1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John F. M. Dovaston

John Hamilton Reynolds, "Ode to Friendship. Inscribed to J. F. M. Dovaston" Gentleman's Magazine 82 (October 1812) 366.



Friendship was giv'n to mortals from above,
Friendship, sweet soother of the mind!
Possessor of the pow'r
Hearts in social ties to bind,
And brighten Life's short hour;
To thee, the fair attendant upon love,
Let every one some off'ring bring,
The Poet should thy praises sing,
For thou canst shorten sorrow's span,
Raise hope to cheer,
And banish fear,
Thy power's divine and heavenly in man.

The poor, the great, the cowardly, the brave,
All that have ever trod the human way,
Have own'd that thou couldst lend a cheering ray:
The rugged path is smooth'd by thee,
The burthen'd wretches are set free,
The mind is clear'd,
The heart is cheer'd,
And melancholy turns to glee:
The dying man, whose breath hangs trembling on,
Ready at ev'ry motion to be gone;
Feels happy, when he sees that thou art by,
And welcomes Death with one last long-drawn sigh.

No cheerful scene
Is half so happy, half so full of glee,
As when the festive spot is bless'd with thee;
On the smooth green
Whose grassy turf is press'd by airy feet,
What time the sun has lost his burning heat,
Thy fairy form is seen;
The gentle youth and modest maid
May boast with truth thy generous aid;
They may bless thee,
And caress thee,
Thy memory with them can never fade;
For 'twas thy light, which beauteous shone,
That did their hearts discover;
A flame appear'd, thy light was gone,
The Friend became the Lover.

Since then, oh Friendship! thy seraphic breath
Can sweeten life, and calm the pangs of death;
Since to thee belongs the fame
Of kindling the lover's flame;
Who could not court thee, to lessen sorrow's sway,
For in thy varied train
Laughter treads along, with wrinkled cheek,
And Joy, too full of ecstasy to speak,
Content, sweet foe to pain;
And Health with thee her blooming visage rears,
Love, in thy sight, forgets her anxious fears,
For thee, e'en Melancholy smiles in tears,
And like the sun through show'rs, emits a liquid ray.
Lambeth, Sept. 17.