TO COLONEL R—S.
1 ERE this can drown the tenderest husband's eyes,
2 And rend the fondest lover's heart with sighs,
3 No more shall those dear names my rapture move,
4 Low in the grave, and deaf to thee and Love.
5 Firm in thy country's cause, thy king's defence,
6 When Honour call'd thy patriot virtues hence;
7 The slow disease which tainted then my blood,
8 In vain by all the powers of art withstood,
9 Aided by grief more deadly, creeps at length
10 Thro' every vein, and undermines my strength.
11 Already Death hath summon'd me away,
12 And Love, fond Love, scarce gains an hour's delay,
13 Yet without dread Death's awful call I hear,
14 No dark presages chill my soul with fear,[Page 42]
15 No unrepented follies dread the grave,
16 And one short moment more, with anguish crave,
17 Prepar'd I'm call'd, from every terror free,
18 Save that for ever I must part from thee.
19 But when on thee my thoughts reflecting rove,
20 And all the pleasures of our virtuous love;
21 To think how blest we were, how soon must part,
22 One deep-felt pang would pierce the dullest heart;
23 To cast one longing, lingering look behind,
24 Can be no guilty weakness of the mind;
25 Methinks when heaven hath kindly blest us here,
26 Fond Love, at parting, sheds a pious tear.
27 Still with each comfort will I cheer my heart,
28 Resign'd to God, tho' trembling to depart.
29 Short is man's knowledge of a future state,
30 Perplex'd with doubts, and ignorant of fate;
31 This one important truth we only know.
32 Bliss waits the good, the bad, eternal woe.
33 But what those blessings, what those woes shall be,
34 Thro' Life's dull casement since no eye can see,
35 Let Fancy paint the raptures of the skies,
36 And scenes of visionary transport rise.
37 Still, as was ever here my fondest joy,
38 Let me for thee my every care employ;
39 Still let me serve, and tho' unseen, be near,
40 Not life itself imparts a charm more dear.
41 From every dangerous step those feet to guide,
42 Which here to follow was my virtuous pride;[Page 43]
43 When wrath provokes, or fortune proves unkind,
44 To lull the raging tumults of thy mind:
45 The sweets around of balmy sleep to shed,
46 When Sickness binds thee to her painful bed;
47 To guard thee safely thro' the dreadful day,
48 When Slaughter stalks from rank to rank for prey;
49 Still from thy breast to avert the death-fraught ball,
50 And bid th' uplifted weapon guiltless fall:
51 Still at thy side, as was my wish below,
52 Your Guardian-angel wheresoe'er you go.
53 With thoughts like these my drooping soul I warm,
54 Plume every hope, and every fear disarm.
55 But, ah! to think what thy fond heart must feel,
56 When first these lines the fatal news reveal,
57 What pangs of grief will rend thy gentle breast,
58 Sinks my sad soul, with pain and love opprest.
59 But let me from the tender theme refrain,
60 While every word but sharpens every pain;
61 For when the hand that wounds would heal the fore,
62 The generous heart will only bleed the more.
63 My latest breath for thee a prayer shall sigh,
64 If not deserted by myself, I die.
65 No more shall I thy much-lov'd face review;
66 Adieu, for ever, best of friends, adieu!
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Title (in Source Edition): TO COLONEL R—S.
References: DMI 32547
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