[Page 86]

A BALLAD

OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.

We speak
......... "of one whose hand,
" Like the base indian, throws a pearl away, richer than all his tribe. "
SHAKESPEAR.
1 'TWAS at the time the moon's broad shield
2 Shone 'midst the vaulted skies,
3 While trembling round, in regal state,
4 The starry myriads rise.
5 Her pale beams silver'd o'er the gate
6 Where sculptur'd frenzy glares,
7 And moping melancholy scowls
8 Upon a world of cares.
9 From these dark cells, where horror reigns,
10 And wild distraction bides,
[Page 87]
11 A hapless maniac burst her chains,
12 And through the portal glides.
13 Onward she press'd, with eager haste,
14 So swift she seem'd to fly,
15 One object fill'd her troubled breast,
16 And fix'd her wand'ring eye.
17 Loose flow'd her robes, and on her breast
18 Chill fell the ev'ning dew;
19 She felt it not: cold blew the blast,
20 The blast unheeded blew.
21 Forward she press'd, with eager haste
22 The well known mansion sought,
23 Where pass'd in youth those happier days,
24 Which still return'd in thought.
25 Through lighted halls of gay resort,
26 And trim domestic bands,
27 She pass'd resistless, and at once
28 Before the banquet stands.
[Page 88]
29 O most unlook'd-for at that board,
30 And most unwelcome guest;
31 Cold is for thee the marble heart,
32 Which robb'd thee of thy rest.
33 Appall'd he view'd her alter'd form,
34 And met her vacant eye;
35 The blood forsook his conscious cheek,
36 And nature forc'd a sigh.
37 With the wild glance of keen despair
38 She ey'd the shining train,
39 Of lords, and knights, and ladies fair,
40 Who silent all remain.
41 Then recollecting, quick she cried,
42 "Why was I hence convey'd,
43 By fiends accurst, to darkness drear,
44 And thou deniest me aid?
45 "Where are my children? are they near?
46 O bring them to my sight!
[Page 89]
47 Alas! I rave; banish'd they fled;
48 Like me forgotten quite.
49 "I burn, I burn! a wheel of fire
50 Whirls round my tortur'd brain:
51 They come; they tear them from my arms,
52 And I resist in vain.
53 "Ah! see they weep; I cannot weep!
54 Frown not, nor look unkind;
55 That gentle pity sheds her balm
56 To sooth my troubled mind.
57 "Fair blooms thy bride in pride of youth;
58 But will she love like me?
59 The holy knot is often tied,
60 And yet the heart is free.
61 "Were not ambition, wealth, and show,
62 The aim of her desires?
63 Is it from youth declining age
64 Can hope for mutual fires?
[Page 90]
65 "For me, I lov'd thee more than life,
66 My children, or my fame;
67 Nor seiz'd a shelter from disgrace,
68 Beneath thy offer'd name.
69 "But, hark! methinks a distant bell
70 Low warns me to attend,
71 Where the last gleam of parting hope
72 Marks out a kinder friend.
73 "Death is the friend I go to meet,
74 And from his bounty crave
75 All that can now remain for me,
76 An undistinguish'd grave."
77 She stopt, scream'd wild; with frantic laugh
78 She darted to the door,
79 And, in the passing of a thought,
80 Fled, to return no more.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): A BALLAD OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Themes:
Genres: song

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Source edition

Poems, by Mrs. John Hunter. London: Printed for T. Payne, Mews Gate, by T. Bensley, Bolt Court, Fleet Street, 1802, pp. 86-90. 

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.

Other works by Anne Hunter (née Home)