1 REAS'NING at every step he treads,
2 Man yet mistakes his way,
3 While meaner things whom instinct leads
4 Are rarely known to stray.
5 One silent eve I wander'd late,
6 And heard the voice of love,
7 The turtle thus address'd her mate,
8 And sooth'd the list'ning dove.
[Page 300]
9 Our mutual bond of faith and truth,
10 No time shall disengage,
11 Those blessings of our early youth,
12 Shall cheer our latest age.
13 While innocence without disguise,
14 And constancy sincere,
15 Shall fill the circles of those eyes,
16 And mine can read them there,
17 Those ills that wait on all below,
18 Shall ne'er be felt by me,
19 Or gently felt, and only so,
20 As being shared with thee.
21 When light'nings flash among the trees,
22 Or kites are hov'ring near,
23 I fear lest thee alone they seize,
24 And know no other fear.
[Page 301]
25 'Tis then I feel myself a wife,
26 And press thy wedded side,
27 Resolv'd an union form'd for life,
28 Death never shall divide.
29 But oh! if fickle and unchaste
30 (Forgive a transient thought)
31 Thou couldst become unkind at last,
32 And scorn thy present lot,
33 No need of light'nings from on high,
34 Or kites with cruel beak,
35 Denied th' endearments of thine eye
36 This widow'd heart would break.
37 Thus sang the sweet sequester'd bird
38 Soft as the passing wind,
39 And I recorded what I heard,
40 A lesson for mankind.


  • TEI/XML [chunk] (XML - 23K / ZIP - 3.6K) / ECPA schema (RNC - 357K / ZIP - 73K)
  • Plain text [excluding paratexts] (TXT - 1.3K / ZIP - 930 )

About this text

Title (in Source Edition): THE DOVES.
Themes: philosophical enquiry; virtue; vice
Genres: advice

Text view / Document view

Source edition

Poems: by William Cowper, of the Inner Temple, Esq. London: printed for J. Johnson, 1782, pp. []-301. [4],367,[1]p. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T14895; OTA K027775.000)

Editorial principles

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 William Cowper