Heaven upon me.—My life is drawing to a close! Relentless death is near! Eternity yawns upon me! Misery pursues me!— Eternal misery is before me! Whither shall I flee? To whom shall I seek for help! Will Heaven indeed
have mercy? Can there be the least glimpse of hope!—
Wretched mortal! where can I,
From a guilty conscience fly?
Hear, propitious Heaven, O hear
A repenting sinner’s prayer!—
Had I not been cruel, had I not treated my only child, my duteous and affectionate daughter with severity, I might have now been happy; or at least, I might have prevented the sufferings I now undergo!—
When, O when shall I have peace?
When shall grief and sorrow cease?
When my sins are canceled o’er:
When my guilt shall be no more!
When my breast with hope shall burn;
When my Emma shall return;
When by her I am forgiven:
When will this be, righteous Heaven?
Return, my long-lost daughter return, and bless me with your presence before I die! Fanny, your friend, whose generous heart alone feels deeply for my woes; she longs for your return. Long had I mourned, and wished for your return, but never expected it; for death, I thought had long since robbed you of life, since I had robbed you of its every comfort! But how happily am I disappointed!—
This morning I entered Fanny’s
house: she was sitting with two beauteous children by her side. This said she, laying her hand on the head of the eldest, this is named Emma, in memory of her, whom you banished from your presence; who was my dearest and best earthly friend! I was unable to answer her; for my tears flowed without control! She was silent; and I saw the tears steal down her cheeks, which she strove in vain to hide.
After a long and melancholy silence, she delivered to me your letter!—That, said she, will inform you of the situation of your daugh-
ter, and the effects of your cruelty to her! who still loves you with the affection of a dutiful daughter!—she said no more, but left the room to disburthen her oppressed heart by weeping.
I opened the letter! I saw your name at the bottom! How did my conscience torment me at the sight, which to my mind afresh recalled the horrid and inhuman deed of your banishment! Trembling seized my frame! My thoughts were drowned in amaze—my eyes were drowned in tears—I was unable to read.—At length recovering from
my surprise, I proceeded. I perused your letter with attention and anxious concern; while my heart was breaking with sorrow.
How reverse were my feelings then, to those that possessed my heart, when that irrevocable sentence passed my lips, which doomed you to eternal banishment, and consequently, to misery and want.
Fanny now returned, while I stood fixed in astonishment and amaze! She had dried up her tears and put on a dissembled glow of cheerfulness. How happy you once was, said she, in the possession of
such a daughter! Happy had you but valued to the worth, the prize you possessed. How happy was I! How cheerful, obedient and happy was she, while we were blest with each other’s company. We are still united in friendship; but that insatiable thirst for wealth, the only cause of your cruelty to her, and which has now produced your own wretchedness, has fixed the impassible bounds of separation between us! she is wretched, and I am cheerful no more!
A sudden languor seized her spirits—she walked the room in silence! My heart was too full for utter-
ance—it was sunk in heaviness! Sighs and tears were the only answer I could give!
After a few moments’ indulgence to the tortures of recollection, she drew from her bosom the letter which you last sent her; and with a sort of silent reluctance presented it to me. I took it with a trembling hand: I read it in silent confusion!
Give scope to your imagination! conceive, if possible, the different sensations that clouded my heart! Fear, anxiety, hope, remorse, pity, affection and joy, alternately agita-
tated my soul! and while I read the sudden reverse of fortune in the history of your life, and considering myself as the author of all the miseries brought upon you and myself, I was unable to support the weight of grief and anguish it occasioned!
I saw the hand of Heaven in your preservation, and in the guidance and protection of Ferdino; and its justice in the punishment of me and your departed mother.
In the days of plenty and affluence, we were overpowered by the deceitful charms of wealth! He
whom we designed as your companion, was wealthy, gay and prosperous; but his wealth is vanished! He is prosperous no more! The g[ao]l is his dwelling! His former riches were the cause of his present poverty; his pride the cause of his ruin! His pretended affection for you was but a transient flight of fancy; it vanished with your preference.
Ferdino was poor; we despised his mean birth, and the low appearance he made in the eyes of the fashionable, the gay and the vicious: But he was virtuous! He was happy in his duty to his pa-
rents, and usefulness to others. His passion to you was sincere; and, I thank Heaven, he has found means to obtain the object of his love!
