1808 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Rushton

Mary Leadbeater, "To Edward Rushton, of Liverpool: on the Recovery of his Sight" in Leadbeater, Poems (1808) 395-96.



Welcome, to light restor'd, sweet bard!
To faith and patience, deeply tried,
To fortitude, the rich reward
Unerring Heav'n has now supplied.

Thy smile fair Nature's smile shall meet,
While glancing round thy raptur'd gaze,
Her well-remember'd charms shall greet,
The theme so frequent of thy lays.

And thou shalt see the blushing dawn
Bright o'er the swelling hills arise;
And thou shalt see the dewy lawn,
Where ev'ning paints the western skies.

And thou shalt see the Mersey's tide
Through fertile vallies gently stray;
And thou shalt see the ocean wide
The wealth of other realms convey.

Thou seest, while joy thrills through thy veins,
Thy gratulating friends draw nigh;
And what the modest tongue restrains
Shall glisten in the speaking eye.

And thou shalt dwell upon her face,
Whose love has cheer'd thy years of pain;
Thy children's op'ning beauties trace;
And tears shall dim thine eyes again.

It was at Pity's sacred shrine
The costly sacrifice was made;
Thy precious sight, the spark divine,
Quench'd, while thou lent the wretched aid.

But now the film is drawn aside;
Thy heart's fond prayer is granted thee:
Then bless the light, so long denied,
For thou behold'st the negro free!

EDWARD RUSHTON, after having been for more than thirty years excluded from a glimpse of the world, has been, by a successful operation, restored to his sight, which he lost in his youth; when, being on board a Guinea ship, an infectious disorder broke out amongst the Negroes, to whose relief no one would venture but himself. In consequence of this act of humanity, he was seized with an inflammation in his eye, which terminated in blindness.