To Amira (3)

Friendship disdains the studied forms of speech,

She speaks a language forms can never teach.

Let friendship to Amira’s thought impart

The grateful joy that warms a sister’s heart.

O may the grateful joy aspire in praise, And love divine the sacred ardour raise;

To him whose ear our humble prayer attends,

Whose mercy spares Amira to her friends!

To them the boon indulgent mercy gives;

Nor for herself alone Amira lives. Long be your life preserv’d, long may you share

Your partner’s comfort, and partake his care!

By Heaven instructed, may you know to raise

Your infant offspring to their Maker’s praise!

To you is the maternal task assign’d, To form with gentle hand the tender mind:

To plant the seeds of moral goodness there,

To wathc, to cherish with assiduous care

The growth of every virtue, (pleasing toil!)

On the kind task may Heaven approving smile! That smile alone can animate, can bless,

And crown your labour with desir’d success.

To me hath Providence assign’d a part

Which claim the tenderest passions of the heart,

No less than yours: to sooth a parent’s care In life’s decline, his every grief to share,

By every act of cheerful duty prove

Sincerest gratitude and filial love.

O long, (propitious to my ardent prayer,)

To me, to you may Heaven indulgent spare His valued life! and when we must, must part,

Sustain the sad survivor’s fainting heart!

Before the mental eye may he display

A blissful prospect of the realms of day,

Whose presence cheers affliction’s deepest gloom, And sheds a ray of glory on the tomb!

While faith beholds her dying, rising Lord,

And cheerful hope reclines upon his word.

O be that word confirm’d to you, to me,

“Where Jesus is, there shall his servants be!”

Then shall our thoughts that happy world explore,

Where we shall meet our friends to part no more.

Think not these lones (my dear Amira) fraught

With the dark boadings of dejected thought:

Since nought but prospects future and divine, Life’s toils can cheer, its pleasures can refine.

Yet heaven, on us, shines with indulgent ray.

And with peculiar blessings marks our way.

Why are our steps by sovereign goodness led,

Far from the thorny wilds where many tread? Nor with dark care, nor pining want opprest,

Why with a thousand comforts are we blest?

Our lives protected from a thousand woes?

O why the various gifts which Heaven bestows?

Its various gifts should stimulate, should raise To active duty, to obedient praise.

True we are weak, but do we not depend

On the kind arm of an almighty friend?

That arm invigorates, directs, sustains,

And gives sweet hope to soften all our pains: Sweet hope, that whispers to the humble mind,

“Look up, the ever wise, the ever wise, the ever kind

“Is near you still, attentive to your pray,

“Proportions every trial, every care

“To suit the strength he gives, he will impart “Celestial comforts, to sustain your heart.

“Behold! display’d to faith’s expecting eye,

“A crown reserv’d for you beyond the sky:

“Treasures to bliss which never can decay

“And realms resplendent with eternal day.” If Faith and Hope, fix’d on the Word divine,

Pronounce the bright reversion yours, and mine,

O my Amira this is bliss below,

The highest bliss which mortals here can know.

Text: 1780, vol. 3, pp. 91-4; no MS copy; also Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 2, pp. 60-62.