May the richest of Heaven’s blessings rest upon you both: May peace, prosperity and happiness crown your days: May I, who caused your sufferings, yet live to see you, and be forgiven: This would yield me the greatest happiness that life has yet afforded me—I ask no more of its comforts!
Come, return; O! Emma, come,
To the place that once was home!
Where in joyful youth you dwelt,
’Till my cruelty you felt.
Time is h[a]stening fast away;
Death impatient waits his pray;
Near a close my life is drawn;
Boundless worlds before me yawn!
Quick return, my daughter dear,
With your loved Ferdino, here;
That I may your pardons crave,
E’er I’m shrouded in the grave!
Dear and honored Father,
After a long and distressing series of sufferings and misfortunes, the return of ease, tranquility and joy, seems doubly transporting.—
I have experience the most trying vicissitudes of fortune; I have lived in plenty, ease and pleasure, while I enjoyed your favor and protection; yet the love of virtue always gave me the greatest pleasure.
This sweetened all the comforts of life, and made its pleasures doubly delightsome. My cheerfulness in my duty to my parents, expressed the respect and esteem I had for them, and shewed it to be one of my chief pleasures.
I have lost your favor; I have incurred your displeasure; I have been refused your protection; I have been banished from your presence; from the society of my friends, and all my acquaintance, and doomed to sufferings, misery and woe!
Your severity to me has been
seemingly unparelleled; my sufferings of consequence, have been equally great; and your punishment has been in proportion!
But why should I reproach my mourning father in his sufferings, by enumerating those past misfortunes! Heaven and my pitying heart forbid me to upbraid my suffering and repenting parent’s wrongs: he who is plunged in sorrows deeper than my own!
I have been supported through my sufferings by that merciful and just Being, who is the faithful rewarder of virtue, and oppressed in-
nocence. I have been relieved from that misery to which your cruelty doomed me: and have once more enjoyed rest and happiness. Happy in a union with a virtuous and affectionate partner: happy in the undissembled friendship of a society of sincere and real friends, and blest with a competent share of the supplies of life, and a pleasing hope of future happiness in the world of unmolested joy!
But—my parents, where are they!
When with pleasure I survey
All the joys I now possess,
Their deep sufferings make them less!
I read your moving letter with the deepest sorrow! My heart sunk down with grief, when I read the history of your wretched misfortunes.
The shadows of night were departing; Phebus was just rising upon the earth, when I walked out to meditate and reflect upon all the changes of my life, and to spend a few moments in the delightsome exercise of devotion, as is my custom every morning: ’Twas then that Ferdino, with a countenance fair and smiling as the blooming
morn, hasted to meet me. A letter from our friend Fanny, is just arrived, said he, in a pleasant and joyful tone, and presented the letter. My heart leaped for joy! I took the letter, and we sat down together upon a mossy hilloc, to peruse it. But what was our surprise, to find that it came from a father, whose sufferings had melted his once unfeeling heart, into pity, compassion and penitential sorrow! Language would fail, should I here attempt to describe it! Ferdino, who had learned to pity others, by the sufferings he himself had endured, now shed tears of compassion!
Your misfortunes we mourn for as our own, and we are happy no more ’till we have seen your face, contributed to your wants, alleviated your distress, and made you in some degree happier.
In a solitary vale,
Compassed by a lonely grove;
When the evening shades prevail,
There I often mourning rove!
Where the brooks run murm’ring on,
Echoing dismal through the grove;
There in solitude I mourn,
For a father whom I love.
When, O when shall he have peace?
And his crimes be all forgiven!
When shall I behold his face?
Grant it quickly, righteous Heaven!
Our weak conceptions are incapable of comprehending the mysterious ways of Heaven; but they are just. The dealings of Providence towards us, though they may sometimes seem severe, yet they are but messages of tender compassion, to reclaim us from vice; to secure us from danger, and make us in the end happy: and it becomes us to bear them with patience, fortitude and submission.
Mourn not, O my father, nor repine at your afflictions; but bear them with patience; look up with humble submission to that Being who is the all-wise disposer of e-
vents; trust his mercy and wait his pleasure to relieve you, and restore you to ease and happiness again; which will be the more perfect, according as your sorrows have been great!
