1780 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Farewell to Affection.

Poetical Works of Miss Susanna Blamire "The Muse of Cumberland." Now for the first Time collected by Henry Lonsdale, M.A. With a Preface, Memoir, and Notes by Patrick Maxwell.

Susanna Blamire


In the first of a pair of imitations of Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso Susanna Blamire dismisses a painful affection: "Be thou my guest, Indifference fair, | Of blooming cheek, and tranquil air; | Of mien unalter'd, look the same, | Careless alike of praise or blame;— | Thou who no change of season knows, | No sudden gust of wintry woes, | No blast that rends the bosom's flower, | No cloud that streams in endless shower" p. 47.

Blamire's poems circulated in manuscript and were only published in 1842. Most, like this, are undated and may have been written at any time over a 25-year period. She wrote some poems in dialect, and was best known for her songs.



Go, soft Sensation, once so dear,
So long the much-lov'd ruler here;
Go, go, and leave this bosom free,
And take thy many a pang with thee;
Thy fears, that die of dreaded ill;
Thy softer griefs that slowly kill;
Thy anguish for another's woe;
Thy mingling tears, that silent flow;
Thy sighs, that linger oft on air,
And melt the softest zephyr there;
Thy little jealousies, that prove
Thy pride of heart, but most thy love;
That tenderness of soul, which knows
An endless world of fancied woes;
A thousand slights, a thousand pains,
That pierce at once the bleeding veins;
The feelings quick, that faint and start,
And haste their tremour to the heart;
With all the nameless fears that mourn
A love bestow'd without return!

Go, go; Indifference shall be mine,
That owns another soul than thine;
A cool composure gilds her day,
And smoothly wafts her hour away;
No fancied ills her joys molest,
In peaceful shade her feelings rest:
There her own poppy breathes around,
There blooms the rose that cannot wound.
No thorn that sheds the dewy tear,
Or plant of feeling wanders near;
Or blossom with her purple vein,
Or little fibre knowing pain;
For there soft Slumber chose her bower,
And woo'd her soporific flower,
Which gently lulls the power of sleep,
Or cools the eye of those that weep;
O'er all the senses sheds a charm,
And locks the mind from dread of harm:
Be thou my guest, Indifference fair,
Of blooming cheek, and tranquil air;
Of mien unalter'd, look the same,
Careless alike of praise or blame;—
Thou who no change of season knows,
No sudden gust of wintry woes,
No blast that rends the bosom's flower,
No cloud that streams in endless shower.
Thy blissful poppy still retains
The balsam-juice in all her veins;
In all her veins the essence flows
That bends the eyelids to their close;
And though her fringed head should droop,
As if from grief she'd caught the stoop,
Still into Morpheus' cup she'll pour
The drop of many a precious shower.

Yet stay, Affection; e'er we part,
For thou hast long liv'd in my heart,
Let me relate how oft I've found
In thy soft voice the softest sound,
As if sweet Harmony drew near
And pour'd her soul into my ear.
Persuasion came, with tuneful chords,
And drew a tone from weakest words;
E'en weakest words her notes can prove,
When wrapt in music sweetly move
In concert with her smile or sigh,
Or the full language of her eye;
That silent pathos who can bear,
Or speak the thoughts that tremble there!
'Twas then Illusion's ready hand
Now glaz'd the waters, deck'd the land;
Around the scene enchantment threw,
And turn'd to pearl the simple dew;
Touch'd every flower with magic charm,
And kept the bosom sweetly warm.
The eye o'er all Elysium roll'd—
'Twas streams of silver, rocks of gold—
And walks of happiness were seen
'Mong vocal bowers, and valleys green.
But, sweet deceiver! now 'tis o'er,
I look through thy soft eye no more;
No more, since sure thy pains were given
To draw us from a fancied heaven,
To tell us that all bliss below
Is ting'd with many a shade of woe.

And who can say, enchanting power!
How long shall last his brightest hour?
Thy coldness, like a vapour, streams,
And damps our joy's enlivening beams,
When once we give the generous heart,
Fore-doom'd to feel, to bear, and smart,
Yet find thy lovely form decay,
Thy best of features wear away,
Thy fondness drop by slow degrees,
Thy very life-blood coldly freeze,
Thy sweet attentions, one by one—
We know not why — yet see withdrawn;
The heart retires within her cave,
And, bleeding, asks an early grave!

Then go, Affection! I have found
Thou both canst give and heal the wound;
But waste not one more shaft on me,
Maybe I've no more charms for thee;
Round this bent form no graces twine
Their cheerful wreath for hearts like thine,
Restore mine once again to me,
And I am quit, and thou art free!

[pp. 46-47]