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THE DESCENT OF PITY.

20TH NOVEMBER, 1781.

1 WHEN every ill devolv'd on man,
2 And fair Pandora's race began,
3 The Deities, who had before
4 Set foot on this terrestrial shore,
5 Now sought with haste their old abodes,
6 And only dwelt among the gods;
7 Hope, too, had sought her native sky,
8 Her pinions stretch'd and wav'd to fly,
9 But that soft Pity saw her move,
10 And thus address'd almighty Jove:
11 "Great father, see! if Hope should fly,
12 Then let the race of mortals die;
13 And yet their spark of heavenly flame
14 Some kind attention sure may claim;
15 And sweet Pandora, form'd so fair,
16 Though doom'd the ills of life to bear,
17 Should know at least both good and ill
18 When bent beneath thy sovereign will!"
19 Jove look'd from high, and in a shade
20 Of thickest cypress saw her laid;
21 Despair her tender bosom tore,
22 And Man avenging javelins bore,
23 Sharpen'd with taunts of every kind
24 That poison of a generous mind;
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25 The venom spreads, the fever burns,
26 And Man and Fear torment by turns.
27 That person which the Graces bent,
28 The bloom which lovely Beauty lent,
29 The stately air that Juno gave,
30 At Man's approach all take their leave;
31 Back to the sky they all return,
32 And Woman prays she'd ne'er been born.
33 Jove saw the scene, then to the fair,
34 Whose eye let fall a sacred tear;
35 "Haste, gentle daughter, quickly fly,
36 Nor suffer Hope to reach the sky;
37 If she should quit yon blighted bower,
38 Despair will all the race devour.
39 And since thou deign'st thyself to go
40 To visit all the haunts of woe,
41 Where misery lays her aching head,
42 Be thou th' attendant on her bed;
43 And every want do thou supply,
44 Nor fear infection in her sigh;
45 Still to her ear do thou afford
46 The softest, soothing, balmy word;
47 And every tale that Spleen shall spread,
48 Do thou waive past the mourner's head.
49 Though art and nature mayn't suffice,
50 Bear cordials in thy hands and eyes,
51 And every means of fondness try
52 To cure the grief-distreaming eye;
53 So shall the ills the box contain'd
54 Which Ether and the World profan'd
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55 No lasting woe to mortals give,
56 Nor Malice see thy face and live.
57 Malice! the worst of all the crew
58 Which from the fatal casket flew;
59 That pestilence that reigns below!
60 That plague! which, in her whispers low,
61 From ear to ear in secret flies,
62 And poison'd reputation dies;
63 Nor can the bless'd the pure of heart,
64 Escape her dark envenom'd dart!"

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): THE DESCENT OF PITY. 20TH NOVEMBER, 1781.
Themes:
Genres: narrative verse

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Source edition

The Poetical Works of Miss Susanna Blamire “The muse of Cumberland.” Now for the first time collected by Henry Lonsdale, M.D. with a preface, memoir, and notes by Patrick Maxwell, ... Edinburgh: John Menzies, 61 Princes Street; R. Tyas, London; D. Robertson, Glasgow; and C. Thurnam, Carlisle. MDCCCXLII., 1842, pp. 159-161. 

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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 Susanna Blamire