1824
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To Virtue.

The Pleasures of Piety, with other Poems. By Eleanor Dickinson.

Eleanor Dickinson


A allegorical ode in octosyllabic couplets, the companion poem to "Hypocrisy" which appears immediately preceding it: "Placed upon earth, to guard for heaven | The ray divine to mortals given, | Thou still art pointing to the sky | On wing extended, — back to fly | When the glad mandate bids thee soar | To gain thy native heights once more." The occasional poems in The Pleasures of Piety are printed with separate pagination. Among them is a poem "On the Burial Ground of the Society of Friends," also in octosyllabic couplets.



Virtue! how shall the muse pourtray
The beauties which thy charms display?
Thy lovely form, erect, and mild,
Proclaims thee heaven's own favoured child.
Thy meek benignity and grace,
The goodness beaming from thy face;
The sweet simplicity of soul,
Divinely breathing through the whole;
Speak to the heart, whene'er we find,
Thy charms in earthly mould enshrined.
Placed upon earth, to guard for heaven
The ray divine to mortals given,
Thou still art pointing to the sky
On wing extended, — back to fly
When the glad mandate bids thee soar
To gain thy native heights once more.
Thy office here — on all to wait
Who onward press to Heaven's high gate;
Their guide along the narrow way,
Which leads to blissful realms of day.
Thou lov'st, from sorrows tearful eye,
The bitter drops of woe to dry;
And pour the balm of peace, and rest,
Into the weary pilgrim's breast:
Without the joy, thy smiles bestow,
Life were, indeed, a scene of woe.
Ah! why should Grief e'er point his dart,
To wound thy generous, feeling heart?
Yet, often Sorrow's cruel sting,
Pierces thy gentle breast within;
And thou, the friend of all around,
A lonely mourner oft art found.

[pp. 32-34]