"To Miss E. F." by Jane Taylor (1783-1824)
HAIL, dearest Eliza! and hail to the morn
That smiled on your infantile charms:
Ah! were I not fettered at distance forlorn,
I would tell all my joy in your arms.
If, true to affection, some child of the grove
Would lend me her pinion awhile,
How gladly I'd fly, with the swiftness of love,
Exchanging my song for a smile!
Though if any mortal those heavenly things
With beings angelic might share,
Eliza had surely been furnished with wings,
To bear her light form on the air.
But seeing the Fates, to our friendship averse,
Such intercourse ever delay,
Permit me, my love, in affectionate verse,
To greet the return of the day.
And since I no train of kind genii can boast,
On errands of friendship to soar,
I send a rude sprite, in the form of the post,
To knock with my song at your door.
Accept then, my love, from my heart as they flow,
Of wishes the kindest and best;
For thousand sweet pleasures I fain would bestow,
To find an abode in your breast.
Yet what are the blessings that never have graced,
Eliza, thy favored abode?
Not virtue, or beauty, refinement, or taste,
No: these are already bestowed.
But sorrow too often that bosom invites
Which soonest and longest will bleed;
And sickness, the epicure, chiefly delights
On lilies and roses to feed.
Yet still she can smile and rejoice on her way!
Though sorrow and suffering begin;
They cause the fair casket to fade and decay,
But brighten the jewel within.
Till, freed from a dwelling of darkness and wo,
This gem from its prison shall rise,
All brilliant with glory for ever to glow,
A sun in unchangeable skies.
Then, might my dim star with a tremulous ray
Ascend to that heavenly sphere,
That friendship shall flourish which lightens the way
Of my wearisome pilgrimage here.
January 15, 1808.