The day is departing, the shadows of night are approaching, the shades of grief are sunk upon my heart; I can write no more, but to bid you adieu!
Adieu, my father dear, ’till we
Shall, blest with a reunion be,
And in our different stations prove,
A daughter’s care and parent’s love.
From EMMA, after her return from the Island to which she had been banished—To her FRIENDS in that Island.
Dear and Respected Friends,
With a heart filled with gratitude, and a breast possessed of the purest friendship and esteem, it is not easy to forget the favors of a friend; and I think myself under the strongest obligations, first to acknowledge, and to return you my sincere thanks for the numerous and unbounded kindnesses,
received from you, my faithful friends and generous benefactors, who were instrumental, through providence, of saving my life, of delivering me from want, distress and wretchedness; and at last, of crowning my days with unexpected happiness.
How contented and happy was I, whilst I enjoyed your friendship, protection, and pleasing society, together with the tender partner of my life? Happy, had my parents been so; their miseries, with the absence of my friend Fanny, were the only alloy to my happiness; and it was with regret, that I left
a society with whom I had enjoyed so much satisfaction; whose sorrows and whose joys were mingled with mine; who were merry when I was joyful, and sorrowful when I was sad! But my father’s sufferings called aloud for assistance, and claimed my speedy attention!
In this world of trials and misfortunes, where pleasures and sorrows are intermixed; where prosperity and adversity alternately succeed each other, there is nothing that can yield solid comfort to an immortal mind, but a heart possessed of Heavenly love; a conscience unaccusing and at ease.
The former part of my banishment, probably would have driven me to desparation, had not my heart been cheered by the enlivening rays of virtue, which caused me yet to hope for relief.
After becoming acquainted with you, my friends, and being united to Ferdino, nothing disturbed my peace, but the anxiety of seeing my native home, and the friends of my youth once more; of beholding my parents, my aged and comfortless parents, and relieving their wants.—I have seen the dwelling and the friends of my youth once more; I have again beheld my fa-
ther, my only surviving parent; and what addition has it made to my happiness? None but the pleasing satisfaction of adding comfort to my honored father, whose happiness is my own. But how unsatisfying is the fulfilment of our desires? I am not separated from you, my friends; from the place where I suffered the most trying afflictions, and the greatest pleasures that life has afforded me.—My mind is often insensibly led to reflect upon those past occurences, and my heart is often struck with melancholy, at the thoughts of our separation: But I quickly chide my heart, and comfort myself with
the thought that no happiness is perfect below; and patiently wait the removal to realms of perfect and permanent bliss!
I shall never forget the affecting scene of our last parting, on the banks of the ocean, on the morning we set sail: nor the unmerited favors your kindess heaped upon us.
On the seventh day after our departure, we were overtaken by a storm, which lasted four days, ’till the hopes of the sailors perished, and we all despaired of life! We were in the utmost consternation, expecting death every moment!
but on the morning of the fifth day, the storm abated; the winds subsided; the ocean was calmed, and the tumult ceased!—The sun woke the day with majestic splendor, and its rays were doubly delightful.—So have I experienced the gladsome morning of joy, after a long and melancholy night of sorrow!
After a voyage of twenty-seven days, the shore of my native town appeared to my longing eyes! I shed tears at the sight! We landed at the place from whence I first departed, when I took my last adieu of Fanny, my unjoyous friend! It
struck a darksome gloom o’er my soul at the recollection of that melancholy day! And Ferdino was no less affected!
Attended by the Captain, we advanced towards my native home, where I once enjoyed the favor, the parental esteem and the company of my parents! But they were not there! The dwelling was occupied by strangers! My mother was no more! My father, I knew not where to find him! He was a wretched, wandering vagabond; without a habitation, without a
home!—Distracted with grief, I could not support the dreadful scene! Ferdino shared equally in my grief; and we were unable to lend any comfort to each other!
