1756 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Susanna Duncombe

Bonnell Thornton, "To the Same" 1755; Nichols, Select Collection of Poems (1780-82) 7:318-20.



Nor soft complaint, nor heaving sigh,
Can give this labouring breast relief;
Nor tear oft starting from the eye—
Vain pageantry of grief!

Too deep the wound, too keen the smart;
It Nature's usual aid denies:
Still as the blood wells from the heart,
Your image still fresh drops supplies.

Can Time, with slowly creeping pace,
That fatal image steal away?
So long as "Memory holds a place
In this frail globe," 'twill ne'er decay.

Can Absence, in its duskiest cloud,
Fit veil for that lov'd image find?
Ah no! can local Absence shroud
What's ever present to the mind?

Can different forms within this breast
Such dear ideas raise anew?—
Vain hope! the fairest, loveliest, best,
Are faint resemblances of YOU.

Where shall I fly? what power address
To ease the poignant woes I prove?
Will Reason speak my soul to peace?
Ah! what is Reason's use in love?

Say, will the letter'd page supply
It's friendly, philosophic aid?
The letter'd page paints to my eye
In tints too strong the studious maid.

Will the dull commentator's lore
It's opiate to my thoughts dispense?
The contrast shews me, whilst I pore,
Your lively comments, sprightly sense.

Will Music sooth my troubled mind
(Which once sooth'd Saul's) with heavenly song?
Not all the powers of sound combin'd
Vie with the music of that tongue.

Shall I the Pencil's aid invoke,
The landscape's varied scene to trace?
This but recalls YOUR pencil's stroke,
Guided by Genius, Taste, and Grace.

Is there in Nature, or in Art,
No sovereign medicine, strong to heal?
No balsam powerful to impart
A cure to all the pangs I feel?

Let then RELIGION, heavenly guest!
A spirit pure in me renew,
And touch with hallow'd fire my breast;
For GOD alone succeeds to YOU!
1756.