To Amira on her Mother’s Illness


Say, dear Amira, while this bosom shares

Your load of grief, and heaves the filial sigh;

Shall Christians sink beneath time’s transient cares,

And fainting Hope scarce lift her languid eye?


While o’er affliction’s gloom a deeper night

Dark Apprehension spreads, and woes unborn

Rise visionary to the mental sight,

The present grief we feel, the future mourn.


Indulge, forgive the sister and the friend,

Permit Reflection to present to view The secret cause that thus oppress’d we bend,

And to their source these tyrant fears pursue.


Their source is Unbelief, a foe confess’d,

And yet, how close connected with the heart;

We lodge the traitor that betrays our rest, And stabs our comforts in the vital part.


What is the Christian’s portion? bliss terrene,

Health, riches, friends? alas, how light they weigh!

Can we, contented with a lot so mean

Pronounce it bliss? frail tenure of a day!


“No,” says the soul whom Heaven-born faith inspires,

“Jehovah is the portion of my choice,

“In him, who fills, alone, my vast desire,

“Though health, wealth, friends forsake me, I rejoice.”


The blessings God hath lent, when he recalls Faith bids the heart with full consent resign,

Low at his feet the heart adoring falls!

“Lord, ’tis enough, I’m blest while thou art mine!”


Should he recall (we tremble at the thought)

A parent honour’d, lov’d: Faith lifts her eye, And, “See (she cries) “the hour, with transport fraught,

“That joins your souls in bliss beyond the sky!”


The sorrow-shaded scenes that rise between,

Time’s friendly wing will quickly bear away;

And Hope with placid air shall wait serene,

While Faith points forward to eternal day.


Then join, my dear Amira, join your friend,

To combat Unbelief, his aid implore

On whose kind arm our faith and hope depend,

Here may we rest, desire, expect, adore.

Text: 1780, vol. 3, pp. 28-30; also STE 3/3/5, sheet 8; autograph, MS, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regents Park College; also Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 2, pp. 18-20.