Six irregular Spenserians (ababcC). The theme of time and the moralizing sentiments may have suggested the use of a Spenserian stanza. John Puddicombe's lines are rather out of the ordinary for the Morning Herald, whose fourth page was usually devoted to much lighter fare. Puddicombe published another poem in the same stanza in July 1783, as well as several verse pamplets and a volume of sermons.
Puddicombe, an ambitious lyric poet, began publishing at the young age of sixteen, including an "Ode for his Majesty's Birth-Day; by J. Newell Puddicombe, a Youth of Lyme-Regis, Dorset" that appeared in the Saint James's Chronicle for 9 June 1774.
Relentless Time, for ever on the wing,
That, like th' insidious Parthian, in thy flight,
Dost at the bleeding hearts of mortals fling
Dart after dart, too sure, alas! to smite;
Oh! swift as winds amidst their swiftest course,
Swift as the shaft that's hurl'd with more than mortal force!
Too well thy frauds I know — too deeply feel
Those pangs which soon or late are felt by all.
But, why of Time complain? — My heart, be still;
On me, me only, the reproach should fall.
Nature cloath'd Time with wings, nor cloath'd in vain:
Shall he, fond man, for thee his rapid course restrain?
To thee, too nature prov'd supremely kind;
She plac'd thy feet in reason's sacred way,
And chear'd the dark recesses of thy mind
With intellectual light, whose friendly ray
Might teach thee what to fly from, what to love,
Point to pure bliss below, and purer joys above.
But ah! this kindness how have I misus'd!
I scorn'd the aid of this celestial light;
That flowery path I ought to have refus'd,
I blindly chose; and straight eternal night
O'ercast that dawn of bliss, but late so fair,
Black phantoms rising now, shame, anguish, and despair!
What then for me remains? — Attend, be wise;
Turn, turn thy view, too long to earth deprest,
To those bright realms beyond thy kindred skies,
Where smiles the mourner, and the weary rest!
Steer thy frail bark for that auspicious shore,
Where never winds assail, nor furious tempests roar.
O Laura, Laura! round my aching heart,
How does thy dear, thy charming image twine!
How shall my soul from its lov'd idol part?
Ah! how its heavenly treasure e'er resign?
Fain would I from my endless cares be free;
Fain would I bid adieu to all but love and thee!