1755 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Richardson

Hester Mulso Chapone, "To Health" 1755 ca; Chapone, Works (1807) 4:152-54.



O Health! thou friend of Nature! Goddess blythe,
That oft upon the Uplands bleak art seen,
Printing with nimble step the dewy green.
To help the early mower with his scythe,
Or with the jocund swain partake the toil
To press the plough, and break the stubborn soil;

Ah, wherefore dost thou fly me, nymph divine!
With youth and Innocence thou lov'st to dwell,
And gentle Peace, soft whisp'ring, "all is well!"
Youth, Innocence, and gentle Peace are mine;
Nor sacred Friendship to my heart denies
Her richest treasures, and her sweetest joys.

No bois'trous passion shook my troubled frame,
To fright thee from my breast, nor pining Care,
Nor rankling Envy ever fester'd there,
Nor did Intemp'rance e'er my blood inflame;
And Grief, tho' long a inmate of my mind,
To Hope and Cheerfulness her place resign'd.

O Health, thy Napier calls, well-skill'd to save,
Foe of thy foes, and friend of human race,
Whose potent hand the tyrant Pain can chase,
And pale Disease, that points an op'ning grave;
Nor thou, ungrateful, can'st to him deny,
Thy glad return, fresh source of springing joy!

Without thee, Virtue's self forgets to smile,
And suff'ring saints with heav'n in view complain;
Philosophy, and Stoic pride how vain,
To stifle anguish, or the sense beguile!
Yet thou art often the good unkind,
Like Fortune partial, and to merit blind.

Hast thou not left a Richardson unblest?
He woos thee still in vain, relentless maid!
Tho' skill'd in sweetest accents to persuade,
And wake soft Pity in a savage breast.
Him Virtue loves, and brightest Fame is his,
Smile thou too, Goddess, and complete his bliss.

But if regardless thou can'st hear him sigh,
Shall I not silence my presumptuous plea!
To him obdurate, wilt thou yield to me?
Ah no! — to thee, mild Patience, I'll apply,
Affliction's nurse! hear thou my humbler pray'r,
And teach, the ills I may not shun, to bear!