With kindness bless the present hour,

Or oh ! we meet in vain!
What can we do in absence more

Than suffer and complain?

Fated to ills beyond redress,

We must endure our woe;
The days allowed us to possess,

'Tis madness to forego.


Would my Delia know if I love, let her take

My last thought at night, and the first when I wake;

With my prayers and best wishes preferred for her sake.

Let her guess what I muse on, when rambling alone
I stride o'er the stubble each day with my gun,
Never ready to shoot till the covey is flown.

Let her think what odd whimsies I have in my brain,
When I read one page over and over again,
And discover at last that I read it in vain.

Let her say why so fixed and so steady my look,
Without ever regarding the person who spoke,
Still affecting to laugh, without hearing the joke.

Or why when with pleasure her praises I hear,
(That sweetest of melody sure to my ear),
! attend, and at once inattentive appear.

And lastly, when summoned to drink to my flame,
Let her guess why I never once mention her name,
Though herself and the woman I love are the same.

See where the Thames, the purest stream
That wavers to the noon-day beam,

Divides the vale below;
While like a vein of liquid ore
His waves enrich the happy shore,

Still shining as they flow.

Nor yet, my Delia, to the main
Runs the sweet tide without a stain_

Unsullied as it seems;
The nymphs of many a sable flood
Deform with streaks of oozy mud

The bosom of the Thames.

Some idle rivulets, that feed
And suckle every noisome weed,
A sandy bottom boast;

For ever bright, for ever clear,

The trifling shallow rills appear

In their own channel lost.

Thus fares it with the human soul,
Where copious floods of passion roll,

By genuine love supplied;
Fair in itself the current shows,
Hut ah! a thousand anxious woes

Pollute the noble tide.

These are emotions known to few;
For where at most a vapoury dew

Surrounds the tranquil heart,
Then as the triflers never prove
The glad excess of real love,

They never prove the smart.

O then my life, at last relent!
Though cruel the reproach I sent,

My sorrow was unfeigned:
Your passion, had I loved you not,
You might have scorned, renounced, forgot,

And l had ne'er complamed.

While you indulge a groundless fear,
The imaginary woes you bear

Are real woes to me:
But thou art kind, and good thou art,
Nor wilt, by wronging thine own heart,

Unjustly punish me.

How blessed the youth whom fate ordains
A kind relief from all his pains,

In some admired fair;
Whose tenderest wishes find expressed
Their own resemblance in her breast,

Kxactly copied there!

What good soe'er the gods dispense,
The enjoyment of its influence

Still on her love depends;
Her love the shield that guards his heart,
Or wards the blow, or blunts the dart

That peevish fortune sends.

Thus, Delia, while thy love endures,
The flame my happy breast secures

From fortune's fickle power;
Change as she list, she may increase,
Hut not abate my happiness,

Confirmed by thee before.

Thus while I share her smiles with thee,
Welcome, my love, shall ever be
The favours she bestows;

Yet not on those I found my bliss,
But in the noble ecstasies
The faithful bosom knows.

And when she prunes her wings for flight,
And flutters nimbly from my sight,

Contented I resign
Whate'er she gave; thy love alone
I can securely call my own,

Happy while that is mine.


Bid adieu, my sad heart, bid adieu to thy peace!
Thy pleasure is past, and thy sorrows increase;
See the shadows of evening how far they extend,
And a long night is coming, that never may end;
For the sun is now set that enlivened the scene,
And an age must be past ere it rises again.

Already deprived of its splendour and heat,
I feel thee more slowly, more heavily beat;
Perhaps overstrained with the quick pulse of pleasure,
Thou art glad of this respite to beat at thy leisure;
But the sigh of distress shall now weary thee more
Than the flutter and tumult of passion before.

The heart of a lover is never at rest,

With joy overwhelmed, or with sorrow oppressed:

When Delia is near, all is ecstasy then,

And I even forget I must lose her again:

When absent, as wretched as happy before,

Despairing I cry, I shall see her no more!


