"Stanzas to a Friend. " by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)
AH ! think no more that Life's delusive joys,
Can charm my thoughts from FRIENDSHIP'S dearer claim;
Or wound a heart, that scarce a wish employs,
For age to censure, or discretion blame.
Tir'd of the world, my weary mind recoils
From splendid scenes, and transitory joys;
From fell Ambition's false and fruitless toils,
From hope that flatters, and from bliss that cloys.
With THEE, above the taunts of empty pride,
The rigid frowns to youthful error given;
Content in solitude my griefs I'll hide,
Thy voice my counsellor–thy smiles my Heaven.
With thee I'll hail the morn's returning ray,
Or climb the dewy mountain bleak and cold;
On the smooth lake observe the sun-beams play,
Or mark the infant flow'rs their buds unfold.
Pleas'd will I watch the glitt'ring queen of Night
Spread her white mantle o'er the face of Heaven;
And from thy converse snatch the pure delight,
By truth sublime to MENTAL feeling given.
And as the varying seasons glide away,
This moral lesson shall my bosom learn,
How TIME steals on, while blissful hours decay
Like fleeting shadows;–NEVER to return.
And when I see thy warm unspotted mind,
Torn with the wound of broken FRIENDSHIP'S dart;
When sickness chills thy breast with pangs unkind,
Or ruthless sorrow preys upon thy heart;
The task be MINE to soothe thee to repose,
To check the sigh, and wipe the trickling tear,
Or with soft SYMPATHY to share thy woes;
O, proudest rapture of the soul sincere !
And ye who flutter thro' the vacant hour,
Where tasteless Apathy's empoison'd wand
Arrests the vagrant sense with numbing pow'r,
While vanquish'd REASON bows at her command.
O say, what bliss can transient Life bestow,
What balm so grateful to the social mind,
As FRIENDSHIP'S voice–where gentle precepts flow
From the blest source of sentiment refin'd ?
When FATE'S stern hand shall close my weeping eye,
And seal, at length, my wand'ring spirit's doom;
Oh! may kind FRIENDSHIP catch my parting sigh,
And cheer with HOPE the terrors of the TOMB.