After the first torrents of grief were in some measure subsided, we proceeded to the dwelling of Ferdino’s parents, where we were received as strangers; nor did we make ourselves known till we were better prepared for so moving a scene! The Captain enquired for Severus, without making known that he was my father: he was sent for immediately, at his request, and conducted into the room. We fix-
ed our eyes upon him, and he seemed affrighted as though apprehensive of some evil design against him! My heart was unwilling to believe my eyes! I thought it impossible to be him, whom I once called my father! His garments were tattered; his flesh was decayed; grief, poverty and sickness were marked upon his countenance! After a moment’s silence, with a dejected air, he spoke. For what purpose am I sent for hither? said he—I could refrain no longer! My tears flowed without control! Does not my father know me? said I. He was speechless, and I could
say no more!—Ferdino’s heart was too full for utterance! He hasted to imbrace his father; I would have imbraced mine, but overwhelmed in joy, confusion and amaze, he had cast himself at my feet unable to speak!—I can describe it no farther! let imagination paint the rest!—
Fanny alone was wanting to complete the moving scene, nor was the satisfaction of her company long deferred. A messenger was sent to request her speedy attendance, to see an old acquaintance, who, on a long journey, had put up for the day.
She was conducted into the room, without knowing or suspecting who we were. A sudden blush crimsoned her face, she was embarrassed and knew not who to address.—We had prepared ourselves for the meeting, but it was hard to stifle in silence the emotions that agitated our breasts. Do you not know your friend? said my father; at which she looked more earnestly at me. My eyes could dissemble no longer; starting tears resumed their wonted course! She hastily clasped me in her arms, and, kissing the tears from my cheeks, cried, I know her! I know her! She im-
braced me some time without either of us being able to speak more! Every heart was sensibly affected and silence only expressed our feelings! At length breaking from me she imbraced Ferdino, and with a countenance that spoke more than her tongue could utter, welcomed us to our native land; and congratulated us on the happy prospect before us. You may easily guess at the manner in which we spent the day. Suffice it to say, our minds were so wholly engrossed that we knew no wish beyond our present enjoyment.
My father has experienced the
vanity of riches; the folly and absurdity of forcing a virtuous daughter to a union with one who is vicious, because he is wealthy; the worth of virtue, though possessed by one who is poor; and the necessity of improving time, in preparation for eternity.
The value, now, of life he knows,
The pleasure that from virtue flows;
And knows, of wealth, the snares:
With pity he the object views,
Who with too anxious grasp pursues,
The world’s perplexing cares.
Blest with content and ease, he lives;
Nor at the loss of riches grieves,
But counts them worthless toys:
Contented with his humble state,
He looks with pity on the great,
Nor envies them their joys.
Occasioned by reading an “Address to Youth,” by William Wolcott Esq.
Wolcott ’tis you, it is experienced age,
Who on life’s theatre have almost done,
Can shew to us, just entering on the stage,
The snares and follies that we ought to shun.
I give you thanks, who by experience taught,
Look back on life, and its entanglng cares;
This sea of life, with dangerous evils fraught
And kindly warn us of attending snares.
I see and mourn the follies of the age;
Youth, giddy youth, on pleasure strongly bent,
With heedless steps rush on, and thoughtless rage,
And ne’er look back to view the time mispent!
O youth, how soon those pleasures flee away!
Death nips our bloom, or age’s woes increase!
We sport awhile the morning of our day,
Then launch eternity’s unknown abyss.
Can it be wise? say, is it reason’s part,
To waste the precious prime kind Heaven doth give?
Let conscience speak; thus speaks she so the heart,
“They’re wise alone who for the future live.”
These are the evils which our peace destroy,
Language profane, black scandal ill report!
Can these delight? Can these afford us joy?
Can characters despoiled, be cause for sport?
Hail, sacred Friendship! Injured goddess, hail!
Thou sweetner of the social joys of life:
Inspire my breast; o’er envy’s rage prevail,
And calm the boisterous tide of hate and strife!
Ye who are parents, suffer from a youth
A short address, and ponder what I say:
I’ll dwell upon a melancholy truth,
And not unworthy of my humble lay.
Your task is hard, and great your duty is:
Shall I in this accuse you of neglect!
Would I could not! but pardon me in this,
And on the subject seriously reflect.
Your task is hard indeed; nor can it be,
To its full extent done, in each respect;
But who, (forgive my rashness) who is he,
Can say he’s guilty of no known neglect?
Though at creation we derive the seeds
Of sin and guilt, whence all our evils flow;
From vicious parents, children catch their deeds,
And, once indulged, more vicious still they grow.
