Eight quatrains in the anapestic quatrains of William Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad, signed "Joseph Cottle." The poem is neither a ballad nor a pastoral; rather Cottle adopts the anapestic meter for his lyric ode to Affection because affection had been the implicit theme in so many of the earlier poems in a series oozing theatrical sentimentality. The year before this poem appeared in the Morning Chronicle Cottle had published Wordsworth's and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads.
Samuel Austin Allibone: "Well had it been for Byron had he been as good a man as 'Boetian Cottle.' He may have been a bad poet, but he was — that rarer character — a good friend. To both Coleridge and Southey he extended the hand of kindness, when kindness was most needed" Critical Dictionary of English Literature (1858-71; 1882) 1:433.
Let the Great Man, his treasures possessing,
Pomp and Splendour for ever attend:
I prize not the SHADOWY Blessing;
I ask — THE AFFECTIONATE FRIEND!
Tho' Foibles may sometimes o'ertake him,
His Footsteps from Wisdom depart;
Yet my Spirit shall never forsake him,
If he own THE AFFECTIONATE HEART!
AFFECTION, thou Soother of Care,
Without the unfriended we rove;
Thou canst make e'en the Desert look fair—
And thy voice is the Voice of the Dove!
'Mid the Anguish that preys on the Breast
And the Storms of Mortality's state,
What shall lull the Afflicted to rest,
But the joys that on Sympathy wait?
What is FAME, bidding ENVY defiance?—
The Idol and Bane of Mankind!
What is Wit, what is Learning or Science,
To the Heart that is STEADFAST and KIND!
Even GENIUS may weary the sight
By too fierce and too constant a blaze:
But AFFECTION (mild Planet of Night!)
Grows LOVELIER the longer we gaze!
It shall thrive when the flattering forms
That encircle Creation decay;
It shall live 'mid the wide-wasting Storms
That bear all undistinguished away!
When TIME, at the end of his race,
Shall expire with expiring Mankind,
It shall stand on its permanent base—
It shall last till THE WRECK OF THE MIND!