How quick the change from joy to woe!
How chequered is our lot below!
Seldom we view the prospect fair,
Dark clouds of sorrow, pain, and care,
(Some pleasing intervals between),
Scowl over more than half the scene.
Last week with Delia, gentle maid,
Far hence in happier fields I strayed.
While on her dear enchanting tongue
Soft sounds of grateful welcome hung,
For absence had withheld it long.
"Welcome, my long-lost love, she said,
E'er since our adverse fates decreed
That we must part, and I must mourn
Till once more blessed by thy return,

Love, on whose influence I relied
For all the transports I enjoyed,
Has played the cruel tyrant's part
And turned tormentor to my heart.
But let me hold thee to my breast,
Dear partner of my joy and rest,
And not a pain, and not a fear,
Or anxious doubt, shall enter there."
Happy, thought I, the favoured youth,
Blessed with such undissembled truth !—
Five suns successive rose and set,
And saw no monarch in his state,
Wrapped in the blaze of majesty,
So free from every care as I.—
Next day the scene was overcast;
Such day till then I never passed,—
For on that day, relentless fate!
Delia and I must separate.
Yet ere we looked our last farewell,
From her dear lips this comfort fell: —
"Fear not that time, where'er we rove,
Or absence, shall abate my love."
And can I doubt, my charming maid,
As unsincere what you have said?
Banished from thee to what I hate,
Dull neighbours and insipid chat,
No joy to cheer me, none in view,
But the dear hope of meeting you;
And that through passion's optic seen,
With ages interposed between ;—
Blessed with the kind support you give,
'Tis by your promised truth I live;
How deep my woes, how fierce my flame,
You best may tell, who feel the same.


A H! wherefore should my weeping maid suppress Those gentle signs of undissembled woe?

When from soft love proceeds the deep distress, Ah! why forbid the willing tears to flow?

Since for my sake each dear translucent drop
Breaks forth, best witness of thy truth sincere,

My lips should drink the precious mixture up,
And, ere it falls, receive the trembling tear.

Trust me, these symptoms of thy faithful heart,
In absence shall my dearest hope sustain,

Delia ! since such thy sorrow that we part,
Such when we meet thy joy shall be again.

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Hard is that heart and unsubdued by love
That feels no pam, nor ever heaves a sigh;

Such hearts the fiercest passions only prove,
Or freeze in cold insensibility.

Oh! then indulge thy grief, nor fear to tell
The gentle source from whence thy sorrows flow;

Nor think it weakness when we love to feel,
Nor think it weakness what we feel to show.

Hope, like the short-lived ray that gleams awhile
Through wintry skies, upon the frozen waste,

Cheers e'en the face of misery to a smile;
But soon the momentary pleasure's past.

How oft, my Delia, since our last farewell,
(Years that have rolled since that distressful hour),

Grieved I have said, when most our hopes prevail,
Our promised happiness is least secure.

Oft I have thought the scene of troubles closed,
And hoped once more to gaze upon your charms;

As oft some dire mischance has interposed,

And snatched the expected blessing from my arms.

The seaman thus, his shattered vessel lost,

Still vainly strives to shun the threatening death;

And while he thinks to gain the friendly coast,
And drops his feet, and feels the sands beneath,

Borne by the wave steep-sloping from the shore,
Back to the inclement deep, again he beats

The surge aside, and seems to tread secure;
And now the refluent wave his baffled toil defeats.

Had you, my love, forbade me to pursue
My fond attempt, disdainfully retired,

And with proud scorn compelled me to subdue
The ill-fated passion by yourself inspired;

Then haply to some distant spot removed,
Hopeless to gain, unwilling to molest

With fond entreaties whom I dearly loved,
Despair or absence had redeemed my rest.

But now, sole partner in my Delia's heart,
Yet doomed far off in exile to complain,

Eternal absence cannot ease my smart,

And hope subsists but to prolong my pain.

Oh, then, kind Heaven, be this my latest breath!

Here end my life, or make it worth my care;
Absence from whom we love is worse than death,

And frustrate hope severer than dismay.

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