1790
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Invocation to Sympathy.

Gentleman's Magazine 61 (March 1791) 260-61.

T. L-d


An allegorical ode in the measure of Milton's L'Allegro, signed "T. L—d, July 5, 1790." The Invocation, recalling the more common odes to Melancholy, catalogues the scenes and qualities associated with this more social passion: "Then, lovely Nymph, so fair, so soft, | Do thou my feelings lift aloft; | And when I view pale Sorrow's face, | And all the pangs of anguish trace, | To me with beaming beauty haste, | And let my soul thy influence taste."



Celestial Sympathy divine!
Do thou illumine every line;
Teach me to feel another's woe;
And bid my verse with thee to glow.
Let thy soul-soft'ning, pleasing pow'r,
Beguile each lonely, lingering hour;
Oh, let me know thy form serene,
For all enchanting is thy mien.
Thy lovely influence impart,
To soften, to subdue my heart.
Oh! if my wandering footsteps stray,
Where Misery holds her hateful sway,
Where Sorrow's saddening scenes surround,
That place where Penury is found;
Where loving parents, sunk with Care,
In all the sadness of Despair,
To Heaven with supplications pray,
"O give my children bread to-day!"
Where the fond mother, woe-deprest,
Seems hastening to the realms of rest,
While round her helpless infants cry,
And view their much-lov'd parent die;
Teach me such miseries to relieve,
And health and peace to such retrieve.

When Sympathy exalts the mind,
Our sentiments e'er seem refin'd;
It softens, melts, expands our hearts,
And every finer sense imparts.

Often at eve's cool hour I stray,
And listen to Philomel's lay;
And then bemuse a limpid rill,
While all around is hush'd and still,
Attend, delighted, to her song,
Which sounds the wood-land green along:
Her plaintive notes enchant my ear,
And from my eyes draw forth a tear.
But oh! 'tis by thy pleasing aid,
Soft Sympathy, enchanting maid!—
Then, lovely Nymph, so fair, so soft,
Do thou my feelings lift aloft;
And when I view pale Sorrow's face,
And all the pangs of anguish trace,
To me with beaming beauty haste,
And let my soul thy influence taste.

[pp. 260-61]