To Silvia Pensive

Tell me, Silvia, why the sigh

Heaves your bosom, why the tear

Steals unbidden from your eye?

Tell me what you wish or fear?

Providence profusely kind, Whereso’er you turn your eyes,

Bids you with a grateful mind

View a thousand blessings rise.

Round you affluence spreads her stores,

Young health sparkles in your eye,

Tenderest, kindest friends are yours,

Tell me, Silvia, why you sigh?

’Tis, perhaps, some friendly voice

Softly whispers to your mind,

“Make not these alone your choice

“Heaven has blessings more refin’d.

“Thankful own what you enjoy,

“But a changing world like this,

“Where a thousand fears annoy,

“Cannot give you perfect bliss.

“Perfect bliss resides above,

“Far above yon azure sky;

“Bliss that merits all your love,

“Merits every anxious sigh.”

What, like this, has earth to give?

O my Silvia, in your breast

Let the admonition live,

Nor on earth desire to rest.

When your bosom breathes a sigh,

Or your eye emits a tear,

Let your wishes rise on high,

Ardent rise to bliss sincere.

Text: 1780, vol. 3, pp. 52-3; also STE 3/3/5, sheet 17, MS, Steele Collection, Angus Library, Regents Park College; also Nonconformist Women Writers, vol. 2 (ed. Julia B. Griffin), pp. 34-35.