I’ve seen an evil which to sorrow tends;
A parent vainly swear, or idly game;
While the young offspring by him listening stands,
And learns his manners as he learns his name!
Are such examples fitting for a youth?
Or worthy of the dignity of man?
No—Boldly I’ll assert the words of truth,
Nor fear the worthless censures of the vain.
So pass my days!—How swift they fly?
And I no more prepared to die!
How vainly do I spend my youthful breath!
The constant moon and steady sun,
Mark out my moments as they run,
And haste me onward to the shades of death!
In death’s dark cavern I must lie,
Unseen by any mortal eye,
A feast for gnawing and devouring worms!
Why should I love this flesh so well,
Since with vile worms it soon must dwell,
Forgetful of the world and all its charms!
’Tis good, my soul to meditate,
On hastening death ere ’tis too late;
Cast back a glance; survey the time that’s o’er—
Then forward look—This life how short!
Why should I waste it all in sport?
Flee worldly charms and tempt my soul no more!
Soon may the final summons come,
And summon me to my long home;
There bind me fast in the cold silent grave!
I must resign all worldly charms,
To sleep in death’s cold icy arms,
No softer pillow than the earth to have!
There rot and moulder in the ground,
’Til the last trumpet’s solemn sound,
Awake the sleeping dust and raise the clay:
Then must this frame again arise,
And judgment open on my eyes,
On the dread morning of that awful day!
When Christ in glorious splendor comes,
And opes the graves and cleaves the tombs,
And calls dead mortals from their dark retreat:
Then must I stand before his face,
With myriads of the human race,
All, all arraigned before his judgment seat!
O! to the sinner dreadful day,
When Christ his glory shall display,
And with tremendous voice shall loud proclaim,
“Begone ye sinners down to hell,
“In everlasting torments dwell,
“Where worms die not and quenchless is the flame!”
But to his saints thus mild replies,
With love and mercy in his eyes,
“Blest of my father come, enjoy your rest:
“For you I died, for you I bled,
“For you I slept among the dead,
“That you might live and be forever blest.”
Enraptured now with Heavenly flame,
They bless the Lord their Savior’s name,
And in sweet harmony unite their songs:
But inexpressible the woe,
Of those who to destruction go,
With flames and blasphemies upon their tongues!
But now return my vagrant muse,
These fleeting moments let us use,
In preparation for the last of days:
Perhaps to morrow God may send,
And bid grim death my moments end,
And I behold what now my muse surveys.
Who knows but he may send to day,
And call my soul from flesh away?
Some sudden stroke may close my mortal eyes!
Then why my soul thus long delay?
Youth is the time: improve the day:
Wake, wake my soul, immortal powers arise,
Jesus who sits enthroned in light,
Arrayed with power and armed with might,
To crush the rebel sinner down to dust;
Yet calls with wide extended arms,
To save the willing: “Leave those charms,
“Come unto me and I will give you rest.”
Great God accept my early cries,
And let my youthful prayers arise,
Up to thy throne and kind acceptance meet:
May holy love inspire my breast,
’Till in the silent grave I rest;
Then may my soul taste joys divinely sweet.
Lord, look with pity down,
Behold thy servant lie
Groveling in sin, and all forlorn,
And succour from on high.
Have I not vowed O LORD,
To walk in wisdom’s ways?
And yet I have despised thy word,
And have abused thy grace.
Have I not fought thy way,
And vowed to keep the road?
But soon I’ve wandered far astray!
And oft forgot my God!
Thine Holy day, O God,
Unheeded glides away;
My wandering tho’ts rove far abroad,
Regardless of the day!
The world enjoys my heart;
(Assist with love divine,)
It leaves thee but the lesser part,
Of what should all be thine.
Behold me here confined,
A prisoner to this earth;
When shall I lose this fettered mind,
And pass the Heavenly birth?
When will the time come on,
I shall from sin be free?
Lord, help me for my sins to mourn;
Have mercy, Lord, on me.
Or must I die in sin?
Must hell be my abode!
Doomed to endure eternal pain,
Far banished from my God!
I shudder at the thought!
Faith would the thought reprove;
Lord, help me, and may I be brought,
To taste immortal love.
All gracious God, look down,
With pity in thine eye;
For Jesus’ sake, thine own dear son,
Receive me when I die.
My eyes are now closing to rest,
My body must soon be removed,
And mouldering lie in dust,
No more to be envied or loved!
O happy, thrice happy exchange!
My Savior with eyes full of love,
Now beckons me—soon I shall range
The fields of bright glory above!
O! break of these fetters of clay!
I long to be freed from this load;
Lord Jesus, I mourn thy delay,
Impatient to be with my God.
Each moment seems lingering and slow,
While far from my home I must stay;
I long for those pleasures that flow
Unceasing in regions of day.
Ah! what is it drawing my breath,
And stealing my senses away?
O! tell me my soul, is it death,
Releasing thee kindly from clay?
Now mounting, I soon shall descry,
The regions of pleasure and love;
My spirit triumphing shall fly,
And dwell with my Savior above!
No more to be tempted by sin,
No longer by Satan be vexed;
My conscience is peaceful within,
And is by no passion perplexed.
Now speedily wafted on wing,
This world in a moment I leave!
“O death, where is now thy famed sting?”
“And where is thy vict’ry, O grave?”
O What is this rending my breath,
And wreaking my spirits away?
O! tell me my soul, is it death!
I must (tho’ reluctant) obey!
Grim death which I once did defy,
With horror now seizes my frame!
Now comes the sad moment to die,
And launch into torture and flame!
O! lengthen my dwelling with clay,
That I for my sins may lament!
Lord Jesus prolong thy delay,
And give me thy grace to repent!
Alas! ’tis in vain that I sue,
For favor or mercy at last!
Damnation is now my just due:
All hopes of forgiveness are past!
Unhappiest hour of my days!
But from it reprieved I can’t be!
Now past is the day of my grace;
What torments reserved are for me!
My conscience torments me within,
And ne’er will again be at peace!
Alas! the dire wages of sin;
But now I can have no release!
O! what would I give for the peace
The righteous enjoys in his death!
My woes shall begin when I cease
To draw the last heavings of breath!
Now launching, I soon shall be tost
To regions of endless despair!
And to the least hope shall be lost;
But wallow eternally there!
’Tis good to bear thy scourges, Lord,
And taste afflictions in my youth,
That I may learn to read thy word,
And to imbrace and love the truth.
Give me, O Lord, convenient food,
Nor let me live from trouble free;
But learn from thy chastising rod,
My whole dependance is on thee.
Keep me from folly, vice and pride,
And every sin that’s apt to swell;
Whilst in my youth be thou my guide,
And guard me from the snares of hell.
And if old age I live to see,
And helpless years wear out my days,
Forsake me not; nor may I thee,
But end my life in joy and praise.
May, 24th, 1789.
Or a Pindaric ODE, sacred to FRIENDSHIP
Friendship! I love the pleasing name!
Friendship inspires a sacred flame;
And may the darling flame my breast forever fire,
And in my bosom glow,
Nor cease to flow,
’Till damped by death and with my life expire.
Happy the persons who in younger years,
Prove to each other true and faithful friends,
Who firmly in the band of friendship bind,
By nature formed of one and gentlest mind,
And ’till their life’s remotest period ends,
Remain indissolubly joined:
The other’s woes each friendly bears;
With undivided shares
They mix their joys, and mingle all their cares
With minds unstained by fleshly lusts, and free
From rude irregularity:
Each to the other is a dearer self;
To whom this world unheeded glides away,
With all its boasted joys,
Deceitful vanities and toys,
Unenvied and unmourned for, all decay:
Who seek not treasures here, but view,
These fleeting joys, as but a painted shew:
More permanent and lasting they pursue:
Grasp not at shadows where no substance is
Nor act the part of fools,
To sell their deathless souls
For momentary joys,
Nor change immortal bliss
For transitory toys,
Nor rest their souls to hang on earthly pelf.
Whose tho’ts are bent on loftier themes to fear,
’Bove yon etherial azure height,
Beyond the stretch of human sight,
Divinely drawn, they brighter scenes explore.
Whose breasts possess no lewd desire,
But gently drawn by pure etherial fire,
Assist each other in the road,
To their eternal blest abode,
Where all their hopes are centered: thither they
Lead on their flight, and press their glorious way.
Not vainly caught in earth’s delusive snares,
they better know their souls’ affairs.
No empty painted bubbles lure their eyes,
Their treasures lie secure above the skies.
All happiness is theirs, to them tis given
(Thrice happy souls!) on earth t’enjoy a Heaven!
This is true friendship, this the happy state
And pious walk my soul desires;
With longing every pulse doth beat,
My restless heart doth burn with ardent fires.
Would kind propitious fate but lend,
To me a friend, a faithful friend,
True and sincere, on whom I might depend.
To whom I might right free,
Unbosom all my secret woes
And private schemes, and he to me
Unbosom his, nor fear (the worst of foes)
The hurtful lashing of the tatler’s tongue;
But on each other’s truth rely,
And all our happy hours employ
In friendship, love and unity;
And ’till dissolved by death, enjoy
Such friendship as the ingenious Watts once sung,
And mourned for past, when his de[a]r Gunsion lay
Sleeping in dust amongst the dead!
When death had stolen him from his longing arms away:
In doleful song did he lament
the hapless and untimely end
Of his dear, faithful and departed friend!
His dearer half and all his joys were fled!
Such friendship I would fain imbrace,
For in true friendship is much happiness.
But fate unkind, but seldom lends
To mortal men such faithful friends.
Nature saw fit to fix my station low,
And fortune courteth friends; but ne’er
Shall riches court my eyes;
The greedy search for treasure I despise,
But ever will I hold true friendship dear.
The rich possessor quits his pelf and dies,
Nor can they yield his fainting soul supplies.
True happiness doth not from riches flow;
But troubles do in them existance find;
They sink the soul in cares,
They keep it wavering ’twixt fresh hopes and fears,
And slavishly perplex the sensual mind.
Riches! what are they? clogs, a lagging load,
That hangs upon the soul and bears it down
To creep and grovel, fettered to the dust:
The soul unelevated cannot rise,
In search of treasure hid above the skies;
Restless and vain, with greedy passions vexed,
By wild desires e’er ruffled and perplexed.
In quest of earth, the soul neglects her God,
Prefering riches to that glorious crown,
That is reserved in Heaven for all the just.
There’s nought more pleasant to the sight
Than ’tis to see
Neighbors and brethren well agree,
In perfect peace and harmony unite.
True friendship, piety and virtue, come,
Ye names so lovely, names so blest,
Inspire my heart, inspire my breast,
And fire my soul with ardent love to God:
Ye guardians of the just, ye powers divine,
Let your protection round me shine;
Your influence round my path be shed:
Point out and lead me in the glorious road,
To my long, happy and immortal home.
Teach puerile ideas how to shoot,
Direct to form the first foundation plan,
W[he]reon to build the principles of man,
For every branch must issue from the root.
O may my every step be led,
In virtue’s path, in wisdom’s way;
May piety my walk direct,
And heaven my life from guilt protect,
Lest Satan tempt my fickle heart astray.
On a Yellow bird, which flew in at a school-room window, and was accidentally killed by the over-carefulness of several young Misses present.—At whose request these lines were composed, and to whom they are addressed. August, 1793.
Unhappy bird! unlucky fate!
That took thy little life away!
And left to mourn thy hapless mate,
Bereft of half its life in thee!
Could beauteous plumes thy life defend,
Thou hadst not met this hapless end.
In innocence thy life was spent;
In harmless sports from spray to spray;
But death, which nothing can prevent,
Soon took thy harmless life away!
Could innocence preserve thy breath,
Thou hadst not met this hapless death!
Ye blooming fair, who fondly gaze,
And with regret this victim view;
Death in a thousand different ways,
This warning lesson speaks to you,
“Nor Youth nor beauty can defend,
“But mortal life must have an end.”
This harmless bird, how blest in life?
In jocund mirth its hours were past;
It had no cares, it knew no strife,
Nor tho’t that death must come at last!
Could sprightliness preserve its breath,
It had not met this hapless death.
True picture of a harmless youth,
Who tho’tless sports its hours away,
Nor thinks of this eternal truth,
Its mortal form must sleep in clay.
Nor youth nor beauty can defend,
But mortal life must have an end.
Its death a moral lesson gives;
To you, dear youth, a warning call;
Wisely improve your precious lives,
On which hangs your eternal all:
No caution can preserve your breath,
Then be prepared for instant death.